Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, April 30, 2004

First, let's get the fun thing out of the way. Today, my last day of school, was RTA's semesterly Showcase, where we second and third semester students get to show off our best works from the past semester. As per tradition, my classmates submitted our radio play, which we spent most of April working on. And you, too, can listen to it! It's been posted on the NR92 website. So, click here, then click on "Listen to Radio Play! It's just that easy.

And now, my usual insane rants. You know, I thought about this today as I wandered around Kingsway Garden Mall. Everyone always feels sorry for the kids whose birthdays are on Christmas day. The prevailing thought is they always get screwed out of presents. "Oh, this gift is for both Christmas AND your birthday, yeah!" But no one's ever thought about how GREAT it must be to have your birthday on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. You get a whole bunch of presents on one day, and then BAM! You wake up the next morning and get a ton more presents! It rocks, I tell you!

I was thinking about this today because tomorrow - May 1 - is my mother's birthday. Since May 1 is her birthday, that always means Mother's Day is about one or two weeks away. So, I've always got to buy a flood of presents for Mom in May.

And one little bit of movie news. Aaron Sorkin, the genius behind such kick-ass TV shows as The West Wing and Sports Night is getting into movies. Well, more like getting back into movies, because he also wrote A Few Good Men and The American President. Anyway, Sorkin's big screen project is called The Farnsworth Invention, and it's a biography on Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television. Sorkin is writing and producing, and Thomas Schlamme, his director-of-choice on The West Wing, will be directing.

Next Issue...Summer!
Ahh, first day of summer vacation. I spent it by finally watching Spy Kids. It was a pretty cool movie. Kind of like True Lies on acid. I remember reading an interview with writer/director Robert Rodreguiz, and he said that each Spy Kids film is designed as an homage to his favourite films. The first one, obviously, James Bond films. The second one: Ray Harryhausen monster movies. The third and final one: Tron and similar sci-fi films.

Pointless trivia note: the spy agency that the Cortez family works for in the Spy Kids films is the OSS. The OSS was the USA's precursor to the CIA, and saw most of their action during WW2.

Anywho, how did I get my hands on the Spy Kids DVD? It was in my box of Fruit Loops. I tell you, giving away DVDs and CD-ROMs in cereal boxes has to be one of the most brilliant promotions ever devised. I was working in Extra Foods when the the first CD-ROM in cereal giveaway took place, and people were constantly walking out with shopping carts full of cereal. They were obsessed with getting each CD-ROM.

But that's not all. With this current promotion, for only 2 proofs of purchase and $6.99, you can send away for a special DVD case to hold all four of the DVDs they're currently giving away. You can form your own little Kellogg's DVD giveaway boxed set. That's a nifty idea.

I still remember the coolest thing I ever sent away for from the back of a cereal box. About 12 years ago, you could get a mini NHL hockey pennent in Pop Tarts. For only 2 proofs of purchase and $6.99, you could get the whole set AND a board to mount them on. So, I sent away for it. I've still got it kicking around here somewhere. I should put that on eBay and see what I can get for it. Not only is it a highly collectable cereal promo item, it's also sports memorabelia.

Anywho, another thing I did tonight is watch the second-last episode of Friends. Next week, the final episode. After that, the final episode of Frasier. That's what I think is really weird. Because both Friends and Frasier are ending, many are saying that this is the death of the sitcom. I don't think so. They'll shove many crappy sitcoms down our throat for the next few years before it actually dies.

And speaking of crappy TV, I subjected myself to another episode of Striperella tonight. I'll admit, they've begun a running gag in that show that gets me drawn in. Whenever there is a massive crowd scene, sometimes they find a way to work in "Weird Al" Yankovic. The first time I spotted him was at a party thrown by Kid Rock, where he was juggling with a monkey. In tonight's episode, he was sitting in at a conference of super-villains. And he's always shown as most remember him: in his curly haired, bespectacled, mustached glory cirrca 1987.

Next Issue...The Last Day of School

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Before I got to bed, I've got to mention this. I was doing some random surfing, and stumbled upon 80s Archives.com, which is growing to be the largest archive on the Internet of toys from the 1980s. Here's their entry for my old favourite, the Knights of the Magical Light, Visionaries:

"These 1988 Hasbro action figures featured holographic sticker staffs and chest plates, creating the illusion of "Magic Holographic Powers". 8 figures were produced, 4 Spectral Knights and 4 Darkling Lords, each standing 4 ½" tall with multiple points of articulation. 4 vehicles were also produced. Unfortunately the line lasted only a year due to a rather silly reason. Hasbro used a wrong kind of material for the holographics stickers, which cost too much to produce. This is sad, as a 2nd series was in the planning stages, including 8 new characters and several vehicles. Also a huge playset called the Iron Mountain Holodrome was planned. This was supposed to feature a three-dimensional projection of the wizard Merklynn, but Hasbro couldn't quite get the technique to work."

8 new characters? Iron Mountain playset with a fully holographic Merklynn? And all scrapped because someone at Hasbro effed up and used expensive holographic stickers? My God....what my childhood could have been....

Next Issue...The Light Shines Forever

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Every year at this time, USA Today runs a poll. They list every TV show that's on the verge of cancellation and ask, "OK, which of these shows would you save?" This year, the winner of the poll, with a record-setting 70% of the vote was....

Star Trek: Enterprise.

The headline at Ain't It Cool News read, "Whiny fanboys!! You must now quit demanding an end to Enterprise."

All I can say is, don't blame me. I voted for Wonderfalls.

And in other news, today I wrote my final final exam. And that's it! My first year of the radio program done! Although, I will be going back to school tomorrow. It'll be my last day to just sit in a studio and play, something I haven't been able to do since we got super busy with assignments and stuff two months ago. Which is good, because two months ago, I began a little side project. My goal tomorrow is to get it done. And to burn all of my assignments to CD, because we've already been warned that sometime in May all the hard drives will be cleaned out.

