Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Had a bit of an epiphany tonight.

I took that nice, big new comic book box that I bought yesterday, and I went down to my room and started boxing up all my old comics and ToyFares. Granted, the problem wasn't as big as I thought and it finally resulted to doing little more than consolidating three boxes and two piles into one box. But still, I felt like I accomplished something.

And while I was doing it, I was doing an informal survey of my room. In my long months of unemployment ahead, I'm hoping to finally do a major cleaning of my room. I've got crap I've been hanging onto since I was 8 years old, and I think some of it can go now. But my eyes kept going back to my closet, which is so overflowing that I've barely got room to hang my clothes. And I instantly looked to what takes up the most room in my closet.

6 pristine white bankers boxes, containing every note I took in every class in university.

As I looked at those boxes, I finally asked a question I've dared not ask for the past 6 years.

"Why the hell am I keeping these?"

Granted, when I first boxed them up six years ago, it seemed like a good idea. Who knows? I just may have scribbled the secrets to the universe in the margin of my notes for Dr. Hackborn's History of Physics class. I may need to look it up some day.

But it's six years later. My career in physics never materialized. Why o why do I still have these?

I guess I just take after my father. He finally got around to trashing his univeristy notes 5 years ago.

The other thing taking up all the room in my closet is my old computer. I'm still baffled by what to do with that. I know it's 8 years old, which is ancient in computer terms, but I did spend $1500 in 1997 dollars for it. Still seems like a lot of money to just toss it in the dump.

I should do some research. There's gotta be some kind of charity that takes old computers to ship to third world countries or something.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Well, I completed one of those geek rites of passage today.

I bought myself a long box used for storing comic books.

As we all know, I'm going to be unemployed for a LONG time, so I'm hoping to use some of that time to seriously clean out my room. And a major part of that is gathering up all my old comic books and back issues of ToyFare and properly boxing them up and
storing them. My current system of little piles all over the house is no longer working - and it gets on the parents nerves.

So yeah. As grand as I make it sound, I really don't have all that many comics & ToyFares. I'm hoping one box will be enough

Well, here's some movie news I've been waiting for for a long time. I've been reading bits and pieces about it for a while now, but the official announcement was made today.

we're getting a CGI movie all about bees! Because, you know, it's been a while since we had a CGI movie about bugs. It's called...Bee Movie. (Oh, how clever.)

Here's the story. It follows the adventures of Barry B. Benson. He's fresh out of college, and kind of upset, because there's only one profession for a bee to go into: honey. Not wanting this life, he heads out into the world to learn more about it, and he befreinds a florist named Vanessa. Through his friendship with Vanessa, he learns more about the human world and how a big part of our society honey is. Barry comes to a revelation. Humans are stealing honey from bees! Barry realizes his true profession: law. He then sues humans for all the back money owed to bees.

Now, there's one thing that makes this notable for me. The film's been written by and is being produced by...Jerry Seinfeld. He's also doing the voice of Barry. Vanessa will be voiced by Renee Zellwiger. Also doing voices are Alan Arkin, Kathy Bates, Robert Duvall, Eric Idle, Larry King, William H. Macy, Tim Blake Nelson, Uma Thurman, Patrick Warburton and Oprah Winfrey.

It's being made by DreamWorks Animation, the same folks responsible for Antz, Shark Tale and the Shrek franchise. It's scheduled to come out in the fall of 2007. DreamWorks' other animated film that year will be Shrek 3.

Now, I just want to take a moment to continue my rant about commemerative coins. The
only thing that really annoys me is that a lot of these commemerative coins really
aren't commemerating anything. For example, did we really need 24 different quarters
when the calendar flipped over from 1999 to 2000? No. Did we need a loonie adorned
with the Olympic rings just because it was an Olympic year? No.

All I'm saying is make the commemerations meaningful, before it becomes meaningless.

Ehh, the truth is I'm just bitter that I haven't gotten a poppy quarter or a Terry Fox loonie yet.

Anyway, with this going on, I had to dig out the special jar I have in the bottom of my desk. It's the jar that I keep commerative coins in when I feel like keeping them.

Here's what's all in the jar:

- 4 mountie quarters (to commemerate the 100th anniversary of the RCMP in 1973, a special quarter, replacing the caribou with a mountie on horseback.).
- a few assorted provincial quarters from the 1992 125th anniversary celebrations
- an Australian 50¢ coin and an Australian $2 coin. I have no idea how I picked these up.
- a Japanese World Cup of Soccer commerative ¥500 coin. Minted in 2002 to celebrate Japan's hosting of the World Cup of Soccer that year. I got it in my pocket change as I began my final 2-week tour through Japan.

And, the pride of my collection,

- 6 Canadian 50¢ coins. And yes, I fished them all out of my pocket change.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I am very frustrated right now. Someone has sent me an e-mail with a rather large attachment, and I'm stuck here waiting for it to download. It was probably my brother. He's always sending me some 10M very "funny" TV spot that someone sent him. He's the only one in the family with high speed Internet, too, so he doesn't have to wait hours for anything to download - or send.

Although, Entwistle is about to get high speed Internet. Finally pissed off enough that Telus wasn't bringing it town, the Entwistle Businesses Association started lobbying independent ISPs to come to town. The winner: Xplornet. They're a wireless high speed Internet service, meaning we'll have to mount something like one of these little satellite dishes on the side of the house. I'm a little leary, because I've always heard that wireless high speed Internet is awful slow when it comes to uploading. Oh well. They're going to start testing the system in two weeks, meaning they'll be offering free Internet to volunteers until the bugs are worked out.

Guess who's the first to volunteer? Very soon...high speed Internet will be mine!

While I'm on the subject of stuff that frustrates me, I'd like to offer a message to the Royal Canadian Mint.

Stop it.

We've got enough commemorative coins now. You can lay off. I came to this realization the other day. I paid for my purchase and my change was $1.75. But, rather than seeing one loon and three cariboo, I had a trio of soldiers (the UN commemorative loonie from 1995), two abstract designs (the millenium commerative quarters from 1999 and 2000), and the hoodoos in southern Alberta (Canada's 125th anniversary in 1992).

It's insane. It's like someone sneezes now, and the Mint's gotta slap it on a quarter. My attitude towards these commemerative coins has become this: the first one is kind of cool, the third one is starting to get annoying, and the fifth one just pisses me off.

All I can say is this is going to seriously mess up schoolchildren in the future. "Now, class, the $1 coin has a loon on it, and the quarter has a cariboo."

