Rugrats Go Wild DVD Review

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This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Why No Scratch & Sniff Cards With The DVD?!?

The Scratch & Sniff options on the Rugrats! Go Wild DVD relate to the "Odorama" stunt used during the film's original theatrical release. Special numbered cards, each representing a particular smell, were available with kids' meals at participating Burger King restaurants from 6/2/2003 to 6/29/2003, and separately at Blockbuster Video stores from 6/15/2003 until supplies ran out.

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Participants picked up the cards, then took them to the local movie theater showing the film. When a particular number flashed on the screen, viewers scratched off the scent that had that particular number on it. Numbers flashing in red mean that the viewer should find the corresponding number on their card (glow-in-the-dark for their convenience), and be ready to scratch-and-sniff when the on-screen number turns green.

Sadly, Paramount Home Video decided not to include the cards with the DVD release. So unless you got a card when the film was originally theatrically released, you're out of luck.

Here are the numbers, DVD time codes of when the numbers first appear on screen, and description of the scent.

1 - 05:31 - strawberry
2 - 11:42 - peanut butter
3 - 22:41 - a flower
4 - 39:05 - smelly feet
5 - 48:50 - root beer float
6 - 62:58 - fish

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(image courtesy of Jimmy Tyler)

Really Naughty Dots Books Review

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This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Fun Books With Annoying Layouts

If you didn't already guess, "Really Naughty Dots: Fun for Adults Only" (RND) and "Really Really Naughty Dots: Explicit Fun for Adults Only" (RRND), both by Eddison Sadd, are connect-the-dots book with the revealed pictures being of guys and girls in rather naughty adult situations (read: having sex). There are 30 puzzles total in each book. Each one has a pun title and caption (adding to the fun). In RND, puzzle #25 contains the least amount of dots (230), while puzzle #8 contains the most (450). In RRND, puzzle #8 contains the least amount of dots (113), while puzzle #17 contains the most (307).

From what I understand, all of the books in the Naughty Dots series were originally released in England many years before they were published in America. I've never seen the original versions, but I hope the layout was better than these. In both books, almost all of the puzzles are spread across two pages, which means that you'll be drawings lots of lines across the inner spine of the book. I don't need to tell you how annoying this is. Connect-the-dot puzzles should always be on one page, not two. To add insult to injury, a few puzzles have dots right on the inner spine which are impossible to connect (so you'll just have to draw your lines as close to them as you can).

On the plus side, the puzzles are very detailed and contain a lot of dots. Often you won't know what the image is supposed to be until you've connected almost all of the dots. The puzzles do have partial photos to give you a hint as to what the revealed image will look like. In some puzzles, there are photos of nipples, with you connecting the dots to draw in the breasts around them. I liked this idea of using photos mixed into the puzzles, but I think that there should have been a section in the back of the book with the complete photographs of the puzzle images.

Before I wrap this up, I should probably take a second to tell you that in RND, puzzle #3 contains two #208 dots (the second one is supposed to be #209). Also, in RRND, puzzle #12 contains a number 136 but there is no dot for it because it shouldn't be there. Also, the woman's hand in puzzle #18 looks strange. So be on the lookout for those quirks.

Overall, the puzzles were fun to do (aside from the two-page annoyance), and I enjoyed these books very much.

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G.L.O.W. - Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling DVD & VHS Reviews

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This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Comparing The DVD To The Previous VHS Release

Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, also known as G.L.O.W., was a women's professional wrestling promotion that aired in syndication from 1986–1990, with the majority of the action taking place at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. The show was ultra-cheesy, feature colorful (and highly stereotyped) characters and over-the-top comedy sketches. G.L.O.W. has gotten a bit of a revival over the past decade, culminating in a documentary and a scripted Netflix series this Summer starring Alison Brie.

