Tag Archives: Deserts

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2017 Oscars

I know, I know: We’re told we can’t trust the media and we should only trust the White House even as scientific facts are erased from all official documents.  We’re being told that some of the poorest but hardest working people of our Nation are evil and are trying to undermine American Life.  We’re being told that the left-wing is a bunch of violent terrorists who must be stopped to regain order in the universe.

It’s real easy to feel like we’re only being controlled by the whims of mad billionaires, but don’t worry there’s a silver lining: THE OSCARS!  With this singular event, everything will fix itself and Donald Trump will take off a mask and reveal that he’s Bernie Sanders!  He wanted a Best Costuming Oscar, and he won it!  WAY TO GO, BERNIE!

As always, so we can prepare for the new golden age as dictated by Hollywood Elite, I present to you a brief summary of the only three Oscar categories that matter: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing.  Like I said, the Oscars will make everything better.

La La Land (Nominated for all three! There’s to the ones that dream!)

Mia and Sebastian are two attractive people who love to dance!  Things turn out to be not all they seem, though, as late one night when Mia goes to Seastian’s club with her anonymous husband and comes to a terrifying realization: THIS IS NOT HER LIFE.  What follows is a musical journey through a war between two universes: The City of Stars and the Days of Sun- as well as a quick trip through a pocket universe of flying telescopes.  In the end, Mia and Sebastian have to decide which universe to save and which to let crumble into the sea of the cosmos.

Arrival (Nominated for all three! I guess this movies truly “Arrived”!)

When Alien Pod lands on Earth, everyone panics.  “Oh No, This is going to be like Alien Movies and the Aliens are going to attack us and eat our skin because they are Aliens and they are different and they are Scary!” Says the Military headed by the Human Scowl Jeremy Renner.  But then Earth’s savior comes in the form of Language Woman!  Language Woman- played with aplomb by Amy Adams- draws pictures and makes language with the aliens. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker frown at each other from across the Military Table “I don’t know, I think we should shoot guns at it” says Renner. “Well I think we should shoot bombs at it” says Whitaker.  “No! I have the answer!”, Amy Adams breaks through a wall waving her Language around, “We should shoot words at it!”.  Everyone claps, including the Aliens who have four hands to clap with.  Thank you Amy Adams for telling us what to shoot.  Don’t worry, the aliens still rip a giant space hole in the sky and there’s still a massive CGI battle against alien invaders.  I mean, otherwise this wouldn’t be a Science Fiction movie right?

Moonlight (Nominated for all three!  I guess they should have called this movie “The Professional Circuit”!)

Taking place over three different time periods, Moonlight follows Chiron, a black man growing up on the mean streets of Miami.  Chiron grows up being bullied because of his reserved nature and small stature and he only has one friend: Kevin.  Chiron’ Mother gives him little help as he navigates life- she is addicted to crack- and he gets what guidance he can from local drug dealer Juan.  Things take an unexpected turn, however, when it turns out that Kevin is a vampire!  Kevin turns Chiron into a vampire too, and the two of them become Private investigators.  This doesn’t sit well with Juan, who wanted Chiron to grow up and take over the Drug Business.  So Juan sends out his vampire thugs to hunt down Chiron and Kevin and turn them to dust, then collect this dust and put it into gel tablets which Juan can then sell as a party drug (SPOILER ALERT, the drug is called “Moonlight”). Flash forward ten years, Kevin and Chiron have moved to the streets of Los Angeles where the two of them have a run down detective agency called “City Angels”.  Unfortunately things take another bad turn when the Agency’s owner, Maudie Hayes (played by a young Cybill Shepherd) wants to sell the agency.  Instead she joins the Vampire Detectives on the streets and soon Chiron starts to develop romantic feelings for her.  That’s when Juan catches up to the two with a terrifying secret: He’s also a vampire now! A deadly game of cat and mouse follows, and by the end only two people will walk out of that detective agency alive (And the detective agency was renamed “Blue Moon”.  Also, Juan’s still selling Moonlight and Maddie’s younger sister is addicted to it and may be becoming a vampire herself because of it).

