Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, December 31, 2004

Having a very good final day of 2004.

I'm sure I've ranted many times before how Tokyo Mew Mew was one of my favourite animes when I was in Japan and I'd watch it every Saturday morning before going to work. And I'm sure I've also mentioned that 4Kids Entertainment - the same folks who import the Pokemon cartoon and make the new Ninja Turtles toon - are in the midst of translating Tokyo Mew Mew for North America. Well, I did some research today. The translated product has been named Mew Mew Power, and it'll be premiering next month. I downloaded all kinds of promotional gear from the 4Kids website, including the English opening credits sequence.

I was taken aback by the opening credits sequence. I did have the good fortune of watching some of the original Japanese Pokemon opening credit sequences, and when I compared them to the English ones, I saw that they took all footage from the Japanese opening credits, only re-edited it to match the English theme song. But, with the Mew Mew Power opening credit sequence, very little footage remains from the original opening credits. I was watching the whole thing going, "OK, that's from the second episode, that's from the fourth episode, that's actually from the final episode, and that's from the closing credits." And the English theme is kind of lame, too.

But still, can't wait to finally watch the adventures of Ichigo Momoyo in English! I'm sorry, her new English name is Zoey Daniels.

I also managed to catch an episode of the original Star Trek that I've wanted to see for a while now. It was called The Savage Curtain. The Enterprise is taken to the planet Excalbia by Abraham Lincoln. Kirk, Spock, and Lincoln beam down where they meet Surak, the founder of the Vulcan faith. The Excalbians appear and say that they have no concept of good and evil, so they've set up this test. Kirk, Spock, Lincoln, and Surak will form the "good" team. The "evil" team consists of Genghis Kahn, Kahless (the founder of the Klingon faith), Zoya (an infamously evil geneticist), and Col. Green, a warmonger from early 21st Century Earth. So, the good guys and the bad guys proceed to slug it out. Marvel Comics ripped off the concept years later for their now-classic Secret Wars comic.

Now, I'd been wanting to see it for this character of Colonel Green. We don't learn that much about him. According to the Excalbians, he led a genocidal war on Earth. He was power hungry, and his favourite move was to use peace talks as a diversionary tactic.

I wanted to know more about this character because Manny Coto, the guy in charge of Enterprise, seems to obsessed with this character. In every interview, he goes on and on about wanting to do something with Colonel Green. He even said that, when planning his Eugenics Wars arc, Dr. Arik Soong was originally going to be Colonel Green.

So, I had to see this because this character is most definitly headed for Enterprise.

Next Issue...Next Year

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Wow. I must have a touch of the obsessive compulsive disorder. After I mounted my new Clone Wars action figures last night, I noticed that my Star Wars figures no longer formed a perfect, symmetrical grid on my wall. So, I spent most of my morning re-arranging how all my collectable action figures are displayed, just so I could get the Star Wars figures back into a symmetrical grid.

Anyway, let's get to some cool DVD news. I revealed this a few weeks ago, but today I finally got the complete list of bonus materials. On March 15, Paramount will release the 2-disc special edition of....

Star Trek: First Contact

Your bonus materials:
- running commentary with director/star Jonathan Frakes
- running commentary with writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga
- pop up triva commentary compiled by Michael and Denise Okuda
- 3 featurettes on the Star Trek universe, including a tribute to composer Jerry Goldsmith
- 3 featurettes on the Borg
- 6 featurettes on the production, including one dedicated to the design of the Enterprise-E
- 3 scene deconstructions
- storyboard gallery
- teasers and trailers

Huh. No cut scenes. And I was *really* hoping they'd include the long-rumoured Captain Sisko cameo.

Oh, and there's a rumour going around that, on the same day, Paramount will release the much-demanded Star Trek: the Complete Animated Series. No word if this rumour is true, or what bonus stuff there may be.

A couple of quick bits, because Mom just rang the dinner bell:

- Team America: World Police hits DVD on April 5.
- To start hyping The Ring 2, a new The Ring Collector's Set hits on March 8.

Next Issue...Full Tummy

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I was so busy talking about The Lord of the Rings that I forgot to brag about the new addition to my collectable action figure collection.

I'm starting to find that one of the best places to get action figures is The Real Canadian Superstore. Especially when it comes to Star Wars. I don't know why, but Star Wars action figures don't move too well from Superstore, meaning you've got a great chance of getting something obscure from them. It's where I found my Darth Vader.

Now, some of the coolest action figures I'd read about were the Star Wars: Clone Wars figures. These figures were from the series of short cartoons done by Genndy Tartakovsky for the Cartoon Network. Now, for mainstream release, they did the central characters, only "literalized" them. That is, they made them look like real people so they'd look in place next to your existing collection of Luke Skywalkers and Darth Mauls. But, for Target Stores in the USA, they did a store exclusive collection of the Star Wars: Clone Wars figures as they appear in their animated style. Very cool. But they were Target Store exclusives, and there are no Targets in Canada.

So how Superstore started carrying them, I don't know. But, back in October or so, I saw the animated style Star Wars: Clone Wars figures in Superstore. But, they only had Count Dooku and (Clone Wars mercenary) Durge in their animated digs. "Cool, but not what I'm after," I thought to myself. "Now, if they had the animated version of Mace Windu, or main Clone Wars villain Asajj Ventress, well then, now we're talking!"

Time passed, and the shelves were always clogged with Count Dooku and Durge.

Until today.

Today, I was browsing through Superstore, and they had *everybody* in the animated style Clone Wars series. Animated Obi-Wan, Anakin, Clone Troopers, and, of course, Dooku and Durge. Got me the last Mace Windu and Asajj Ventress on the shelves! And damn, they look cool.

Next Issue...The Hunt Resumes
And now, I'd like to present...

The Stupidist Conversation I've Ever Had With a Store Clerk

The setting: Future Shop. I'd just finished returning my extra Spider-Man 2 DVD, and I was on the hunt for my Lord of the Rings trilogy. Right after I get my hands on The Fellowship of the Ring and notice they don't have any more on the shelf, I'm approached by a clerk....

CLERK: Can I help you?

MARK: Yeah. Lord of the Rings. All you got out here is Fellowship.

CLERK: Do you want the theatrical editions or the extended editions?

MARK: I want the the theatrical editions. I like those ones more.

CLERK: Are you sure you don't want the extended editions?

MARK: Positive. I want the films I saw in the theatre.

CLERK: But the extended editions have a lot more cool stuff.

MARK: I know. But I like the theatrical versions more. Those are the ones I want. The regular, good ol' theatrical versions.

CLERK: Oh. Well, we're sold out of the extended editions.

Also turns out that the one DVD of Fellowship of the Ring that I grabbed off the shelf was the last Lord of the Rings DVD that Future Shop had. I guess all the hype on the Return of the King: Extended Edition made the whole franchise the "must-have" DVDs of the season. Anyway, grabbed Fellowship, and I'm on my way to completing the trilogy!

(Could have bought the whole trilogy at HMV, but didn't want to pay an arm and a leg. I love HMV for their selection, but they're so damned overpriced.... I only buy DVDs there now if it's a really obscure title I'm after.)

Next Issue...The Seach Continues!

Monday, December 27, 2004

I'm back from Christmas break! Went down to Red Deer to hang with the family. And that's why there's no column this week. Didn't right anything before I left, didn't feel like writing anything when I got home tonight. I think you'll live.

Now, I know I said I'd never talk about my family in the columns or in this here blog or anything like that, but this is just too good a story to not share.

As you all know, the one thing I really, really wanted for Christmas was the Spider-Man 2 DVD. I've been dropping subtle hints since August. Well, only if you consider putting up big, bold banners "subtle." When Spider-Man 2 finally came out back on November 30, that's when I tripled my "subtle" hints.

And about two weeks ago, Mom started dropping her own subtle hints. She started going on and on about how she didn't want to buy me DVDs for gifts anymore. Between widescreen, fullscreen, extended editions, and unrated director's cuts, she just has no idea anymore which one is the "right" one. I tried to put her mind at ease. "Just look for those two words - wide screen - and I'll be happy," I said.

And the countdown to Christmas continued, me with my subtle hints that all I wanted was Spider-Man 2, and Mom with her ramblings about how she refused to buy me DVDs.

Christmas morning came. I grabbed the box from my parents. It was about the right size for a DVD. I tore it open and found...a box of chocolates. I thought, "Maybe Mom just used an empty box," but no. A quick look at the underside showed the factory seals were still intact. A quick shake and I heard a very recognizable rattle. It was a box of chocolates. I felt somewhat letdown, as it was the only DVD-sized box under the tree for me, meaning it was clear what happened: no Spider-Man 2 for me. I was then directed towards a second box from my parents, which contained a Future Shop gift card. The meaning was clear: here's the money to buy the DVD you want. The box of chocolates is just for the thrill of opening something on Christmas morning.

But still, that didn't stop me from being whiney all day Christmas. I lamented that I didn't get what I really wanted - Spider-Man 2 - and everyone was stunned. (As I said, I layed the subtle hints on pretty heavy.) Mom just smiled and nodded in her sympathetic, maternal way.

Boxing Day came. My brother and sister-in-law were off to spend their Christmas cash, and I went along. We went to Future Shop, where I promplty grabbed Spider-Man 2 off the shelf and spent my gift card on it. My brother and sister-in-law bought a new printer, a new digital camera, wireless controllers for his PS2, a new exercise bike, etc.

We got back to my brother's place, and we unloaded all of his packages. When all that was done, Mom turned to me and said, "And let me guess...you spent all your money, too." Feeling somewhat proud, I said, "Nope. There was only one thing on my list, and it's the only thing I got: Spider-Man 2."

Mom's Christmas cheer gave way to sheer rage. "What the hell was wrong the the DVD I gave you?" she demanded. Somewhat taken aback, I gently reminded my mother that she didn't give me a DVD. She gave me the gift card and a box of chocolates. "You should have opened the fucking box," she said as she stormed off.

