Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, May 31, 2004

Alright, folks! It's that time agian! Latest column's up! This week, I'm Losing My Religion:

"Every once in a while, something comes along, and it makes you question your devotion. You look up to the heavens and you ask, “Why? Why have I followed you all these years? Do you even believe in me anymore? Why? Why?” I was recently faced with one of these moments. It was one of these times where I just couldn’t understand going on anymore. I just don’t know why I keep blindly following the same thing, week after week. I’m just fed up. I can’t take it. It’s time for me to stop following Star Trek."

Read what led to this tragic turn of events!

And I gotta share this. Today, I found a great website called TV Tome. It's nothing but episode guides to your favourite TV shows! And, the cool thing I discovered was that, for an anime, it'll list every change made in every episode to make it more suibtable for broadcast. Wow. In the original Japanese episodes of Pokemon, I had no idea that Misty bitch-slapped Ash that much! Here's some of the big changes made to the movies to make them more suibtable for North America:

The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back - In the original Japanese version, Mewtwo constantly doubts the existence of God. This was due to the fact he was grown in a lab.

The Movie 2000: The Power of One - In the original Japanese version, Lugia's cry is an electronic blend of whale song, dolphin cries, and human voices. In the North Amercian version, it's whale song remixed to resemble the film's main orchestral theme.

the Movie 3: Spell of the Unown - In the North American version, Molly's father works diligently to find the Unown because they abducted his wife; Molly's mother. In the original Japanese version, Molly's mother is at an asylum because Molly's father's quest to find the Unown drove her insane!

4Ever: Celebi: The Spirit of the Forest - In the original Japanese version, time travel was regarded as a magical thing, resulting in our young time traveller dismissing his trip to the future as a dream. In the North American version, time travel is treated much more literally, thus reinforcing the idea that our young time traveller was in fact the young Professor Oak. (And setting up a wacky time loop in the process.)

And here's just an interesting tidbit. OK, so, in the original Japanese version of Pokemon, Ash is named "Satoshi" and his rival Gary is named "Shigeru." They are named after Satoshi Tajiri, creator of the Pokemon video games, and Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Super Mario games! These two characters were so-named as a little jab at Miyamoto, because, with the cartoon, Pokemon became bigger than Mario!

Next Issue...Bigger than Bonk

Saturday, May 29, 2004

I had an insane, brilliant idea tonight. Wanna hear it?

Alberta, as a province, must have the most official symbols out of all the provinces. We have: an official motto (Fortis et Liber), an official coat of arms, an official flag, official colours (blue and gold), an official stone (petrified wood), an official flower (wild rose), an official tree (lodgepole pine), an official grass (rough fescue), an official mammal (bighorn sheep), an official bird (great horned owl), an official fish (bull trout), and, if you ever feel like wearing a kilt, an official tartan. We just got an official song (Alberta, soon to be heard everywhere as part of next year's centennial celebrations), and my Dad (who works in the gravel industry) keeps telling me of a lobby group pushing for an official soil.

Here's my brilliant idea:

Let's have the Albertosaurus declared the official dinosaur of Alberta!

The Albertosaurus (Lizard from Alberta) was first discovered in 1884 by J.D. Tyrrell, the same man that Drumheller's famous Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology was named for. Tyrrell found an Albertosaurus skull in the banks of the Red Deer River, and it was the first significant dinosaur fossil find in the province. It was officially designated the "Albertosaurus" in 1905, the same year we became a province.

The Albertosaurus is a carnivore; in fact, it's a smaller cousin to the world-famous T-Rex. It looks just like a T-Rex, only about half the size. But, they figure that, compared to its larger cousin, the Albetosaurus was probably the fiercer hunter.

So, c'mon! Let's do this! I'm going to write my MLA tomorrow! Maybe not a good idea, seeing as to how my mother ran against him in the last election.... Ehh, I'll do it anyway. This is a hundred dollar idea, folks! Write YOUR MLA today!

I was also going to rant about The Day After Tomorrow and Farenheight 911, but I don't feel like it.

Next Issue...Movie Rants!

Friday, May 28, 2004

The excess time on my hands is starting to show. Yesterday, I decided to walk to Old Entwistle and back. I went out there following the back roads. I came back following the railroad. Total time of round trip: 1.5 hours. It'd been so long since I walked so much.... Legs still hurting.

Anyway, this is really cool DVD news I've gotta report. Coming out on August 24th is another "must have" boxed set for my collection....

Harsh Realm: The Complete Series

This three-disc set contains all nine episodes of the incredibly short-lived sci-fi series. For bonus features you get three featurettes about the creation of the show, various TV spots for the show, and running commentary on the pilot by series creator Chris Carter.

For those who don't remember, let me refresh your memory. Harsh Realm was based on a comic book of the same name, and adapted for the small screen by X-Files creator Chris Carter. It was infamously canceled by the Fox Network after just three episodes. Various cable channels then picked it up and showed all the episodes that were produced - all nine of them.

Harsh Realm followed the adventures of a highly decorated soldier who is given a top secret assignment by a shadowy military organization. See, the military has this virtual reality training program called "Harsh Realm," and a rouge general has made himself absolute dictator of Harsh Realm. Our soldier's mission is to go into Harsh Realm, apprehend said rouge general, and terminate the program. But, once our soldier gets plugged into Harsh Realm, he finds out the truth: he is trapped inside, the only way out to complete his mission. Plus, he's just the latest in a long line of highly decorated soldiers given this task. Some have given up, most were killed, but our hero is determined. Teaming up with the soldier who came the closest before him, our hero sets out on an odyssey through Harsh Realm, and thus, the war begins.

If it sounds a little like The Matrix, I thought so too when I first watched the pilot. But after episodes 2 and 3, it started making enough of its own twists to make it significantly different. Seek out this DVD!

And while I have you, let me tell you how bored I was this afternoon. I watched a rerun of Care Bears. Does anyone remember the first bit of Care Bears animation that started the whole thing off? Who remembers...the TV specials? I remember, in the beginning, there were two Care Bears TV specials. They didn't fight NoHeart. Instead, they fought this guy whose whole gimmick was cold and freezing. He was blue and had icicles hanging from his nose. He'd have you drink this special brew and it would freeze all your emotions, thus making you dead inside. And the Care Bears had to fight him. The one thing I remember the most from these TV specials was how powerful the Care Bear Stare was. They'd only do it as a last resort, and when they were done, the Care Bears collapsed from sheer exhaustion, thus making them vulnerable to our villain (assuming he survived).

So, yeah. Anyone remember these? There was one, featuring the original 10 bears. Then there was a second, which introduces Grams and Hugs & Tugs. Then the movies came along, and the regular TV show began after movie #2.

Yeah, who remembers that NoHeart was the villain in the second movie? But, in the movie, he was called "Dark Heart" and, rather than the blue and purple that made up No Heart's outfit, Dark Heart's colour scheme was black and red.

Next Issue...Care Bears Matrix

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Right now, I'm still reeling from the season finale of Enterprise. Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty good episode...right up until the end. The ending was just so...tacked on. It was like the writers said, "Oh, shit! We need a season finale cliffhanger!" The cliffhanger they used just came out of left field and left you going, "What?" Kinda like the twist ending in the remake of Planet of the Apes. A solid action episode ruined by a desperate attempt to create a cool cliffhanger.

And I'm reading even more interesting things about Farenheight 9/11. Apparently, the film now has a distributor every where but in the USA. And the hang-up for a finding a new American distributor rests, not just with Disney, but with the Weinsteins and Michael Moore.

Firstly, the hang-up with Disney. Turns out that, yes, Disney did try to stop funding the film. But, the Weinsteins still got the money from Disney by disguising the Farenheight 9/11 cash as some kind of loan. Disney's not going to let go of the film until they found out how they missed this.

Secondly, the hang up with the Weinsteins. They're trying to get as much money as possible from this, so they're trying to sell the theatrical distribution rights AND the DVD distribution rights to two seperate companies. That way, they make twice as much money. The distributors are cool towards this proposal.

Thirdly, the hang up with Michael Moore. Naturally, Moore wants people to see this before the November elections in the USA. So, Moore's demand is that the film be in theatres in July, and the DVD hits shelves in November. Distributors are looking at that and going, "Well, gee, that's not enough time to do a proper marketing campaign."

All of this is in today's Edmonton Journal.

Actually, I should point this out from the anit-Moore sites. There's this growing push right now among the anti-Moore sites. They're looking at Moore and saying, "Well, gee, Mikey (all the anit-Moore sites call him "Mikey," cuz George W. does), if you want people to see the film that badly, why don't you release it on the Internet? Right now? For free? But you won't because you're a lying, hyprocritical sack of shit who wants to make his money off this war." Well, the anti-Moore sites don't say that last sentence specifically, but they sure imply it in their other critiques of the film.