So, yeah. Another summer with no job prospects on the horizon. Still wondering what I'm going to do.

Next Issue...The End, My Friend

Monday, April 26, 2004

I buckled in to one of my never-ending temptations today.

I bought another action figure for my collection.

The hot trend right now in action figures are the "block figures." You know, Lego men, Japanese Kubricks, stuff like that. And one of the leaders right now is a company called Art Asylum, and their block figures, the Mini-Mates. Art Asylum has made block figures based on Bruce Lee movies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Star Trek, and, coming this summer, The Lord of the Rings. But, the big one, the crown jewel of their Mini-Mates is...the Marvel Universe.

I got the Spider-Man pack: Spidey, Battle Damaged Spidey, Venom, and the Green Goblin. I tell ya, it's just so darn cool.

And I opened the box.

Next Issue...the Pain
Aw, crap.

I've got a final exam in 15 minutes and I just realized that I forgot my lucky charm at home.

I'm hoping that my lucky hat, lucky shirt, and hours spent studying are enough to compensate.

Next Issue...The Imperial March

Sunday, April 25, 2004

I've got a final exam tomorrow, but my mind is currently focused on a side project I'm doing in my spare time at school. Just for the hell of it, I started flexing my new music editing muscles and I spliced together Danny Elfman's Spider-Man theme and Michael Kamen's X-Men theme. I got them spliced together pretty good and I e-mailed it off to Mr. Anderson for an opinion. He said, "The editing is perfect, but sadly, you chose two pieces of music that I think are boring. So, while it's perfect technically, it just fails to do it for me."

Anyway, I was listening to John Ottman's X2 score as I studied this evening, and I think I figured out a way to splice together Spidey and X2. I agree with Mr. Anderson that Kamen's X-Men music is a little weak, and I've always felt that Ottman's X2 was a huge improvement. So if I could get Spidey and X2 together.... I'll have to try it after my test tomorrow.

But, here's tonight's column! This week's is a piece of Corporate Art:

"It is the eve of final exams. As such, I find myself re-examining my career choice. This past year in school has been somewhat disillusioning for me. Some things were exactly as I expected and others were not. The past few months have been odd for me. I’ve drifted through the program with a boredom and melancholy similar to what I had during my last weeks in Japan; a kind of blasé that says keeps the superiors happy until I never have to see them again. To be quite honest, I never thought I’d last this long. I thought that, by November, I’d have flunked out and I’d be at a happy job flipping burgers right now. "

Do your bit for the corporation! Read it now!

Next Issue...Get Daredevil In There, Too

Saturday, April 24, 2004

And now, time for another "deep analysis of something that's not really that deep."

For the first time in a few years, I sat down and watched Batman last night. Watched it on video, actually. I refuse to buy it on DVD until they pump out a special edition. Anywho, I was watching and thinking that it really does look like a product of the 1980s now. It's just Danny Elfman's music score (his first real big one, according to him), the set design, the way the shots are set up, it all seems so typical of 1980s filmmaking now. Right down to the climax with the very-obvious-Batwing-model. You know nowadays, it would a a very-obvious-Batwing-computer-animated-creation.

But, for all its 1980s filmmaking techniques, it almost pulls of the feat of being timeless. Just when you think it could be taking place in this day and age, though, something comes along to remind you that it was made in 1989. Nicholas Meyer said this on his running commentary for Star Trek II: things that are contemporary right now just have a way of sneaking into the art that's being made now. The example they Meyer gave: take three films that are set in 1776. One was made in 1956, one was made in 1976, and one was made in 1996. You'd probably be able to successfully guess when each film was made within a year or two. But I digress.

I have the same problem with Superman. Just when you think it's timeless, something comes along. In Superman, it's when Superman runs into a stereotypical 1970s-style pimp. In Batman, it's whenever I spot a spikey haired punk rocker chick in the crowd of extras. Or a Prince song plays.

It does kind of make me sad, though, how a film like Batman will probably never be made that way again. I had this discussion with Mr. Anderson a few weeks ago when I caught The NeverEnding Story on TV. Back in the 1980s, if you wanted to create a fantasy world like Fantasia or even Gotham City, you had to build massive, massive sets to create the world and elaborate make-up prosthetics or animatronics for the fantastic creatures. Nowadays, you just slap the actors in front of a blue screen and the sets and fantastic creatures will be put in later with computer animation. I still think there's still a place for massive, massive sets, though. I started thinking the technology went too far when, on the running commentary for Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis said that, if he were to make Back to the Future today, Michael J. Fox would be in front a blue screen for the whole thing.

And, because it's on my mind right now, here's some Batman trivia tidbits culled from the Internet Movie Database:

- The project began life in 1980, fresh off the success of Superman. Tom Mankeiwcz, who wrote the screenplay for Superman, wrote the first draft. The project languished for a few years, and Sam Hamm (who wrote the final screenplay) started work on his script in 1984.

- John Williams was the first choice to write the score.

- The Coen Brothers and Sam Raimi were among the original choices for director.

- Alec Baldwin was in the running to play Batman/Bruce Wayne.

- Tim Curry and Robin Williams were both in the running to play the Joker.

- The Gotham Globe editorial cartoonist who draws a picture of a "Man-Bat" was originally slated to be a cameo by Batman creator Bob Kane, but Kane fell ill the day he was to film the scene and had to be replaced.

- Adam West was originally offered a cameo as Bruce Wayne's father in the flashback.

- In what's fairly common knowledge now, Sean Young was the original Vicki Vale, but she broke her collarbone in rehearsals and had to be replaced.

- The Axis Chemical Factory set was actually a leftover set from Aliens.

If I could live the summer of 1989 all over again, I'd choose to see Batman in the theatre.

