Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, September 30, 2005

Aw, man. What a day, what a day.

Here. I'm going to reveal one of the secrets of the universe. If you want to lead a happy, stress-free life....

Learn nothing about computers.

As soon as you let on that you know a little something about computers, people won't stop hounding you with every little computer problem they have.

As soon as I get up this morning, my sister's on MSN Instant Messanger wanting to know why her computer keeps freezing.

The big problem has been all this week. My parents are taking their home office to the next level. They just bought two new computers (one for Mom, one for Dad), and they're expecting me to build a network.

Which is actually really easy...once I learned how.

I just want to get away from a computer monitor for a while...unless I'm playing a game, writing a brilliant column, or downloading porn.

Oh, and Sonic 102.9 has posted all the on-air bios for the folks in their newscaster contest. Click here to hear mine and the competition's.
Shh! Don't tell my sister I'm online. She has more computer problems she wants me to fix....

Anyway, I want to do some big Kevin Smith updates, because y'all know I'm a huge fan of his.

As we all know, a popular movie promotional tool these days is the "video journal," where the director shows you "behind-the-scenes" glimpses of his latest movie. Some great examples:

- George Lucas did it for Episode II and Episode III, and you watched them at the official Star Wars website.

- Peter Jackson did it for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he's been doing it for King Kong at a website called Kong is King. In fact, the King Kong video journal is getting its own super-special edition DVD, due out this December.

- Being a big fan of Superman, I've been watching the video journal that Bryan Singer is doing from the set of Superman Returns, which you can go watch at Blue Tights.net

Well, Kevin Smith has gotten in on the action. Starting back on Wednesday, Kevin Smith began doing a video journal for Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks. The first one is up, and you can go watch it at Clerks 2.com.

Also, more good news about Clerks 2. Smith has been teasing us that he got a rather big name to be the female lead, and we now know who it is. Joining the View Askew cast of characters is...

Rosario Dawson.

We last saw her as Gail, the leader of the prostitues in Sin City. She'll next be seen in the movie version of the musical Rent. She is just a great actress and this is great news.

Yeah, Clerks 2 is finally happening. Smith originally wanted to start filming it back in January, but at that time, Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein started agressive re-negotiations with Disney, and Smith wanted to wait for all the business bullplop to settle down. Which is good, because it finally gave him some time to do some other things like:

- Guest star on Degrassi: The Next Generation. His 3-episode arc comes out on DVD next month.

- Star in Catch and Release, some chick flick starring Jennifer Garner. In the film, Smith plays Garner's non-threatening male friend. Catch and Release was written and directed by Susanah Grant, and will be out in the spring.

- Finally finish writing Daredevil: the Target and Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do, two comic book mini-series that Smith started writing about 3 years ago, but never got around to finishing. (He got wrapped up making Jersey Girl.) Marvel should finally be publishing the conclusions ASAP.

And that's the latest in the world of Kevin Smith!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Oh, I forgot to mention...after recording my stuff for Sonic, I went to see Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. I really, really liked it.

Go read my review.
So, there. I went to Sonic 102.9 today, and I recorded my bio.

This has been one of those situations where I"m not too sure exactly if I should let that I'm more or less a professional. I sat down in the studio to record my thing, only to find that it was pretty much an identical set-up to what I used in Cold Lake. I immediatly started adjusting everything on the board to how I like it, only to have the producer stop me. I had to explain myself.

Anyway, with my bio, they asked me a bunch of ridiculous questions, and I gave a bunch of ridiculous answers.

"What's the best piece of advice you've been given?"

"Well, that would be just about anything my Dad's told me. One that I've never forgotten is 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.' Wait a minute. Now that I think about it, that's really bad advice for a newscaster...."

"If you could have a sexual relationship with any ficticious charater, who would it be?"

"This is where I'm gonna be a nerd. Seven of Nine, because she's all new to the human experience. I can teach her how to love!"

Lots of mean questions, too.

"If you could eliminate any animal from the face of the Earth, what would you get rid of?"

"...THAT'S A MEAN QUESTION!! I wouldn't get rid of anything!"

"No smoking...no walking on the grass...what 'no' sign would you post on your front door?"

"I'm reminded of a story in university. On the front door to his academy, Plato had a sign reading, 'Let no one enter here who is ignorant of mathematics.' I'd have the modern-day version: no stupid people."

Anyway, these are going to be run on the Sonic 102.9 morning show tomorrow (Friday), so tune in if you can!

Or, if you're reading this on Friday morning and you completely missed it, it should be posted at the official Sonic 102.9 website.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

There's an article today at Yahoo news that's really gotten me thinking.