Oh, and some movie news I want to point out. As I reported yesterday, Dreamworks has given the go-ahead for Shrek 3 and Shrek 4. Well, I remember reading a few months ago that the plot for #3 involves Shrek mixing it up with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Today, I read that #4 will be the requisite prequel, explaining how Shrek came to live in his swamp.

Now, I have two online missions:

1) Find out who the Canadian distributor of Farenheight 9/11 is.
2) Find out if it was a typo in the paper, or if there really is no federal Liberal candidate in this riding.

Next Issue...How to Spell "Farenheight"

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

So, today's obession was the Rambo cartoon. Anyone out there remember it? I can't believe that, in all of the late-night conversations Mr. Anderson and I had about cartoons of the 1980s, that the Rambo cartoon never came up. Can't blame him, though. When it was on in Edmonton, it was real "blink and you'll miss it" television. Like the classic G.I. Joe: The MASS Device or G.I. Joe: Cobra's Revenge, it was a 5-episode mini-series. ITV in Edmonton (now Global) ran it for one week one spring, every afternooon at 5 o'clock. And it was just a 5 episode mini-series. On the second week, when I tuned in again to keep watching, it wasn't on any more. I think Mom even helped me write an angry letter to ITV. I mean, it was just on for one week, but I completely fell in love with it!

So, today, encouraged by A-Channel's recent Rocky marathon, I went in search of info on the Rambo cartoon. Just five episodes...my memory has grown fuzzy. But here's the scoop! Yes, it started with a 5-episode mini-series that was on in the spring of 1986 (most likely when it was on ITV), and it went so well, that a full season - 65 episodes - was produced, and it ran for the 1986/1987 TV season! Wow! So much of it that I missed!

And I was finally reminded of the premise. The immortal movie action hero John Rambo became leader of a group called the Force for Freedom. The Force for Freedom is America's daring, highly-trained special missions force. It's purpose: to defend human freedom against SAVAGE; an evil terrorist organization determined to rule the world. The cartoon tried to be gentler than the films, too. Rambo and the Force for Freedom would always try to seek out a non-violent solution, rather than simply killing or blowing up the forces of SAVAGE.

Oh, and the similarities to G.I. Joe continue. A member of the Force for Freedom was a ninja named "White Dragon." His twin brother, "Black Dragon," was a SAVAGE agent.

Most of the websites I found said that the 5-episode mini-series, Invasion, plus most of the 65 episodes, were released on video. Something tells me the show's got to exist online somewhere....

so, yeah. The Rambo cartoon. A brief, but happy, part of my childhood.

Next Issue...Rambo IV
Well, today is the first day of the Stanley Cup finals. The Calgary Flames vs. the Tampa Bay Lightening; both are teams that no one thought would make it this far. This is Calgary's first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since they won the cup back in 1989. Calgary is the first Canadian team in the Stanley Cup finals since the Vancouver Canucks lost the cup to the N.Y. Rangers in 1994. This is Tampa Bay's first trip to the Finals since they came into existence about...11 years ago?

Don't worry, I haven't turned into a hockey guy. One of the first rules of being a good radio announcer is to stay up-to-date on stuff like this, cuz that's what your listeners will want to talk about. I had to interview some announcers for an assignment I did. Announcers are so sick of reality TV right now mainly because they've had to watch so much to keep current with their listeners. One I spoke to said that American Idol and Canadian Idol were his most hated.

Subject change.

Well, I'm not the only one who's lost a beloved pet. West Edmonton Mall just shipped off their last dolphin to a dolphin resort down in Florida. Howard the dolphin will join seven other dolphins for the remainder of his life. Howard has been alone since his mate, Mavis, died last year. Edmonton's animal rights activists are heralding this as a victory, but it's a somewhat hollow victory as it took this long.

Oh, and I'm sure we all know by now that the #1 film of the past weekend was Shrek 2. It did such big business that Dreamworks has entered into final negotiations with Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas to reprise their roles in Shrek 3 and Shrek 4.

Next Issue...Too Many Shreks!

Monday, May 24, 2004

I've got an interesting tidbit about McDonald's. Very soon, instead of asking, "Would you like fries with that?" the clerks will be asking, "Would you like a DVD with that?" McDonald's is going to be putting DVD rental kiosks in all 105 of their Denver stores. McDonald's has already test marketed the rental kiosks in Washington and Las Vegas. Rumour is, if the Denver test goes well, look for DVD rental kiosks in ALL McDonald's stores.

McDonald's will charge a buck a day for rentals, and you can return them to ANY McDonald's location. Selection won't be big; they'll only rent the top 30 DVDs. They're doing this because the top 30 DVDs account for about 80% of a video rental store's business.

Hey! You can click here and read the whole story at Yahoo!

I don't know. This once again shows how McDonald's will do anything for money. They just started heavily advertising their salads and giving away free pedometers to promote a healthy lifestyle. Now what are they saying? "Buy your Big Mac, then go home and sit on your fat ass and watch a DVD! And bring it back tomorrow to do it all over again!"

Speaking of McDonald's...I just noticed that the new documentary about McDonald's, Super Size Me, managed to claw its way into the top 10 this past weekend! It was at #10, but still, it made the list!

I even found Roger Ebert's review. You know, he of "...& Roper" fame? The "Two Thumbs Up" guy? His review is a wonderful little editorial about McDonald's. Here's some great quotes:

"Eating responsibly at McDonald's is like going to a strip club for the iced tea."

"Of course I agree with McDonald's that a visit to Mickey D's can be part of a responsible nutritional approach. That's why I've dined there twice in the last 17 months."

You can read his whole review right here.

Next Issue...Eat at Wendy's!

Sunday, May 23, 2004

OK, let's get to it. Firstly, this week's column is up. This week's offering is Mortality:

"And now, at 6 o’clock this morning, things took an even more tragic turn. I was awakened to the sound of dog yelping in pain. She was sleeping right outside my door, as she always does. She was lying on the ground with her hind legs in an unnatural position, and despite all her efforts, she just couldn’t stand up. After watching her struggle for 20 minutes, I finally helped her up and up the stairs. It’s now 2 in the afternoon, and she’s more like her old self, but we can’t help but wonder what happened this morning. Mom speculates that the dog had a seizure.

Talk of putting her to sleep has turned serious. "

Click here. Read it all.

And, I have to share something odd I noticed watching Jurassic Park. I'm sure I've told the story many times by now. Steven Spielberg was in such a rush to go start making Schindler's List that he asked his good buddy George Lucas to oversee the post-production of Jurassic Park. The experience made Lucas fall back in love with directing and that led him to start work on the Star Wars prequels.

Now, because we've watched George's running commentaries on Episodes I and II, we know that he likes to end his films - usually the last 2 minutes of a film - with no dialogue. Just music and the images.

Now, I was watching Jurassic Park last night, and I finally noticed that the end of the film - the last 2 minutes - has no dialogue! Just music and the images!

I submit for your approval that Jurassic Park's ending is a direct result of George Lucas's influence in the editing room!

Next Issue...Conspiracy Theorist

Saturday, May 22, 2004

I've been wanting to mention this for a while, but have always forgotten to.

I love trains. I'm eagerly looking forward to Spider-Man 2. Wouldn't it be great if the two were combined somehow? Well, they have been!

Sony Pictures, Marvel Entertainment, and Via Rail have teamed-up to bring us the "Spot the Spider-Man Train" contest. See, Via Rail has painted up six of their locomotives with images from Spider-Man 2. If you spot one of these trains, you can enter their contest online and be in the running for a complete Sony home theatre or a Via Rail vacation.

Read all the details right here!

I'd love to see this Spider-Man locomotive. Even though the Via hasn't stopped in my neighbouring town of Evansburg for about 12 years, Via's online timetable still lists when it should be rolling through town. I think I'll have to map this out and take regular walks down to the train tracks to try to spot the Spider-Man train!

Next Issue...Spider-Train
I feel kind of strange, mainly because there's something I've always done in my life which I'm not doing right now. It seems that, whenever I go to Edmonton, I come home with at least one DVD. But, ever since March, I've come home DVD-less. There's just no DVDs that I want right now. Well, that's not true. Most everything I want is a big boxed set that's just a little out of my budget, like the Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine sets, Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection, The Flintstones: The Complete First Season and, ever since October, The Indiana Jones Trilogy. Outside of these sets, there's really nothing I want. I really only want two DVDs right now:

ReBoot: Daemon Rising & My Two Bobs - These two TV movies made up the fourth season of the classic computer animated TV show ReBoot. Both films are available on one disc.

