Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Yesterday, I got to sit down and watch the classic Star Trek episode A Piece of the Action. For those who don't remember.... The Enterprise goes to the planet Iotia. The last starship to visit there was the SS Horizon some 100 years ago. This was before the Prime Directive, so the Enterprise is going to see if there's any contamination. And boy, is there! Seems that a Horizon crewman left behind a book called "Chicago Mobs of the 20s," and the Iotians based their whole society around it. Now, the whole planet is run like prohibition-era Chicago. Kirk, Spock, and Bones then try to correct the damage by setting up a more stable form of government. It ends with Bones making the realization that he left behind his communicator, and that if the Iotians are able to reverse-engineer it, it'd be deja vu all over again.

There'd long been rumours of a Next Generation sequel, where Picard and crew head to Iotia, only to discover that the Iotians did successfully reverse-engineer Bones's communicator, and now Iotia is planet just like the original series.

But, when the announcement of Enterprise came about, I always hoped that they'd do a prequel. You know, Capt. Archer and crew meet up with the SS Horizon, and we find that the Horizon's captain is a forgetful sort who's always forgetting where he left his stuff.

Also read little bits of movie news.

I think I've told you that David Goyer, the man who wrote all 3 Blade films and Batman Begins AND directed Blade: Trinity has signed with Warner Brothers to write and direct another classic DC character, The Flash.

The big question was always which incarnation of the Flash it would be. Goyer has revealed that the film will feature both the modern Wally West and the "Silver Age" Barry Allen. I think that's cool, as they kind of need to do that as West and Allen's origins are so closely tied together.

Cole's Notes version: Barry Allen was the Flash, and Wally West was originally his sidekick Kid Flash. Barry Allen died as part of the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths, and West stepped up to the plate to take the mantle of Flash.

Anyway, Goyer also says that he's consulting with physicists to see what kind of weird things would happen if someone could run as fast as the Flash. As my old prof Dr. Lotz used to point out, the closer you get to the speed of light, the more that physics as we know it starts to fall apart.

Hopefully, Goyer will do it justice.
Ahh, summer. Most cable channels I get trot out a whole variety of "new" summer reruns. This has allowed me to catch up on one of my favourite shows when I was kid, Danger Bay.

Who else remembers Danger Bay? A rather popular show on the CBC in the late 1980s, Danger Bay embodies everything you know and love about low-budget Canadian action shows. Bad dialgoue...wooden acting...2-dimensional plots...man I love it!

For those who have absolutly no memory of this show, let me fill you in. Danger Bay followed the adventures of Dr. Grant Roberts, a veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium. He had a multitude of adventures on the BC coast, such as going on undersea expeditions, battling poachers and eco-terrorists, halting smugglers, and, of course, healing sick animals. He was also a single dad, raising two kids, while he romanced hot female bush pilots.

Of course, I appreciate the show on a whole new level now because I've actually been to Vancouver. When I went out there to visit some friends almost four years ago, that was pretty much the only thing on my list: see the Vancouver Aquarium. "We don't even need to go inside," I told them. "All I need to do is see that killer whale statue/fountain that they have out front." What can I say? That killer whale state/fountain was used in every establishing shot of the aquarium on Danger Bay, and, to me, it was the ultimate symbol of Vancouver.

So, we went. I saw the statue/fountain, and I totally geeked out. "Oh my God! Here it is, just like on Danger Bay!" I screamed. Mr. Anderson, being a geek after my own heart, smiled and understood what I was going through. Yves, being the lifelong Vancouver resident who'd seen that statue several dozen times, just kind of rolled her eyes and pretended not to know me. Actually, Mr. Anderson revealed he had never seen the show, so while I explained it to him, Yves went on ahead to check out admission prices. It cost more than we had that day, so we didn't go in. And that's OK. Yves told me that the Vancouver Aquarium is a shadow of its former self, ever since the animal rights activists got their way and stopped the killer whale shows in the mid-90s.

but still, I kind of wish I walked up to the information desk and asked, "So, is Dr. Roberts working today?" They probably get that a lot...but not as much as I think.

Man, I can't believe I lost all my pictures from Vancouver.

Guess I have to go back someday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Aww man.

How long does it take for a freakin' postcard to get to Entwistle from Denmark?

My best freind's over there, hanging with his in-laws and boldly going and all that. About a week ago he coyly said that he "may have sent me a postcard, and it may be from Legoland." And I've been waiting and waiting for a week! A week now! When I sent postcards home from Japan it never took this long.

