Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So, I keep reflecting on Smallville. As I've ranted before, I'd sure like for it to end with some kind of "flash to the future" where we see Clark Kent all grown up as Superman. But, the thing is, how do we work it into the plot? Actually, I had this idea today for a "twist ending."

The final episode ends...or so it seems. The camera pulls back and back and back, until eventually, the camera pulls out of...Superman's eye. It's the not-too-distant future. We see a bruised and battered Superman. Lex Luthor - now fully evil - is about to deliver the death blow to Superman. And this is when we, the audience, finally come to this conclusion: the whole series has been Superman's life flashing before his eyes! Of course, in true comic book fashion, Superman manages to get his strength back at the last moment and defeat Luthor once and for all.

Well, I thought it was cool

Had some fun today mocking my cousin's second wedding. Well, it's not what you may think. Let me tell the tale, and then tell me if it's worth mocking.

My cousin lives down in Calgary. There, she met and fell and love with some guy from the Czech Republic. He proposed to her...and then he went home to the Czech Republic. Ya see, he's not a citizen. He had to go home. So, back at Christmastime, my cousin went to the Czech Republic to visit her finacee, and they eloped! They went on down to a Czech City Hall and got married. I'm fairly certain that they did it because they were victim of too many American TV shows: "Once you marry a citizen, you become a citizen, and you can come home with me!" But, little did they know that how they do it on American sitcoms isn't how Canada does it.

My cousin came home around New Years. She went back to the Czech Republic in May and they had their honeymoon. Anyway, now, her husband has finally become an immigrant, and he's moved to Canada.

So, on October 22, they're having a "blessing of the vows." It is, basically, a second wedding. There's a church service, a reception afterwards, and we're all expected to bring gifts.

Of course, I'm mocking it. My parents are too. It essentially boils down to, "WTF? But they're already married! Not our fault that they eloped and didn't get any presents!"

Tell me if I'm justified in my mocking.

The mocking briefly turned into getting pissed off two weeks ago. See, two weeks from now, my Grandfather is going to be celebrating his 90th birthday. For the past few months, my Dad and one of my aunts have been planning a giant birthday party for Grandpa. Well, two weeks ago, some of the other old aunties got in their head that they could hijack Grandpa's birthday party and, about halfway through the party, turn it into a bridal shower for my cousin.

Dad and my aunt shut that proposal down pretty quick.

That reminds me, I should start working on my material. I'm going to be the emcee at Grandpa's party, because I'm the "big radio star" of the family.

(Quotes of sarcasm added by me.)
Before I head back out to the oil patch with Dad today, I'd like to take a moment to discuss two of the most misused business terms in the news today: "strike" and "lockout." Yes, both have to do with labour negotiations, but they describe two different things.

A "strike" is when the workers don't like the deal being offered to them and stop going to work.

A "lockout" is when management doesn't like the deal being offered to them and shut down the business.

What happened in the NHL last season was a "lockout." The players and the management were negotiating a new contract. The players didn't like what management was offering them, and offered their proposal. Management didn't like the players proposal and "locked out" the players.

What's going on right now with the CBC is a "lockout." All of the workers who don't have contracts wanted to have contracts. The CBC said, "No, we won't give you contracts, because we like the flexibility of having you all as part-time and casual workers." The workers said, "No. All doing that does is screw us out of job security. Give us contracts!" And CBC exercised their flexibility and "locked out" everyone without contracts...which amounted to pretty much all their news staff, which is why there's no more National or announcers on football games.

What's going on with Telus right now is a "strike." The workers and the management have been negotiating a new contract for the past 4.5 years. Finally, in an attempt to end the standoff, the management offered one last "take it or leave it" deal. The workers decided to leave it and went on "strike."

Of course, what confuses this issue is the fact that the workers consider leaving it as management having locked them out, which is why the workers on the picket lines claim that they're locked out.

You know what the big sign is that the Telus dispute is a "strike" and not a lockout? Because (at least in Alberta), workers are crossing the picket lines and going back to work. That only happens in strikes, never in lockouts.

Sorry for ranting, but reading the news in the papers every morning where they call the CBC dispute a strike and Telus a lockout is really starting to piss me off.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Got a little footnote to this week's column.

96X has cancelled their $10,000 bounty on Brad Pitt. They saw the footage on the news of Hurricain Katherine taking out New Orleans, and figured the money would be better spent by donating it to hurricain relief.

This is what happens on a boring evening and you've got nothing but high-speed Internet.

Here are all the mascots for all the CFL teams:

BC Lions - Leo the Lion
Edmonton Eskimos - Nanook the Polar Bear and Punter the Football (I still remember my youth when it was a politically incorrect caricature of an Inuit person)
Calgary Stampeders - Ralph the Dog and Quick Six the Touchdown Horse
Saskatchewan Roughriders - Gainer the Gopher
Winnipeg Blue Bombers - Buzz and Bomber, twin bluebirds
Hamilton Tiger-Cats - Stripes T.C.; a tiger
Toronto Argonauts - Jason, a very cartoony Greek warrior
Ottawa Renegades - Ruffy the Beaver
Montreal Alouttes - Blitz and Touche, twin birds

Monday, August 29, 2005

OK, let's do a little ranting.