Hacksaw Ridge (Nominated for all three! That may just be a ridge too far!)

Desmond T. Doss is a World War II Army Medic in the battle of Okinawa.  He becomes the first person to win the Medal of Honor without firing a single shot, as he thinks that enough people are trying to destroy the world and he wanted to put it back together.  Along the way he bonds with his army corporals and sergeants and teaches them important lessons on nonviolence.  He also finds an attractive army nurse who he falls in love with and marries. The movie is narrated by an older Desmond Doss, and ends with the Elder Doss saying “In the end, I suppose I learnt everything I needed to on Hacksaw Ridge. And I can still see that sunset in my dreams”.

Hell or High Water (Nominated for Best Editing and Best Picture.  They almost made it to all three, but then came Hell or High- well you get it)

Cowboys!  In 1888 the chilly Colorado River was rising, threatening to drown the low-down cattle town of Diablo.  A shady developer rolls into town and tells the folks “Ya know, yer town ain’t gonna see the light fer much longer.  I could build a levee round here, but it’ll cost ya'”.  The Developer- Chris Pine in a career-defining performance as Toby Howard- makes more and more insidious demands on the townsfolk and bleeds them of all their money.  That’s when Diablo decides to take justice into their own hands, and hire a Cowboy! Morally-questionable antihero Cowboy Tanner Howard is hired to ride into town and have a shootout with Toby Howard who (surprise!) is his brother. “Pow! Pow! Pow!” Go the guns.  “Die! Die! Die!” Go the Cowfolk. “Neigh! Neigh! Neigh!” Go the horses.  In the end, someone will die… come Hell or High Water.

Manchester by the Sea (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.  It should have been Manchester by the Supreme Disappointment)

In the sleepy Massachusetts hamlet Manchester-by-the-sea is a lighthouse that the locals have blocked off.  Then, one day a child walks into town and up to the lighthouse.  The child, Young Patrick, knocks on the door and the haggard, forgotten Affleck brother Casey opens the door.  “Hello this isn’t Boston”, says Casey. “I know and I’m also your son” says Young Patrick.  Casey does a spit take, and then walks around in circles saying “Oh my I can’t be a father I’m not the Affleck playing Batman!”.  In the end, Young Patrick learns about Lighthouses and Casey learns that you don’t have to be Oscar-winning writer and director to be an Oscar-winning father (although Ben Affleck is up for the “Best Father” Oscar this year while Casey was snubbed. Poor poor Casey).

Hidden Figures (Only Best Picture?  It’s like this movie wasn’t even trying!)

Taking place from 1991 to 1993 and following an group of publishers, computer scientists, and magicians as they work to create Miru Miru Mega Yokunaru Magic Eye – the very first Magic Eye book to receive widespread popularity.  From there we continue to follow this ragtag team of misfits to their next big milestone in 1993: The release of Magic Eye: A New Way of Looking at the World, the very first Magic Eye book to be published in North America.  Drama happens, some of the computer scientists blame the magicians for forgetting what Magic Eye was really about, and the whole Magic Eye team looks like it will fall apart giving the world no more books of random points that people can lie about seeing a unicorn in.  Then, as if by magic, all conflicts are resolved and the team realizes that the only real magic is the magic of friendship.

Fences (Only Nominated for Best Picture. The other two categories already had plenty of fences)

Based off of the award-winning play by August Wilson, Fences is a tale about race, class, and the barriers between the two.  Since it was first performed at the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center it has, unfortunately, remained chillingly relevant and has caused some controversy because of it.  Most notably (and this is a fault also shared by the film, making it’s nomination for Best Picture surprising) there is only one fence in the entire piece.  It isn’t even there for most of the piece.  Also, adding to this upheaval of title conventions, the characters are not professional fencers (both in terms of people who install fences, but also in terms of not being professional sword fighters).  Had this been changed for the film adaptation, and Fences be about a group of sword fighters traveling around Pittsburgh and building as many fences as they can, Denzel Washington may have also been nominated for Best Director making the 89th Academy Awards Ceremony the first ever to have two black men nominated for Best Director.

