Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, December 29, 2003

I've had this clean, fresh feeling all day. There's just something pleasing about wearing brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-package underwear.

Spent the evening watching the wonderful comedies of the CBC. I like This Hour Has 22 Minutes, but it kind of lost its cutting edge when Rick Mercer left. It's still funny, though.

But I am looking forward to Rick Mercer's new show, The Monday Report. From what I hear, it's essentially going to be "Talking to Canadians," as Mercer goes cross-country and points out our ignorance of world affairs. I have high hopes for it.

Next Issue...Not So New No More

Sunday, December 28, 2003

I've spent the past few days curled up by the fire watching Christmas DVDs. I'm reverting back into a real Ghilbi nut. I've watched Spirited Away, I'm digging out Princess Mononoke, and I'm planning on blowing my Future Shop gift card on Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky. I always scare myself when I get obsessed like this, but I relax when I remember I've never had an obsession last longer than two weeks.

Anyway, speaking of cartoons, that's the subject of this week's column! Here's a free hit of Talkin' 'Bout Toons:

"Ralph Bakshi is probably the one man responsible for this wave of adult animation. It all started with his 1971 classic Fritz the Cat, which has the distinction of being the first X-rated animated film. Some of Bakshi’s other achievements include the post-apocalyptic satire Wizards, the brief history of American music American Pop, and, of course, The Lord of the Rings. He kind of disappeared in the early-1980s and made a comeback in 1992 with the live-action/animated sex romp Cool World. When Cool World bombed he promptly disappeared again. It should also be noted that Bakshi is a fan of the animation technique known as “rotoscoping.” This is animation that is created by tracing live-action footage. In the live-action footage that Bakshi shot for his animated Lord of the Rings, famous midget actor Billy Barty played Bilbo Baggins. But I digress."

chaos In Print. Favourite online column of Kenten.com.

Next Issue...Spirited Away...to the the poor house.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Well, I'm home from my Red Deer Christmas Odyssey. Right now, I'm missing out on the swinging shindig that is my cousin's wedding. I'm sure they'll all think I'm a big snob, but oh, well. Never really cared for that cousin.

So, guess what I got for Christmas? Yup! Finding Nemo and X2. And then, on Boxing Day, I ran out and spent far too much money on Spirited Away. Oh, well. It was Boxing Day! I was in the spirit!

And now, time to realx and fire up X2.

Next Issue...Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Well, tomorrow, I'll be heading on down Red Deer way to spend Chrismtas with the rest of my family. I'm thinking that when it comes time to do my practicum, I should aim for one of Red Deer's radio stations, mainly because that's where my other siblings have ended up.

I'm still wondering if I want to lug this, my new laptop, my baby, down with me. I suspect I'm getting DVDs for Christmas, and I'm heading to DVD-free territory.

The only trouble spot in my Christmas shopping has been my neice. When she was born, I swore I'd never get her Barbie. I just believe some of the stuff that Barbie project a bad body image for girls. But now, my neice is at the age where there is nothing but Barbie. I settled on a Bratz doll. It's like Barbie, but the body is so cartoony and exaggerated that it doesn't violate my principles. Actually, I also see that My Little Pony is making a comeback. I was tempted to get her a Pony, but I'm not sure if she's "into" them yet.

Anyway, if I don't blog again, Merry Christmas to all!

Next Issue...Boxing Day Madness

Sunday, December 21, 2003

I caught the last half-hour of Titanic on TV tonight. Still the #1 movie of all time. And I was just thinking to myself how it had been a long time since I had seen it, so I should see it. That's the only problem with three hour movies. You can't just say, "Hey! I've got some time to kill, let's watch a movie!" You've got to pretty much plan a whole day around it.

Anyway, over at the main site, I've got this week's column up! It's called Take a Bath. Here's your free sample:

"My favourite Christmas story has to be the tale of Archimedes. You see, Archimedes was one of the great original Greek mathematicians. One day, the king of Greece called Archimedes to his court and had a very special task in store. The king wanted to know exactly how much gold was in his crown. Now, back in these times, the way to determine the volume of gold in a funny-shaped object was easy: melt it down into a shape that you can easily determine the volume of, like a sphere or a cube. Naturally, the king balked off at this. “You’re not messing with my crown, Archimedes,” I believe was the king’s exact quote. So, Archimedes had a real brain-teaser of a math problem on his hands. He locked himself in his workshop, hunched over his work table and began working on the problem. Several days went by, and Archimedes was making no headway at all. Finally, his wife came into the workshop. “Dear, you’ve been working yourself sick on this,” she said. “Why don’t you relax? I got a nice warm bath all ready for you.” Archimedes thought this was a good idea, and headed off to the tub. As he climbed into the tub and got comfy, he noticed something odd. When he got in, the water level rose. He thought about this for a while, and eventually saw the relationship: the water level rose by the exact same amount as his volume. He discovered displacement. He discovered a way to measure the volume of the king’s crown. He was so excited, that he jumped out of the tub and ran down to the palace, screaming, “Eureka!” the whole way."

Want more? All read it!

Next Issue. . .In Search of Pants

Saturday, December 20, 2003

So, since there was nothing good on TV, I was sitting here watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail again. I watched the tale of Sir Lancelot. Remember that? Lancelot goes off to rescue Prince Herbert and he bursts into the castle and indescriminatly kills everyone in sight. I was watching that and I thought, "Wow! It's just like how the Americans liberated Iraq!"

I was watching it on my laptop, and I'd occasionally look up and watch what my parents were watching. It was a cooking show on the Food Network. Do you want to know one of my sick ideas? One day, I'm going to have my own house and my own kitchen and my own blender. When I have my own blender, I'm going to go to McDonald's and get a Big Mac meal to go. I'll take it home, throw it all into the blender, and liquify it into a fine paste. Why? Why not?

And if anyone out there can help me with this project. I've got a weird urge to play Bubble Bobble. I've found what many regard to be the best arcade emulator, but I'm having a hell of a time finding a good arcade ROM site. Please pass along the link!

Next Issue...Adventures of Bob and Bub

Friday, December 19, 2003

Well, if you don't mind, I'm going to take a moment to offer my thoughts and views on some movie trailers I've recently downloaded:

Spider-Man 2 - GENIUS! I can hardly wait to see Alfred Molina kick ass as Dr. Octopus. Everything in the trailer clicks for me. They've got the tentacles nailed. I want to see it NOW!

Garfield: The Movie - Yes, they did a live-action movie version of Garfield. My sister and I already have a day off scheduled to go see it next summer, as she was nuts for all things Garfield when she was a kid and I'm the only one in the family who really makes time to see movies. I have to agree with most of the early criticisms I read. They've screwed up in two ways: 1) They tried to hard to make the computer animated Garfield look like a real cat. 2) Odie is being played by a real dog; the currently-trendy Jack Russel terrier. Although, the CGI Garfield does look like kind of like how Garfield was originally drawn by Jim Davis back in 1978. You can start colouring me "worried."

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - This is a movie that's already generating a lot of buzz on the Internet. Done in the style of a 1930s movie seriel, this stars Jude Law as the heroic flying ace the Sky Captain as he takes on a mad scientist and his army of giant robots. The look of this film is great! It's like one of those old Superman cartoons come to life. I'm now officially curious.

Next Issue...Wolves

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

One more final exam to go. You know, it's strange. Here I am, 26 years old, highly educated, but when I write final exams, I turn back into a superstitious kid. I was never an honour student because of my countless hours of studying. Oh no! I was (and still am) and honour student because I show up for my final exams wearing my lucky shirt, my lucky hat, and adorned with my good luck charms. I am an honour student not because of hard work, but because of luck.

Speaking of good luck charms, I could use your help. My newest good luck charm is a Spirited Away keychain that was recently sent to me by one of my former students. Naturally, I want to reciprocate. Anyone know a good, cheap gift that's easy to mail to Japan, and is appropriate for a Japanese housewife who's into jazz music? Let me know!

Next Issue...Death and Finals

Monday, December 15, 2003

I had a lot of trouble studying for final exams tonight. Mainly because I wrote the midterm not more than a month ago and I aced it. Reviewing the older material, I kept saying, "Pfft! I know this!"

But, while I was studying, I was listening to Danny Elfman's Spider-Man score. I don't have his Hulk score yet, but I love both of those scores in that they have wonderfully errie openings. Spidey opens with a slow, almost spooky violin. Hulk has a grouping of haunting flutes. When you think about it for a moment, it makes sense. When you see a superhero for the first time, it would be kind of spooky, wouldn't it?

Anyway, quick, cheap Christmas present for me would be the Hulk soundtrack.

Next Issue...Journey Beneath the Sea

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Spent the majority of my day studying for finals tomorrow. I've reserved myself to failure.

Anyway, latest column's up! Because I've been studying so hard, I really didn't write one. Instead, I'm treating you to a snippet of my final report for my Radio Concepts class. Here's a sample:

"Ever since I came to NAIT this fall, my mind has been dominated by one thought as I studied the arts of broadcasting: I am too old for this. Let’s be honest. I am 26 years old and well-educated. What the hell am I doing squandering what little savings I made in my last job and turning around and going back to school? Why aren’t I at a good job? How come I’m not married? How come I’m not working on the 2.3 kids? What has driven me to move back in with my parents, squander what little money I made in tuition at my last job, and do the whole post-secondary education thing all over again? For a career in radio, for God’s sake? I mean, lesson 1 in this class has been, “The money’s horrible.” "

It's called Arthur's Destiny, and
Click Here to read it all!

Next Issue...Boobies!
Anyone else out there read Choose Your Own Adventure books when they were a kid? I discovered a few of my old ones on my book shelf, started flipping through them, and now I'm feeling all nostalgic towards them.

For those who don't remember, Choos Your Own Adventure was this series of books that were insanely popular in the 1980s. At certain points in the plot, you would be presented with a choice, and you got to choose what you, the hero, did next! They were all written in the second person, and went kind of like this:

"You are chasing the pirates though the cave. They are not going to escape with the treasure you found! Suddenly, the cave splits into two. Down the tunnel to the left, you hear nothing. Down the tunnel to the right, you hear running water. What are you going to do?