This article says that, in the entire DVD industry, only 35% of the profits come from theatrical films. The article then goes on to imply that the reamining 65% of profits come from straight-to-DVD crap.

This has just amazed me. I had no idea that straight-to-DVD crap was so popular.

The article then goes on to tell us that, because of this, many movie studios are starting to really ramp up their straigh-to-DVD sections, especially in pumping out straight-to-DVD sequels to already popular movies. Some examples:

- Carlito's Way: Rise to Power, a sequel to 1993's Carlito's Way, came out yesterday.
- American Pie 4 comes out straight-to-DVD in December
- Sony Studios is making straight-to-DVD sequels to the classic thrillers Single White Female and 8 MM.

But then, the article elaborates that it's not all crappy sequels...Lion's Gate and Mainframe Entertainment are doing quite well with their straight-to-DVD Barbie movies...Disney is doing well with their Baby Einstein educational videos for infants...Paramount Pictures is making big bucks with straight-to-DVD stand-up comedy concert films.

But what I really want is a complete breakdown. OK, so 35% of their revenues comes from theatrical films. The other 65% can't all be straight-to-DVD crap. I'm sure TV shows on DVD are in there, as are various anime titles, and let's be honest, porn, too, is big on DVD.

So, I really want to see the complete statistics now as to how much money is made off of what kind of content on DVD.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm sitting around at the computer, playing video games. Suddenly, the phone rings.

It's one of Dad's clients. I pass the phone over to Dad. He may be laid up, but he's still working.

When Dad gets off the phone, he calls down to me in the basement. The call waiting beeped in while he was on the phone, and could I check voice mail? Sick or not, he'd be lost without me.

I check the voice mail. It's Sonic 102.9 FM. I've made it to round 3. I'm one of the 10 finalists.

I call Sonic 102.9 back right away. They tell me the specifics. They want me to come down to their studios on Thursday so they can record a few promos for me. (i.e. "Hi, I'm Mark Cappis. I'm a Cancer who likes long walks on the beach and Kevin Smith movies. Vote for me!")

My big day is Wednesday, October 5. From 6 AM to 9 AM, I'll be doing the news on their morning show. 102.9 FM in the City of Edmonton.

Then, the people of Edmonton phone into the station to vote for me as their favourite morning news announcer. Or maybe it's at the website. I'm not quite sure.

All I know is, out of all the crazy things I've done in my life, this is definitly in the top 5.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Well, they say trouble comes in threes....

#1) Dad blew his knee when he was at an oil lease on Saturday.
#2) My parents' computer succumbs to a very destructive virus.

What, oh what, will be number three?

But here's something cool.

Remember when I was telling you about my grandfather's birthday, and how we got the "Happy Birthday" greetings from all kinds of dignataries? Well, we got two latecomers that arrived last week.

- We now have one from Kevin Taft, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Province of Alberta.
- In one of her last official acts, birthday wishes from Governor General Adrriene Clarkson.

The one we requested that hasn't come at all yet is from Alberta's Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong. So, we're still waiting.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Latest column is FINALLY up. I swear, Xplornet claims that the weather doesn't affect wireless high speed Internet, but every time the wind picks up....

Anyway, this week's column is Lucky There's a Family Guy:

"I’ve been debating recently as to the future of this column. I feel as though it has stagnated. I feel as though I need to take it in a new direction. After a lengthy discussion with my best friend, he felt that I should spend less time recounting adventures in my life and more time on analysis. So, that’s what I’ve resovled to do. I’m going to press forward, pose the questions that no one dare ask, and attempt to come to a resolution. For example, why do people in the animation industry hate Family Guy so much?"

Read the answer!

That, and I've spent a good chunk of my afternoon procrastinating and reading up on the latest in Star Wars action figures. I think I've already mentioned that my cousin is at Disneyland this week, and I've requested that he bring me back any two of the exclusive Disneyland Star Tours Star Wars action figures. I've done a little more research into it, and apparently, Disney and Hasbro still pump these out with alarming regularity. According to the official Star Wars action figures website, they just released a special "Yoda and Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse" 2-pack. If I had known about this, I would have requested my cousin bring me back that.

Oh, well. I'll just be happy with any two. This is more about bragging rights than anything else...so I can go to other collectors and go, "Lookie what I got!" and they'll say, "Yeah, I bought those on eBay a year ago."

Or, how about this. Coming next year, two of my favourite toy lines come together! Yes, it's....

Star Wars Transformers!