Galaxy Angel: Volume 1 - So, Galaxy Angel was one of my favourite animes on TV when I was in Japan. It's a pure comedy about an all-girl fighter squadron in space. It's just become available here in North America, so keep an eye open for it!

And I keep playing "Should I or shouldn't I?" with the 2-disc special edition of The Lion King.

And, in case you're curious, this is everything that's on my DVD radar:

May 25 (Tuesday) - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy boxed set.

June 1 - Pokemon: Jirachi Wish Maker (aka the sixth film)

July 19 - Justice League: Starcrossed (aka the final episode)

August 31 - My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso

September 7 - Star Trek: Generations The 2 disc special edition

September 21 - The Star Wars Trilogy boxed set. The most anticipated DVD in the history of the format!

I've come a long way from when I first bought my DVD player. There were days when I blew entire paychecks on DVDs.

Subject change.

It's a grey, rainy May long weekend. Which sucks, cuz I want to go outside and play. What can I say? In Japan, with my tiny little apartment, I'd go loopy if I spent the whole day inside, so I'd always try to get out and do something on my days off. With school done and my current unemployment, my desire to get outside is still with me.

I was going to do some cycling, but I couldn't find my bike in the clutter that is the garage. I finally asked my folks what happened to my bike and they broke the news that they sold it at a garage sale when I was in Japan.

Back on Tuesday, I bought some needles so I could blow up my basketball. I blew that up, and then, I spent Wednesday on deathwatch, looking for signs of life in Buck, so I couldn't get outside that day. And on Thursday, they greyness and rain started. So, I gots me a B-ball, but the weather ain't cooperating.

Right now, though, I'm thinking I'd like to get a pedometer. You know, one of those thingies that you clip to your belt and it tells you how far you've walked. They're a real fad right now. I could go to McDonald's and get one free with one of their new supersized salads, but something tells me I can just go to Sport Check or the sporting goods dept. at Canadian Tire and buy a much better quality one.

so, yeah. I'd love to get outside and do something, but as of this moment, the grey rainy day is conspiring against me. Instead, I've been watching DVDs. Yesterday, it was Princess Mononoke. 20 minutes ago, I finished the classic Superman. And now, I'm just killing time until Astro Boy at 4:30.

Next Issue...Shopping Spree

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

And there we have it. My dog is gone. My mourning process has begun. I've shed my tears, and now I'm just sad. I wasn't with her at the end. Mom suggested that I stay home, mainly because she was crying twice as hard as I was and she figured Dad could only put up with one of us.

Yeah, it was one of those days for me. Had the big thing, then the little things. ToyFare has broken the news that Mattel is pulling the plug on the revamped Masters of the Universe toys. While the updated versions of He-Man, Skeletor, et al are doing great business with toy collectors, they have failed to catch on with their target audience - kids. And, despite everything we may think, action figures is still primarily a kid-driven industry.

And Jerry Orbach has left Law & Order. No more Lenny Briscoe.

Wow. Good thing I'm a redneck Albertan. I got me the makings of a country music song here.

Some interesting news though. Stan Winston has just signed on to design the Superman costume for the next Superman film. What I find odd is that they've hired an animatronics and make-up expert to design a costume. Either they've given up on finding the perfect Superman so they're just going to build an animatronic one, or the suit will be painted on.

Oh, and news I've been waiting for for a long time. The 2-disc super-special edition of Star Trek: Generations comes out on Sept. 7.

Next Issue...Coping with Loss
At around 6:30 this morning, I was awoken by my dog yowling in pain. She was at the bottom of my stairs, her back legs in an unnatural position. Mom figured the dog must have had a seizure. After 20 minutes, she struggled to her feet. Throughout the day, she's been getting better. She's just about back to her old self right now.

In two hours, we're having her put to sleep.

We've been talking about this for a month, now. She's 18 years old (that's about 95 in dog years). She's incontinent. Her skin is covered in cancerous growths, the worst of which is on her left eyelid. She's near-deaf. She's near-blind. She's incontinent.

But she still has life. She still has a spark. She still runs around the house with her tail held high.

We're doing the right thing, right?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Ahh, I had me a wonderfully relaxing day at West Edmonton Mall. Days which are going to become few and far between because it cost me $30 to put gas in the car.

The big goal was to finally see Kill Bill Vol. 2, and may I say, that's a fine piece of filmmaking. At the end, when the Bride finally catches up with Bill, and Bill goes on these rants about goldfish and Superman...it's brilliant dialogue, surprisingly sensitive, and when it's all added, it makes Bill seem that much more evil. But it's a great film, although I did squirm at the eyeball squishing scene. The werid thing is I laughed at a similar eyeball squishing scene in Minority Report.

Anyway, speaking of evil, today was a day I put an evil plot in motion. This is, perhaps the most diabolical thing I've ever done. As y'all know, Trouble's off in China right now teaching English. She's got this co-worker who's a real bitch. She's constantly giving Trouble a hard time and reads her mail, too, when it comes in. And, since I've sent Trouble an unhealthy amount of postcards, this bitchy co-worker has the impression that I'm the man Trouble left behind. And, apparently, it drives this bitchy co-worker nuts that she can't read my postcards. Thank God for my messy handwriting!

So, I've hatched a plot to help Trouble get this bitch. It's a huge intercontinental practical joke. I've sent a postcard to Trouble. It's clearly printed, so the bitchy co-worker can read it.

And in this postcard, I "dump" Trouble, and say that I've fallen in love with the bitchy co-worker through Trouble's stories. I then announce that I'm coming to China in the hopes of wooing the bitchy co-worker.

Oh, and the postcard was the wonderfully Freudian image of a train entering a tunnel.

As Darkstorm said, it is so much easier to be evil....

But I had a good omen when I mailed the postcard. I mailed it straight from the Post Office at West Edmonton Mall. A oversees postage came to $1.50. I paid with a twonie. And I got my change in the form of...a $0.50 coin. I was amazed, and double-thanked the clerk.

but all in all, it was a day of resisting temptation. With my savings starting to dry up, I'm trying to spend money on only the essentials. The essentials I needed to buy today were some new pairs of pants, mainly because I've worn out the crotches in most of my pairs. Go ahead, there's no dirty joke you can't make that my Dad has already made.

So, what were the temptations I resisted?

- The ReBoot: Daemon Rising and My Two Bobs DVD. (cost $30)
- The one thing I really geeked out over: they finally released a score album for Shrek. I was actually impressed with the score in that film. (cost $25)
- And another CD I finally found: the score for The Matrix. Actually, this represents a little personal paradigm shift. Back during my original days of my radio show, I'd buy a CD over the summer and think, "I can't wait to play this on the show!" When I saw The Matrix score, I though, "Dude, I can use that for so many commercials." (cost $25)

I did, however, find two pairs of pants for a total of $30.

And then I got home and Mom told me my tax refund came today. I got $521. I could have bought a CD guilt free....

Next Issue...Get a Job

Monday, May 17, 2004

Just finished watching the big episode of CSI: Miami that sets up the next series, CSI: New York. I don't know. I was disappointed when I found out they were doing CSI: New York. Between NYPD Blue and the Law & Order shows, I think New York has been overdone for cop shows.

Anyway, one thing I do like is how they try to give each CSI it's own distinct look. The first one is lit pretty normal. Miami, taking place in sunny Miami, is lit in that orange tint/really bright sun washing out everything/Three Kings kind of way. And it looks like, in New York, they're going to put a blue tint on everything; like you're in a dark, old building and all the light's coming in through old windows.

But let's get to the good stuff! YTV showed all three parts of the final episode of Justice League, entitled Starcrossed. Yeah, I know, it'll be back as Justice League Unlimited this fall, but many are starting to think of Unlimited as being an all new show.

So, anyway, Starcrossed went down like this. The Thanagarians show up and help repel an alien attack. The Thanagarians are the Hawkpeople; Hawkgirl's people. The Thanagarians - led by Hawkman - say that Earth is under attack by the Gordanians, and that they only way Earth can survive is by teaming up with the Thanagarian fleet. Oh, and by the way, Hawkgirl is actually a spy who was sent out to survey the Earth for us. Earth's forces, and the Justice League, side with the Thanagarians, but Batman, still trusting no one, thinks this is too good to be true. And, before you know it, the Thanagarians turn into an invasion fleet, disable the Justice League (thanks to Hawkgirl's intel), and take over the world.

Eventually, the Justice League escapes from confinement, go underground, and set up temporary HQ in the Batcave. Hawkgirl finds out the truth: Earth is going to be destroyed to make way for the Thanagarian fleet. Hawkgirl betrays her own people to help the League, the Justice League launch one last offensive, and soon, it's a climactic battle between Hawkman and Green Lantern to determine the fate of the world - and who'll win Hawkgirl's heart.