"Teacher, how come my $1 coin has this weird block thing on it?"

"Teacher, how come my quarter says 'New Brunswick?'"

"Teacher, how come my quarter has a poppy on it?"

So, Royal Canadian Mint, I'd like to at least give it a rest for a while with the commemorative coins. Give us a 10 year break or so, OK? Then you can release the special commemerative quarter: "10 years of no commemorative coins!"


Monday, April 25, 2005

Occasionally, something comes along that makes you question yourself and gender roles in society, making you think things you've never thought. Recently, this question was brought about by Seaspray.

When I was a kid, Seaspray was one of my favourite Transformers. A heroic Autobot, who turned into a hovercraft. According to his tech specs, he was fascinated by Earth's oceans, as there were nothing like them on Cybertron. So, thanks to this fascination, he was a staunch defender of all things marine biological. I think he's still kicking around somewhere, being saved from the exodus of toys I boxed up for long term storage in the garage.

But yeah, Seaspray was cool. He was one of the smaller Transformers, so he was pocket-sized. He went with me darn near everywhere for a whole summer.

Flash forward to the present day. I got lost in a department store once again, and once again found myself wandering down the girl's toys aisle. And to my surprise, Seaspray has been reborn...

...as a My Little Pony.

Seaspray the pony is a bright blue with a starfish on her rump. She's got bright blue hair with sparkles. According to her package, she just loves taking her friends for boat rides.


Needless to say, my world is in turmoil.

Today's trivial trivia from Wikipedia, cut and pasted straight from the webpage:

"Belonging to the same company, some My Little Ponies shared names with Transformers. For example Beachcomber and Zig Zag were both Ponies and Transformers characters. However, there obviously was no My Little Pony named Skullcruncher."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Hoo boy. Latest column's up! It's the long-awaited Meeting Totoro pt. 2: I Wish I Could Stay Forever:

" I can honestly say that the Studio Ghibli Museum was the most fulfilling museum experience I had in Japan. And, dare I say it? It was even more fun than Tokyo Disneyland. The Studio Ghibli Museum is an utterly fascinating place, full of nooks and crannies to be explored. I sincerely got the feeling that one day wasn’t enough. But oh…it was one of my happiest moments in Japan."

Read it all here!

Wow. It's a column that was one year in the making! And by "one year," I mean "putting it off for 50 weeks, then working furiously for the past 2 weeks as I finally got off my ass."

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Episode Review.

Star Trek: Enterprise

In a Mirror Darkly, pt. 1


It was a veritable love-fest to the original series. So full of kick-ass references, from a Tholian web to the climax with a Constitution-class starship.

In case you haven't been following, this episode is a return to Star Trek's beloved Mirror universe; a parallel universe populated by all our evil twins.

In this episode, Commander Archer (yup, he's only the first officer) leads a mutiny against Captain Forrest and takes command of the evil Enterprise. Archer has learned from a Tholian slave that the Tholians have captured an Earth ship, from the future AND a parallel universe. Now in command of Enterprise, evil Captain Archer sets a course for the heart of Tholian space to capture this ship....

What I liked:

The opening sequence. We flashback to the events of Star Trek: First Contanct, when First Contact is made. Rather than shaking hands with the Vulcan captain, evil Zephram Cochrane whips out a shotgun and blows away the Vulcan captain, and then proceeds to loot the Vulcan ship.

Evil Hoshi, who is "the captian's woman," meaning she spend the whole episode slinking around in one of those black baby-doll nightgown thingies.

Evil female uniforms have bare midriffs.

Horribly scarred evil Trip. He even modified his Southern accent slightly. Instead of a "Southern gentleman" southern accent, we get a "wife-beating trailer trash" southern accent.

Tholians. We finally see a full-bodied Tholian. CGI rocks.

The Tholian web. Their trademark weapon makes a return appearance. Did I mention CGI rocks?

The climax on board the Defiant.

It rocked it rocked it rocked.

Bring on pt. 2!!!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Last day of the practicum. Gonna be a busy day, too. Even though I'm leaving, they still want me to do all my regular announcing. You'll be able to hear me in Cold Lake all the way through Tuesday night. Ahh, the miracale of modern technology....

Anyway, I got about 75% packed last night. Parents are coming today to take the first truckload home. I'm starting to regret having packed up all my dishes and food. My original plan was I'd do that, and just eat out tonight and for breakfast tomorrow.

Great plan...if it weren't for the fact I've eaten at McDonald's every night this week. "Hey, I'm 10% packed! Let's celebrate with a Big Mac." In the end, it's not good for my health or my bank account.

Maybe I shouldn't eat anything at all. go on a 3-day fast, to flush the toxins out of my system. I had a co-worker in Japan who did that. Once a year, she went on a 3-day fast to flush the toxins out of her system. I'll never forget as she explained this to me....

Me>> So, you fast for 3-days to flush the toxins out of your system?
Her>> That's right.
Me>> Interesting. So, do you do this for religious reasons?
Her>> No.
Me>> Did you read it in a book?
Her>> No. It's just what I think happens to my body.
Me>> You "think"? So...you just kind of made this up and started doing it?
Her>> NO! Well...I mean...uh...wugh!

"Wugh." Her exasperated sigh. As she always did after "wugh," she rolled her eyes and walked away, meaning I'd gotten irratating.

I'd once read a quote, saying that you've known a diet trend has gone mainstream when the fast food companies hop on board. I'd like to make an addendum to that statement.

You know a comic book trend has gone mainstream when Archie Comics hops on board.

The comic in question is Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch. Not a bad little comic...recognizable brand name. Created in the late-1960s, Sabrina had her own title cancelled in the mid-80s. It became the basis of a hit sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart, and Archie promptly re-launched the title, giving it a make-over to be more like the show. A movie version is currently in development, in which Sarah Michelle Gellar will play Sabrina, and Melissa Joan Hart will be reduced to a cameo.

Anyway, I was looking through the comics at 7-11 last night and discovered that Sabrina has been re-launched yet again...

...as a manga.

Now it's drawn completely in anime-style as Sabrina deals with her standard Archie-style teen angst AND has mystical adventures in "the other realm." Gotta say...it doesn't quite mesh, Archie Comics done in that style.

And, according to the offical Archie Comics website, Josie and the Pussycats is about to be re-launched as a manga, too.

I think there's a lesson to be learned in here about trying to be something you're not. You know, Archie Comics has that lesson in about every third issue.