Let's open with some DVD news. First up, Batman: The Animated Series - Volume 4 and Superman: the Animated Series - Volume 2 come out on December 6. Granted, I know that G.I. Joe and Transformers have been out for much longer, but I just love Batman more!

And here's another interesting tidbit. As we all know, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith comes out on November 1. But, it has also been learned that Revenge of the Sith will NOT be released on VHS. It's digital all the way! Boy, we've come a long way from the spring of 2000 when we were all pissed off that Phantom Menace was released to VHS only.

Watched a few more Smallville reruns. You know, you may have heard, but Smallville has actually proven popular enough to get DC to rewrite Superman continuity. Mainly, the aspect that Clark Kent and Lex Luthor were childhood friends. It was a big part of the Silver Age, but dumped after Crisis on Infinite Earths. But now, thanks to Smallville, they're bringing it back in.

Actually, I watch Smallville and I wish.... If this really is the final season, as Space has been advertising, then really, only two things have to happen to bring it in line with comic continuity:

1) Lana Lang has to finally discover Clark's powers.
2) Lex Luthor has to murder his father, take charge of the company, and change the name to Lexcorp.

And you know, just one other thing I'd like to see too. In the final episode. I'd like to see just one flash forward to the future, where we see Tom Welling (the kid who plays Clark Kent) all suited up in the Superman uniform. That could be the last 5 minutes of the final episode, and I'd be happy.

I'm all tickled that YTV is going to be carrying Pokemon Chronicles this fall.

I may have ranted on this before, but Pokemon Chronicles is the first official spin-off of the Pokemon cartoon. It essentially goes like this. Throughout the whole Pokemon saga, other characters have been introduced, become popular, and then leave the saga. Pokemon Chronicles essentially catches up with those characters to see what they're up to, and they also provide some flashbacks to fill in the gaps in Pokemon continuity. Some things to look forward to:

- Season 5 ended with Misty going back to her hometown of Cerullian City to take over as gym leader. We see some of her gym leader adventures.
- We catch up with Tracy and Professor Oak and follow their pokemon research
- There was a gap at the end of season 5 and for the first part of season 6 where Brock had to go home to "take care of some family business." We see what family business he had to take care of.
- A flashback showing us how Jessie, James, and Meowth all first met and how they were recruited by Team Rocket.

Actually, a little trivia bit. The straight-to-video movie Pokemon: Mewtwo Returns was actually a special 90-mintue episode of Pokemon Chronicles. I've never seen Mewtwo Returns...must rent it some night.
And I'm back! A full 36 hours early.

We wake up bright and early this morning to find that it rained all night in Hinton. The weather report said that it was going to rain all day, with a possibility of snow. We called the client, and the client said, "We're shut down because of the weather! Go home!"

And BOOM! Meesa here.

Rant more later.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I tell you The Best Things in Life:

"If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short existence, it’s that I am not destined to be happy. I gave up on setting goals a long time ago, having realized that I’ll always, always find a way to choke at the finish line. I still work hard, giving 110% to every task I do, even though I know it’s pointless. Hard work means nothing when your rival is much more personable or is on a first-name basis with the boss. The methods I’ve been taught to follow are not the methods that the world runs on."

Read it!

In case you're wondering why it's up so early, it's because, no sooner than I got out of bed this morning, Dad announces me that we've got to head out to Hinton to get some work done.

Be back Tuesday.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

So, thanks to that announcement on Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 1 I'm all obsessed with Gargoyles again. I've been doing a lot of reading up on it over the past few days, and I think I can finally answer a question you've always asked.

What was the deal with the world tour?

This happened in the second half of season 2, in which Goliath, Angela, Bronx, and Elisa were left drifting by Avalon, and had a variety of adventures around the world.

The whole reason with the world tour was that the creators were planning about 6 spin-offs to further the Gargoyles saga. Think of Gargoyles as being a comic book universe...these spin-offs would have been the other titles in that universe. These were the proposed spin-offs:

Timedancer - One day, Brooklyn finds the Phoenix Gate, the magical time-travelling talisman that Goliath disposed of. But, upon touching it, Brooklyn vanishes! Brooklyn then re-appears 5 minutes later - only 20 years older and with four other gargoyles! Brooklyn then begins to tell his tale of "quantum leaping" with the Phoenix Gate, a quest he was on for 20 years. Along the way, he wound up in ancient China where he joined up with the gargoyle dog Fu-Dog, travelled to the future where he assisted in the battle with the Space-Spawn (more on that later), and even wound up in feudal Japan, where he hooked up with a gargoyle babe named Katana and had two kids: Nashville and Tashi. And, thanks to all this time travel wackiness, we'd see that Brooklyn was responsible for pointing Xanatos and Demona in the direction of the slumbering Goliath and his clan. The villains would have been the Archmage and Calaban from Shakespear's The Tempest.

Pendragon - The awakened King Arthur and Griff the gargoyle go questing to find Merlin. Eventually, they would have found Merlin in the Crystal Cave, and met up with a woman named Blanchefleur, who claimed to be the wife of the Fisher King. They would have travelled to Tintagel (Arthur's birthplace), Stonehenge, quested for the Holy Grail, done battle with the Illuminati, and eventually build New Camelot in Antarctica.

