Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Targ's Up/New Movie Review/I Still Love Titanic

First and foremost, got this week's episode of U62: The Targ up. This week, it's Episode 32: Aftermath, in which I reflect on the Christmas that was.

Give 'er a listen

Secondly, over my Christmas break, I indulged in my curiosity and saw Rocky Balboa.

And I wrote a review about it




And, today, I indulged in the completely-made-up tradition I started a couple of years ago. On New Years Day, I watch Titanic.

I know it's not New Years Day but, surprise, I have plans tomorrow.

I watched the super-mega-ultimate edition DVD, and when the movie was done, I switched over and watched the original ending. When I first got the DVD, I watched the original ending, and was quite taken with it.

We all remember how the film ends, right? Once the story is done, we see treasure hunter Brock (played by Bill Paxton) give up on his search for the diamond, and then we see Old Rose toss the diamond overboard, showing us, the audience, that she had it all along.

Well, in the original ending, Brock actually catches Old Rose throwing away the diamond! Brock tries to talk her out of it, but Old Rose says no, and gives a "money isn't everything" speech. She allows Brock to hold the diamond just once, and then tosses it overboard. And then, Brock is able to let it go and lead a more carefree existence.

On the running commentary for this orginal ending, director James Cameron explains why he cut it. 2 reason:

1) Old Rose's "money isn't everything" speech got too close to beating people over the head with the message.

2) In test screenings, he discovered that, by the end of the movie, people had gotten so caught up in the Jack and Rose romance, that people didn't care about Brock and his search for the diamond anymore.

But, I was one of those few who still cared about Brock and the diamond at the end, and watching the cut scene helps give me closure.

Hey, look! I found the original ending on YouTube!


Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's Official: Indy 4

Wow. After I write yesterday's gushy ode to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it gets all official.

Yesterday, George Lucas sent out the official news release.

Indiana Jones 4 starts filming in 2007, for a release in May of 2008.

See you in line.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reflctions on The Temple of Doom



I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I finally bought myself The Indiana Jones Trilogy on DVD. Last night, I finally had the opportunity to sit down and watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I have fond memories of Temple of Doom.

I'm not quite sure what to call it, but I'm sure that you'll agree that, in our childhoods, we eventually reach a point where we become...aware of pop culture. We realize that there's more to life than Sesame Street and Saturday morning cartoons and we discover that there's this great big world out there. There is that point where we suddenly realize there's so much more out there....

Well, Temple of Doom came out right when I was developing that awareness. I tell ya, it was a turning point in my maturity.


One of the first comic books I have clear memories of is issue number 2 of the comic book adaptation of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Granted, I did own comic books before that one, but Temple of Doom is the first one where images stand out...I identified with the characters...where I remember reading it over and over again. In many of my distorted memories, I often call it the first comic book I ever had.

I ran out and bought issue number 3. It was a 3-issue mini-series. I never found issue number one.... By the time I finally got around to seeing Temple of Doom, I was intimitly familiar with the final two-thirds of the film...seeing the film was more about seeing how it began.

You don't see a lot of comic book adaptations of big summer blockbusters any more. I"ll have to ask my aspiring comic book artist friend why that is.


The soundtrack for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has been out of print for many years. Finding a copy is near-impossible. Finding a copy on CD is even more difficult, as the CD was only ever released in Japan.

I have the soundtrack for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. On CD.

I tell ya, when I just randomly grabbed it off the shelf at that little music shop in the Kumagaya train station, I damn near shit my pants when I realized what I was holding. I prayed no one else would buy it as I ran across the street to hit the ATM for more cash.

I played it over and over in my tiny apartment in Kumagaya. That film score is an integral part of my "soundtrack of Japan."




I simply must get that movie poster for Temple of Doom.

I've often told the story of the movie poster for Return of the Jedi, and why it's significant to me. The movie poster for Return of the Jedi used to hang in the lobby of the West Edmonton Mall movie theatre West Mall 5, where I saw a lot of movies in my childhood. I'd stare at the poster for Return of the Jedi for what seemed like hours as I waited to get into a movie.

But, what I rarely share was that, right next to the poster for Return of the Jedi was the poster for...Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I have the poster for Jedi. It'd be nice to hang the two next to each other again.


Rumors still persist of a fourth Indiana Jones movie. One of my big fantasies about Indiana Jones 4 would be getting some Hong Kong action star - like Jet Li maybe - to play a grown-up Short Round.

Apparently, the only thing holding back Indy 4 right now is the fact that George Lucas has became a totaly anal perfectionist towards the script. Which isn't a bad thing.

While it doesn't have a fandom on the level of Star Wars, the Indiana Jones films still represent quite a bit to a lot of people.

And I'm one of them.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

No Targ This Week

Well, here I am in Red Deer, chillin' with my cousin, getting ready to unleash a whole can of Christmas cheer.

Needless to say, because of the holiday craziness, never had time to sit down and pump out an episode of The Targ.

What can I say? I'm on vacation.

I'll be back next week, though, as I'm always alone on New Years...so sadly alone...so I'll have lots of time.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Heroes in a Half Shell




So, for those who may not recall, there's a brand new, all computer animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie coming out in the spring. Promising to be darker and closer to the original Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird comics.

When this was first announced, we were told there would be no celebrity voices, aside from Japanese character actor Mako, who'd be doing the voice of Splinter. This was announced shortly before Mako passed away, actually, so this'll go down in history as his final film.

Well, guess what? More of the voice cast was announced the other day, and it's chock-full of celebrity voices! No celebrities are voicing the Turtles, however. It's nothing but celebrities for the familiar support cast...and the new villains. Who do we have?

Sarah Michelle Gellar, still best remembered as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is giving voice to the Turtles' bestest and closest human friend, April O'Neil.

Chris Evans, whom we all saw as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch in Fantastic Four, is giving voice to Casey Jones, the hockey-mask-wearing, baseball-bat-swinging vigililante. Remember, Casey Jones was actually a big part of the original Eastman/Laird comics.

Karai, leading the Foot Ninjas

Hong Kong actress Ziyi Zhang, who rocketed to fame in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and made her English-language debut last year in Memoirs of a Geisha, does the voice of Kairi, a bad-ass female ninja who's the new leader of the Foot Clan. That's right, in this film, Shredder is missing and presumed dead. So, that means a new villain.

In the film, the villain in Max Winters, a billionaire industrialist who's trying to unleash an army of monsters to take over the world. The evil Max Winters is voiced by none other than Professor X and Capt. Picard himself, Patrick Stewart.

And, voicing a small, but important role, is my favourite filmmaker, Kevin Smith. Smith voices a clerk (what else?) in a fast food place that the TMNT frequent.

Kevin Smith as a currently unnamed fast food clerk So, what's the plot in this film? Well, it's like this. The Shredder is missing and presumed dead. With no unifying threat, the Ninja Turtles are starting to drift apart...go their own way. Leonardo is walking the Earth. Raphael is becoming a vigiliante, beating up random muggers in NYC. Michaelangelo does kids' birthday parties. And, thanks to the miracle of outsourcing, Dontallo sits in the sewers all day working the tech support lines for some computer company.

And then...strange occurances draw our four heroes back to New York. Max Winters is getting ready to unleash his army of monsters. And the TMNT must unite once again and stop Max Winters.

March 23, 2007.



Monday, December 18, 2006

Why I'm Evil

A friend of mine recently posted this video at her LiveJournal. Along with it, she provided a dissertation on how this not only perpetrates stereotypes against women, but it also demeans men by once again re-enforcing the stereotype that men are sex-crazed loons who are ruled by their hormones.

But me? Having read up on the tech specs for the PS3 and the Nintendo Wii, I just think it's as funny as hell...which is where I'll be spending eternity for laughing at such things.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Latest Targ's Up!

Got this week's episode of The Targ up. Today, we have Episode 31: One Week to Go. It's a real CanCon Christmas, as I play some Christmas tunes by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. Plus, I was poetic about the DVD release of Clerks 2!

Listen, if you please

Friday, December 15, 2006

Favorite Quote of the Day



"Didn't this show have an all-female cast? Ya think, maybe, it turned a whole generation of women into lesbians?" - Our morning show announcer, as we had a discussion on cartoons of the 1980s, specifically, She-Ra.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Casino Royale Review

Hey! When I was doing my Christmas shopping on the weekend, I stopped at a theatre and checked out the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale! Long story short: it rocked.

Read it!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Latest Targ's Up!

This week, it's Episode 30: For Real. As promised, it's the highlight reel from my frist time doing the morning show at my job.

Check it out

Friday, December 08, 2006

Look at the Nerd!

Possum Lodge Membership

In case you were curious, here's my Possum Lodge membership card and patch. As I said I would, I framed it and hung it on my wall. Don't worry...only spend $2 on a frame at the dollar store.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Today's Time Waster

One of my favourite cartoons right now is Robot Chicken. Nothing but a gilgamesh of pop culture references, brought to life through stop-motion animated action figures.