If you take the left tunnel, turn to page 37
If you take the right tunnel, turn to page 112"

I was addicted to them. I got hooked on them in about grade 2 and read them right up until Junior High. Then, in grade 8, my English teacher pulled me aside one day and said, "Mark! What the hell are you doing reading Choose Your Own Adventure? Your latest test show you're reading at a grade 12 level! Quite frankly, Choose Your Own Adventures are beneath you. Start reading real books."

And thus began the second serious attempt in my life to read The Lord of the Rings.

But I loved them with all my heart and soul. About a year ago, I actually tried to write a Choose Your Own Adventure column for the site. But, they get difficult to write after a while, once you get various multiple branching plotlines. It's just difficult to keep track of.

Next Issue...The Cave of Time

Friday, December 12, 2003

Tonight, I finally did something I've been threatening to do since my time in Japan.

In Kumagaya, there was this little Chinese restaurant close to work where my coworkers and I would go eat dinner some nights. And every night we ate there, I'd say the same thing:

"When I go home, and my parents take me to the greasy Chinese restaurant in town, I'm going to ask for chopsticks. And I'll use them, too. I'll probably be the first guy ever in Entwistle history to do that."

It took six months, but my parents finally took me to the greasy Chinese restaurant in town. And I asked for chopsticks. The owner/cook/waiter looked at me in disbelief. "Are you sure?" he asked. I nodded. I was expecting he'd produce a pair of those cheap disposable wooden chopsticks, like you get at most every restaurant in Japan. Instead, he disappeared into the kitchen for the longest time and came out with a pair of fairly ornate Chinese chopsticks. That threw me off at first.

(For those not in the know, Chinese chopsticks are longer and fatter than Japanese ones.)

But, I picked them up, and when dinner came, I ate it with the chopsticks. About halfway through dinner, the owner/cook/waiter came by, saw me chowing down with the chopsticks, and said, "Wow! You're doing good!" At the end, he said, "Wow! You did it!"

So there you go.

Before I left Kumagaya, I did stop by the 100 yen plaza and pick up a pair of chopsticks for myself. I brought them home, and I do use them from time to time. They're the only thing I eat ramen with now.

Next Issue...Culture Shock...for them.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I've been bitching too much about school. Let's share some happy movie news!

- Warner Brothers has created a new position for DC Comics. The "VP of Creative Affairs" has the unenviable task of pouring through the DC Comics archives, finding characters best suited for movies, and then developing those movies.

- Are you ready for another computer animated movie about bugs? DreamWorks has bought the concept for Bee Movie, which is about bees in New York City. This film is the brainchild of none other than Jerry Seinfeld, who will be writing, producing, and even starring. The concept looks like Antz, only a beehive instead of an ant colony, and Seinfeld instead of Woody Allen. Because of the time it takes to make an animated film, this is still a good 3 or 4 years away.

- And don't forget, the Spider-Man 2 trailer goes online on Monday!

Next Issue...A Worm's Life

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I've had a couple of notable experiences at school the past few days. One good, one bad.

First, the good. You may remember a few blogs ago that I had a complaint about the computer course I'm required to take. Essentially, about half the material on the tests isn't touched upon at all in the course material. So, I e-mailed the instructor complaining about this. He e-mailed me back. "OK, here's the tests. Point out which questions aren't covered." Took me a whole afternoon, but I poured through the material, circled which questions weren't covered, and gave the tests back to him. And then, he was silent for a week.

Until Monday. He e-mailed me and said, "OK, Mark, thanks for making an honest effort to justify your concerns. Here's the deal. Yup, some of the questions you pointed out aren't covered in the course material. So, those questions have been strcken from the test, and the marks adjusted accordingly. And, starting next semester, this will no longer be a correspondence course taught over the Internet. It'll be a full-blown classroom lecture course again."

So, I changed the way the program is taught. Woo!

Then, the bad thing. I was in my course taught by a TV professor today. Now, I really don't care for the TV professors. They have more of an air of "Hollywood phoniness" about them. And today, we were marking our big final group project. We had to mark the other four members in our group. We could give are fellow group members a maximum mark out of 25. So, say for example, I thought everyone in my group deserved top marks. What's 25*4? If you said 100%, you're right! But, this class doesn't exist in the real world! It exists in TV land!

This professor only gives a maximum mark of 80%. According to his logic, to get more than 80% would imply that you did everything right, and because we're all just learning, there's NO WAY we can do everything right. So, we could give all our fellow group members a mark out of 25, but when added altogether, it had to be less than 80. I felt it was highly unfair.

But, I didn't feel much like mounting a protest then and there. So, in the comments section on our grading form, I just threw in a quote from "1984:" "Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4. Once that is granted, all else follows."

Next Issue...Thought Crime

Monday, December 08, 2003

If anyone out there knows their way around Microsoft Outlook Express, I could use some help. It keeps labeling my attachments as being "unsafe" and denies access to them.

Other than that, things are going good. Right now, I'm obsessing over my big Writer's Portfolio due on Thursday. It's almost at the point where all I have to do is print everything out. My big debate is whether to number the pages or not. Like the prof pointed out, yeah, it's convenient, but in the long run, as you want to add more to it, it starts to become a hassle. True, it can be well-organized without page numbers. It'll just take some re-jigging.

Next Issue...Pfft!

Sunday, December 07, 2003

You know, I really think there was something wrong with my old laptop from day one. On my old one, whenever I watched DVDs, the video was always choppy. On this new one, it's as smooth as watching it on TV.

And I must have spent five hours hunched over a keyboard this afternoon, working on my promotions and marketing report. Even at 10 pages, I feel like I'm missing quite a bit. People don't believe me when I say Physics is easier than this. I mean, it is! In physics, you've got your equation, your parameters, and it leads to only one right answer. But in this RTA stuff, so much of it is subjective! Yeah, I think it's good, but will the rest of my group? Or the instructor? Oy.

But somewhere in all this, I managed to write a column! This week's is called The One With the Astro Boy Sticker. Here's a sample:

"I’m writing this on my brand new Toshiba laptop. How I finally got this machine was a long, meandering odyssey. But I still have a place in my heart for my old laptop. When I was in Japan, I loved eating all kinds of novelty snack cakes. Some of them came with stickers, and I would up sticking them all over my laptop. Right on the cover, I had an Astro Boy sticker. But, I don’t know if that sticker was cursed or what. It seems that, once that sticker was stuck on, my old laptop was doomed. It all began nine months ago…."

As always, click here and read it all!

Next Issue...Enemy at the Gates

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Greetings from my new laptop! Yes, Future Shop finally just gave me a new one!

So, please send me some e-mail so I know I got Outlook set up right!

Sheesh, my folks are going to kill me when they see I spent 6 hours online downloading stuff to get it where I like it.

Next Issue...New Computer!

Friday, December 05, 2003

Sadly, I'm not writing this on my new laptop. Future Shop told me it will still be a few days before the manager approves this exchange. Oh, joy.

But, I'm going to have a busy weekend. I've got two big projects due next week. Firstly, my Writer's Portfolio. See, for my Broadcast Writing Course, I've got to gather together every writing assignment I've done during the semester and compile it into a professional-looking portfolio. That's simple enough. Just design a few fancy title pages for each section, give all my assignments page numbers, print them all out on fancy paper, and stick it all in a fancy binder. I spent most of my Friday night designing the title pages. I've found and organized all my assignments, plus a few bonus ones I wrote in my spare time. I've got the fancy paper to print them out. I'm just stuck looking for a fancy binder.

Secondly, my Promotions and Marketing final report. Now, because I have no life, I volunteered, nay, pressured my group into letting me write it. My goal is to have a first draft by Monday. Then, they can pick it apart, point out what I forgot, and remind me of what should be left out. I've always felt like I've been slacking in my Promtions group. This is my one chance to make up for everything I didn't do. The finished report is due Friday. Again, I know I can have a rough draft for the gang on Monday. I just have to sit down Sunday afternoon and get to it.

But enough of that! Some happy news. I already reported that Peter Jackson is starting to express a desire to make a live-action movie version of the classic prequel to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit. New Line Cinema, the movie studio that made LOTR, is now actively trying to acquire the movie rights to The Hobbit. There's only one problem. The movie rights to The Hobbit are currently owned by the J.R.R. Tolkein estate, headed by his son, Christopher Tolkein. The junior Tolkein wants nothing to do with movies. He feels that the movie technology will NEVER exist to realize his father's vision on screen. He has disowned Peter Jackson's movies, and I don't think he's seen them yet.

(But how was LOTR made, then? Well, Tolkein sold the movie rights for 1000 pounds before he died, and they've been changing hands ever since.)

And now, before I go to bed, one last LOTR tidbit. It has been announced that the final running time for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is 210 minutes. That's 3.5 hours exactly! Peter Jackson is already hinting that the DVD "extended edition" will run 4 hours.

Next Issue...To Be Continued....
First, let's try and absolve a friend's paranoia:

KENTEN! Yes, I am getting your e-mail, and I am responding. The problem must be on your end. And your visitor's blog is glitching, again.

Second, the good news.

Two days ago, while I was waiting for my promotions wrap-up party, I realized that it had been a while since I went to Future Shop to bitch about my laptop not being fixed. So, I went up to Future Shop, went to the friendly customer service clerk, and she brought out a tech from the back room. The tech said, "Good news, Mr. Cappis! The parts finally came today! We've installed them and we're running the diagnostics as we speak! You should be able to pick it up around closing time!" I had to go do my promotions thing, so we all agreed that I could come back on Thursday.

Thursday (Yesterday), I return to Future Shop as giddy as a schoolgirl. I present my ID, the friendly customer service clerk went into the backroom, and he came out...without my laptop. "Bad news, Mr. Cappis," he said. "Your computer broke down again while we were running the diagnostics."

"So we're going to give you a new one."

Say it with me: WOO HOO!

I couldn't pick up my new one last night, because the manager had already taken off for the day, and he still needed to rubber-stamp the paperwork. But, I've got the car today, my last class ends at 2pm, and then I'm off to get a computer!

A new computer for Christmas. Does life get any sweeter?