Gargoyles 2198 - 200 years in the future. Earth is under attack from an alien race known as the Space-Spawn. The Space-Spawn manage to steal the Master Matrix, the computer that runs most of Earth. Who are those enlisted to battle the Space Spawn? Samson, the great-great-(etc)-grandson of Goliath. Delilah, the genetic merging of Demona and Elisa Maza created by Sevarius. Zafiro, a descendent of the Guatamala clan. Owen Burnett, unable to turn back into Puck because Alexander Xanatos (leader of the UN) was abducted by the Space-Spawn. Nick Maza, the great-great-(etc)-grandson of Elisa Maza. Demona, still immortal. Nokkar, the alien sentinel sent here to guard Earth from the Space-Spawn. And finally, two robotic duplicates of Lexington, the keepers of the Master Matrix. Besides the Space-Spawn, these heroes would have also battled the Illuminati, who became Space-Spawn collaberators, and the Quarrymen, who blamed gargoyles for the invasion. The big finale would have had Demona, Nick Maza, Nokkar, Zafiro, and one of the Lex-bots going to the Space-Spawn homeworld for one all-or-nothing assault.

The New Olympians - Picking up on the plot threads from the same-named episode, this would have followed the New Olympians as they tried to once again co-exist in the world. The New Olympians would have been split into three factions: those who still fear humanity, those who want to co-exist with humanity, and those who want humanity to worship them as gods again.

Dark Ages - The prequel, showing Goliath and his clan in medieval Scotland. This was when Hudson led the clan, and we would have met Hudson's mate and children (who would eventually die). The series would have started with the construction of Castle Wyvern, and ended at Awakenings pt. 1.

Bad Guys - Several Gargoyles villains, brought together by "the Director" to do battle with the Illuminati. The villains-turned-heroes would have been Robyn Canmore (one of the hunters from Hunter's Moon), Dingo (formerly of the Pack), Matrix (the colony of nanites that teamed up with Dingo), Yama (the evil gargoyle from the Japanese clan), and Fang (of the mutates). This is the one that got closest to being made, as a story reel for a pilot episode was produced.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Yay! She's gone!

Today, my family took a day trip down to Red Deer with one main goal: get my sister moved into her new apartment. She's now getting settled in there, and she's gone, gone, gone!

Don't get me wrong. I love my sister. I did kind of enjoy having her home for the summer. But she gets on my nerves so easily. Especially her habit of rubbing my belly. Yes, I get it, I'm fat. But keep your hands off it! I swear, I'm going to punch the next person who touches my belly.

but we did have fun. For example, when she was in Switzerland, she sent me a bunch of postcards. So, for the remainder of the summer, whenever I was in Edmonton, I'd send her a postcard from West Edmonton Mall.

And she's gone now! Yay!

While in Red Deer, I did have a chance to hang out with my cousin. Last time we hung out a couple of weeks ago, he revealed that he was going to Disneyland. I asked him if he was going to Disney Land or Disney World, and he said Dinseyland. At which I said, "Darn!" and explained why.

See, a few years back, Disney signed a deal with Hasbro, and Hasbro opened up a very exclusive toy store in Disney World. This toy store is the only place in the world where you can buy Star Wars action figures of the characters in Star Tours. And, I told my cousin, "If you were going to Disney World, I would have asked you to bring back a couple of these Star Tours action figures for me."

And here we are, a few weeks later, and my cousin got back to me. Turns out that...there is now one of these exclusive toy stores at Disneyland. And they carry the Star Tours action figures.

I asked him to bring back a couple for me. He said he would. If he doesn't remember, no biggie.

Oh, and I must mention. After I got my sister moved into Red Deer, she had to go down to Superstore to pick up a few household items. I wandered away to check out the toy section - as is my way - and, lo and behold....

I finally got my Invisible Woman action figure.

I got the ultra-rare "chain smoking" Invisible Woman variant. OK, that's not a real variant. But there is a paint smudge on her throat, making her look like she's had a tracheotomy.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm just plain ol' depressed. Last night, after Dad and I get home from the sumps, I turn on the TV to the 6 o'clock news. There was a news story about the Edmonton radio station 96X offering a bounty for Brad Pitt.

See, Brad Pitt's coming to Edmonton to film a movie. They're going to be doing quite a bit of location filming at Fort Edmonton Park. 96X is offering the following bounty: $10,000 if you can get Pitt down to their studios for an interview, $20,000 for Pitt and Angelina Jolie, $50,000 for Pitt, Jolie, and Jeniffer Aniston.

Anyway, I'm watching the news story and, as they do in news stories like this, they have footage of a 96X radio announcer in the booth announcing the contest. And the announcer is none other than...the class jerk-off. The fucking little punk I went to school with. I can't understand it. Here's a guy who was usually out for half the week because he was drunk, hung over, and/or got the good stuff from his dealer, and he's now a midday announcer at the #1 radio station in a major market fresh out of school! HOW THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN??