Let me just say, this episode FUCKING ROCKED! Oh my God, it was so cool. A strong plot, lots of great character moments, and a heartbreaking end to the series-long Green Lantern/Hawkgirl romance.

And because all of this DC animation started with Batman: The Animated Series, I really geek out when they get deep into Batman lore. The League in the Batcave...the League taking on the Thanagarian army in the Batcave...a Thanagarian soldier using one of Batman's trophies-Mr. Freeze's freezing gun...the Flash flattening some soldiers with the Batcave's giant penny...and my favourite, a big supporting role for Alfred!

Anyway, let me sum things up by throwing some of my favourite dialogue bits at you:

The League finds out that Hawkgirl is really a spy.
Batman>> They're the most mysterious creatures in the universe.
Green Lantern>> Who's that?
Batman>> Women.

Batman, the Flash, and Martian Manhunter are trying to figure out how to fly one of the Thanagarian attack ships.
The Flash>> What's this do?
(the Flash pushes the button, the alien ship fires off an energy beam, destroying a wing of Wayne Manor)
Batman>> (through gritted teeth) THAT'S...NOT...HELPING.

Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern vs. the entire Thanagarian army.
Wonder Woman>> The odds are uneven.
Superman>> I know. They don't stand a chance.

Superman saves Batman at the last minute, thus preventing Batman from making the ultimate sacrafice.
Superman>> You always have to be a hero, don't you?
Batman>> Right back atcha.

And my favourite bit, when the League first escapes from custody, hole up in a closed department store, and decide that they have to go underground.

Batman>> We'll have to go underground.
Martian Manhunter>> I agree. Without our costumes, we are just ordinary citizens.
The Flash>> Woah! Wait a minute! What about the secret identity thing? I mean, I trust you guys, but...
Batman>> (pointing to the Flash) Wally West. (pointing to Superman) Clark Kent.
(removing his mask) Bruce Wayne.
The Flash>> (removing his mask) Show-off.
Wonder Woman>> (seeing the Flash's face for the first time) Red hair. It suits you.

Next Issue...Hawkgirl Rocks!
Well, I was hoping to do just one post today, only later, and for it to mainly be a review of Starcrossed, the final episode of Justice League. But I've read a few things I just have to pass along....

- Well, Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, had its world premiere screening at the Cannes Film Festival today. Apparently, the film got an unprecidented 20-minute standing ovation. People are really talking about how it starts. Rather than show the planes crashing into the World Trade Centre, the screen remains black, and all we hear are the sounds. We then fade in to George W., and those now famous photos where he heard the news in a schoolroom. The song "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" begins to play as we see footage of the Bin Ladens flying out of the USA. It's going to be an interesting film, I tell you what.

- And, Disney just went back on their promise to stop making films based on Disneyland rides. It was announced today that they're turning Jungle Cruise into a movie. That's the Disneyland ride where you ride on a boat and see all these animatronic animals. Apparently, Disney wants to do the film in the style of their "True Life Adventure" nature documentaries from the late-1950s/early-1960s. I don't know, I thought Pirates of the Carribean was only so-so, and I haven't seen any of the other ones. All I know is I'm going to shoot myself when they announce their doing It's a Small World.

Next Issue...Starcrossed!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I've been wanting to do some serious writing ever since summer started, but I always seem to find some menial distraction. But, when writing this column, I finally figured out what I have to do to write distraction-free. I packed up my laptop, headed out onto the deck, and wrote it in the sunshine. Ahh, the miracle of modern, portable technology!

And that's how I wrote this little gem called Explorer. I'm slapping a "PG-13" rating on this one this week because of some mature subject matter:

"I am an explorer. I push myself into the unknown to find out more about the world around me. I look to my heroes – Captains Kirk, Picard, and Sisko – for inspiration. Brave explorers all. Venturing out into the final frontier. Seeking out all there is in heaven and Earth. To learn more about the universe around us; to find out more about the human condition; to discover what makes things work so as to further the human race. Being an explorer is one of the noblest professions. I am an explorer.

At least, this is what I kept telling myself as I looked at the wall of dildos."

As always, click here to find out what the hell I got myself into.

Yeah, this is just the latest result of my obsession with sex. Probably my favourite way for this obession to manifest itself has to be with the Pay Per View. I love reading the one-sentence plot descriptions of the porn films. It's funny, the way they try to dramatically say, "People have sex." Let's see what's playing right now:

Kira Talks Dirty - A woman brings her fantasies to life

Babes in Boyland 2 - Interracial couples please one another

Seymore's Tounge in Cheek - Beauties speak lust's universal language.

What's funnier though are the ones for gay porn. They're pretty much the same, only they start with the phrase, "In an all male cast...." Let's see if I can find a gay porn one...here we go!

A Weekend in West Hollywood - In an all male cast, hunks spend a steamy holiday together.

And, for the really filthy ones, forget Pay Per View. We just skip up to the Hustler Channel (which my family does not subsribe to, by the way). Currently playing....

I Want to F... You! - Beauties demand immediate satisfaction.

They're good for a laugh, I tell you!

And can I let you in on a secret? In the past 11 months I've been home, I've bought three porn films on Pay Per View. I'm really shocked that Mom & Dad - who pay the cable bill - have yet to confront me about it.

Next Issue...The Straight and Narrow

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Wow! According to blogger, this is my 300th post!

I remember about two years ago, when I was reading the announcement about Ellen DeGeneris doing a voice in Finding Nemo. I was curious to the point of obsession about that, mainly because DeGeneris is one of those last people you'd think of to do a voice in an animated film. I've got a similar curiousity right now about The Incredibles, and View Askew mainstay Jason Lee doing the voice of the supervillain Syndrome. They've been keeping his voice out of the new trailer, so I guess I'll just have to wait until November. I finally saved it to my hard drive, so I've been watching that trailer over and over and over....

And when I grew tired of it, I downloaded the trailer for Shark Tale. Shark Tale is the next animated film from Dreamworks (the Shrek gang) and it comes out in October. It's a spoof of mafia films, only starring fish. Will Smith does the voice of Oscar, a small time hustler fish who rockets to the top of the underworld when people think he killed a mafia boss/shark. Something about the trailer seemed off.

Mainly because they've attempted to make the fish resemble the big name actors who do the voices.

I mean, Oscar looks like they grafted Will Smith's head onto a fish body. Angelina Jolie does a voice, and they made her character look like her. And Rene Zellwiger. And Martin Scorcese. Their fish counterparts are all made to look like them, and it destroys the illusion of being underwater. This is how CGI is going to ruin animation. They're going to start making the animated characters look like the celebrities who voice them and it'll bring you out of the story.

It reminds me of what Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles said: "In most animated films, they'll get a celebrity to voice the character, then hope what ever personality the celebrity brings carries over to the character. What I'm trying to do is create the personality first, then find the right voice for that personality."

And wow! It looks like one of Michael Moore's future projects might have lots of nasty things to say about Disney. In an interview with Moore at the Cannes film festival, Moore said that "[he has] a lot to say about Disney, and there's a lot that hasn't been reported." And the hunt for a new distributor for Farenheight 911 continues. The short list right now is Lion's Gate Films (who served a similar service for Miramax with Dogma), Focus Features (the indie and documentary arm of Universal), and Newmarket Films (who made a name for themselves when they distributed The Passion of the Christ).

Next Issue...Cat Tale

Friday, May 14, 2004

Is it wrong to capture a great mythological being and make him do your bidding?

I ran into this question while playing Pokemon tonight. I reached a part of the game where you have to do battle with this mythological pokemon named Kyorge in order to save the world. But, he was a pokemon nonetheless. So, when his energy level was low enough, I threw out a pokeball and caught him, just as I would any other pokemon.

So, did I do the right thing? Have I robbed the world of magic? But then, whenever I watched the Pokemon movies, I always made fun of Ash for being an idiot because in every movie he comes across the great mythological pokemon and then does dick-all to try to catch it.

Naturallly my guilt and internal musings went away when I used Kyorge to win my eighth and final gym battle. Now, I'm off to the championships in Ever Grande City!

Anyway, it was Friday, so that means it was time to watch JAG. JAG is my Dad's favourite show, and our household comes to a standstill every Friday night at 7 so Dad can watch it.

For those who've never watched it.... JAG has been on for about nine years now. It's from Donald P. Belarsario, whose other additions to the TV universe have included Magnum P.I. and Quantum Leap. JAG follows the adventures of Cmmdr. Harmon Rabb Jr., a lawyer in the U.S. Navy's Judge Advocate General (JAG) corp., as Rabb travels throughout the Navy and Marines dispensing military justice.

