Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Joy! Spider-Man 2 comes out today!

More joy! News I've been waiting for for a really long time has come! On Tuesday, September 7, we will finally see the release of the most anticipated DVD ever!

The Iron Giant: Special Edition

Warner Brothers has been teasing us with this since Y2K. It was supposed to come out a year ago, but the WB decided to push it back until now so they could piggy-back off the hype for director Brad Bird's next film, The Incredibles. Well, it was announced today that it finally comes out September 7!

We'll be getting: a brand-new digital transfer of the film, running commentary by Brad Bird and others on his crew, 8 deleted scenes, 13 featurettes, the original "making of" TV special (that was on the original DVD), concept art, notes from Ted Hughes (he wrote the book The Iron Man that served as inspiration for the film), and a couple of Easter eggs. FINALLY! Finally finally finally!

Wow. Sept. 7 is going to be a big DVD day for me. We got Clerks X, Star Trek Generations: Special Edition, and now this.

Oh, and I've been meaning to mention. I told you before that, on August 31, Disney was going to release their latest batch of Miyazaki films. Well, for some unknown reason, Disney has pushed back the release. The new release date is TBA.

Next Issue...The Iron Woman

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit.

I've been doing so good keeping myself spoiler-free for Spider-Man 2, and tonight, I go and blow it. How, do you ask? Read on....

As I'm sure you know, I'm a big fan of Danny Elfman's. He, of course, has done music for tons of movies, including Spider-Man and Spidey 2. Well, his score album for Spidey 2 comes out on July 20, and one of my movie gossip sites had the track listing for the score album.

And lo and behold, Track #13 is named (big spoiler name withheld by me so you won't suffer the same fate).

Ahh! And I was so close too. You think I would have learned my lesson 5 years ago, when I was keeping myself spoiler-free for Episode I, and then I go and read the track listing for that soundtrack album. And there it was, track 18, "Qui-Gon's Noble End." That was a big spoiler for me back in the days leading up to Episode I.

And now, I just ruined Spidey 2 for myself.


Next Issue...Remove the Knowledge
Well, it's over and done. We've got a Liberal minority government. Fun times ahead. A few things I saw on the election coverage last night struck me as scary. Any one else find it scary that Duceppe had to go out of his way to thank the good ol' boys of Quebec independence? Who else finds it scary that most Conservatives look like old good ol' boys? Yeah, I still think that we're going to need another election or two before the last radical remnants of the Reform/Alliance are culled out of the Conservatives.

And now, let's get ready to do it all over again! For those who haven't been following the Alberta media, Klein is getting everyone into election mode. Ever since he won the last election, he's been saying, "Next one in spring 2005!" But, just a few weeks ago, he started saying, "Ya know, I'm starting to think that a fall 2004 provincial election would be better!" Pundits are saying that this Liberal minority backed by the NDP will make Klein paranoid enough to do it. Gotta keep those lefties at bay!

Oh, and I"ve got to share this really cool DVD news. Makes me wish I were still in Japan, or at least had a region 2 DVD player. On January 11, 2005, Toho studios is releasing Godzilla Final Box: 50th Anniversary Perfect Collection. This massive 27-disc boxed set will contain EVERY Godzilla movie, including the American version of the original starring Raymond Burr and the 1998 American film from the creators of Independence Day. Plus, there'll be three discs of bonus material, and an empty spot to add the final Godzilla film when it finally comes out on DVD (It hits Japanese theatres in December). And it's all in a latex case that looks like it's made from Godzilla's hide. All for the low, low price of 100,000 yen! And only in Japan.

And now, to resume counting down the minutes to Spider-Man 2! Trouble comes home from China soon, so the tenative plans are to see it with her on Sunday, July 11.

Next Issue...Spidey 2!!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Damn it! Someday, I am going to have a real job and a steady income, and when that day comes, I am so going to buy real server space. I'm getting so sick and tired of Angelfire and their multitude of banners, pop-ups, and now, frames full of ads that they stick on the real site. Someday, soon. With a little hard work and a pinch of luck, this time next year.

But until that day, head on over to Angelfire to read the latest column! This week's offering is Flowers:

"My contempt for teenagers is best illustrated in what happened to me the other day. I was on my lunch break, and headed up to 7-11 to buy a snack. It was also lunchtime for the high school across the street, and thus the store was stuffed full of teens buying overpriced convenience food. I got my banana Slurpee and a Cajun chicken sandwich, and started to head out the door. Now, standing around the front doors was a gaggle of teenage girls. As I walked by their group, one of the girls – probably no older than 15 – noticed me. She had a small bouquet of flowers that she was intently ripping the petals off of. As I walked by her, she shoved the handful of stems in my face and said, “Would you like to buy some flowers?” Without breaking my stride, I glanced at the pitiful, brownish stems, looked the girl in the eye, and mumbled, “No thank you.” As I made a beeline for my car, I overheard her tell some joke about me to her friends, and they all laughed. I was driving back to work when I began to think, “Now, really, how should I have handled that differently?” This is where I really wish I was quicker on my feet. If she wanted to play, I could have played. "

First hit's free. The rest'll cost you.

And don't forget, GO VOTE TOMORROW!

Next Issue...Next PM
So tomorrow's the big election day. Ya know, I can't help but feel my vote is going to be wasted. Y'all know I'm not to keen on the Conservatives, but Yellowhead has been a true-blue right-wing riding for as long as I can remember. So, out here, it really doesn't matter who I'm voting for, Conservatives are going to win.

I'm still going to vote, thought.

Next Issue...Next Column

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Just got a Gmail account. I don't know why. All my friends were getting one, so I thought I'd get one, too. Let's hope for my sake that they all don't go and jump off a bridge.

And I just finished one of my guilty pleasures. For those who don't know, Space: The Imagination Station now shows seaQuest DSV in reruns. I loved that show! I think we're now far enough removed from the 1990s where we can look at something and say, "That is sooo 1990s." seaQuest DSV is soooo 1990s.

For those who don't remember, seaQuest was a highly-hyped return to television for Steven Spielberg. (Highly hyped mainly because it premiered in the fall of 1993, fresh off the success of Jurassic Park.) It was set in the not-too-distant future, the year 2018. The human race had set up vast undersea colonies. These colonies were controlled by a UN-style organization called the UEO, the United Earth's Oceans Organization. The seaQuest DSV was the UEO's flagship: a massive submarine designed to stay underwater longer and dive deeper than any submarine before it. The show followed the adventures of the crew of the seaQuest as they kept peace in the UEO and explored the ocean's depths, under the command of Captain Nathan Bridger. It never really found an audience and struggled to make it through 2.5 years.

As I look back on it now, probably the only thing that made it ludicrous was Darwin the talking dolphin.

For those 2.5 years it was on, it clearly went through 2.5 different incarnations. It was best in its first year, when it tried to be a very realistic portrayal of life in this kind of world; what discoveries may really lie under the ocean and what the daily grind in an undersea colony may be like. They even had Dr. Bob Ballard, the man who found the wreck of the Titanic, as a scientific advisor. Then, in their second year, it all started to fall apart. They added psychics and genetically engineered soldiers and undersea alien bases, and it started to turn into the low-grade "Star Trek underwater" that many feared it would become. For that final 0.5 of a year, they tried to get back to its roots. Thanks to a timewarp, the ship was flung to the year 2032, and the show was renamed seaQuest 2032. This now offered a more contemporary view of the future, with corporations being the new planetary superpowers and seaQuest and the UEO trying to keep corporations from taking over the world. Gone was the quiet, reserved Captain Nathan Bridger. We got a new commander in the hard-ass, militaristic Captain Oliver Hudson, played by veteran Canadian character actor Michael Ironside!