And here's their brilliant riff on Inspector Gadget. Dr. Claw finally does what I always wondered why he never did, thanks to some technology from Cyberdyne and SkyNet.



And yes, that's Penny's original voice, Cree Summer, reprising her role of Penny, and the god of voice acting, Frank Welker, reprising his role of Dr. Claw.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fulfilment

Ya know, out of all the terms that have been coined by marketing people, I think my favourite is "fulfilment centre."

Buy anything online lately? Or in the more old-school way of sending away a money order and waiting 6 to 8 weeks? Well, next time you do, take a close look at the return address. It didn't come from the "warehouse." it didn't come from "shipping dept." It came from "the fulfilment centre."

Now, we all know that, in reality, the fulfilment centre is staffed by a bunch of big sweaty guys making minimum wage. But, by calling it a "fulfilment centre," it conjures up the image of pixies floating around, with magic wands, making dreams come true!

Your probably asking youself, "Mark, what did you receive from a fulfilment centre today?"

Well, you're looking at member number 690917 of Possum Lodge.

That's right, I went to the official Red Green website, sent off my money order, and joined Possum Lodge. The membership kit gives you a membership card, and a Possum Lodge patch, suitable for sewing onto your fishing jacket.

Me? I'm gonna frame mine, and hang it up. An artifact of Canadian pop culture, preserved forever.

Now, let's see if there's anything worth picking up at the Corner Gas online store....




Well, it's Tuesday. New DVD day! There's a couple of releases I want to highlight....

Most Overrated Summer Blockbuster
A lot of people look at me like I'm on crack when I say that Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest was very, very lame. I thought it was a dull and confusing movie. Anyway, it's out today on 2-disc special edition. DO NOT stuff this in my stocking.

Holy Moly! I can't believe they released this!
When the whole "boxed sets of entire seasons of TV shows" revolution, there were certain TV shows that seemed...unfeasable for the format, but there were those devoted few that hoped they would come out in complete season boxed sets someday. And, the #1 show on the list is out today. Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season comes out today. All 24, 90-minute episodes from SNL's first season back in 1975. Most of this material hasn't been seen since it was first broadcast.

Childhood Nostalgia Moment
My sister, being a few years younger than me, has misty, nostalgic memories more for the cartoons of the early-1990s, rather than the 1980s like me. When my sister was just a lass of 10, she was totally mad for Garfield, and, as such, her favourite cartoon was Garfield and Friends. Now, the entire series of Garfield and Friends is on DVD, so what more could there be to offer?

Garfield and Friends: Behind the Scenes is a collection of Garfield creator Jim Davis's top 15 episodes. Davis was actually quite involved with the cartoon, even serving as dialogue director on several episodes.

So, that might be a nice thing to get sister...except for the fact that she's promised to throw the king of all hissy-fits if I give her a DVD for Christmas, in retaliation for my teasing her to tears last year for giving me Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide for the 12th year in a row.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Of Block Heaters and Long Underwear

Ya know, it's been so long since I've done a blog about my life. Let's do one!

Cars are one of those pieces of technology that we take for granted. We use them far too much, failing to take care of them, and when we fail to take care of them, they fail us.

I wake up this morning, all gung ho to head into Edmonton and do my Christmas shopping. I know, some people think I'm insane. I've had dozens of people say to me, "It's December 1! You're just now starting your Christmas shopping? That's insane!" Well, I am in a bad position here. Most of what I want to get people is only available in Edmonton, and, being a news reporter, I'm far too afraid that I'll miss something that I wind up working a lot of weekends when I really don't need to.

So, here we were. Saturday, December 2. I head outside. I see that it hit -35 in the night. But I'm unafraid. After all, I plugged in my car! I jump in the car, I put the key in the ignition, I turn the key and...

The car doesn't start.

I try again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

My car just wouldn't start.

I start freaking out. I needed help. And, I'm still enough of a family-oriented guy, that when I need help, I call home. I explain the situation to my dad, and he tells me to try it again in a little bit, and then update him.

An hour later, I head out to the car. Once again, I put the key in the ignation. Once again, I turn the key. And once again, the car doesn't start.

So I try again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Nuthin.

I update Dad. Dad says he's jupming in his pick-up full of tools and coming up to check things out. Dad also tells me to start calling around for garages.

I'm starting to worry a bit, and when I worry a bit, I find that a nice, long walk relaxes me. Besides, I don't have a phone book. So I walked to the radio station. It takes me about half-an-hour, as it usually does. When I get to the station, I check the weather websites and see that temperatures in Athabasca have climbed to a balmy -33.

I flip open the phone book to find that Athabasca has a woeful lack of garages. I call the boss and co-workers for which the best ones are. I start calling around, only to find that Athabasca is just small enough that a significant portion of its businesses close on weekends...including all the garages.

When I was asking my co-workers for help, one of them suggested that maybe all my car needed was a boost. I took him up on his offer, but asked that he pick me up at the station. I didn't want another walk through the -33 weather. We tried boosting my little car, but to no avail.

Nothing to do but wait for Dad.

Yay! Dad's here! Dad and I chat for a bit, I share my problems, and Dad and I get to work. After hearing the sounds the car makes when I try to start it, Dad figures that maybe it just needs a boost. So, we try boosting it again. Nuthin. We try again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Nuthin.

Now, while we were trying all this, we flooded the engine pretty bad. And, as it was now 1pm, we decided we should take a lunch break. Once again, we made sure all the block heater connections were nice and tight. The car was never unplugged through all this.

Dad and I went and had lunch. then, we tooled around Athabasca for a while, visually confirming that yes, all the garages are closed on weekends.

We head back to try one more time. We hook it up to the pick-up to once again boost it. All the juice we can get, Dad reasoned. I put the key in. I turn the ignition. The engine turns over, but fails to take off. I turn the key again. The engine turns and turns and turns, but doesn't take off. Dad says, "Just keep it turning. It just might warm up and take off on its own."

And that's exactly what I do. It turns and chugs and turns and chugs and finally....

My car starts.

By now, it's 3 in the afternoon. Dad and I let it run for a long time to let it warm up. We then go driving around Athabasca, to make sure nothing else is wrong.

Based on the problem, and the sounds the engine was making, Dad came up with two hypotheses:

1) The starter is on its last legs, and I should get it looked at ASAP.
2) The block heater is shot, so even though it was plugged in, it did no good.

Either way, the solution is the same: get it staright into a garage as soon as they open on Monday.

As I write this, I'm at work. Since my day of Christmas shopping never happened, I volunteered to work tonight's Oilers game. My car is in the parking lot. Whether it'll start when it's time to go home, I have no idea. As I check the temperature, it's been warming up all day and is now a toasty -18.

But I am prepared! When my car started going, I went crusing around Athabasca, and stopped at Fields, and I bought...long underwear!

That's right. For the first time since I was 7 years old and heavy into tobogganing, I'm wearing long johns. This is in case I'm reduced to foot again and have to walk home.

I hate being a grown up. No one told me I'd have grown up problems.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday News

So, as I'm watching TV, I stumble across a fast food giveaway that I haven't seen since the days of the Atari 2600.

This holiday season, Burger King is giving away video games. XBox 360 games, to be precise.

"That's not new," you're saying.

And I say, "Ah! But, these games were made exclusivly for Burger King...and they star that Burger King guy and that Subserviant Chicken that's in all their commercials."

And you say, "Oh! Well, then, that is new."

There's three games, each one if $4.99 with the purchase of a burger. And those games are:

Pocket Bike Racer - Good ol' Mario Kart style-action, only on those mini-motorbikes, and featuring all kinds of Burger King mascots.

Big Bumpin' - Same thing, only with bumper cars.

Sneak King - You're that Burger King guy, and you have to sneak up on hungry people and give them burgers.

Almost enough to make me want an XBox 360 for Christmas.


And today's a massive day in DVD for us Kevin Smith fans!

First, of course, is the 2-disc, mega-ultimate edition of Clerks II. Gotta get it to complete my Kevin Smith collection!

And it's got three running commentaries: one with the cast and crew, a technical commentary (featuring Smith, producer Scott Mosier, and Director of Photography Dave Klein as they talk the technical stuff), and the infamous podcast commentary.

You may remember this. Smith was talking that they were going to make a podcast running commentary. When the movie came out, they would post the commentary online. then, you download it, drop it in your MP3 player, and go see the movie again. Hit "play" when the opening credits start, and voila! A running commentary.

Well, it was recorded, but never posted...never made available for download. Why? Too many movie theatre owners objected. They felt it would be disruptive. For example, it's a somber, quiet moment, but at that moment, Smith says something funny on the running commentary, prompting the person to laugh. Everyone else in the theatre goes, "Why's that guy laughing? Oh, now I can't focus on the film!" So, never posted.

but, it's on the DVD! In case you're curious, everyone on the podcast commentary is Smith, producer Scott Mosier, and Jeff "Randal" Anderson.