As I'm sure you can imagine, the war in Iraq has provided lots of fodder for plot lines right now. It's weird when it tries to both condemn and support the war. A great example would be an episode from a few weeks ago. Some insurgents in Iraq took over a hospital and were using it as a bunker. So, the Marines ordered the hospital to be taken out. Bombing hospitals, of course, violates the Geneva Convention, so the United States Secretary of the Navy (supreme commander of the Navy and Marines) was charged with war crimes and summoned to appear before the U.N.'s court in the Hague.

Now, the USA has refused to acknowledge this court's authority. But, in TV land, the President said, "Well, you know, we REALLY want the U.N. to help us rebuild Iraq, so let's play along, just this once, to make us look better to the world and the UN." So, Rabb was sent to the Hague to defend the Secretary of the Navy at the Hague's war crimes tribunal. And, playing up current stereotypes, the prosecutor was a snotty Frenchman who would do anything - ANYTHING - to disgrace the USA's war efforts.

Anywho, after a foiling an attempt to assasinate the Secreatary of the Navy, Rabb won over the Hague with an empassioned speech as to why the war was going on in Iraq. The Secretary of the Navy was cleared of all charges, and Rabb's speech was so empassioned that he healed the rift between the USA and France.

My God, I can't believe this is from the same guy who made Quantum Leap.

Actually, there was a much better one just last week. The General in charge of Iraq was accused of racism when it was found out that he was running around calling the US military a "mighty Christian army" charged with "crushing the pagan Muslims." That was a clear example of trying to both condemn and support the war. Rabb was saying, "Right on! We need fanatics to fight fanatics!" And his perpetual foil, Col. Sarah McKenzie, said, "Are you NUTS? This is the last thing we need in this war! More fanatics!"

I don't know. It's a crazy show. The season finale is next week, so I'm going to have to wait until the fall to see Rabb defend the American torturers in Iraq. Something tells me there is going to be a "ripped from the headlines" episode about that.

Next Issue...Down Victory Road (that's a reference to Pokemon)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Woo hoo! I'm just geeking out right now! Pixar's posted a new trailer for The Incredibles, and it just rocks. My God, it's so cool! Favourite bit has to be the interview with Frozone, the superhero with the voice of Samuel L. Jackson:

"The superladies are always trying to tell you their secret identity. (voice lowers) They think it'll stengthen the relationship or somethin."

November 5! Can't wait! Everyone's invited!

And speaking of endings, the final episode of Frasier was tonight. It was OK. The whole series ended on a cliffhanger, as Dr. Frasier Crane hopped on a plane and headed out to Chicago to be with the woman he loves. Actually, I read an interesting fact about Frasier today. Some figure that, if it were an original show and not a spin-off of Cheers, it probably would have never lasted.

And speaking of spin-offs, be sure to watch CSI: Miami on Monday. It's the big set-up episode for CSI: New York. And the fourth Law & Order show is in the works. Tell me honestly. When it comes to spin-offs, when is enough enough?

Next Issue...ENOUGH!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Aww, I'm heartbroken. Pamela Anderson just became an American citizen. I say this is heartbreaking because Pamela Anderson is responsible for my favourite "I am Canadian" moment.

It was quite a few years ago now, and Pamela Anderson was on The Tonight Show. She was the first guest and the interview went as well as could be expected. Then the second guest came out and he was this really lame stand-up comic. He was doing a bit about Canadian coins. He was going on and on about how stupid our coins look and he hates it when he finds one in his change. "It's like having a booger on your finger!" he said. "You're not sure how to get rid of it!" Then he turns to Pamela Anderson and says, "I mean, c'mon! Don't you just hate Canadian coins?" Pamela Anderson - who was quite visibly offended - just cooly said, "Actually, I am Canadian." The stand-up comic just said, "Oh," and moved on to his next bit really quickly.

This reminds me of another thing. Does anyone know if George W. Bush has paid an official state visit to Canada? This goes back a few more years. It was 1994 or so. I was home from school and I was watching Bill Clinton's first official state visit to Canada. As part of this, he was addressing the House of Commons. That was cool, actually. I could watch it on CNN for the American perspective; I could watch it on CBC NewsWorld for the Canadian perspective; I could watch it on C-PAC for the plain "fly on the wall" perspective. So I was watching it on CBC NewsWorld, and Jean Chretien gave his speech first. And in it, he made a very interesting observation. Chretien said that, throughout the 20th Century, every US president who paid an official state visit to Canada in his first term, got re-elected. And then he made the joke that, by paying this visit to Canada, Clinton had assured his re-election! And wouldn't you know it? Bill Clinton got re-elected.

So yeah. That's why I want to know if W has paid an official state visit to Canada. Maybe this trend will carry over into the 21st Century. If W hasn't visited us, then maybe there's a good chance he won't be back.

And one last thing. I actually read this yesterday but forgot to post it. Oprah's personal trainer has come out against the film Supersize Me and is throwing his support behind McDonald's. I find his support of McDonald's suspect, though, because he wrote the health booklet that you'll get with your new adult Happy Meal, and McDonald's is sponsoring a chairty cycle-thon he's currently on.

Next Issue...The Life of a Cat
Wow. My summer just got shittier. For some odd reason, Spike TV has just quit showing Star Trek: Deep Space Nine reruns. Instead, they replaced it with some stupid Pamela Anderson show. Actually, I do have a theory as to why they quit showing it. We went over this when we learned about CanCon regulations in class. See, if an American cable channel and a Canadian cable channel are showing the same thing, the American channel has to replace thier programming with a Canadian signal for the length of that program. So, I'm guessing that some Canadian cable channel has started showing DS9 at the same time, meaning that Spike TV replaces their DS9 signal with the Pamela Anderson signal from their Canadian re-broadcaster.

Anywho, any Spawn fans in the house? McFarlane Productions has just signed a deal to bring back Spawn: The Animated Series. McFarlane Productions signed the deal with IDT Entertainment, a budding young entertainment conglomerate whose holdings include Film Roman (the animation studio who currently animates The Simpsons and King of the Hill), Canada's own Mainframe Entertainment, and the DVD label Anchor Bay. The deal calls from McFarlane Productions to produce three animated programs, the first of which is the return of Spawn.

The original Spawn cartoon ran from 1997 - 1999 on HBO. Spawn creator Tood McFarlane wrote and produced virtually every episode, and he co-directed most of the episodes with Kevin Altieri. Altieri, of course, was one of the animation geniuses responsible for the early seasons of Batman: the Animated Series.

Oh, and the new Spawn cartoon will be traditionally animated by Film Roman. I know, a CGI Spawn courtesy of Mainframe would have kicked ass.

Right now, I'm watching Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla in its poorly dubbed English form. My God, the dubbing is horrendous.

Next Issue...Spawnzilla

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I'm sure we all remember that one of the big complaints about Hulk was that we didn't actually get to see the Hulk until 45 minutes into the film. Well, you know what? Today, I was watching bits and pieces of Superman, considered to be the greatest comic book adaptation to date, and in that film, we don't get to see Superman until 50 minutes into it! So, I ask you, what makes Superman the greatest and Hulk only so-so? Well, lots of things but I won't get into them here.

That's what's going to make the new Batman film so interesting. Apparently, we're not going to see Batman until about 45 minutes into the film. See, a grand part of the Batman-mythos is this "world tour" that young Bruce Wayne went on to train to become Batman. The first 45 minutes or so will be Bruce Wayne on this world tour. A high point of the world tour will be Wayne's apprenticeship under Henri Ducard, a French billionaire who ultimately turns out to be an agent of the evil Ra's Al Guhl. Henri Ducard is being played by Liam Neeson. I remember reading a description of the Ducard/Wayne scenes in the film. The reviewer said, "Yes, you read that right. There's a sword fight between Batman and Qui-Gon Jinn."

But let's go back to Hulk. I'm really interested to see if Hulk 2 ever gets made. Marvel still wants to go ahead with it. Valhalla Productions (the folks who really own the movie rights) wants to go ahead with it. But, Universal doesn't want to go ahead with it, what with it having been one of the box office disappointments of 2003 and all. Marvel still wants it for the summer of 2006.

Speaking of Marvel comics movies, here's an interesting bit about Fantastic Four. Seems that, in order to make it more appealing to a younger demographic, the film is going to based largely on the new Ultimate Fantastic Four comic rather than the classic Fantastic Four comics. FF purists are already quaking in their boots. They start filming in August for a July 2005 release.

Next Issue...More About Pokemon

Monday, May 10, 2004

I am now very content.

Ever since I got home from Japan, my biggest concern has been, "How am I going to see Pokemon 6?" I mean, it came out in theatres over there just two weeks after I left! I was watching TV ads for it as I packed up my stuff! It was a huge cosmic tease, is what it was. But now, I am content.