Hasbro owns both Star Wars and Transformers...you knew it was just a matter of time. Favourite Star Wars vehicles turn into robotic versions of favourite Star Wars characters. The first five come out in January:

Darth Vader turns into his TIE Fighter.
Luke Skywaler turns into his X-Wing.
Obi-Wan Kenobi turns into a Jedi Starfighter.
General Greivous turns into his motorbike thingie.
Boba Fett turns into Slave 1.

I'll probably get one or two for my collection.

Oh, and if you want to see pictures of these Star Wars Transformers, you can see them right here.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Well, today was a big day.

As I'm sure I've ranted a few times before, Edmonton's newest radio station Sonic 102.9 was having an open casting call today for a newscaster. Naturally, I went down to audition. I mean, I figure it's just as good as any other job I've been applying for.

Auditions started at 10AM. I was there at 9:30 and there were already 100 people in front of me. Well, veteran that I am of the Episode I lines, I made myself comfy and began the wait.

Actually, the wait wasn't too bad. I discovered that I have a lot more former classmates working at Sonic than I originally thought, and they all came over to say hi and ask me what I was up to now. And that's was nice.

So, 3.5 hours later, I'm finally at the front of the line. I'm given the sample news script I need to read, and I look at it and go, "Oh my God! This is horrible! This is something that [my old NAIT news instructor] would never let fly!" Not knowing if I could do it or not, I grab my pen out of my pocket and begin rapidly re-writing the script.

I actually got blessed with a good script. 4 news stories: 1 serious one and 3 kickers. For those who don't know, the "kicker" is the silly news story that you usually use to end your newscast. It's called the "kicker" because, if you need to shorten your newscast, it's the first thing you kick out.

But kickers are good. Because they tend to be silly in nature, I'm a lot more relaxed when I read them. And I started re-writing them, too. You could tell where they were headed with these, because the final line in each kicker was a punchline. So, I naturally rewrote those to suit my own brand of humour.

I was about to re-write the final kicker when I was interrupted by a reporter from CFRN news, asking me if I wanted to say a few words about why I was doing this. Naturally, I said yes.

Reporter>> So, what brought you down here today?
Me>> Well, I finished NAIT's radio program back in the spring, and since then, I've been rejected by every radio station in town. So, I figured it was time for the public at large to reject me.
Reporter>> What do you think your chances are?
Me>> You know, I may have a little more experience than most people here, and I may have a little more education, but I'm not neccessarily better. I'll leave it at that.

And then they called me up there to audition. I gave all the neccessary release forms to the flunkie, and we traded inspirational cliches as he went over the ground rules with me.

Him>> Any questions?
Me>> Yeah. My throat is awful dry after standing in that line for so long. Could I have a drink of water?

He reached behind himself and pulled out a bottle of water. Much to his (and my) surprise, I slammed the whole thing back in one gulp.

And then...the big show.

I stood before three judges. There was a fourth guy running the equpiment - another former classmate from NAIT. We traded pleasantries and in-jokes. the judges told me to introduce myself into the microphone. I introduced myself as "Mark Cappis: Reject #1256."

I looked up at the new addition to the panel of judges. The reporter had followed me up there, and now he was jamming the camera in my face from my left-hand side, ready to capture the whole thing on film. Damn, I was nervous.

"No pressue," one of the judges sarcastically commented.

I briefly flashed back to some English classes that I taught in Japan, particularly the classes filled with students who didn't like me and complained after every lesson. I smiled a morbid smile. "Oh, I've been through worse," I remarked.

they asked me a few warm-up questions. They blindsided me with "What's your favourite movie?" Of course, without skipping I beat, I reply, "the Iron Giant." They remarked at the unusual choice, and then I had to explain in 25 words or less why.

They asked if I had any writing experience. I mentioned my website, but their ears perked up when I said, "Oh, and I studied radio at NAIT, where writing for radio was one of my best courses!" (I wasn't blowing smoke up anyone's ass; it really was one of my best courses.)

Then, my newscast. My re-written serious story went over well.

The second story had to do with the most common cat names. My punchline got a big laugh, in which I revealed my personal favourite cat name is still "J. Whiskers Tuffington the Third."

The next story had to do with the revelation that women tend to like guys who dress casually. My revised punchline was, "But remember...'casual' doesn't mean the Star Trek uniform your Mom made for you last Halloween." Another big laugh.

The final story was the one I didn't get a chance to re-write. It had to do with another statistic revealing that 1/3 of all people meet their spouses at work. The scripted punchline was "That's great news, unless you're a veteranarian." I deliverd that scripted punchline, and there was a colossal thud. Now, my improv skills suck, but I knew I had to do something to salvage this. So, I adopted a Bob Newheart-style stammer, and stammered out, "Well...you know...it...it could be good news if you're a veternarian. I mean...you know...I'm not here to judge." Big laugh.