Now, granted there are many explanations. Entwistle's postmistress has quite the reputation for spreading gossip when she should be sorting mail. Or maybe my friend didn't send it by air mail, instead opting for good ol' fashioned boat mail. If that's the case, then my postcard is probably on a boat pulling into Halifax harbour as I write this.

Speaking of postcards, my sister in Switzerland made her weekly check-in call on Monday. Seems she finally went to the Italian town of Pisa. She says I can expect a postcard of the leaning tower in the mail. She was telling me about all the different postcards that they sell of the leaning tower. She says that you can get a postcard of just about any cartoon character propping up the leaning tower. "They had Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Mr. Incredible, Winnie the Pooh...they must have signed some kind of deal with Disney!" she told me. She said that the most popular was Pinochio. Took me a while to remember that Pinnochio is an Italian creation, so no wonder he's the most popular.

So that's two postcards I'm sitting by the mail box, eagerly waiting for. Damn you, snail mail!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I guess we can start worrying.

The first reviews for Fantastic Four are starting to come out, and they're not good. So far, the most positive thing I'm reading is, "Well, at least it's better than Elektra." It essentially boils down to a weak plot and weak characters. The nerd reviews are saying that Human Torch is the only one they got right, while Dr. Doom comes off far too much like Green Goblin in Spider-Man.

The curious thing is that they're telling us the entire Thing/Alicia Masters romance got cut. And here we were, seeing all these behind the scenes shots of Alicia's art studio and all that. Guess they're saving all that for the "unrated director's cut" DVD.

Oh, well. It was a nice ride while it lasted

I like this one.

MTV UK just ran a poll to find out what the top customized cars from TV were. #1 was KITT, the talking car from Knight Rider. Who could forget KITT, with its turbo boost and that really cool red light thingie on the front? The rest of the top 5 is as follows:

2) The Batmobile (didn't say which one)
3) James Bond's Aston Martin DB5
4) The deLorean time machine from Back to the Future
5) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

And we have another victory for the relentless march of fast food restaurants as they expand across the globe!

China's very first Burger King just opened up in Shanghai.

As is the case with fast food restaurants across the globe, there are some items unique to Burger King China that cater to Chinese tastes. For example, they have a burger topped with "mala sauce," a spicy condumint popular in southwest China.

And, in this morning's Star Trek: the Next Generation re-run, I watched the classic episode The Pegasus. This episode has gained new noteriety in Trekkie circles as it now also functions as the subplot of Enterprise's final episode These Are The Voyages.... I wonder how long until someone edits the two episodes together.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Well, I guess I should take a moment to comment on the big geek news of the night.

At 7pm was when the first trailer for Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong was televised.


It was pretty good.

I didn't find it to be, "HOLY CRAP! THAT'S AMAZING" like most people are, but it was pretty good.
Today I enjoyed one of those things I've been waiting for.

So, I watch a lot of Disney cartoons, including Lilo and Stitch: the Series. One of the characters on that show is an alien named Pleakly, voiced by former Kids in the Hall star Kevin McDonald.

This morning was the episode featuring the entire cast of Kids in the Hall.

The premise: Pleakly is supposed to go to his home planet for his arranged marriage. Naturally, he doesn't want to go. So, he just lies to his parents and says, "I'm engaged to an Earthling!" This, of course, resulted in Pleakly's whole family coming to Earth for the wedding:

- Scott Thompson was Pleakly's mother
- Mark McKinny was Pleakly's brother
- Bruce McCollough was Pleakly's sister
- Dave Foley was the minister performing the wedding

It was nothing particularly Earth-shattering, but a great in-joke for a guy like me.

Got lots of stuff in the mail today.

First and foremost, got my diploma from NAIT. I'm now a certified radio professional! Now if only someone would believe that enough to hire me....

Secondly, got my brithday present from my sister in Switzerland a full two weeks early! She got me a complete set of Episode III collector's cups, available only at Burger King in Switzerland. Oh, and a few Episode III Swiss Burger King kids meal toys. And some Swiss chocolate.

Lastly, the kind of weird thing. See, I discovered one night that Canada Post has an online store. But, in order to browse through it, you had to register. So I registered and got to browsing. That led to today's mailing from Canada Post. I got their quarterly stamp collector's magazine, their mail order catalogue, and their panphlet "So you want to be a stamp collector." Umm, thanks?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, it's The Announcement:

This week, I've done a little something different. I've wrote a radio script featuring three characters. The basic premise is this: a college student who's been in school forever has called his parents together so he can make a big announcement about his life. What is this big announcement? What kind of bearing will it have on his future?