So, yeah. I watch these reruns and I still love the show. It never really took off. One of the first action figures in my collection was a seaQuest figure: Lucas Wolenzeck, who was the ship's boy genius/Wesly Crusher, as played by Jonathon Brandis. He's dead now, committed suicide about a year ago.

I do wish I got the action figure of that talking dolphin, though. That's the one that's most valuable now.

Plus, I'm certain that seaQuest DSV has the most elegant theme song I've ever heard.

Next Issue...Beneath the Surface Lies the Future

Friday, June 25, 2004

Argh! This new job is so frustrating! I get home, and I'm so exhausted, I can't sit down and share the brilliant thoughts I have! But now, the weekend is here! So, let's take a moment to play catch-up. Here are my brilliant thoughts:

- Pizza spelled backwards is Azzip.

But seriously....

- So, I get TeleToon now, and I've been watching quite a few reruns of Rocket Robin Hood. You know, as cool as it was, think about it. It's a concept that was never taken as far as it could have gone. Let's look at the original legend of Robin Hood. Prince John came to power because King Richard the Lionhearted was off in Europe fighting in the Crusades. Now, what does this mean for Rocket Robin Hood? Is there a galactic Richard the Lionhearted? Is he off fighting a cosmic crusade? I don't know. When I'm rich and famous, Rocket Robin Hood is going to be the second cartoon I remake/re-imagine. First is still Visionaries.

- Here's the big comic book movie news you've been waiting for. It's official, The Punisher 2 ain't gonna happen. The original plan hammered out between Lion's Gate Films and Marvel was to go full-bore into a sequel immediatly. Well, The Punisher did OK, but, now as they take a second look at the numbers, they figure it didn't do well enough to warrant a sequel. So, the Punisher 2 has been put on hold.

- Here's another DVD to add to my wish list. Coming out on August 10: Late Night with Conan O'Brian: The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

- Some sad DVD news. Disney was planning to release the next spurt of Hayo Miyzaki films on August 31. Now, for some unknown reason, they've been pushed back indefinitly.

I guess I should mention that Michael Moore's latest, Fahrenheight 9/11 hits theatres today! I can hardly wait to go see it. Let the controversies begin! Actually, I was just reading this online. Down in Texas, a right wing pro-Bush group is planning a film festival of pro-conservative, pro-bush films. Right now, they are in negotiations to see if they can have the world premiere of two anti-Michael Moore documentaries. The first one I've talked about before, Michael Moore Hates America. The second one they tell us is a much bigger budget effort. It's called Michael & Me, and it's the work of right-wing radio talk show host Larry Elder. Elder tells us that his film is a direct response to Bowling for Columbine. Elder says the highlight of his film is a take off of Moores's A Brief History of America cartoon. Elder's cartoon is a faux interview with Moore in which Moore, unable to answer "tough" questions about Bowling for Columbine, snaps, pulls a gun, and guns down the interviewer. I don't know, I think that's a bit nastier than the Brief History of America.

But still, I can't deny a rather large dose of curiosity about these anti-Moore films. Some movie critics are starting to call this a new sub-genre of documentary: the filmed op-ed (opinion/editorial. Yeah, I had to look it up.)

And Moore has even waded into the Canadian federal election here. At the Toronto premiere of Farenheight 9/11, Moore officially came out against Stephen Harper and urged Canadians to not vote Conservative. I believe his quote was, "I keep telling America to be more like Canada! So Canada, stop trying to be more like us!" And now, even Ralph Nader has come out against the Conservatives! Nader says that the Conservatives will erode Canada's social programs.

Now, you're going to hate me for saying this, but I found a part of the Conservative platform today that I like. Turns out that the Conservatives want to dump more money into the railroads. They figure that the railroads are a more efficient, cost-effective way to ship goods, so it just makes better business sense to have stronger railroads.

And, in today's paper, I see the Green Party has a similar platform. The Greens want to dump more money into Via. The soundbyte simply was, "Restore full Via service to all major cities."

Being a railroad junkie, I love this. Still ain't gonna vote Conservative, though.

Oh, and one last thing, I don't know about you, but I'm going to be watching the CBC's coverage of the election on Monday night. Commentary by Rick Mercer, baby!

Next Issue...Og ot azzip

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

June 22, 2004.

Wow. I've now officially been home from Japan for a year. I can still remember everything I did on that final day right down to the exact minute. It's strange. In my long term goals for Japan, I always pictured that I'd be coming home, well, now, or maybe three months ago. But to have already been home for a year....

Sometimes, I wonder what I did wrong over there. Especially when Mr. Anderson was there for darn near two years and made getting a contract renewal seem like the easiest thing in the world. I still wonder if I should sue someone, seeing as to how at my follow-up training the head of the Omiya Seminar house looked me square in the eye and said, "They will ask you to renew."

How did it all go so wrong? I showed up early, worked through my breaks, left late, and the students loved me. The only advice I was ever given when expressed doubts about my teaching was, "Low levels love you. Just be yourself." And I made sure all my I's were dotted and T's were crossed.

That's was probably the problem. Katakana doesn't have I's and T's. The most successful English Teachers are those who set out to become as Japanese as they possibly can. But, because I wasn't spending my off-hours studying Japanese and learing the intricacies of the prayer rituals at shrines, this misconception arose that I was violently opposed to all things Japanese. I spent my spare time as I always do - watching movies. I guess that didn't fit the company's mentality of a good teacher.

I should get off this. I've spent the past year picking this apart in my mind and it's gotten me nowhere. Nope, I should focus on the future! I should resume picking apart my choice to go into broadcasting and waiting for the day when it all falls apart before my eyes. I figure it'll start to fall apart around November, when no radio station will take me on for my practicum.

Next Issue...Harsh Reality
I'm in that rather melancholy state right now that usually comes at the end of love. You know, where you've looked each other in the eyes and you and her have decided that it's over. It's a few days later, and you have this urge to call her, but you know that it's in everyone's best interests if you don't. So, you wind up just sitting around the house feeling...bleh.

Kinda like that.

Anywho, let's get back to the election. I'm still undecided as to who to vote for, but I do know it will not be Conservative. My incumbent MP is Conservative Rob Merrifield. I was talking about this with my parents and I asked, "Seriously, what has Merrified done for us; done for Entwistle?" As far as my parents can remember, he's never even come to Entwistle. My Dad even started longing for the good old days of 25 years ago. Back then, Joe Clark was the MP for Yellowhead, and he had an annual town hall meeting. Once a year, he'd come out to Entwistle, book the community hall, tell the people what he's been up to and field questions. Nowadays, we have Merrifield, who's nowhere to be seen.

That kind of clinches the non-Conservative vote for me.