Next Issue...Batmark

Friday, April 23, 2004

Wow. Movie big business news.

Worldwide conglomerate Sony is starting to look at buying movie studio MGM. Sony already owns two movie studios, Columbia and Tri-Star, so why do they want MGM? DVD. Sony wants access to MGM's massive movie library, which includes the James Bond films, the Pink Panther comedies, and MGM's trademark musicals from the 40s through the 60s. Sony's only sending out feelers right now, so this may never come to pass.

And, of course, this comes on the heels of the fact the General Electric just bought Universal. GE never wanted to own a movie studio because they feel thier management style doesn't work for film, so why did they buy Universal? Because GE also owns the NBC television network, and GE was the last conglomerate to own a TV network, but not a movie studio.

Strange times.

Next Issue...This Business Called Show

Thursday, April 22, 2004

All right, that's it. I'm gonna stop watching Enterprise. It's gotten too stupid even for me, now.

Last night's episode, Damage. Ugh, where to begin? The A-plot was like this. The starship Enterprise got its ass handed to it in the last new episode. It is now a rotting wreck of a ship. They also got a coded message from their new Xinid allies saying the big superweapon is to be launched in three days. Oh no! As part of the extensive damage, the warp drive is out! They need a new warp coil, and it'll take weeks to make a new one.

In all this, Enterprise helps out a damaged science vessel. Capt. Archer tries to negotiate a trade for a warp coil, but the alien captain says no dice. We've only got the one, and without it, it'll take 3 years to get home.

So, after 15 minutes of agonizing, Archer decides to steal the warp coil. Oh, but he leaves behind enough supplies so they'll survive their 3 year journey home.

Argh! My God, I hated this episode! This is the first time in Star Trek history that a character has been presented with "the needs of the many outweight the needs of the few" and decided, "the needs of the many are SO GREAT let's screw over the few!" Archer kept saying there was no choice. Well, there was a choice.

Maybe I'm just pissed because this is the third "Archer has to cross the line" episode they've done this season. Maybe I'm just pissed because this was done so much better on DS9.

Meanwhile, in the B-plot.... Earlier in the season, Enterprise needed a substance called Trellium-D to shield the vessel. But, they had to strip off the Trellium and lock it up in the cargo hold because it's toxic to Vulcans; it turns them into rage-filled-28 Days Later-style zombies. So, the Trellium was locked up and labeled "bio-hazard" for poor T'Pol's sake.

But T'Pol had a taste of the sweet Trellium. It made her lose her emotional control and she liked it. So, turns out, she's been getting high off it all season. Oh yeah. She sneaks down to the cargo bay, grabs a few lumps of Trellium, liquifies it, and shoots up. The B-plot saw the cargo bay being one of the damaged areas of the ship, and with her supply cut off, T'Pol starts going through withdrawl. Apparently, this was done to explain why the character's been more emotional this season.

Stupid stupid stupid. They turned the hot chick into a stoner.

Now, this really DOES go against the Gene Roddenberry vision. From day one, he said that, in Star Trek's future, we've evolved to a point where people no longer need drugs. The tobacco companies no longer exist. There's no more cocaine fields in South America. People still drink, though, but alcohol's been replaced with a non-addictive synthetic alcohol. No one gets high any more. They're high on life. (That also explains why Capt. Kirk banged all those alien women. Can't smoke, can't drink, needs to get a rush somehow.)

But then, Enterprise came along and tried to be "contemporary" and "hip."


I'll soothe myself with my Next Generation DVDs.

Next Issue...Over It

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Wow. Good news and bad news about Kill Bill.

First, the good news. It's been reported that Quentin Tarintino will be re-editing the films back into their original, 3.5 hour format and showing that in art houses. Well, in recent interviews, Tarintino has revealed that he's already done that, and that Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair will be making its debut at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Now, the bad news. From a New York Times article (and filtered through DVD site The Digital Bits, here's an quote from the COO of Miramax about the DVD plans for Kill Bill:

"This is the beauty of having two volumes," said Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax. "Vol. 1 goes out, Vol. 2 goes out, then Vol. 1 Special Edition, Vol. 2 Special Edition, the two-pack, then the Tarantino collection as a boxed set out for Christmas. It's called multiple bites at the apple. And you multiply this internationally."

Ya know, Quentin splitting Kill Bill into two parts wasn't a cash grab. Releasing about 8 different DVDs from the two films, now THAT'S the cash grab.

Let's see...what else is going on that I can talk about on the radio in an hour.... McDonald's is introducing a Happy Meal for grown-ups. To contine their attempt to promote a healthier lifestyle, McDonald's is introducing the "Go Active Happy Meal." You get a supersized McSalad and a bottle of water. For a toy, you get a pedometer. That's one of those thingies you strap to your belt and it counts how far you walked. Drop in the bucket, people.

Oh, and this one too, from ToyFare. To celebrate the DVD release of Star Wars this fall, Hasbro is unleashing a new line of action figures, the "Star Wars Vintage Collection." These are all-new sculpts of original trilogy characters, but they'll be packaged in replicas of the original Star Wars action figure packaging from the late 70s/early 80s. They'll even boast the Kenner logo instead of the Hasbro logo!

This is good for me. I was looking at my Star Wars action figure collection and I'm starting to notice that a Darth Vader is noticably absent....

Next Issue...Super Special Edition - The Director's Cut

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Got a quick bit of movie news this morning:

Mission: Impossible 3 - Tom Cruise is hard at work getting his next Ethan Hunt movie off the ground, and the token hot chick in his IMF team will be played by...Carrie-Anne Moss. Of course, we all know her best as Trinity in the Matrix trilogy. Frank Darabont (writer/director of The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption; recently made headlines when George Lucas rejected his Indiana Jones 4 script) is writing the script, and Joe Carnahan (the recent cop thriller Narc) is directing. They hope to starting filming in August for a Summer 2005 release.