Next Issue...Back into the Matrix

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Well, it's 6:30 pm and I've got no homework due tomorrow. Am I at home playing Elf Bowling 3? Nope! I'm still in Edmonton! My big promotions project has it's wrap-up party tonight, so naturally, I have to be in attendence. Right now, I'm having flashbacks. One year ago in Japan, at this time, my school was having a good-bye old teacher/hello new teacher/Christmas party. Something tells me, for the rest of life, at this time every year, I'll have to make some kind of token appearance at a party.

Don't get me wrong. Because I do have so far to drive, my group was more than understanding if I couldn't be attendence. But, I feel an obligation to attend. This is *my* group. *My* project. I was there for the beginning. I should darn well be there for the end.

I would feel better if we weren't having it at the dingy bar on the edge of campus. Most of you know me. I've never been a fan of dingy bars. But hey, they sponsored us. The joys of sponsorship.

I've still got a few minutes to kill, so I'm at the NAIT computer lab. More fond memories. This time, of Augustana. It was on late evenings like this in their cramped computer lab in the basement of the classroom building where I first learned to surf the Internet. And, like back then, you can tell the end of the semester is drawing near, because the place is jammed with folks typing reports.

Anyway, surely there must be a Shockwave game I can play.

Next Issue...Gorp Attacks!

Monday, December 01, 2003

Just read lots of interesting tidbits I've got to pass along.

Firstly...The Hobbit. When Peter Jackson first starting doing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the top question asked was always, "Will you ever go back and do The Hobbit?" Jackson's answer was, "Ugh! Let me finish Lord of the Rings first!" Now, with the final installment of LOTR on the horizon, people are asking him again. Guess what he's saying now? "You know what? Yeah! I think I'd like to."

Secondly, strage things are happening at Disney. Firstly, Roy E. Disney, Walt Disney's nephew and the last semblance that Disney was a family company, has resigned. That's right! There are no longer Disneys working at Disney! Long story short, Roy Disney thinks that Disney product has declined in quality over the years, and since it's still his family's name on it, and he's starting to be left out of the loop, he wants nothing more to do with it.

But, Roy Disney was the head of Disney Animation. Many are seeing this as the sign that traditional, hand-drawn animation is finally dead. Or is it. Guess which company is currently looking into opening a traditional, 2-D animation division?

You'll never guess.


That's right. The folks who started the CGI film medium are looking to resurrect the medium that was their forefather. Makes sense. A lot of Pixar employees are ex-Disney. I wonder if they go through pangs when they see how bad things have gotten at Disney.

But, as with all Internet news, is this true? Exciting stuff if it is!

Next Issue...To Infinity, and...no, that's all.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Gonna make this quick cuz I gotta Monthly Spam to send out. Latest column's up! How to Make the Workplace a Better Place:

"I'm sure most of the people reading this have spent their time in minimum wage hell. If not, then I'm sure you've had to work some other job that you equally hate. My time in minimum wage hell, as I'm sure you all know, was spent at Extra Foods, and while there, I started thinking of ways that things could be made better for the employees. One of my brilliant ideas had to do with reprimands."

Read it all!

Next Issue...Requiem for a Scarecrow
I felt like watching a DVD, so I watched Fight Club again. That DVD is the one thing I've loaned for the longest in my life. About 2.5 years ago now was when I bought my DVD player. I wanted to show it off to someone, so I invited Yves up to Entwistle for a weekend. She brought along her Fight Club DVD. Now, she didn't own a DVD player. She bought it and always watched it on Mr. Anderson's roommate's DVD player. But, at this point in my history, Mr. Anderson was in Nova Scotia learning how to parles francais, and Yves now had no access to a DVD player. So, we watched it on my brand new DVD player and dubbed it onto VHS for her. When Sunday came and she was packing up to go home, she left Fight Club behind. "Since I don't have a DVD player, and you do, you may as well hang onto it," was her reasoning. She and Mr. Anderson will be coming home from Japan in about 2 weeks or so, and since DVD players have become really cheap, you just know that they'll dip into their savings, buy themselves a DVD player, and then it will be time to give Fight Club back. "I am Jack's broken heart."

Oh, well. Watching it again, I began to notice similarities between that film's trio of heroes and the trio of heroes in my all-time favourtie book, 1984. Our nameless narrator is a lot like Winston Smith, in that they're just cogs in the machinery of society, know that there's something wrong with the way society works, but not sure as to how to start changing things. When they realize it's time to change things, they reach out to a false saviour: nameless guy to Tyler Durden, and Winston to O'Brien. And, both our heroes find ultimate salvation in a woman: Marla/Julia. The big difference is that Winston Smith finds salvation quite early, and his false saviour wound up destroying his salvation and beating him back into society. Hmm. I guess Fight Club really does have a happy ending.

I see the movie version of 1984 is finally on DVD. Hopefully, I'll get it for Christmas so when Mr. Anderson comes over for holiday cheer, I can force him to watch it and maybe he'll see the same parallels. The book is still better than the movie, but the movie is about as perfect an adaptation as you could hope for.

But let's talk of happy things! Let's do something I haven't done here in a while: summarize the latest episode of the new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Actually, the new name for the second season is Masters of the Universe vs. the Snake Men. Today's episode....

The Price of Deceit - We open at the ruins of the Hall of Elders. The Snake Men Tounge Lasher and Sssqueeze are looking for a tablet for their master, King Hiss.

We then go to to Evil-Lynn, running for her life. She betrayed Skeletor to the Snake Men, and now Skeletor is out for revenge. Evil-Lynn is running towards the temple of the wize and ancient wizard, the Faceless One; her father. But, before she can enter the temple, Skeletor's forces overwhelm Evil-Lynn and drag away her lifeless body. The Faceless One watches from inside his temple, unable to help because he is imprisoned by magic. But he will get someone to help his daughter....

Meanwhile, at the Eternia Palace, Man-At-Arms and Prince Adam are tinkering with Duncan's latest development: a jet aircraft called the Wind Raider. Suddenly, a ball of green light falls from the sky and materializes into an image of the Faceless One. The Faceless One informs Man-At-Arms and Adam of Skeletor's plan. For his vengeance, Skeletor plans to throw Evil-Lynn into the Pool of Shadows, which is the portal to the Forsaken Realm. With the portal open, who knows what evil might spill out into Eternia? Once the Faceless One leaves, Adam transforms into He-Man, hops into the Wind Raider, and jets off to the Pool of Shadows.

At the Pool of Shadows, Evil-Lynn is dangling over the dark pit, and Skeletor begins the unneccesarily slow dipping device. Evil-Lynn begins to plead for her life, citing that she's always been loyal. We then have a flashback to when Evil-Lynn and Skeletor, or Keldor, as we was originally known, first met. Beast Man, Tri-Klops, and Trap Jaw were ransacking a shrine for the Orb of Agony. But, they run into a teenaged Evil-Lynn, who managed to swipe the Orb first, and they fight. Evil-Lynn easily defeats the three of them. Impressed, Keldor steps from the shadows and asks Evil-Lynn to join his forces. Evil-Lynn, equally impressed by Keldor, accepts.

Back in the present, Skeletor's forces shoot down the Wind Raider. They fight He-Man. He-Man wins and continues towards the Pool of Shadows on foot.

Back at the Pool of Shadows, Evil-Lynn's plea failed, and Skeletor continues slowly dropping her to her death. Evil-Lynn tries again, this time pointing out how, if it weren't for her, Skeletor wouldn't exist. Flashback #2. It's shortly after Keldor's final attack on General Randor failed. The acid meant for Randor is now slowly eating away Keldor's face. His flesh is dropping off in great, green globs, and Evil-Lynn is helping him limp towards a temple. They enter and approach a pool. Keldor removes something from his belt, drops it into the pool, and asks Evil-Lynn to activate it with her magic. Evil-Lynn does so, there is a great burst of light, and from the pool comes the one, the only, HORDAK! Keldor begs Hordak to save his life. Hordak says, "Your bargining position is highly dubious, but very well. I will give you a new body." Hordak's magic envelops Keldor, and Keldor's body transforms. Evil-Lynn looks up and says, "Keldor?" Hordak says, "No. Behold...Skeletor!" Together, Skeletor and Evil-Lynn leave the temple, and Hordak vanishes.

Back in the present. All this reminiscing means nothing to Skeletor, and it looks like Evil-Lynn is doomed. A dark beast emerges from the pool and, tired of waiting for Evil-Lynn to come to him, starts to move towards Evil-Lynn. He-Man arrives and rescues Evil-Lynn, much to everyone's surprise. He-Man fights the dark beast, and wins, smashing the Pool of Shadows and its shrine. Skeletor is buried in the rubble. Evil-Lynn asks He-man why he saved her, and He-Man says it was because the Faceless One said she was worth saving. Evil-Lynn then goes through a very melodramaitc perforance where she consideres turning to the good sign, but it's all a ruse to get He-Man to drop his guard, and she kicks his ass. She then goes, rescues Skeletor, and drags his weakend body back to Snake Mountain. He-Man just shrugs this off, repairs the Wind Raider as best he can, and starts heading back to the palace.

Snake Mountain. Skeletor and Evil-Lynn confer. Evil-Lynn points out how she just saved Skeletor and surely this must prove her loyalty. Skeletor agrees, allows Evil-Lynn back on his team, and simply says, "But if you ever do it again...." Evil-Lynn walks off, and we can already see that she's planning to do it again.

We end at the lair of the Snake Men. Tounge Lasher and Sssqueeze present the tablet to King Hiss. Hiss says it's just what he needs and laughs maniacly.

My thoughts and comments: Great to see more Evil-Lynn origin. Great to see HORDAK! In ToyFare, they're already hinting that Hordak might be the big baddie in season 3. That's what I'm hoping to see for the premiere in season 3. Hordak appears, and he's flanked by the Horde: Mantenna, Grizzlor, Leech, Cat-Ra, and his most feared warrior of all, General Adora.