I swore that if this ever happened - one of my classmates becomes an announcer at a major market station before I even have a job - I'd kill myself. Of course, when I swore to that, I gave it a minimum of 5 years before the remote possibility came to light. So now, I'm faced with a dilemma.

On the one hand, I swore I'd kill myself, and my mother taught me to always fulfil my obligations. On the other hand, I want to live.

But seriously, I must live. I know it's just a matter of time before he's fired for showing up drunk, high, or hung over. Job opening!

So, last night I was in Hinton with my father as we were testing sumps. Hinton's kind of weird. It boasts itself as being this tourist destination. But, all the hotels fill up during the week, and empty out on the weekends. Know why?

The oil crews, working out of Hinton for the week, then going home for the weekend.

Anyway, since all the hotels were full up, Dad and I wound up staying at a little bed and breakfast. That was very weird. I'm sure that, if you go to a bed and breakfast with your sweetie, it's all romantic and stuff. When it's just you and your Dad, it's too much like visiting Grandma's house.

You know me. I'm always on the hunt for a new fast food taste. I just love my fast food. And it's been a great year for new fast food tastes. In the wake of Supersize Me, fast food restaurants have been rolling out all kinds of "healthy alternatives" for the past year.

And now I see that Canadian classic A&W has gotten in on the act.

I was having a Teen Burger for lunch when I saw a leaflet advertising A&W's new "healthy alternatives." And, A&W makes a vegetarian burger now! I know Burger King's had a vegeterian burger for ages, and McDonald's rolled one out as part of their "healthy alternatives." I actually tried a McDonald's veggie burger one time, just to taste what it was like. I personally thought that McDonald's veggie burger is the most disgusting sandwich they've ever made.

But A&W has one now. And the A&W veggie burger actaully sounds pretty good. Here's the official description of the "Swiss Veggie Deluxe." (I'm copying this straight out of the leaflet.):

We grill and season a veggie patty made with portobello mushrooms and add a slice of real Swiss cheese. Then we dress it up with crisp iceburg lettuse, a slice of fresh tomato, a slice of onion, pickles and Light Ranch Dressing - all nestled in a toasted wheat bun.

You can always hold the Swiss cheese to further reduce fat content

Now that actually sounds pretty good. I think I'll try one next time I'm at A&W.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

yay! It's my super happy fun DVD news of the day!

So, a few days ago, I reported on the latest batch of Walt Disney Treasures which come out on December 6. Well, today, I read some fine print, and Disney is releasing another DVD which isn't getting the same amount of press as Walt Disney Treasures. What's the DVD?

Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 1

Yup, the first 26-episodes of Gargoyles second year. That covers just about everything up to when Goliath began his world tour. Here's what you get for bonus stuff:

- episode introductions by creator Greg Weisman
- a new featurette, "The Gathering of the Cast and Crew"
- running commentary by Weisman on the 4-part episode "City of Stone."

December 6!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hee hee!

I'm starting to love this Alberta Gas Prices.com a little too much. I can hardly wait until the novelty wears off.

Here's the deal: I started wishing that I could head over to nearby Evansburg and report on their only gas station, Race Trac. But, to hop in my car and drive 3-km away just to look at a gas sign...seems like a huge waste of gas.

Lucky for me, my sister had business in Evansburg this morning. She came home, and I asked, "Don't suppose you saw how much Race Trac is charging?"

"104.9!" she told me.

So, the Entwistle Esso is now #4. The Evansburg Race Trac is #5.

And my mother has now suggested that I should simply call the Race Trac to find out how much they charge, "But block caller display first!"

There are some ideas that just won't die.

I was reading on the front page of The Edmonton Journal that the government has once again looked at the possibility of a $5 coin. They even floated the proposal that the money saved from making the switch could be used to fund the Olympic team.

Here's what was learned. When the people were told of the idea of $5 coin, they weren't too keen on it.

When it was suggested that the money saved be used for the Olympic team, the idea was greated with "open hostility."

I don't think we're getting a $5 coin anytime soon.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I'm suffereing from an Empty Feeling:

"You know, it’s going to be fun watching what happens. Everyone’s talking about the box office slump and blaming DVD for taking people away from the theatres. If that’s the truth, then this Christmas is going to be crazy, as everyone buys the movies that they were waiting to be released on DVD. But what if DVD sales reach an all-time low? What if the slump carries over into the home theatre? Who will be blamed then?"

Read it all right here!

I have to share the latest way in which I'm being a shit disturber.

For those who don't live in the province anymore, gas prices have been leading the news for about a week now. For the first time even in Alberta history, gas prices are over $1 per litre. It's insane.

One website that was getting a lot of press was Edmonton Gas Prices.com. This website monitors the gas prices of every gas station in Edmonton. It's run completly by volunteers who post the prices of their corner gas stations. It allows you to shop for the lowest gas prices just with a point and a click.

After checking out this website, I also found that there's an Alberta Gas Prices.com, which monitors gas prices for rural Alberta. Camrose, Cold Lake, Red Deer...this is where you find it all.

And I noticed that there were no listings for Entwistle's gas stations.