Anyways, now I have to figure out what to do with my cat. See, my cat used to sleep in the bedroom next door. But now, my parents are renovating said bedroom to convert it into a home office. True, while his kitty bed is still in there, my cat just refuses to set foot in that room now. Now, he insists on spending the night with me. I kick him out of my room, and that's good for a solid half-hour of him scratching at the door. (A half-hour because that's how long I put up with it.) Then, I let him in, and he proceeds to steal my pillow. I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for two things: a) he always steals my pillow. 2) In this heat wave we've got right now, I may as well sleep with a hot water bottle.

So, I'm about to kick him out now and go to bed. Wish me luck.

Next Issue...Don't Call Her

Sunday, June 20, 2004

So, one of my classmates got a job doing remotes for an Edmonton radio station this summer. I managed to catch her doing her thing on the air today.

Was it wrong for me to laugh my ass off because I think she did a really crappy job?

Anywho, latest column's up! This week's offering: The More Human Way to Travel:

"When did rail travel begin to die in Canada? I know, this is a question I’ve pondered many times, but it’s on my mind again today. It’s Father’s Day, and my Dad requested that we go some place that we hadn’t been in a long time: the Alberta Railway Museum. It’s a magical place, with dozens of restored rail cars and locomotives. And, on bright sunny weekends like this one, they fire up some of their restored locomotives and give train rides. Nothing fancy, mind you. CN has yet to give them permission to use the adjoining main line. So, they just go back and forth on their little strip of rail. When my family first visited the museum some 18 years ago or so, we were told that part of their long-term goals was to build a complete rail loop to have their trains running full time. 18 years later, and it’s still a long-term goal."

Extree! Extree! Read all about it!

Next Issue...War With the Cat

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Success! I've got a lawn sign for every candidate! I can't believe that, when I went to the dump today, people had thrown out perfectly good lawn signs for the Greens and the Liberals! So, they were salvaged, and are now on my front lawn.

And, as soon as they were up, I started thinking, "Hmm... Which one will be defaced first?"

Next Issue...Something More Interesting
And we're entering the final week of the election! Looks like the Conservatives just shot themselves in the foot with this whole child porn thing. Despite what Stephen Harper says, it looks like a minority government is still the most likely outcome. That's what I'm finding weird about the polls. The polls now show the Conservatives with a slim lead, but the polls also say that Paul Martin will make the better prime minister! So, who will the people vote for: the party or the man in charge? As my Dad has been saying, it ain't over until the last ballot's counted.

Actually, some something interesting in today's paper that was election related. It was paid for by the Edmonton City Council and signed by mayor Bill Smith. But the ad wasn't in support of any one party or candidate. The ad said, "Look, these are the issues that directly affect how we run your city," and then it listed the issues. The ad then implored the people to find out where the candidates and parties stand on these issues, and gave the phone numbers for every Liberal, Conservative, and NDP candidate in Edmonton! Now that, I think, is cool.

And, seeing as to how I was busy all this week with the new job and all, I"m going to get back to trying to procure a lawn sign for every candidate in the Yellowhead riding. Liberals and Greens are still missing from my collection. I was hoping to put them all up on my lawn at the same time, but time is running short in this here election. Oh, well. Klein is threatening to have the next provincial election this fall, so I'll try again in the provincial election!

Next Issue...Rhinomania
Well, this just wouldn't be my blog unless I shared the latest and greatest in the world of Star Trek.

First, the bad news. It's been learned that, in order to make it to a fourth season, Enterprise had to cut its budget in half. Each episode used to cost $1.7 million. Now, they have to do it for just $800,000. Let's wait and see if it affects quality....

Now, the good news! We've known for a while now that the long-awaited, 2-disc super-special edition of Star Trek Generations comes out on September 7. Now, at long last, we get the list of bonus stuff! Here's what all we'll get:

- Text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (natch)
- Running commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga (the writers of Generations)

And tons of featurettes. The one I'm looking forward to is the one dedicated to the film's signature special effects piece: the crash of the Enterprise-D.

And, you get four cut scenes. The one cut scene that everyone is looking forward to is Kirk's original and more controversial death. Can't wait!

And now, I'd like to go sleepy

Next Issue...Mark Trek

Friday, June 18, 2004

Wow! I've got some interesting news about the film Super Size Me. You know, that's the documentary about the guy who eats nothing but McDonald's food for a month and what it does to him. I'm dying to see it. It's been playing at Edmonton's Garneau Theatre for about three weeks now, and I can't believe I haven't gone yet!

Anyway, it's been playing in Australia for about two weeks now, and McDonald's of Australia has decided to take a very active stance in fighting back. In a new ad campaign that started back on Wednesday, the CEO of McDonald's Australia is starring in 30-second spots in which he refutes the film. He tells the people of Australia that it's not a documentary about McDonald's, but rather "a documentary about a guy who chooses to overeat." The CEO also says, "In this film, he eats nothing but hamburgers for a month and discovers it's bad for him. Well, gee, I could've told him that!" McDonald's Australia says they're doing this because their polls showed that customers were wondering why McDonald's wasn't answering the allegations made in the film.

McDonald's Australia is going to start showing these spots in movie theatres right before Super Size Me on Monday. Movie theatres, however, shut down McDonald's proposal to have McDonald's employees give away free apples to people coming out of the theatre.

Speaking of other controversial documentaries, here's the latest on Farenheight 9/11. Seems that, while the White House is saying nothing about the film, a few pro-Bush groups are starting to go on the offensive. They've begun letter writing campaigns to movie theatres trying to get the film pulled, and they're starting work on TV spots that'll slam Michael Moore and some of the points the film has raised. I'll look up who these groups are and tell you more later.

Anywho, back to that thing about Super Size Me. That comes at a perfect time in my life. I find I'm eating at McDonald's more, again, thanks to this new job. I find that, after my shift, if I have the munchies there's nothing quicker than running through a fast food drive through and getting some nibblies. And, in Drayton Valley, my drvie through choice is limited to A&W and McDonald's. Oh, and the new Dairy Queen that just opened! Can't forget them.

But, my topic if I can stay on it, is this thing McDonald's has called "Make it Bacon!" For another 69 cents, McDonald's will slap bacon on any of their hamburgers for you. So, I often looked at that, looked at the McDonald's menu, and wondered, "What's the weirdest thing I can ask them to slap bacon on?" My answer was always the Fillet-o-Fish. But now, a new option has arisen. As we all know, McDonald's has their new "healthy choices menu" to promote healthier lifestyles. On that menu, they now offer a vegetarian hamburger: the McVeggie.

So, next time I go to McDonald's, that's what I'm going to say. "I'll have a McVeggie, please. Oh, and I'd like to make it bacon!"

Next Issue...Let's Try DQ
Ugh. I'm really starting to not like this job. I'm getting this vibe from my co-workers that they're getting kind of miffed that I've been doing this for 4 days now and I'm still bothering them with questions. One even snapped and said that I'd better start using my common sense because when I start working shifts on my own in three months, she won't be around to ask. Oh, well. What's to be expected from a job where, in the interview, my boss said, "And if you don't like it, you can alwasy quit!"

Thank God it's just for the summer. I don't think I'd last long.

Anywho, I have to share the big, BIG DVD news that came down the pipe a few days ago. I've heard rumours about the development of this DVD for a couple years now, and it's finally official. On September 7, you'll be able to buy...