I'm loving how they're going back and just adding more to the He-Man universe. A few episodes back, we got some great back story for the Sorceress, and some hints as to who Teela's true father is. (Everyone who's watched the original show knows that the Sorceress is
Teela's mother, and Man-At-Arms her adopted father.) This episode centered around Teela again longing to know who her true parents were, and Man-At-Arms going to see the Sorceress to once again say, "Dude. Tell her the truth." The Sorceress then told this tale. After Skeletor was imprisoned and peace came to Eternia, the Sorceress decided to take a sabatical from Greyskull, and took the form a simple woman in a village. But, with Skeletor in prison, it wasn't long before a few other petty warlords popped up, and the Sorceress had to summon forth her powers to save her new home. The village was safe, but then, after the war, an amnesic soldier wandered into the village. The Sorceress nursed him back to health, and they fell in love. They had a fairy tale romance, but then, one day, the soldier just wandered off. The Sorceress always told herself that the soldier must have regained his memory and gone back to his unit. The Sorceress started feeling disturbances in the Force, and returned to her duties at Greyskull. But, she didn't return alone. Soldier boy knocked her up. After this tale, Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress had this tantalizing exchange.

Man-At-Arms>> And so this soldier left you with a child.
Sorceress>> Yes. Your daughter, Teela.
Man-At-Arms>> You mean my adopted daughter.
Sorceress>> (pause) Yes. Of course.

Oooooooo! Is Man-At-Arms Teela's actual father? Only time will tell!

And I've ranted far too much

Next Issue...You met me at a very strange time in my life.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Wow. I'm in total amazement. Telus Webmail finally got a spam filter. After a few days of paranoia that I'd lose something important if I set it to automatically delete spam, I bit the bullet and set it to do just that. Now, the 100 spam messages I used to get daily have been whittled down to 3.

Did you ever decide to do the right thing but later regret it because it meant making more work for yourself? See, in my Internet computer course that I have to take, it continuously pissed me off that the tests always included material that wasn't covered in the course. Finally, I complained to the instructor about it. He said, "OK, smart guy. Here's the last two tests. Point out the questions that aren't covered in the course and I'll forward it to the folks who run the online courses." Took me a good chunck of my Friday afternoon, but after careful analysis, I determined that 1/3 of each test wasn't covered in the course material. Let's see if this changes things.

And when that was done, I had to go to the Nest, NAIT's on-campus bar. Another group in my class was doing their promotion. They chose to do a variation on Speaker's Corner. Rant on camera, best one gets shown on TV, and you win a prize. Because it was Friday afternoon, they were afraid they wouldn't get anyone. So, they asked me to come down and do a rant. I think I'll take that as a compliment.

"Mark, we need a colourful person for this project. Can we just turn the camera on you and let you be yourself?"

Speaking of compliments, I've also got to point out an instructor's comment on an assignment I just got back. The task was to watch a news story, transcribe it, and then analyze if it was a good story or a bad story. Thing is, they haven't taught us anything about news yet. If I had to draw an analogy, I think it was the pre-activity for when they teach us news next semester. But I digress.

This assignment was angst-ridden for me. The original news story I wanted to transcribe was eaten by my VCR, so I had to come up with a second choice the night before it was due. Wanting my angst to count for something, I turned in both my complete second choice and my half-complete first choice. The mark my instructor wrote on the cover was "A++++." The comment? "I can hardly wait to get you into the newsroom next semester. You GET this."

Maybe I won't be a DJ. Do I strike you as a hard-boiled newsman?

Next Issue...The Return of Jigsaw Jamison

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Right now, I'm struggling to define "professionalism."

Mr. Anderson has made it to Tokyo. He's staying with the head office guy I'm currently talking to in the hopes of getting my Godzilla poster back. Now, even though head office guy has been too busy to tell me how much I owe so I can settle this, he's been able to hint to Mr. Anderson that the total is around $250. (And, based on my average expenses in Japan, I seriously doubt that number.)

So, let me get this straight:

Head office guy talks about confidential office matters with people who are just passing through.

I wore a hat to work.

Head office guy called me "unprofessional."

Say it with me...WHAT THE FUCK?

Next Issue...Summer Vacation

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

And thus ends another day. Didn't study very much for the English test tomorrow. But then, I really don't care anymore. The end of the semester is coming quickly, and my boredom is starting to show.

For example, I have this one course called "Radio Concepts." It's quite easy. See, people were going into radio with stars in their eyes, wanting to become DJs. Naturally, when they found out about all the other stuff that goes on at a radio station, they'd grow disillusioned and quit. So, in Radio Concepts, we go on field trips to radio stations and find out all about the other jobs. I've been to sales (I WILL NEVER BE A SALESMAN AGAIN), copy and traffic (I could be a writer) and production (could be very cool). Today was promotions. I will admit, my trip to promotions was somewhat...enlightening. Right now, I'm deeply stressing in my promotions project at school, so my attitude on this trip was "FUCK PROMOTIONS! FUCK IT UP ITS STUPID ASS!" But, I did find out that, in the real world, things are a lot more organized and thus move more smoothly.

But, anyway, after each trip I have to write a report on it. My reports all tend to follow the same format, and they're starting to get boring. So, today, I borrowed a digital camera from the school with the idea that I'd jazz up my report with pictures. I also have to give an oral presentation with my group, so this spiraled into the idea to construct a power point for our presentation.

Anyway, currently downloading the Hellboy trailer. Might be a good film.

Next Issue...Christmas is soon!
I hope you'll forgive me if I take a moment to do the highly cruel and ill-mannered act of laughing at my best friend, Mr. Anderson. He just e-mailed me, proudly proclaiming that, on his big cycling trip in Japan, he has finally arrived in Tokyo. He rode 500 km in 12 hours in the driving rain. And he made it Tokyo! That is a great accomplishment, and on that, I applaud you, buddy!

But as soon as he arrived in Tokyo, he went straight to the Tokyo Tower. That's what's making me laugh.

See, Lonely Planet Japan doesn't have very many kind things to say about the Tokyo Tower. All of my students didn't have very nice things to say about Tokyo Tower. EVERYONE I MET IN THE TOKYO AREA didn't have very nice things to say about the Tokyo Tower. I'm sure I can reasonably say that THE TOKYO TOWER IS THE MOST REVILED TACKY TOURIST STOP IN TOKYO. And that's why I never went.

But it's the first place Mr. Anderson just had to go after riding for 12 hours in the driving rain.


Oh, well. It could have been worse. He could have gone striaght to Tokyo Disneyland. That I did do, but only because most of my students were high school girls who had an insane love of all things cute, like Disney characters, so Tokyo Disneyland was the one thing they always highly, highly recommended. Yeah, I hated myself when I saw how much money I spent, but I was popular with the girls.

Next Issue...People Who Laugh At Their Best Friends Have No Friends. (Sorry, Mr. Anderson.)

Monday, November 24, 2003

I wasted far too much time watching TV tonight. I could have been working! I'm getting so stressed at school right now. My defence mechanism seems to be to shut down higher brain functions and waste time doing nothing. I comfort myself with the great words of Capt. Kirk: "The greater the intelligence, the greater the need for play."

Speaking of play, my parents are going to kill me. Spent an hour and half downloading Adam Sandler's Hannuka Song pt. 3. With the laptop still in the shop, I'm starting to reconstruct my catalogue of Christmas MP3s. The one last one that's still eluding me is the Cryptkeeper's Christmas Rap. Twisted brilliance, it is it is.

Next Issue...All I Want For Christmas Are Two Big [censored]

Sunday, November 23, 2003

HAPPY NEW WEEK! Let's celebrate with a new column, which can be found at the main site. This week's offering is called The Moons of Jupiter. Free sample!

"Now, while I'm no Galileo, I do tend to tackle things with the mind of a scientist. I have these degrees in physics and math, you see, and it has blessed and cursed me with an analytical mind. One of my physics professors once stated that physics is "the master science that underlies all. Once you know physics, you'll be able to pick up any science textbook and immediately get a grasp of it." And he was right. On good days, I'm like Neo in The Matrix. When I stare at a problem long enough, I'm able to see the swirling mass of equations that governs its behaviour. "Mathematics is the language in which God wrote the universe." Galileo again. But, for most of my short life, I have been surrounded by one problem that Galileo did very little research on. "

The moons are a symbol. Find out what it represents.

Next Issue...Arise, Serpentor! Or not.
WOO! The Critic is coming to DVD! This short-lived cartoon was on the mid-1990s and was created by a few Simpsons writers. Jon Lovitz did the voice of Jay Sherman, a NYC film critic, and the show was a blend of Hollywood satire and family comedy as we followed Jay's quest for true love. The big DVD boxed set The Critic: The Complete Series comes out January 27 and will have all 23 episodes. Among the bonus featuers will be running commentaries on 8 select episodes, various featurettes about the creation of the show, and every online episode from The Critic's resurrection as a Shockwave cartoon from 1999 - 2001.

But I must still ask: Where's Tokyo Mew Mew?

Next Issue...Next Column

Saturday, November 22, 2003

So I'm leafing throught the latest issue of Star Trek Communicator, and they mention the latest project from Tim Russ. He played Tuvok on Voyager. He is currently directing a short film that he wrote. It's called Roddenberry on Patrol.

As you know, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was a motorcycle cop with the LAPD before he broke into television. So, the short film Roddenberry on Patrol is a "What if?" tale, where we follow Roddenberry doing his cop thing and the people he runs into and the things he does seem vaguely like they could have inspired Star Trek. Russ has filled many of the roles with original series stars and some of his old buddies from Voyager.

It sounds a lot like the classic Internet short film from a few years back, George Lucas in Love. I've never seen that, and I'd really like to. Remember this? We follow Lucas around the UCLA campus, and certain folks he run into seem somewhat "inspirational" for the Star Wars characters he goes on to create.

I've got to grab a video camera and make one of these "inspired by" short films. I think I've already got my subject. I'll get together with some buddies, and we'll make a live-action Pokemon short film! Of course, it'll spoof Pokemon as well. I just imagine this scene where, when Team Rocket makes the appearance, Ash cuts off their motto with "Oh, SHIT! Would you two FUCKING GIVE IT UP?" I wonder if the TV people would help me out with it....

