Just forget the words and sing along

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