Clerks X (aka Clerks: 10th Anniversary Edition)

This massive 3-disc set contains everything you wanted to know about Clerks but were afraid to ask. You'll get:

Clerks X (aka the Clerks 10th Anniversary DVD)

This massive, 3-disc set contains every thing you ever wanted to know about Clerks but were afraid to ask. You'll get:

- The original, 93 minute cut of the film, all digitally restored and with a brand new 5.1 sound mix. This cut of the film also features the running commentary that appeared on the laserdisc and original DVD.

- The 103 minute long "first cut" of the film. This is Clerks as it originally premiered at the Sundance film festival in 1993. (I'm pretty sure this is the version with the now-infamous "Dante dies" ending.) This cut of the film features an all-new running commentary with Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, and Brian O'Halloran.

- The Snowball Effect: The Story of Clerks. This is an all-new 95 minute documentary about the making of the film, how it launched Kevin Smith's career and how it helped usher in the era of independent filmmaking. Pretty much anyone ever involved with Clerks is interviewed.

- Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary. This is Kevin Smith's first ever film which he made when he was a student at the Vancouver Film School.

- Clerks: The Lost Scene. This all-new 7 minute animated short film takes us inside Julie Dwyer's funeral and we find out how the casket got knocked over. Based on Smith's comic book of the same name, so I guess it's not really "all new."

- The Flying Car. The Tonight Show short film which showed Randall and Dante stuck in traffic.

- The Jay and Silent Bob MTV shorts. After the film's success, Kevin Smith did a bunch of spots and short films for MTV starring Jay and Silent Bob. On DVD for the first time!

- The Arclight 10th Anniversary Q&A. Earlier this year, the Arclight theatre in LA had a 10th anniversary screening with the complete cast, and a Q&A session followed. This is that Q&A session.

- The trailer.

- The music video for the theme song, Can't Even Tell

- The original audtion tapes for Jeff Anderson, Brain O'Halloran, and Marilyn Ghilotti (Randal, Dante, and Veronica)

- One of those pop-up trivia tracks. (You know, text pops up telling you factoids about the film)

- Kevin Smith's 168-page first draft of the screenplay.

- EVERY article Kevin Smith read on low-budget filmmaking that inspired him to make this.

- A few of the more glowing reviews of the film.

- A choice selection of articles analyzing the rise of independent films that focus on Clerks

- And brand new intros for everything.

September 7! Wow. I'm still debating whether I want this. Clerks was, quite literally, the first DVD I bought, I always said I'd never buy more than one version of a film on DVD.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Well, day 2 of working produce at IGA is done. Oy, I'm glad it's just a summer job. I really don't think I could make a living at this. Lots of heavy lifting, lots of running about, but at least I'm nice and far from idiot customers. I'm still in the training phase, so they're still taking it easy on me. I've still kept it secret that this is just a summer job and I'm quitting at the end of August. Which makes me feel like a dirty liar when they keep telling me about what kind of benefits kick in at the 1-year mark, the 3-year mark, and the 5-year mark. They really were looking for a career man for this. All I know is, after a nine-hour shift of hauling around boxes of apples, my feet are killing me!

Although, today, I had an interesting thought. I told you that Yves now works at a sex shop, right? I was thinking about this as I peeled lettuce today, and I thought, "Wow, she must have a story or two working that job." Then, I realized that everyone must have a story or two about their job. So, I devised this bit for my radio show. I go out and interview someone who does a slightly-above-normal job. You know, like a clerk in a sex shop, or the projectionist at the IMAX theatre. I produce this into a minute-30 feature for my radio show, and see how the listeners react. The working title is Gee, That Job Sounds Interesting.

And now, I should get to some of the big DVD news of the day. We've known about this for a while now, but an official announcement finally came down the line today. On August 21, Paramount Home Entertainment will finally release the long-awaited DVD boxed set:

Star Trek: the Original Series - Season 1

This 8-disc set contains all 29 episodes of the first season of the original Star Trek. For bonus bits, you get this complete series of featurettes:

The Birth of a Timeless Legend - The development of the show
Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner - An interview with William Shatner about the show.
Reflections on Spock - Same thing, only with Leonard Nimoy
To Boldly Go... - Discussion with cast and crew members about key episodes of Season 1.
Sci-Fi Visionaries - A recap of some of the famous sci-fi authors who contributed to the show at the time.

Plus, you'll also get a nifty text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda on four episodes.


Next Issue...Gee, that's not as interesting as I thought

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Dude, I just watched The Mask of Zorro on TV. First time I'd seen it since I saw it in the theatre...oh...6 years ago. God, Catherine Zeta-Jones is hot! This is now my goal; my life's quest to be as rich and powerful as Michael Douglas. I mean, he saw the Mask of Zorro and said to himself, "Dude! I gotta meet her." He sent out his agents to get his phone number, they got it, Douglas and Zeta-Jones met and now...BOOM! They're in the throes of happily ever after. So, if being rich and powerful can hook up a wrinkled old man with Catherine Zeta-Jones, just think about what it can do for a chubby little troll like myself.

Anywho, latest column's up! This week's: I, Robot:

"I just got a job. I don’t know why, but employment always gives me a twinge of sadness. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’ll be easy work. I’m a produce clerk in a grocery store, meaning I’ll have to make sure the lettuce is nice and fresh and that there are enough peaches and bananas on the shelves. But still, I’m sad. I don’t think people take enough time these days to realize what having a job means. At least, to me, getting a job means losing your independence. No longer can you sleep as late as you want and do whatever you feel like that day. Now your day is given up in servitude to the man. Or, even worse, the company. "

Read it all right here!

Next Issue...My First Day in Produce
Was having a little debate with Mr. Anderson last night. Nothing big. The question was, when it comes to your big sci-fi franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek, should deleted scenes be considered canon? (Canon, for those who don't know, means "official continuity," as in it's part of the real world and not my fanboy daydreams.)

This debate has arisen because a long-lost cut scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn was recently unearthed, and it backs up what the novels and comics have been saying for a very long time: the Lt. Saavik, the plucky young Vulcan in Star Treks 2, 3 and 4, is NOT really a Vulcan. She is, in fact, half-Vulcan and half-Romulan. So now, the debate is on in Trekkie-dom. Does this cut scene now officially make Saavik half-Romulan?

How was this scene unearthed, you may ask? Well, it's not on the DVD. This lost scene came from a 3-minute "sneak peak" that Paramount sent to movie critics in the spring of 1982. Another lost scene hints at a romance between Saavik and Dr. David Marcus (i.e. Kirk jr.), and it also has several "alternate takes" of scenes that were used in the film.

And now, I also have to remark on something I saw this morning that was really, really cool. When I first discovered this Internet-thingie, the first thing I started doing was looking for info on my favourite cartoons. One name that kept coming up over and over was Frank Welker. This guy is god when it comes to cartoon voices. He was a real master of villains, having done the voices of Megatron on Transformers, Dr. Claw on Inspector Gadget, and Gargamel on The Smurfs. Don't get me wrong, he did heroes, too. He was G.I. Joe's Wild Bill and both Ray and Slimer on The Real Ghostbusters. And, according to the running commentary on Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, he is also Hollywood's foremost animal expert. According to Paul Dini, whenever a director needs an animal to make a sound above and beyond what the animal is capable of, Frank Welker is called in. "He was the voice of that monkey that said 'Heil Hitler!' in Raiders of the Lost Ark," Dini points out.