Wow. Wikipedia has a whole section about porn stars. Here's today's trivial trivia:

Porn star Asia Carrera is the only porn star who's a member of Mensa. She says her IQ has been tested at 155, and she boasts that she's personally authored every line of code at her official website.

Not that I spend a lot of time looking up porn stars on Wikipedia, or checking out their official websites.

Uh, I mean, that is....

"I was only in there finding out how to get away from there."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Second last day of the practicum, and slow as ever. Doing the mindless surfing to pass the time.

I find it almost frustrating that there are all these websites that say, "Send your friend a postcard!" only to find that it's one of those e-postcards. Wouldn't that be cool if there were websites where you actually could send a real postcard? Enter your friend's address and what you want the postcard to say, and your friend gets the postcard in a week! That would be cool. It is my mission to make that website.

I'm also reading about the saga of Dublin Dr Pepper. As you all know, my most favourite of fizzy, teeth-rotting beverages is Dr Pepper, and I've heard about this for a while now but have now finally found the truth.

See, back in the 60s, Dr Pepper decided to change the recepie. They switched the sweetener from cane sugar to much cheaper corn syrup. Purely an economical choice. Anyway, the Dr Pepper plant in Dublin, Texas flat-out refused to do this, and continued using their old equipment that used cane sugar.

Flash forward 40 years, and we see that "Dublin Dr Pepper" is the only Dr Pepper in the world still made according to the original recipie. That is, they still use can sugar. Dublin Dr Pepper used to be available only in a 40 mile radius around Dublin, Texas and only in glass bottles. But now, it is starting to use plastic bottles and is starting to find its way across the USA.

Dublin Dr Pepper is marketed as a kind of specialty Dr Pepper. They've got their own special website (Dublin Dr Pepper.com), where you can buy a case over the Internet.

They don't ship to Canada, though.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I always love reading about justice being served - even when it's against a company I love.

Famous Players Theatres just got fined a little less than $6000 and was ordered to donate $52000 to a burn victim charity over an accident that happened at Silver City in West Edmonton Mall.

A kid was doing his job in the back room when one of his buddies was putting away a bottle of drain cleaner. Naturally, the cap for the bottle had been lost a long time ago, so when the bottle was knocked over, it spilled all over this kid.

Did I mention that the drain cleaner was an 86% solution of sulphuric acid?

The kid could feel the stuff eating away his shirt. So, he tore off his shirt and sprinted down to West Ed's food court - the nearest place with the facilites to wash the gunk off his body. In the end though, he suffered first degree chemeical burns to his neck, shoulders, and back and required skin grafts.

Famous Players was fined for: improper storage of the hazardous chemical, improper training for how to handle hazardous chemicals, having no one with the proper first aid training on staff, and not having the proper first aid fascilites; specifially, a decontamination shower.

I kinda wish the fine was more.

As I'm packing up my apartment and prepping to move home, I'm reminded of my Mom's statement shortly after I moved in here. She said that it seemed my apartment was lacking something because I didn't have any mementos from my time in Japan on display.

Someday, I'm going to own a nice, sprawing acreage. And, just for Mom, I'll build a Shinto shrine on the back 40.

I actually think that'd be kind of cool. Just hiking in the Canadian wilderness then suddenly - BAM!! You find a Shinto shrine. Sure shock a lot of people.

Now I find this to be kind of cool.

I was doing some research on railway handcars, should I ever make good on my threat to try to cross the country on one. And I came across these speeder clubs.

Speeders, in case you've forgotten, were those little buggys that went zipping down the railway track for rail workers to inspect the tracks. They started phasing them out a few years ago, replacing them with those pick-up trucks with the flip-down train wheels.

Anyway, rail enthusiasts have started forming these "speeder clubs." People buy old speeders, fix them up, customize them, and then have weekend excursions riding the rails with them. In these clubs, they make convoys of about 15 or 20 speeders. They tend to stick mainly to short line railroads, so as not to disrupt regular rail travel.

Now, you just know that's the kind of club I'd be a part of if I had the time...and money...and one was local.
We gotta new Pope!

Pope Benedict XVI.

If I were Catholic, I'd be totally jazzed. But I'm not. So, like most of the world, I'm looking on with fascination, and trying to figure out what method of birth control I'll use on my hot date tonight.

However, I am jazzed about this.

The signature tune from Episode III is going to be released as a single! An actual, playable single. That means it'll be jockying for airplay on most radio stations. Because of rampant interest in this, some are predicting it'll even break the top 10.

Oh, and the signature tune is called "Battle of the Heroes." It's the fight theme that'll play mostly during Anakin and Obi-Wan's climactic duel.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, it's a quick little weird thing called Afterdeath:

"Monday. I hate Mondays.

I whack the alarm clock to turn it off and pull myself out of bed. I stumble into the bathroom and turn on the shower. The cold water hits my body like a thousand tiny jolts of electricity. That always wakes me up. That, and a strong cup of coffee.

God, I hate my work clothes. Synthetic fibres of the future, my ass. It itches. "

Read it...if you dare!

Now, you're probably wondering, "Where's that long-awaited part 2 of going to the Studio Ghibli Museum? You said it'd be up this week!" Well, I had a flash of brilliance at the last minute. When I finished writing it late last night, I said to myself, "Hey! This time next week, I'm going to be back home with all my pictures of the Studio Ghibli Museum! And my parents' scanner!"

Essentially, it's been put off for a week so I can include pictures.

Ain't that a good reason to wait?
Had my total "geek out" moment yesterday.

I grew up with G.I. Joe. Great toy line, loved it to pieces (literally, with some of the figures). Hasbro is going great guns with a whole new line of G.I. Joe toys. It's been a huge success for about 5 years now. Things is, though, it's so darn difficult to find, at least in Canada. Either it's really popular, or it's not being distributed that widely in Canada.

So I show up in Cold Lake, home to CFB Cold Lake, the largest air force base in the country. On the base is the department store called Canex, run by the army for the soldiers. I've browsed through it many times, and found it to be one of the best places I've found for G.I. Joe toys. We're talking the newest of the new; the stuff they show off in ToyFare that I thought I'd never find.

I was browsing through Canex the other day, and I found the Holy Grail of the new G.I. Joe toys.

G.I. Joe: Ninja Battles

This massive boxed set contains 5 G.I. Joe ninjas: fan favourites Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes' new apprentice Tiger Claw, Storm Shadow's new apprentice Shadow Strike, and the evil Black Dragon.

Besides these five figures, you also get a kick-ass display base to show off all five figures (complete with a freaky-cool torii), a DVD with all these characters in action, a comic book reviewing the origins of Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and the history of the Arishikage ninja clan, and a buttload of weapons for them all!!