Naturally, I went to the Christmas tree and took a second look at the box of chocolates my parents gave me. Upon a closer, Gil Grisson-style investigation, I noticed that the factory seals had been gently pieced back together and taped up. I cut the tape and opened the box. Inside, were a handful of chocolates to give the box a "box of chocolates" rattle...

...and Spider-Man 2 on DVD.

Mom didn't talk to me for the rest of the afternoon, thinking that I had snubbed her and implied the gift wasn't good enough. I didn't talk to Mom for the rest of the day, because I felt that she played a very cruel Chrismtas joke on me.

Anyway, it seems that we're both over it now. Probably on Wednesday or Thursday, I'll head into the city and return the Spider-Man 2 DVD that I bought. The only question now is, what trilogy should I blow my gift card on: Lord of the Rings or the Matrix?

Next Issue...Turning into the Grinch

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I just have to share this news.

It's become a growing trend among the entertainment conglomerates to make a video game sequel to a cult classic film that they own. Some of the best examples popping to mind right now are the Evil Dead games and Disney's Tron 2.0. Now, another "video game sequel to a cult classic" has been announced, and it's one that's been rumoured for a long time.

the Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.

Picking up shortly after The Nightmare Before Christmas, Oogie's Revenge tells the tale of the return of Oogie Boogie and his plot to oust Jack Skellington as the King of Halloween. You will play Jack (naturally) as he fights off Oogie's hordes to keep Halloweentown safe. Along the way, Jack will pick up a handy weapon called a "Soul Robber," and make a variety of costume changes; each costume boasting its own unique attacks.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge will be available for PS2 and Xbox, and in stores for Halloween 2005.

and now, Christmas is drawing near. I can tell because there's about 3 dozen different versions of A Christmas Carol on TV. The Guiness Book of World Records says that Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed character in film, with Dracula being a close second. I tell ya, Ebeneezer Scrooge has to at least be in the top 5.

But, my favourite spin on the saga of Scrooge still has to be the holiday episode of The Real Ghostbusters. While coming back from a job on Christmas eve, the Ghostbusters fall through a timewarp and find themselves in Victorian London. Here, they accidentally capture the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future on their way to teach Scrooge a lesson. So, the 'busters get back to the future, dump the spirits into the Ecto Containment Unit, and that's when all hell breaks loose. Because Scrooge never learned the true meaning of Christmas, his attitude caught on, and now, the Ghostbusters live in a time where Christmas does not exist. So, a solution is hatched. Egon builds a special suit that will allow him to go inside the Ecto Containment Unit to rescue the 3 ghosts, while the other Ghostbusters go back through the timewarp to take the place of the 3 ghosts and teach Scrooge his lesson.

Man, I'd love to see that episode again.

Next Issue...Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Got some big release dates I have to share.

First, for Dad, circle Tuesday, March 1 on your calendar. That's the day of the 2-hour final episode of NYPD Blue. Ahh, who could forget NYPD Blue? Created by Steven Bochco with the innocent goal of doing "an R-rated police drama for television," the show was immediatly controversial for it's foul language, gratuitious bare butt shots, and just plain contributing to the moral decay of society. But, once you got past all that, there were some compelling characters and good storytelling going on, making it a darling of critics and the Emmys. Anyway, it's been on for 12 years now, probably lost it's edge about 5 years ago, but it's still pretty good. And it's Dad's favourite show.

The next big day is July 16. Scholastic has announced that this will be the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, aka Harry Potter VI. JK Rowling announced yesterday that she finished it over the weekend and shipped it off to her publisher. This'll be Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, meaning he's now a hormonally charged 16 year old. Apparently in book IV he started getting interested in girls. Hmmm... No one's wondering if there's a "losing his virginity" scene in any of these later books. The big wonderment right now is if it's longer that The Order of the Phoenix (book 5), which came in at 870 pages. Rowling has said in the past that she always intended Harry Potter to be a 7-book epic, meaning this is the second last one. (Although, she has hinted in recent years about maybe doing a 8th book about a grown-up Harry struggling with adulthood.)

And I was reading something interesting in the paper today. It's about the soft drink industy and how "diet" has become a dirty word. "Old, dated, with negative connotations," says the market studies. So, you can start saying good-bye to "Diet Coke" and "Diet Pepsi," as they'll soon be given newer, trendier, current-diet-fad names. The first victim has been Diet Sprite, which now goes by Diet Sprite Zero, soon to be Sprite Zero. In fact, it already goes by Sprite Zero in most of Europe. The name change doubled sales in Greece.

Actually, this article showed that you'll never know when a good pop culture reference will pop up. As a case study, this article mentioned that, in the 1980s, Pepsi changed the name of Caffiene Free Pepsi to Pepsi Free. The article goes on to mention that the name change "even became a set-up for a joke in the classic film Back to the Future, in which Marty McFly, visiting 1955, ordered a Pepsi Free in a diner, only to have the counterman reply, 'If you want a Pepsi, pal, ya gotta pay for it.'"

Next Issue...School's done!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

First things first. Latest column's up! This week, I tell you How to be a Genius:

"I’ve been called a genius many times in my short life, but to tell the truth, I’ve never believed it. I may be smart, intelligent even. At least, that’s what having a degree in physics leads people to believe. But a genius? Never in a million years. I just don’t have the marketing savvy. Being a genius, or at least regarded as one, is just another label we attribute to people, like “savant” or “cool.” Being a genius has very little to do with how smart you are. I’ve known some geniuses who were downright idiots, and I’ve known some very smart people who weren’t geniuses at all. Nope, genius is just another image we project. And, since I’ve suckered many people into believing that I’m a genius, it must be an image I’m good at projecting. So then, let me help you out. Here are the five simple steps to being a genius."

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

And, with my weekend at a close, I'm once again wondering what to do next in Pokemon. I got my dragons. I got Flygon and Salamance. So, what next? I definitly want to work with Shedinja more. Shedinja is a unique pokemon. It's a Ghost/Bug type. It has only 1 HP, meaning one hit and he's down for the count. But...Shedinja has a special ability called Wonder Guard. Wonder Guard makes Shedinja invulnerable to about 90% of all pokemon. Once he's a little stronger and knows some more powerful moves, I think Shedinja would make a great "big gun."

There's a few more elusive rare pokemon in the Safari Zone I want to snag. Plus, I'm in the midst of making a totally pimped-out secret base. I'm kind of waiting for the Lilycove Department Store to have it's clearance sale so I can get a TV. When I finally get my own place, I hope it's as cool as my secret base.

And I've had a few happy memories. Caught The Royal Tennenbaums on TV last night. I'll always have happy memories of that film. I saw it in Vancouver, right after my job inteview with the AEON Corp. Not wanting to be lonely in the big city, I made plans with a freind of a friend to hang out. The Royal Tennenbaums was her favourite movie at the moment, so we went to see it. Then, we kind of hung out for the afternoon. One of the best afternoons I've ever had. *sigh* Probably the closest I've ever come to having a date in my life, too.

(Of course, if she ever reads that, she'll probably totally freak out.)

Next Issue...Last Day of School!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

And now, the biggest comic book movie news of the day.

David S. Goyer, the man who wrote all 3 Blades, directed #3, wrote Batman Begins, and boasts that he's consulted on every superhero film in development (but Superman), will be writing and directing....

The Flash.

I'll admit, this kind of gets me tingly. I think I've ranted before that I absolutely *loved* the live-action TV show when I was 13, and that was really my only exposure to the character. Well, that and his starring role on Justice League, where he's the token smart-ass.

No word yet on which incarnation of the Fastest Man Alive Goyer will be using, but Goyer has already said that he thinks his Blade: Trinity star Ryan Reynolds is right for the part. Hmm... Reynolds is age & pesonality appropriate for the current Flash, Wally West.

Anyway, I should get back to work. I finally got my Trapinch to evolve into a Vibrava! 10 more levels, and I get a kick-ass Flygon.

Hmmm... I have a friend who works in a sex shop. She sells Vibravas for a living!


Next Issue...Lazy Afternoon

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I just spend a few minutes to wander aimlessly around the school. It'd been ages since I'd done that. I'm constantly amazed at how every thing's connected through pedways; like the school's a big Habitrail. Didn't Shakespear write, "All the world's a Habitrail, and the people are but hampsters?" I don't think so.

But still, I went up to the tower lounge. I like the view up there. Helps me clear my head. (For those not from NAIT, the "Office Tower" is the 8-story office building where the Business Administration courses are taught. The eighth floor is a massive study lounge; the tower lounge.) What can I say? I just like going to high places to relax. Was the same in Japan. My school was on the fifth floor of a 7-story building. I'd eat my lunch on the roof. On a clear day, you could see Mt. Fuji.

And trust me, with the smog from being that close to Tokyo, clear days were rare.

Next Issue...Glorious Flaming End
Show prep for the final show:

- I keep reading of the saga of the Edmonton Food Bank and their website. Their URL used be "edmontonfoodbank.com," but someone wasn't watching too carefully and forgot to renew the registration. "edmontonfoodbank.com" was promptly bought by a Swiss cyber-squatter, and currently re-directs to an ad for a boner pill and a "This domain can be yours!" ad. This Swiss company offered to sell the URL back to the food bank for $300. They lowered the price to $200 when they found out the Food Bank was a charity, not a grocery store. The Food Bank just said, "Screw you," and ran out and registered "edmontonfoodbank.org" and "edmontonfoodbank.ca." Many people in the city have offered to buy the URL for the food bank, but the food bank has said, "Know what? This is really a non-issue for us. We'd much rather you make a donation to us."

(Well, someone must have bought it back for the Food Bank. I just typed in ...foodbank.com and it took me to the Edmonton Food Bank.)