But, his first big break into voice acting was doing the voice of Fred way, way back on the original Scooby-Doo cartoon in the late 60s.

Anyway, it's Sunday morning, I'm reading the paper, and for background noise, the TV is tuned into TeleToon. What's New, Scooby-Doo comes on. This is the all-new Scooby-Doo cartoon that came on in the wake of the success of the live-action movie. And what do I see in the opening credtis?

"Starring Frank Welker as Fred."

That just blew my mind! I mean, I had never seen a voice artist recognized that way in the opening credits of a cartoon. Yeah, it's happened for prime-time cartoons when the voice is some major celebrity, but as far as I know, it's never happened for a regular voice artist on a regular cartoon.

So, yeah! At long last, props to Frank Welker!

And I should also point out that the complete credit read "Starring Frank Welker as Fred & Casey Kasem as Shaggy." Casey Kasem is, of course, the world-renouned DJ who does voice acting on the side and originated the role of Shaggy way, way back on the original Scooby-Doo cartoon.

And after Scooby-Doo, I managed to catch the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. This new one promised to be more faithful to the original comics that the original cartoon was, and they seem to pulling it off. You can see it in the episode I saw, which was the origin of April O'Neil. It's was dead-on accurate to her original origin. Quick comaprison:

Original cartoon: April is a TV reporter for Channel 6. When she does a story on the increasing crime rate, she's attacked by a roving gang and flees into the sewers for safety. The gang chases her. The Turtles rescue her.

New cartoon & original comics: April is the lab assistant for mad scientist Baxter Stockman. When April stumbles upon Stockman's true evil plans for the mouser robots, Stockman sends the mouser robots to hunt down April. April flees into the sewers for safety. The mousers chase her. The Turtles rescue her.

And, since I'm talking about voice artists, I should point out that, on the new cartoon, April's voice is done by Veronica Taylor, who's biggest claim to fame to date is doing the voice of Ash on Pokemon. I think April O'Neil is her first roll that isn't an anime dub.

Next Issue...Next Column

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Here's the latest on my "Get a lawn sign from every candidate" scheme.

Only hold-outs right now are the Greens and Liberals. Greens tell me that their closest volunteer has my name + number, so it's just a waiting game now. The lone hold-out seemed to be the Liberals. I phoned them again this morning and got their voice mail again! That made 4 messages. Then, this afternoon, I went for a walk in the rain, and came back to find a message on MY voice mail. It was...the Liberal candidate himself! He apologized for not getting back to me, citing that the Liberals in this area are rather short-handed. Anywho, just like with the Greens, my name and number has been passed along to their closest volunteer, and, according to his message, I'll be getting my sign within the next few days.

This has been a rough day for me. I have this brilliant idea for a short story right now, and I'd love to sit down and write it, but I just feel like doing nothing. My parents are gone for the evening, so this is one of those few times where I can watch a DVD without my Dad bitching about me "watching this movie again." But I really should write this story! Argh! It's a horrible thing, to be blessed with unimaginable talents, but cursed with the lack of ambition to do anything with them.

And the folks took both vehicles, too. Meaning I've gotta cook something for dinner! I just can't drive to the grocery store in the next town and get something. More of the blessing/curse stuff.

Next Issue...The Nothing

Friday, June 11, 2004

Quick update on the scheme to get every candidate's lawn sign. Conservatives dropped theirs off yesterday. NDP dropped off theirs this afternoon. I thought the one that would be the most difficult to get would be Christian Heritage, but I stumbled across one of their signs abandoned in a ditch! I've done a little salvage job, and it's good to go.

So, that just leaves the Greens and the Liberals. The Greens tell me that they've passed along my info to their local agent, so it's just a waiting game at this point. I've got a gut feeling that this agent may swing by this weekend. And I keep getting Liberal voice mail. but I'm keeping at it!

Next Issue...Power of the People

Thursday, June 10, 2004

New wrinkle in my job hunt. As I was about to call and accept the cashier's position, I got a call from IGA's produce manager. They want me to be a produce clerk. Quite frankly, he made a better offer. And produce clerk does sound better than cashier. You're dealing with less customers, and just making sure the fruits and veggies stay nice and fresh. And besides, this is a full time gig! Ka-ching!

Yeah, only problem with a full time gig is it'll cut into vacation time. When Mr. Anderson comes up in the weeks ahead, I probably won't be able to go visit him. Which is kinda a good thing, actually. He's coming for his brother's wedding, so I really shouldn't head down there and steal him away and all that. Besides, I'm starting to think about doing my practicum in Vancouver, in which case, I'll just live with Mr. Anderson!

Anywho, job interview for produce is tomorrow at high noon. Let's see how that goes.

Oh, and a bit of DVD news. It's just been announced that, on September 7, Miramax will be releasing the Clerks: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD. This 3-disc set will also feature the Sundance edit of the film; the cut that was shown at the Sundance film festival and used to shop the film around to distributors. And, what was announced months ago, also on this DVD, Kevin Smith will bring his comic book Clerks: The Lost Scene to animated life.

Sadly, these things won't be on the disc: the never-shown-on-television pilot episode for the live-action Clerks sitcom. And, the documentary Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party. This 3-hour documentary was made by Kevin Smith's wife, and is all about the making of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Next Issue...Laundry Day!
Well, as soon as I get offline, I'm going to call up IGA and tell them they've got a new cashier. I will admit, I'm having second thoughts, mainly because a heard a few horror stories about working at IGA when I worked at Extra Foods. Nothing too horrific, just that, when things are slow, they like to see their cashiers keep busy, not like Extra Foods where they'd let us just plain goof off when things were slow. And, apparently, at IGA, they REALLY don't like seeing their cashiers gossip with each other when things are slow.

I mean, I really shouldn't let this frighten me off. I'm sure every minimum wage shit job has its share of horror stories. Hell, I'm sure I've told more than my fair share to keep people from working at Extra Foods. And besides, as the folks have pointed out, it's just summer job. August 31, I'm outta there!

Anywho, before I go, some quick movie news. The Canadian distributor of Michael Moore's next, Farenheight 9/11, is Alliance Atlantis. A-A was also distributor and co-producer of Bowling for Columbine. Because American distribution for F911 went to Canadian company Lions Gate Films, there was some fear that Lions Gate would swipe Canadian distribution from A-A. Luckily, those fears were unfounded. A-A plans to open the film in Canada on June 25, same day it comes out in the States.

And, boy o boy, I saw the for Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride. This one has been slipping under the radar quite a bit on my movie gossip websites. Essentially, it's Tim Burton's long awaited return to stop-motion animation, his last one being the now-classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Corpse Bride is based on an old Easter European folk tale. It's about a man who's tricked into marrying a dead woman. So then, with the help of his zombie wife, the man seeks revenge on those who tricked him. The animation is being done by Will Vinton Studios, still best remembered for creating the California Raisins back in the 80s.