But ya know what? Don't bother getting me that one for Christmas, as I'll be buying it for myself momentarily.

Also out today is An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder. Another Kevin Smith concert film, as the tells more stories about making his movies and other adventures. Unlike the first one, which was edited together from about 6 different apperances, this just contains 2: disc 1 is one in Toronto, and disc 2 is one in London.

And, as I had to explain to my friend, the title is a parody of the movie title Die Hard 2: Die Harder.

And also out today is Superman Returns. That one you can get me for Christmas. The 2-disc special edition, please.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Latest Targ's Up!

Got the latest episode of The Targ up. This week, it's Episode 28: Epics. I play a couple of epic, 5-minute songs, and share my thoughts on the PC Leadership, Buy Nothing Day, and panda mating.

Give it a listen!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Buy Nothing Day/Corner Gas News

Today is Buy Nothing Day!

I always take a moment to remember Buy Nothing Day. It was the pet protest of a few politically active sorts I knew back in university, so it's part "for the cause" and part nostalgia.

Started by Vancouver artist Ted Dave, Buy Nothing Day is a way to protest the rampant consumerism of our society. It was the Vancouver-based magazine Adbusters that took the ball and ran with it.

Participating in Buy Nothing Day is quite simple: buy nothing today. It's also become a day to have very creative anti-consumerist protests. I just read about a new one called a Whirl-Mart. You and a bunch of friends head to the big box retailer of your choice, grab an empty shopping cart, and form this train of empty shopping carts that circles throughout the store for hours. Call me crazy, but that actually sounds like fun.

Buy Nothing Day always falls on "Black Friday." Today is Black Friday, the day that all the big retailers in the USA start their Christmas sales. It's the busiest shopping day of the year.

Of course, Buy Nothing Day gained noteriety in 2001, when the whole concept of "buy Nothing" ran counter to the rampant patriotism of "If you stop buying stuff, the terrorists win." Not so notorious anymore.

For more information on Buy Nothing Day, consult these local websites:
The Wikipedia entry on Buy Nothing Day
Adbusters' Buy Nothing Day website


And speaking of buying, today the hit Canadian sitcom Corner Gas acheived the Holy Grail for Canadian TV shows.

It got sold to a US network. Well, cable channel actually.

Starting in 2007, Corner Gas will be shown on Superstaion WGN, a cable channel that reaches over 70 million American homes...and is on most Canadian basic cable packages.

Said creator/star Brent Butt about the sale, "American provides so much television for Canada. It's nice to be able to give something back."

In fact, Corner Gas has been sold to 26 countries, including Australia, Finland and, the most surprising one, Iraq.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The PC Leadership Race: My Thoughts

Well, in just two short days, members of the PC Party of Alberta will be heading to the polls and voting for a new leader for their party. A leader who will quickly become the next premeir of the province of Alberta.

I know a lot of people have been criticizing this "election" as dull...with no single issue dominating the fore. Well, I'd like to propose that it's been so dull because these are the kinds of elections we idealists want. There's no one issue at the fore because all the candidates released relativly well thought out platforms that take weeks to digest...very difficult to condense into soundbytes. The debates have been about the finer points of these platforms. Cuz at the end of the day, don't forget, they're all Tories, so the pretty much agree on a lot of things.

If anything, this has been highlighting to me some ignorance of our electoral system by the people. When this whole thing started, I did have to explain it to quite a few people around Athabasca. "No, you can't vote NDP...only Tories are running." "It's not really open to everyone, because you have to be a member of the Tory party to vote." "Yes, that means you have to pay $5 to vote."

To sum up: this "election" is to choose a new leader of the PC Party of Alberta. Therefore, only members of the Party are allowed to vote. If you want to vote, you have to buy a membership and join the party. Memberships cost $5 and expire at the end of the year. Memberships were being sold over the past year by the candidates, and they'll be on sale at the polling stations. However, you should be able to buy one at any well-run constituency office.

Notice how I keep putting "election" in quotations? That's because this isn't a true election...in that not everyone is able to vote. You want to vote, you gotta join the party.


This has been a good experience for me. 7 of the 8 candidates came up to Athabasca University to conduct town hall meetings. They were invited up by Athabasca University. Like every other university, Athabasca University wants to see more funding for post-secondary education. On a more local level, the Athabasca University building is full to the brim with faculty and staff, and they really want to start expanding their campus. So, they've been bringing up all the cadidates, showing them exactly what they do up here, and pleading their case for more cash.

Which led to the town hall meetings...and, good reporter that I am, I was on-hand to cover them. Eventually, the University was also kind enough to start setting up press time, so me and my learned colleagues from Athabasca's newspaper could interview the candidates. It was a great way to meet the leaders...sitting down and interviewing them all. I wish everyone could do it. It's a great way to actually get to know all the candidates and what they're about.




The first one that came up to Athabasca was Mark Norris. If there's one thing that struck me about him is that he's slick. He's a very well-polished and well-rehearsed politician. I didn't realize that myself until I downloaded my interview into my computer at work and said to myself, "Wow! Look at the waveform for his interview. Everything is so clearly measured out...this is the easiest interview to get soundbytes from...almost like he planned it this way...."

As part of that slickness, he also sent me a thank-you note. "Mark. Good to have met you. Mark Norris." That was all the note said. It was scribbled on a desk pad, and I could tell by the divots in the paper that he must have spent a morning writing out those notes and mailing them to small town reporters all over. I have it tacked to the bulletin board at work.




Next up was Ed Stelmach. The good parts: he's in tune with rural Alberta. The bad parts: he's in tune with rural Alberta. No matter what question you asked him, he'd always steer it towards his agricultural platform. The man's a farm boy, through and through.




Dave Hancock. Wow. I've completley blanked out on this guy. I remember absolutly nothing of what he said...I can't pull any good soundbytes out of memory...not good for him, eh?

And this was the first one where the university had scheduled some press time. I did what I thought was a clever thing. In my interviews I asked "the job interview question." I call it such because, hey, I'm always asked this question in job interviews. And that question is, "Why do you want this job?"

Dave Hancock: “I've been passionate about government all my adult life. I've been involved in the political party since I was 15. I got involed in the '71 election, up in Fort Vermillion where I grew up. I guess I grew up with the concept that you have an obligation to give back to your community in the best possible way. I'm not a very good soccer coach, but I can do this, and I can make a difference doing this, and I think it's important to make that difference....Why do I want the job? It's not to go out and say I know everything, cuz I don't. But it is to say that we need to be changing the focus a little bit. We need to be talking about the big picture and the long term.”

I'd like to point out that he rambled on for about five minutes in answering this...I just edited it down to the good parts. Every other answer you'll read is verbatim.




Next up was Ted Morton. On a perfectly technical view of things, I'd like to say that my interview with Morton was probably the best one I did. As they taught me at school, a good interview should just be a conversation with the guy. And Morton and I, we actually had a conversation.

That being said...Morton is old school Reform party. All his answers were "Blame Ottawa" this and "The West Wants In" that. And as my mother said about this kind of mentality two federal elections ago, "I'm sick and tired of this regionalist BS." As I say about this kind of mentality, "Pierre Trudeau hasn't been in office for 20 years...and he's dead. Can we stop blaming him for everything?"

Mr. Morton, why do you want this job? "Our party needs new leadership and fresh ideas. We've been in power for 35 years, we have a lot to be proud of, but we've developed some bad habits. Our party membership is way down, our vote totals were down in the last election. So we need somebody who can bring reform to the party...reunite the party. I think I bring the background, and the policy and the character to the job that will allow the party to renew and reunify."




How can you tell that Jim Dinning has all the money? Well, his town hall meeting started a half-hour late. Why? His plane was too big for our airport, and they had to divert him to Lac La Biche. Gee, Mr. Dinning, (or, as I call him around the office, "The Big Dinner"), everybody else just drove up from Edmonton....

On another note, Dinning's town hall meeting was the best-attended of them all. It was only the second one that the mayor of Athabasca came out to...along with most of town council. The county reeve was there, along with a good portion of the county council. And it was the only one that Athabasca's own MLA, Human Resources Minister Mike Cardinal came out to, and it was here where he revealed to the press (me and my learned colleagues from the Athabasca newspaper) that he's backing Dinning.

That being said...because I want to be a radio announcer, I've received coaching on public speaking, how to be conversational, and all that stuff. Dinning's coaching was showing.

Mr. Dinning, why do you want this job? "Alberta is so uniquely positioned today to take on the rest of the world. And we need a new approach to leadership, one that says, 'We're going to raise the bar in Alberta! We're going to do what it takes to get there!' And I'm convinced that Jim Dinning is the guy that can take us there.”

Yes, he actually referred to himself in the third person. This is what I mean by coaching...he knew this was going to be for radio so, like when writing any good radio spot, he got the name of the product out there.