Next Issue...The Silver Cup

Friday, November 21, 2003

Wow. My Promotions & Marketing class is starting to mess with my mind. Part of the class has been the design of questionairres: why you ask which questions. Tonigh, while driving home, my Dad and I stopped at KFC to pick up a bucket of chicken for dinner. KFC is doing the promotional tie-in with The Lord of the Rings, and the clerk sweet-talked my Dad into getting the Lord of the Rings family meal. Along with it was a scratch-n-win card. I lost, but I did get a PIN number so I could enter the contest at their website and download cool LOTR stuff.

(epiphany of the night: "PIN" stands for "Personal Identification Number." So isn't it redundant to call it a "PIN number?")

I like downloading cool stuff, so I just punched in the PIN to enter the contest. And, lo and behold, part of the entry form was a questionairre! My first thought was, "OK. Why are they asking these questions? Why do they want to know this information?" I answered it using what I've learned, and it all seemed quite logical. And the cool downloads were just a couple of wallpapers and a screensaver.

And now, sad news. Johnathon Brandis is dead at the age of 27. He had several small film roles over the past few years, but I still remember him best as boy genius Lucas Wolenczek on the early-90s sci-fi show seaQuest DSV. His role on that show made him quite the teen idol 10 years ago. The coroner's report is out yet, but everyone is assuming it was a suicide. Wow. seaQuest came on just as I began collecting action figures. I still have my MIB Lucas Wolenczek figure.

Next Issue...Purple Panties
And now, as promised, here's that Marvel movie update I didn't do last night. All this info comes straight from Marvel headman Avi Arad in a recent stockholders webcast:

- Daredevil: The Director's Cut hits DVD in April.

- Nick Fury and Tales of the Zombie are now in development.

- The Punisher will be rated R.

- Werewolf by Night will be directed by John Fasano, and will be a fantasy/romance film.

- Mort the Dead Teenager will be Marvel's first comedy film.

- Brett Leonard, who just finished directing Man-Thing, will do other Marvel films.

- Fantastic Four has been pushed back to Summer 2005. Marvel figures it's more of a summer movie, anyway.

- Iron Man is also being readied for 2005. It's currently being written by Smallville creators and Spider-Man 2 writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. It will be a very expensive film.

- Ghost Rider, starring Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze, is being written and directed by Daredevil writer/director Mark Steven Johnson. Filming begins in January. It will also come out in 2005.

- Elektra will probably come out in 2005, and delve more into the character's backstory. And the plan is still to reunite her with Matt Murdoch in Daredevil 2.

- X-Men 3 has officially been given a Summer 2006 release.

- Hulk 2 is also locked in for Summer 2006, and an unnamed writer has been hired.

- A script for Namor has just been finished by David Self. That one's also planned for 2006. Arad jokes that the film has "more fish than Finding Nemo."

- A race has begun among the "world's greatest writers" to see who will write Captain America. That one's also hoped for 2006.

- Nick Fury has just entered fast development, and it's been sold as "James Bond made in the USA."

And now, I should get some work done.

Next Issue...Jacana's Back!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Given that it's happening this Saturday, I guess I should finally take some time to acknowledge the biggest sporting event in North America right now: The Hockey Heritage Classic. I'm sure you all know what it is, but this is just for little Zamf in Uzbekistan who might be surfing in.

So what is the Hockey Heritage Classic? Well, this NHL season marks the 25th Anniversary of the Edmonton Oilers. Naturally, they wanted to do something special to celebrate. So, they organized a big event around their Saturday game with the Montreal Canadians. They came up with a special hockey double-header. First up will be an alumni game. Many of the top Oilers of all time vs. many of the top Habs of all time. They've already got the greats of the Oilers' 80s dynasty signed on to play: Gretzky, Messier, Kuri, and all the rest. After this exhibition game, we'll have the regular season game between the current Oilers and Habs. But what makes this really special is that it's not happening at Rexall Place. (More on that later.) Oh, no. This is happening at Commonwealth Stadium.

That's right. It's all outdoors. When the Oilers and Habs square off, it'll be the first outdoor regular season game in NHL history.

This has been the hottest ticket in Edmonton since August. On the news tonight, they showed hockey fans coming from as far away as Virginia to check this out. For this weekend, Edmonton's City Hall has become a "mini-Hockey Hall of Fame." And now, it's also been learned that officials from the Toronto Maple Leafs have come to see how this is organized, so they can have a Heritage Classic of their own when the Leafs' Centennial comes up. And, since I'm currently studying broadcasting (and thus, sports coverage) in Edmonton, you can figure out that this has been a topic of discussion in class since the semester began.

So there. Like every other Edmonton broadcaster, I've done my Heritage Classic Tie-In.

Now, this Rexall Place nonsense. When I was a kid, the building where the Oilers play was called "Northlands Coliseum." This was because it was part of the Northlands Sports Park. Then, the owner of the Oilers wanted control of the building so he could reap more profits. He got control, business ties with the Northlands Sports Park were severed, and the building was renamed "The Edmonton Coliseum." The owner of the Oilers sold the team, and it was bought by a coalition of some 50 local businesses and comic creator Todd McFarlane. A member of the coalition owned the Skyreach Heavy Equipment Company, so he lobbied to have the building renamed "Skyreach Centre." He got his way, and the building has been Skyreach Centre for the past 5 years or so. Now, today, November 20, 2003, the contract between the Oilers Ownership Group (the formal designation of the coalition) and Mr. Skyreach expired. Another member of the Oilers Ownership Group snapped up the new contract. He just happens to be the founder and owner of the Rexall Pharmacy chain. So, the new name of the building is "Rexall Place." That's going to be the name of the Oilers' home ice for the next 20 years or so, under this contract.

Now, we're all aware that major league sports are another big business today, and it's a big business I'm not very interested in. But this is one aspect that really sickens me: big companies buying the "naming rights" to these buildings. I mean, these companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars to name these buildings after themselves. What the hell have these companies done that makes them worthy of having a building named after them? Why do we have to slap another logo or trademark on a BUILDING of all things?

I first got pissed off over this when, in the mid-90s, I read about Canadian Airlines spending $50 million for the naming rights of the Saddledome in Calgary. Originally, it was just "the Saddledome." Why? Because the building looks like a saddle! Nice and simple. Then, Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, and the Olympic hockey games were played in the Saddledome. Because of this, they justifiably renamed the place, "The Olympic Saddledome." Then, in the mid-90s, for the lo lo price of $50M, they dropped the Olympics and became "The Canadian Airlines Saddledome." Of course, Canadian Airlines no longer exists, so if I remember correctly, the place is now called the " Saddledome."

If that's not metaphoric for this whole thing, then I don't know what is. The Olympics, originally intended to be a celebration of amateur sport, pushed aside at the promise of big bucks. This whole "naming rights" thing was my turning point that made me realize how much the sports world had sold out.

And that's all I have to say tonight. I was also going to throw in some updates on movies based on Marvel comics, but it's time for Conan O'Brian.

Next Issue...Live from the Chaos In A Box.com Arena!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I'm just so darn tired right now. It all goes back to my Promotions & Marketing assignment. I mean, it's simple enough. Design and execute a promotion for NAIT's radio station. If the promotion is successful, you pass. If it's not, you fail. Tomorrow, we do the (required) kick-off: we storm the cafeteria and force the populace to listen to our 10 minute presentation about our promotion. I've been stressing about it all week. It's got to be a max of 10 minutes, a min of 8 minutes. I'm the first speaker in our group of 6. All I have to do is introduce everyone and rattle off our list of sponsors. I don't know why I'm stressing so much. I wrote my script, which is only half a page. I've taught more complicated English classes with less.

Yeah, but Japanese students paid good money and hung on my every word with awe and reverence. This time, I'm disrupting the lunches of aspiring grease monkeys.

I must turn to happy news. Just read a big interview with Samuel L. Jackson. For those who don't read Marvel Comics, they just introduced Ultimate Nick Fury. For his Ultimate self, Nick Fury is a black man, who looks kind of like...Sameul L. Jackson. Turns out, now, Jackson actually has been in negotiations with Marvel to star in a Nick Fury movie.

And Jackson shed some more light on his role in Pixar's next film, The Incredibles. Turns out he's not playing the villain, as originally thought. He's playing the goofy sidekick! He plays the best friend of hero Mr. Incredible; a hero named Frozon who has freeze-based superpowers.

Next Issue...I'm a Pirate

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Today's lesson learned about radio: the mention of "pedophilia" really turns off people.

In a practice radio run, I jokingly referred to Britaney Spears as "The Poster Girl for Pedophilia," and the whole class went "ewww!" You know you've gone too far when the crudest guy in class turns to you and says, "You said WHAT?"

Besides how to turn off radio listeners, I also learned that the highly anticipated DVD boxed set Star Trek: Voyager - Season 1 is coming out on February 24! The one bonus material I'm really looking forward to is called The First Captain: Genevieve Bujold. As most of you probably know, French Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold was the first choice to play Captian Elizabeth Janeway. Halfway through the filming of Voyager's pilot, Caretaker, she snapped and quit, saying that working on episodic television was "too stressful." The role was re-cast with Kate Mulgrew, Capt. Janeway's first name was changed to "Kathryn," and the rest is history. So, this featurette features the long-lost Bujold footage. Nifty, eh? I still need to finish my Next Generation DVDs, and start on Deep Space Nine.

Next Issue...Hair Loss. It's no laughing matter.

Monday, November 17, 2003

OK, Teen Titans is now officially a cool cartoon. On tonight's episode, Robin was blackmailed by the villainous Slade into turning evil. Slade figured that Robin would be the perfect "apprentice." As Slade outlined his "lessons" for Robin, Slade ended by saying, "You might even come to think of me as your father." Robin just glared at Slade and said, "I already have a father." The camera panned up, where we saw a flurry of bats fly from Slade's hideout, and a faint echo of the Batman theme was played.

And then Slade made Robin break into Wayne Enterprises.