They handed me my silver ticket. I had made it.

See, they're doing their newscaster search like Canadian Idol. That silver ticket means I make it to the next round, which is all the radio station higher-ups pouring over the tapes and deciding who they like the best. If they choose me to be among the best, I go to round 3, which is doing on-air newscasts and letting the people of Edmonton decide if I'm the next "newscaster idol."

But you know, my favourite thing was after they handed me my silver ticket, and I turned around, and I saw that all my friends who work at Sonic had been standing right behind me, cheering me on. The big joke about Sonic right now is that their building isn't finished being built yet, so they've been broadcasting from an ATCO trailer at the construction site. Something tells me there's going to be a lot of people in that trailer rooting for me.

Oh, and then, of course, they took my picture for the website, and I adopted one of my trademark "silly poses."

Afterwards, I did a little browsing in the Mall. I finally got my hands on one of the Padme action figures from Episode III. I've kinda been obsessed with this particular figure because, as near as I can tell, it's the first pregnant woman action figure. True, there have been controversial pregnant Barbie dolls, but, to the best of my knowledge, no pregnant woman action figures. I had to have it!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Man, I've had two days now where I've just felt like doing nothing. What is it about spending three days tromping around heavy bush that makes you just want to hide from the world?

Anyway, got a little DVD tidbit. As I'm sure you know, I managed to get out to the theatres to see Howl's Moving Castle back in June, and I really liked it. We don't know when it's coming out on DVD yet, current rumours say simply "Spring 2006." But, it does come out on November 16 in Japan. It'll be coming out in a 2-disc standard edition, and a 4-disc special edition. Of course, when Disney does there North American release, we'll have nothing that fancy, but here's what you can treat yourself to if you have a multi-regional DVD player and a friend in Japan:

The Standard Edition:
Disc 1 - The movie, widescreen of course. You get the original Japanese language track, the English dub, and the French dub.
Disc 2 - Storyboards, the trailers, footage of the international premieres (the Venice Film Festival and USA), and an interview with Pete Docter, director of the English dub

The special edition:
Disc 1 - The movie. Just the movie. Only the Japanese soundtrack, with English and Japanese subtitles.
Disc 2 - The movie again. but this time with the Japanese, English, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese dubs.
Disc 3 - Same as disc 2 in the standard edition
Disc 4 - An interview with Hayao Miyazaki; an interview with the film's designer "Moebius,"; a full documentary about the American premiere in New York; "Hello, Mr. Lasseter," which is a clip of Miyazaki hanging out with his #1 fan and biggest defender in North America, John Lasseter; an interview with Mitsunoria Kataama, the director of the film's computer animation; and an interview with Miyazaki and the English voice cast from the film's North American premiere in New York.

I sure hope Disney recycles this stuff into the North American DVD.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Well, I'm back from Mom's awards ceremony. She enjoyed it a lot more than she thought she would...I even got to shake my MLA's hand and personally thank him for giving me my Centennial Flag.

But yup, Mom won the Alberta Centennial Medal. And I found exactly what they mean by "recognized by Riedeau Hall." That means it's a REAL medal. You can wear it proudly along side your Order of Canada, Order of Quebec, or any other medal, and not commit any breeches in protocal.

35 in total were given out in the Stony Plain constiuency. Mom got hers for her many years on the school board, the library board, and the dozen other boards. There were many volunteer firefighters, who won it for their 30+ years of service, former mayors and county councillors, and even an 8-year old who wrote a book and donated the profits to the children's hospital.

But it was great, and it got me thinking about the various awards I've won in my life. As I'm sure you know, I was one of those darn honour students in school, and I got a few awards for my big marks.

But I only won one trophy.

Granted, trophies aren't given out very often for high marks, but they were quite common in my school...except in the years I won. In those years, they switched to medals. And then, in high school, it was nothing but plaques.

But I only won one trophy. It was for having the highest marks in the class in grade 8.

Don't get me wrong, the plaques and medals were nice, but I just got one trophy.

So, I figure that someday, when I'm making lots of money, I'm going to have my own awards ceremony, and I'm going to give trophies to all my friends.

Everyone's got to have at least one trophy. Yeah, their austentatious and arrogant, but everyone has to win at least one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'm back! But you probably didn't notice I was gone. Yup, I've been in Valleyview for the past three days with my Dad, checking out all variety of oil leases. For those who don't know, Valleyview is a large community on the Alaska Highway. It pretty much exists because there's an intersection there. You can turn left and go west to Grande Praire and eventually Dawson Creek, BC, or you can continue north to Peace River, the territories, and eventually Alaska.