I want it. I want it so bad.

But it's $30. That's an awful lot, considering I went completely ape-snit last month on quite a few action figures. Plus, I'd probably want to tear it open so I could watch that DVD.

After I wiped the drool from my mouth, explained to the clerks that I was quite all right, and left the store, I immediatly started wondering if I should go back for it.

It's just so freakin' sweet.

But so darn expensive.

If you haven't read today's FoxTrot, please do so. It's hilarious. It's a wonderful tie-in adding to all the Episode III hype.

You know, for as long as I can remember, FoxTrot has been doing tie-ins to all the big "geek" movies, thanks to main character Jason Fox being a geek. The earliest one I can remember had to be all the way back in 1989. It was around that time that I discovered that newspapers had comics every day, and thus I began reading the newspaper every morning. Around that time, FoxTrot was a fairly new addition to the Edmonton Journal's comics line-up.

Now, as I mentioned, this was the summer of 1989...the summer long remembered by pop culture historians as "the summer of the bat." Yup, the first Batman movie came out, and you just couldn't escape from it. As Kevin Smith commented, "People were shaving that bat-logo into their heads."

And thus began what had to be FoxTrot's first movie tie-in storyline. Jason Fox was all hyped to see Batman, and, in what has now become a common character trait for him, made himself a Batman costume and was ready to see the film in full costume. Now, Jason's brother Peter got saddled with the job of taking Jason to see Batman. Naturally, Peter was very embarassed at his brother's behaviour. They get to the theatre, the watch the movie, and Jason convinces Peter that they should hide under the seats so they can see it again. Because there's no reasoing with Jason, Peter sighs and plays along. 8 hours and 4 viewings of the movie later, Jason and Peter come home. Peter comes bounding in in a full Batman costume. Seeing the movie so many times had made him a bigger Batman geek than Jason.

Other FoxTrot movie tie-ins I remember vividly:

Jurassic Park (1993) - Jason and his friend Marcus are in the front row of the theatre, wearing very elaborate paper machie dinosaur masks. Marcus: "Do you think that maybe our expectations are too high?" Jason: "I don't follow."

Star Wars Episode I (1999) - Peter's summer job was working at the movie theatre. Peter: "Mom, I would like it...but this is the summer that the new Star Wars movie comes out!" Jason: "Ahh, yes. We'll be watching your career with great interest."

Peter at his job. Presents a trayful of snacks to a nerd dressed as a Jedi and says, "That'll be $8.75." The nerd does the "Jedi mind trick hand gesture" and says, "I believe $1 will do." The rest of the strip is a word-for-word recreation of the Qui-Gon Jinn/Watto scene.

The Matrix (1999) - Jason and Marcus are suspended in mid-air, recreating the Neo/Agent Smith final battle. Marcus: "The fishing line is REALLY starting to dig in." Jason: "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea."

Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings (2001) - In a week-long storyline building up to the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.... Jason's nemesis Eileen shows up to school in a full Hogwarts school uniform, saying that she's getting hyped for the release of Harry Potter. Jason spends the whole week teasing Eileen, going on and on about how Harry Potter sucks and that Lord of the Rings is going to be the better films and so on and suchforth. The final strip came out the day after Harry Potter. Jason's mother is on the phone: "Oh, hello Eileen. No, he went to see a movie. Which movie? Why, only his new favourite. He's seen it six times since it came out yesterday." Final panel. Mom: "And then your friend Eileen wouldn't stop laughing." Jason, in a full Hogwarts uniform: "WHAT DID YOU TELL HER??"

Lord the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - Jason's big sister Paige hustles Jason and Marcus out the door, telling Mom that she's taking Jason and Marcus to see Return of the King. Mom comments that it's the third time this week that Paige has taken Jason and Marcus, and Paige says she doesn't mind. In a theatre full of teenage girls, looking at the screen and swooning, Jason, looking very angry, turns to Marcus: "Orlando Bloom has ruined everything."

I swear, they've got to do a book of all the FoxTrot movie tie-ins.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Darn it!

I missed the 6th last episode of Enterprise!!

Stupid A-Channel with their stupid Adam Sandler movie and my stupid lack of access to a descent TV listing.

Enterprise is on again at 11:30 pm on Channel 4.

Don't let me forget.
Today's trivial trivia as learned from Wikipedia:

Tokyo Disneyland is the world's only Disneyland that's NOT owned by Disney. Tokyo Disneyland is owned by the Oriental Land Company Ltd., and they pay a licensing fee to Disney.

Oh, and Tokyo Disneyland is the busiest theme park in the world.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Langley: Argh! That's it, man. I left it all in the field. There's no record of this pallet 62/67221 anywhere. I cracked into every data cache I can think of! D-O-D, Department of Energy, the oil and car companies, government warehouses, that number just isn't out there!

Jimmy: Did you try the Internet?

(Langley is visibly angered and annoyed with the idiocy of this statement. After a tense silence, he speaks in even, measured tones.)

Langley: Yes. I even tried the Internet.

God, I love The Lone Gunmen.
Just when I think Japan is done and in the past, something happens to trigger a flashback. We're talkin' an LSD induced style flashback.

Just the way it is today. So grey, so rainy, and then I walked into the post office.... Just one whiff of the air in the post office and suddenly I was in the Kumagaya central post office, sending postcards home.

I swear, the company probably slipped something in my food to trigger flashbacks like this, to inspire loyalty or something like that.

So have I mentioned that I've been watching a lot of The Lone Gunmen? I really, really, really liked that show. I just finished listening to all the running commentaries, and they actually made me feel screwed.

On several commentaries, they go, "Oh, man, there's some great cut scenes from this episode! Oh, those cut scenes were good!" One of the best episodes of the show involves the Gunmen having to infiltrate a tango contest, and on the running commentary, the writers say, "There's so many cut scenes from this episode that we were T-H-I-S C-L-O-S-E to making it a two-parter." In what turned out to be the final episode broadcast, they mention that there's a cut scene that finally explained the mysterious origin of Yves Adele Harlow and that it was completely different from the mysterious origin they gave her when they wrapped up all the Lone Gunmen loose ends on The X-Files. (Something that the fans always suspected, because the origin finally given in The X-Files seemed slighly out of synch with the hints that were dropped in The Lone Gunmen)

But, despite all this talk of great cut scenes, there are none on the DVD.