So, I registered today and I've taken it upon myself to monitor the Entwistle gas prices for Alberta Gas Prices.com. I mean, I like to go for a walk every evening. All I have to do is change my route so I go by the gas stations every evening and then post the new prices as part of my evening Internet routine. Easy as 3.14!

Anyway, because it was such a nice day, I went for my walk in the middle of the afternoon and posted my findings when I got back. And you know what I found?

The Entwistle Esso is the fifth-highest-priced gas station in Alberta! 105.9 per litre!

I couldn't stop laughing. I always knew that the owner of the Esso is a price gouger, but I had no idea he was so bad!

Entwistle's other gas station, which is essentially the pumps at the Jounreyman Motel, is only at 99.9 per litre.

Oh, and by the way, the parent website of Edmonton Gas Prices.com and Alberta Gas Prices.com is Gas Buddy. Go there to find "your province's gas prices.com."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Because my best friend has only recently discovered this show and asked me about this several months ago, only now I have learned the news. I had to go outside my usual sources to find this, but now I can say with 100% certainty....

Corner Gas: Season 2 hits DVD on September 27.
I'm having one of those days. You know the ones. The ones where you're depressed for no discinerable reason, nothing seems to cheer you up, and you just want to crawl away and die.

Yeah. Those days.

Although, this almost cheered me up. As you know, a popular form of movie publicity these days has been the video journal. Every couple of weeks or so, a new featurette is posted online taking you behind the scenes. And now, with high speed Interent, I've really been enjoying the ones over at Blue Tights. This is where you can find the behind the scenes videos for Superman Returns, coming next summer.

The latest one is really getting me excited over the film. You see, Bryan Singer made a whirlwind day trip from the film's set in Australia all the way to San Diego, just to talk with all the fan boys about the film at Comic Con. What really set hearts afire was that he made this special "Comic Con trailer" of about two minutes worth of footage from the film. And 10 seconds worth of that footage is in this video blog!

It's not much. It's some very X-Files-ish shots of a young Clark Kent on the farm, learning of his powers, and then we cut forward to a flaming spaceship in the Kent farmyard, and ending with the grown up Clark Kent waking up in bed. And it's narrated by this coversation between Superman and Lois Lane:

Lois>> Why did you leave? What did you hope to find?
Superman>> It was a graveyard.
Lois>> And if you are the last? If you're alone?

I sure hope I'm not setting myself up for a fall.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It's a boring, rainy afternoon, so I'm having a little fun.

Take my Quiz on QuizYourFriends.com!
Aww, man. I hate waking up to sad news.

Joe Ranft has died.

Joe Ranft was one of the better story men in Hollywood. Let me explain the job. See, animated films aren't made like normal films. Rather than start with a screenplay, animated films simply start with an outline. Then the story people come in. They start brainstorming ideas, drawing storyboards, and essentially hammer out the finished plot. That's a story person. And Joe Ranft was considered one of the best.

Ranft started out at Disney, where he worked on Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and even The Nightmare Before Christmas. But, he acheived his greatest fame when he packed up and moved to Pixar. There, he contributed to the plots of both Toy Story films, A Bug's Life, and Monsters, Inc..

At Pixar, he even moved behind the microphone and started doing voice work. He was Wheezy the Penguin in Toy Story 2. He was Jaques the Shrimp in Finding Nemo. But perhaps his best-known role was Heimlich the caterpiller in A Bug's Life.

Ranft was 45. He died in a car accident.

Going off in search of news to cheer me up, I swung by the official "Weird Al" Yankovic website. That's where I found this delightful bit:

"Al has just finished recording and mixing the first 6 songs for his next album. he's taking a break now, no word on when he'll be back in the studio, but we'll keep you posted."

Alright! From following the development of Al's other albums online, this is what's going on. The 6 songs that Al has just finished working on will be the 6 original, non-parody songs that appear on his next album. What he's doing now is taking a broad look at all of pop culture and deciding what to parody. The next 6 songs he does will be his parodies!

That cheered me up real good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Well, there's some nasty business that's done. I now own chaosinabox.com for another two years. Ahh, I remember two years ago.... "No, I think I only need to get chaosinbox.com for two years. True, I've got a ton of money saved up right now thanks to my job in Japan, but two years from now, in 2005, I'll have a ton MORE money from my first job in radio! Two years is all I need!" Boy, was I young and stupid.

Anyway, got some DVD news for you Disney-philes. Disney is going to release wave 5 of its Walt Disney Treasures collection this December. This is their series of DVDs that compiles their animated shorts and various episodes of the Wonderful World of Disney TV show. There are two in this new wave that caught my fancy.

The first one is called Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts 1920s-1960s. This is the collection of animated short films that really don't fit into any category. They're not Silly Symphonies. They're not Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck cartoons. These are the "others." I want it because they've already mentioned that it'll include one of my favourite Disney shorts: Lambert the Sheepish Lion.

The second one is called Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes. I want this set for The Swamp Fox. It's set during the American War for Independence, and Canadian star Leslie Nielsen played war hero Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. I want it for 2 reasons: (1) When I was a kid, they started showing The Wonderful World of Disney every night at 5 and I was enamored with The Swamp Fox. But number 2 is the more interesting reason.