Pokemon 6 comes out in North America on June 1. As I always suspected, the thrill of seeing Pokemon on the big screen has worn off, so it'll be coming out straight to DVD.

Pokemon: Jirachi Wish Maker will retail for about $24.99. Among the bonus materials will be the Pokemon short film that screened theatrically with it, a music video, and a special introduction by Kuniko Yuyama, the director of all 6 films and a good chunk of the TV show.

The plot revolves around Ash, Brock, May and Max battling to save Jirachi from an evil magician. Jirachi is a magical pokemon with the power to grant wishes.

I am content. But now the question is, how am I going to see Pokemon 7? It comes out in Japan in July. They ALL come out in Japan in July.

And I won another gym badge in the video game today. 7 down, 1 to go. Then, it's off to the Pokemon League!

Next Issue...The Search for a Life
So, for the past few months now, the CBC has been playing all kinds of ads looking for "The Greatest Canadian." Finally swung by the website to find out what this is all about. (www.cbc.ca/greatest) Naturally, it's for a new TV show they're doing. You go to the website and nominate who you think is the greatest Canadian. It can be anyone - ANYONE! Of course, they have the nominations of Canadian celebrities and a few mini-bios of people you could nominate. They'll take the top 10 and, on the TV show this fall, you all call in and vote for who you think the greatest Canadian is. Kind of Biography meets Canadian Idol. So, yeah. If you think you know who the Greatest Canadian is, go nominate that person! The deadline is Saturday.

And I'm still following the controversy over Michael Moore's new film and Disney's refusal to distribute it. The instant rebutal from the Disney folk was that Moore knew about this for a year. Now, Moore is saying this. Back in April 2003, he signed the deal with Disney/Miramax for Miramax to produce and distribute the film. After filming the film for about a month, Moore's agent had a meeting with Michael Eisner, in which Eisner expressed concern about the film and what it might do for Disney's tax breaks in Florida. Moore's agent told Moore about this, and Moore just kind of brushed it off. According to Moore, he thought, "Well, if they really are concerned about the film, they'll proabaly pull their funding and thus shut down the film." But, they never did that, so Moore kind of assumed that it would all blow over. But now that the film is finished and the release date nears, Disney expressed their concerns again, and with a vengeance.

Anyway, Moore has already signed a new distribution deal in England, so at least the Brits will bet to see it.

And hey! I wasn't playing Pokemon all afternoon. I got some of my writing done, which was mainly updating the resume and cover letters for summer jobs.

Next Issue...To Work!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

OK, really didn't quit playing Pokemon. I found a place where I could capture a psyduck and I got all obsessed with that. So much so, that it became the topic of the column, Driven to Distraction:

"Must write column…must write column…. Let’s see, what’s in the “Columns to be written” list? That one? No. I need to be in a better mood for that one. How about that one? Too dated. That one? No, it’ll be too long. Must write a column quick. My self-imposed weekly deadline is in 12 hours. Must write a column…. Until inspiration strikes, I think I’ll play Pok√©mon."

Go here and read it all!

And everyone, do my favour. I'd really like to sit down and write some columns tomorrow, so if you could all e-mail me some variation on this message:

"Put down the Game Boy and get back to writing!"

That would be appreciated.

Next Issue...Adventures with Psyduck
After two hours of brutal battling, I finally walked away from the Fortree City gym with my Feather Badge. I've got sore shoulders, sore thumbs, everything that says, "You've been playing video games for far too long." Oh, but it was worth it.

I have to give props to the pokemon that helped me win it: my recently captured Castform. You've heard of frankenfoods? Well, this is a frankenmon. (Or, pokenstein, whatever.) It was being created by the Weather Institute in the hopes of creating a pokemon capable of controlling the weather. After I liberated the Weather Institute from the evil Team Aqua, the scientists gave me a Castform as thanks. What makes this pokemon unique is that it's affected by the weather. If it's raining, it becomes a water type. If it's snowing, it becomes an ice type. If it's really bright and sunny, it becomes a fire type. Plus, it can make it rain, snow, or be sunny. It's a powerful little critter.

And I've been doing some reading about the next editions of the Pokemon games coming for Gameboy Advance this fall. The next editions/colours are "FireRed" and "LeafGreen." These are, essentially, super-special editions of the original Red and Blue editions for the original Game Boy. Only now, they're in colour and have all the fancy new features that are in Ruby and Sapphire. Nifty, eh? You can get me one for Christmas, if you're so inclined.

Anyway, now, I need to go recover then write a column for you kind readers.

Oh, and can you help me with a problem? Mr. Anderson tells me that, on his machine, the graphics for this blog aren't loading. They do, however, load fine on mine. So, we're trying to figure out if this is a global problem or just me and him. If you don't see any graphics on this page, please drop me a line and tell me so!

Next Issue...The Might of Kekleon!
Oh, infinite frustration with Pokemon. Just when I finished my brutal battle against Team Aqua to liberate the Weather Institute, I was ambushed by a wild pokemon on the road to the Pokemon Centre and whited out. Game over! Start over again from the beginning.

Anyway, tonight, I managed to stop in at Drayton Valley's all new Dairy Queen. There was a list of DQ facts on the wall, and among them was the stat "1972 - First Dairy Queen opens in Japan." Naturally, the folks asked, "Did you ever go to Dairy Queen in Japan?" Well, I was always told there was one in close to the Shinjuku station, but no matter how hard I looked, I could never find it.

But this did lead me to miss Green Tea Ice Cream. That flavour was as common as vanilla. If they had vanilla soft ice cream, they had green tea soft ice cream. It was actually pretty good.

Naturally, I'm now wondering why Dairy Queen here in Canada doesn't serve green tea ice cream. I'm thinking I'll send a letter to Dairy Queen asking them to add green tea ice cream to the menu. Hey, if I sent a letter to McDonald's asking for the Teriyaki McBurger to be brought to Canada, I can send a letter to DQ asking for green tea ice cream.

BTW, the manager of the new Drayton Valley Dairy Queen said that next Saturday is their grand opening, and everything will be half price.

Next Issue...The Road to Dewford Town

Friday, May 07, 2004

OK, one problem with new comment system on my blog. I find I'm now reading my own blog about 6 times a day to see if anyone has left any comments. It's sad, really.

Actually, I'm kind of thrilled. After being stuck at a certain point since Christmas, I'm finally making headway in Pokemon: Sapphire Edition. Yeah, I'll admit. I cheated. I went searching online and found a walkthough. But I would have never thought of it. Turns out, I was strong enough now to take on the Petalburg gym leader - my father! So, I had to go back to my hometown and kick Dad's ass. Anyway, Dad turned out to be a bit of a pushover, so now I can teach my water pokemon how to surf, and then I can ride that pokemon across the bay. And according to the timer on the game, I have wasted 31 hours of my life playing Pokemon. And I have yet to catch a Pikachu.

Oh, and I forgot to mention a cool tidbit about Enterprise. It was revealed that the name of the under-construction NX-02 is the Columbia. Obviously, it's named after the ill-fated space shuttle. That's one of the things that people have been pushing for for the longest time on Star Trek: a class of starship where all the ships are named after space shuttles. Maybe that'll happen with NX class on Enterprise. Did you know the joke on the original series? All the starships were named after U.S. aircraft carriers.

Anyway, the two people who follow this blog have left one resounding message: "What happened on the final episode of Quantum Leap for it to have such a profound impact?" I'll summarize it as best I remember. I haven't seen it since the first and only time it aired 11 years ago.

Dr. Sam Beckett leaps into a bar in a coal mining town in the late-1950s. He looks down to see he's wearing his clothes from the late-1990s (when Project Quantum Leap is set). He checks his wallet to see it's a Velcro sports wallet from the late-1990s. And he looks in a mirror to see that he's lept into...himself! Naturally, he thinks that something weird's going on. The bartender, however, takes this all as normal.

Meanwhile, back in the future, Al and Gucci (the guy who runs Quantum Leap's computers) are freaking out. Sam has completely dropped off their radar and there's no one in the waiting room. Something has gone wrong. They begin a wide-spectrum search for Sam, but they need some way to narrow the search. Al has this hunch: Sam is on his birthday. They narrow the search to Sam's birthdays.

Back in the past...Sam is freaking out even more. All the customers in the bar are people that Sam has helped in his leaps. Only, their coal miners now and they don't remember their previous lives at all. Finally, a bunch of miners storm into the bar. There was a cave-in, and if it weren't for this one miner sitting in the corner warning them, they would have all died. This heroic miner gives a knowing wink to Sam, then quantum leaps out of there. The bartender offers some sage-like advice that puts this into perspective, and Sam begins formulating a theory....