But yeah, had to come back tonight because I've got a really big thing tomorrow night. My mother is winning an Alberta Centennial Medal.

As I'm sure you can guess, the Alberta Centennial Medal is a special award being given out to Albertans to celebrate the Centennial. My mother is winning one because of her having been on the school board, and currently being on the libaray board, the community development board, and about a dozen other boards that I'm not quite what they do.

And here's the kicker. The Alberta Government is giving away a couple thousand of these, but my mother's is just THE SECOND ONE being recognized by Rideau Hall. I'm not exactly sure what that means. Maybe all it means is that the Lieutenant Governor gets to give it to Mom. Maybe it puts Mom in line for the Order of Canada some day. Who knows?

But I still think it's cool.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Latest column's up! This time, it's A Rather Different Set of Friends:

" Time manifests itself in many ways. We see it in the clock on the wall. We see it the rise of the sun, and in the change of the seasons. But no where is its manifestation more pronounced than in how we age. We grow taller. We gain wrinkles. We grow hair in places that we never expected to grow hair. At times, it can make us feel rather desperate and alone, but then we look around at those that we’ve known for significant parts of our lives, and we see that we are not alone. Our friends, too, grow and change. But perhaps the best part about aging is how it affects the memory. Given enough time, things that seemed incredibly important in the moment have lost their significance. Arguments are forgotten, and friendships are renewed."

First one's free, then you gotta taste the whole thing.

In case you're interested, this week's was written while listening to score from Shrek.
I should quit procrastinating and write a column for this week. What's absorbing my attention right now is the fact that season 5 of Justice League just premiered in the States. It'll probably be another month or so until it comes on in Canada. Anyway, we already know what's going to be happening in the first 8 episodes:

I Am Legion - The Legion of Doom bust Lex Luthor out of prison and promptly recruit him. For those who don't care, the Legion of Doom is the evil opposite of the Justice League...a massive team of most of the planet's supervillains.

Shadow of the Hawk - Batman's paranoia goes into overdrive when he learns that Hawkgirl's new boyfriend - Carter Hall - has ties to the evil Thanagarians. For those who don't care, Carter Hall is the real identity of the one, true Hawkman.

Chaos at the Earth's Core - Green Lantern, Stargirl, and Supergirl get whisked off to Skartarsis (i.e. the DC knock-off of the Savage Land) where they meet up with Warlord (i.e. the DC knock-off of Conan the Barbarian).

To Another Shore - Wonder Woman has to foil a plot to steal the superpowers of a 3000 year old Viking mummy.

Flash and Substance - The Flash's hometown is opening a museum dedicated to the Flash. The Flash is on hand for the grand opening. Naturally, a bunch of the Flash's arch-enemies show up to crash the party.

Dead Reckoning - The ghostly hero Deadman seeks the help of the League.

Patriot Act - Green Arrow and a group of non-superpowered superheroes have to stop a rampaging supersoldier.

The Great Brain Robbery - The Flash and Lex Luthor switch bodies. Of course, this episode grew out of the fact that actor Michael Rosenbaum does the voice of the Flash on Justice League AND plays Lex Luthor on Smallville.

Anyway, should write a column. Or, as some random stranger on the message board called it, "a large blog."
So...I all know what you want to read.

The summary of the second episode of Pokemon Chronicles. Raikou: Legend of Thunder - part 2

(Click here for the part 1 summary)

So, when we last we left our intrepid heroes Jimmy and Marina, they were about to launch into a pokemon battle with Team Rocket members Attila and Hun over the life of the legendary, near-mythical pokemon Raikou.

The episode opens with...a massive pokemon battle. Jimmy gets his ass kicked, but thanks to Marina and her Misdreavous' perish song attack, the day is won. Jimmy also manages to get a few hits in and seriously damage Team Rocket's giant robot. Team Rocket orders a strategic retreat, and leaves the bruised and battered Raikou behind.

Raikou gets up to run away, but Jimmy sees that Raikou is still pretty banged up. Jimmy implores Raikou to return with him to the Pokemon Center. Raikou answers by blasting Jimmy with a thunderbolt. But Jimmy stands firm. Jimmy knows that he has to earn Raikou's trust. Jimmy slowly approaches Raikou. Raikou fires off a few more warning shots. Jimmy is undaunted. Finally, Raikou collapses from exhaustion.