Oh, well. I guess we can consider it miraculous that we got this DVD at all, so I won't be picky. They even mention how it was an uphill battle to dedicate an episode of The X-Files to wrapping up the loose ends. What finally won them the battle was when they said, "Look, these were very popular characters on The X-Files before they had their own show, this is going to be their only appearance in the final season of X-Files, and we're going to kill them."

I have The Lone Gunmen on DVD. I've watched it a dozen times now. And I'm grateful to have it.

Today's trivial trivia from Wikipedia:

The three geographic regions that we've seen in the Pokemon cartoon (Kanto, Johto and Hoenn) are all modeled after geographic regions of Japan (the Kanto plains, the area around Mt. Fuji, and the island of Kyushu).

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mr. Anderson told me once that we all have slight hints of personality disorders. Apparently, it's on a scale of one to 10. When you pass 6, that's when it becomes a problem.

I guess this explains my need to list and organize things.

Red/ Blue – The original games that started the phenomenon. You wander through the region of Kanto, trying to catch all the pokémon and battling your way to become the pokémon league champion. The big gimmick was that, although there were 150 pokemon, each game only had about 140. You want the remaining 10? Find someone with the other colour edition and trade.

Yellow – A special edition of Red/Blue. They added some new bells and whistles, and re-adjusted the game’s plot to more resemble the cartoon. Now, Pikachu is the pokémon you start your quest with, and Team Rocket occasionally shows up to be a pest. And, again, there’s only 140 pokemon in the game, so if you want the remaining 10, you’ve got trade with your friends you own Red and Blue.

Gold/ Silver – Nintendo introduced a new handheld system (GameBoy Color), meaning new pokémon games! Now, you continue your quest in the region of Johto, capturing all the pokémon to become Johto League Champion. 100 new pokémon were added, and again, only 90 are in the game. You get the other 10 by trading with your friend who’s got the other color. And, it was compatable with Red and Blue, meaning you can transfer over your 150 original pokémon, and get all 250!

Crystal – The “yellow” for the Gold and Silver set. Again, the plot of the Johto league games was updated to add more bells and whistles. The big new change? When you start the game, you select the gender of your on-screen counterpart. Now, female pokémon players no longer had to be transvestites! Boys can be boys and girls can be girls, and the boys are grateful for it.

Ruby/ Sapphire – New system (GameBoy Advance) means more new pokémon games! 100 new pokémon…now we’re in the region of Hoenn. Besides the usual gimmick of having to trade, the game also introdueced the pokémon beauty contest for those who don’t want to battle. Sadly, though, it wasn’t compatible with the older games, meaning you were starting fresh.

FireRed/LeafGreen – A lot of people didn’t like that they couldn’t transfer their old pokémon over to Ruby/Sapphire, so here was Nintendo’s solution. FireRed and LeafGreen are the original Red and Blue, only completely re-made and updated for the GameBoy Advance. Besides just remaking the originals, they also added all the new bells and whistles from the past few years (like being able to play as a girl). Fully compatible with Ruby and Sapphire. Oh, and as another gimmick, Nintendo bundled the new wireless multiplayer adaptor for Game Boy Advance with this.

Emerald – The “yellow/crystal” for the Ruby and Sapphire set. New bells and whistles…a modified plot…will naturally be a big seller.

Diamond/Pearl (rumoured names) – New handheld system (Nintendo DS) means new editions! Not much is known yet, just that it’ll be out for Christmas 2005.
Don't you hate it when your friends accidentally hit a nerve?

I was reading my morning movie news, and I stumbled upon a very negative, very spoiler filled review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Now, I read the description of the review, and people are openly mocking this review. It was written by an obsessive fan who went through the book line-by-line, watched the movie, and just went insane with rage. Most of his critisisms, though, are along the lines of, "Oh, I can't believe they changed three words in this one dialogue! Argh! That really ruins the film!" Ultra-obsessive fanboy poop like that.

Anyway, I was sharing this with my friend Trouble, with which whom I am planning on seeing Hitchhiker's Guide as soon as it came out. I openly mused aloud as to weather I should read this review. "Well," she said, "seeing as to how you have never read the books, I would have to say no. And, because I have read the books, I can say right away that this movie is going to be bad."


Here comes the rant.


Bought them as I was leaving the country. Read them in Japan. Read the first one twice. And because of the industry I'm in, I'm dying to hear the original BBC radio play that started the whole thing. I'm greatly looking forward to the movie. I'm what you'd call a "casual fan."

And, what upsets me the most, are all these people who are ready to hate it, just because they don't think it can properly be translated to the big screen.

Look, I'm sorry, but that's the nature of the medium. In order to get it on the big screen, they have to cut stuff. They have to change stuff. They have to hire Tom Cruise to star instead of that dreamboat you've spawned from your own imagination. IT HAS TO HAPPEN.

GIVE IT A CHANCE, PEOPLE!! Who knows? This new interpretation may add a different perspective you never thought of. The new material in the film - which was added by creator Douglas Adams before he passed away, by the way - may actually ENHANCE the story! GIVE IT A FREAKING CHANCE!! Don't go through the book line-by-line and tear it apart because they omitted a word. We came to like organic webshooters. We didn't cry at the loss of Tom Bombadil. GIVE THE FILM A CHANCE!!!

Although, I am kind of upset that they changed the beginning.

But this new beginning is being positivly received.

But we're losing sight of the important fact.


And in news of that other big sci-fi film coming....

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith has officially been given a PG-13 rating. Leave the young-uns at home! It's the most violent and darkest Star Wars ever!!

And I now know far more about it than I wanted to, having given into temptation and leafed through issue #1 of the comic adaptation when I glimpsed it on the newsstand.

Today's trivial triva gotten from reading Wikipedia:

The average woman owns 6 bras, one of which is strapless, and one of which is a colour other than white.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I Run for the Border:

"Now, you’re probably thinking that going to Saskatchewan is a massive endeavour, and so did I, until I realized how close Cold Lake is to the Saskatchewan border. I always forget how close I am until I look at a map. The lake of Cold Lake actually straddles the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan. Day trips to Lloydminister are common for the average Cold Lake resident. In fact, one of our radio station’s clients – the Pearceland Bingo Hall – is in Saskatchewan. As I returned from Glendon, I saw the sign on the highway: “Pearceland: 30 km.” When I hit Pearceland, I hit Saskatchewan. I took the turn and headed due east. I was Saskatchewan bound!"

Whole thing's right here

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Well, we have another one to add to the list of "Pointless sequels that they really shouldn't make."

Garfield 2 is on the way!