Victor Doerksen stepped on my foot. Don't worry. Now that winter's here, I was wearing my steel-toed boots and I was fine. But then, rather than apologize, he tried to make a lame joke about it. And it was all downhill from there....

Now, I've grown pretty agnostic in my young-but-getting-close-to-middle age. However, I'd like to think that I'm also quite tolerant when it comes to people who have a strong faith. I also know that there's a place to preach, and a place not to preach. The election podium is a place where you do not preach. So when Doerkson started drawing analogies between the government and creationism, I kinda tuned out.

Mr. Doerksen, why do you want this job? “Cuz I'm the best candidate for the job.”




On the flip side, Lyle Oberg bought me lunch. Well, not just me. He had his town hall meeting fully catered, so it was free beef-on-a-bun for everyone. It was kind of funny actually, as the Assistant to the President of Athabasca University was afraid that no one would show up to eat all the food, so she scrambled around to all the offices, grabbing anyone who wasn't eating to come eat all this beef. Apparently, she couldn't find enough, as I got to conduct my interview with Mr. Oberg as he ate the leftovers for his lunch.

And ya know? I actually kinda like Lyle. He seemed to be the most thought out and the most...well-put-together of the bunch. (But, on the flip side, he was the Minister of Education when my mother was serving her final term as Chair of the Parkland School Board, and oh, does Mom have some stories about Mr. Oberg.)

Mr. Oberg, why do you want this job? “I've been in politics for 13 years, and I feel that I have the ideas about numerous topics that can help Alberta and help Albertans. It's been a wonderful campaign, cuz I get to talk about everything, as opposed to your own department. So it's about ideas, and direction and goals that makes a leader."




The only one who declined the invitation to come to Athabasca Univeristy was Gary McPherson. Too bad, cuz Athabasca University is wheelchair accessible and everything. I know it politically incorrect to say that, but that's how everyone I talk to has been identifying Mr. MacPhearson: "Oh, he's the guy in the wheelchair, right?" Yes. He is.




And ya know, if you'd like to hear the town hall meetings that I had to cover, Athabasca University has been podcasting them, so their students from all over the province could participate. Click here for the Athbasca University podcast feed, so you can listen to all the town hall meetings.




Now, I know when this whole thing started, I was oh-so-passionate about buying my $5 membership and going to vote, but I don't think I will now. Now that I've met pretty much all of them, I realize that they're all the same middle aged man with similar ideals about how to run this province.

I think I'll just hang back and wait for the next provincial election, when I have a real choice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Various News Bits

Joy and Jubilation!

The podcast, The Targ, has been accepted into the iTunes podcast directory! Now, when you go into iTunes and surf through all the podcasts, you can surf to U62: The Targ. This'll make it much easier for people to find now, I think.

Or, ya know, you can click on this link right here, and iTunes will pop up, and take you straight to The Targ!

And, ya know, if you want to write a glowing customer review or two, I wouldn't mind.




In other news, I finally broke down and bought my slew of Christmas albums today. After thinking about it for many a year, I finally broke down and bought Pokemon Christmas Bash. That's right, the Pokemon Christmas album. Featuring that new holiday classic, "I'm Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas."

When that album comes, I'm going to have to talk to my bosses to see if I can play "I'm Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas" on the air. Just once...for the "what the heck was that?" factor.

Ah, Pokemon Christmas Bash. Sure to join The Star Wars Christmas Album as one of those "What the...?" Christmas albums.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More Trek on DVD

Well, Trekkie that I am, I have to take a moment to acknowledge the big DVD release of the day...for trekkies.

The average nerd on the street generally has to be reminded that Star Trek was briefly resurrected as a Saturday morning cartoon in the early 1970s. It ran for two seasons (1973-1975), lasting 22 episodes. They were able to bring back the entire original voice cast to do their own voices. In fact, James Doohan (Scotty) got to fall back on his experience as a voice actor for CBC radio to do a multitude of voices for all kinds of aliens. It was made by Filmation, the same animation house that my generation remembers best for bringing us He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. While the show was generally derided for its wooden animation, it was applauded for its writing. Just like the original live-action series, they were able to get a whole bunch of big name sci-fi authors (as well as writers for the original live-action show) to come back and write scripts.

And it sat for years as the last bit of Star Trek that had to be released on DVD...until today.

That's right, today, Paramount Pictures releases Star Trek: The Complete Animated Series. This 4-disc set contains all 22 episodes of the animated series. You also get a couple of featurettes about the show (including one that tries to answer the age old question that fans have always asked, "Is this canon?"), and some of those wonderful pop up trivia text commentaries, compiled by Michael and Denise Okuda.

In other DVD news today, the new holiday classic Home Alone gets re-released today in a brand new, 2-disc special edition. You get a running commentary with star Maculay Culkin and director Chris Columbus, featurettes about the making of the film (both new and made back in the day), cut scenes, bloopers, the trailers, and all the trimmings.

And no, your eyes didn't deceive you. Home Alone was directed by Chris Columbus, who went on to direct the first two Harry Potter movies.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Latest Targ's Up

This week's episode of the Targ is up! This week, it's Episode 27: My Shiny New DVDs. I gotta show off what I'm playing right now.

Give it a listen

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Long Time, No Blog

I'm certain I've said this many times before, but I'll say it again. My friend once told me, "Blogs are for people who have nothing to do, and even less to say." Well, the blog only goes for a few days with no entries when I'm really, really busy.

but here I am again, oping another hockey game, and I got nothing but time in the world.

In case you haven't heard, Edmonton's brand-new WHL team finally got a name. The Edmonton Oil Kings. That name is no surprise whatsoever. In case you don't really give a darn about hockey, let me explain that Oil Kings was the name of Edmonton's legnedary WHL team back in the 1960s.

The new Oil Kings are going to be the minor-league affiliate of the Oilers (duh) and will play in Rexall place. First season is 07/08.






when I made a trip into West Edmonton Mall last week, I was sure to pick up my copy of Pixar's Cars. I love Pixar and own all of their movies on DVD. Gotta catch 'em all, after all.

Now, Cars was a controversial DVD release for some. It was the first Pixar movie that wasn't a loaded-to-the-nuts 2-disc special edition. The official release was that they decided to pare things down to the most popular bonus features. That is, the original short films. No more feature-length documentaries about making the films.

And that's sad. There is a featurette about the making of Cars, and the research that Pixar did. Pixar always does their research. Since a good portion of Cars takes place on Route 66, director John Lassetter and a bunch of the other directors, producers and writers, all hopped in a car and went on a road trip down Route 66. And, they brought with them one of the most renouned historians on Route 66.

And, since the main character is a race car, they also went to a lot of race tracks, talked to a lot of race car drivers, and hung out with a lot of racing experts.

You just know that, with all the footage they shot, Pixar could have made a really cool documentary about Route 66...or racing.

But I'll get over it. It's still a cool movie.






I also bought Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. Movie #8! So I've started reading up on the newest versions of the Pokemon franchise: Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Editions. they came out in Japan a few months ago. North American release is TBA.

The cool thing about these is where they take place. Each region that a Pokemon game takes place in is based upon a geographical region of Japan. Diamond and Pearl take place Sinnoh, which is based on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. And, since Hokkaido is Japan's frozen north, Sinnoh is the Pokemon world's frozen north, and is the first game where you can go hiking through snow-covered areas.

It's going to be available for the Nintendo DS hand-held.






A popular thing about DVDs right now is the in-store exclusive. That is, when you buy it at a specific store, you get some kind of free gift. In that case, I'm going to have to buy Clerks II at Best Buy. Best Buy is the only place where you can get the "Mooby's Fun Meal."

Inside the Mooby's Fun Meal box, you get:

  • A plastic Mooby's collector's cup
  • A Mooby's name tag
  • A Mooby's visor
  • And, of course, the 2-disc special edition of Clerks II

Dont' forget, Clerks II hits DVD on the 28th.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Third Best Movie of the Summer of 2007

In case you missed the world premiere on TV last night....





Sunday, November 12, 2006

Latest Targ is up!

Got this week's episode of The Targ up! This week, it's Episode 26: ET Phone In. As the title suggests, I really phone it in this week, but it features my first ever co-host! Check that out!

Give it a listen!




And hey! I saw a movie over the weekend! Head over to Chaos in a Box to read my review of The Prestige, the really cool movie from the guy who did Memento and Batman Begins.

And I also picked up the DVD of the eighth Pokemon movie, so you can also read my review of Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

D-D-DVD Day!!

Lots of DVDs out today that have piqued my interest. Let's break it up into categories.

Succumb to the Double Dip
As I've blogged in the past, one of the most heinous crimes in the DVD world is double-dipping. This is when a DVD comes out, and then, some time later, an even newer version comes out, with all new bonus material, thus forcing you to buy it again. I try to stay strong. I've only succumbed about 5 times to the double-dip. And usually, I only do it if it's a movie I really, really, really, really like. And I'll be doing it this week.

