Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, August 31, 2003

It's Sunday night, folks, and as always, I've got my latest column up over at my real website, Chaos In A Box. This week's offering is called The Old and the New, and here's a sample:

"So, here I am, back in Entwistle. It's amazing how little my hometown has changed in the year that I was in Japan. I already find myself slipping back into old habits. I can pick up right where I left off. The only thing is I really didn't leave off at a good part. I was living in my parents' basement making slightly more than minimum wage. I mean, I left because it wasn't a good part. And now I'm back and very little has changed. Well, there has been one significant change."

Read it all, folks!

Saturday, August 30, 2003

A week ago, my parents bought a new television. Being a new model, it is perfectly colour corrected and has high-end S-video inputs for DVD. Needless to say, I've wasted a lot of time this past week re-watching most of my DVDs and just enjoying them with the most crystal clear picture I've ever seen them. So, you can understand my frustration this evening when I'm watching Ghostbusters for the 9,000,000,000th time and I lose the left speaker on my stereo. It's one of those problems that just bugs me. I think the problem is in the cable. I have an extra set of stereo cables that I'll try tomorrow.

*sigh* Someday, I'm going to have my own home, with a large, top-of-the-line home theater, and once I have it running at optimal performance, you're all invited over to my house to watch Ghostbusters, Independence Day, Monsters, Inc., The Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man, and that one Japanese porn DVD I picked up in Akihabara.

Don't worry. I'm kidding. I don't own Lord of the Rings.

I also finally picked up Good Morning Vietnam on DVD. It's one of my all-time favourite movies, but I've never owned it in any format. Never even taped it off of television! Watching it now, my God, there was so much of it that was so far over my head when I first saw it at the age of 10. "the Mississippi River broke through a protective dyke today. What is a protective dyke? Is that a large woman standing by the river?" "You are in the most dire need of blowjob than any white man on the planet." Jeez, I was quoting that to my fellow fifth graders and I had no idea what I meant.

You know, because I have this low constitution for horror movies (as Mr. Anderson will verify. He took me to see The Ring and I was screaming out loud 10 minutes into it), some people tend to think that I had this very sheltered upbringing and my parents never let me watch any R-rated movies as a kid. As I look back now, I saw lots of R-rated movies when I was a kid! But not Friday the 13th or Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street. No, the R-rated movies I was raised on were Good Morning Vietnam and Porky's and Slap Shot. Good raunchy comedies where the R-rating came from sexual inneundo, lots of cussing, and the occasional jiggly boobs. I guess I just perfer laughing to screaming.

Wow. Ghostbusters is a 19-year old movie. Can you believe it? It was among the first DVDs I bought. I kept saying I was going to get Ghostbusters II on DVD. It's in all the discount bins, now. No more excuses!

Next Issue...Housewarming Party! Rated R for sexual inneundo, lots of cussing, and (God willing) jiggly boobs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Just a lazy Tuesday afternoon. Wasting time instead of doing something productive, like finding an apartment. That's just how I operate. The more important something is, the more I put it off.

Anyway, I've been begging for donations at my website for a couple of weeks now, and still nothing. So, I'm wondering what I can do to illicit donations. My logic right now is that, maybe people will feel more compelled to give if I give them a discernable goal rather than simply, "Like this column? Leave a tip!" So what's a noble goal? I arrived at one last night.

I am a Trekkie. A year ago, before I left for Japan, Paramount just started with the big boxed sets of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I bought season 1 and 2 before I left, and my original plan was to buy season 3 - 7 and ship them to my parents, so they would be waiting for me in Canada upon my return. But, I started exploring Japan instead of buying DVDs, and at $100/boxed set, I thought it was more important I take another trip into Tokyo. But that didn't get me seasons 3-7. I'm back home now, and my savings are slowly being drained for my back-to-school effort this fall. So how can I get the remaining 5 seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation? I'll beg for the money on my website, of course!

The goal: $500 to purchase the remaining 5 seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. All excess money will go to purchasing the boxed sets of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Any and all contributions are welcome.

And now, back to work!

Next issue...Trouble's New Ninth Roommate

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Here's an excerpt from my latest column!