20th Century Fox has just hired Tim Hill to direct. Hill directed the Disney comedy Max Keeble's Big Move and the last Muppet epic Muppets from Space. He was also one of the writers on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

20th Century Fox has also announced a release date of July 28, 2006.

Now, I haven't seen Garfield yet, but my sister went to see it as soon as it came out. When she was a kid, she was nuts for all things Garfield. She owned darn near every book. She obsessivly watched the cartoon, Garfield and Friends, every Saturday morning. She had all variety of Garfiled stuffed toys. And, in one of the sweetest deals ever in the history of parent/child relations, she suckered my parents into buying her the complete set of Garfield collector's plates from the Hamilton Mint. She seems to have become a well-adjust adult, but for Chrismtas 2 years ago, I gave her the Garfield 25th anniversay coffee table book, entitled Garfield at 25: In Dog Years, I'd Be Dead By Now, and she totally geeked out over it.

She hated the Garfield movie. Absolutly hated it.

Man, I've got to see it if only to see if it really is that bad.

I reproted a few days ago about the special Terry Fox Commemorative Loonie. As such, I've been hanging out at the official Royal Canadian Mint website. I'm still sad that I haven't gotten one of those Poppy Quarters that came out back at Rememberance Day. But, at the Mint website, I can buy a whole roll for $14.

And I find that odd, seeing as to how a roll of quarters only holds $10 worth. The extra $4 must be shipping and handling.

Oh, and don't forget to swing my the official Royal Canadian Mint website and vote on the final design for the Alberta centennial commemorative quarter, due out this fall!

Friday, April 08, 2005

(a montage of historical footage plays.)

Jimmy Bond (vo): Heroes. Once in a great while, they come along when we need them the most. Like...President Churchill, who won World War II. And Ghandi, peaceful leader of the Indians. Or, as we know them, native Americans. The thing about heroes is, you can never quite tell where the next crop will come from, and you don't always recognize them at first site.

(We enter a junior high classroom, with the caption "Sterling, Virginia. 1974." the kids are giving speeches before the class.)

Little girl: When I grow up, I wanna be a singer, just like Dolly Parton. I wanna be rich and famous (makes universal gesture for breasts) and have big....

(Cut to next kid)

Little boy: When I grow up, I wanna be a star quarterback for the Redskins, and be rich and famous.

(Cut to next kid)

Little girl 2: Rich and famous.

(Cut to next kid)

Little boy 2: Famous and, uh....

(Cut to a clean cut boy in a suit)

Young Byers: When I grow up, I wanna be a career bureaucrat with the federal government. I wanna help as many people as I can, and work hard to spread democracy throughout the world.

(We freeze on this boy. The caption appears)

John Fitzgerald Byers: Idealist

(cut to farm, a barn full of cows. There's a junior high aged boy in the back working on a computer. The caption reads "Saltville, Nebraska. 1982.")

Farmer: Ringo! You were supposed to be milking. I told you, typing is for secretaries. That damn fool toy is going on the junkpile.

Young Langly: Let me tell you something about this "damn fool toy," Dad. This damn fool toy is going to change everything...from the way people do business...to the way we communicate. This damn fool toy is the future. And you know what else? By the year 2000, when I've made millions of dollars off this "damn fool toy," we'll all eat food pills, like on Star Trek. And we won't need cows anymore.

(Cows moo, pass gas, the boy is repulsed. We freeze on this boy. The caption appears.)

Richard "Ringo" Langly: Computer God

(cut to a high school. The graphic reads "Pontiac, Michigan. 1967." Captain of the football team is walking across the school parking lot with three team mates. The captain is tackled and pinned to the ground by a shrimpy nerd.)

Young Frohike: SAY IT!! Say it!!

Football captain: The Cutlass 442 is faster than the Belvedere GTX, alright?

Young Frohike: Damn straight! Some captain of the football team you are.

(shrimpy nerd allows the football captain to stand up. Football captain composes himself.)

Football captain: You're a shrimp. You'll always be a shrimp. Shrimp. What do you have to say about that?

Young Frohike: I think big, see? Bigger than you. I'm going to do big things, and then I'm gonna write about them. People will hang on my every word. Yeah. I'll be a crusading publisher, and make the world a better place, like...like...like Hugh Hefner! Yeah.

(shrimpy nerd glances over at two hot schoolgirls, makes classic "Oh, I know you want me" face. Schoolgirls ignore him. We freeze on the shrimpy nerd. the caption appears.)

Melvin Frohike: Man of Action

(The three boys appear together. We cut to their grown-up selves, and who they are now: The Lone Gunmen.)

Jimmy Bond (vo): Three heroes. Three seperate paths leading to one shared destiny. To change the world. To make history. Today's the day it happens.

And thus begins my favourite episode of The Lone Gunmen!

I'm so glad the DVD came in the mail today. Guess what I'm doing this weekend?

I've already watched some of the bonus material on the discs, and I must say, I'm heartbroken. Britsh-born Zuleikha Robinson, who played Yves Adele Harlow (the Lone Gunmen's occasional nemesis/occassional ally) had one of the sexiest British accents in the history of British accents. But, she's obviously been in Hollywood too long, cuz in the recently-recorded interviews, her accent has almost faded away completely.

"Nothing makes a girl sexier than a foreign accent." That was told to me by one of my few buddies in high school. He told me that as justification for his tendency to fall in love with every exchange student.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

How come I knew this was going to happen?

Last week, 20th Century Fox released one of my most-anticipated DVDs:
The Lone Gunmen: the Complete Series. But, as I ran around to
all of Cold Lake's DVD retailers, no one had it. I shrugged my
shoulders in disgust and bought it online.

Anyway, here we are, 10 days later. I'm wandering about the town on
my evening constitutional, when I pop in to one of Cold Lake's
department stores. And what's finally on the shelf but The Lone
Gunmen: the Complete Series

And for significantly less than what I paid online.

It should be arriving in the mail tomorrow

Just did my annual ritual that always brings a tear to my eye.

I deleted my old e-mail.

Yup, I'm a horrible pacrat. Any e-mail you send me, I'll hold on to
it for about a year. Then, every spring, I sit down and I delete
everything. In fact, I haven't done it since I got this laptop in
November 2003, so I was about six months overdue.

I don't delete everything, though. I still get the occasional one
that's rather emotional and worthy of saving, so I save it to a
special directory on my hard drive. It's the digital equivalent of a
shoebox under the bed. That shoebox is getting quite full, actually.
Yves (that would be my best friend's
girl) sent me one 5 years ago that still makes me cry.