The Swamp Fox was the only Disney product ever banned in Canada.

I actually saw Leslie Nielsen explain this in an interview on the CBC one time. As you know, the Walt Disney Company has always had a reputation of "re-intepreting" classic fairy tales, historical events, and darn near anything in order to make for a more compelling tale. It's like my dad always says, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." Anyway, for their Swamp Fox series, Disney felt that they needed a rather dasterdly villain, so they chose to make villains of the Loyalists. Now, we all study the Loyalists in elementary school history. When the American Revolution broke out, they wanted to remain loyal to the crown, but also understood the American desire for independence. So, in a classic Canadian compromise, they simply packed up and moved to the Canadian colonies. The Swamp Fox show, however, portrayed the Loyalists as a crooked wealthy elite who plotted to re-conquer the USA for England from the safety of the Canadian colonies. Which just wasn't the case. So, for this gross misrepresentation of Canadian history, Parliment banned The Swamp Fox.

And now I can buy it on DVD!

I'm still kind of tempted to seek out the one Walt Disney Treasures DVD called On the Front Lines. This is a compalation of all the propaganda cartoons Disney made during WW2. A lot of them are highly racist towards the Germans and the Japanese, and a lot of people were stunned when Disney actually released them.

Anyway, speaking of Disney on DVD, I should mention that yesterday was when Disney released wave 3 of their dubbed Studio Ghibli films! Now, you can run down to your local store and pick-up the Studio Ghibli classics Pom Poko and My Neighbours the Yamadas. These two films come from the mind of Isao Takahata, who also gave us the classic anime Grave of the Fireflies. Anyway, these two films:

My Neighbours the Yamadas originally came out in 1999. It's based on the manga of the same name, and follows the adventures of the Yamadas, a typical Japanese family.

Pom Poko came out in 1994. It's about a tribe of Tanuki (Japanese racoons) whose forest is threatened by a construction project. So, they unite all the Tanuki tribes to fight off the construction workers. Yes, it's Braveheart with racoons.

Actually, a lot of people are curious to see how Disney dubbed Pom Poko. Part of the Disney/Studio Ghibli deal is that Disney can't alter the Studio Ghibli films in any way; Disney can only translate. And, apparently, one of the characters in Pom Poko has large, legendary testicles. This character always brags about it. It even becomes a plot point.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I was watching a few reruns of Smallville on TV last night. I rather do enjoy that show. I've said many times before that what makes that show fascinating for me is watching Lex Luthor's painfully slow decent to the dark side. We all saw Anakin turn into Darth Vader over 2 hours in Episode III. Now imagine that being played out over 4 years of television. That's Lex Luthor.

My only problem with Smallville was that I've watched it so sporadically. I watched it pretty faithfully in its first season. Then I missed all of season 2 when I was in Japan. I've only been able to watch it off-and-on ever since. I'm guessing I'm going to have to do like my best friend.

My best friend has fallen in love with Alias. But, he lives in an area with crappy TV reception and can't afford cable. So, he signed up for Zip.ca and rents the season-by-season boxed sets. That's actually a good idea.

Anyway, I've really got to watch Smallville this season. I've already seen ads saying that this season will be the final one. Which is, you know, almost expected.

I'm sure I've shared that tale that Smallville was originally going to be Bruce Wayne, and it was going to be about Bruce Wayne's teen angst while embracing his destiny. When Bruce Wayne was in development, many people went, "Yeah! They should do this show, then end it when the Batman: Year One movie comes out!" And now, Smallville will be ending just as the new movie comes out.

That's another big reason to watch. Apparently, the creators of Smallville have remained in constant touch with Bryan Singer, and this final season is going to be chock full of foreshadowing to the new movie.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Latest column's up! this week, I tell you all about The Collector:

" Sadly, though, I’ve reached a point where it’s not hard to get caught up in the hype. 10 years ago or so, comic book collecting had become a rather mainstream hobby, and the comic publishers starting finding ways to cash in on the fad. They started doing things like “variant covers” and “limited runs.” And, accompanying it all were ads in magazines like Wizard telling you that this is the next big thing and that it’ll be worth big money some day, so buy, buy, buy! And now, in the present day, many collectors are feeling stung, when they take their collections down to the comic book store and Comic Book Guy says, “I’ll give you $50 for you three boxes of ‘collector’s items.’” "

Read it here!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I'm back!

Not that you cared.

I switched on the computer to find 60 messages in my inbox...and none of them from friends.

Wow. Nothing makes you feel more suicidal than that.

Oh, well. I still love you (mostly), and postcards will be in the mail on Monday.

A lot of people don't believe me when I say I collect postcards. I'm sure you think I say it just so you'll send me a postcard. But I actually do collect them. As I write this, I have four photo albums full of postcards, and I'm about half-finished the fifth. Plus, I have a shoebox full of postcard books and bundles of 12 postcards.

So, I also picked up quite a few for myself that I'll be adding to my album this evening.

Not to say you should stop sending me postcards.

But yeah, it was a good vacation. I'll probably get a good column or two out of it...especially one ripping apart the tourism industry.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Well, I'm off!