Next Issue...The Call

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

A quick update on my scheme to get one of every lawn sign. Tonight at around 8:30 I finally heard from a Conservative volunteer. He'll be bringing by a sign tomorrow. Actually, he wanted to give me several dozen so I could help pass them out. And then, the Green candidate himself (I love that he's doing all this himself) called me back at 9pm. Sadly, I was out for a walk and missed his call, so I'll be calling him back tomorrow. Yeah, I try to go for a walk everyday, because I know if I don't, I'll just sit on my ass all summer growing fatter and fatter. *sigh* I miss Japan, where I walked everywhere and lived on nothing but Corn Flakes (for breakfast), peanut butter sandwiches (for lunch), and ramen (for supper). God, I got so skinny!

Anywho, I haven't had one of these for a while. Today, I had a great idea for a dialogue snippet. Sometimes, I just get these fragments of conversations. Someday, I'll write the world's greatest play and you'll read these lines:

Woman>> If you do it for me, I'll give you a cookie.
Man>> Hmm... Is this a literal cookie, or a code word for something else?
Woman>> It's a literal cookie.
Man>> Chocolate chip?
Woman>> You know it.
Man>> Consider it done.

Inspiration for this came from watching The Toy Castle, which I obsessed on in my latest column. Essentially, the boys didn't want to play with the girls, so the girls said, "If you do it, we'll give you cookies," and of course, the boys started playing with the girls.

I think that this is just a great life lesson for the kids who watch the show. Let's be honest, ladies. We men will do anything to get your cookies. Only when I say "cookies," it's a metaphor for, well, whatever you're offering.

Next Issue...Working Stiff
Well, my scheme to get a lawn sign for every candidate in my riding is underway. Today, I sat down with the phone numbers of every campaign HQ in this riding and called each one with my request. Actually, I figured that I could tell quite a bit depending on how the phone was answered. This is how all 5 parties in my area handled themselves on the phone:

Liberals - I got voice mail. I left a message, giving my phone number and a request for a lawn sign.

NDP - Phone rang for quite a bit. The guy who eventually answered was quite out of breath. He must have sprinted from the washroom or something. Anyway, he was happy and enthusiastic. He told me that their sign crews will be swinging through town on Friday, so they'll be sure to pop in and drop one off.

Conservatives - Wow! They're convinced that this riding is a lock. Even though I called at 11:30 am, the campaign volunteer sounded as though I got her out of bed! She took my name and number, and said someone will get back to me.

Green - The candidate himself answered the phone! He was very excited that a supporter actually called. He also took my name and number and said someone will get back to me, and he also mentioned that on Friday the 18th he'll be addressing the Edson Chamber of Commerce, and I'm more than welcome to sit in for that. He also offered to give me a few brouchures to distribute around Entwistle. Holy moly, he was excited that he had a supporter.

Christian Heritage - I spoke to a grandmotherly voice. Again, seemed rather excited to have a supporter. Said that it'd be too far for me to drive to their place in Barhead and pick one up, so she gave me the number of their closest volunteer (45 min drive away) because he might have a few extra signs. Called his number, no one home.

Yeah, I hope my parents don't freak out. Each campaign office phone number was long distance. My riding - Yellowhead - is a massive one. It stretches from the Spruce Grove City Limits to the Jasper National Park border. That's almost 400 km wide. In the last election, the only candidates forum was in Hinton - 2 hours away. I really envy my city friends, whose ridings are only a few blocks wide and the candidate's forum is at the community hall down the street. Stupid representation by population.... I'm starting to think my efforts would be better focused on trying to get a candidate's forum in Entwistle.

Next Issue...Election Fever! Catch it!
Well, nominations for the federal election closed at midnight back on Monday. If you don't know who's running in your riding yet, now's the perfect time to find out! Just head on over to the Official Elections Canada Website and type in your postal code. It'll bring up all kinds of interesting info about your riding, such as who's voting, the phone numbers of their campaign offices, and how many of those candidates are women.

I've got five candidates out here. The represented parties are the Liberals, the Conservatives, the NDP, the Greens, and the Christian Heritage Party. Darn. I was hoping for a Marijuana Party candidate.

Anywho, it's interesting to note that the incumbent in my riding is Conservative Health Critic Rob Merrifield. He's the guy who said that counceling for women wanting abortions should be mandatory.

And, tonight, I plotted a wonderfully, delicious, dastardly scheme. Want to hear it? My parents have already given their blessing.

I want to get lawn signs from all 5 candidates and put them on our front lawn.

See, in Radio Journalism, that was one of the things I was taught about covering an election. Everyone's got to have equal time. If I get a quote from one of the candidates, I've got to get a quote from the other four as well. So, I figure that I should have equal time on my front lawn, too.

It's all quite simple really. Tomorrow, I'll call up all the campaign offices and request a sign. "A ha!" you're saying. "I've discovered a flaw in your scheme! What will you do when the second candidate comes along, and sees the sign for the first candidate?" Quite simple, really. Every time a candidate comes to put up their sign, I'll give them some excuse why I can't do it now. You know, something like, "Well, I'm going to mow the lawn later today. I want to mow the lawn first." And then, I stash the sign in my basement. When I get all 5, I put them all up at the same time! The only way this could get awkward is if two or more sign crews show up at the same time.... But that's a very coincidental thing that most likely won't happen.

Actually, I just thought of one thing that would really set this over the top. Once I get all five signs up, I should add another sign, with that classic quote from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

"You must choose wisely."

Next Issue...Who is Tabitha Welsman?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I went job hunting today. What can I say? With Dad having quit his job to go freelance and Mom quitting her job at the end of the month, I'm starting to think I've gotta pull my own weight around here. Since there's nothing here in Entwistle, I went the 20-minute drive to Drayton Valley.

I hit a few places I read about in the classified ads. Don't get me wrong, everyone has standards, and even I have mine when it comes to minimum wage shit jobs. I just refuse to flip burgers or wait tables. Just some deep-rooted phobia that keeps me from doing it. And I even have my dream jobs in the "minimum wage shit job" category: clerk at video store, stocker at Toys R Us, usher in a movie theatre.... Naturally, my resume got dropped off at the video store and, yes, Drayton Valley's movie theatre is hiring! I have to apply in person after 6pm, though, so I'll probably head back tomorrow night to drop off a resume for that.

The big surprise was when I dropped off a resume at IGA. The customer service clerk just absent-mindedly skimmed my resume until her jaw dropped. She looked at me with a deer in the headlights look and said, "You worked cash at Extra Foods?" I said, "Yes." And before you could say daijobu, I was in an interview with the store manager for a cashier position! The interview just kind of went like this: "You're experienced? Good! You're hired!" I said, "Woah! Wait a minute! This is all going way too fast for me. Can I at least have a day to think about it?" So, they're expecting my answer this Thursday.