Read it to find out!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Well, I'm royally pissed. Tonight was the final episode of Justice League Unlimited. And I didn't see it. Why?

It all started yesterday. After a few giant gusts of wind blew through town, we lost YTV; the Justice League channel. I hoped it would correct itself. It didn't.

Today, I decided to call the cable company to complain. The cable company promptly told me that I could not talk to them, because the cable was not in my name. As the cable is in my parents' names, only my parents can make complaints and/or talk to customer service. I berated him a little bit, finally getting him to send the technician out...on Monday.

Customer Service Doofus>> Now, is there anything more I can do to help you?

Me>> Well, that's pretty stupid, seeing as to how you've already made it clear that you *can't* help me because the cable's not in my name.

And then I hung up on him. As I moved the receiver down towards the hook, I could hear him yelling his protestations and self-defences.

So, I guess YTV won't be fixed until Monday.

Meaning I've got a minimum of 13 weeks to kill before it shows up in reruns.

Time to put this high speed Internet through its paces...see if I can download a pirate copy.
Oh my.

This high speed Internet is quite the distraction.

I spent most of my day doing research on Star Trek comic books.

You've got to admit that Star Trek's expanded universe doesn't quite get the same respect as the Star Wars expanded universe. With Star Wars, every thing is done under the watchful gaze of Lucasfilm, so even though it's not canon, there does exist an air of "the genuine article" about it.

But with Star Trek, it was made quite clear very early on that it's not canon. There's no one from Paramount keeping a watchful gaze over all the novels, comics, and video games. It's Star Trek at it's most corrupt; just floundering about to make more money for the FatherCorp.

That's not to dismiss it entirely. Some good stuff comes out of the Star Trek expanded universe. The good thing about no one watching is you're free to do your own thing.

So yeah...Star Trek comics. They've been around from when the original series began to just a few years ago. The comic book license gets passed around from company to company. DC and Marvel both had a kick at the can...the most recent ones were done by WildStorm. The best run of the comics had to be DC's run, who had it from the early-80s to the mid-90s. They pumped out comics for the original series and TNG.

They did some crazy stuff in the DC comics. As you recall, Search for Spock ends with the destruction of the Enterprise. So, what they did in the comics was Capt. Kirk and most of the original crew was given command of the Excelsior. Spock, on the other hand, was given command of a scientific research vessel called the Surak. For the next two years, we alternated between Excelsior stories and Surak stories. When Star Trek IV came around, with the introduction of the Enterprise-A, they did some alternate reality bending to get things back in line with the canonical universe.

There were also some good moments with the Next Generation comics. There was one storyline where Q, in one of his little "tests," turned the entire crew of the Enterprise-D into Klingons. As the only one not transformed, it was up to Worf to get everyone to reign in their newly-discovered love for the battle and put things back to normal. They also did one where, while giving a crewman's eulogy, made a remark about being envious of Data's lack of emotion right now. So, Q responsded by turning everyone into androids. Again, as Data was the only one not transformed, it was up to him to set things right.

This was all in DC's run at Star Trek comics. A company called Titan Books has just signed a deal with DC, and Titan will be releasing ALL the DC Star Trek comics in trade paperback form. The first TP, entitled Star Trek: To Boldy Go... comes out this fall.
Wow. Good news and bad news for the world of McDonald's. From the viewpoint of the anti-McDonald's activist, that is.

First the good news: One of the most controversial McDonald's locations in the country has been shut down. The McDonald's in Jasper has closed its doors. That's right, you can no longer enjoy a Big Mac while walking down Connaught Drive and gazing at Mt. Edith Cavell in the distance. When McDonald's first opened their Jasper location in 2000, they were met with protesters and petitions telling them to get out of town. It was a vision of urbanization that most didn't want in their quiet mountain town. Now, 5 years later, it's gone. The official reason from McDonald's is that this is part of a "corporate streamlining" plan that they started 2 years ago. The rumour on the street in Jasper, though, is that McDonald's just couldn't get enough employees. There seems to be a bit of a labour shortage in Jasper, and even with McDonald's offering $10/hour as starting wages, they just couldn't get enough workers.