Speaking of DC cartoons, I just read a synopsis of the upcoming Justice League Christmas episode, entitled Comfort and Joy. It was written by one of the gods of Batman: The Animated Series, Paul Dini. The plot is this: it's Christmas Eve. Expecting a quiet Christmas, the JLA all goes home for the holidays. Except for Batman and Wonder Woman. Those two paranoid crazed loners stay on duty, just in case. So, the three main plot threads are:

- They never had Christmas on Mars, so Superman takes Martian Manhunter home with him to Smallville, and J'ohnn J'onzz learns all about Christmas from the Kents.

- They don't have snow on Thanagar, so Green Lantern takes Hawgirl on a quick overview of winter sports. This is the romantic one, as it apparently ends with Green Lantern making Hawkgirl into a Hawkwoman, if you know what I mean.

- The Flash delivers toys to an orphanage, and winds up using his powers to scour every toy store in the world looking for the "must have" toy for this one child. This is the comedic plot.

I can hardly wait!

Next Issue...the Man Wonder

Sunday, November 16, 2003

OK, I'd just like to say this about my previous entry: I'm fully aware that the Ottawa Rough Riders went bankrupt and were replaced with the Ottawa Renegades. I just put in that whole "Roughriders vs. Rough Riders" joke because that's the only thing my American co-workers knew about the CFL: "There's two teams with the same name, right?"

Anyway, on to the good stuff! This week's latest column is up! Tonight's offering is called Activist. As always, here's a sample:

"I still think Bowling for Columbine is a great movie with a powerful message. I snapped it up on DVD as soon as it came out. But, nowadays, as I speak with my friends, I'm slowly coming to the realization of the backlash towards that film. Many websites have popped up to expose "the truth behind Michael Moore's lies." These website raise a lot of questions about the film. For example, the NRA rally that happened in Columbine after the school shootings. According to some of these websites, the rally was planned months in advance, and after the shooting, the NRA cancelled every rally they had planned except for one which they were required by law to have. And Charlton Heston's speech from the rally was heavily edited by Moore. Same thing with the school shooting that happened between the two six-year olds in Moore's hometown of Flint, Michigan. In the film, Moore maintains that the NRA rally happened "right after" the school shooting. Records show the rally was nine months later. And the film's now-infamous opening of Moore getting his free gun when he opened the bank account? There are those who maintain that it was staged for the cameras and that really, you have to wait a week to get your gun and you pick it up from a gun warehouse on the other side of town. "

Did you like the free sample? Well, we happen to have them on special today! Pick up a whole pack!

Next Issue...Congrats, Eskimos! Winners of the 2003 GREY Cup!
"Nothing turns a man into a partriot more than living in another country." - Mike Myers.

It's the Grey Cup this weekend. The big ol' championship of the CFL. I only really cared about it last year when I was in Japan. Nothing baffled my students more than, when there was a lull in the conversation, and I'd just casually ask, "Soooooo, who do you like in the Grey Cup?" I did that until about February, when a co-worker finally asked, "Haven't they played that yet?" I just sheepishly went, "Yeah, they played it back in November. Montreal won."

That was the only time I'd seen the CFL mentioned in the Japan Times, too. I showed up for work the Tuesday after they Grey Cup and there was the little blurb: "Montreal Wins Grey Cup." I still say I should return to Tokyo some day and open up my Canadian-themed bar. Surely, there are other Canuks teaching English in Tokyo who want a place to catch the latest Roughriders vs. Rough Riders game.

But let's think of the here and now. I can hardly wait until they teach me how to run a recording studio so I can start throwing together more spots for my show. I keep hearing this one soundclip from Clerks: The Animated Series that I want to work into a commercial:

Randall>> Look at him. He's quivering in fear.
Dante>> He's not quivering. He's masturbating.
Randall>> Yeah, but he's doing it out of fear.

Someday soon....

Next Issue...The Quiverer.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

It's the weekend. I'm trying to relax right now. The source of my frustration at present is my Promotions and Marketing class. We're in the midst of the final project. It's quite simple, really. Design and execute a promotion for NAIT's campus radio station. If the promotion is successful, you pass. If it's unsuccessful, you fail. It's one of those tasks where, as soon as my group began, I felt like we were already running behind. Especially right now, when it seems that our main sponsor is avoiding us. And I feel left out when everyone is running around being so busy and I find that I'm failing in my role in the group. I could be doing more. I should be doing more. Why aren't I doing more right now?

(Careful, Mark. It's an attitude like that that cost you your job in Japan.)

So, I'm trying to spend this weekend relaxing. I just watch Hulk on DVD again. I still think that's a good movie, even though (now that it's on DVD) people can tell you that the Hulk doesn't appear until 42 minutes into the film. What fascinates me, though, was when director Ang Lee spoke about Nick Nolte's character, David Banner. Even though he's based on the "Hulk" comic villain the Absorbing Man, they didn't want to call him "the Absorbing Man" because they strayed too far from the core of the Absorbing Man. In the film, David Banner says that he "partakes the essence of whatever he comes in contact with." Lee began calling him "Partaking Man." In the script, they call David Banner simply, "The Father."

Next Issue...Reflections

Friday, November 14, 2003

OK, I read this yesterday, and am only waiting until now to report it. You can read the complete version here, or keep scrolling down and read my version.

McJob - A low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.

This entry appears in the latest edition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. McDonald's is upset about it. They say that it's "a slap in the face" to their 12 million employees worldwide. They are pressuring the Merriam-Webster people to change the definition to something more flattering.

The Merriam-Webster people are resisting. They are citing articles going as far back as 1986 that prove their defintion of "McJob" is quite appropriate. They "stand by their accuracy."

It should also be noted that other respected dictionaries, such as Webster's Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary, also have definitions for "McJob." This is the Oxford definition: "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector."

I'll end with a quote from my all-time favourite book, 1984: "The destruction of words is a beautiful thing."

Next Issue...Big Business is Watching You

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

So, today had some good and some bad. The bad:

- The tape damage on my videotaped news broadcast was so extensive that the tape broke in my VCR. Tomorrow, I must tape the news again and start over from scratch. Will probably take me most of the evening, depending on whether I can convince Mom & Dad to stop watching CSI long enough for me to write my transcript.

- My only afternoon class was canceled, so I was stuck waiting around NAIT from noon to 5.

But what's the good?

With all that free time, a group of us started goofing around in a recording studio, and the end result? I have the first ever 30-second spot for my radio show. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. tomorrow, I go to the boss prof and see about getting it in the rotation.

Next Issue...Mark vs. the Cold
So, I've been giving more thought to my hostage Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla movie poster. I'm writing this right now, and perhaps I'll submit it to NAIT's studnet paper, The Nugget. Tell me what you think:

"People of NAIT! I humbly ask for your help. I used to work in Japan, and I was in such a rush to come home that I forgot one of my most treasure possessions at my former place of work: A Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla movie poster. I asked my former place of work to mail it to me. They said no, citing that mailing a poster from Japan to Canada costs too much. So I sent them the money to send the poster. That was six months ago. Still no poster. In fact, nothing from my former place of work! Not a peep, not a word, not even a 'thanks for all the letters, e-mails, and faxes you've sent us about your movie poster!

Finally pissed off with this, I got in touch with my former head office. My former head office looked into the matter and said, "Well, Mark, turns out you left the country without paying your final phone bill and power bill. Your former workplace is holding on to your movie poster until you send them the money to pay your bills." My first reaction was sheer annoyance that my former place of work didn't tell me this six months ago. Once I vented my anger by going outside and screaming at the heavens, I wrote a nice diplomatic response that went like this: "Well, gee, thanks for NOT telling me. Thanks for letting me stew in silence for the past six months! So, how much do I freakin' owe?" Of course, I said it more politely.

But the wheels in my head began turning. Being an enterprising young RTA student, I started thinking, "How can I turn this into a promotion for my radio show, Chaos in a Box, Thursday mornings at 9 on NR92?" So here's what I've come up with.

I don't have an exact total for how much money I owe yet, but my best estimates come to about $60. Do you know what that means? All I need is 60 of you to send $1 to Japan! Everyone who sends $1 to Japan will be entered into a collossal draw for a grand prize to be determined later. Since I'm asking you to pony up $60 of your money, it's only fair that I pony up $60 of my money for the prize. Once I get my Godzilla poster back, all entrants will be invited to the grand unveiling party where the grand prize will be drawn! Nifty, eh?

So, all you have to do is send $1 to my former place of employment. That address is . And clip out this handy letter to send along! Chaos in a Box. Helping to liberate movie posters for over 0.25 years."

Next Issue...More Powerful than a Bowl of Jell-o

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Boy, even though it's a holiday, I'm having a bad day.

I think I've shared with you the saga of my Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla movie poster. I forgot this movie poster in the back room of my company in Japan. I asked them to mail it to me. They said no, saying that mailing it would cost too much. So, I sent them the money. That was six months ago. Over the past six months, I've sent them letters, e-mails, and even faxes wondering what's up with my poster. And they've replied with only silence.

Finally fed up with their lack of response, I got in touch with head office. Head office looked into it, and this is what they told me. Turns out I left the country without paying my final phone bill and power bill. My successor is pissed off that these bills keep getting mailed to his apartment. So, my former place of work is withholding my Godzilla movie poster until I settle my bills. Nice of them to tell me this.

And now my side of the story. After I finished my travels in Japan, I returned to Kumagaya to pick up my stuff. Hours before my bus was to leave for the airport, they handed me my final power bill. I said, "Yup, I'll take care of it." 36 hours later, I was back in Entwistle, unpacking, came across my final power bill and said, "Oops." I was unconcerned, though. I remembered that, when my predecessor left without paying his final power bill, the company said, "Oh. Well, we'll take care of it." Since my final power bill was only 350 yen (about $5), I assumed the company would similarily take care of it. Guess not.

Final phone bill is a different story. I wanted to keep my cell phone right until my final seconds in Japan, so I figured, "I'll just leave the country. Eventually, when my phone bill goes unpaid for months, they'll disconnect it." Guess not. I often joked that, if they ever tracked me down in Canada, then they deserve their money. Well, I guess they tracked me down. Besides, for my entire year there, I kept getting my predecessor's final phone bill, and I never raised a fuss. From what little I knew of my successor, I didn't think he would be so touchy.