More news trickling out about the long-awaited Star Wars DVDs coming out in September. That massive 2.5 hour long documentary about the trilogy is called Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. And the Episode III featurette is called The Birth of Darth Vader, and boasts the first official look at Hayden Christensen in his Darth Vader costume.

Next Issue...Rock it to Me, Sock it to Me.
First, the important news. I've sat by in patience, not wanting to go into debt buying any more DVD boxed sets. But, my desire to not go into hock has also meant that I've missed out on the wonderful DVD boxed sets of The Transformers and G.I. Joe. Well, coming out on July 6, is one of the most demanded boxed sets ever for a cartoon. This one I'll just have to break down and buy:

Batman: the Animated Series - Volume 1

This boxed set has the first 27 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, which is pretty much the first half of season one. You'll also get a few featurettes and running commentaries on certain episodes.

My God, it'd be so easy to go into debt....

Speaking of DVD, there's an interesting article on the future of the format at The Digital Bits. Let me cut and paste it for your convenience:

"Also today, Fred Kaplan over at The New York Times has revealed a fascinating new project the folks at Lowry Digital have been working on in secret for the last few months (the story was in the Sunday issue - a free subscription is required to access the online article). As you know, John Lowry and his team specialize in the digital restoration of classic films, and have recently worked on such films as Once Upon a Time in the West, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Star Wars trilogy for their respective DVD releases. The project that Lowry has just revealed is nothing less than an attempt to create "digital negatives" of films.

A little background is in order - current DVD carries 525 lines of picture resolution, while full HDTV carries 1,080 lines of resolution (this is the same resolution of the forthcoming Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats). However, in order to duplicate the full resolution of 35mm film in digital video, you'd need to scan the prints at a whopping 4,000 lines (also known as 4K resolution). That's exactly what Lowry is attempting. By scanning entire films at full 4K resolution, they're creating digital copies of films that are every bit as good as the original optical camera negatives. These digital files can then be digitally cleaned of dust, scratches and other impurities, and can also be color corrected by the original director or D.P. (if they're still with us) to ensure that the resulting image is exactly as the filmmakers intended it to look. This 4K file is then of high enough resolution that perfect quality film prints can be made from it for future theater screenings. What's more, a 4K resolution master is more than good enough for HDTV, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc uses. They're of high enough resolution, in fact, that they're likely to be good for future (as yet undreamed of) home video formats as well. Best of all, these "digital negatives" will never fade or deteriorate over time, as long as the data drives are properly stored and cared for.

The process is absolutely fascinating, and could have a HUGE impact on the preservation of our film heritage for future generations. You should know that MGM recently commissioned the 4K scanning of 6 of its classic James Bond films. These 4K masters could be used to generate new DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases. Even if they're just released on standard DVD at 525 lines, because the source is of such high resolution, these new DVD copies should look far superior to MGM's previous DVD releases of the films. We'll have to keep a close eye on this. Fascinating, no?"

Next Issue...Fascinating Yes

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Watching Ebert & Roper, and they had an interesting discussion about Lost in Translation, a film I'm still dying to see. They find it odd right now. When the film first came out, and saw it in the theatre, they thought it was a very good film. Now, that the film's on DVD and people are watching it again, they think the film is kind of lame. I agree with this observation. I've got friends who are fans of alternate cinema and films like Lost in Translation. They've seen Lost in Translation for the first time on DVD, and they're underwhelmed. So, the question is, why? The only suggestion that Ebert and Roper came up with was that maybe, the film needs to be seen on the big screen to help sell the character's feelings of lonliness and isolation.

I don't know. I still want to see it.

But, my obsession right now is that immortal cartoon character, the Pink Panther. 2004 marks the 40th anniversary of the Pink Panther, and I'm just trying to do some reading up on him. The Pink Panther seems odd when compared to other classic cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. The Pink Panther was born in the mid-60s, when the animated short was starting to slip out of theatres and onto Saturday morning TV. The Pink Panther was born in the last gasp of the animated short. Plus, coming from the 60s, the Pink Panther has a bit of a beatnik vibe running through his shorts. Hell, he's a hot pink panther! That alone suggest a psychadelic influence.

And I've seen so few of the original animated shorts. I really should seek them out.

But enough of this! This being Sunday, I've got my latest column up. This week's adventure is called Blocked:

"My writing tends to come to me in ebbs and flows. When it’s flowing, I’m on fire! I’ve got a hundred good ideas for columns and I can sit in front of my computer for hours pouring them out. And the ones that I don’t have time to write, well, I jot a quick two-sentence summary in a special scratch pad with the idea that I’ll write them later. The words are screaming to come out of me and if I don’t write them down, I’ll explode. And then, there are the ebbs. Like the past few weeks. I know I have to write something, but I’m playing Bomberman. Or I need to fire up my DVD player and watch Pokémon 3 again. I’m just out of ideas, so I avoid sitting and writing at all costs. It moves from being a joy to a chore. I wonder if this is what writer’s block feels like. "

Read it all, if you dare!

Next Issue...Think Pink

Saturday, April 17, 2004

I just read something interesting at The Digital Bits. Sony has teamed up with a Japanese printing company and developed a new DVD that's 51% made of paper. And there's another use for recycled paper. The trick is, this disc is optimized for Blu-Ray technology, so this paper DVD can hold 5 times as much as a regular DVD.

For those just joining us...Blu-Ray Discs, along with HD-DVD, are part of the developing next generation of DVD players. This next generation uses a blue laser instead of a red laser. See, current DVDs are divided into two layers. That's how they hold so much. But, the frequency of a red laser doesn't have enough energy to penatrate more than 2 layers. However, a blue laser does have enough energy. A higher powered laser means more layers on the DVD which means the DVD can hold more, such as a higher quality sound and picture.