Now, the bad news...kind of playing off the labour shortage thing. Here in the Province of Alberta, 12-year olds can now work at McDonald's! The legal age to work in a fast food restaurant used to be 14, but the government just reduced it to 12. See, originally, 12-year olds could only work as store clerks, office workers, and paperboys. If your 12-year old wanted to work in a job other than that, then there was a special excemption form that had to be filed with the government. According to the government, they've been processing so many of those excemption forms for fast food restaurants lately (500 last year), that they figured it was just easier to legalize it. It's not just fast food restaurants but all restaurants that can now legally hire 12-year olds.

there are still some special excemptions for employees aged 12-14, though. They can't work the graveyard shift, they can only work 2 hours a day on school days, and they can't operate machinery. In restaurants, the means deep fryers, grills, and pretty much all manner of kitchen equipment.

But still, what kind of a society do we live in where 12-year olds can now work in fast food places?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I know it's totally wrong and illegal and all that, but I'd sure like to try one of these.

A Japanese fast food chain called Lucky Pierrot has begun selling a whale burger. It costs 380 yen, and tastes like beef and tuna.

Naturally, this is upsetting people because whaling is wrong and illegal, and Japan is still one of the biggest whaling countries on the planet.

I guess I shouldn't reveal then that I sampled some whale when I was in Japan.

I was at a sushi bar with a friend. He looked over the menu and said, "Hey, Mark. How'd you like to try some whale?" I said yes. A few minutes later, I sampled some whale sushi.

It tasted like...beef.

(Bet you thought I was going to say 'chicken.')

Meanwhile, I got another response from the government about my suggestion of offering passenger rail service to Fort McMurray. This one was from Minister of Economic Development Cliff Dunford...surprising in that I didn't send him the letter. It got forwarded to him from Ralph Klein.

Anyway, I got the song and dance about how they're working on a transportation plan. I'm still waiting for the reply from Lyle Oberg, as all these letters are being passed on to him.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

OK, everyone I finally got my review of Howl's Moving Castle up and over at the main site. Read the review, why don't you?

And while I'm at it, this news is kind of old now, but I keep forgetting to report it. That Family Guy straight-to-DVD movie comes out on September 27. It's called Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. The plot is Stewie is finally convinced that there's no way in hell he can be related to Peter Griffin, and goes off in search of his real father.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Well, I did it. I saw Howl's Moving Castle today.


I've finally seen a Hayao Miyazaki film on the big screen.

And it is good.

I have to agree with the critics. It is a shade below Spirited Away, but it's still very, very good.

3.5 Nibs

Monday, June 20, 2005


Wondering how to spend my day tomorrow.

I'd really, really like to go see Howl's Moving Castle. It being more "arty" than other animated films, who knows how long it'll be playing in Edmonton? Plus, I've never seen a Miyazaki film on the big screen. I really shouldn't put off seeing it for too long.

It's either that or sit at home, watch Star Trek reruns, and pump out more job applications.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Latest column's up! This week we go to The Leg:

"We have once again reached a point in my life where I must say farewell to a friend. “Trouble,” a long time confidant from the time of Augustana, is embarking for places unknown. Well, Scotland really. She just always wanted to travel the world, and figured she ain’t getting any younger. Scotland is the first stop, where she’ll spend a year or two living with a friend and working for living. From there, it’ll be a nomadic existence as she works her way across Europe. She figures she’ll be home by 2010. But of course, I wasn’t going to let her go without one final day together."

As always, read it all here!

And I should point out that "Leg" is pronunced "Lej." It's the common slang term for the Alberta Legeslature Building.

I had a really weird dream last night.

It was weird in that I was playing the Alf computer game.

I have fond memories of the Alf computer game. It was the first computer game I ever had. I was never able to finish it. And it only had 4 levels. But they were very difficult.

The story is this. You are Alf. You're finally getting off your butt and fixing your spaceship. But, of course, you need the parts to fix your spaceship. So, you had to sneak out into the neighbourhood and collect the parts. It went like this.

- Catch 4 cats and take them back to the Tanner family garage. That unlocks...
- 2 spaceship parts. Catch them and take them back to the garage. That unlocks...
- 1 key, to activate the spaceship parts. Catch it and take it back to the garage. That unlocks...

The next level.

How is this very difficult? Well, you could only catch a cat if you had a pizza. Having a pizza starts a 10 second timer, and you have to catch the cat in that 10 seconds. And the cats were tough to catch.

Plus, you also had to watch out for:

- The dog catcher. He'd mistake Alf for a dog and take him to the pound. That costs you a life.
- Willie Tanner. If Willie catches you sneaking around the neighborhood, he'll make you throw away everything you've caught. Good-bye cats, parts, and keys. You're starting all over.
- Garbage cans. Bump into one, and your out for 10 seconds.