Three volumes of episodes were released on VHS back in the 1980s by Today Home Entertainment, and were subsequently re-released on DVD by Allied Artists in the 2000s. All three DVDs contain the same slideshow and promo bonus features. I will be taking a quick look at all of them, starting with Vol. 1 - Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling - DVD, VHS - which runs 58 minutes and features the following matches:
  1. TAG TEAM: Royal Hawaiian & Spanish Red vs. California Doll & Americana
  2. TAG TEAM: Sara & Mabel vs. Salt & Pepper
  3. TAG TEAM: Hollywood & Vine vs. Tina Ferrari (WWF's Ivory) & Ashley
  4. BATTLE FOR THE G.L.O.W. CROWN: Matilda the Hun vs. Tammy Jones
There are two minor portions at the start and end of the program from the original VHS that were edited out of the DVD. (1) Seven seconds of music on a black screen before the first visual. It's the first seven seconds of the song that's already playing as the show on the DVD begins. (2) The INI logo at the very end.

Except for these two minor portions, nothing else was edited out. The F word was used twice and racial slurs were used once (all left intact from the original VHS release).

There are two minor defects that weren't in the VHS: At 21.59 is a slight defect that is not in the original videotape. Also, at 56.16 is a minor edit that is not in the original video tape. During the end credits Tina Ferrari interview, about 21 frames (less than a second) is cut. It sounds like it was done because the audio on the master they used to make the DVD was bad at that spot. Tina's complete line is: "I like a man... that you can have a little control over." The "..." represents a one second pause in her words.

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Vol. 2 - The Saga Continues - DVD, VHS - runs 58 minutes and features the following matches:
  1. SINGLES: Olympia vs. Jungle Woman (with Nature Boy at ringside)
  2. GRUDGE MATCH: Spanish Red vs. Americana
  3. TAG TEAM: Corporal Kelly & Attache vs. The Southern Belles Scarlett & Terror
  4. TAG TEAM: Heavy Metal Sisters Chain Saw & Spike vs. The Cheerleaders Debbie Debuante & Susie Spirit
  5. THE RUSSIAN: Ninotchka vs. Little Feather (with special appearance by Ebony)
  6. THE TERRORIST: Palestina (from Syria) vs. Sally, The Farmer's Daughter (from Nebraska)
  7. THE HANDICAP, TWO WRESTLERS AGAINST ONE: Hollywood & Vine vs. Mt. Fiji (350 lbs.)
  8. SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCES: Jackie Stallone manager of the good girls & Matilda The Hun
The picture is a bit darker than the original videotape, the audio was turned up a bit too loud, and there are faint picture rolls throughout that were not in the tape. All minor video and audio defects were in the original VHS release.

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Vol. 3 - Fans Beware - DVD, VHS - runs 58 minutes and features the following matches:
  1. TRIPLE FEATURE: Spanish Red & Jungle Woman (with Nature Boy) vs. The Cheerleaders Suzy Spirit & Debbie Debutante (with special appearance by Tina Ferrari) (1 fall, 20 min time limit)
  2. TEXAS BAR ROOM BRAWL, ANYTHING GOES: Dallas (The Texan Cowgirl) vs. Ninotchka (The Russian Colonel) (no time limit, no rules, no pin-falls, fighting both in and out of ring)
  3. STREET FIGHT, LOSERS CLOTHES COME OFF: California Doll, Farmers Daughter, Tina & Ashley vs. Hollywood & Vine with The Soul Patrol (Envy & Adore from Chicago) (8 ladies in the ring at the same time, $16,000 and champagne to the winning team) (no time limit, no rules, no disqualifications, no pin-falls, weapons?) (see David McLane assaulted and disrobed)
  4. SINGLE FEATURE MATCH: Dementia (Mgr: Aunt Kittie) vs. Little Egypt "The Desert Flower"
The following vignettes are also included:
  1. G.L.O.W Rap - David McLane & The GLOW Girls
  2. The Spanish Kitchen
  3. California Dolls - "Points to Ponder"
  4. Drs. Fiel and Grope - Gynecology/Plastic Surgery/Psychiatry
  5. Asking Ashley
  6. Tips From Tina
  7. The Farmer's Daughter's Letters Home
  8. Easy as K.G.B. with Colonel Ninotchka
  9. Card Playing with Matilda the Hun
  10. Children of the Night
  11. Morning Coffee
  12. Mt. Fuji's Dream
  13. And Many, Many More
Nothing has been edited out. Everything from the original videotape release is include here.

