About six months ago, I found myself alone on a Friday night, left to fend for myself. My wife was a away on a business trip, and wouldn't be returning until late Saturday. So, I did what any guy would do left to his own devices, wife out of town, on a Friday night: I sat in front of the computer, poured a glass of wine, and decided to do some creative writing.

I had gotten the bizarre idea to write short fictional stories in Amazon reviews. I figured I would treat it a bit like an experiment. I wrote some product reviews with actual, serious feedback, followed by fictional stories somehow related to the product, and some reviews that provided useful information about the product that was framed in a fictional story.

I was hoping to either see people voting the reviews as 'Helpful' or 'Not Helpful', so I could get an idea of whether or not anyone was reading them. Unfortunately, only a couple of them have any votes at all. Of those, it's about a 50/50 split in terms of people thinking the review is helpful or not helpful. Or perhaps the review was, in fact, helpful, but they just hated my terrible creative writing.

All Amazon reviews actually go through some sort of review process by Amazon. When you submit a review, it doesn't immediately post - it gets read by someone (or something), and presumably if it meets some basic requirements then gets posted. I was pretty sure that at least one of these reviews would get nixed by this system, but every single one went live just a few minutes after submitting it. The obvious answer is that Amazon has an automated system that approves / rejects based on the presence of blacklisted words or some such, but it's more fun to imagine someone at Amazon reading each of these.

Anyway, it's been a number of months, and either Amazon isn't showing these reviews to people, or nobody is voting on them, so I figured I would post them here. Because, you know, my personal blog obviously has way more traffic than Amazon.

The Hunt for DK: Part 1

Posted for Donkey Kong Amiibo

This review was purely a fictional short story - it doesn't review the actual product in any way. So far, 1 out of 2 people have found it helpful. That one person who liked it clearly has a refined taste in prose.

Sir Mix-a-Lot searched the foliage through his binoculars. The heat was brutal, even in shade, and there was almost no wind to provide relief. He pulled the binoculars from his eyes and wiped the sweat running down his forehead.

"We have been searching for days, and haven't seen anything! My swamp-ass has reached epic  levels, and I'm not even sure this 'Donkey Kong' character exists!" said Sir Mix-a-Lot.

"Trust me," said Samus. "He's here. Not only is he here, but he has the biggest backside you have ever seen. Just stick this out a little bit longer. You won't regret it."

They were positioned in a small ditch, looking out over an expanse of prairie, with a thick treeline on the other side about a hundred feet away.

"That's a load of Toad dookey if I have ever heard it," responded Sir Mix-a-Lot. "I should  have accepted Mario's offer to hunt koopas. It might as well -"

"Quiet!" hushed Samus. "Look there!"

Sir Mix-a-Lot scanned the treeline across the prairie. He saw a rustle in a cluster of bushes with large fronds. He slowly pulled out his Pokeball.

"There is no way you will be able to throw that thing so far," cautioned Samus.

"Don't doubt me. When there is a big ass on the line, I can do almost anything," responded Sir Mix-a-Lot.

In an instant Donkey Kong exploded through the brush, running on all fours across the prairie. He was running at a diagonal to Samus and Sir Mix-a-Lot, headed for the treeline on their side of the expanse, but many hundreds of feet north of their position.

Samus and Sir Mix-a-Lot simultaneously jumped from their ditch and started running up the treeline towards where it looked like DK would enter the brush.

"If he makes it back into the forest we will never catch him!" yelled Sir Mix-a-Lot.

"I thought you didn't care anymore," said Samus dryly. It was immediately evident to Sir Mix-a-Lot that she was in much better shape than he was.

"Not anymore!" he huffed. "I can see that ass from here, and no brother can deny that butt!"

Samus sighed and pulled a Pokeball from a previously hidden compartment on her suit. Her hunt for DK was personal, and she wasn't going to let Sir Mix-a-Lot's ineptitude ruin this opportunity. She loaded the Pokeball into her arm cannon.

Not paying attention to Sir Mix-a-Lot's labored breathing, she sped ahead of him. DK was still running at top speed, and had obviously noticed her and Sir Mix-a-Lot. There was no way to miss Sir Mix-a-Lot, really. DK tried to divert his course further away from Samus, but it was too late.

Samus smiled, raised her right arm towards DK, and fired.

--------- TO BE CONTINUED ---------

So good, Kanye West would use them.

Posted for Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths Fresh Care Refill

This review is an example of when I provided an actual, real review of the product, and then added my fiction at the end of it. So far, 100% of the people that have rated it liked it (1 person).

I am generally impressed with the quality of these wipes. They have never torn or ripped on me, and are appropriately moist. I can't speak to their safety in all septic or sewer systems. The bags recommend only flushing one at a time, but that seems rather ridiculous. I never flush them completely unfolded (which seems like it might cause issues after a long time), and have never had a problem. I'll update this review if I ever wake up to a fountain of human waste in my front yard. So far, so good, though!