I still have the floppy disc. It doesn't work anymore, though. Probably deteriorated after the 18 years or so I've had it. I'm sure if I look hard enough, I can find it online.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Hawkgirl>> Less talking, more hitting!

Flash>> I have a seat at the big table! I'm even thinking about having my logo painted on it!

(Green Lantern's pounding the snot out of the evil android twin of Hawkgirl)
Hawkgirl>> Should I take that personally?
Green Lantern>> Just blowing off steam. After all, you broke my heart.
(Hawkgirl winds up and decapitates the evil android twin of Green Lantern)
Hawkgirl>> Likewise, I'm sure.

Superman>> I'm not the man who killed President Luthor, but I wish to heaven that I were.

Green Arrow>> If you think you've done your share, then fine! Leave! We'll throw you a parade! But the Justice League will go on!

Flash>> It's a force...a speed force...and it's calling me home.

Lex Luthor>> What do you know? I am the one who killed him.

Batman>> (utters something in Spanish)
Green Arrow>> (smiling) Who guards the guardians?

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE Justice League Unlimited?
Yay! Howl's Moving Castle just opened in Edmonton! I must go see it! Finances be damned!

And I kind of object to the headline for the Journal's review of Howl: "campy freak show worth a look."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wow. This high speed Internet is a real mixed blessing. I come down to my room with the intention of doing some brilliant writing, but instead I wind up mindlessly surfing. Just ruined a perfectly good afternoon.

Anyway, today's useless trivia fact from Wikipedia:

We all know that The Honeymooners was largly the inspiration for The Flintstones. In fact, lots of Hanna-Barberra characters drew their inspiration from live-action celebraties. Ever wonder what The Jetsons was based on? The Jetsons was largly inspired by the Blondie films of the 1940s. In fact, the actress who played Blondie, Penny Singleton, was the voice of Jane Jetson.

And yes, the Blondie films were based on the comic strip of the same name.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I just got home from Batman Begins.


Think my friends will hate me because I liked it more than Episode III?

It's easy to explain why I liked it more. My friends are just far more into Star Wars than me. They read all the novels and comics, so when Obi-Wan makes some kind of veiled reference to General Greivous's backstory that didn't make it to screen, my friends smile and geek out. But not me.

However, over the past 10 years or so, I've become steeped in Batman lore about as much as my friends are into Star Wars.

So, with that in mind, I "got" Batman Begins.

(Although, if you don't get the one reference that ends the film, then you must be just plain stupid.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Sometimes, you don't want to know where a person gets his knowledge.

Tonight, on the news, we were watching a story about the medicinal marijuana being grown by the federal government. Apparently, the stuff being grown by the government is NOT "the good stuff." They showed pictures of the government's marijuana farm, and my father said this:

"Hmm. That's some pretty sickly looking marijuana."

Sometimes, you don't want to know.

So, here I am, unemployed, and I've been crying on some of my instructor's shoulders as to how slowly my job hunt is going. One instructor suggested that perhaps I try podcasting.

For those who don't know, "podcasting" is the latest way to do an Internet radio show, and a growing fad. See, in conventional Internet radio, you have to go to a specific website at a specific time to listen to the show live in streaming audio. But, with podcasting, you use a special program that automatically downloads the latest episode so you can listen to it at your leisure. People are starting to rig these special programs to download the radio shows straight into their iPods, hence the name "podcasting."

I've got to admit...my instructor's suggestion struck a chord. I've been toying with doing an Internet radio show for 5 years. Hell, back in my university days, I even proposed that Augustana's student radio station should broadcast over the Internet. Naturally, I was shot down...guess that was too radical for 1997.

I mean, why don't I? At the very least, it'll give me new stuff so I can spice up my demo now and then.

Right now, I'm researching to see what kind of programs *I* need to encode/upload a radio show.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I'm just Chillin':

" But I know I have to get outside. I try to spend at least a little time outside everyday. It’s not healthy to stay inside. Right now, spending some time outside takes the form of “going on patrol.” I have this route mapped out that takes me all over town. It takes me about an hour to walk it. At the very least, it gets me some sunshine, or some rain, or some high winds, depending on the weather. "

Read it all here!
In case you don't watch TV or anything, I think it's important that I tell you that Howl's Moving Castle is now in theatres. I was really, really shocked that I saw commercials for it on TV. "Opens in select cities on June 10, everywhere on June 17."