In the next scene, we Raikou in the Pokemon Centre, being treated by Nurse Joy. Raikou's pretty pissed about being in captivity, but he's putting up with it. Jimmy's staying close to Raikou to show him that everyone can be trusted. In some more thinly-veiled flirting, Marina joins Jimmy. News travels fast, and once word gets out that this Pokemon Centre is treating the legendary Raikou, pokemon experts from all over the world decend on the Pokemon Centre. The consensus is: Raikou is so mistrustful of humans because so many people have tried to capture him over the years. The best thing to do is treat Raikou, then return him to the wild as soon as he's able.

Meanwhile, deep in the forest, Attila and Hun repair their giant robot and fix up their electricity-draining device, getting ready to try again.

The next morning, Raikou wakes up in the Pokemon Centre. Something is drawing him outside. He lets loose a thundershock, blows a hole in the wall, and escapes into the wild. Jimmy and Marina are able to tell from the weird storms in the sky that Team Rocket has their device working again, and Raikou is being drawn towards it. With one of the pokemon experts in tow, they pursue Raikou into the woods.

Attila and Hun are ready for Raikou, armed with the device, their fully-functioning giant robot, and a cargo plane, ready to whisk Raikou away to Team Rocket HQ. Once again, the device makes short work of Raikou. Our heroes show up, and Jimmy and Attila launch into a brief debate about pokemon poaching vs. pokemon catching. When words fail them, another massive pokemon battle breaks out: our heroes vs. Team Rocket. Our heroes are eventually joined by another trainer from Jimmy and Marina's hometown - and a rival for Marina's affections. finally, all three trainers combine their powers and are able to overwhelm and destroy the electricity-draining device. In the ensuing chaos, Team Rocket manages to scoop up Raikou, load him into the cargo plane and take off. Once the dust clears, our heroes realize that Marina has been scooped up and captured as well.

On the cargo plane, Raikou is going nuts. He unleashes some electrical attacks, but the plane is shielded. Raikou then starts thrashing about, trying to tear up the place, while Marina tries to calm down Raikou. In his thrashing, Raikou manages to tear open an access panel. Taking advantage of this, Marina starts randomly pulling wires until the cargo bay doors open. They are flying over some mountains. Marina urges Raikou to go. Raikou is strong enough to survive the jump, but Marina isn't, so Marina urges Raikou to go and leave her behind. After some hesitation, Raikou finally decides to go, and makes it out just as Team Rocket regains control of the doors and slams them shut. Raikou stands on a mountain top, as the cargo plane circles around to attempt to caputre him again....

To be continued.

Oh, and over in the regular Pokemon series, you may like to know that Season 8(!) has officially begun. The name of the show for season 8 is Pokemon: Advanced Battle.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

OK, so in the new crop of fall TV shows, there's not a lot that looks good. But I saw an ad for one last night that actually looked funny, so I'll probably check it out. True, it's just the 1,000,000th variation on the "stranger doing random acts of kindness" concept, but the critics are actually being quite favourable, and it stars an actor we all like.

My Name is Earl stars Kevin-Smith-film-regular Jason Lee. Lee plays Earl, your standard, run-of-the-mill trailer park scumbag. One day, Earl can't believe his luck! He wins the jackpot on a scratch-n-win lottery ticket! As he runs out to cash in his ticket, he's hit by a car, and the last thing he sees before he slips unconscious is his winning ticket blowing away in the wind.

When he wakes up in his hospital bed, Earl comes to the only logical conclusion. All this happened because of his bad karma. He's screwed over so many people, that the universe finally came around to bite him in the ass. So, Earl sits down and compiles a list of all the misdeeds he's done. And now, with this list as his guide, he sets out on a quest to right what he did wrong and hopefully right his karma.

Kevin Smith reviewed the pilot at his website and said it's pretty good. And, as the Hulk just said in Twisted ToyFare Theatre, "If you can't trust the director of Jersey Girl, who can you trust?"

Hey! Michael Moore got a blab in the paper today! Turns out his against the CBC.

The whole story is like this. Tomorrow night, the CBC is going to be showing Bowling for Columbine. Also, as you may know, the CBC just locked out a bunch of their workers. Moore is siding with the workers, and is demanding that the CBC not show his film unless the CBC ends the lockout and returns to the bargaining table. "Why the noble and honorable CBC is acting like an American corporation is beyond me," said Moore.

The CBC is ignoring Moore's demand, however, citing that they've been advertising this for months and they're not going to change it now.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm just doing some prorcrastinating right now...trying to avoid real work.

See, I think I've already rambled a few times that tomorrow is my Grandpa's 90th birthday party, and my father kinda roped me into being the emcee. Because, you know, I got all that fancy edication at NAIT. So, I"m trying to sit down, get some idea of a program, and throw a few prep notes together.

But, between you and me, I really don't want to do it.