- Another website people are talking about is Komar.org. This is the website for the Komarski family, and they've hooked up their christmas light to their website. If you go to their website between 5 pm and 10 pm Edmonton time, you can turn their Christmas lights on and off over the Internet. They've got a webcam pointed at their house, so you can watch the action.

- Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame is currently in negotiations to do the Wonder Woman movie. He's also the front-runner for X3.

- David S. Goyer, writer/director of Blade: Trinity and writer of Blade, Blade II, and Batman Begins, is in negotiations to write and direct The Mighty Thor. Goyer actually revealed in an interview that he's been contacted and asked for input on virtually every comic book movie currently in development...but Superman.

- What I find odd has to do with what I want for Christmas. I want The Lord of the Rings, and I'd much rather have the theatrical editions, NOT the extended editions. (Sorry, but the 4.25 hour running time on Return of the King: Extended is a bit too much movie for me.) What's surprising me is I can find the boxed set of the extended editions, but not the theatrical editions! Even HMV.com lists the theatrical editions as being an import from the States that'll take 2 weeks to get here. Weird....

Next Issue...Final show.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Wow! I've gotten so used to dumping the new DVDs into my blog here for show prep. You know, if I ever slip and don't get around to dumping, just go to Cinescape. That's where I get all this stuff. Anyway, what's out today:

LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING Extended Edition (New Line) Four-disc set holds Peter Jackson’s special 50-minute longer version of the final chapter in Tolkein’s epic, plus four commentraks, tons of featurettes, galleries, interactive maps, etc., etc. Also available in a collectors’ gift set that includes a 52-minute documentary on composer Howard Shore and a sculpture of Minas Tirith (hey, that’s my favorite character!).

LORD OF THE RINGS: Motion Picture Trilogy (New Line) All three extended editions in a box set.

COLLATERAL (Universal) Contract killer Tom Cruise hires cabbie Jamie Foxx to drive him around on violent errands in this taut thriller from Michael Mann. Includes Making-Of, deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, hidden goodies and more.

I, ROBOT (Fox) Alex Proyas takes concepts from Isaac Asimov’s robot stories and glues them into a big budget action f/x movie, with mixed results. Widescreen and fullscreen editions include commentrak, Making-Of, etc.

MARY POPPINS (Buena Vista) A new nanny exhibits bizarre magical abilities in this once state-of-the-art musical fantasy vehicle. Two-disc 40th anniversary edition includes a remastered transfer of this Disney favorite, plus Making-Of, a new cartoon short, interviews, deleted song, games, and more.

QUANTUM LEAP: Complete Second Season (Universal) More of the time travel favorite.

STAR TREK: Complete Third Season (Paramount) Third and final deluxe collection of 24 original series episodes on seven discs, including two versions of "The Cage" and featurettes. Also available bundled with the previous two sets.

TOP GUN (Paramount) Typically overhyped gung ho 1986 Tony Scott jet fighter movie, with stars like Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan providing the charisma. Widescreen and fullscreen special editions comes in either fullscreen or widescreen format. Also available in a TOM CRUISE ACTION PACK with DAYS OF THUNDER and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

FAMILY GUY: Freakin’ Sweet Collection (Fox) Five favorite episodes of the wickedly funny sitcom. Includes commentraks and preview featurettes on the upcoming series AMERICAN DAD.

But the big one for me...

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

YES!! I've been dying to see this one! As you all know, I saw Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla when I was in Japan. Tokyo S.O.S. came out one year later (Dec. 2003) and was designed to be a DIRECT SEQUEL to Against Mechagodzilla. It's like this. After their climactic battle, Godzilla is thought to be dead and Mechagodzilla is in the shop for extensive repairs. But then, Mothra begins attacking Tokyo! And soon, Godzilla returns to do battle with Mothra! The race is then on to get Mechagodzilla's repairs done to fight off both Mothra and Godzilla. But, there are still problems with Mechagodzilla's DNA computer. Will Mechagodzilla fight off these giant monsters...or join them?

Oh, and with all this talk of DVDs, I've got to share the big news I just saw on the 6 o'clock news. Blockbuster Video is abolishing late fees! They say they're doing this to battle increasing competition from cable TV and online rental services (like Mr. Anderson's highly endorsed Zip.ca). Now, it's going to work like this. There's still a due date, and if you miss the due date, you go into a one-week "grace period." If you don't get it back in the grace period, they make you buy the DVD/video game/VHS tape. It starts on January 1 for the Yankees, and the end of March for us.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Well, Wolverine isn't the only character from the X-Men films who's getting his own movie. It was announced today that they'll be making a film all about...


It's being described as "The Pianist meets X-Men." Remember the opening scene of X-Men, where Magneto is being dragged off to the Nazi concentration camp? Well, that's where the movie starts. We then follow Magneto's journey to adulthood, as he learns to control his power, seeks vengeance for his parents' death, has his concentration camp liberated at the hands of a young American soldier named Charles Xavier, how he and Charles became friends and later, enemies.

I'm not too sure that this'll work, but I'll give it a shot.

And I've just been thinking about cartoons. I've been watching my Gargoyles DVD over and over. You know, they've done this very famous comic book called 40 Days of Night, about an Alaskan town that has 40 days of darkness during the year and vampires descending on the town to paint the town red. You could probably do a great Gargoyles take off of that, about Arctic gargoyles who are awake for 6 months then stone for 6 months.

And then there's Jem. You know, we've had a recent rash of manufacture pop stars being exposed, such as the lip synch scandals with Ashlee Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. If done properly, Jem could be a very witty satire of all that. What is Jerrica Benton but the ultimate manufacture pop star?

Next Issue...Cursed with Ideas

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Just a little more show prep:

Watched the new CBC movie A Bear Named Winnie. This told the story of Winnie, the orphaned black bear cub who went on to become a mascot for the Canadian Armed Forces Veterinary Corp and on to the London Zoo where he was the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. It was a little cheezy, a little corny, and it definitly had its flaws.

Firstly, there wasn't far enough plot for a 2-hour movie. You could feel the padding. Especially in the last hour, when the padding wasn't enough and they started throwing in more commercials.

Secondly, it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama. It had its great comic moments, like when the soldiers were trying to hide their bear from their commander, and it had off-the-shelf dramatic moments, like seeing the horrors of war. It should have tried to pick one or the other, but instead tried to have it both ways.

The biggest surprise was seeing Gil Bellows in it. You remember him, Billy on Ally McBeal. He played the regiment commander in this film. Reminded me of a Rick Mercer quote: "When a star begins to fade, he does television. When he dies completely, he does Canadian television."

All in all, it was a noble effort, but really there wasn't much there for a movie.

2 Nibs. Sorry, Pooh-bear.

Next Issue...too early
My latest column is My Latest Letter of Resignation:

"In the grand tradition of quitting jobs I’m not too fond of, I’d like to present my latest letter of resignation. That, and I’m too lazy to write anything original this week. This is my resignation from the Nugget, NAIT’s newspaper. Why I’m quitting is in the letter. "

Find out why I'm quitting!

And I'm working the morning shift tomorrow, 7:30 - 10:30. Let's jot down some show prep. top 10 movies:

Weekend ending 12/12/2004
1. Ocean's Twelve
2. Blade: Trinity
3. National Treasure
4. The Polar Express
5. Christmas with the Kranks
6. The Incredibles
7. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
8. Closer
9. Finding Neverland
10. Alexander

The American Film Institute has listed the top 10 movies of the year:


And the top 10 TV shows:


And some of Tuesday's new DVDs:

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended Edition - The final DVD release of the final film. It's the all-new director's cut with 50 minutes of previously cut scenes, bringing the running time to 4-hours! This 4-disc set also has more bonus stuff than you can shake a stick at.

I, Robot - The summer blockbuster starring Will Smith and a bunch of robots. In Widescreen and Fullscreen versions. Quite a bare disc, boasting just a running commentary and a making-of documentary.

Top Gun: Special Collector's Edition - The quintessential 80s action film finally gets the 2-disc special edition treatment. Director's running commentary, making-of documentaries, documentaries on the film's impact, music videos, and all that good stuff. Oh, and in widescreen and fullscreen.

Mary Poppins: 40th Anniversary Edition - The Disney classic gets the 2-disc special edition treatment! All new running commentary with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, making-of documentary, all-new animated short, pop-up trivia bits, and a long lost cut song.

And that should do it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Gotta jot this down for next month's "Favourite Quotes of the Month."

"Well, that's what happens when there's no hockey. Men start hanging out with each other more, they start talking about their feelings, and before you know it, they're in love with each other. All things considered, I'd much rather be playing hockey." - Hockey star Brett Hull, explaining how the hockey lockout has led to the legalization of gay marriage in Canada on Saturday Night Live.

Friday, December 10, 2004

OK, I just want to take a quick minute to comment on some of the latest trailers I've watched online:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - The new movie version of the classic Roald Dahl novel, as brought to the big screen by my man Tim Burton. I can honestly say this is the most fucked up trailer I've ever watched. I mean, it's a striking visual design. We're talking old-school Tim Burton, back in his Beetlejuice/Edward Scissorhands days. What makes it really fucked up is the song. It's a very obvious Danny Elfman tune all about Willy Wonka, and it's sung in some very high pitched, squeaky voices. And Johnny Depp looks very feminine as Willy Wonka. But I'll be there to see it, if only because I love Tim Burton.

War of the Worlds - Ahh, the newest movie version of the H.G. Wells classic. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise. This news would get me excited...if it weren't for the fact that I'm one of the few people on this planet that thought Minority Report was really lame. This trailer, however, does look pretty good. Nice and creepy. It's looking kind of like Independence Day, only deadly serious. And apparently the narration is text taken straight from the original novel! Call me cautiously optimistic on this one.