Right now, we've got two rival blue laser formats in development: Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. And don't worry. Once it hits the market, you won't have to throw out your DVD collections. A top priority among all next generation DVD developers is to make blue laser players capable of playing the current red laser DVDs that we all own and love.

Right now, I'm watching reruns of DS9. It's the classic second-season episode The Maquis, which detailed the origin of the Maquis. I never really understood the Maquis. They were typical in DS9's early seasons. Great ideas and new concepts thrown at the wall, just hoping that one would stick. Sadly, nothing stuck until the fifth season when the Dominion War broke out.

Let me see if I can explain the Maquis. The Federation and the Cardassians signed a new treaty which established a demiliarized zone between Federation and Cardassian space. The thing was, though, some Federation colonies now fell on the Cardassian side of the DMZ, and vice-versa. The Federation colonists were told to evacuate their homes and relinquish them to the Caradassians. But, the colonists refused to give up their land. A compromise was eventually reached. The colonists gave up their Federation membership. This allowed them to stay on the Cardassian side of the DMZ, but now they had to live under Cardassian rule. Eventually, these Federation colonies began to feel threatened by the Cardassians. The Federation couldn't help them because they gave up their Federation membership, plus to do so would violate the treaty. So, the colonists banded together, formed the Maquis, and began fighting the Cardassians. The Federation dismissed them as a terrorist organization, but still, they were responsible for them, so they began trying to bring them in.

I don't know. They just seem like half a good idea.

Next Issue...Sleeping Leg
So, as part of my promotions and marketing class, I joined CFCW's Country Club as part of my research. Today, I got my introductory package in the mail, which consisted of a CFCW key chain, my first issue of the Country Club newsletter, and a CFCW sticker. I looked at that sticker and thought about it for a while.

You know, the sticker is one of the simpliest, easiest, and most common radio station promotion. Just slap your logo on a sticker and give it out willy-nilly. So simple and easy. I was visiting radio stations for an assignment, and I spoke with the promotions director at CISN Country. They made a sticker featuring the CISN logo and the "I Love Alberta Beef" logo. Most successful campaign in the station's history! It's so simple, so common, yet always so successful.

So I've been thinking about this. Many moons ago, Mr. Anderson designed quite a nifty Chaos in a Box logo for me. To promote Chaos in a Box next semester, I would love to slap that logo on a couple hundred stickers and give them out around NAIT. Again, it'd be so easy to do.

Only problem is the cost. I know, as part of my promotions class, we're supposed to find sponsors and barter. But, I think in this case, it would be easier just to pay to have the stickers printed up. Really, what could I and NR92 offer a sticker company in exchange for stickers? Probably not much.

So, get maybe, 200 stickers made. Pass them out to people walking by when I'm doing my remotes in the South Lobby. Mom tells me that just about any graphic design company can print them up for about $0.50 per sticker, with discounts for the more you order. So, let's see here.... 200*$0.50 = $100. Hmm. Me thinks I need to think about this more.

But still, it'd be so cool!

And speaking of.... The other night, I finally watched American Idol, and it reminded me of a recent production assignment. We had to practice our music editing by splicing together 5 songs of a certain genre or artist we liked. I chose to do all Weird Al, but my very first, original idea was to splice together American Idol winners, Canadian Idol winners, Sugar Jones from Popstars, Velvet Empire from Popstars 2, and O-Town from Making the Band. Essentially, if it was the product of a TV show designed to manufacture the next big thing, it'd be in there.

I forget why I wanted to do this. I think I wanted to make some kind of statement about these incredibly artificial, made-for-TV pop acts. I mean, yeah, we all know that all pop music sounds the same and it's all so bland, but what really emphasises that is the fact that we have these TV shows. It really emphasises the manufacturing when we see it happen before our eyes. One hit wonder machines, that's all these TV shows are. Let's be honest. We haven't heard much out of Eden's Crush lately, have we?

(Eden's Crush was the creation from the American Popstars, for those joining us late.)

Anyway, soon I hope to try another music editing idea that's been bouncing around in my head. I think I've figured out a way to splice together Danny Elfman's Spider-Man theme and Michael Kamen's X-Men theme, and if I can pull it off, I think I'll have the opening piece for Chaos in a Box.

Next Issue..."And on both coasts we've got the record company machines, turning out hits on an assembly line."

Friday, April 16, 2004

Uh oh.

John Malkovich has just joined the cast of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He's going to play a cult leader named Humma Kavula. Now, I'm sure most of us (myself included) have read The Hitchhiker's Guide. There is NO Humma Kavula character. Apparently, before his death, this character was created by Douglas Adams specifically for the Hitchhiker's film. So, the filmmakers are telling us, "Don't Panic."

But still, you'll forgive me if my eyebrows are raised in an "uh oh" manner.

And here's something that's kind of cool. As most of you know, work on a new Superman film is still slowly trudging forward. With the recent glut of superhero films, Warner Brothers wants it out ASAP.

Anyway, there's a growing push that Tom Welling should play Clark Kent/Superman. Welling currently plays the teenaged Clark Kent on Smallville. Welling did have some meetings, but doing both the show and the film would cause scheduling issues. Besides, I still think he's kind of young to play the grown-up Superman.

But, the debate contines. And now, comic book uber-artist Alex Ross has waded into the debate. Just for the hell of it, Ross drew a couple "Tom Welling as Superman" sketches, just to see what "Tom Welling as Superman" would look like.

Check out the sketches right here.

And now, I must take to the mighty airwaves!

Next Issue...Faster Than c

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I believe it was Aristotle who loathed the concept of money and bookkeeping. He felt it was a corruption of the purity and nobility of mathematics. I felt the same way today about writing, as my assignment in writing class was to write a series of bar commercials.