"When my contract with the company came to an end, I knew I wasn't going to go straight home to Canada from Kumagaya. I decided to take a few weeks and do a little of the traveling through Japan that I had longed to do. Being a mountain man at heart, I sat down with a rail map and sketched a bit of a loop through the Japanese Alps. I would drift by Mt. Fuji, head on up to Matsumoto for a dip in some hot springs, and then I would be off to the one place I had wanted to go since I arrived in Japan: Nagano, home to the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. What can I say? I'm a little Olympic-crazy. Once I had my fill of Mt. Fuji and the hot springs, I arrived in Nagano eager to see the Olympic sites."

It's called You Can't Go In. Read it all!
I've been spending a lot of time recently getting re-aquainted with my Batman trade paperbacks. Seeing as to how I have read them many, many times, I'm thinking it's time to start expanding my library. Naturally, my first instinct drifts me towards Kevin Smith's stuff. I'm really curious about his Green Arrow story, Quiver, so if anyone out there has read it, tell me if it's worth my hard earned cash. Plus, there's his View Askew comics, like Clerks, Chasing Dogma, and the Bluntman and Chronic graphic novel. Actually, I have read Bluntman and Chronic. It was an afternoon in a Tokyo bookstore. If you thought Kevin Smtih was nothing but dick and fart jokes before....

And while we're on the subject, I'm thinking about buying a Green Lantern action figure. What can I say? When I was a kid, my brother bought me the Super Powers Green Lantern figure for Christmas one year, and it was my favourite toy for a good six months. Ever since I got hardcore into action figure collecting, I've been toying with adding another GL to my collection. But there are so many now! Golden Age, Silver Age, Modern, Kingdom Come, the animated Justice League.... Which one?

Kind of reminds me of when the Star Wars figures came out. I got it in my head to collect every Luke Skywalker. But I didn't.

Tonight's obscure Star Trek fact: It's common knowledge that the powers-that-be at Paramount wanted the character of Ensign Ro to be on Deep Space Nine, but they were also trying to get her for Voyager.

Next issue...Emerald Twilight

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Let's see if we can try something new tonight. Let's try and get a discussion going in my forum. I'm reading the latest ToyFare, so let's make it toy-related....

1) If you could have an action figure of ANY fictional character, who would it be and why?

2) If you could have an action figure of any REAL PERSON, who would it be and why?

3) If they were to make an action figure of YOU, what action feature would you have?


Next issue...Everybody dies! Except for me. Know why? Because I had my tray table up and my seatback in the full upright position!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Well, today was registration day at NAIT. I'm all signed up to go back to school this fall. I don't know, I was so bleh about the whole registration process. I did it so many times back at Augustana. I didn't get very excited.

But then, not much excites me any more. The last time I was truly excited was when I went to Tokyo Disneyland. I guess I should write a column about that. When my laptop broke down, I was in the middle of writing a column about my trip to the Studio Ghilbi Museum. I, personally, think that'll make a better column. Disneyland was cool in that, "My God, this is so cheezy, it must be cool," way, but the the Studio Ghibli Musuem was cool in that, "Wow. I can't believe this is real," kind of way.

Man, I wish I backed that up so I could finish it.

Next issue...Return of the Queen

Monday, August 18, 2003

Let me reiterate what I said yesterday:


I got an hour to upload my latest column, another hour to check this morning's e-mail, and then...nothing.

I am very angry right now.

Next issue...Hulk out

Sunday, August 17, 2003

OK, getting on my parents computer and writing nasty messages seems to have jinxed my laptop back into working. Go read my latest column...while you can.

Next issue...Eternal Vigilance

I have my laptop back for one week - ONE FUCKING WEEK! - and it breaks down again. Tomorrow, I am going to put on my finest suit, head back into Future Shop, and kick ass, corporate style.

Next issue...Death to the Corporation
As we all know, Freddy vs. Jason is in theatres right now, and I'm watching Friday the 13th part 6 on TV. True, I've never been a big horror guy, but my logic is, "If it's on at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon, how scary can it be?" And trust me, part 6 is more stupid than scary. Anyway, it strikes me that I never really knew the origins of Jason. (Someone told me the origins of Freddy several years back.) So, I've been doing some Friday the 13th research online. Much to my surprise, Jason didn't make his first appearance until part 2 (his mother was the killer in part 1) and he didn't start wearing his trademark hockey mask until part 3 (he wore a pillowcase over his head in part 2). And his origins? Still unclear.

Anyway, my thoughts today are of fast food. This stems from an e-mail I got from Mr. Anderson over the focus of my site. I understand his point that it should just have one focus. But the question is, what should that focus be? He casually threw out the line, "Hell, you may even want to do fast food reviews," and I started thinking, "Why not?"