Lion (Only Best Picture.  I’d be “Lion”  if I said this was an accomplishment)

One of the big questions surrounding Cartoon Network’s hit animated series Steven Universe is who and what exactly Lion is.  Is Lion pink diamond? Rose Quartz? Was that indeed an early form of Lion that we saw in the episode “Buddy’s Book”?  All of these questions and more are answered in the feature-length film Lion.  Taking place during the time that Steven and the Crystal gems are saving Greg from Blue Diamond and the Human Zoo and Connie and the Crystal Temps are running/ruining the car wash, the film follows the exploits of Lion who uses this time to reflect on his long and storied life.  For the sake of keeping this spoiler free I won’t go on, but let’s just say: Pink Diamond willingly shattered herself as Yellow Diamond had found out that Pink had been funding the Crystal Gem rebellion; Pink trusted Rose to use her healing powers to bring her back once the Diamond Authority thought she was dead, but Rose’s powers could only go so far.  In the end, Rose was able to transfer some of Pink Diamond’s essence into Lion, though to say that Lion is Pink diamond is like saying Steven is Rose Quartz. It may take a few months for the events of this feature length film to be proved canonical, but this is as true as the Uncle Grandpa crossover episode.

P for Path to Dodge, Q for QERN

Stories about journeys this month, as well a bit of a peek inside the jumbled mind of Chadwick Hedgegrove.

p-for-path-to-dodge

The first of our stories is revisiting Hedgegrove’s love of “Bonanza!” with a fake “Bonanza!” episode about a missing briefcase and Wild West super spy antics.

q-for-qern

The next one is a fantasy journey of a Hero Human named Jory who takes a possessed sword to kill a volcano demon with a group of 28 other heroes.

No!

So, back to the films I made when the Henceblog was down, and we’re starting up again with “No!” a psychedelic trip through corgis and death.  Here’s the story:  I had been accumulating all kinds of footage for experimental pieces, some of them I was planning on using for the next installment of The Tape and fell to the wayside when The Tape never came, some were going to be ways to experiment with my new camera that eventually fell aside, and at least one was for a film that we had begun shooting but ran in to equipment failure that made it impossible to finish the project.  At any rate, right before I left Santa Fe I had about five film projects that were never going to be made.  Rather than leave them in this state, I decided instead to combine all of these films together into one film, and the result is below.

No! from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Despite the scattered approach to this film, I think it’s turned out surprisingly well.  Firstly, I’m glad that even though this was composed of a lot of more visual works there’s still a very coherent story to the piece.  Aside from this, I’m happy with what story came out, as it’s one about a dog that seems to be cast out of society only to become able to destroy both man and God with at least two victims.  I’m very happy with the psychedelic imagery the video feedback gave me, and I’m happy  with the effect that all of the sounds I got from driving through a dust storm gave me.  Overall, it’s an oddly atmospheric film, and I also think we can all agree that Taco God will be missed.

VATAS: Lastisode 16

Here we are at the end of the adventures, folks.  After the school closing I never quite got back into making VATAS episodes, although it wasn’t for lack of ideas.  I had plenty of ideas for VATAS episodes (and I’ll include them below), but I either got busy with classwork or it just didn’t seem the right moment to shoot the episode.  But, once I graduated I decided to pick up my Hi-8 camera, dust it off, bury it in sand, and shoot one last episode: The Lastisode:

Lastisode 16 on YouTube

It’s a bittersweet ending, and even now I feel sad to see VATAS go.  It’s a final episode that encompasses the uncertainty that I had about the future in 2011, and that I still have nearly two years after graduating.  I feel like the location of the arroyo does wonders for setting up a sort of lost and lonely feeling, but also one of discovery.  Now, again this is vastly different from other VATAS episodes, I suppose the final two years of film school finally taught me that I don’t need candy-color correction to make a video worthwhile.  Also, much like other later episodes, this one is very straightforward.  We no longer have the random jumps like we did in Episplode 3 or Westisode 9. However, it still feels like a VATAS episode. It feels like a much more grown up a mature episode, one that is the logical conclusion from the very first VATAS (okay, maybe not logical because who’d have thought I’d go through all the insanity with CSF and that I’d eventually return, but… it’s an ending that makes sense).  Finally, this is the most self-referential episode.  Which I feel okay about, but how about you? Are you tired of me plugging Delicious Pound Cake yet?

And now, to truly end our time with VATAS and as I promised above, here are the ideas of other episodes I had that never came to be:

Wherein Vvinni buries three turnips (it was going to be a bizarre quest episode where I buried three moldy turnips in the mountains)
Wherein Vvinni returns to Santa Fe (It was going to be my jailbreak episode from Boulder)
Wherein Vvinni travels back in time (This was going to be the sci-fi equivalent of Westisode 9)
Wherein Vvinni does laundry (This one is self-explanatory)
Wherein Vvinni gets lost in the desert (Again, self-explanatory)
Wherein Vvinni drives (An episode following me on one of my drives from Santa Fe to Colorado)
Wherein Vvinni designs (an episode following me as I design a poster/book cover/ etc.)
Wherein Vvinni goes back to Episode 1 (A re-edit of Episode 1, which was going to be created as the 20th episode anniversary)
Wherein Vvinni finally talks about Tracy McKnightly (An episode where I confront the biggest failure of my filmmaking career: Tracy McKnightly)

Well. That’s it. Thanks for joining me for this YouTube adventure, and I hope my seven readers have enjoyed this at least somewhat. Now go. You’re free now.

VATAS: Westisode 9

One of the criticisms I had for Episode 2 was that it tried to shoehorn a full video into the video-blog format.  It didn’t work in Episode 2 and I wanted to drift away from ever doing it again in a VATAS episode.  And yet, here we are in Westisode 9, where I not only put in a full video into the middle of the episode, but it somehow worked better than I could have imagined and it has become of the most viewed episodes of VATAS on my Vimeo.  Even stranger, is that even though I stand by my rule of not doing this, I largely feel that Wesitosde 9 works. In fact, I’d say that is has rightfully earned its place amongst the “Big Three” of VATAS episodes.  Also, in defense, the video inside of this episode (A re-edit of a Gunsmoke episode) couldn’t really be featured on its own due to copyright restrictions (although, because it was used solely for education and no money will be made off of it, I do believe that it falls under the umbrella of Fair Use).  Anyhoo, let’s go ahead and take a look at the episode before dissecting it further:

Westisode 9 on YouTube

This episode works, and I enjoy it.  So the question is: WHY does it work?  I feel it’s partially because the entire episode is centered around the nested video, and that after showing the video we have a bit of a discussion afterward about the assignment and my thoughts on it (Still not much of a discussion, but still a discussion).  The other reason this works, is because it’s ridiculously fun. After the previous apocalyptic news of my school closing in Episode 8, Number 9 is mostly just me playing “Cowboys and Indians” by saying things like “Let’s go plant a cactus farm!” and “I got to- I got to gather up all the chickens!”.  These interspersed bits of oddly understood genre conventions help cement this episode as “The Cowboy VATAS”, as well as help tie everything into the Gunsmoke project.  I also think it’s a good step into figuring out a way to talk about school projects that I otherwise wouldn’t have, while keeping it interesting and useful for supposed spectators.