Granted, I am a little nervous. But the real reason is that this is a part of the family that I've worked really hard to avoid over the better part of the past 5 years. It's not that I don't like them. As I came of age, I realized that I just don't fit in with them.

And now, I'm going to be thrust before them, front and centre. Fun fun silly willy.

Oh, well. It's just a 20-minute program at the most. I've just got to remember what they taught me at NAIT:

"As the announcer, your job is to keep the show moving. Get in, deliver whatever information you have to, then get out. If you don't have anything to say, shut up."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

OK. I'm sick and tired of this concept of "the animated film as a franchise." Remember when you only got one film, and if you were lucky, they'd re-release it to theatres in 10 years?

What's sparked this rant?

DreamWorks Studios has announced that work has begun on Madagascar 2. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and Jada Pinkett-Smith have already signed on to reprise their roles. DreamWorks is going to have it in theatres for Summer 2008.

Not only that, but the comic relief in Madagascar - a quartet of militant penguins - are getting their own, straight-to-DVD movie. That'll be on store shelves in 2009.

Not only that, but DreamWorks has made their first-ever animated short. It's 10-minutes long and features those aforementioned penguins. You'll be able to see it in front of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit next month.

*sigh* I miss the old days.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hooray! Hooray! My laptop's fixed!

Warning to everyone else who might take their laptop to CompuSmart to get the dust cleaned out. CompuSmart will take all the dust they clean out of your laptop and give it to you in a baggie. I asked the clerk about this, and she told me that this is because far too many people don't believe that too much dust can cause a computer to overheat and randomly shut down. So, they offer the dust as proof.

But yeah. It's weird how silent my laptop is now. Before this cleaning, the cooling fan would run at top speed non stop. Now, it remains off most of the time, only occasionally offering a puff of cool air...just like it did when I first took it out of the box.

but I'm good for another year or so.

(They also tell me I probably don't have to come back next year if I take one of those cans of compressed air and blow out the dust occasionally. I didn't try that with my laptop because I was afraid I'd just blow the dust in deeper.)

OK, so there's a DVD out now that I'd like, but I neglected to buy it today. That's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I was only inspired to buy it when I saw it at Future Shop, and also because of the giveaway.

See, if you don't buy DVDs at Future Shop, let me fill you in. they've begun doing this promotion where, if you buy it the day it comes out, you get a little freebie with your DVD. When I bought Aladdin, I got a little stuffed Genie. When Sin City came out a few months ago, they were giving away a free Sin City shotglass.

With Hitchhiker's Guide, they were giving away towels.

Ehh, I'll probably buy it next week. That's also when Mallrats X comes out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A lot of interesting mail has been coming into the house lately.

See, it's my grandfather's 90th birthday this Saturday. And, in case you didn't know, for any of these "milestone" birthdays (looks like anything over 75), you can get an official birthday greeting from your MP, MLA, the premier, and the Prime Minister. When you hit 90, you qualify for ones from the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governor. At 100, you qualify for one from the Queen.

Naturally, we sent in the appropriate forms for all these birthday greetings, and they've been rolling in over the past few weeks.

Today, the biggest surprise, one we didn't apply for, an official birthday greeting from the Leader of the Opposition.

For the time being, I'm just letting go of politics and all that and getting caught up in the moment. I think this is all really kind of cool.

Anyway, we were just going to give them to Grandpa, but then we realized. Odds are, Grandpa's going to want to show these off. So, we're going to compile them all into an album, and we'll have a little presentation at his big 90th B-day bash this Saturday.

That reminds me...Dad roped me into emceeing Grandpa's B-day bash. I should start writing some good words to say.

You know, I'm getting kind of sick of what's going on at my message board right now.

As you know, my job hunt hasn't been going so well. I've writing a few of my job hunting disaster stories into columns. And, I'm getting responses.

And, I'm getting sick and tired of all this inspirational bullshit. I've got a few messages now telling me that my problem is I dwell on the negative too much, that I need to change my outlook, change my perspective, let it go, get drunk, get high, accept Jesus...ah! I'm sick of it!

One column is always written in one mood. I have bad days. Depressing columns come out of bad days. One bad column does not mean I'm a perpetual pessimest forever doomed to repeat his mistakes.

So you know, stop trying to change me. Instead, help me. Say, "Hey! This radio station is hiring. You should apply there!" Don't say, "Give up...let go...and find new purpose in your life."

Sheesh. Just cuz you settled doesn't mean I have to.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Well, I had a double kick in the crotch today.

First one was that job interview I was telling you about back on Wednesday. I can talk about it now.... It was with the Goat, which is a classic rock station in Lloydminister. My title would have been "production assistant." I would have spent my afternoons writing and my evenings producing. And my mornings sleeping in.