I'm heading out to the world-renounded David Thompson Resort for a week of family camping. This trip has been in the planning for a few weeks, and I was rather non-commital about going. I was thinking about hanging back at home and spending some alone time, but I figured, "No. Let's go."

My parents are, however, lamenting at how this trip has gone sideways. What was originally conceived as just a quiet week with the grandkids has snowballed into: us, my brother (sans kids), my sister & her on-again off-again boyfriend and his two kids from his first marriage, and my borderline-obnoxious uncle and his family.

Anyway, I'll be gone until Saturday, in case anyone's wondering why I've dropped off the face of the Earth.

And as soon as I get back, I'll need to buy some fat pants. My God, a size 38 was my size for the past 8 years, and now...time to upgrade.

Still wondering how I managed to lose so much weight in Japan. It was either the steady diet of rice and ramen, having no car and walking every where, or both.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Wow. Tonight, I took a drive out to Whitewood Sands. It was finally time to see the damage for myself.

I was shocked really. A lot of those cottages have been built so tight against the railway that it's amazing no houses were destroyed.

As they said on the news, the crash site is open to the public now, in the interests of openness, so my Dad and I were dodging the heavy equipment being used to clean up the spill, walking right up to the wrecked tanker cars and peering through the gaping holes. It was quite the sight to see.

Sure hope the pictures turn out. My sister is on another road trip right now, so I didn't have her digital camera. Used my good ol' reliable 35mm.
Latest column's up! Yes, I've been rather slack lately, so this one's up way early. It's called Blessing in Disguise:

"Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window, my mother is fond of saying. I’ve always found that to be an excessively cheery view of life, but it does have its merits. For example, you might be heading out to the movies one night to see the latest summer blockbuster. By the time you get to the theatre, though, you find the movie is sold out. Naturally, at first, you’ll be all upset and angry, but then, look at the opportunities! There are other good movies playing…many good restaurants are still open…something better may come along. And that’s exactly how the people of Wabamun are looking at their current situation. "

Yup, you've figured it out. I figured it was time for me to weigh in on the Lake Wabamun oil spill.

Read it all!

Friday, August 05, 2005


I've got my reviews for Fantastic Four, War of the Worlds and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Read 'em!
OK, so I just got home from Fantastic Four. Let's take a moment to give medals for the spate of Marvel comics movie adaptations:

Gold - the Spider-Man and X-Men films
Silver - Daredevil and Hulk
Bronze - Elektra and the Punisher

Just so you know how I'm ranking things.

Fantastic Four is a solid silver. Most of the elements you like are in there, but it's just not quite enough to push it over the top.

- Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm. These characters were nailed.
- The humour. Unlike the other Marvel movies, there's a certain humour to these characters resulting in some funny moments. (Not "funny because it's so bad" but "funny because it's funny.")
- the design. Reed Richard's lab in the Baxter Building looks wonderfully patched together.

- Dr. Doom. Far too much like the Green Goblin in Spider-Man.
- Ioan Gruffad and Jessica Alba. They have no romantic chemistry.
- The "blink and you'll miss it" cameo by Ben Mulroney. Luckily, I blinked. But I spotted his name in the end credits.

All in all, 3 nibs. I'll throw together a review, and I"ll put it up tonight with my War of the Worlds and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reviews.

And now, the big DVD news of the day.

The original, 1933 King Kong is FINALLY coming to DVD! A super-duper 2-disc special edition comes out on November 22. They like to tell us that they've been working on this for two years, and the fact that it's coming out so close to Peter Jackson's remake is purely a coincidence.

Speaking of Jackson, the big announcement about the DVD is that Jackson himself has been putting together bonus material. Peter Jackson directed RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World, a massive 2-hour documentary about the original King Kong.

Other bonus features:
- documentary on direction Merriam C. Cooper
- trailers for other Cooper films
- running commentary by stop-motion animation god Ray Harryhausen, only surviving cast member Terry Moore, and special effects guru Ken Ralston.

That's November 22, people! The original King Kong finally comes to DVD!

Also on that day, the 1976 remake of King Kong comes out.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Just to assure you, I have written up my reviews for War of the Worlds and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I just can't seem to upload them because high speed Internet is down again.

We now complain to Xplornet with every outage. The usual excuses of weather, cordless phones, and ham radios seem not to apply. They've told us many times, there's something weird about Entwistle....

Something I've known for years.
I am demonstrating to my sister what a blog is. See, sis, this is how I do a blog entry.

I'm trying to convince her to start her own blog, so she can regale the world with tales of her bowel movements and leave me alone.
So, you all know I've been having some really weird computer problems lately. It randomly shuts itself off again, and now the hard drive makes noises like fingernails on a chalkboard. Yesterday, as I was bopping around in the city, I stopped in at CompuSmart to price out repairs.

First, there's the $47 diagnostic fee to find out what's wrong. They also tell me that, with a hard drive making funny noises, it's a fair bet that the hard drive is broken and/or on its last legs. That means replacing it. That'll run $100-$200, depending on what I choose to replace it with. And the "shutting itself off" could be anything, so they need to run that diagnostic.

It'll sit in the shop for about 2 days until the diagnostician can look at...a week to order in a new hard drive....I'd essentially be without a computer for two weeks.