I've been doing more reading on Star Trek too. I've found some interesting interviews with the former writers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. As we all know, Kira fought in the Bajoran resistance when Bajor was occupied by the Cardassians. The Cardassians labeled her as a terrorist. She was a self-described terrorist. Then, we had the Maquis, which the Federation described as a terrorist organization.

The DS9 writers were saying that, in this post 9/11 world, they'd never be able to get away with that. And they have no idea how they'd change it. Interesting, no?

Next Issue...Determined to Rule the World

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I've been flipping around the web, doing some reading up on Star Trek. Did you that Deep Space Nine's U.S.S. Defiant was originally nothing more than a souped-up runabout? It was eventually decided that they needed something bigger and better than a runabout.

And some interesting tidbits about Voyager, too. Turns out that, according to schematics, Voyager had its own captain's yacht-type spacecraft called the "Aeroshuttle." So, the debate now is, why did the crew of Voyager go through the whole performance of building the Delta Flyer instead of just using the Aeroshuttle? Some say that perhaps the Aeroshuttle was irrepably damaged on the flight to the Delta Quadrant. Others say that the Aeroshuttle wasn't installed yet, and what we see on Voyager is an Aeroshuttle shell, put on to preserve the ship's structural integrity.

But the most common belief is, they were going to use it, but when they were thinking about putting it into the show, they were putting the Captain's Yacht in Star Trek: Insurrection, and the makers of Trek deemed the two to be too similar. So, they put it on the big screen instead.

Next Issue...Enough Already!
Yay! More cool DVD news!

Quentin Tarintino, in a recent interview, revealed his long-term plans for Kill Bill on DVD:

- As we all know by now, the Japanese version of Vol. 1 was different. More scenes, alternate takes and the like. He wants the Japanese version of Vol. 1 to eventually find its way to DVD over here.
- He wants to edit the two films together back into their original 3.5 hour form for screenings at art houses and film festivals.
- And "major special editions" of each film on DVD, each one with passels of cut scenes, running commentaries, and all that good stuff.
- And he's even thinking about going back and releasing a DVD of nothing but bonus material, in the same style as The Matrix Revisited..

So, yeah. I'm glad I'm holding back on buying it on DVD right away. Vol. 1 came out on DVD just back on Tuesday, and it's got nothing. The film, the trailer, a Vol. 2 trailer, a featurette, and that's all. Just hold tight, folks!

And speaking of DVD, another TV classic that I grew up with in the 80s is coming to DVD. On August 3...Knight Rider: Season One. The only thing required to make my childhood complete is for someone to finally put out Airwolf.

Next Issue...What About Street Hawk?
OK, I can't believe I've been forgetting to mention this.

Late last week, National Geographic released a list of what they believe to be the 50 most influential politicians ever. There were such historical greats on this list as George Washington, Napoleon, and even Gengis Kahn. Three Canadian Prime Ministers made the list. John A. McDonald was there, as one of our founding fathers. Mackenzie King made the list, for his 12 years as Prime Minister and helping to see this country through in times of war.

And the most controversial choice...former Prime Minister Kim Campbell. She made the list simply because she was the first woman prime minister.

Naturally, this is being hotly debated because she was PM for all of 6 months and really didn't do anything. But, simply because she was the first woman to hold the office, National Geographic figures that makes her one of the most influential politicans...EVER!

Strange times we live in.

Next Issue...Even Stranger
OK, I'd like to make a little rant about television. A really popular plot device right now is using current pop songs throughout the TV show's soundtrack. I'd just like to say....


It has now become the most overused plot device in television today. I swear, every episode of Smallville ends with Clark Kent and Lana Lang staring whistfully at each other while the latest "song-of-choice-for-junior-high-lovers-written-by-Dianne-Warren" plays. EVERY FRIGGEN EPISODE.

The worst abuser is Cold Case. You know, the American knock-off of Cold Squad. Because of the basic premise of the show (elite cops investigating cold cases [really old unsolved ones]), the show relies heavily on flashbacks. To help establish the flashbacks, every friggen flashback opens with a period-specific pop hit. And then the show ends with a current pop hit as the lead "sees" the ghost of the long-dead victim.

So, yeah. The use of current pop hits in one-hour dramas has gotten really, really annoying. At least they don't do it on any of the Law & Order shows yet.

And The Matrix Revolutions has finally hit DVD! As I keep saying, don't buy it. Wait for the box set of the whole trilogy. But then, The Digital Bits raised some interesting points. Yeah, it's probably inevitable that a boxed set of the whole trilogy is coming, but it hasn't been officially announced yet. And who knows if it'll even happen? When Reloaded was about to hit theatres, Warner Brothers was all set to release a brand-new 2-disc special edition of The Matrix, and the Wachoskis pulled the plug on that. So, speculation is, the Wachowskis don't like having these films re-released on DVD.

And plus, you've got the whole Wachowski factor. The Wachowski brothers are notoriously camera shy. They did no interviews for Reloaded and Revolutions. They've had no involvement in the Matrix DVDs. No interviews in the featurettes, no running commentaries, nothing! And now, the die-hard fans probably own the whole trilogy. So, the only thing that would probably make the die-hards run out and buy the boxed set is Wachowski involvement in the making of the boxed set.

So, yeah. We're all asuming the boxed set is a given, but the truth is, the Wachowskis have introduced a new variable that makes things...unknown.

And speaking of DVDs...Guillmero del Toro recently revealed that he's planning at least two DVD editions of Hellboy. The first will be a 2-disc special edition featuring the theatrical cut of the film. The second will be a 3-disc edition featuring a 20-minute longer director's cut of the film. Apparently, there was a much more detailed subplot giving a lot more character development on the villains that just had to be dropped.