Does such a website exist? Is there a website out there that provides critiques of fast food like restaurant reviews? I think that is such a great idea. Why couldn't there be an Ain't It Cool News for fast food restaurants? A database of reviews on your classic fast food meals, news on upcoming "burgers of the month," who's giving away what toys right now, genius! As we all know, though, fast food restaurants also tend to do a lot of evil in the world, so there could also be a section called, "Between the Buns" or something that tries to bring us the latest evil that they do, for a complete and balanced picture.

I'm going to go look for such a website.

Next issue...Friday the 13th part XXII: Jason vs. Ronald

Friday, August 15, 2003

I've only had my repaired laptop back for a week, and it's like having a new computer. I find I'm doing all those things you tend to do when you have a new computer. You know, changing my wallpaper everyday, checking my e-mail every half-hour, stuff like that.

One thing I really missed while I was in Japan that I can now watch on TV again is stand-up comedy. I actually missed watching stand-up. I missed it so much, I even ran out and bought a comedy CD one day. When I was online at the Internet cafe, I was donwloading and listening to old Abbot & Costello routines. I truly missed stand-up.

And here's a peek inside my creative process. About a year ago, I ran a massive, three-part epic column on my website entitled Don't Panic. (Go read Part I, Part II, and Part III) It was quite popular and went over well. So, five months back, I was working on a sequel about another day trip I took in Japan, entitled Don't Panic 2: The Female Buddha. I had finished writing parts 1 and 2 when my laptop suffered its catastrophic failure. Now, I've got it fixed, but I just can't get back into the groove I was in five months ago when I was writing parts 1 and 2. Any advice on how to keep going from here?

Next Issue...Don't Panic 3: The Undiscovered Final Voyage Home

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Time to take the movies back, and possibly rent a few more. I was reading a few days ago how, thanks to many factors, like the success of Bowling for Columbine and the popularity of reality TV, the documentary is experiencing an increse in popularity. I was thinking about this as I saw a few documentaries I considered renting:

Lost in LaMancha - This originally started as a DVD featurette for Terry Gilliam's film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, but as it became clear on the first day of shooting, the film was a doomed production. So, it wound up being a documentary about the destruction of the film. Flash floods destroyed the sets, practicing NATO jets kept flying overhead, the star broke his back, and through it all, Gilliam tried to keep everyone calm.

Comedian - This one follows the daily grind of stand-up comics. Of course, the main story thrust is Jerry Seinfeld, as he gets back into the grind, trying out new material and all that good stuff. It's apparently very good and very funny.

Next issue...Our fascinating 12-hour documentary on the history of paper clips.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Well, in case you haven't noticed, I've been redesigning things a little. With my main site, Chaos In A Box back online, I tried to figure out what to do with this. So, welcome to Midnight Ramblings! Hopefully, this'll absorb all the rants I make pop culture things so the column can focus purly on writing. Pop culture ramblings like this one....

I've rented a couple animated flicks so I can catch up on what I missed while I was in Japan. Right now, I'm watching Ice Age. It's OK, but it's trying too hard to be Shrek. I also finally got The Animatrix. A mixed bag, to be sure, but nothing really stellar. I dunno, when it comes to animation for adults, it all looks like one of two things for me: 1) A pale imitation of Japanese anime-style, or 2) weak segments from the 1981 film Heavy Metal. It was all right, I guess.

And, of course, last night I wasted a good hour watching Smallville. You know, with that show, I find that the great deal of drama doesn't come from young Clark Kent's angst as he pines for Lana Lang and comes to term with his powers. No, it comes from Lex Luthor's slow, almost painfully slow, decent to the dark side. A snide comment from his father here, a heartbreak there, it's all adding up.

Next issue...The JubJub Strikes!