Cars - OK, the teaser for Pixar's next has been out for a month now, but I thought I'd comment on it. I normally love Pixar, but this teaser has me thinking one thing: "Wow, this actually looks very lame." (I need a new slang term for "not good.") Talking cars. Woo. Cracking lame jokes. Woo. Amazingly, though, this is not the first Pixar teaser that disappointed me. I also thought the first teaser for Finding Nemo was incredibly lame. So, Pixar just gave themselves six more months with this one. Prove me wrong, John Lasseter!

Next Issue...Should Get On That Christmas List

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Hi Mark. Yeah, I'm talking to you. Something tells me you're reading your own blog instead of getting any work done. Anyway, I thought I'd better leave this reminder.

Before you leave school this Friday, be sure to pick up a couple of report covers and a high-quality blank CD. Then, take that blank CD and burn your Client Campaign spots to it for Trouble.

Gotta get this done to give to her on Sunday.

Now, get back to work!
OK, I've got to throw in this show-prep tidbit:

Edmonton's got their new baseball team. This new team is in the Northern League, the Trappers having formerly been in the Pacific Coast League. And what's the name of this new ball club?

The Edmonton Cracker-Cats.

You might be going, "What the hell? How did they come up with this name?" Well, it goes like this. The owners wanted a name that had both a) ties to the oil industry and b) an easily-marketable cute animal mascot. After rejecting the list of 50 names produced by a professional marketing firm, the team owners grabbed the oilpatch dictionary and found the term "cat cracking." Cat cracking is short for catalytic cracking, a chemical process that happens at the start of refinement. The owners turned that around and got Cracker Cats.

I love how the owners found the oilpatch dictionary to be more useful that a team of marketing professionals.

But yeah, the cracker cats have come to town!

Oh, and more movie news. Shrek 3 has been pushed back from November 2006 to Summer 2007. The official reason is the same one being given for Pixar pushing back Cars: Now, in the summer, more kids can go to the theatre to see it, they can have the DVD out in time for Christmas, all meaning more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Next Issue...Coming Out at Christmas

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Show prep: Enterprise - Kir'Shara - Kind of lame.

Future DVD: "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" cartoon streets on March 22. You get all 20 of the original 3-minute shorts.

New DVDs this week: THE ULTIMATE MATRIX (Warner Bros.) Beautifully packaged TEN(!) disc set includes deluxe remastered editions of all three MATRIX movies with all-new commentraks, THE ANIMATRIX, and six discs of documentaries and extras. Also available in a limited edition gift set that includes a Neo bust and 80-page book.

BOURNE SUPREMACY (Universal) Matt Damon is framed for an assassination, leading him into conflict with his old bosses, during which he begins to piece together his past. Wonderful action sequences highlight this hit spy thriller in wide and fullscreen editions. Includes deleted scenes and seven Making-Of featurettes.

DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY (Fox) A by-the-numbers plot doesn’t slow down this hilarious comedy in which Vince Vaughn must lead a group of misfits into a dodgeball tournament to save his gym. Widescreen and fullscreen edition come with commentrak, deleted scenes, alternate ending, featurettes, script and six Easter Eggs. Also available bundled with various other Fox comedies.

STAR TREK VOYAGER Season 6 (Paramount) 26 episodes on seven discs, plus featurettes.

FLINTSTONES Season 2 (Warner Bros.) Yabba dabba DVD set includes commentraks, featurettes, commercials, songs and more.

(O) GARGOYLES: Complete First Season (Buena Vista) Fondly remembered Disney action fantasy series.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Hmm. Here's one of those little bits of movie news that makes me raise my eyebrow. Probably because I read 12 pages of analyses when I got the news.

Pixar's next film, Cars, has been pushed back from November 2005 to June 2006.

Pixar's official statement is that they're starting to move out into summer blockbuster territory, when more kids can go to the movies. (Finding Nemo is their only film that's come out in the summer.) Wall Street says this is a stall tactic; that they're having trouble finding a new distributor after Disney and that they're doing this to buy more time.

But still, the bottom line is we've got to wait an extra 6 months for the next Pixar film.

Stay tuned.

Next Issue...Cars Looks Lame Anyway
Wow. I pride myself on being Mr. DVD - the guy with all the news on all the upcoming releases. So I'm always completely stunned when something slips in under my radar - especially when it's a DVD I'd give my right arm to own. Today, December 7, Disney is releasing....

Gargoyles: Season 1

this 2-disc set contains all 13 episodes from Gargoyles's first season. There's not much for bonus stuff, but what there is is gold. You get:

- Running commentary by Greg Weisman (series creator), Frank Paur (series head writer), and Keith David (voice of Goliath) on the 5-part pilot episode, Awakening.

- The Gathering of the Gargoyles: featurette on the creation of the show

- Greg Weisman's original pitch for the show.

In stores today!

Also out are Batman: The Animated Series - Volume 2 (which works out to be the second half of season 1, I believe) and The Ultimate Matrix Collecton, the huge-ass 10 disc boxed set of the trilogy

Next Issue...Showtime

Monday, December 06, 2004

Here's some valuable show prep:

A British bakery just ran a poll to find the top 10 cheesiest moments in movies. (It's to plug their new cheese crumpets.) There were some expected splits - men leaned towards action films and women towards romances - but the unanimous winner was Leonardo diCaprio on Titanic for his line, "I'm king of the world!" Here's the rest of the top 10:

Entertainment - AP

'Titanic' Tops Cheesy Film Moments Survey

1 hour, 38 minutes ago Entertainment - AP

NEW YORK - Although "Titanic" soared at the box office in 1997, according to a recent United Kingdom survey, it's most memorable line — "I'm the king of the world!" — sunk.

Baker Warburtons posed the question "What are your top three cheesiest moments in film?" to 2,000 U.K. moviegoers in celebration of the launch of their new cheese flavored crumpets.

The line uttered by Leonardo DiCaprio (news) was followed by Patrick Swayze's "Nobody puts Baby in the corner," from 1987's "Dirty Dancing" and Andie McDowell's "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed," from the end of 1994's "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

Warburtons reports that surveyed women opted for romantic comedy moments from films such as "Notting Hill" and "Jerry Maguire" while men preferred silly scenes from action flicks like "Top Gun" and "Braveheart." Despite the gender divide, 33 percent of the overall vote unanimously agreed on the "Titanic" yell as the cheesiest moment.

Here's the list of big cheese moments:

1. "Titanic": Leonardo DiCaprio's "I'm the king of the world!"

2. "Dirty Dancing": Patrick Swayze's "Nobody puts Baby in the corner."

3. "Four Weddings And A Funeral": Andie McDowell's "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed."

3. "Ghost": Demi Moore's "Ditto." to Patrick Swayze's "I love you."

5. "Top Gun": Val Kilmer to Tom Cruise: "You can be my wingman anytime"

6. "Notting Hill": Julia Roberts' "I'm just a girl... standing in front of a boy... asking him to love her."

7. "Independence Day": Bill Pullman's "Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

8. "Braveheart": Mel Gibson's "They may take our lives, but they will not take our freedom!"

9. "Jerry Maguire": Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise: "You had me at hello."

10. "The Postman": A blind woman says to Kevin Costner (news): "You're a godsend, a savior." He replies: "No, I'm a postman."

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Latest column's up! It's all about the Mall:

" How I long for the West Edmonton Mall of my youth! When West Edmonton Mall first opened up in the late 1980s, it loved flaunting its claim to fame as the world’s biggest mall. Everything about the mall had to be the world’s biggest. Biggest parking lot, biggest indoor amusement park, more submarines than the Canadian navy! It echoed everything that was wrong with the 80s: greed, excess, and consumerism run amok. "

Here's the whole thing

next Issue...Damn you all to heck!

Saturday, December 04, 2004


The DVD announcement I've been waiting for has finally come. On March 15, 20th Century Fox releases....

The Lone Gunmen: the Complete Series

This 3-disc set will include all 13 episodes from the short-lived X-Files spin-off. Each episode will be presented in its original, widescreen format. (Yeah, turns out the show was filmed in widescreen in anticipation of HDTV, but cropped for regular broadcast.) For bonus materials, there'll be a few featurettes on the creation of the show, running commentary on a few episodes by cast and crew members and, the biggest of them all, the X-Files episode Jump the Shark. Airing in The X-Files' final season, Jump the Shark tied up all the loose ends from The Lone Gunmen and was, in essence, the final episode of The Lone Gunmen.

March 15th, baby!

Also coming out on that day is the 2-disc special edition of Star Trek: First Contact. Here's hoping they include the original DS9 opening with the bonus materials.

Anyway, I'm back from a day in the city. I swung by Cosmic City in West Edmonton Mall. If you're looking for a unique Christmas gift for me, you can get me the GeekMan action figure. I'm sure I've ranted about it before. Made by the Canadian company Happy Worker Toys, GeekMan is a tekkie action figure. He comes with removable glasses, a removable watch, a laptop, a PDA, and stainless steel travel mug.

And now, Happy Worker Toys has released its next two figures: BossMan (a boss action figure) and MoneyMan (an accountant action figure). BossMan comes with three changeable faces (happy, angry, neutral), a megaphone, and a stack of reports. MoneyMan comes with removable glasses, a calculator, a briefcase, stock certificates, and a piggy bank.

Oh, and I finally saw the Incredibles. It kicked ass. I'll have a proper review on the main site later.

Next Issue...The Antarctic Express

Friday, December 03, 2004

December 3, 2004.

Today's date is 12/3/4.

Wrote my first final exam today. My classmates were amazed when I started talking about my lucky hat and I went through my whole final exam ritual. I've always been deeply superstitious when it comes to final exams and midterms. This is the complete ritual:

- I arrive at school wearing my lucky hat. The lucky hat is a Star Trek: First Contact baseball cap I picked up in West Edmonton Mall in the spring of 1997. When I sit down to write the test, the lucky hat is removed from my head and placed in the top left corner of my desk.