You will need a container to put these in. I dinged a star off of the rating because unlike other brands (e.g., Charmin) these bags are not resealable. If you don't have a hard container to put them in, they will dry out. Such containers aren't expensive, by any means, but you'll want to buy some if you don't have any, already.

Kanye lounged languidly on his sofa. He was watching a marathon of his favorite TV show, "MTV Cribs" and sipping on a glass of Scotch whiskey. He didn't particularly enjoy Scotch, or really whiskey in general, but he knew that for plenty of other people it was something of a luxury indulgence.

A commercial on the television caught his attention. He was immediately engrossed; captivated by what he was seeing. When the commercial finished, Kanye sat unmoving, silent. He pulled off his sunglasses.

"Leroy! Leroy, get in here!"

Leroy scurried into the room carrying a basket in one hand and a tray in the other. The tray held a dozen identical glasses of Scotch whiskey.

"Yes, Mr. West? What can I do for you?" Leroy asked somewhat pensively.

"I just saw something that quite perturbed me," Kanye said slowly, with great consideration.

"Are you watching MTV again, sir? Was it another gold digger?"

"No, Leroy, it was something even more frightful. It was a man. A bearded man, wearing a suit. He titled himself 'The Most Interesting Man in the World'." Kanye sat thinking, obviously agitated.

"Oh, you mean the Dos Equis man?" Leroy asked.

Kanye jumped to his feet and threw his glass to the floor, smashing it over Leroy's feet.

"You know this person who dares call himself 'the most interesting man in the world'?! How could anyone possibly be more interesting than me?!" Kanye fumed.

"I- I- don't know him, personally, sir, but I am familiar with his character in Dos Equis commercials-" Leroy stammered. Kanye held a hand up to silence him before he finished.

"Bring me to him," Kanye said. "Also, I need a new pair of pants."

Leroy reached into his basket, pulled out a bag of Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths, and handed it to Kanye.

"Yes, sir. I'll prepare the helicopter."

------ TO BE CONTINUED -------

Excellent ring. Everyone thinks I'm totally loaded.

Posted for VINANI German 925 Sterling Silver solid Ring

In this review, I actually didn't write a completely separate story at all. I left an actual review, but just wrapped it in a story (this story is actually more fact than fiction). Apparently Amazon doesn't sell this product anymore. My review must have been that good.

This story goes a little bit like a Pampers commercial.

The first wedding band I got was beautiful. I had all sorts of requirements for it. It had to be made of something that would shatter or break rather than crimp or stretch (stories of rings crimping into fingers or elongating and slicing off fingers terrify me, and they should terrify you, too). I also didn't want it to conduct electricity or heat (due to my work environment). That left me with options like ceramic, slate, marble (yes people do that), a few others, and... wood. After looking around on Etsy, I found a beautiful wooden ring wrapped in carbon fiber that made my heart warm with the knowledge that I was buying a hand-made, one-of-a-kind, art-piece. I was so hip. So indie. Such a beautiful, unique snowflake. I was ecstatic when I got the ring, and will now remember my terrible decision forever because it is in all of my freaking wedding pictures.

Now, maybe I'm just not used to wearing rings, but I couldn't stop tapping it on things. If I was sitting at a desk, I constantly tap it on the desk. tap-tap-tap. tap-tap-tap. If I was walking down a hallway, I would tap it on the wall as I walked. tap-tap-tap. tap-tap-tap. If I was sitting next to someone that was driven crazy by tapping noises, I would tap it on my cell phone. tap-tap-tap. tap-tap-tap.

After months of this, the carbon fiber in my fancy artpiece ring started to unweave. It broke into little pieces, and embedded into my skin. I noticed this when I wondered why my hand was itching so damned much, and looked down to find all of the skin around my wedding ring peeling, desperately trying to shed the bits of carbon fiber that had dug into my skin.

At this point, I knew the ring had to go. Let's just ignore the fact that if my wife ever said, "I destroyed my wedding band a need a new one," I would fall out my chair and cry over the jeweler's receipt. The fact is that I had destroyed my wedding band, and needed a new one.

So, of course, the first place I look is Amazon. And what do I find? A $25 sterling silver ring. "Awesome!" I think. "I'll buy this as a place-holder until I get a real replacement." I floated the idea with my wife of me NOT wearing a wedding band and trying to pick up other girls just to see if I "still had it", but she didn't think anyone would believe I wasn't married because I really give off that vibe of just having let myself go. I conceded, and bought this ring.

So, here we are, months later, and I'm still wearing it. It fit perfectly, does the job, and if I lose it (or destroy it) I'm not going to cry. Oh, also, it looks super expensive so everyone totally thinks I'm loaded. This is going to continue to be awesome until someone chops off my finger or some crap to steal the ring. And then the joke will be on them, because it's only worth $25.

tl;dr: Totally awesome ring. A+++++++++ would buy again