I never again tried to nest a video into another episode, and I think that’s smart. But, Westisode 9 does show that it can be done much more effectively than in the scattered episode 2.  That’s what I think anyways, but what do you think seven readers? Does it work? Or I’m just too much of a cock-sure gunman?

VATAS: Deadisode 8

Oof. Now we’re into the big three VATAS episodes, starting with the one that brings to the light one of the biggest ordeals I’ve had to go through: My school shutting down and everyone leaving me.  This time was stressful, no one really knew what was going to happen or what they were going to do, and everything seemed completely hopeless.  So I did what anyone who had an unsuccessful video-blog would do; I made an entry all about the death of CSF:

Deadisode 8 on YouTube

I’m still dealing with the aftermath of this, and I realize that in the grand scheme of all of the world a school shutting down is small, but this was the destruction of a place I had finally grown to call home, it was a crumbling of not only everything I had believed in in terms of education (which, in turn, was everything I believed about life at that point) but also everything I thought I knew about friendship and acceptance and home.  It was hell.  And I think this episode is a fantastic visual artifact to help people understand exactly what this moment felt like for me.

I chose to film this episode in one of the strangest parts on campus, which was right next to the library and even before the school shut down it was a little pocket of the apocalypse.  The concrete was peeling everywhere in pools, all of the plants were dead in few lonely bench-planters, and there was a constant metallic drone of the generator/monolith. The place has an unmistakable feeling of being a nice hangout place years before, but decay and time took its toll, and now it is nothing but death.

The editing and color correction also help place the feeling of this episode.  The yellow wash over the entire episode gives it a distinct sense of decay, and almost all color except for the grating, jaundice yellow has all but disappeared.  The Vocal track is nearly inaudible, drowned out by the incessant drone of the Monolith.  Instead, all we have are unhelpful subtitles and a growing sense of unease.  This unease is made all the worse with the constant jarring cuts to the Monolith, to me all alone in this dead landscape, and to one of the most straight-forward and saddening Tracy McKnightly Hours ever (“There is nothing”).  This is an episode about failure, the only VATAS to be defined by what doesn’t happen, and the most atmospheric and sad episode to date (Save for the last, but we’ll cover that one in due time).

Episode 8 is also one of the more watched VATAS episodes.  I’m not sure why this is, but I’d like to think it’s because of the sense it conveys. The creeping hopelessness and doom of the situation of CSF is communicated rather well visually, and the story of how the school’s administration kept on shooting itself in the foot is certainly an interesting one.  Also, it even garnered mention on Andrew’s much more successful EXG Blog. Things got very heavy here, and this was an undercurrent for a lot of the work I produced at the time.  But, never fear. Things will get much more lighter in Westisode 9.  Or they can get much lighter now, if you want to jump to another VATAS episode. Either way, stay tuned for next time.

Rattler

I decided to start small with script-only projects that I’ll be putting up on the Henceblog.  While I was looking through my archives, I came across this one: Rattler.  It’s a story about a struggling rattlesnake farmer, and his problems with the rattlesnake inspector.  It’s a good script, and would make for an interesting short film, but as of right now I haven’t the resources or budget to make it.  So here you go, Internet, enjoy and let me know what you think of it.

RATTLER (2010)

Also, please remember that this is copyrighted by me, Vincent Gagnepain.  If you would like to use this in any way, please contact me.

Pig Death Machine

Recently the Chicago Underground Film Festival was put on at the Logan theater, and among other things the newest film by Underground Low-Fi filmmaker Jon Moritsugu premiered titled “Pig Death Machine”.  This film, as well as his near 11 other underground films, won him the Lifetime achievement award (which is well deserved, and I suggest you all check out his work.  It’s bizarre, and the type of wonderfully insane and low-fi work that can only come out of an extreme love for the craft of filmmaking).  But why bring this up?  Because I was the art director for “Pig Death Machine”. And This is my Story.

