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The next James Bond movie, Skyfall, is finally here! That means that spy fever is about to hit an all time high. (Yes, that is a subtle Octopussy reference. You are welcome.)
Will it be enough though to pull off a convincing "Somogyi. JEFF Somogyi." for example? Of course it won't be! That's why you also need spy gear. Therefore, we now present several "spy" items that not only fit into your tuxedo, but also into your budget.
All good spies know that the ability to record someone on the sly is essential. Thankfully, the world is here to supply you with endless things into which cameras have been crammed. And, since we're dealing with hidden ways to record video of unsuspecting persons, now's a good time to point out that there is a fine line between "suave spy" and "super creep." (That line is often personal hygiene. FACT.)
Put a camera in a pen ($38.93 with free shipping, a low by $1) to covertly watch a bill being signed into law. Put one in a lighter ($6.88 with $2.99 s&h, a low by $7) to spy on someone's lung cancer. Sunglasses ($25.99 with free shipping, a low by $5) with a camera built in are perfect for looking back on what you're looking at right now. Be sure your keys aren't up to something while you're not looking with this be-camera'd keychain ($11.99 with free shipping, a low by $28). Also, thinking your keys are talking behind your back might be a sign of schizophrenia — unless you live in Oz, Narnia, or other magical place; then it's just paranoia.
You should also keep an eye on the time with the Spy Watch ($48.99 with free shipping, a low by $4). Be a green spy and keep close tabs on your carbon footprint with a power switch camera ($59 via coupon code "DEALNEWS10OFF" with $5.49 for shipping). And, for very specialized ops there is also a camera stuffed inside a teddy bear ($139.95 with $9.60 for shipping, a low by $190). Remember what we said about the fine line between spy and creep? I think we've found it!
When driving a car, it's important to have a rearview mirror, especially when SMERSH agents are trying to run you off the road using hood-mounted guns. But what if you're just walking around? Well then, any car — be-gunned or not — probably has a better-than-average chance of taking you out, no matter how often you look behind you. And if you're on foot, well, you'll want to be able to detect the enemy coming up behind you, right? You can't be the spy who leads the bad guys straight to the safehouse where the president is being held. That kind of behavior tends to be frowned upon around MI6 — second only to taking M's sandwich from the fridge when it was very clearly labeled "For her mouth only." (Alternate joke: "A sandwich with Her Majesty's Secret Sauce on.")
However, constantly looking around and over your shoulder doesn't come across as "super cool, confident spy," so you'll need another way to watch your back. Keep up your suave, debonaire demeanor, while still keeping a suave, debonair eye on the sidewalk behind you with the pictured Look Behind Sunglasses ($2.99 with free shipping, a low by $14). The inside half of each lens is coated in a reflective surface allowing you to look forward while looking back (which was also part of the speech that was given at our commencement when we graduated from Spy School; at least it felt like spy school, as I had to make sure no one noticed me lest I draw unwanted attention from goons and get beat up for my spy money. But maybe it was high school?)
Need to record audio on the sly? Surely there is an iPhone or Android app that does just that! We like the Spy Kit for iPhone ($0.99; however, there are many free ones, too) and the Johnny English Reborn Spy Kit for Android (free). Equipped with one of these apps, you'll just need to grab a table nearby to whomever's conversation you want to record, place your iPhone or Android device on the table in front of you, and take down the whole thing while pretending to read your newspaper. Pro tip: Spies read the Times, not Weekly World News.
If once you have the recording and discover that the voice quality isn't so great, you can pass it along to Q and command him to enhance it. Though, in your case, "Q" is actually you with a free copy of Audacity. So good luck using those audio filters! (But, seriously, there are tons of online tutorials you can read to help you out.)
You're out in the field, "spying" dinner when suddenly the bill arrives! Quick! Scan it covert-style with the Planon DocuPen Pen-Shaped Scanner ($134.99 with free shipping, a low by $65). It should also work on, like, missile plans and secret hideout blueprints (though you might have to take several passes to get the whole thing — but if we've learned nothing from the films, it's that Bond often had to make several passes before getting it right, too. Double entendre! Another super-spy classic!)
Of course, you can forgo a specialized, expensive device and simply take a picture of the document using a cheap digital camera or your cell phone. Though these options will put you back into that "enhance this!" scenario, so we hope you know Photoshop. (And it turns out that it's not as easy as CSI makes it look with their 1-click "zoom and enhance" Hollywood-forensics scenes.)
"Hey! Isn't that Ted from accounting?" NO! It's the SUPER SPY from accounting! And if you're wearing a good enough disguise, you can get away with it. Top tip: Try and wear something that will help you blend in. Yes, we all know Austin Powers is a helluva spy, but dress like him and, well ... everyone will think you're a time traveler from 1997. And that will get you way more attention that you need. Yeah, baby!
With places like BuyCostumes always having a sale or a coupon, why pay full price for that leprechaun outfit you'll need when on a mission in Ireland? (This is not a stereotype joke, as I am imagining you being sent to a fancy dress party while there. Gosh! Jump to conclusions, why don't you!)
Maybe you have such a bland face, personality, and wardrobe that it wouldn't take much to completely change your appearance. Why not try a stick-on mustache or 12 ($1.07 with $1.49 s&h, a low by $1) and see where that gets you.
Sure these Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars ($39.99 with free shipping, a low by $1) are meant for kids, but that doesn't mean that your adult eyes can't use them! And with the movies showing us that a lot of spy stuff takes place at night you're going to want something that gives you an edge in low-light conditions. Do you really want to jump over that compound wall at midnight without knowing if there's a man with steel teeth on the other side ready to eat your neck? Didn't think so.
Look. Just don't get thrown in the shark pool in the first place, okay?
Now that we've convinced you how cheap and easy it is to get a bunch of spy gear, we'll leave you with this: Using most of this stuff in inappropriate ways will get you in lots of trouble with your neighbors, spouses, HR departments, and the FBI (as most fun things will). Spy responsibly. Use this stuff to be a James Bond, not a Dr. No.
Photo credit: Spirit HalloweenNote that this feature has been updated since it was originally published last March.