Back in the future, Al and Gucci's search turned up nothing. "Unless," Gucci said, "By Sam's birthday, you literally meant the day he was born. We didn't search that day." They reset the computer to search that day, and sure enough, that's when Sam is. Al hops into the holographic imaging chamber and makes contact with Sam.

Sam and Al talk, and Sam shares his theory. You know how we've always speculated that some kind of force is guiding my leaps, making sure I'm always in the right place at the right time? says Sam. Yeah, says Al. Well, says Sam, I think the bartender is that force. Al just kind of nods and goes back to the future to start figuring out what Sam's mission is.

Now on the front steps of the bar, pondering life, the universe, and everything, Sam is soon joined by the bartender. Sams asks the bartender why he was brought here. The bartender says that coming here was a break for Sam; a sabbatical, if you will. A look of horror comes over Sam's face as he realizes the truth: the leaps will never end. The bartender then asks Sam a question: if Sam could go anywhere in time, where would he go? The first answer to escape Sam's lips: "Home. I want to go home." Sam breaks down into tears as he realizes that this goal will never be attained. After Sam regains his composure, Sam says, "Al. I would help Al." Sam leaps out of there.

(Necessary back story: Al was a soldier in Vietnam. He went MIA. His wife gave him up for dead and re-married. When Al escaped from his POW camp and returned home to his wife and saw what happened, it broke his heart and forever changed him.)

Sam leaps into the home of Al's wife in the late-1960s. Al's wife asks who Sam is and where he came from. Sam just says, "I'm a friend of Al's. And I need to tell you something. Al is alive. He's OK. He'll be home soon. Wait for him. Please, wait for him." Al's wife breaks down into tears of joy. Sam leaps out of there, and we fade to black.

Then, some "what ever happened to...?" cards pop up on screen. The first one tells us the ultimate fate of Al. He returned home to his wife. They will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary in the fall. They had six kids.

And then, the final words that haunt me to this very day: "Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home."

The end.

This final episode freaked me out so much because it raised soooooooo many questions about the history of the show, who or exactly what this force is, and I still wonder whatever happened to Sam. Did he keep leaping, helping out others? Did he just leap into oblivion? Did he acheive a higher state of existence? Quite frankly, I need to know. If he never returned home, where did he go? So many questions arose from that one episode.

And, before I go, one last tidbit. As a lasting reference to Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula actually is lobbying the creators of Enterprise to reveal that Capt. Archer's middle name is "Beckett."

Next Issue...Across the Bay

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Just finished watching the final episode of Friends. *sigh* Truly the end of an era. I remember when it first premiered in 1994. I was 17, starting my final year of high school, and I refused to watch Friends cuz it looked so stupid. Then, one fateful night, there was nothing on, I watched it, and I got hooked. Everyone I knew in university watched it religiously and we'd always gather in floor lounges on Thursdays to watch it. And then, I made supervisor at Extra Foods and stopped watching it because I was working a lot of evenings. When I finally got an evening off, I watched it, and realized, "I don't care about these characters anymore." Watched it sporadically ever since.

For those who missed the final episode, there were no big surprises. Ross and Rachel finally got back together, but they did fall back on the old cliche of "rushing to the airport to tell your true love how you feel before he/she leaves forever." But it was nice. It left a warm feeling inside me. And on Tuesday, I'll be able to buy it on DVD!

My favourite final episode of a show, though, will always be the final Quantum Leap. I mean, that final episode fucked me up. I spent weeks afterwards pondering the final fate of Dr. Sam Beckett. And now, we know. He got thrown into the future, where he now commands the starship Enterprise!

What else is going on in the news.... A unique marketing campaign is underway for the documentary Supersize Me. I'm sure we've all heard about it by now. This is the film about the guy who ate nothing but McDonald's food for a month and it just about killed him. Anyway, as part of the whole campaign for the film, McDonald's employees will get $3 off admission to the film. All they have to do is present their employee ID. Plus, newspaper ads will feature this quote from McDonald's spokesperson: "Two Thumbs Down!"

Yup, McDonald's is going into full spin mode trying to defend themselves. McDonald's new allegations about the film are that the guy's health went down so quickly because he did no exercise in his month and, what you don't see in the film, is ALL the between meal snacks he ate. So, between no exercise and all those snacks, no wonder! The writer/director/star Morgan Spurlock tells us that, true, he didn't exercise that much, but it's an outright lie that he had all those between meal snacks.

And also, I have to mention this. There's a controversy about some of the advertising for Spider-Man 2. Sony Pictures signed a deal with Major League Baseball that was going to have Spider-Man 2 ads on the bases at major league ball games! Yup. Home plate was going to be changed from its regular white to a trademarkt Spider-Man red-and-black webbing pattern with "Spider-Man 2" emblazoned across it. Anyway, baseball purists complained quite loudly about this and MLB has axed the deal.

Next Issue...Oh! Friends: the show is ending. I thought you meant the whole concept of having friends was ending.
Watched Enterprise tonight. Actually, I had a real Trekkie day. I caught the 11 AM rerun of Deep Space Nine, the twelve noon rerun of The Next Generation, the 4 PM rerun of Voyager, and the 9 PM new episode of Enterprise.

I'm starting to have mixed feelings about Enterprise. Every Star Trek site I read, they're talking about how Enterprise has managed to turn things around these past few episodes and how it just effing ROCKS now. I, personally, don't see it. I'm starting to ask myself, "What am I missing? Am I the last angry man when it comes to Enterprise?"

Tonight's episode, E2, was again done better on Deep Space Nine. After searing all season, Archer and crew finally got a meeting with the Xindi council to begin negotiating peace. But, to make the rendezvous in time, they have to take a shortcut through this wormhole-like thing. Just as they're about to enter, a duplicate starship Enterprise shows up. The captain of this Enterprise says, "Don't go in the wormhole! Your impulse engines will react negatively to it and you'll be throw 117 years back in time! We're your decendents and we're here to stop you from making this horrible mistake!" And then, the two Enterprises work together to make sure Archer gets to the meeting on time.

But the one people are still raving about is last week's episode, The Forgotten. It was a strong character episode. When Archer asks Trip to write a letter informing a crewman's family of his death, this leads Trip down a dark emotional path that finally forces him to deal with his sister's death. (See, Trip's sister died in the initial Xindi attack in last year's season finale, and just now do they have Trip deal with it.) And, I will admit, it was a highlight of this season.

So, I don't know. Should I jump on the bandwagon and say, "Enterprise is finally getting good again!" or should I just stick to my principles which tell me, "We've seen most of this before."

And I have to acknowledge the Voyager rerun. It was the one that introduced us to the female caretaker. Remember the pilot of Voyager? They were brought to the Delta Quadrant by an alien called the "Caretaker," and, on his deathbed, the Caretaker said that he had a mate, but she left him to explore the galaxy. Janeway's final words in the pilot were, "There's another caretaker out there, and she has the power to send us home." But they only did ONE FRIGGEN EPISODE with the female caretaker, and it was the rerun I watched today.

That's another prime example of a great concept introduced in a Star Trek show that went nowhere. In the early days of Voyager, I was so hoping that the female caretaker would be Voyager's Q; pop up once a season, toy with the crew, get their hopes up of getting them home, then mysteriously vanish. And then, finally pop up in the final episode and get the crew home. But no. It was this brilliant concept they introduced in the pilot, and did nothing with.

The Rick Berman era of Star Trek has been filled with stuff like that. Brilliant concepts that went nowhere. I remember reading an interview with Voyager's writers about the character of Kes. Kes, according to the writers, was a great concept for an alien. "She only lives 9 years! She'll probably die at the end of the show!" But, it was a great concept that they had NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH. That's why they wrote Kes out of the show. They had no idea what to do with her. And that's also why they brought in Seven of Nine. They did, however, still have a dozen good ideas on how to use the Borg left over from The Next Generation.

Probably my biggest frustration right now does involve both Voyager and Enterprise. Captain Archer is developing in the way that I always hoped Captain Janeway would develop. Archer right now is flat-out obsessed with completing his mission of stopping the Xindi from destroying Earth. He's lied, cheated, stealed, and pretty much violated most of his principles to stop the Xindi. I wanted Janeway to turn out like that. I wanted to see Janeway get flat-out obsessed with her mission of getting Voyager home. I wanted to see her lie, cheat, steal, and pretty much violate most of her principles to get her crew home. But, Janeway always took the moral high road and never snapped the way Archer has been doing.

So, maybe that's enough to keep me stuck to Enterprise.

And let's not forget my soap opera...Pokemon! Ash won his first badge in the Hoenn League today. And May finally levelled with the group. She revealed that she's not really into pokemon battles and doesn't want to be a pokemon trainer. May revealed her big plans.