And the fourth Harry Potter film, ...and the Goblet of Fire, has just been given a release date of November 18, 2005. The original plan of cutting the book in two and making two films has been discarded. We've already been told that Harry's human family, the Dursleys, have been written out of the screenplay. And it'll probably begin at the book's centerpiece, the Quidditch world cup.

Next Issue...How Do I Live Without You?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

OK, I haven't acknowledged this yet, so I think I should. If you haven't heard the news yet, "Weird Al" Yankovic's parents were tragically killed on Friday night. They died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Investigators say they found their home filled with smoke and the fireplace flue was shut. Weird Al has his official statement about it at his site.

Naturally, people are asking me if I'm planning a tribute on tomorrow's show. No. As I've been planning from day 1, my final show this semester will be the "Weird Al" show.

And this brings back a project I've had in the back of my mind for a long time. Wouldn't it be cool if they did a "Werid Al" Yankovic tribute album? Screw the parodies! These would be renditions of Weird Al's original songs. I've already got a bit of a list together as who I'd like to see on the album and what they'd sing....

I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead - Smash Mouth
Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White - Nickleback
Everything You Know is Wrong - Barenaked Ladies
UHF - Green Day
The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota - Alan Jackson
Dare to be Stupid - Justin Timberlake, or any other boy band ex-pat

The trick is matching the artist and song. Comments? Additions? Use my under-utilized forum.

Next Issue...Friends of U62

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Wow. The Passion of the Christ shot from #6 back up to #1 this weekend. This is the first time in my lifetime I can remember a movie jumping back up to the #1 spot. Yay, Easter!

Anyway, here's this week's column. It's not very good. It's called Oh, Crap:

"Oh, crap. I still gotta write something for the website.

I really don’t feel like writing anything. All my time and writing energy is spent writing stuff for school. Then, I have to sit down and write something for the website and I’m, “Ugh.” But I can’t take a break; I can’t take a day off, if only because I’m still in a pissing contest with Mr. Anderson. In your face, Mr. Chuck Loves the World: the Daily Comic Strip! Quantity, not quality, baby!"

And now, if you'll excuse me.... I spent Easter with my family, and once I got home, I got a call from my sister saying she's broken out in flamng pink eye. My eyes are itching in paranoia.

Next Issue...The Illness

Friday, April 09, 2004

Wow! I haven't ranted in a while. I've got quite a bit to rant about. Firstly, the obligatory movie news for this site:

Quentin Tarintino wants to do a James Bond movie! Actually, this is old news, but Tarintino's saying it again in interviews for Kill Bill Vol. 2. Tarintino's concept for a Bond movie is to go back to the beginning and adapt the first Bond novel, Casino Roayle. Tarintino says it would be a return to the Bond's origins, no more $115 million action epic, just a small $40 million espionage thriller. Tarintino admits the big problem with this, though, would be convincing the producers of the Bond films to go along with this idea. Pierce Brosnan likes the idea, though. So, good luck with this Quentin!

And a rant on the state of fast food:

Dad and I ate at McDonald's last night. Dad felt guilty about it, because he's on a diet right now and he really should be eating...real food. I had to point out, then, how McDonald's is trying their best to be healthier right now. For example, their new protien platters, which are part of the Atkins diet craze. As one columnist pointed out a week ago, you can tell a diet fad has gone mainstream when the fast food restaurants jump on board. And if you avoid McDonald's like the plague, then let me explain the protein platter to you. It's a bacon double cheeseburger without a bun.

I also pointed out McDonald's new "healthy choices menu." These are healthier items like Veggie McBurgers and Spinach Salads. But, the healthy choices menu was this tiny little section of the menu. 90% of the menu was dedicated to, of course, the extra value meals.

The final straw was when I saw a little sign saying, "Have a salad instead of fries!" Let me get this straight. McDonald's wants to do their part to promote a healthier lifestyle.

To do so, they're phasing out the supersize. They no longer ask, "Would you like to supersize that?" That's good. But then, why don't they ask, "Would you like a salad instead of fries?"

I mean, it's good that McDonald's wants to promote a healthier lifestyle, BUT THERE'S SO MUCH MORE THEY CAN DO!! Rip down those extra value menu menus. Make the healthy choices menu front and centre. Ask if they want a salad instead of fries. And how about if you just stop selling unhealthy food? Cook healthy food? You know, scrap your whole menu and start over.

"Look at us! We know we're helping make our nation fat, so we're going to stop! We're going to stop...offering extra large fries!" WHAT THE F? If McDonald's is serious about halting obesity, they'd do so much more! But they're not going to, because there's no money in healthy food.

The tree is rotten to its roots, people. You want to eat healthy? DON'T EAT AT MCDONALD'S.

A rant on my latest DVD:

I finally broke and bought Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla on DVD. The special effects are early Power Rangers. The plot is simplistic. The fight scenes really don't convey the same sense of size and mass that we saw in previous Godzilla movies.

It's the coolest movie ever.

When the final battle between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla begins, and Mechagodzilla does a flying tackle of Godzilla...that always gets me cheering! It's just the coolest fight scenes in filmdom ever...I think. Damn! I can hardly wait until they bring over the Godzilla that came after it. It was a direct sequel, only they threw Mothra into the mix. Godzilla - Mechagodzilla - Mothra - Tokyo S.O.S.

And that's all that's been brewing inside me for the past few days.

Next Issue...Don't Hold It In

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

And the director of Fantastic Four is...

Tim Story.

Tim is still a relatively new director. His films to date are the small comedy Barbershop and the upcoming American remake of the French action film Taxi. I really don't know what to think.

As for casting, Story is looking at Michael Chiklis, star of the gritty cop show The Shield, to play Benjamin Grimm/The Thing, and Tim Robbins(!) as Dr. Doom! They start filming in August for a July 2005 release.