But anyway, let's talk about my best
. I think I've mused aloud many times before how I'm just
plain flabbergasted at how he puts up with me. I mean, reviewing a
year's worth of e-mail I sent to him...it's a lot of angst-ridden,
over-emotional junior high shit that I should have outgrown a long
time ago. And I'm sure it was *very* important when I wrote it and
sent it. But as I review it...god, what was I on?

I still had his very last text messages from when he was cycling
across Japan. Why did I hang onto that for so long? "I see Tokyo
Tower on the horizon! My odomoter says 1200-km! I did it!"

but I really liked the more recent ones from him. See, he's an
artist. And, when he stumbles across something artistic he likes,
he'll bury himself in it, learn all there is to learn about it, and
eventually walk away saying, "I can do that too." And he will do it.
And it will be the best damn thing that field of art has ever seen.

When it comes to artistic endeavours, he's just so damn good at
everything he does, because he takes the time to learn everything
about what he's doing.

Now, here I am, in radio, and doing some audio production. It's got
to be the first time that I've found an artistic medium where I know
more than him. I don't know a lot more than him, but for the time
being, it's enough. And I try not to get cocky, because I know that
if he ever got serious about it, he'd learn Adobe Audition inside out
and backwards and give me a run for my money. But that day has not
come yet.

So, until that day, I enjoy sending him some of my latest audio works
to get an outsider's opinion. I really enjoyed doing it in school
last semester, when I was free to experiment and try crazy stuff.

And I always, always, ALWAYS smile when my best friend - the guy who
knows damn near everything about everything artistic - uses
superlatives to describe MY works.

And that smile sticks around for a week when he asks, "How did you do that?"

Those go in the digital shoebox.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm really going to miss that free movie pass from work.

Borrowed it tonight to watch what'll most likely be the last movie I use it for: Sin City.




That movie was..where to begin? It was so over the top! With the gore and the violence and the hookers wearing nothing but very little black leather going nuts with machine guns.... But the dialogue especially! It was about 2 steps away from being cheezy.

Don't get me wrong. I say that in the highest respect. It rocked my feeble clerk world.

I thought it was a very good movie. Although, I am wondering now. What did Frank Miller do first: Sin City or Batman: The Dark Knight Returns? When Hartigan (Bruce Willis) constantly curses himself and calls himself a "foolish old man," it reminded me of the 50+ Batman. Oh, well. That's just one of two minor quibbles.

The second one is I'm not quite a fan of this "digital backlot" concept yet. In case you didn't know, not one set was built for Sin City. All the backgrounds were rendered in computers. And it all looked a little too clean and computerized in some places.

Other than that, I loved it!

3 nibs.

Hey, did you know this? The Royal Canadian Mint released a special Terry Fox commemorative loonie back on Monday. The first time ever a Canadian has been on a Canadian coin. Watch your pocket change!

Oh, and if you like, you can swing by The Royal Canadian Mint Website and order a free collector's card to display your Terry Fox loonie when you get one.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I will admit, I'm kind of going to miss having the nation's largest air force base for a next door neighbour. Right now, I can hear the engines on the CF-18s revving up. And it is *LOUD*. And the base has to be a good 3 km away.

While on my evening walk, I had to stop in and browse through a liquor store. Yes, you heard me right. Even though I don't drink, liquor stores fascinate me so. The different shaped bottles...the mutli-coloured fluids...fascinating. For about 5 years now I've been wanting to write a column about this fascination. I've even got a perfect quote to start it off. It's from the Dahli Lama: "I go to shopping centres in the way that people go to museums." That's me and liquor stores.

Anyway, this column idea is on the top of my short list of "columns I'm not going to write unless I know that the finished product will be really, really good." But, silly me. I keep thinking I need to be on a hot streak of brilliant creative energy for it to be good, hence the five year wait. But the reality is I just need to carefully plan it out and do multiple drafts - writing techniques I abandoned in university.

On my evening walk, I even stopped in at the local department stores. The onslaught of Episode III merchandise is in full swing. They just put out the Episode III board games. You can now play Star Wars Risk, where the countries are replaced with Star Wars planets and the armies are now made of Clone Troopers, Jedi Knights, and Battle Droids.

And, there's always Star Wars Monopoly. Yes, they already made that, but this version is new and different. The original version only stuck to the original trilogy. This new version features elements from all 6 films.

I wish I had more friends who lived closer. I miss playing board games.
Had a sub at Mr. Sub the other day. I really should eat at Mr. Sub more than Subway. Buy Canadian and all that. Besides, after reading the book Fast Food Nation and learning about Subway's business practices, doesn't sound like the kind of place a guy should eat.

Anyway, Mr. Sub rocks. It IS purely Canadian, right down to the maple glazed ham and Montreal-style corned beef.

But I'm straying off topic.

At Mr. Sub, you can get a cup of soup under the cute name "Mrs. Soup." So...I started wondering. How does Mr. Soup feel abou this? His wife, fooling around with Mr. Sub? This could turn into the Jerry Springer Show of fast food outlets.

I say right now we start a petition to get Mr. Sub to dump Mrs. Soup and hook-up with the single and free-spirited Ms. Soup.

Unless Mr. Sub and Mrs. Soup ARE married, and Mrs. Soup simply kept her name.

I need more info.

Hey! Speak of the devil, it's the official Mr. Sub website!

Monday, April 04, 2005

I suck.

Update resume. Write cover letters. Mail along with a demo tape.

How come I am completely unable to do this?

I'm going to go straight to unemployed hell and rot for all time.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I experience Frustation & Disappointment:

"Things were not going as planned. I sat and stared at my computer screen as power mysteriously stopped. Once again, my laptop had shut itself down halfway through a virus scan. This was the seventh time in as many weeks. Throw into that a general shitty week, followed by a weekend of introspection and the general grumbling of how I’m not where I intended to be in my life. I stared at the four bare walls of my apartment. I knew that if I didn’t get out, and soon, I would go mad. In previous years, I would go for a walk around the block or ride my bike aimlessly around town. But now, I have a car. With a full tank of gas. I jumped behind the wheel and set off down the road. I tried to fool myself by telling myself I had no idea where I was going, but I knew."

As always, here's the whole thing.

What I wanted to do today: Write the long-awaited part 2 of my Studio Ghibli trip, spurce up the resume, write cover letters, and get a whole stack of applications ready to mail out tomorrow.

Of course, I got none of this done.