Pig Death Machine on YouTube

It was the summer of 2010.  I was just about to begin my senior year of college and I was planning on taking a trip back to Colorado to see friends and the like before beginning. Then I got a call from the internship director at CSF/SFUAD who told me that Jon would be making his next film (which came after nearly a decade away from filmmaking) in Santa Fe and he was looking for an art director.  I decided to give it a chance and read the script, after all I wanted more work in the art department, and the idea that I would be the art director on a feature film instead of a mere intern was enticing.

Once I read the script, I knew I had to do it.  It’s a nutso piece about raw pork, and plants, and people going insane from eating raw pork and looking at plants, and if you know two cents about me you know this is right up my alley.

Vvinni on the Set of Pig Death Machine
Another plus was that I got to make fake cocaine. A LOT of fake cocaine.

The biggest part of being the art director on Pig Death Machine was figuring out how to make the raw pork that the protagonists eat to get higher IQ levels.  The problem was not only in making edible and gross-looking raw pork, but it also had to be completely vegetarian.  After a bit of thinking I came to a solution: Seitan. After some tests with my art department, we figured out that Seitan actually takes food dye rather well and when suspended in red juice looks an awful lot like chunks of gross, bloody meat. This was FANTASTIC news!

A still from the film "Pig Death Machine"
This is actually a cut of raw bloody fake meat, I thought I had some chunks but I can’t seem to find them anymore.
This girl does NOT like lettuce!
Another still: This one of a woman who begins to hear plants talk and this head of lettuce SCREAM!
Behind the scenes on the set of Pig Death Machine
Behind the scenes in a greenhouse showdown location.

Some of the other set decoration I had to do was create the living space for a woman who likes plants more than people, turn a dog washing clinic into a meat warehouse (I don’t have any stills from that, unfortunately, but let’s just say we used a lot of boxes), and create an Old Mexican drug haven in most exploitative way I could (if you ever get a chance to see the film, keep your eyes peeled for a cactus taped to the walls).  Finally, I also had the chance to create the brand identity of the meat supplier who looses this horrific raw hell unto the world. This was The Meat Center:

The fake logo for a fake meat place.
Cuts of pork and Helvetica. Industrial.

Also there were these labels to put onto boxes:

Lickin' Pete'sLes Rogatons LabelTMC LabelAnd, although it never made it into the film (and granted, it needed a bit more touching to work) there was the logo for a fake farm where the evil hell smartpork was harvested:

Hayman Farms

As I hope I’ve made abundantly clear, this was a fantastic project to be a part of and please keep your eyes open for it in a theater near you (I heard that it may be getting a European Tour, so watch out Paris and Minsk!), and I’ll certainly let my seven readers know when Pig Death Machine is available online.

Missing

All I want is the truth. That’s how “Missing” begins, and it greatly lives up to that hope: It’s one of the most honest and personal films I think Andrew has ever made, and I greatly appreciate that.

Let’s back up, then, because it’s been around three and a half years since the Tape was last sent.  In those years, I spent plenty of time thinking about how I’d next reply. I even had footage shot and ready (Fun Fact: Most of these failed ideas were later compiled into “No!”).  As the years dragged on (and this isn’t fair, but it happened) it would be harder and harder for Andrew to come up with a decent enough reply. And so what was I looking for?

  1. The next installment had to explain why I had waited for so long.
  2. It had to be worth the wait.

Despite not being a very long list, it was a tall order to live up on Andrew’s part. And “Missing” wholly delivers.  There is only one part of the film that directly references “Powerful Magics” (and, by extension, the rest of the Tape‘s complicated web) and that’s when we see Andrew’s reflected face in the television (and, yes, the part where his face syncs up to his face was a nice touch).  Besides this, “Missing” doesn’t go along the lines of other Tape replies.  It throws any cheeky meta-references to YouTube out the window, it doesn’t attempt to counterpoint or ape anything from the previous installment, instead “Missing” simply IS. And that’s something that, during these past few years, I haven’t been expecting.