The Transformers: the Movie - 20th Anniversary Edition is brand-new, 2-disc mega-ultimate re-release of this classic from my childhood. This set contains the film in both widescreen and full screen, running commentary with director Nelson Shin, writer Flint Dille, and voice actor Susan Blu, pop-up trivia track, the trailers and TV spots, a whole bunch of featurettes on the making of the film, test animation, storyboards, deleted scenes, and yes, the trailer for the live-action film coming out next year.

Succumb to the Double-Dip: Honorable Mention
With a new James Bond movie coming out next week, today is the customary re-release of all the James Bond films.


Oh my God! I can't believe they released this!
We all grew up with the classic Naked Gun films, starring Leslie Nielsen as the brain-dead police officer Frank Drebin. Well, what you may not remember was that the Naked Gun films were based on a sitcom called Police Squad!, where Leslie Nielsen first originated the role of Frank Drebin. Police Squad! was on in 1982, and only lasted 6 episodes. But, it developed enough of a cult following to eventually be resurrected as The Naked Gun trilogy.

So today, we finally get Police Squad!: The Complete Series. All 6 episodes, digitally remastered and preserved for the ages. You get running commentary on all 6 episodes by the show's creators, a new retrospective interview with Leslie Nielsen, and a whole slew of other stuff.


Ikea Nesting Syndrome
I love Pixar. They made the Toy Stories, A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles.... They invented the medium of the computer animated film, and continue to push it's boundaries.

Which was why Cars was a bit of a letdown. Don't get me wrong, it's a really good film compared to all the other CGI movies now flooding our multiplexes, but it felt like it didn't go the extra mile like other Pixar films.

But I'll still be picking up Cars on DVD, out today. I need to complete my collection of every Pixar film. For bonus features you get a featurette about the making of the film, and a whole slew of animated short films.




Now, moving away from DVD, and into the realm of a franchise that just won't die.

Shrek was a pretty good movie. A fairly clever sarcastic fairy tale. But then, Shrek begat Shrek 2, one of the most pointless, lackluster sequels ever made. Shrek 2 begat Shrek the Third, which will hit multiplexes next summer. Shrek the Third begat the Shrek prequel, which is slated for theatres in the summer of 2010. And, some time after than, we'll be getting the Puss in Boots solo film, Puss in Boots: Story of an Ogre Hunter.

Are you ready for even more Shrek?

Production has started on the Shrek Christmas special, entitled Shrek the Halls. This half-hour animated special will feature Shrek and the gang doing their sarcastic send-up of animated holiday specials. It'll be on TV Christmas next year.

As one of my co-workers said today when I told him this news, "Hi! My name is Shrek. I'm a dead horse. STOP BEATING ME!!"

Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm Sorry

Well, I guess some apologies are in order.

When I sent out my monthly newsletter yesterday, I said that, yesterday, during their annual Halloween special, you could catch the new trailer for The Simpsons Movie.

And, if you were like me, you sat down, watching Treehouse of Horror XVII in eager anticipation, only to see a TV spot saying that the trailer is going to be on next week.

I got some bad intelligence on that one. Sorry.

But, at the very least, it was a very solid Halloween special for the Simpsons. A lot funnier than some of the recent ones, although it did have a rather preachy ending. And, it is always fun to hear voice actor Maurice LaMarche bust out his Orson Welles impersonation/Brain voice.

And, speaking of trailers, I do have solid intel on this one, and on this, I'm 100% certain.

The new trailer for Spider-Man 3 goes online on Thursday! For you yankees, it's going to premiere on MTV on Thursday night. Therefore, it goes online shortly afterward.

but if you want to wait to see it on the big screen, it'll be in front of the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale, hitting theatres a week from Friday.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Latest Targ's Up

This week, we've got Episode 25: BoredBeatleMania. The kind of combination of Beatles songs and reflections on Christmas and the Red Green show that only come out of being gripped in melancholy.

Wow. If that's not a great sales pitch, I don't know what is.

Giver a listen!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Week in Review

It's just been one of those days. Try as I might, I can't get going. I know I should do all the "start of the month" maintenence to my website...I know I should send out my e-newsletter...but I just can't get going. I'm enjoying sitting around doing nothing. And our society has taught us that, sitting around doing nothing makes you a horrible person.


You know I love animated movies, and you also know how I loathe that animated films have become nothing but talking animals making fart jokes. However, there is one that's come out this weekend that I really want to see. That would be Flushed Away.

Flushed Away is set in London, and it's about a pampered pet rat named Roddy (voice of Hugh Jackman). One day, he's flushed down the toilet and gets stuck wandering the sewers looking for a way out. In doing so, he teams up with the fiesty and spirited Rita (voice of Kate Winslet), and they have to watch out for the machinations of an evil frog (voice of Ian McKellan).

Now, why does this one have such appeal to me? Easy. It's from Aardman Studios, the British animation house that brought us those very funny, funny films Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Aardman does quality work, and I want to see their first dip into CGI. And the reviews have been pretty good, too.


Speaking of animation, here's some news I read today.

When we have the Oscars in the spring, there might be 5 nominations in the Best Animated Film category.

For those who don't remember, this is how the Best Animated Film category works. If there's more than 15 animated films released in a year, then there's 5 nominations in the category. If there's between 15 and 8 animated films released, then there's 3 nominations. If there's less than 8, then they skip the category that year.

And, those who watch these things have sat back and done the math and, ya know what? It looks like there'll be 16 animated films released this year!

We already know two films that'll make the nomination list: Cars and Flushed Away. Those films are from Pixar and Aardman, respectivly. Both studios do quality work...and are Oscar darlings. Over the Hedge will probably make the list, too, because it was a huge hit and the reviews were kinda good.


I know the pumpkins are just barely thrown out, but I'm getting really, really, really excited about Christmas.

Now that November's here, all the Christmas stuff is on the store shelves. Well, as I've been saying in my podcast, up here in Athabasca, the Christmas stuff went on the store shelves around the start of September. I guess it would be more accurate to say, "The amount of Christmas stuff on the shelves has tripled" or "The GOOD Christmas stuff is on the store shelves."

I think I"m so excited because this is going to be my first Christmas on my own. My times at Augustana don't count because I was always so wrapped up in finals come December that a person could barely notice Christmas, and Japan doesn't count because, when the whole country around you doesn't get wrapped up in it, it's difficult to get wrapped up in it yourself.

But yeah. I'll be buying my own tree...my own decorations for said tree...my little ol' basement suite will be all Christmased up.

I see Extra Evil has a nice little 4" artificial tree for $20. That'd be about all I need. But then, up the road at SAAN, I can get a 6" one for the same price.

Christmas can't get here soon enough.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Weird Al on the Tonight Show

Ah, another hockey season, more Oilers games, and more late evenings of broadcasting said Oilers games. Lots of time to blog!

Anyway, I gotta pass on the litte reminder that, tomorrow night, "Weird Al" Yankovic will be the musical guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Weird Al will be doing his first live performance of White and Nerdy, his new hit single. This is Weird Al's first time on The Tonight Show in 21 years, and his first appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight Show.

Ah, fond memories. I haven't seen Weird Al on a talk show in...ages. The second time I saw "Weird Al" Yankovic on a late-night talk show was 1992. Batman Returns was in theatres, Nirvana was introducing us to grunge, and the late-night talk show people fought to be on was The Arsenio Hall Show.

Like any kid of the era, I was glued to Arsenio Hall. And, when I heard Weird Al was going to be on, I just had to tune in. And, imagine my surprise when Arsenio dedicated not one, not two, but three segments of his show to Weird Al! Arsenio cut his opening monologue short so he could bring out Weird Al to sing Smells Like Nirvana. Weird Al then came out as the second interview guest of the nigth. And then, when it was the usual segment for the musical guest, Weird Al sang the second single off his album Off The Deep End, which was You Don't Love Me Anymore.

That was a great night in television.

In case you're curious, the first time I saw Weird Al on a talk show was, again, on The Arsenio Hall Show. It was 1989. Weird Al wasn't a musical guest that night...he was there as a movie star, plugging UHF. I'll never forget one exchange between Aresnio and Weird Al...

Arsenio>> So, we're gonna play a clip from you movie. Would you like to set it up?

Weird Al>> Sure! (Al looks directly into camera, and speaks very excitedly) HERE'S A CLIP FROM MY MOVIE!!

So, don't forget to set your VCR's for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tomorrow night, and let's see if magic will happen again.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Latest Targ's Up

Got this week's episode of The Targ up! This week, it's Episode 24: Halloweentown. Yup, a Halloween show, complete with Christmas music!

Give it a listen!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dinner at Jam's

When I was in Kumagaya, a popular hang-out for all the foreign teachers was Jam's American Diner. As one of my Yankee coworkers explained to me, "This is where you go for a burger when you get sick of McDonald's." It was the USA-themed bar and grill. We were having the welcome party for one of our new Yankee teachers there. When she walked in, she stared in awe at the juke box in the corner, the Harley-Davidson on the stage, and the walls covered with pictures of Elvis. I turned to her and said, "Kinda weird to see your own culture filtered through another, isn't it?" And she nodded.