- I wear the lucky shirt. The lucky shirt is a souvineer T-shirt from the Dinosaur Show that Edmonton hosted back in 1993. It features a T-rex skeleton that's a glow in all kinds of dark, flourescent colours. It was the last one on the shelf, and from that day forward, I've been deeply paranoid about washing off the T-rex decal. I only wear it about three times a year and wash it just once a year. For 11 years old, it still looks brand new.

- I take my lucky charm of the moment and place it on my desk in the top right corner. Currently, my lucky charm is a Spirited Away keychain that one of my students gave me when I left Japan. Previous lucky charms have included 50¢ coins and Star Trek pins.

- My notes (and textbook, it there's one) for the day's test MUST be in the same room with me. Under my chair is preferable, but if my teacher's one of those paranoid ones who demands that all bags and binders be thrown in a pile in the corner of the room, that's OK. This stems from the fact that I generally bring my notes with me so I can cram right up to the last minute.

- And then, when I receive the test page, I always, ALWAYS sign my full name: Mark Sladen Cappis.

The fact that I've been an honour student for most of my educational career is all thanks to this ritual. I'm certain that the average two hours I spend studying the night before has very little to do with it.

Oh, and some movie news today. After months of rumours, it's finally official. Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films, will be directing the live-action movie version of the classic Marvel comic book Namor, the Sub-Mariner. The script was written by David Self, who adapted the graphic novel The Road to Perdition for the big screen.

This really isn't much of a surprise. Columbus has always made it clear that he made his Marvel when he was a kid. He was even attached to direct Fantastic Four for most of the 1990s.

Next Issue...I Finally See The Incredibles.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

So, here's some interesting movie news out of Japan.

Nintendo is looking into opening their own animation studio.

The goal is to produce animated films based on some of the properties they own, so that would be animated movie versions of Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Super Mario.

This is definitly interesting.

Next Issue...Zap Strikes!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

OK, show in half an hour. Let's do some show prep!

- Nick Cassevettes has just signed on to direct "Iron Man." The screenplay was written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Spidey 2) and David Hayter (X-Men).

- First Fantastic Four teaser this Christmas!

- Kevin Spacey is Lex Luthor! One of the oldest superman rumours come true.

Enterprise. Part 2 of the Vulcan civil war. Too much talk, not enough action. Archer now carries the Matrix. Surak/Morpheus guides his way. Crazy stuff man.

Stress is what's wrong with society this week.

Next generation DVD is on the way, and it looks like there'll be a format war. Warner Brothers, Universal, and Paramount are supporting "HD-DVD." Sony is supporting their own format, "Blu-Ray." Essentially, the next generation uses blue lasers instead of the regular red. The higher wavelenght and higher energy allows more infomation to be encoded on a disc, thus allowing greater picture and sound quality. First discs and players on the market this time next year.

And don't worry. Everyone's saying that these will still be able to play old discs.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dude! I"m so hung up on being the boss monkey this week I forgot to cut and past my standard Tuesday show prep. Today's notable new DVDs:

SPIDER-MAN 2 (Columbia TriStar) To avoid gouging fans over and over (at least for now) CTHE is releasing several different editions of this summer’s big hit on the same day. Includes all the expected commentraks, featurettes, bloopers, etc., in either two-disc widescreen or fullscreen editions, available separately or bundled with the first film. Also available is a Superbit edition, as well as a gift set that includes a comic-book, five postcards, a sketch book and a photo booklet.

DAREDEVIL Director’s Cut (Fox) Ben Affleck as the blind superhero, now in a director’s cut that’s a half hour longer, plus commentrak and Making-Of.

HERO (Miramax/Buena Vista) Beautiful, compelling Zhang Yimou action drama starring Jet Li, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung as master assassins. Are they out to kill the warlord whose army is conquering all of China? With Making-Of featurettes, Jet Li and Quentin Tarantino interview each other, storyboards and more.

That's about all that's notable...not a lot wanted to go up against Spidey 2, I think.

Next Issue...More DVDs for me!!
Well, I have to share this entertainment news tidbit:

Godzilla got his star on the Hollywood walk of fame yesterday. He was on hand (or rather, the actor who plays Godzilla in the latest Godzilla film, in a very cheap Godzzila suit) to accept the star. It was Godzilla producer Shogo Tomiyama who gave the acceptance speech, though. "Godzilla cannot speak English, so I am here to translate," he said.

After this, the party moved down to Hollywood's world-famous Graumman's Chinese theatre for the world premiere of Godzilla: Final Wars. This is the 28th - and reportedly last - Godzilla film. Even though it's being sold as the final Godzilla film, very few people believe it. "Godzilla has been working for 50 years," said Final Wars director Ryuhei Kitamura, "so I think he just deserves a vacation." Producer Shogo Tomiyama reflected the sentiment. "So long as Godzilla can fascinate people, I believe he will be resurrected by new generations of filmmakers in the future," he said.

In case you're wondering why there's all this hype about Godzilla, it's because 2004 is the big guy's 50th anniversary. It should be noted that over the course of the last 50 years, Toho has proclaimed "the last Godzilla movie" twice. the first "last" one was Terror of Mechagodzilla in 1974. They figured the 20th anniversary was the best time to let it go. First resurrection came in 1984, when a new film was made for Godzilla's 30th anniversary. Then, the next "last" film came in 1992, when Toho announced that Sony Studios would be making an American Godzilla film, so they'd let the Americans do it for a while. Well, that film was Godzilla (1998), and reaction to that was so bad in Japan that it led to Godzilla's second resurrection, Godzilla Millenium in 1999. (In North America, it was called Godzilla 2000).

Anyway, Godzilla: Final Wars comes out in Japan on Friday. And, rumour has it, North American distributors are starting to put in bids.

Next Issue...What About Mothra?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Latest column's up! Temptation:

"I take a new route to NAIT every day. Now, I drive right by the Via Rail train station. The other day as I drove past, the train had pulled in and was picking up passengers. There it was, a silver traveller, ready to head for parts unknown. I honked my horn as I drove past, and all the people getting on board stopped to wave. Never had the temptation to blow off school for the day, buy a ticket, and hop on board been any stronger."

Read it all!

Next Issue...Call of the Wild
Urgh. I'm hating my homework. I'm working for a real, honest-to-God client now and they're getting picky.... Don't know how to break it to the teacher that I'm really starting to get turned off of writing as a career in radio.

Anyway, I was able to lift my head from the keyboard long enough to watch Ultimate Batman...I mean The Batman, and today was the introduction of Ultimate Mr. Freeze. Not liking this direction as much....

Quick recap of the varried origins of Mr. Freeze:

Original origin - Mad scientist, working on a freeze weapon. It blew up in his face, lowering his body temperature to sub-zero temperatures. Now, in a special suit to keep his body at sub-zero temperatures, he uses all kinds of freezing weapons on his crime spree.

And that's how it was until the animated series....

Batman: The Animated Series origin - Dr. Victor Freis was a scientist specializing in cryogenics. His wife was sticken with an incurable disease, so he froze her until the day a cure is found. But, the heartless company that was in charge of the project threatened to pull the plug. Dr. Freis fought off those sent to pull the plug, but there was an accident with the cryogenics...lowering his body temperature to sub-zero temperatures. Now, in a special suit to keep his body at sub-zero temperatures, he uses all kinds of freezing weapons in his single minded quest to gain vengeance for his condition and to do whatever it takes to save his wife.

Many agreed this was a much better origin for Mr. Freeze. DC Comics quickly adopted it as the "official" Mr. Freeze origin and it propelled Mr. Freeze into the A-list of Batman's rouges gallery.


The Batman origin - Victor Freis was a petty criminal on the run from Batman. The chase ended in a cryogenics lab. In the fight, Freis got thrown into a cryogenic chamber and fought to get out. Batman tried valiantly to get Freis out, but Freis had already damaged the chamber. The chamber switched on, and Freis was both electrocuted and frozen simultaneously. Batman, believing Freis to be dead, took off. Some time later, the cryogenic scientists sprung Freis and learned that the accident had...lowered Victor Freis's body temperature to sub-zero temperatures. It ALSO gave him the power to shoot freeze beams from his fingers. So, using his new power to blackmail the cryongenic scientists into making him a special suit to keep his body at sub-zero temperatures, he uses his new freezing powers to go on crime sprees and get vengeance on Batman.

I gotta tell ya, not really impressed.

next Issue...Killer Frost

Saturday, November 27, 2004

"Woah! How did I get here? Oh, why did I let Morpheus talk me into taking that red pill? Someone get me out of here! I have to get to Winnipeg so I can play Hamlet!" - arcane Keanu Reeves trivia resurrected for a YTV promo.

Just watched the last bit of the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas on TV. My favourite quote from a movie review is a review for The Grinch: "Watching the Grinch is like having sex with your best friend's girlfriend. Yeah, it's great in the moment, but afterwards, you feel really horrible."

Next Issue...Stay Awake!
Who's a geek? I'm a geek!

This morning, I swung by the official Pokemon website. It's something I do about twice a month, because it's not updated very often. But today, I found out some very pleasing news.

When Pokemon 7 is coming to North America.

Actually, it's already come to North America. Turns out it had it's North American premiere at a massive anime film festival in New York last week. The rest of us have to wait until it's DVD release on February 15.

When I frantically had Mr. Anderson do translation work on the trailer (it came out in Japan back in July), he told me that the title was Pokemon: Visitor from the Fissure in the Sky. The English title is now Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys. Deoxys is, of course, the mega-powerful mythical pokemon that the plot revolves around.

I'm kind of excited about this one because the pokemon creators based the city this film takes place in on Vancouver. In case you're curious, Vancouver's pokemon world counterpart is "the technologically advanced Larousse City."

Hmm...sounds French.

February 15. As is my tradition, I'll be buying it at Superstore.

Next Issue...Still Trying to get Salamance

Friday, November 26, 2004

Show prep!