Naturally, I'm reading movie reviews online, and I'm surprised that the reviews are coming up on the negative side. A generalization could go like this: "While still better than most American animated films, and visually dazzling, it's just not as good as Spirited Away." I just read Roger Ebert's review. Roger Ebert (first of "Siskel and Ebert" and now of "Ebert and Roper") has always been a very vocal supporter of Hayo Miyazaki's. Back in 1993, I was still religously watching Siskel and Ebert and I still remember his superlative-filled, nearly orgasmic review of My Neighbour Totoro. And now, reading his review of Howl's Moving Castle, I could feel the pain in his words as he wrote, "This is not Miyazaki's best."

I don't care. I'm still going to see it if/when it comes to Edmonton.

Speaking of reviews, early reviews are coming for Batman Begins. Direct from Ebert's review: "This is the fifth Batman movie, but the first to get it right." Ebert even goes as far to say "As good as Spider-Man 2." Oh, I am SO there!

And this has been known for a while now, but I've failed to report on it. I'm sure I'm not the only one eagerly awaiting Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong coming out this Christmas. Well, you'll be able to get your first glimpse of it very, very soon. The first trailer will be in front of Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

So, as I spend every Saturday morning, I kicked back and watched The Batman. And, as always, I wondered which villain they re-invented for the show this week. You can imagine my surprise when the villain was Spellbinder. This is unusual because Spellbinder has never been in the comics. He was created exclusivly for Batman Beyond for the future Batman to fight. So, this blending of the various Batman continuities was a little offputting.

But, Spellbinder was re-created from the ground up, retaining only name and powers. Every thing else, new and different. His power was that he'd trick you into doing crimes for him by using hallucinations. Now, here's where things differ:

Batman Beyond - Spellbinder was a disgruntled high school guidance councellor, whose power of hallucination stemmed from newfangled technology.

The Batman - Spellbinder was an ancient Eastern mystic, whose power of hallucination was some form of telepathy.

It was interesting to say the least.

And I can believe the government sent my replies to my angry letters! Well, they weren't angry, just offering an alternative.

A few blogs back, I shared my plan of shipping people to Fort McMurray on the railway to get them off the highway. The road to Fort McMurray is, apparently, the most dangerous highway in Alberta. So, I outlined my plan for passenger rail service, recommended that the government look into it, and mailed it off! I sent it off to three people: Premier Ralph Klein, Transportation & Infastructure Minister Lyle Oberg (railroad and highways fall under his portfolio), and my MLA Fred Lindsay.

First I heard back from Fred Lindsay. He thanked me for my suggestion and forwarded my letter to Lyle Oberg.

Then I heard back from Ralph Klein. He went into all kinds of statistics about the highway and how much money the government is pouring into upgrading the highway, missing my point completely. Then, he revealed that my letter was forwarded to...Lyle Oberg.

So, I guess the buck has been successfully passed to Lyle Oberg. I now wait for his response.

The only thing I found odd was in my reply from Fred Lindsay. At the beginning, the words "Dear Mr. Cappis" were typed in, and Mr. Lindsay scribbled out "Mr. Cappis" and wrote in "Mark." According to my mother, this tactic is a politician's short hand for, "Wait a minute...I know this guy!"

For those who don't care, Fred Lindsay is a former mayor of Wabamun, and my mother had a lot of dealings with him when she was on the school board. Obviously, he recognized the "Cappis" name.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ahh, today was a very good day.

So, my friend Trouble is getting ready to leave the country. She leaves on Monday for Scotland. Her goal over the next four or five years is to just kind of work her way across Europe. Naturally, we've been trying to do one last thing together. Finally, I threw out a proposal that we talked about doing several years ago, but never did.

Being the political junkies we are, we went to the Alberta Legislature and took the tour. It was a lot of fun...and also kind of funny. Our tour group had to dodge and work its way around about three dozen school field trips. I remember a friend from univeristy complaining that, when she was in elementary school, just about every field trip was to the planetarium. I wonder if Edmonton school kids feel the same way about the Legislature.

When we were done there, we also did something we always wanted to do but never did: take the streetcar over the High Level Bridge. Of course, I had to explain to her why there were railroad tracks on top of the High Level Bridge (back when there was a railyard in downtown Edmonton, the High Level Bridge was the start of the main line to Calgary) and why every sign on the streetcar was in Japanese. (Edmonton's streetcar preservation society bought it from the city of Osaka in 1990, when Osaka retired its streetcars. The original plan was to strip it for parts, but it was in such good condition, they decided to leave it as is.)