I'm reminded of a recent newspaper article...in essence, it said that, in society's view, computer technology has become disposable enough that it's easier & cheaper to just buy a new computer rather than get the old one fixed.

A little more to follow up on yesterday's hockey rant.

With this hockey lock-out, the Tampa Bay Lightening are already worried that they won't be able to win back the fans. They're starting to make overtures about moving the team. Know where?


Yes, the new collective bargaining agreement means Winnipeg can afford a hockey team again!

Does this mean the return of the Jets? Stay tuned....

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today. I rather enjoyed it. I pretty much saw it as Johnny Depp acting weird for two hours.

You're going to think this is weird, but it actually reminded me a lot of Edward Scissorhands. Willy Wonka and Edward were both emotionally stunted shut-ins who had no idea how to interact with the real world. Throw in those flashbacks where the father is played by a much-beloved horror movie actor.... I wonder if Tim Burton realized the similarities.

But I liked it. Danny Elfman did a great job with the Oompa Loompa songs. That's definitly on my short list of soundtracks I want to buy.

It's kind of hard not to get caught up in the Oilers fever that's sweeping Edmonton right now.

You see, back on Monday, that's when all the free agents' contracts expired, so all this week, hockey teams have been snapping up free agents like crazy. And, thanks to the new salary cap and collective barganing agreement and all that, a lot of really good players have suddenly become affordable. In the past two days, the Oilers have managed to grab some of the best in the NHL. It's crazy.

Acutally, I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I don't like sports very much, but I enjoy the business of sports. We just lost a whole hockey season to this lockout, and people are still curious about the aftermath.

I still kind of believe that it's going to be like when there was a baseball strike about 10 years ago. Remember that? The last half of the 1994 season and the first half of the 1995 season were wiped out. Major League Baseball had to fight long and hard to get the fans back.

I'm not the only that figures that's going to happen this season with the NHL. A lot of analysts say that here in Canada, we'll have an easier time, because we've always loved our hockey. But in places where hockey's never been popular, like Nashville, they're really going to have a tough row to hoe.

(I'm suddenly reminded of a Rick Mercer quote: "[Gary Bettman] took hockey out of 'cold' places like Winnipeg and Quebec City and put it in 'cool' places like Nashville and Phoenix." When you read it in your head, remember to use Mercer's trademark sarcasm.)

Anyway, just like MLB, look for the NHL to start doing all kinds of gimmicks to bring back the fans. Which may not be a bad thing.

Many in Edmonton are lobbying to make the Heritage Classic an annual event; a keystone to a kick-ass winter festival. That's just the kind of gimmick the NHL might endorse.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hooray! It's finally official! October 18 is when they release the 2-disc special editions of the first 4 Batman movies!! Here's the film-by-film breakdown:

Batman: Special Edition
- running commentary by Tim Burton
- 4 documentaries: On Set with Bob Kane, Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman, Shadow of the Bat: the Cinematic History of the Dark Night (Parts 1, 2, and 3), and Beyond Batman (a collection of featurettes detailing aspects of the production in minutia. There's ones dedicated to the Batmobile, the Batsuit, Danny Elfman's music, and more!)
- 3 music videos: Batdance, Partyman, and Scandalous, all by Prince
- 2 profile galleries, one for the heroes and one for the villains
- a featurette on the sequence with Robin that was storyboarded but never filmed
- the trailer

Batman Returns: Special Edition
- running commentary by Tim Burton
- 3 documentaries: The Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin; Shadow of the Bat: The Cinematic History of the Dark Knight (part 4); and Beyond Batman (more production featurettes, covering things like the Penguin's make-up and Catwoman's costume)
- 1 music video: Face 2 Face by Siouxsies and the Banshees
- 2 profile galleries, one for the heroes and one for the villains
- the trailer

Batman Forever: Special Edition
- running commentary by Joel Schumacher
- an undisclosed number of cut scenes
- 3 documentaries: Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever?, Shadow of the Bat: The Cinematic History of the Dark Knight (part 5), and Beyond Batman (more featurettes!)
- 1 music video: Kiss from a Rose by Seal
- hero and villain profile galleries
- the trailer

Batman & Robin: Special Edition
- running commentary by Joel Schumacher
- 1 cut scene, entitled Alfred's Lost Love
- 2 documentaries: Shadow of the Bat: The Cinematic History of the Dark Knight (part 6) and Beyond Batman (more featurettes!)
- 4 music videos: The Beginning is the End is the Beginning by Smashing Pumpkins, Foolish Games by Jewel, Gotham City by R. Kelly, Look Into my Eyes by Bone Thugs and Harmony.
- hero and villain profile galleries
- the trailer

Each special edition will be available seperatly, or in a big boxed set called Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997.

And you can expect Batman Begins to come soon after.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Sorry, everyone. No column this week. A family reunion broke out this weekend, so between keeping my niece and nephew entertained, keeping my brother's binge drinking in check, arguing with my sister, helping Mom remember her relaxation exercises and keeping Dad calm, I've pretty much had no "me" time.

This means no column.

Man, July hasn't been a good month. Writer's block and visiting family.