New video game: GoldenEye: Rouge Agent. It's the first James Bond video game where you're not James Bond! Instead, you play the assasin "GoldenEye," a disgraced 00 agent who now makes a living working for the bad guys. So, througout the game, you work for Dr. No, Goldfinger, and Scaramanga: the Man with the Golden Gun. There's some big name voices in this game. Judi Dench is back as M, the boss of 00s, Famke Janssen (Jean Grey from the X-films) is back as Xenia Onnatop, the assasin from GoldenEye who crushes men between her thighs, and Christopher Lee (Count Dooku in Star Wars, Saruman in LOTR) does the voice of Scaramanga; a role he played 30 years ago. In stores now!


West Edmonton Mall is no longer the world's largest mall. That honour now belongs to the Golden Resources Mall in Beijing. At 6 million square feet, it beats West Ed by 1 million square feet. Check this out. It's got over a thousand stores, an ice rink, 280 escalators, and enough restaurants to fill two football fields.

But only 20 shoppers a day.

That numbers in dispute. The media says 20/day. The management says 50,000/day. Either way, it's still less crowded than West Ed at the Christmas season


Today is Buy Nothing Day


Two big movies out this weekend: Alexander, getting ravaged by the press, and Christams with the Kranks, which is getting lukewarm reviews. Interesting trivia bit: "Christmas with the Kranks" is acutally based on a John Grisham novel! the book is called "skipping Christmas."


Monday, November 22, 2004

Well, folks. It's all over. The Alberta Provincial Election, that is. The count before I went to bed: The Liberals at 17 seats, the NDP with 4, and the rest Tory. This is a victory. The opposition made inroads!

So, it was an election with very little surprises. Critics were starting to dub it the "Kleinfeld" election, because it was an election about nothing. The only thing that saddens me was what the analysists were saying. They don't have exact numbers yet, but they are expecting a record low voter turnout; around 44% or so. And that just sucks.

I wonder if it's similar to what a friend of mine was saying today. After I gave her the lecture about how she should vote and how one vote makes a difference and all that, she said, "Yeah, but, I really don't know how to vote. I mean, I like my Tory candidate, but I hate the Tory party! So, I'll probably just spoil my ballot." That's kind of a dumb mentality, but it sure speaks to the need for election reform.

I think we should start doing things like they do in Nunavit. In Nunavit, there are no parties. Everyone runs as an independent. Then, once their legeslature is elected, the MPs vote for the premier and the cabinet. Seems to be working so far.

But, if I may be totally opinionated, the stupidest part of this election was the "senator in waiting" election. That's just a pointless, expensive exercise. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for senate reform. But, there's got to be a better way to make our point to Ottawa rather than spending $3 million on an election that, really, just arbitrarily gives a bored rich person a title.

Subject change.

I'm starting to think about Christmas. And I'm looking at the Christmas albums. I've been eyeing this one for the past few years but haven't bought it yet: Pokemon Christmas Bash. Yup, the pokemon Christmas album. With such holiday classics as I'm Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas.

Can't be any worse than this relic from the late 1970s: Star Wars: Christmas in the Stars. C-3P0 and R2-D2 sing Christmas classics, and some new Christmas songs. There's the one song that I've been dying to hear ever since I heard of this album: What Do You Get a Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Has a Comb)?.

Next Issue...How About a Hair Dryer?
Show prep show prep show prep!

Top 10 movies:

Weekend ending 11/21/2004
1. National Treasure
2. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
3. The Incredibles
4. The Polar Express
5. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
6. After the Sunset
7. Ray
8. The Grudge
9. Seed of Chucky
10. Saw


It's the election. GO VOTE DUMMIES!


Argos won the Grey Cup


There's actually a singer called Jem:

Welsh singer Jem admits her musical career to date has been ``a bit of a comedy story.''

The 29-year-old, who was born Jemma Griffiths, is enjoying tremendous success in North America with her debut album ``Finally Woken.''

But it was just five years ago that she was finishing a law degree and working in the corporate world in Wales.

She says she always wanted to be a singer, but she was trusting her instincts to let her know when the right time came.

In the past two years, Jem has co-written a song that ended up on Madonna's 2003 album, ``American Life.''

She and her music have also been on the popular show ``The O-C.

Jem has been widely compared to popular Brit singer Dido.

She agrees they're vocally similar, but adds musically they're completely different.

Jem's North American tour has just run through Canada and will end next month.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

First things first. This week's column is a 10 Minute Vacation:

"It’s getting to be a busy time of the year. Between the Christmas shopping, end of semester projects, and the usual year-end depression, we could all use a break. But sometimes, the weekend seems kind of far away, and it’s still a good month to Christmas. So, what are we supposed to do? This is when we have our “10 minute vacations.” This is where we have our own special place that we take off to for a few minutes when a real break won’t do. "

Click Here for the Whole Thing!

Now, I'm on-air from 9:30 - 11:30 tomorrow, so I'm going to get a jump on the show prep. Tuesday is new DVD day, so here's the big releases:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - It's in widescreen and fullscreen versions. For bonus stuff, there's some featurettes, some games, 3D tours of the sets, and a new interview with creator J.K. Rowling.

Seinfeld: Seasons 1 & 2 and Seinfeld: Season 3 - One of the most popular sitcoms ever comes to DVD finally! For bonus materials, you get running commentaries by the cast on select episodes, pop-up trivia tracks, never-before-seen cut scenes, Jerry Seinfeld stand-up footage that was filmed but never used, and an all new 1-hour documentary about the show's creation. For season 3, you get pretty much the same, plus here's an interesting one: Kenny Kramer, the stand-up comic who was the basis for Kramer, interviews Michael Richards. Plus, there's also a special edition gift set of these 2 DVD box sets that comes with a copy of the script for the pilot, salt & pepper shakers from the diner they always hung out at, and a deck of cards.

Star Wars: The Ewok Adventures - For those who just don't have enough Star Wars yet. This disc contains the 2 Ewok TV movies from the mid-1980s. There's absolutly no bonus materials. But hey, both movies on one disc, that's something, right?

Next Issue...Showtime!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Woo! There's a very optimistic rumour going around that The Flash: The Complete Series is coming to DVD next year! Woo woo woo!

I've always thought this was one of the greatest TV shows ever. Based on the DC Comic of the same name, and was actually quite faithful to the Silver Age character. John Wesley Shipp was Central City PD forensic scientist Barry Allen who, thanks to a lab accident involving a bolt of lightening, was given the power of super speed. When his brother - a highly decorated detective - is brutally murdered by a motorcycle gang, he learns that with great power comes great responsibility, and he becomes the Flash. Amanda Pays played his sidekick & love interest Dr. Christina McGee, a STAR Labs scientist researching Barry's powers.

Actually, it was a really interesting dynamic in the pilot between Barry and his brother. We learn that the Allens are a family of cops and by choosing to be a scientist, Barry was very much the black sheep. Even though he was a crime scene investigator (yup, CSI) and doing police work, he was seen as not being a real cop in the eyes of his father.

Anyway, I want to do some summaries of some very cool television I watched in the past 24 hours:

Enterprise: The Forge - Part I of the much-hyped "Vulcan civil war" arc. When there's a suicide bombing of the Earth embassy on Vulcan, Enterprise is sent to investigate. Among the dead, Admiral Forrest, Capt. Archer's longtime friend, commanding officer, and a major recurring character. Blame seems to rest with a religous cult called the Syranites, who follow a "corrupted version" of the teachings of Surak. So, while Commander Tucker takes charge of the Enterprise and continues the investigation, Archer and T'Pol go wandering in the Forge - a savage Vulcan desert - and home base of the Syranites.

It was pretty good. The continuity porn was in full force. Subtle referecnes to all things Vulcan that we learn in future generations. Vulcan Ambassador Soval finally determining to help Enterprise. It wasn't too bad. But I was still bored with it.

Justice League Unlimited: Wake the Dead - HAWKGIRL RETURNS, BABY! Hawkgirl's friend, the zombie strongman Solomon Grundy, is once again resurrected from the dead. But now, he's even stronger than he was before and he's going on a mindless, destructive rampage. He's laying waste to the Justice League left and right. And only Hawkgirl can stop him.

This is where Bruce Timm and his team has always kicked ass since Batman: The Animated Series. They are good at constructing character moments. Even in 20-minutes of solid action, there's always time for Hawkgirl to work through her residual angst over the final episode of Justice League. Great great great.

The Batman: Call of the Cobblepot - Bruce Wayne's fundraiser is crashed by the brash, young millionaire Oswald Cobblepot. But, this baffles Bruce because the Cobblepot fortune had long been squandered. While this is going on, Gotham City is plauged by a series of strange thefts perpetrated by trained birds. Naturally, this leads Batman to Cobblepot who, under the criminal pseudonym of "The Penguin," has resolved to rebuild the Cobblepot fortune through crime.

Now, the new Batman cartoon has been dubbed "Ultimate Batman" by most, so I was curious to see what they'd do for "Ultimate Penguin." Paul Dini in the book Batman Animated said that the main problem with the Penguin is trying to make him threatening. I mean, he's just a midget in a tux. Not much of a threat for the Dark Knight. So, it was curious to see what approach they'd take in The Batman. The result: in this version, Penguin has had some ninja training and is a fierce little warrior. His fights with Batman were reminiscient of Yoda vs. Count Dooku in Episode II. It was an interesting take.

Next Issue...It Is Written

Friday, November 19, 2004

Yay! I'm done school early! Here's some miscellaneous movie news tidbits before I go:

Puss in Boots - No, it's not a new version of the classic fairy tale. It's the comedic sidekick from Shrek 2 in his own movie. It'll be straight-to-video. The writers of the Lizzy McGuire Movie have been hired to write it. No word yet if Antonio Banderas will be back.