And then, we got back to her place and I revealed my ulterior motive. About a year ago, she told me that she was cleaning out her apartment when she came across about a dozen postcards and letters that she wrote to me when I was in Japan, but she never got around to sending them. And, every time we got together, I asked her if she had them, and she would make all kinds of funny noises that meant she forgot. So, today, with me at her front doorstep, she had no reason to forget to give them to me! right?

"Oh, they're in the bottom of a suitcase, ready to go to Scotland."

WHAT?? So I've officially given up, chalking this up to just one of those quirks that makes me love Trouble.

There's more to say about the day, but I think it'll make a much nicer column.

Oh, and I picked up the 2-disc special edition of Star Trek: Insurrection. I must say, I was rather disappointed. Out of all the bonus materials they could have had, they forgot to include the second-most-infamous cut scene in all the Star Trek films:

Quark's cameo!

See, originally, Quark had a cameo at the end. As the Enterprise crew was getting ready to leave, Quark was going to show up and, having heard of the regenerative properties of the planet, have a proposal to open up some kind of spa on the planet. The Enterprise crew was going to tell him to fuck off, and Quark beamed out.

It was cut because it was completely gratuitious and pointless.

It's kind of sad that they didn't put it in the cut scenes. It would have also made a great Easter egg....

However, they did include the infamous "library scene." Well, it was only infamous among my clique of trekkies at Augustana, because one in our ranks had an autographed photo of the librarian.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Well, my obsession with being Entwistle's resident trainspotter (as chronicled in this week's column) continues today. I'm starting to see the errors in the Via schedule. While it says the westbound should be rolling through at 10:10 AM, I'm starting to find that 10:35 is more like it.

You're probably wondering what the point of all this is. Well, what I'm eventually hoping to do is, once I get this schedule figured out, I'll get some film for the old camera and dip into my amateur photographer skills to get some really cool pictures of the Via rocketing through town.

That and moon passengers.

In case you're curious, I thought I'd do a little update on my favourite filmmaker, Kevin Smith.

Right now, Mr. Smith is hard at work being an actor. He actually won himself a starring role in Catch & Release, some chick flick with Jennifer Garner. He's in the middle of filming that right now.

This fall, he begins rolling cameras on the film he's promised to be his next: Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks. There were many reasons for the delay: the whole Weinsteins splitting from Miramax thing, getting the funding, making sure all the actors could come back and, of course, finishing Catch & Release. Smith still hopes to have it out in the spring.

And today, there's a wacky rumour circulating that he'll be pushing back Clerks 2 again so he can go make Degrassi Junior High: The Movie.

More as it develops.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


My best friend just casually mentioned that he's leaving the country in two weeks.

My other best friend has been obsessing for the past few months about how she leaves the country in two weeks.

I'm the only one in my NAIT class who doesn't have a job in radio yet.


Last time there was stuff like this going on in my life, I wound up on a plane to Japan.

So, you can forget that "how long will I be unemployed?" pool I've got going on my website. The NEW pool is "How long before I do something very, very stupid?"
Almost forgot to do this. Latest column's up! Today, I go Trainspotting:

"The Via always seemed so fanciful when I was kid. Via ran shorter trains back then, and they were faster, too. The colour scheme was blue and gold back then, and their locomotives even boasted a different-sounding air horn. You’d hear that distinctive horn, then this blue rocket would streak through town, and then disappear over the horizon. I always longed to be on that train as it disappeared down the horizon, and I only ever got to do it once.

I’m a grown man, now, but I still long to see the Via come sailing through town. And, as I am a grown man, I have modern technology that can help make it happen."

As always, read the whole darn thing right here!
Cool. I just noticed that Rock & Rule came out on DVD back on Tuesday. It's a movie I've been very curious to see ever since the CBC showed it some 20 years ago and my best friend at the time told me it was "pretty good."

For those who don't care, Rock & Rule came out at the tail end of the "adult animation" trend that was going in throughout the 70s and early 80s. Released in 1983, it was made by our nation's very own Nelvana Animation Studios. It takes place in a post-apocolyptic world, and it's about a very evil rock promoter who's trying to corrupt an angelic young singer into using her voice to summon forth a demon. Because of it's setting, quite a few popular rock groups at the time contributed to the soundtrack, making it a curio to rock afficianados as well.

The DVD is out in two version: a single disc movie-only version, and a 2-disc super special edition. The 2-disc super special edition includes (I love this phrasing) the "uncut Canadian version." Seems that, for the Yankees, they re-dubbed some of the voice actors and re-edited/changed the ending a bit.