Digital Concepts 89379 3.1MP Digital Camera Review

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This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Takes Very Poor Picture Indoors, Consumes Lots Of Batteries

I bought the Digital Concepts 89379 3.1MP Digital Camera because I needed one solely for taking photos of the items I sell on the internet. I didn't want to spend a lot of money (read: over $100) on a digital camera, so when I saw this at Wal-Mart for $60, and saw that it had a built-in flash, I figured that this would do the trick. Even though it's a cheap camera, I figured that it should be able to handle such a simple and undemanding task as taking photos indoors of various little and big items. Boy was I wrong.

This camera takes VERY POOR picture indoors, even though it has a built-in flash. In fact, the flash makes the pictures worse. Pictures taken with the flash appear all washed out.

Unless you hold the camera incredibly steady, you risk having shaky pictures. Half the photos I took were shaky, even though I held the camera as still and steady as possible. The camera has a hole on the bottom where a tripod can be inserted. I highly suggest you use one, if at all possible.

It consumes battery power at a fast rate. I put new batteries in it and within a few hours it started complaining that the battery was low. When it prompts "Low Battery," it doesn't let you use the flash (how annoying!). It uses 3 AAA batteries, but has no adapter for house current, so you're forced to feed it more batteries. It even uses up battery power when you're not using it at all. I had a set of 3 brand new AAA batteries sitting in it for two weeks, while the camera was just sitting in it's opened packaging. When I went to use it again, first I saw defects in the preview screen, then eventually the camera would keep shutting off as soon as I would turn it on. Thus I was required to put another set of three brand new AAA batteries in it.

It has a 16MB built-in flash memory which requires a constant electric current to store your photos. Should the camera lose power (for instance if the batteries die or are removed), all stored pictures will be lost. Sakar recommends always downloading your photos to your computer as soon as possible to prevent unintentional data loss. I recommend not buying this camera unless you have a SD card or buy one along with the camera (luckily I did). The SD card supercedes the built-in memory, so all photos are saved onto the card instead, where they will not be lost because of the power supply.

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The package comes with the camera, instruction manual (which is easy to understand, if somewhat poorly written), drivers disc (with PhoTags software), USB wire (to connect the camera to your computer), and a hand strap. Although the manual tells you first that the PhoTags software is needed to transfer the photos to your computer, if you continue reading you'll learn that it isn't. In fact, you can use the camera without installing PhoTags at all. The driver installation is located on the CD at: \drivers\setup.exe. Once installed, when you connect your camera to your PC, it will appear as another drive on your computer (two drives if you have a SD card in it). Then you can just copy, move, and delete the photos on it from Windows Explorer or whatever way you normally work with your computer files. I don't know if it's just me, but I found that Windows kept reinstalling the drivers every time I connected the camera to it. That got very annoying real quick, especially when once it made me get out my Windows 2000 CD.

You *might* need PhoTags to use the camera as a webcam, but then again, you can probably find some other software on the internet (maybe for free) that will let you do that as well (and maybe even better).

In case you're wondering, PhoTags is a rather useless program to organize photos (to a certain degree), add text and captions to them (which can be turned on and off using "Active Captions" technology - software required on the computers of anyone you send your photos to), make minor corrections (such as red eye removal), and do simple photo print projects (calendars, greetings cards, postcards, etc.). Two of the photo projects are non-existant: Album Creator and Video CD Creator. When you click on either of them, you are taken to the PhoTags website where you are prompted to buy the full version for $10 to add these two features.

Although I didn't expect to get a top-of-the-line digital camera for $60, I did expect to get something that would take decent photos indoors. I guess I'll have to keep looking.

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Cartoon Crack-Ups DVD Review

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This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
New Voices Added To Flintstones Pilot

I bought the Cartoon Crack-Ups DVD primarily for the Flintstones pilot (the nice selection of episodes was just a bonus). Imagine how disappointed I was when I went to watch it and saw the following text on the screen: "New voices were added to this pilot for use on the DVD." I'd really like to know why. From what I've read, this pilot was released on Laserdisc with the original voices - Daws Butler as Fred and Barney, June Foray as Betty, and Jean Vander Pyl as Wilma (the only hold-over from that early test). Does the version on the Flintstones Season 1 box set also contain new voices? I wonder.