Not only that, but the official word has come out on bonus features on the Star Wars Trilogy box set. Besides the aforementioned documentaries, you'll also get the teasers, trailers, and TV commercials for the original releases and the special editions, a complete stills gallery featuring movie posters, promotional photos, and coneceptual art, exclusive DVD-ROM stuff at starwars.com, and three behind the scenes featurettes about Episode III.

And I also learned that, today, a special edition of Police Academy came out! You get a running commentary featuring the cast and director, a featurette, and the trailer. Wow. Remember when that was considered to be a loaded special edition? Crazy.

Next Issue...Police Academy: The Next Generation
First, let me get to the big news that's circulating my hallways. Edmonton is getting four new radio stations! Their formats:

- smooth jazz
- alternatvie rock
- urban
- aboriginal

No word yet on when they'll be up and running. Their licenses say they have to be going within two years. Our instructors have it on good authority that the aboriginal station wants to be going this summer. This is good news for my class, because it means more jobs. This is REALLY good news for about 80% of my classmates because they love hip-hop and it's their dream to work at an urban station.

The interesting thing about that urban station is that it's owned by the CHUM media empire. Right now, their probably more famous for running Toronto's City TV, Much Music, Space: The Imagination Station, and about half the cable channels in Canada today. This urban station is going to be their first inroad into Edmonton. Rumour has it they're also looking at buying A-Channel. Currently, their only toehold in the city is that CHUM is part-owner of Access.

So, yeah. Interesting times.

A little rant about DVD now. The Matrix Revolutions comes out today, but don't buy it for me. Odds are, a super-special edition boxed set of the entire trilogy will be out this Christmas. Same thing with Kill Bill Vol. 1. Yeah, it comes out next week, but let's wait for that super-special edition boxed set of both films.

Speaking of waiting for boxed sets.... Circle May 25 on your calanders. That's the day we get the long-awaited boxed set The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Bear in mind that these will be the theatrical editions. Peter Jackson and his gang are currently hard at work putting together the extended edition of The Return of the King. Once that comes out in November, I'm sure a boxed set of the extended editions will follow soon after.

Oh, and don't forget to tune into the hot reality show The Apprentice on Thursday night! I know, all reality TV blows, but you have to watch this episode for the commercials! It's been announced that, on Thursday's episode of The Apprentice, we'll get to see the new trailer for Spider-Man 2. WOO! More Spidey vs. Doc Ock action than you can shake a tenticle at!

And now, we all hold our collective breaths. Today, Marvel and 20th Century Fox will be announcing the latest candidate to direct The Fantastic Four. Let's all pray that it's not someone who sucks....

Next Issue...Enter the Director

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Latest column's up! This week's offering is called The Park:

"Not much happens here in little old Entwistle. The biggest shock of my life was when I came back from Japan and saw that nothing had changed. Great examples of this are the grocery stores. Bigger than a convenience store, but not big enough to compete with anything in the cities, they’ve existed to provide the necessities. They haven’t changed much and they’ve been in Entwistle and Evansburg since I first came to this town. Hell, I even worked at one as one of my first real jobs. So, you can imagine that things have been shaken up somewhat with the opening of a new one. The Brand New Tipple Park Super A Foods promised to bring big city quality to the small town. Naturally, the little grocery stores that have been here forever are worried. For the tiny towns of Entwistle and Evansburg, this is like Wal-Mart moving in. It’s been open for about a week now, and I finally decided to go check it out."

Gotta read em all!

And, before I go to bed, I'm looking over the weekend grosses for the movies. Boy, you can tell there's a lot of good movies out there when even my Dad wants to see one. (My Dad's not a big lover of the cinema.) The film he's all hot to see? Walking Tall, mainly because he's a huge fan of the original and he's curious to see what's been done in this remake.

And Disney's latest animated film, Home on the Range, opened in #4 to generally poor reviews. Wow. Remember when the words "Disney's Latest Animated Film" were all it took to guarnantee: rave reviews, an opening in #1, a hit single on the charts, and merchandise in every child's bedroom? Was only 10 years ago, too. What happened? I'm sure Disney flooding the market with inferior films had something to do with it.

Anyway, my short list right now includes Jersey Girl and Hellboy. Maybe I'll be up for a good ol' double feature day this Good Friday.

Next Issue...Short Week!
Got some DVD news for ya this Sunday morning:

You may remember a few days ago, I was talking about the upcoming Spider-Man: Deluxe Edition DVD. I was bitching that it had the exact same bonus features as the Spider-Man 2-disc special edition, and that there was really no point to it. Well, it was finally revealed that, yes, it's the same 2-disc special edition, but the Deluxe Edition will have a brand new THIRD disc, containing never-before-seen bonus features, a passel of "behind the scenes" stuff for Spider-Man 2, and even an Xbox demo of the Spider-Man 2 game.

And bonus materials for the long-awaited The Star Wars Trilogy box set are starting to be leaked to the press. The fourth disc chock full of bonus materials will have: Star Wars: The Independent Films, which boasts to be the most comprehensive documentary about the making of the trilogy to date; three featurettes detailing the evolution the characters, the cultural impact the trilogy had, and the lightsaber effects; the original 1977 "making of" TV special; a massive gallery of production artwork and movie posters; and an Xbox demo of Star Wars: Battlefront.

And here's everyone who'll be on the running commentaries! Episode IV will have writer/director George Lucas, FX supervisor Dennis Muren, sound designer Ben Burtt, and star Carrie Fisher. Episode V will have those four guys plus director Irvin Kirshner and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan. Episode VI will have everyone but Kirshner. It's still coming Sept. 21!

Next Issue...Next Episode

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Sorry to rip-off your bit, Mr. Anderson,

Favourite out-of-context quote of the day:

"This is where slavery works." - Mara Finley

Next Issue...The proper context