And even for sentimentality's sake, I dropped off a resume at Extra Foods. The only problem with that was I filled out my application form under the watchful eye of the Photo Lab Manager. Drayton Valley Extra Foods' Photo Lab Manager is the personification of everything I hated about working at Extra Foods. She's this fat old cow who sits behind the photo lab/customer service counter and likes to think she's queen of the store. We never got along. The final straw came shortly before I left for Japan. She tried to get me fired by falsly accusing me of selling cigarettes to kids. As I filled out my application form, we had this conversation:

Her>> So, Mark, you're back here begging for a job. I guess things didn't work out in Japan, eh?
Me>> No, they worked out. I just decided to come home.
Her>> But, you came home a year ago, right? You've been struggling to find a job all that time, right?
Me>> No, actually, I've been in school.
Her>> Oh? Where?
Me>> NAIT. I'm studying broadcasting.
Her>> And no one will hire you to do that, eh?
Me>> Oh, darn. I left the address of my previous employer in my car. I'll be back.
(exit Me)

I noticed in the careers section of the Edmonton Journal that Drayton Valley Extra Foods is also looking for a new assistant store manager. Just for the hell of it, I sent in my resume for that. I know I won't get that, because the person who hires that position is the regional manager that I tore a strip off of. And I won't accept it, either, becasue it would mean giving up my broadcasting career. But still, it would be nice to come back and have the authority to fire the bitchy old Photo Lab Manager.

Oh, well. Barring unmitigated success when I apply to work at the Drayton Valley Theatre tomorrow night (their hiring concession clerks, projectionists, and janitors), it looks like I'll be a cashier at IGA.

Next Issue...Who is Jenny Welsly?
So, I finally swung by the NAIT website today and downloaded my report card. God bless the Internet. In case anyone out there is curious, my best class was news, with a final mark of 93%. I don't know. If my news instructor was pressuring me to choose news as my career path before, this'll probably give her more ammo. Back in January, just two weeks into the semester, she came up to me and said that I'd be perfect for news. Her exact words: "You seem to know just enough about everything." Conversly, my worst was promotions at 67%. I tell ya, sometimes I felt like the only one in my group doing any of the work. My team leader being disinterested in my part of the project, I found I spent a lot of time in the instructor's office just obsessing over whether I was doing it all properly.

But enough of that. I keep swearing that I don't want to turn this blog into another, "Oh, here's what I did today. Boy my life sucks." blog because, well, let's be honest. Too many of those exist.

Guess what I caught on TV tonight? Here Comes Garfield, the very first Garfield animated special from way back in 1982. Which is when I first (and last) saw it. Wow. I forgot how grim the plot was. The plot? Odie is taken away to the dog pound, so Garfield launches a rescue mission. Garfield is captured, too, and soon he and Odie are plotting their escape before they get put to sleep!

What I found to be the cool thing about it was the animation style. See, the very first Garfield animated specials were done by the same folks who did the Charlie Brown animated specials. So, the animation style in Here Comes Garfield was identical to the style in Charlie Brown!

Cool thing #2 was the origin of a running gag in most of the Garfield animated speicals. I had no idea it started in the first one. The gag goes like this. Garfield is approaching some ominous situation. Then, there's a bolt of lightening and a thunder crack! Garfield turns into the camera and says, "Nice touch."

So, yeah. Every night this week at 7:30 MT, YTV is showing one of the classic Garfield TV specials. This is all to help hype the long-awaited live-action Garfield movie, hitting theatres this Friday. I should start talking to my sister about when we're gonna see it.... What can I say? When my sister was a kid, she was a nut for all things Garfield. When I told her about this film, she said, "Well, you know, you're going to have to take me to it because you're the only one in the family who still makes time for movies."

Next Issue...My Sister's Keeper

Monday, June 07, 2004

First and foremost, latest column's up! This one's called Dude, That's Just Wrong:

"There is a tendency in the human spirit that occasionally unsettles me. For all I know, it has unsettled you as well. I mean, we try to avoid it. We don’t want to do it. But, it happens nonetheless. Why it happens to us, we don’t know. It’s a facet of human nature that we have no control over. It’s something that quite often leaves us screaming at the heavens for an answer. I’m sure that there is at least one time in our life where we’ve turned to a parent; a sibling; a god, and asked, “Why, oh why, do I love something that’s so completely wrong for me?”"

As always, here's where you can read the whole thing!

Secondly, I managed to catch Ebert and Roper tonight. They were reviewing Farenheight 9/11. They gave it two thumbs up! And, in what I'm sure will become a trend, they assured their audience that this film got two thumbs up NOT because of its politics, but because it's just a good movie.

Next Issue...Just an Innocent Guy

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Another grey, rainy Sunday afternoon. Guess I should write a column....

Anywho, my current geek outs over Pokemon continue. After hearing on the Jirachi Wish Maker DVD that the design of #7 will be based on Vancouver, I went poking around to see what I could find. I wound up at the official Japanese Pokemon website where I watched the Japanese trailer. I forwarded it to Mr. Anderson, who forwarded it to one of his best buddies in Japan, and as far as he can figure, the title translate to "Visitor from the Fissure in the Sky."

And yes, the design of the city does strongly resemble Vancouver. It's a futuristic city of steel and glass nestled between the mountains and the sea. Trees line every street, and the Northern Lights shimmer every night.

And, since my birthday is in a month, here's what you can get me: a GPS unit. Dad needed a part for his, and I went along. Naturally, the salesman tried to sell Dad a new one, and wow! We all knew the technology was heading in this direction, but I didn't think it was avaiable now.

What I'm talking about is called mapping capability. Now, GPS units come with a slot where you put in a flash memory card; just like in your digital camera or MP3 player. On these cards are maps. You plug in the map of Alberta. It brings up your position and overlays it with the map of Alberta, so you really know exactly where you are. And then, the salesman started talking about the maps. "All of our locations are in here, so you can always find the nearest store. All McDonald's locations are in here.... And hey! Even every Tim Horton's location. You'll always know where the nearest Tim Horton's is!" The GPS unit that the salesman was showing off cost $270, plus an extra $160 for the map cards.

If you don't want to spend that much, then you can get me one that doesn't have mapping capabilities, just like my Dad's. Talk about advancments in technology! I bought my Dad's for him for Father's Day 7 years ago. It cost $300. Now, one just like is half the size, takes half as many batteries, gets 3 times the power out of the batteries, and only costs half the price. One of those would be nice, too.

Now, to write a column.

Next Issue...No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Right now, I'm just fascinated with these Canadian Tire commercials. Canadian Tire has just developed a hose reel that will automatically roll up your garden hose! And how does it work? Why, it uses the water pressure in the hose to power the reel! Genius! Canadian Tire really is becomming the store for useless gadgets.

I wonder how Canadian Tire comes up with all these gadgets. I betcha they have a lab somewhere. The top secret Canadian Tire laboratory. I bet an average day at the Canadian Tire lab goes a little something like this....

Johnson>> And, as you can see here, my latest research has developed a possible cure for cancer!
The Supervisor>> That's all well and good, Johnson, but your job was to develop A CAMP STOVE CD PLAYER! Your fired, Johnson!
Johnson>> But wait! You haven't seen this yet! It's a flashlight that doesn't require batteries!
The Supervisor>> Remarkable! How does it work?
Johnson>> Well, I perfected cold fusion, sir.

I wonder if I can turn this into a 1-minute long bit for my radio show....

And while I"m at it, let's fill you in on the latest on Fahrenheit 9/11. First, the good news. A distributor has been found! Canada's own Lions Gate Films will be putting it into theatres. A release date of June 25 has been set, and we're promised that it'll be the biggest opening ever for a documentary. Swing by Michael Moore's Offical Site to download the trailer.