So, it's in the spirit of Jam's, that I bring to you this video.







If you're thinking to yourself, "Wow. That looks like The Powerpuff Girls remade as an anime," you'd be right.

Back on July 1, Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z debuted on Japanese television. A co-production of Toei Animation and the Cartoon Network, it is The Powerpuff Girls re-invented as an anime...more specifically, the "magical girl" kind of anime, of which the best example is still Sailor Moon.

To answer your first question, Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken had nothing to do with this. Those responsible are the entire creative team responsible for Sailor Moon. Seriously.

The revised origin goes like this. Ken Kitazawa is the son of the renowed Professor Utonium. One day, while experimenting with "Chemical Z" (a more potent form of his father's Chemical X), Ken lets loose the Chemical Z on a glacier, in an attempt to stop a weather machine. The resulting explosion unleashed several balls of light. Those who embraced the Dark Light became super-villains...several of which are anime re-creations of the Powerpuff Girls rouges gallery.

And three teenaged girls embraced the White Light. Given awesome superpowers, these three girls took the superhero names Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, and use their powers to fight crime and the forces of evil...mainly, those who embarced the Dark Light.

Ya know what? For how everything got re-invented, and the new characters and all that, I'll just point you to the show's entry at Wikipedia, which has all that good stuff.

The long term plan is for the Cartoon Network to dub this some day and show it in North America...but if you can't wait that long, there's a whole slew of fan-subbed episodes up on YouTube.

But I just had to share this.

ooo! Before I go, it's just not an anime without a transformation sequence!





Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Life's Little Disappointments

In case you haven't heard, one of my favourite movies, the Nightmare Before Christmas, is currently back in theatres.

And, if that wasn't enough, Disney went through a special process to convert it into 3D. The 3D-ification process was developed by ILM.

But I'm not going to be able to see it. Ya know why?

Because it's only running in select theatres and, according to the website, the only select theatres in Canada are in Toronto and Montreal. Can't really afford to hop a plane to Toronto to see a movie.

But I'm still going to pick up the soundtrack album, featuring the songs of The Nightmare Before Christmas covered by Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple, and Fall Out Boy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's Another Useless Fact

Here's today's useless fact:

Pele's Soccer for the Atari 2600 holds two video game firsts:

1) First soccer game for a console

2) First sports game endorsed by a pro athelete

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Latest Targ's Up!

Just your friendly reminder that this week's episode of The Targ is up.

This week, it's Episode 23: A Bit of This, in which I talk about Christmas albums, Participaction, and draw correlations between Disney's The Little Mermaid and sex toys. Yes, sex toys. I'm putting the "not safe for work" stamp on this one. Oh, and I pad it out with some songs I really like.

And I'd just like to say that, from a purely technical standpoint, this episode sets up the model to follow. It's only 15 minutes long, which I've been told is the maximum length a podcast should be before it starts getting annoying. It's only 6M, making it a nice, easy download. And, on top of it all, it's mildly entertaining!

So, yeah. It may not be my best in terms of content, but in terms of a technical formula for doing these things, this is the model to follow.

Listen to this formulaicly perfect, mildly amusing episode!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Playing Catch-Up

Wow. I was just delivered some information that I'm still trying to process. It's of a personal nature, and I've learned my lesson about sharing information of a personal nature on this blog.

Let's just say a day I never thought would come has come.




But let's talk of happy things here. I tell ya, one of the TV shows I really love right now is the new Doctor Who. We're two episodes in to season 2 on the CBC, and I just love it. If you enjoy sci-fi, the new Doctor Who is something that's decidedly different.

I mean, last night, they went back in time to Victorian times, and they had to save Queen Victoria from a werewolf. There was one episode I missed last season that involved fighting zombies alongside Charles Dickens.

And that's what makes the show so cool. From it's mere premise, it's all about going anywhere and doing anything.

I'll admit, I tried to watch a few of the classic episodes from the 70s and 80s and could never get into it. It always struck me as kind of weird. But I'm loving this new version, and when I catch the old one in reruns, I give it a chance.

Long story short: watch Doctor Who, Mondays at 8 on CBC. 8:30 in Newfoundland.




And even though I'm getting rather obese, this little bit of news made me smile. And icon of Canadian pop culture is making a comeback.

As their latest weapon in the war against childhood obesity....

the Conservatives are bringing back Participaction!

That which introduced "Just Do It" into our lexicon before Nike co-opted it...that which introduced Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod into our cultural landscape...yes, Participaction is back, baby!

Participaction was a Crown corporation founded in 1971 to try to get Canadians more active and healthier. The plug was pulled back in 2001, simply as a victim of government cutbacks.

This new Participaction will have a new twist though...instead of being a Crown corporation, the Conservatives are going to contract it out.

As long as the contract doesn't go to McDonald's. That would seem...counter-productive.

Hee hee! I can hardly wait to hear the new PSAs on the radio! There was this one back in 1998 involving sexy running shoes that I played constantly on the original Chaos in a Box.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Latest Targ is Up!

I got the latest episode of The Targ!

This week, it's Episode 22: The Weird Al Show 1. I celebrate Weird Al's new album, Straight Outta Lynwood, by playing nothing but cuts from the new album!

Enjoy!

Give 'er a listen!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Under the Sea

Movie poster for the Little Mermaid...my #3 movie poster of all time.
I'm sure it'll come as no surprise that I ran out and bought the 2-disc special edition of The Little Mermaid last week. I more or less had to...I already have the 2-disc special editions of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Those four films together represent the massive resurgance in animation that dominated the 1990s.

Actually, I have a happy memory of The Little Mermaid. It represents the first time in my life a woman called me "cool."

The year was 1997. Disney had just re-released The Little Mermaid to theatres. Kinda mad at myself for having missed it the first time in theatres, I decided to go see it. I was still at Augustana, and I would be seeing it at Camrose's classic old single-screen theatre, the Bailey.

I was just chillin' in the common room, when an accquaintance of mine walked in. She was off to see her boyfriend and we made small talk. She asked if I had plans for that evening. I said I was off to see The Little Mermaid.

Her eyes grew wide in awe. "You are so cool, Mark!" she said. "I know of no other man who would willingly go to see The Little Mermaid!"

It was quite a feather in my cap that night.

Anyway, Disney did another stellar job with the 2-disc special edition of The LIttle Mermaid. If I have a complaint, it would be that they neglected to include the trailer for the 1997 re-release...one of the few trailers that gives me goosebumps.

Oh, well. To celebrate, here's 5 Fun Facts about The Little Mermaid:

  1. The Little Mermaid was Disney's last animated film that was painted and photographed by hand. After The Little Mermaid, Disney switched to the CAPS system, which did all of that on computer.
  2. The Little Mermaid was Disney's first animated film in years in which the animators filmed extensive live-action reference footage. (Live-action reference footage is when the animators have actors act out the scene to get a better idea of how to animate it.) In the live-action reference footage, Ariel was played by Sherri Stoner, who went on to write and do voices for Animaniacs.
  3. Ursula the Sea Witch was based on Divine, an obese female impersonator who's a mainstay of the films of John Waters.
  4. Walt Disney had originally planned to do The Little Mermaid back in 1940, but the project was scrapped. When they decided to do it in 1989, the animators actually dug out and took a look at all the concept art that was done in 1940.
  5. Grimsby, Prince Eric's servant, was voiced by Ben Wright. Wright was also the voice of Roger, Pongo's owner, in One Hundred and One Dalmations. Wright actually had to remind the Disney animators of this fact when he was hired.



Hey! Look what I found on YouTube! It's the 1997 re-release trailer! You would have seen this in theatres in front of Hercules:

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This is a story 'bout a guy named Al....

Well, hopefully, by now, you've heard the news.

"Weird Al" Yankovic's latest album, Straight Outta Lynwood, made its debut on the Billboard charts at #10. It's officiall the first top 10 album of Weird Al's career.

The first single, White and Nerdy, debuted on the Billboard charts at #28, making it the highest-charting Weird Al single since Eat It, all those years ago.

I've had my copy for a week now, and I've listened to it non-stop. It's at least as good as his last one. And musically, it's very strong. Very hummable...easy to sing along to.

But of course, the best part is the bonus DVD. Six music videos, each one animated. Hands down, the best one is the video for Close But No Cigar, which was animated by John Krikfalusi, the Ren and Stimpy guy.

Most fascinating is the featurette of Weird Al making the album. It's nothing but raw footage of Weird Al in the studio, singing, directing other musicians, and hunched over a mixing board. We've all known that this version of Weird Al must exist...but to finally see it is endlessly fascinating. However, it loses six points for the cheezy final shot of Weird Al's baby daughter looking at Daddy through the studio glass.