Monday, August 04, 2003

OK, I haven't done this for a couple of weeks, but I feel like writing something tonight, so why not this? And, truth be told, this is actually last week's episode of He-Man. But, I have to include it, if only because it tell's the origin of Stinkor, a character that the makers of the original cartoon REFUSED to do because they felt the character would just become "a walking fart joke." So, let me summarize:

The Sweet Smell of Victory - The episode opens with Odephus, a little rodent of a villain (seriously, like only 2 feet tall) robbing some items from an Eternian warehouse. A group of Skeletor's henchmen bust in, also seeking to steal some of the high tech equipment. But, this soon brings in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and a fight breaks out. Roboto (yay!) is with them, and he rips out his BFGs and lays waste to the place. Sadly, in the carnage, the evildoers manage to get away. Odephus, impressed with these evil deeds, follows them, hoping to become one of Skeletor's henchmen. In the aftermath, Roboto sinks into a funk. Because of his miscalculations, he destoryed the place and the bad guys got away. Man-At-Arms advises him not to dwell on this, as it will turn him into his own worst enemy. Meanwhile, back at Snake Mountain, Trap Jaw is using the stolen equipment to finish his latest invention: a device that will remove Beast Man's foul body odor. (Seriously.) Odephus bursts in, asking Trap Jaw to let him into the gang, but Trap Jaw just waves him off. Skeletor summons Trap Jaw, and Odephus is left alone in Trap Jaw's lab. Odephus starts fiddling with the anti-BO machine, and soon it zaps him. It causes Odephus to mutate into the size of a regular human being...but it also curses him with an overwhelmingly bad stench. Unable to bear his own smell, Odephus grabs a gas mask from Trap Jaw's workshop and figures, "Hey! With the power of stench, Skeletor's just got to let me in!" He bursts into Skeletor's throne room, but Skeletor just covers his nose and orders Odephus banshied from Snake Mountain. Feeling alone and dejected, Odephus wanders off in a self-pitying despair, leaving dead plants in his wake. He finds himself a rock and begins to cry. But, sadly, his stench soon wafts over to a herd of Eternian livestock. The smell spooks the livestock, and they take off on a stampede, right towards the Eternian palace! The Masters of the Universe spring into action to ward of this threat. Roboto deduces that, since animals are involved, Beast Man is probably the culprit, and goes off to aprehend Beast Man. The Masters successfully stop the stampede, and Roboto returns, having found no trace of Beast Man. Stratos deduces that these animals are sensitive to smell, so maybe a bad smell set them off. This causes Roboto to sink further into his despair. Turns out Skeletor was watching the whole thing, and thinks, "Ya know, maybe this guy'll be useful after all." Skeletor recalls Odephus to Snake Mountain and hatches a delirously simple plan: Odephus will distract the palace guards (and the Masters) with his stench, while everyone else launches a full-out assault on the Eternian palace. So, Odephus goes on ahead to stink up the place. The plan works, and soon the Masters are running around, leaving the castle unguarded, as they go off to fight the stench. But, before they go, He-Man figures there must be more to this, and spies Skeletor and his troops advancing on the castle. Odephus gets the drop on He-Man, and they begin to fight. It's tough going, though, as He-Man and Battle Cat are almost cripped by Odephus' stench. As all this is going on, Roboto crawls out of his funk long enough to scan the battlefield. He notices Odephus' gas mask. He radios this information to He-Man: Odephus is vulnerable to his own stench. So, He-Man provides the distraction, while Battle Cat sneaks up on Odephus. When he's within striking distance, Battle Cat rips off Odephus' gas mask, and Odephus collapses, overwhelmed by his own stench. He-Man then picks up the lifeless body of Odephus and hurls him into the middle of Skeletor's forces. This causes an immediate retreat. Roboto's role in the victory propels him out of his funk. We end back at Snake Mountain, where Skeletor's forces are scrubbing the stink out of their armor. One inquires as to why Odephus isn't made to scrub, where Skeletor points out that Odephus actually pulled off his part of the plan, and thus proved his worth to Skeletor. Off screen, we hear Odpehus say, "Odephus? Odephus is dead!" He then enters, wearing an orange suit of armor to contain and control his stench. "Call me...STINKOR!"

Next issue...the Return of Snout Spout! (Bring back Snout Spout!)

Friday, August 01, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an important announcement to make.

Chaos In A Box.com is going back online.

For those who haven't been keeping, Chaos In A Box.com is my real website. It's been down since Apirl when my laptop died on me. Here we are, 5 months later, and my laptop still isn't fixed. I just can't stand this anymore. I've got my parents' computer, I've spent the past few weeks hammering out a few columns. I just can't wait anymore.

However, most of the templates and stuff for formatting my columns for upload are still on my laptop. It'll take some time to reconstruct them from what I have uploaded. So, let the countdown begin: my first new column in 5 months will go up on Sunday, August 10.

Next issue...Return of the King, Baby!