So I told head office guy to get an exact dollar figure for how much I owe, and I'll send the money so the company can pay it off. What can I say? I messed up, so I'm going to own up to my mistakes.

With that out of the way, I thought I'd turn my thoughts to homework. I have to do this simple paper for one of my classes. I have to watch a news piece on TV, transcribe it, and then analyze it as to whether it's a good news story or a bad news story. I taped the news last night, with the plan that I'd transcribe a good story today, and then write the paper later in the week. I couldn't watch the news on the good VCR, because my Dad has today off, too, and he loves his judge shows. So, I dug out my old TV/VCR unit from my university dorm, and it promptly ate the tape. I lost the news. Revised plan: tape news and write transcript tonight, if there are no cop shows on that my Dad likes. Crud! It's Tuesday. He'll want to watch NYPD Blue. Well, I'll take the good VCR downstairs and hook it up to my TV/VCR unit.

Well, I'll try to relax. I'll do some of my other homework. Let's see, due tomorrow, I have...English. Ooo, that's some lethal irony. I think I'll take a walk instead.

Next Issue...Winter Wonderland

Monday, November 10, 2003

Ahh, November. My thoughts are starting to turn to Christmas things. It's time to continue my annual hobby. See, for eight-teen years now, I've collected Christmas specials. Whenever one comes on TV, I tape it. Actually, I kind of stopped about 5 years ago. I had 3, 6-hour video tapes and figured, "Enough's enough!" The new hobby is cataloging the collection. I go through this every two years, because I always seem to lose the catalogue every second year. Yup. Cataloguing them all always brings back memories. The first one in the collection is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer which was taped in 1986. The last one was A Pinky and the Brain Christmas, which I taped in 1997 if memory serves.

And with Christmas comes new toys! Ahh, it's a great time to be a toy collector. I see that Spawn creator and founder of McFarlane Toys Todd McFarlane has a new toy line out. It's called The Twisted Land of Oz, and it's the familiar Wizard of Oz characters as re-imagined by Todd McFarlane. The Tin Woodsman is now a medieval-style cyborg. The Scarecrow will scare the straw out of you. Toto is a massive hellhound. And, no longer a little girl, Dorothy is now a buxom, leather-bound bondage babe who comes with a munchkin. And the munchkin whips her. Oh, that Todd McFarlane!

Let's go for something a little more campy. The latest ToyFare (Issue 76) reveals that original properties are starting to make a strong push in the toy market. In this issue, they highlight a forthcoming line from J. Scott Campbell, the comic book writer/artist behind Danger Girl. His new toy line combines two things geeks love most: hot chicks and monsters. They toy line is called Girlz and Monsters, and consists of nothing but two-packs of...girls and monsters. The first offering, due out in the spring, is called "Dr. Victoria and her Frankenstein." Dr. Victoria is, of course, an incredibly hot mad scientist wearing nothing but a corset, thong, and lab coat. Her Frankenstein is a Campbell rendition of...well, in Basic Broadcast Writing, they tell me not to be redundant, so you probably know what her Frankenstein is.

Next issue...The Toy Store of Doom!

Sunday, November 09, 2003

It's that time of the week again, folks! The latest column is up over at the main page. This week's offering is called I Hate Nothing. Here's a free sample:

"Now, this is a script-writing class, so if we are feeling brave, we can stand before the class and perform our scripts. I thought this was a pretty silly piece and, thought I might get some laughs out of it. When my instructor burst into laughter after just scanning it, I knew I had to perform it. I stood behind the podium and mustered up all the mock anger I could. I sounded really angry when I bellowed out, "I'M GOING TO FAIL THIS CLASS BECAUSE I LOVE YOU ALL!" I got my laughs and I got my applause. I returned to my seat, satisfied that I got my fix for the day. Then, the guy I sit next to pointed to a girl in the back of the class. "Dude," he said. "You made her cry." And yeah. There she was, drying her eyes. "

So, what did she find so moving? Find out for yourself.

And in other news...tomorrow, I've got my latest computer test: How to Use Microsoft Word. This is the first one where I've done 0 studying the night before. What can I say? I've aced the first 3 tests (100%, 90%, 100%) so I'm feeling cocky. Still a little worried, though. I was going to study, honest, but I just left it too late and now I'm tired.

Speaking of being a cocky genius.... I remember being told this story in one of my math classes. Plato, that great philosopher, had this sign hanging above the door to his academy: "Let No One Enter Here Who Is Ignorant of Mathematics." Some day, I'm going to have an office, and I'm going to hang that sign on my door. Why? Because nothing pisses me off more than people who can't add.

Next Issue...Sleepy Bye Time

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I've just come home from The Matrix Revolutions. I'm giving it a good 3.5 Nibs on the patented Nib scale. What can I say? I did think it was a lot better than Reloaded. Not as much prophesizing this time around. Less talk, more rock. And my inner geek just always loves watching giant robots blow stuff up.

I still can't believe I don't own The Matrix on DVD. I remember reading the statistic that half of all DVD enthusiasts have The Matrix on DVD. But then, I also read that you just know a super-special edition boxed set of the entire trilogy is probably in the works.

Now that my fun day in the city is done, I'm lamenting about my lack of money again. I tend to lament about money when I've got none coming in. Oh, well. I always find a way to survive.

Next Issue...The Matrix Unloaded
Yay! I just got Hulk on DVD! I know, it didn't do so well at the box office, but I thought it was pretty good. That's why I'm excited to hear that Marvel is trying to develop Hulk 2 for 2006. You know, as excited as I'm by this, it is kind of the attitude that's destroying Hollywood right now. Yeah, your film only made $150 million instead of the expected $750 million, but we'll make a sequel anyway. Why? Because it's a recognizable brand name now. That's how we got Tomb Raider 2. I tell you, as much as I still fall for the hype on a lot of these films, I do cringe whenever a film series is referred to as a "franchise."

But I digress. Let's bring on Hulk 2! Sadly, I didn't get to watch my new Hulk DVD. Just the pitfalls of living at home. Dad always says, "Why do we have to watch this movie again? There's another cop show on!" So we watch another cop show. Oh, well. I'm home alone this weekend and, barring that, Tuesday is Rememberance Day.

Although, tomorrow, I might slip back into Edmonton to see The Matrix Revolutions. I think I've already ranted on this. Even though I only thought that The Matrix Reloaded was only pretty good, I have high hopes that The Matrix Revolutions will kick ass. Why? Deja vu. The last time I remember parts 2 and 3 of a trilogy being made at the same time was Back to the Future part II and Back to the Future part III. And let's face it, part II kind of sucks when compared to parts I and III. So I'm expecting the same to happen with The Matrix trilogy. Most Internet critics I've read so far seem to be agreeing.

And there's a great example! Because, in its first few days, Revolutions has turned out to be such a hit, people are starting to ask, "Will there be a Matrix 4?" Producer Joel Silver is giving just one answer: "No." However, this isn't the end of The Matrix. The creators of this whole universe, the Wachowski Brothers, fell in love with the character of Seraph (the Oracle's protector) so they are thinking about doing a second Matrix video game starring Seraph. And, a massive online game, a la EverQuest or Star Wars Galaxies is in development.

Next Issue...Neo vs. Hulk

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

In the news today.... On ye olde Internet, I just watched the trailer for The Day After Tomorrow. This is the latest film from director Roland Emmerich, who made two of my favourite popcorn films, Independence Day and the American Godzilla. (Hmm.... A German director made the American remake of a Japanese icon. I just put all that together.) Anyway, The Day After Tomorrow is his first film since the 2000 American Revolution epic The Patriot, and he's back to the mass destruction epics that made him famous. The Day After Tomorrow is about all the nightmares of climate change coming true. Massive storms rip the planet apart and, rather than global warming, the end result is the plummeting of Earth into a second Ice Age. As the the planet-killing cold begins to envelop the planet, a scientist (played by Dennis Quaid) ventures out of one of humanity's last refuges in search of his son. It's got a lot of those great mass destruction effects that Emmerich perfected in ID4. We've got massive tornados destroying L.A., tidal waves washing through the streets of New York, and the final shot: New York City, covered in snow up to the fifth floor of its famous skyline. May 2004. It'll tide me over until Spider-Man II.

Speaking of.... Marvel Comics just did a massive update about where all of their movie projects currently sit. Here's the list.

- Spider-Man 2 just completed principle photography
- Iron Man is targeted to be a PG-13 release and on target for a ’05 release.
- Elektra, which is in current development, will be the “sequel” to Daredevil, with the character first appearing there, and then be reunited with Daredevil in Daredevil 2.
- Marvel is “feverishly” working on Fantastic Four with Fox, and that the studio has it on it's schedule for December 2004.
- Hulk 2 is in development for an 06 release. Arad reported that 6.5 million DVDs shipped for the release, and 3.5 sold within seven days.
- Namor is in active development.
- Arad said that X-Men 3 is in development, but neither Marvel or Fox is willing to tentetively put it on the schedule yet, for either 05 or 06 release.
- Arad reported that Captain America is in discussion with top writers and directors, now that litigation surrounding the character has been resolved.
- Arad said that the production budget for Punisher was in the upper $30s, while the marketing budget will most likely be in the mid $20s (millions).

But I want to know...where's the Ant Man film?

Next Issue...The Day Before Tomorrow

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Watched another great episode of Justice League last night. Apparently, in this show, Wonder Woman doesn't know that Batman is really Bruce Wayne, so there was something very strange (yet appropriate, if you watch the show) when we saw Bruce Wayne hit on Wonder Woman.

And then, it was followed by the most surreal episode of Teen Titans. I already mentioned that that cartoon tries to flat-out rip off the anime style, complete with occasionally playing the theme song in Japanese. But last night...my God. Our heroes were trapped by the villanous Mad Mod, sort of an evil Austin Powers. He trapped them in this place that was like one big drug hallucination and tried to drive the Titans insane. And...the animation! It was so amazing! Every 30 seconds they would do something to alter your perspective. Of course, such tricks aren't new in animation, but when you do it every 30 seconds for a half-hour show...it starts to teeter on the border between brilliant and ludicrous. And when they started playing this bouncy, ska-flavoured J-pop piece during the big chace sequence, it tipped the scales towards "brilliant" in my opinion. My God, that song was so bouncy. I've had it stuck in my head since last night.