Mrs. Doubtfire 2 - Wow! It must be pointless sequel day. Writer/stand-up comic/actress Bonnie Hunt will be writing the script. Negotiations are underway to get Robin Williams back.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Movie #5 will be directed by David Yates. Yates is a veteran of British television. The fifth Potter saga will be scripted by Michael Goldenberg. Chris Columbus, director of the first two films, is still on board as a producer. Summer 2007 is the most likely release.

The Watchmen - Another new director for the movie version of the classic graphic novel. Now, Paul Greengrass is the guy in charge. Greengrass directed last summer's The Bourne Supremacy. He replaces Darren Aronofsky, who left to go do his long-stuck-in-development sci-fi epic The Fountain.

Now, I'm off!

Next Issue...Giants of Iron

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I'd really like to go home right now and watch some more Iron Giant. I watched a couple of the cut scenes last night. Oh, curse Warner Brothers animation! Brad Bird does an intro to all the cut scenes, and each one starts the same: "I really wanted to have this scene in the movie, but we ran out of money and we couldn't afford to get it animated."

First one I watched was the long-rumoured "Giant's Dream Sequence." It was very surreal. 50s sci-fi crossed with The Animatrix. It originally took place after Hogarth and the Giant's "souls don't die" conversation. The Giant goes to sleep and has a dream. A quirk in his programming allows Dean to watch the Giant's dream on TV. And that's how we, the audience, see it. We see an alien city, an army of Iron Giants marching through it all Nazi-ish, the Giant catches a glimpse of his shadow, and it's the "war machine" Giant we see at the end of the film. Then, we go out into space, where we see the planet that this is happening on. And the planet blows up, jolting the Giant awake.

Very cool.

Next Issue...Pizza Man!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

All right, let's cut-and-paste some show prep:

An unmanned NASA (news - web sites) jet screamed into the record books high over the Pacific Ocean by reaching speeds of almost 7,000 mph, brightening hopes that humans might one day be able to fly across a continent in minutes instead of hours.

Slideshow: NASA Tests Hypersonic Jet

NASA "ScramJet" Flies at About 7,000mph
(AP Video)

Is FM Dead?
Today, satellite radio is all the rage. But do you choose XM or Sirius?

The 12-foot-long X-43A supersonic combustion ramjet — or scramjet — flew on its own power for just 10 seconds after separating from a booster rocket, but it was enough to excite researchers.

"We've given industry and government a lot of confidence to go forward with hypersonic flight," said Joel Sitz, the X-43A project manager at Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base. "I think that technology definitely has a future."

Initial data indicated the aircraft flew at about Mach 9.6 — or nearly 10 times the speed of sound — said Randy Voland, the scramjet propulsion team leader from NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia.

"We can really do this stuff," he said.

The X-43A was mounted on a Pegasus rocket and carried aloft by NASA's B-52 carrier aircraft to a range off the Southern California coast. At 40,000 feet, the Pegasus was released and ignited, soaring to high altitude and a speed of Mach 9.8 before the X-43A separated and flew on its own at an altitude of 111,000 feet.

"It's 90 seconds of terror, but once it's over with you realize that you've really accomplished some great things," Sitz said.

After 10 seconds of scramjet-powered flight, the X-43A became a glider and made a controlled glide to a splashdown in the ocean about 800 miles offshore. It will not be recovered.

Although brief, the flight produced an enormous amount of data compared to the milliseconds of data that all Mach 10 ground tests have produced, Voland said. "They only add up to a second or so, maybe," he said.

The flight was the last in a $230 million-plus program to test a technology most likely to be initially used to power missiles or in military aircraft, such as bombers that could reach any target on Earth within two hours of takeoff.

Scramjets may also provide an alternative to rockets for space launches. Sitz said he believes the technology eventually can also be used for commercial passenger flights.

"We're just going to have to wait a while," he said.

Unlike conventional jet engines which use rotating fan blades to compress air for combustion, the X-43A has no such rotating engine parts. Instead it uses the underside of the aircraft's forebody to compress air for mixing with hydrogen fuel. The airflow through the engine remains supersonic.

The X-43A launched Tuesday was the last of three built for NASA's Hyper-X program.

The first X-43A flight failed in 2001 when the booster rocket veered off course and was destroyed. The second X-43A successfully flew in March, reaching Mach 6.83 — nearly 5,000 mph — and setting a new world speed record for a plane powered by an air-breathing engine.

That was more than double the top speed of the jet-powered SR-71 Blackbird spyplane, which at slightly more than Mach 3 is the fastest air-breathing, manned aircraft.

Not having to carry oxygen is one of the advantages scramjets hold over rockets. Rockets achieve the same kind of high speeds but the weight of oxygen tanks or other oxidizers reduces the amount of payload they can carry.


Another old rumour has popped up again. Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor! Spacey worked with Bryan Singer a long time ago on "The Usual Suspects."


Review the last Enterprise episode, "the Augments."


What's wrong with society this week is mean people

Next Issue. On with the show
I got it! I got it! I got it!

Went over to HMV in Kingsway Garden Mall and got the copy of The Iron Giant: Special Edition! In your face, Future Shop! Here's all the details, straight from the back of the box:

- all-new digital transfer of the film
- Running commentary with writer/director Brad Bird, Head of Animation Tony Fucile, Story Head Jeff Lynch, and Steven Markowski, the lead animator on the Giant
- 8 cut scenes, including an alternate opening and the long-rumoured "Giant's Dream Sequence."
- 13 branching featurettes about the film, covering music, character design, storyboards, and animation
- Writer/director Brad Bird and consultant Teddy Newton pick apart two key "character moments."
- The Voice of the Giant: an all new interview with Vin Diesel, who did the voice of the Giant.
- the trailers
- art galleries
- and more!

Much better than the original DVD.

Next Issue...I want to watch this NOW!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So, after school today, I sprint down to Future Shop all eager to get The Iron Giant: Special Edition. I walked up to the customer service clerk, and what does he say?

"Oh, I'm sorry. We haven't ordered it in yet."

"We have it first" my ass.

I was geeking out about this DVD to the girl I have a crush on.

Her>> Wait a minute. Is that the movie with the giant robot? And the robot dies at the end?

Me>> Yup. That's the one.

Her>> Oh, I hate that movie! I hate it so much!

(I heard a faint crack as my heart broke a little)

Me>> What? Why?

Her>> Because that movie made me cry!

Me>> Well, it makes me cry, too. It always makes me cry.

Her>> Oh, well, then, I guess it's good.

(I heard a faint tearing as the duct tape patched up my heart.)

Next Issue...Best Buy's No Better
Show prep! New DVDs:

THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (Universal) Epic space opera in which Vin Diesel plays a tough criminal with a heart of space gold who is coerced into fighting back against fascistic space warlords. Widescreen, fullscreen and unrated (15 minutes longer) widescreen director’s cut editions include featurettes, 3D views of the sets, Xbox game preview, and more.

Dawn starts school and Buffy gets a job, but they soon forget all about their little troubles to gather a group of slayers-in-training to battle The First. With commentraks, featurettes, outtakes and more.

ELF (New Line) Will Ferrell is raised at the North Pole as an elf, but comes to New York to find his human roots. Two-disc special edition features commentraks by Farrell and director Jon Favreau, annotation track, featurettes, games, karaoke, and more.

KIDS IN THE HALL: Complete Season 2 (A&E) Another season of excellent sketch comedy from the Kids circa 1990-91, plus commentraks, interviews, more early Rivoli Theater performances, and more.

THE IRON GIANT (Warner Bros.) Special edition of this brilliant tale of a boy who forms a friendship with an amnesiac alien war machine in the 1950s, directed by Brad Bird (THE INCREDIBLES). Includes commentrak, additional scenes, eight deleted scenes, branching featurettes and more. Delayed from September.

Tom Hanks is going to star in the movie version of the DaVinci Code. Ron Howard's going to direct.

The Hollywood Reporter indicates Walt Disney Studios is actively moving ahead with its long-in-discussion sequel to Pixar Animation's two "Toy Story" movies.

Disney is in the process of setting up a digital animation facility in Glendale, not all that far from DreamWorks Animation's digs, that will be used for the production of "Toy Story 3." The project falls under the reins of David Stainton, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Now that the studio is actively beginning the project could make it more difficult for it to resume negotiations with Pixar CEO Steve Jobs to extend Pixar's relationship with Disney which expires next year with the release of John Lasseter's "Cars." Disney holds the rights to do sequels to "Toy Story."

CSI Files reports that starting with episode 101, producers plan to spice up the well-trodden formula of the top-rating show by radically moving around many of the characters.

All of this kicks off in the upcoming ninth episode of the fifth season "Mea Culpa," in which a murder trial is reopened to explore new forensic evidence. During cross-examination, Grissom discovers a previously undetected fingerprint on a matchbook left at a crime scene, meaning that the man who was originally convicted may well be innocent. Rather than focusing on finding the true killer, Grissom's longtime enemy Conrad Ecklie uses the finding to make life for Grissom as painful as possible.

TV Guide reveals that Catherine Willows will be promoted to head of the swing-shift CSI team in "Mea Culpa." Joining her each day at 4:00pm will be Warrick Brown who will now be reporting to the woman he nearly kissed earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Gil Grissom will be left in charge of the graveyard shift, but he'll now have to solve his cases using a B team consisting of rookies such as Greg Sanders, who hasn't even passed his final field proficiency test. To add insult to injury, his team will also be joined by internal affairs officer Sophia Curtis, who is assigned to keep watch over Grissom.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Latest column's up! This week's is a bunch of Candidate Profiles:

"I decided to find out who all’s running here around NAIT. Now, the main campus falls into the riding of Edmonton-Calder. So that’s who I went out and talked to. Now, granted, you may not live in Edmonton-Calder even if you come to school here. If that’s the case, then I suggest you head to the Elections Alberta website ( www.electionsalberta.ab.ca) and find out what area you live in and who alls running in your home. Heck, in your home riding, you might have a Green or a Social Credit, or even a crazy party! "

As always, go here to read it all!