And now the bad news. Here's the latest controversy. The latest person to be pissed off over the film is...Ray Bradbury. He's the genius sci-fi author who gave us Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury's hopping mad because Michael Moore never asked for permission to use a Fahrenheit 451 sound-alike title! As far as Bradbury's concerned, Moore's ripping him off and he's considering legal action. I'm paraphraisng Bradbury here, but Bradbury said that it would be like him writing a book with the title Gone With the Wind. You just can't rip off a title like that, he says.

I gotta go try and download that trailer now. I really wonder if this movie is worth all this controversy.

Next Issue...Terror in the Canadian Tire Labs

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I promised you a movie review. Let's kick it old school.

Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker

Directed by Kuniko Yuyama; English adaptation directed by Eric Stuart

Starring the voices of Amy Birnbaum, Madaline Blaustein, Rachael Lillis, Ikue Ootani, Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor

Turn back the clock about a year and two weeks. On one very busy Saturday night, I get a fateful call from Omiya. Head office decided to keep me around and offered me a position as an emergency teacher. Given my mindset towards the job at the time, I did a little soul searching and found only one reason actually compelling me to stay in Japan: I'd get to see Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker. Of course, I didn't know that was the title at the time. I just kept calling it Pokémon 6. In the end, I figured that it wasn't compelling a reason enough. I politely told head office "No thank you" and continued planning my farewell excursion to Mt. Fuji, Nagano, and every small onsen town in between. I knew that, someday, I'd get to see Pokémon 6. And, lo and behold, here in North America, it came out straight to DVD yesterday, and I was first at Superstore to pick it up. Was it worth the wait?

The Millenium Comet is visible for just one week every 1000 years. Naturally, with an event of such magnitude, our heroes Ash, Brock, May and Max are taking a break from their pokémon journey to enjoy the Millenium Comet Festival. At the festival, they meet Butler the magician and his assistant Diane. But, during Butler's act, a crystal in Butler's act begins calling to Max. At the end of the show, Butler tells our heroes that this crystal contains the dormant form of Jirachi. Jirachi is a legendary pokémon with the power to grant wishes. Jirachi awakens with the Millenium Comet and will only be awake for the week the comet is visible. Since Jirachi has already taken a shine to Max, Butler makes Max the guardian of Jirachi. That night, the comet is visible, and Jirachi awakens! Max and Jirachi become fast friends. But, when Jirachi awakens, Butler shows his true evil nature. Butler, you see, is one of the top agents of the evil Team Magma. Butler seeks to use Jirachi's power to unleash the evil pokémon Groudon. Soon, our heroes and Diane are on a perilous quest to return Jirachi to his home before Butler's evil schemes come to fruition. Will Jirachi get home before he goes dormant again? Will Butler unleash Groudon...or something else? And will Team Rocket ever catch Pikachu?

This is a great pokémon movie! Fans of the show, as always, won't be disappointed. The animation, as always, is just of a bit higher quality than the cartoon. (We're talking a Transformers the Movie/Transformers: The Show kinda difference.) Butler is probably the most complex villain created for the film series so far. Unlike the Iron Masked Marauder of #4 or Annie and Oakly of #5, we see that he actually has a reason for what he's doing! This film is probably the most reliant on computer animation out of the whole series, too, and it works. All in all, it's a great film, with a great message about friendship. Pokémon fans won't be disappointed. But, ya know, it wasn't worth staying with the company for.

Oh, and I have to take a moment to geek out over the whole new, "What pokémon are" intro to the film. It's cool in that it features every legendary pokémon that was the subject of every prior film. (Shot of Mewtwo) "Some choose to remain hidden..." (Shot of Lugia) "Some have become the subject of legend..." (shot of Entai) "And some are borne of our dreams." So, again, a nice little nod to continuity.

A solid 3 Nibs.

And, before I forget, let's get to some favourite quotes from the film!

Meowth>> They're stuck in a dark place with impending doom and no way out. That sounds kind of like my life.

Jessie>> Do I look blind to you?
James>> Well, that would explain your hair.

And, as always, nothing makes me geek out like a veiled reference to a long-ago incident or a character no longer with us. This time around, we get Ash's subtle nod to Misty, as he explains to Max what it's like to lose a friend:

Ash>> A good friend left me, too, and I miss her everyday. But I know we'll always be friends forever.

Yeah, I know. It's little. But at least it gives the impression that our characters aren't amnesic!

Since it came out straight to DVD, let's take a minute to tell you about the bonus stuff. You get the short film Pokémon Gotta Dance, which I completely geeked out about last night so I won't go into it again. You get a message from the director, Kuniko Yuyama. That's a little lame. Mr. Yuyama shot this himself, on video, as he scouted locations for #7 in Vancouver. He just says he hopes you like the film and he's working hard to make the next one even better. There's the music video for the film's theme song, Make a Wish. Cool thing about that is it's J-Pop; they didn't even bother getting an American artist to translate it. Just think, a year ago, I would have seen it on Japanese TV. There's a trivia game about the film (easy), bios of the new pokémon introduced in the film and short film, and some stills of the more impressive artwork in the film. Not a bad package, all in all.

So, yeah. Right now, I'm happy.

Anywho, let's get to some more DVD news. We've known about this for a while now, but the official announcement was made today. On July 13, one of my most anticiaped DVDs comes out. Justice Leage: Starcrossed - The Movie is the epic final episode of Justice League. On the DVD, you'll get: a featurette on Hawkman and how he was changed for the show, a new animated short film in which the Flash gives you a tour of the Watchtower (Justice League HQ), and interviews with the show's creators and voice cast.

Next Issue...Wah? Pokémon 7?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

just gotta tell you, I'm totally geeking out right now. My folks are working at home now, right? So, today, they send me into Edmonton to pick up office supplies, and I think to myself, "Hey! Doesn't Pokemon 6 come out today?" And it did! And I got it!

I'm getting to the total geek out.

So, back in Japan, as I watched Pokemon every Thursday night, I just loved the closing credits theme; this crazy, India-flavoured disco thing sung by Meowth. When I bought my CD of every Pokemon theme, I was highly disappointed that my song wasn't on it.

So I get home, pop in the DVD, and figure that I'll watch the Pokemon short film first. The opening credits start, and what song do they play?

The crazy, India-flavoured disco thing sung by Meowth. Translated into English and sung by Meowth's English voice, of course.

So I grin and start jumping around like an idiot. And then, as the short film continues, what do I find?

The whole short film centres around this song.

This is where I start totally geeking out.

See, here's the plot of the short film. Team Rocket is getting ready to open up their new HQ. Pikachu and the gang crash the party. So, Meowth and his gang chace Pikachu and his gang throughout Team Rocket's HQ (which looks kinda like a mini-golf course on steroids). But, here's the catch. Meowth has this gadget that makes pokemon dance. Throughout the madcap chase, this gadget constantly gets accidentally activated, the song starts to play, and everything turns into a big disco dance number.

I gotta say, it's crazy. I've got to find some way to rip the song off the DVD so I can play it on my show this fall.

Sadly, though, the folks cancelled their evening plans, and I couldn't watch the sixth film, Jirachi Wish Maker. Rest assured, I'll watch it tomorrow afternoon and have a reivew this time tomorrow!

Next Issue...Dance Party!