Highly recommended.


Of course, along with Straight Outta Lynwood, i got my copy of The Weird Al Show: The Complete Series.

For those who don't remember, let me refresh your memory. Weird Al had been going around Hollywood for years pitching a sketch comedy show that would showcase his humour. Then, enter the CBS Network, who felt that, with some tweaking, this Weird Al show would make a good addition to their Saturday morning line-up. Around this time, new laws were passed, increasing the percentage of children's programming that had to be educational. So, CBS decide to tweak Yankovic's program even more to make it educational.

The end result? The Weird Al Show, a kids program so sterile and preachy that not even the target audience of 5-year-olds would watch it.

I just finished watching the 13th and final episode. My God, I forgot how preachy the show was. You're literally beaten over the head with a moral every 2 minutes. But a lot of Weird Al's trademark humour still shines through, which is why it's still popular with Weird Al's fans.

I'm going to have to go back and watch all 13 episodes again with Weird Al's running commentary. Apparently, in the commentaries, Weird Al vents a lot of his bitterness at how the show was tweaked to death.

But it's just great.


And over the weekend, I got to do something I'd never done before.

I experience "Weird Al" Yankovic on vinyl.

I showed up at home for the Thanksgiving weekend, and Dad was showing off his latest purchase. After being turntable-deprived for almost a decade, Dad bought himself a brand-new record player. And, he was waiting for his technologically-adept son (me) to come home and hook it up to the stereo. I had it set up in a matter of minutes, and the house was rockin' to Dad's vintage collection of Wilf Carter and Johnny Cash records.

And when Dad got bored with that, I was hit with an inspiration. I ran down to my room and dug out the only "Weird Al" Yankovic record I own.

The year was 1998. The world was still reeling at Ginger's departure from the Spice Girls. Junior high lovers were slow dancing to that Aerosmith song from Armageddon. And Augustana Univeristy was rocking out to the sweet sounds of Chaos in a Box. It was a slow night during the show, so I started digging through an old tub of 45s slated for disposal.

(For those who are too young..."45s" are those smaller records with a big hole in the middle that were used for singles.)

I reached into the tub and randomly pulled out....

the single for I Lost on Jeopardy.

Since those 45s were going to be thrown out anyway, I took it home that night.

And it sat.

Until that Thanksgiving weekend when I cranked it up on Dad's new record player.

That was really cool.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Latest Targ's Up!

This week's episode of The Targ is up!

The latest show is Episode 21: The Bat Show. Nothing but songs from the Batman movies!

Give it a listen!

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Weird Al Countdown Continues....

I got an e-mail from Amazon.ca today.

My copies of The Weird Al Show: The Complete Series and Weird Al's new album, Straight Outta Lynwood have shipped.

Experience tells me it'll be here Wednesday or Thursday.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Day

This day, which I've been waiting for for over a month, has finally arrived.

Firstly, for us Canadians, The Weird Al Show: The Complete Series comes out on DVD! All 13 classic episodes of Weird Al's short-lived childrens show from 1997. As I said, it was supposed to come back a month ago, but for reasons unknown, it got pushed back a month for us canucks.

And, secondly, for you Americans...it's Weird Al's new album, Straight Outta Lynwood!

I pre-ordered the two of them on Amazon.ca over a month ago. Amazon.ca tells me it'll be shipping in a week.

So, while we're waiting a week, enjoy this really cool fan-made music video I found for Polkarama!, Weird Al's latest polka medley:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Latest Targ's Up!

So, this week's episode of The Targ is up! This week, it's Episode 20: Vulgarity. I play all the nasty, vile, dirty-joke-ridden songs I can only play without broadcast regulation.

Needless to say, this week's is not safe for work.

Give it a listen!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Super Clerks on November 28

Ladies and gents, November 28 is shaping up to be a phenomenal day on DVD. And it's right at the start of holiday shopping season, so take note! These make good Christmas presents...for me.

First up, November 28 is when Superman Returns comes out on DVD. Now, I did enjoy Superman's return to the big screen. As is the case these days, it'll be available in a single-disc, no bonus features edition, and a 2-disc special edition. Here's what you get for bonus materials on the 2-disc special edition

  • The 172 minute documentary Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns (dude! That's a whole hour longer than the film!)
  • A featurette called Resurrecting Jor-El
  • 11 deleted scenes, with all the special effects completed
  • Kevin Spacey's bloopers
  • The trailers and TV spots
But, also coming out on that day, for the ultimate Superman fan, is the gigantic, 14-disc boxed set The Ultimate Superman Collection. This set contains every Superman movie ever made. How did they get it up to 14 discs? Well, here's what all is included:

  • Superman: The Movie - Special Edition (4 discs)
  • Superman II: Special Edition (2 discs)
  • Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1 disc)
  • Superman III: Special Edition (1 disc)
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace - Special Edition (1 disc)
  • Superman Returns: Special Edition (2 discs)
  • You Will Believe: The Cinematic Story of Superman (new documentary all about the films. 1 disc)
  • Look! Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman (1 disc)
  • Bryan Singer's Journals Extended Editions (Singer's video blog that he made during the making of the film - including 2 episodes never posted online! 1 disc.)
But wait! There's more! Included in the box is a special reprint of Superman #7, a new booklet about the history of Superman, and a mail-away offer for all the film's movie posters!

Also out on November 28 is my favourite film of the summer, Kevin Smith's Clerks II. It'll be a 2-disc special edition, and here's what all you get for bonus features.
  • Running commentary with the cast and crew
  • Back to the Well: Making Clerks II (feature length documentary about making the film)
  • The top 10 episodes of Train Wreck. (Train Wreck was Smith's video blog about making the film...on his message boards, Smith said that you're only getting the top 10, and not all 75.)
  • Deleted scenes and bloopers (Smith says it's purely coincidental that there's 37 minutes worth)
  • Featurettes on the dance sequence and the now-infamous donkey sequence.
And, no Kevin Smith fan would be complete without picking up An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder. This follow-up to An Evening with Kevin Smith documents even more of Kevin Smith's live shows! That's also out on November 28.

As I said, all would make great Christmas presents...for me.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Action No One Thought I Would Ever Take

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm about to make a bold proclimation I thought I'd never say. I'm going to do something I thought I'd never do.

I'm going to buy a membership in the PC Party of Alberta.

Now, I know. Right now, you're shocked and horrified. I've never been a fan of the Tories, never like Ralph Klein, so plese, before you click away, let me explain myself.

As I'm sure you heard, Klein turned in his letter of resignation. The leadership race (which has actually been running since February) has now officially begun. And, being a news hound, all the official news releases from the PC Party came across my desk today.

So here I"m reading the rules of the game. I quote the news release directly:

"We will be conducting a leadership election on the same basis as the one in 1992...one member, one vote! ...we will hold a formal election quite similar to a provincial general election."

Sounds great, don't it? Then I read this sentence. And this is how I came to my decision.

"Any Albertan who meets voting requirements and purchases a PC membership will be able to vote!"

Right there. If you want to vote for the next premier of Alberta, you have to be a member of the party.

I've actually been thinking about this for a while now. About a month ago, I read the statistic in the Edmonton Journal. When you add up all the people in Alberta who are actually members of the Tory party, and factor in voter turnout and voter apathy and all that, do you know how many Albertans will be chosing the next leader of this province?

3%

3% of the people chosing our next leader.

(Well, I don't remember the exact statistic...but I do remember it was a single didget.)

And I don't know about you, but I want to be part of that 3%. I want a say in how my government is run.

So that's why I'm going to be dropping my $5 and joining the Tories. Just for this one election.

And then when a real provincial election rolls around, I'll vote...NOT Tory.

So, please forgive me. I want my vote.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

THE NEW WEIRD AL VIDEO!!!

So, last night at 10 PM, "Weird Al" Yankovic was going to premiere his music video for White and Nerdy over at AOL.com.

But....

AOL.com went and cancelled it because the video was leaked to the Internet over the weekend. "It's not really a world premiere then, is it?" was AOL's logic.

So, not wanting to disappoint his fans, Weird Al went and posted the White and Nerdy video over on his MySpace page!

Click and Giggle!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Latest Targ's Up! Latest Weird Al News!

Firstly, this week's episode of The Targ is up! This week I have Episode 19: Jar Jar's Big Adventure. I bought Star Wars on DVD again. Hear me whine about what a sucker I am!

Give it a listen!

The Targ. Now in a lower, easier-to-download, resolution!




And here's the latest as we inch closer to "Weird Al" Yankovic's new album, Straight Outta Lynwood.

The music video for Weird Al's first parody, White and Nerdy, will be premiering TOMORROW over at AOL.com! It goes online at 10PM Alberta time, and you don't have to be an AOL member.

Plus, the video will be making its TV debut this Wednesday on the American music video channel VH1. You lucky Americans, you!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mark Cappis: Officially an Idiot

Well, I'm back from Edmonton. And what did I do?