Of course, while reveling in the brilliance of all this animation, I did zero studying for my "Introduction to Audio" midterm. Wish me luck, 6 devoted readers!

Next Issue...When do you use a Lavalier Condensor Mic with Omnidirectional Pick-up pattern?

Monday, November 03, 2003

So, I just read my best friend's latest journal entry about his travels in Japan, living a Bohemian lifestyle, camping in ditches and watching the sun rise over shrines.

Is it wrong for me to be jealous?

Next Issue...The End...?

Sunday, November 02, 2003

It's that time of the week again, folks! Over at the real website, I've posted my latest column! This week, we've got The Music of Our Lives. Here's how it begins:

"I've always been trying to develop the perfect mixed tape. Things just kind of got worse when my parents finally got a computer with a burner. Now, I'm constantly trying to develop the perfect mixed CD. I often find myself wishing for better Internet access, so I can crank up the file sharing services to full speed and track down all kinds of obscure songs. Being back in school and studying broadcasting, I'm starting to learn that this a common habit among my classmates. My parents just got a new printer, so I purchased the fancy CD labels so I can finally make proper liner notes for all of these projects. And, I've just about got all the right MP3s downloaded so I can make my next attempt at manufacturing the perfect compilation. With all this going on, I'm just thinking about this quite a bit lately. So, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on all my previous attempts at making "the perfect CD." Besides, it's a great way to put off writing a real column."

First hit's free. Get your complete fix.

Next Issue...Shredder Returns!

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Wow. I just realized. Halloween was on a Friday this year, making the day after Halloween a Saturday. That's the kind of arrangement I prayed for when I was a kid. No school the next day, meaning you could just sit and pig out on all the candy....

Actually, while I sat around home last night, passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, I came up with a brilliant idea for a video game. What do you think of this....

Sim Halloween!

The premise is simple. The main character (you) have been planning for the ultimate Halloween. The first stage of the game concerns designing, making, and/or buying a Halloween costume for optimal candy receiving. You plan it based on cuteness, scariness, whatever you think is best for you, and based on data from prior games. Once you have your costume picked out, you are presented with a map of the town. Here, you plan your route for, again, optimal candy receiving. With a plan in place, you go out trick-or-treating. Just like a real Halloween night, you run into friends along your route and get tips as to which houses are giving out what, so you can adjust your route accordingly. At the end of the night, you win based on how much candy you've gotten.

I tell you, I've come up with Sim Halloween, Sim Olympics, and my first and favourite, Sim Hick Town. It's time I form my video game company.

And I'm currently reading issue 2 of Dreamwave's mini-series Transformers/G.I. Joe. See, this takes place in World War II. The Axis of Evil is composed of Cobra and the Decepticons. The Allies are the Autobots and G.I. Joe. So now, we've got the Autobots and Decpticons turning into WW2-ear war machines, and the Joes and Cobras could have stepped out of the pages of Sgt. Rock. It's a very creative re-imagining of the Transformers and G.I. Joe universes.

It's a lot darker, too. The main subplot is Snake Eyes's revised origin in this universe. When the Joes first landed in Europe to assess the situation, they were ambushed by the Cobra/Decepticon alliance. Snake Eyes was seperated and cornered by his old enemy and blood brother Storm Shadow. Now, for something that hasn't been explained yet, Storm Shadow was kicked out of the Arishikage ninja clan and he blames Snake Eyes. So, out of vengeance, Storm Shadow drugged Snake Eyes and proceded to do a little slice-and-dice on Snake Eyes's face. That's where issue 1 ended.

Issue 2 has Snake Eyes being saved by Stalker. Storm Shadow takes off, and, despite Stalker's urgings that he see a doctor, Snake Eyes goes off in pursuit. Snake Eyes pursues, but, he is losing a lot of blood. He has to do something about the wounds on his face NOW. Snake Eyes decides to cauterize the wounds, and does so by turning a flamethrower on himself. It stopped the bleeding, but now his face is burned beyond recognition. He bandages up the burn wounds and continues the pursuit. He chases Storm Shadow to the ruins of an old European castle. Here, Snake Eyes spots an old suit of armor. To help protect his weakend face, he takes the helmet off of the suit of armor and puts it on (and, big suprise, the helmet heavily resembles his trademark mask from the original comics) and arms himself with the knight's broadsword. Now ready to take on Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes discovers that Storm Shadow has an ally with him now...the Decepticon beast known as Ravage. End issue 2.

Next Issue...the Monthly Spam: November 2003

Friday, October 31, 2003

La la la.... Killing time before Dad comes and gets me and takes me home for the weekend. I can't find any information on the Internet about T.H.I.N.G.S. Remember these? It stood for "Totally Hilarious Incredibly Neat Games of Skill." This was a series of games put out by Milton Bradley in the late 1980s. They were single player games of skill (like the name said) that utilized a little wind-up motor. You pull a lever, it starts moving, and then you have to knock all the flies off of the tree or flip marbles into the hippo's mouth. Stuff like that. They made 9 different ones, and I was so obsessed with them, I collected all nine. Still have all nine, too, and eight of them are still in perfect working order. Maybe it's time I make a website dedicated to T.H.I.N.G.S. Seems like it's time.

Next Issue...This is Halloween
Lots of tidbits to share this morning:

- James Nichols, brother of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, is suing Michael Moore over Bowling for Columbine. Nichols maintains that Moore tricked him into doing the interview, and then defamed him by editing the interview in a way to link him to the Oklahoma City bombing. Nichols is seeking between $10 and $20 million in damages. Moore cannot be reached for comment.

- Disney's disposable DVD, the EZ-D, is starting to be chalked up at a collosal failure. After being for sale in four test markets for a few months now, they are gathering dust on the shelves. Why are people not buying them? The cost. With the discs costing $7, people are complaining that it's too much for something disposable.

- Rumor has it George Lucas has applied to the Director's Guild of America to see if he can alter the credits to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. This ties into the rumor that Luxas has secretly been working on "super special editions" over the past few years. Essentially, Lucas feels that he's altered the films so much now that he deserves a "Directed by..." credit.

- After the success of 2000's Chicken Run, people have been wondering where Aardman's next animated film is. Well, Aardman Studios have finally begun work on it. Their next film is called...Wallace and Grommit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Our two heroes go hunting this mythical beast when it appears that it's attacking London. Two big name voices have already been cast. Helena Bonham Carter, best remebered to my friends as Marla in Fight Club, will voice the wealthy socialite who finances the hunt, and Ralph Finnes, who was in Schindler's List, Quiz Show, and most recently, Red Dragon, will voice the prime suspect.

Next Issue...Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

I'm very sad. I've lost Sailor Jupiter. I've had this Sailor Jupiter keychain for the past two years. Ever since I got back from Japan, it's been dangling from my utility belt. Some where between my car and my first class, she jumped off and went to fight the forces of the Negaverse. I know it's what she has to do, but I'm still sad....

And I was shocked in my broadcast writing course this morning. The assignment was to write (in TV script format) a rant about something that bugs us. I was having trouble coming up with a topic, so I decided to do the very silly, "I hate that I don't hate." It began with the words, "Do you know what bugs me? Nothing at all. And I can't stand it!" It built to this huge climax of, "I'M GOING TO FAIL BECAUSE I LOVE ALL OF YOU!" At that point, one of classmates burst into tears. She was moved to tears by how much I hate to hate. Wow.

Next Issue...The Search for Sailor Jupiter

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I've been wanting to rant about this since Monday night. Who else watched Justice League? Great episode!! Only a Dream followed the exploits of the League's battle against Dr. Destiny. This telepathic villain had the power to control dreams, and so he trapped Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl in their worst nightmares. Martian Manhunter used his telepathic powers to enter all of their dreams and try to help them snap out of the nightmares and take down Dr. Destiny. Meanwhile, in the waking world, Batman was fighting off three days of no sleep as he tried to find the doctor's stronghold. In case you're curious:

- Superman's nightmare was about him getting so powerful that he destroyed all he loved with a single touch. Martian Manhunter eventually found him curled up in the fetal position in the rocket that brought him to Earth. "This is the only place I can be now," lamented Superman. How's that for symbolism?

- Green Lantern's nightmare was about his experiences in the Green Lantern Corp making him so alien that no one on Earth would accept him anymore.

- The Flash's nightmare was about him getting so fast that the rest of the world slowed to a standstill, making him completely alone....

- I couldn't figure out Hawkgirl's greatest nightmare. It was either claustrophobia or death, because she was locked in a coffin and buried alive.

Great comic relief came from Batman's attempts to stay awake. Batman, smashing into Starbucks, charging to the front of the line and demanding a triple latte to go. Great stuff!

Since Dr. Destiny was borrowed to be the villain in Neil Gaiman's first storyline in The Sandman, I kept hoping that the episode would end with an appearance by Dreams. "You've desecrated my domain!" he could bellow to Dr. Destiny, and then he could forever banish Dr. Destiny from the dream world. Just my thoughts.

Anyway, this whole episode reminded me of an episode of G.I. Joe that I watched when I was a kid. Remember this episode? Cobra was using a special machine to trap the Joes in their nightmares, but the only one this had no effect on was the sniper Low-Light, because Low-Light had serious problems with nightmares when he was a kid and was the only one adept at fighting nightmares. Finally, a special machine was rigged up by Doc to bring all the Joes into one common dream world, where Low-Light rallied them together to fight their nightmares. I'll never forget the nightmare of computer expert Mainframe. He was literally replaced by machinery as he slowly turned into this freaky cyborg. Totally freaked me out!

Speaking of fears, I'm off to write my Law and Ethics midterm. I'm having flashbacks to Augustana. I got through Introduction to the Old Testament thanks to the fact that I saw The Ten Commandments a dozen times. Something tells me that I'll get through this class courtesy of Law & Order reruns. At least, that's what I told myself last night when I watched Law & Order: Special Victims Unit instead of studying.

Next Issue...In the Criminal Justice System....