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.