I bought Star Wars on DVD. Again.

Now, once again, the original theatrical versions of the films! On DVD! Which will last much longer than VHS! Or some I told.

I even went all the way to Best Buy just so I could get it in the fancy tin.

I've already watched snippets of the original theatrical versions on DVD, and I tell ya, I can't see what all the fuss is about. They look just as good as most of my other DVDs do.

But then, most of the DVD critics are watching them on $20,000 home theatre set-ups. It'd probably be noticable on one of those.

But I have them...again. This is the fourth time I've bought Star Wars...and the second time on DVD.

I rant about this all in this week's episode of The Targ. I'm putting the final polish on it, and it'll be posted tomorrow (Sunday) morning.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yet Another New Weird Al Song!!

Wow! Just two weeks to go before Weird Al's new album (well, three weeks for us Canadians), and Weird Al has gone and posted yet another song from the album at his MySpace page!

This is the long-awaited, eagerly anticipated first parody from the album. It's called White and Nerdy, and it's a parody of Ridin' by Chamillionaire.

Sadly, this one is not available for download. I mean...we need some reason to buy the CD, right?

Give it a listen.

And hey! Here's some props from the original artist! Chamillionaire has it on his MySpace page too!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Latest Targ's Up!!

Hey all! Forgot to mention that the latest episode of The Targ is up!

This week is Episode 18: Summer Movies 2007, in which I count down what I think will be the top 5 films of next year.

Give it a listen!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

NO NO NO!!!

NO!!!!!

I just swung by the official "Weird Al" Yankovic website, and he had bad news.

Here in Canada, Weird Al's new album, Straight Outta Lynwood, has been pushed back one week.

It now comes out October 3.

And, here in Canada, it will not be a dualDisc (that's where side 1 is the CD and side 2 is the DVD). Here in Canada, the CD and the DVD will be two seperate discs. And the DVD will not be mixed in 5.1 surround sound or have instrumental versions of the songs.

So, darn darn darn! I gotta wait another week!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Star Trek Day

I just have to take a moment to acknowledge that today, September 8, is the 40th anniversary of Star Trek.

We all know the tale. On this day, back in 1966, the first episode of Star Trek was shown on NBC. The episode was The Man Trap, better known as "the one with the salt vampire." And, to this day, it's celebrated by nerds and trekkies the world over as Star Trek's anniversary.

Let's see who's company I keep. Wikipedia has a whole list dedicated to notable trekkies. Some of the ones that stand out for me:

Seth MacFarlane - the creator of Family Guy has long been known to be a trekkie. MacFarlane even made several cameos on Enterprise as "Ensign Rivers," a member of Trip's engineering staff.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker - According to Wikipedia, Stone and Parker called Star Trek "a kick ass show that's also a huge part of our pop culture landscape." I always knew that, as there are thousands of references to Star Trek throughout South Park...from incredibly subtle to blatantly obvious.

Bryan Singer - As I once read on a Star Trek message board, "anyone who doesn't belive that Singer is a trekkie just has to watch the end of X2." And I agree. It's such a clear homage to the end of The Wrath of Kahn. Singer even has a "blink and you'll miss it" cameo in Star Trek Nemesis. In fact, on the Nemesis DVD, there's a great Easter egg...a 3 minute interview with Singer about his cameo. In the interview, Singer tells a tale of, when he was a film student, he went to a lecutre on the Paramount lot, but he snuck away from his tour group and broke into the set of The Next Generation. They weren't filming, so Singer just hung out on the bridge until a security gurad caught him and threw him out.

Tom Hanks - Yup, the 3-time Oscar winning actor is a trekkie. Hanks was even the first choice to play Zephram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact, but he had to decline because he was so busy with his directorial debut That Thing You Do!.

Ben Stiller - Knew it. Tons of references throughout the films that Stiller has directed.

And the one that surprised me the most....

Stephen Harper - Yup. According to Wikipedia, our PM is a rabid trekkie - but only for the original series.

Anyway, I'm going to celebrate right now by popping The Voyage Home into the ol' DVD player.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gigantic "Weird Al" Update / That's My Bush on DVD

Wow. So I was checking out the Wikipedia entry on Weird Al's new album, and lo and behold, they had the complete track listing! Here's what's gonna be on Straight Outta Lynwood, coming out on the 26th.

1. White and Nerdy
  • Parody of Ridin' by Chamillionaire
  • Over at his MySpace page, Weird Al mentioned that he's in post-production on the music video for this song. Weird Al describes it as a "big budget, old school Weird Al video."
2. Pancreas
  • Apparently, an homage to pop legend Brian Wilson
3. Canadian Idiot
  • Parody of American Idiot by Green Day. Oh boy....
4. I'll Sue Ya
  • A Weird Al original. No information at this time.
5. Polkarama!
  • The requisite polka medly. No word yet on what to expect inside.
6. Virus Alert
  • Apparently, a tribute to computer viruses, spam, and everything else you get in your e-mail
7. Confessions part III
  • Parody of Confessions part II by Usher
8. Weasel Stomping Day
  • A Weird Al original. No information at this time.
9. Close but No Cigar
  • Apparently, this is about a cat that tries to hit on human women, before realizing that humans aren't his type. A lesser comedian would fill this with double entendres involving "pussy."
10. Do I Creep You Out
  • Parody of Do I Make You Proud by Taylor Hicks.
  • Weird Al's first American Idol parody.
11. Trapped in the Drive Thru
  • Parody of Trapped in the Closet by R. Kelley
  • Seeing as to how Trapped in the Closet is a 40 minute epic in 12 parts, rumor has it this'll be 10 minutes long and follow in the tradition of such Weird Al classics as Albuquerque and Genius in France.
12. Don't Download This Song
  • The first single, ironically now available for download at www.dontdownloadthissong.com.
  • In case you haven't heard it yet, it's done in the style of We Are the World and preaches the evils of downloading music.
And that's what we have to look forward to on September 26.




And, there was a DVD announcement today that I would be completely remiss in not mentioning. I've mentioned time and again that one of my favourite parts of DVD is how dead TV shows that didn't last very long eventually get a super-special edition treatment. And, the latest DVD TV show that I'd prayed for is finally coming out. On October 24, it's....

That's My Bush!: The Definitive Collection.

For those who don't remember, about 5 years ago, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker got it in their heads to do a sitcom. But they're sitcom would rip apart all the cliches and conventions of the genre. So, they decided to take a typical sitcom premise and apply it to...the White House.

The end result: That's My Bush!

George W. Bush was the well-meaning, but stupid, husband.

Laura Bush was the preachy and long suffering wife.

Karl Rove was the straight man.

And throw in such other cliches as the dumb blonde, the wacky next-door neighbour, and the wisecracking maid, and you had a sitcom.

It was damn funny TV. Apparently, it was cancelled because it was just too big a budget for Comedy Central.

But if you love South Park, you're gonna get a kick out of That's My Bush!.

For bonus features, you get:
  • Running commentaries on all episodes by Matt Stone and Trey Parker
  • Running commentaries on all episodes by the whole cast
  • Deleted scenes and bloopers
October 24!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New DVD Day!!

As I've said many times in the past, I love Tuesday, for it's the day of new DVDs!! There's not much out today, but two releases of note.

First up, there's Gojira: The Original Masterpiece. For the first time ever on DVD in North America, it's the complete, uncut, subtitled, original Japanese version of the original Godzilla film. And, of course, it's all beautifully digitally restored. It's a 2-disc set...disc 2 contains the more-well-known North American edit, known as Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

And, also out today, for the first time on DVD...the last Mel Brooks film to be released on DVD...it's the 1993 comedy classic...Robin Hood: Men in Tights! Seriously. this is the last Mel Brooks movie to come out on DVD...and as such, it has become one of the most requested DVDs. But it's out today, devoid of bonus features, and discount-bin-priced.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Latest Weird Al News!!

So, over at the official website, "Weird Al" Yankovic has revealed who all the animators are who have done music videos for his upcoming album Straight Outta Lynwood. See, his album's going to come with a DVD, with 6 new music videos on it...each one animated! Who are those six animators?

- Academy Award Nominee Bill Plympton. He did the one that's online right now, Don't Download This Song.

- John Krikfalusi, the creator of Ren and Stimpy.

- The entire team behind the brilliant stop motion animated cartoon, Robot Chicken. (Their video will actually be a segment on Robot Chicken on the 23rd.)

- Thomas Lee, who's best known work is the Shockwave cartoon The Star Wars Gangsta Rap

- David C. Lovelace, who created the Shockwave cartoon Retarded Animal Babies.

- Jim Blashfield, who did such classic music videos in the 1980s as "And She Was" by Talking Heads and "Boy in the Bubble" by Paul Simon.

I should mention that all these animated videos are for Weird Al's original songs...he's currently filming a live-action music video for the first parody, and in pre-production on a video for the second parody.

So that's a grand total of 8 music videos from this album!!