Next Issue...Vengeance of Psyduck!
Just finished watching Smallville. I've often read the question asking why DC Comics doesn't take advantage of Smallville's success to do an Ultimate-style relaunch of Superman. Strange thing is, because the fans are starting to clamour for it, the writers of the show are starting to do it. Case in point: tonight we were introduced to Ultimate Mr. Mxyzpytlk. Quick comparison:

Comics - Mr. Mxyzpytlk is an omnipotent being from the fifth dimension who occasionally comes to our dimension to just torment Superman. No real motives other than being a Godlike pain in the ass. The only way to get rid of him is to trick him into saying his name backwards.

Smallville - Mikail Mxyzpytlk is the strange foriegn exchange student from Eastern Europe. He has a power very much like Jessie Custer's "Word of God" in the Preacher comics. It's a power that's been passed down in his family from generation to generation. Naturally, he's using this power to trip up sports stars and rig sporting events. The only way to counter his power is a specific radio frequency.

See, right there, the Smallville version just seems a little more plausible than the comic version. Little more sinister, too.

Oh, and I have another silly story. This happened on Friday. As you know, I'm having a little trouble with Revenue Canada as to what I need to do with the money I made in Japan. So, I called up Edmonton's Japanese Consulate to find out how to go about getting the evidence that I was a Japanese resident for tax purposes. Firstly, this was problem the Japanese consulate had never heard of before. ("But...you have your work visa and your passport stamped. That should be enough for Revenue Canada...shouldn't it?") So, after I talked to Tomiko of the Japanese consulate for a while, ultimaty she told me that all they could do was translate all the tax forms and stuff I got from AEON and slap that on official letterhead. I'll take what I can get. And then, in the middle of this conversation, Tomiko of the consulate just blurts out....

"Spell my name."

Without thinking, I just rattled off "T-O-M-I-K-O," and she just said, "Yup."

One of those things where, afterwards, I realized how strange it really was. I mean, I've never blurted out "spell my name" in the middle of any other conversations. My paranoid bit tells me that this was an informal test to see if I really was in Japan or not.

Next Issue...Client Campaign

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I've been so gloomy and angst-ridden, I haven't been able to tell this silly story yet.

A few weeks ago, I got off on a tangent on the show and started talking about "the old CLCR days." I was taping that show, because I needed to hand it in to my instructor.

Once a week, I've got to hand in a sample of my on-air shifts to my announcing instructor, so he can pick it apart and grade me. I had no on-air shifts that week, so I was using Chaos in a Box.

Anyway, he was listening to my show, and I got to the part where I mentioned CLCR. His eyes lit up. "You worked for CLCR? The Augustana station? Dude, tell me. How do they work? Because I've always tried to call someone down there and set up something with them." So, I told him how it was run by the students association, and that the manager was hired by the students association to run the station, much like how NAITSA hires an editor for the paper. From there, I continued explaining how it was all run by volunteer students and that the volunteers always lost interest around November, and that the station was shut down once and for all back in January. And I may have also ranted a bit about how I applied to be station manager and got turned down.

But still, I wonder what he meant by, "I tried to set something up with them." Just think. CLCR was always re-broadcasting the Bear duing the day. But, we could have had a couple of FREE NAIT practicum students doing day shifts instead of re-broadcasting the Bear. That would have rocked.

Yeah, my announcing instructor hails from Camrose actually. He got into radio because he had no life and he hung out at CFCW. Eventually, CFCW hired him.

Next Issue...Employment

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Some miscellaneous movie tidbits before I get to work:

- The world is ending! Baywatch: the Movie is now in development! DreamWorks just bought the movie rights, and they're aiming it for summer 2006.

- As the search continues for a new James Bond, they're beginning to get the behind-the-scenes crew ready for the next movie. Martin Campbell, who directed GoldenEye, is in talks to come back for Bond 21. Campbell also did The Mark of Zorro, and he's currently working on Zorro 2.

- I had a hunch this was going to happen. Michael Moore just revealed that he's planning a sequel to Fahrenheight 9/11. With the working title Fahrenheight 9/11½, Moore hopes to have it ready for the Americans' 2008 election. Moore has also begun work on his next film, Sicko, which takes a look at the American health care system.

Next Issue...Starset
Right now, I'm spending my Remeberance Day by playing with Firefox. Firefox is a new web browser from the good folks at Mozilla. Firefox was suggested to me by my old friend Streiff, as Firefox apparently kicks Internet Explorer's ass all over the place. Some of the features that Firefox boasts that IE doesn't have:

- built-in spyware blocking
- built-in pop up ad blocking
- built-in Search Engine toolbar. (Yeah, IE has this, but usually as a spyware-laced plug in. Not with Firefox)
- tabbed browsing. See, everytime you open a new window with IE, you get another IE program running and eventually your taskbar is cluttered with IEs. But, with Firefox, you've only got one program running, and you switch back and forth between websites with tabs at the top of the screen. Very handy.

And, as with the good old days of web browsers, it's absolutly free. Just go to Get Firefox.com to download it.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I've done updates of DVDs coming out in the distant future. So, let's do that.

On February 15th, we'll finally get the long-in-development special edition DVD of Orgazmo. For bonus materials, you have over an hour of cut scenes and bloopers, a documentary about the film, and three running commentaries. One is a "drunken commentary," just like on the Cannibal!: The Musical DVD. There's even more stuff that hasn't been announced yet.

And, on February 22nd, Disney finally releases their latest batch of dubbed Studio Ghibli films. You may remember that these disks were originally going to come out back in August, but Disney put them off so they could work them into their Howl's Moving Castle hype. And there's been one change in the line-up, too. Originally, they were going to release Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso, and My Neighbor Totoro. But now, Totoro has been replaced with the Cat Returns. I remember The Cat Returns. It came out in the summer of 2002, shortly after I arrived in Japan. Advertising for it was everywhere. It has to do with a little girl who meets a 3-foot tall talking cat and goes on an adventure in the Cat Kingdom. It was directed by Hiroyuki Morita. Anyway, here's the rundown on the three discs and their bonus material:

Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind:
- "Behind the Microphone," featuring interviews with the American voice cast, including Allison Lohan, Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman, and Edward James Olmos.
- The storyboards for the entire film
- The original Japanese trailer
- "The Birth of Studio Ghibli" featurette. (This was Ghibli's first film, after all)
- Original Japanese language track

Porco Rosso:
- "Behind the Mircophone," featuring interviews with the American voice cast, including Michael Keaton, Susan Egan, Brad Garrett and David Ogden Stires
- The storyboards for the entire film
- the original Japanese trailer
- interview with Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki
- Original Japanese language track

The Cat Returns:
- "Behind the Microphone," featuring interview with the American voice cast, including Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Andy Richter, Tim Curry, and Rene Auberjenois.
- The storyboards for the entire film
- The original Japanese trailer
- "Making of" featurette
- Original Japanese language track

Don't forget, that's all on February 22.

And don't worry. If you can't wait for Disney's new dub of My Neighbor Totoro, you can still get the 20th Century Fox dub from 1993. You can fish it out of most discount bins now for $5.99.

One last thing before I go. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists have announced that these are the films eligible for this year's Best Animated Film Oscar:

* Clifford's Really Big Movie
* Disney's Teacher's Pet
* Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Japan)
* Home on the Range
* Polar Express
* Shark Tale
* Shrek 2
* Sky Blue (aka Wonderful Days, Korean)
* The Incredibles
* The Legend of Buddha (Indian)
* The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

As there are less than 16, there will be only three nominations in the category. Nominees will be announced in January.

Next Issue...The Fire of the Fox

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

If there's one class that's done great at destroying my drive to write, it's writing class.

That class has become such a waste. For a writing class, we spend so little time writing. Last semester, we'd spend a whole 3-hour class writing. Now, we spend an hour writing and 2 hours of nothing.

Don't get me wrong. On paper, it's a great concept. How it's supposed to go is one hour writing, an hour of peer review, and an hour of rewrites. The reality is an hour of writing, an hour and a half of waiting my turn, 5 minutes of peer review, and 10 minutes of rewriting.

And today was the absolute worst. Writing humourous spots. After the hour and a half of waiting my turn, mine was ripped apart. And then, a "good" humourous spot was presented: one that promoted the benefits of NR92 by ripping apart it's "crappy" shows; mainly mine.

And I'm still baffled at how the brats who skip every second class and spend only 5 minutes on their scripts so they can get out early seem to have pulled ahead of the pack and manage to get lauded by the instructor for every piece of crap they write. Unlike someone like me, who is really the only one who's expressed any kind of desire in making a career out of writing and actually *works* on his scripts, only to have them get ripped apart.

I don't know. At the start of this year, my instructor asked me if it was possible for me to write anything normal, so I've spent the whole semester to date trying to dial back my creativity. And now, I see the brats getting away with everything I was asked *not* to do.

When class was done today, I just wanted to get as far away from that fucking school as I could.

And that's why today's show was canceled.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More show prep:

- The Polar Express comes out tomorrow. First computer animated film done entirely with motion capture. This is the process where people where skin-tight outfits with little dots all over them so their every movement is traced into the comptuer, and used to make animation. Thanks to this, Tom Hanks plays 5 different characters in the film.

- Just in time for Christmas, the Geekman action figure. Geekman comes with removable glasses, PDA, coffee mug, watch, and laptop. It's been very popular, and the company is already working on a "Geekgirl" figure.

- International soccer star David Beckham is making his acting debut. Beckham will be staring in a trilogy of movies called Goal!, about an American who joins a British soccer team. Beckham will play himself. The trilogy will be directed by Danny Cannon, who did Judge Dredd, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and about a zillion episodes of CSI