There are plenty of ways that I can talk about how this film still fits into the ongoing narrative of the tape and how its a microcosm for the internet, and I could probably pick it apart bit-by-bit and tell you how it actually does mirror everything else in the tape, but I think that would only destroy part of “Missing”‘s power (also, I don’t I would actually be able to do that last part).

Now that it’s my turn again, I have much the same feeling as Andrew did after watching “Powerful Magics”: I’m not quite sure what to do or how to reply. One thing’s for sure, all of the thinking I was doing and all the digging into internet memes is now void.  “Missing” is too good to get a reply similar to anything I’ve sent before, and so it’s time for a new strategy.

So now the old tape is dead, and with it comes an end.  “Missing” signifies a new letter, still between the same two people, but the game has been changed and I think that’s for best.

Vvinni Gagnepain’s THE BOX

I bet you all knew something was up when I posted the four Tape videos all in row.  Well, now you can see for yourself. What we all thought was long over and buried has come back from the depths of it’s yellowed jelly hell and back into our waking world.  Here is Andrew’s latest package with THE TAPE:

Vvinni Gagnepain’s THE BOX from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

The Tape had to die. I realize this, and although included in that object are years of heartbreak, passion, and vengeance, it had to go.  Otherwise, we’d just continue the cycle of destruction.  So: Included in the package, then, were a few other recordable devices:  The first was the wax figure I was cutting into before the postal service got to me.  Inside of that was was a whole lot of foil and a memory stick that had been stripped of its casings.  I was greatly excited: Now that the tape was dead, we were moving on to sending this stick back and forth to each other (which provided a lot more hiding opportunities, as shown by the wax).  But, no. Instead it was a poop video.

This wasn’t it, was it?  I had waited around three and a half years for Andrew’s reply, and he gives me a poop movie that lasts a few minutes?  I was distraught and angry, but I had some bit of resolution when I came across the piece of cardboard that the cake (which you couldn’t see, but it read “I AM DEAD” in wonderful frosting letters): “NOT YET, SOON” it read.  Okay, so pretty soon I was going to get another package from Andrew. Good, so I’ll just eat these cookies and wait.

Soon...
Not Yet.

Well, there was another surprise in ANOTHER cookie (Yes, Andrew Gingerich is a devious sort): More foil, this time including a Mini SD card.  I still don’t know what’s on the mini SD card. I’ve tried a Mini SD card reader, a Mini SD adapter, and a Mini SD slot in a tablet.  The card never reads.

Finally, beneath the chocolate cake, there was another video tape.  But it was Home Alone 3, with the recordable tab of VHS tapes taken out.  So I figured I’d gotten a free copy of Home Alone 3, and I would just wait for next package. Days went by. I got tired of waiting. I figured Andrew had to have included the Mini SD adapted in the package somewhere, and I just had to find it. So where wasn’t I looking? At that point I had eaten all of the cookies and the part of the cake I could (The bottom part was covered in inedible ink), so I dug through my trash through the parts of the cake that I threw away: Nothing. Okay. There was one part of the package that just wasn’t adding up: Home Alone 3.  But it had to be Home Alone 3, there was no way Andrew could have recorded over it, which meant one thing: ANDREW HAD HIDDEN THE MINI SD ADAPTER INSIDE OF THE TAPE.  I took out my screwdriver and got work on opening the VHS casing.  Well, one of the screws stuck and I was impatient, so I ended up breaking open the VHS and sifting through it. Nothing. I had just destroyed my copy of Home Alone 3.

THe VHS of Home Alone 3 inside of a cake.
A Tape baked into cake.

It turns out, and this seems like a massive design flaw in the VHS, that if you just put some tape over the tab area of a VHS (even if the tab has been taken out, thus rendering it unrecordable) then you can record onto said VHS. And that’s exactly what Andrew did: He re-dubbed the saga of THE TAPE onto the Home Alone 3 VHS that I had destroyed.  Oops.