Oh, and I must include at least one useless trivia fact. The angelic young singer is voiced by Canadian voice actress Susan Roman. She first rose to fame as the voice of Melissa Racoon, but her most famous role is probably the voice of Lita/Sailor Jupiter in the North American Sailor Moon dubs.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

If there's one thing I love the most about Wikipedia, it's that it's run by geeks for geeks. That means that they have huge entries on superheroes. It's great for when you want to know more about some obscure character who's suddenly become very important on Justice League Unlimited.

Anyway, as I spend a lot of my evenings reading up on superheroes, I've noticed a trend. When a superhero becomes very popular, he'll be ripped off in three ways; three ways designed to make the superhero's comic more popular. I've also noticed this was more popular in what's now known as "the Silver Age of Comics." (The 60's) Once a superhero becomes popular, you can expect these three characters to pop up:

- a teen sidekick
- a female counterpart
- an evil twin

And, in a great sign of history repeating itself, did you know that, in the X-Men comics, Wolverine now has a female counterpart? She doesn't have a name yet, going only by the code X-23. X-23 is a clone of Wolverine, but there was a bit of a flaw in the cloning process. As you know, Wolverine has 3 claws coming from the back of his hands. X-23 only has two...and one in each foot. But, she did inherit Wolverine's healing factor and inner rage. Oh, and she's younger too; still a teenager.

X-23 was originally created for the X-Men Evolution cartoon, and soon got promoted to official Marvel continuity.

Now, you're probably wondering how Wolverine's clone is female. We've got the animated version and the comic version.

The Animated Version - They used "Jurassic Park" science. As you may recall, in Jurassic Park, one of the scientists said that all embryos are inherently female, and it's the addition of a hormone at a certain state that turns it male. No hormone means it's a girl. So, in the cartoon, the evil cloners denied that hormone and made X-23 female, using the sexist logic that a girl would be easier to control.

The comics - The sample of Wolverine's DNA was impure, resulting in a damaged Y-chromosome. So, the evil cloners just doubled-up the X-chromosome.

Anyway, in both renditions, X-23 eventually crosses paths with the X-Men, where Wolverine takes her under his wing.

Huh. Guess she qualifies as "teen sidekick," too.

Friday, June 03, 2005

There is joy in this house again. The whole house has high speed Internet. I can sleep in peace tonight.

On a very different subject, have I mentioned how much I really, really, really, really like Justice League Unlimited? It's just one of the greatest cartoons on TV right now. What makes it so great? Read on....

When Justice League first premiered, they were doing one-hour episodes; very uncoventional for a cartoon. When they were renewed for a third season, they were given two conditions: lay off the one hour episodes, and "re-brand" the show. They "re-branded" by bringing in a buttload of other superheroes and making the show Unlimited. And they got around the "no one-hour episodes" condition by adopting a very popular TV technique these days: the multi-episode "mythology" story arc.

Justice League Unlimited's mythology revolves around a shadowy government organization called "Cadmus." Cadmus is the line of defence should the Justice League ever snap and try to take over the world. Hey, a lot of people are nervous about damn near every superhero hanging out together in an armed-to-the-nuts space station. Cadmus provides a feeling of...safety. They are the ones who watch the watchers.

Cadmus was always shadowy and evil before, but became even more so once Lex Luthor got involved. Now, Cadmus seeks to disgrace the Justice League, and then lead a massive superhero purge.

So far, they've been doing very good at disgracing the Justice League. Cadmus is behind Lex Luthor's bid for the presidency, and the thought of President Lex Luthor is making Superman paranoid and trigger-happy.

And now, the poop is hitting the fan. An all-out Cadmus vs. the Justice League war is breaking out in a massive story arc that'll lead to the end of the series.

Exciting times.

Oh, and the best news of all today! I finally got my hands on some of those VE Day commemerative nickles! I'm commemerative coin crazy!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

When it comes to computers, I'm not as smart as everyone believes.

As I boasted yesterday, we got high speed Internet. When the installation guy came yesterday, my parents actually had their computer being looked at by a technician, getting it high speed Internet ready.

We got the computer back today, along with a router. A router is a device that lets you connect multiple computers to one high speed Internet connection.

Got the router hooked up. Got my parents computer hooked up. Got my computer hooked up.

For some reason, my computer is the only one that gets high speed Internet.

Needless to say, there's been a lot of yelling and screaming in this house for me to fix it.

But I can't fix it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a historic day for the Village of Entwistle.

This is the first of what I'm sure will be many posts via high speed Internet.

Installation guy came and hooked up the Cappis homestead today, and said that we are the first ones in Entwistle.