See, one of the new wrinkles in Ruby and Sapphire editions of the Pokemon games is pokemon contests. Instead of pokemon battles, you enter your pokemon into these pokemon contests where they show off their moves and their beauty. Instead of badges, you win ribbons.

So, that's May's big plan. She wants to be a "pokemon coordinator," which is a person who runs around entering all these pokemon contests. True, she didn't like pokemon in the beginning, but she's grown closer to her Torchick and she's warmed up to pokemon and she figures pokemon contests are more for her than pokemon battles. Our heroes were naturally supportive.

*sigh* It's almost unhealthy how much I love that show....

Next Issue...The Needs of the Few

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I'm sure we've all heard today's big movie news. Disney is preventing their subsidiary studio Miramax from distributing Michael Moore's latest film, Farenheight 911. Disney feels that the film is rather controversial and wants nothing to do with it. Moore's official statement is that Disney is afraid this'll upset the Bush administration, and Bush's brother down in Florida, and thus cost Disney some tax breaks. The anti-Moore sites are crying "Conspiracy!" and saying that Miramax and Moore knew a full year ago that this would happen and are now using it as publicity.

Either way, this isn't the first time that Disney has stopped Miramax from distributing a controversial film. Remember Kevin Smith's Dogma back in 1999? Disney wouldn't let Miramax distribute that film, too. What ultimately happened was the heads of Miramax - the Weinstein brothers - bought Dogma from Miramax and then sold it to another distributor. I'm guessing something similar will happen here.

And I guess I should take a moment to acknowledge everything going on in the world of hockey. The Calgary Flames have made it farther in the playoffs than they have in years. The last time they went this far they actually won the Stanley Cup back in 1989. But what really makes this big news is the fact that, since the Edmonton Oilers didn't make the playoffs, the Flames have become "Alberta's Team," and the whole province is jumping on the Flames bandwagon.

And rumblings are coming out of the CBC that it may be time to put Don Cherry out to pasture. Turns out Cherry's contract is up for renewal and the CBC is thinking about letting him go. After hosting Coach's Corner for 20 years, Cherry's schtick has gotten old and it may be time for something new. According to the rumour and hearsay.

Next Issue...More Witticisms

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Let's talk Spider-Man 2.

- Are you going to be watching the final episode of Friends this Thursday night? It's just been announced that an exclusive 60-second spot for Spidey 2 will be running during the final episode.

- Marvel Comics is getting in on the gig by doing a special Spider-Man 2 tie-in storyline in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man. The storyline goes like this: Spider-Man hears that they're making a movie about him, and heads to Hollywood to shut it down and/or get a piece of the action. On the way, he runs into Spider-Man director Sam Raimi and Marvel Studios head Avi Arad. But then, Doc Ock shows up, also wanting to shut down production, and Spidey and Doc Ock duke it out on the set of the Spider-Man film while Raimi films the whole thing. Arad says it's storylines like this that have made Ultimate Spider-Man one of the top 10 comics out there. Raimi, however, hates the storyline, saying that he comes across as "an arrogant jerk," and that the sooner they kill off his character, the better.

Also, Avi Arad made his quarterly conference call to Marvel's stockholders yesterday, and in his conference calls, he always gives a big update on Marvel's films. Here's what Arad said:

Punisher 2 - Thomas Jane is already signed to come back. Johnathon Hensleigh will be back as writer/director. Jigsaw will be the villain. They want a fall 2005 release.

Black Widow - David Hayter, the writer of the two X-Men films, will be writing and directing. They've got an actress signed, but they can't say who it is yet.

Blade 3 - They've begun test screenings and feedback has been incredibly positive.

Elektra - Filming begins today for a February 2005 release.

Fantastic Four - Filming begins in August for a July 2005 release. There's going to be 5 toy lines.

Luke Cage - The writer and director (Ben Ramsey and John Singleton) have been known for a while now. An actor is signed, but they can't announce who yet.

And now, back to work. My parents are entering a business situation where they're going to need a scanner again. Ever since we bought our new printer back in October, our scanner hasn't worked. The two are incompatable. So, my parents are all hot to buy a new scanner. But, before they did, I told them to let me try just one last thing to see if I could get it working again. I tried it. It didn't work. Now, I'm pricing out new scanners for them.

Next Issue...The Return of Jacana

Wow. I'm just kicking myself again on how far behind I've fallen in my DVD news. I just found out that, coming out on DVD today, is....

ReBoot: Daemon Rising & My Two Bobs

These two TV movies, which first aired about two or three years ago, make up the fourth season of ReBoot. ReBoot, as we all know, is one of the most briliant cartoons ever made. In case you've never seen them, Daemon Rising ties up the loose plot threads left in season 3 as Bob, Matrix, and the rest of Mainframe valiantly fight to save the Net from the evil virus Daemon. My Two Bobs then heightens things when a second Bob shows up in Mainframe, and the two Bobs are left trying to figure out which is the real one. All I can say is Mainframe has to make a season 5 because they just can't end My Two Bobs with its cliffhanger!

And one thing I found really cool about My Two Bobs. Bob was voiced by one guy in seasons one and two of the show. In season three, the original voice was unavailable, so they got a new voice for Bob. In My Two Bobs, the original voice was available again, so one of the Bobs is voiced by the original voice, and the second is voiced by the newer voice.

So, yeah. Both movies are on one disc. Pick it up today!

And some movie news I've been sitting on for a while and just too lazy to post.

One of my most anticipated summer blockbusters won't be coming out this summer. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow has been pushed back from a June 25 release to September 17. The official reason given is that they need more time to finish the special effects. The rumoured version is, because Spider-Man 2 comes out on June 30, they were afraid that Spidey would kick Sky Captain's ass.

And another old TV show is coming to the big screens. Plans are now underway for a movie version of 21 Jump Street. This late-80s action show is notable in that it launched both the Fox Network and Johnny Depp's career. Depp and several other young-looking 20-somethings were an elite group of cops who went undercover at high schools to capture drug dealers, gangbangers, and the like. And soon, it'll be on the big screen. We just gotta have a cameo by Depp, though.

Next Issue...Season V
There! At Mr. Anderson's urging, I've added something to this blog called "HaloScan." This now lets you leave comments about my blog entries. Just click on the little thing that says "comments" next to the time.

Right now, I'm obsessing on Anne of Green Gables. I often feel somewhat...un-Canadian because I've never read it. True, I've watched the mini-series about a dozen times, but still, I should read the source material.

Thing that really blew my mind in Japan was discovering that Anne of Green Gables had been turned into an anime. Turns out the novel is widely known over there as my junior high teacher led me to believe. But still, people looked at me funny when I asked them if they'd ever read Anne of Green Gables. Once I found out the Japanese title is Anne with Red Hair, then the conversations went much more smoothly.

And now, you can comment on this. Nifty, eh?

Next Issue...Anne: The Continuing Saga 2

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Wow. Here's more DVD news for my sister. The cavalcade of classic cartoons coming to DVD just keeps on rolling. We've already got Transformers and G.I. Joe and Jem just came out. And now, my sister's all-time favourite is coming. On July 27, be sure to run down to your local store and buy....

Garfield and Friends: Volume 1

This 3-disc set will contain the first 24 episodes of the Garfield and Friends cartoon. The set is completely devoid of bonus features. All you get is the trailer for the live-action movie coming out this summer.

Yeah, Garfield was my sister's big thing when she was a kid. If it had Garfield on it, she had to have it. She's already made it clear that I'm the one who has to drag her to the live-action movie this summer, mainly because, in her own words, "[I'm] the only one in the family that still makes time to go to movies."

Anywho, let's get to this week's column! This is one I've had on the backburner for a few months now. It's called Meeting Totoro: Part I - Getting There is Half the Fun:

"One of my goals while in Japan was to visit the Studio Ghibli Museum. Studio Ghibli, of course, is the animation studio responsible for such worldwide hits as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and the recent winner for Best Animated Picture, Spirited Away. I had read stories online about the Museum, and, after a glowing review from my predecessor, it seemed like something worth checking out. After I had done the research, I learned that it was in a sleepy little suburb of Tokyo called Mitaka. And, I also knew that it was so popular, tickets had to be purchased a month in advance. But where to get the tickets? I went to the Studio Ghibli Museum website, but all of their information in English was for buying tickets from overseas. As was always the case when I needed translation, I called up Mr. Anderson and asked him to translate the needed information for me. Once he finished chiding me for having not learned the katakana alphabet (“My sister learned in one hour, you lazy wanker!” I believe was his exact quote) he told me that they were available from any Lawson’s store. Sadly, he lived far away and could not accompany me to Lawson’s to buy my ticket. There was only one person who lived in Kumagaya who could help me now…."

Ooo! Who was it? Read it and find out!

Next Issue....The Adventure Continues