I am a horrible, horrible person. I am going straight to unemployed hell, "where I'll do what all unemployed people do - write a book!"

One of my new favourite time-wasters if the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. It's full of useless information. Like this one....

Next time your ultra-conservative friend is bitching that there's been no Prime Ministers from the west, you can tell him/her to shut the hell up, because we've had
eight! They were:

Sir John A. MacDonald (spent one term as the MP from Victoria, BC)
Arther Meighen (Portage La Prarie, Manitoba)
William Lyon McKenzie King (spent 1/3 his reign as the MP from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)
Richard Bennet (Calgary West)
John Diefenbaker (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)
Joe Clark (Yellowhead, Alberta)
John Turner (Vancouver Quadra, BC)
Kim Campbell (Vancouver Centre, BC)

Granted, your friend will probably bitch that 8 out of 21 isn't enough.
Pope died.

True, I'm not a very religous man, but still, one can't help but be fascinated by all this. I'm sure that the influence of John Paul II will be debated for years to come, but one thing's for certain: he had an impact.

Finally made it to St. Paul today. The UFO landing pad really is a symbol of...faded elegance. It's showing it's age, some of the concrete is chipped away, but there's still a little something about it that makes you go "Huh. Cool."

I'm certian I've seen it once before. I have fuzzy memories of driving past it when I was a kid.

But, what was new since last time, is the UFO-shaped gift shop/tourist information centre right next door. I wandered over to it to take a look. It was closed for the season, but a lowly clerk let me in to have a look around. Now, with hospitality like that, how could I not buy chinzy souvineers? Everyone's got a UFO landing pad postcard comin' in the mail.

Then I wandered down St. Paul's main street. Buried deep in the back of the Value Drug Mart, I found some "historical artifact" postcards. They were pics of the UFO landing pad BEFORE the gift shop/tourist info booth was built. It's been minorly modified over the years. The most glaring change is how it's connection to the Canadian Centennial is now being downplayed. (The pad was originally a Centennial project for St. Paul.) It used to be adorned the with the coat-of-arms of Alberta and the emblem of the Canadian Centennial, but now, only the Alberta coat-of-arms remains.

Anyway, the St. Paul UFO Landing Pad is truly an OG of roadside attractions.

Took a cruise around town today to check out the rest of the Episode III figures now on sale. I found more Darth Vaders. I really, really, REALLY want an Episode III Darth Vader. Usually, I don't buy duplicates of figures I already have. (Finally got my hands on a Darth Vader from Return of the Jedi back in the fall.) But this is the Episode III Vader! This is first appearance Vader! I'm conflicted.

I'm also strangely drawn to the pregnant Amidala figure. That's bizzare. Maybe it's because it's the first pregnant action figure I've ever seen. The only thing is the sculpt on it is horrible. Hardly looks like Natalie Portman. Well, it does look kind of like Natalie Portman...if Natalie Portman became a chain-smoking, bar floozie. Hmmm.... Maybe, in Episode III, Amidala DOES become a chain-smoking, bar floozie. Maybe that's how she coped with Anakin's long time away fighting in the Clone Wars. Just a thought.

But then, I should show a little more self-control. I really went crazy buying action figures in the past month. In the past 30 days, I bought: Batgirl Barbie, Supergirl Barbie, Herbie the Love Bug, Marvel Legends Elektra, Marvel Legends Dark Phoenix, Anakin, and Palpatine. That's a big month. I gotta slow down a bit.

"the Difference is the Music in the Air." Don't let me forget that. That's the genesis of a brilliant column.

Friday, April 01, 2005

So, the Star Wars: Episode III action figures go on sale tomorrow.

Unless you live in Cold Lake, where the clerks mess up and put them on the shelves tonight.

I went for my evening walk, popped into the department store, and I totally geeked out when I saw them putting the Episode III figures out. I got exactly what I wanted: the lightsaber-weilding Palpatine (who also has spring-loaded, Force-lightening-shooting action!), and "on the verge of the Dark Side" Anakin (with both red and blue lightsabers.)

Man, there's Wookies galore. I was tempted to also grab Darth Vader and Pregnant Amidala, but I had to show a little self-control. I think I'll wait until I see the movie now, and see what breakout characters I simply MUST own!

Although, I've noticed that Star Wars figures move slowly in Cold Lake. If there's any particular one you want, let me know and I'll see what I can do.
Ahh, happy April Fool's Day! I'm kind of diappointed...none of my movie gossip websites do any kind of April Fool's jokes anymore. I'll never forget back in 2000, when Corona's Coming Attractions had the first ever news about the next Star Wars movie. Billy Dee Williams as new character Landal Calcrissian! A Cloud City figuring into the plot! Star Wars 2: The Empire Strikes Back coming in May 1980!

But, anyway, you could always go wish my best friend a happy birthday. It really is his birthday today.

Don't forget, Episode III action figures go on sale tomorrow. As I said before, I'm kind of holding out for "on the verge of the Dark Side" Anakin. Actually, I'm wondering if I spotted a spoiler in the newest ToyFare. They showed a picture of "on the verge of the Dark Side" Anakin and it was labeled "Darth Vader." So, I'm starting to think that Anakin becomes Darth Vader BEFORE he dons the trademark Vader armor. Cool.

I was explaining this to one of my coworkers yesterday, and I was surprised by her reaction. Back when the special editions came out, I read the statistic that the average man had seen Star Wars 7 times, and the average woman 5 times.

So you can imagine my complete shock when my coworker...HAD NEVER HEARD OF THE PREQUELS!! "What do you mean Luke's not in them? What the heck is a prequel, anyway?" I spent 10 minutes explaining that it's before Star Wars and Luke isn't born yet and it's about how Luke's dad became Darth Vader. She had trouble believing me.

But I won't be part of any midnight madness for action figures. Nope. I've got tomorrow set aside to finally head down to St. Paul and see the UFO landing pad. Naturally, people think I'm nuts. "It's just a slab of concrete! Why the hell do you want to see that?"

Well, I believe the theory behind roadside attractions that Neil Gaiman lays out in his book American Gods. Essentially, Gaiman hatches the idea that, wherever one of these attractions is built, there's something, well, scared about that site, and we just don't quite know how to interpret it. 2 or 3 hundred years ago, we would have built a shrine or a temple on the site. Now, we erect a giant Easter egg...or a UFO landing pad.

I plan to take that idea to the next level in a short story or something someday. Introduce the caretaker of one of these world's largests, and portray him as a holy man.

Next Issue...the Road to St. Paul