Anyway, the interview was on Wednesday, and they told me they'd make the decision on Friday. So, Friday came and went, I got no call. Today, I decided to call the Goat to do the follow-up, you know, "Could you tell me where I screwed up on the interview so I can do better on my next one?" But the guy who did the hiring is now off on vacation for two weeks.

Kick in the crotch #2: So, even since June, I've been working really hard trying to convince NewCap that I was the guy for the new radio station that they're putting in Camrose. I applied for every job, did the follow-up phone calls where they said, "Yup, we like your stuff! We'll call you for an interview!" and I've been waiting for that interview ever since.

Well, today, I see on my radio news site that the new Camrose station has begun testing. This means that everyone has been hired, all the equipment is working, and they're just working out the bugs until they officially go.

I don't know. I had to buy a new spindle of CDs last week. This officially means I've sent out over 50 job applications. I've got to do something drastic to get noticed.

Actually, I see that one of Edmonton's new radio station, Sonic 102.9, is going to be having open auditions for a new newscaster. Still debating whether I should take part in that or not. I've been rejected by a lot of station managers, but now I can be rejected by the public at large!
HOORAY! My laptop's fixed!

I made the call to CompuSmart today to find out what was what. They tell me that the problem was the cooling unit was clogged with dust, so all they did was take it apart, clean it out real good, and put it through 5 hours of intense testing. And it worked fine!

The best thing is, it's only going to cost me their $50 minimum charge. I'll go to pick it up as soon as can! (Dad tells me we're spending the rest of the week in Edson.)

I can't believe I didn't hit on this sooner. With high speed Internet, this afternoon I finally went and did something I've been wanting to do for a year and a half.

I watched the trailer for Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party.

For those who aren't Kevin Smith fans, or just don't know, Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party is this massive 3-hour documentary about the making of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. (As the trailer jokingly says, "A documentary twice as long as the movie it's about.") It was directed by Kevin Smith's wife Jennifer Schwalbach.

Anyway, the View Askew folks have been trying to get this released for a long time. Originally, it was going to be part of the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back bonus materials, but there was no room on the DVD. Then, they were going to sneak it onto the Clerks X DVD, but there was no room. Apparently, they finally screened it at Smith's annual Vulgarthon comic convention back in the spring, and there's rumours that it'll finally be available only at the View Askew online store.

As for the film itself...it looks like any other "making of" documentary.

Just cuz I like James Bond, here's a quick recap of James Bond rumors:

- Can you imagine Harry Potter as James Bond? It just may happen. There's a rumour going around that the folks who make the Bond films are going to be making a prequel called Silverfin, which is all about a teenaged James Bond. And, apparently, negotiations are underway with Daniel Radcliff, who'll forever be typecast as Harry Potter, to play teen Bond.

- Actors to replace Pierce Brosnan. Apparently, Hugh Jackman (who'll forever be typecast as Wolverine) has officially turned it down, and the only thing stopping Julian McMahon (last seen as Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four) is that he's demanding far too much money.

Now, this isn't a rumour, but full-blown news. Paul Haggis has just been comissioned to rewrite the script! Paul Haggis is currently Hollywood's hottest writer, having won an Oscar for writing Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby and winning critical acclaim for writing and directing this summer's character drama Crash.

But you know, I'll always remember Paul Haggis as the creator of the classic Canadian TV show Due South.

If Haggis doesn't add at least one scene where James Bond meets up with an excessivly polite CSIS agent, I'll be incredibly disappointed.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I tell you Who I Am, How I Came to Be:

"As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think if I have reached a point similar to this. It all started way back in 1996, when I got it in my head to start doing a radio show on Augustana University’s radio station. Granted, it was only available to the campus through closed circuit, and half the campus didn’t know how to plug in, but it was a radio station nonetheless. It was a tumultuous time for CLCR. A declining listenership had opened the debate as to the purpose of the station. While everyone was debating, there was a bit of a talent void at the station…and I was there to fill that void."

As always, Go here to read it!

A lot of novels seem to have a "What I listened to while I wrote this" section at the back. This week, in case you're curious, while I wrote this I was listening to Family Guy Live In Vegas. Very raunchy, very politically incorrect, and very funny.
Hee hee! I'm so happy! Yesterday, I finally got to watch the premiere of Pokemon Chronicles. This is the first official spin-off from Pokemon. See, it's like this. Over in Japan, there have been many Pokemon TV specials in which we catch up with a recurring character that we haven't seen in a while. You know, we may see what Tracy (one of the stars of season 2) is up to now, or see some of Misty's solo adventures, seeing as to how she left the show at the start of season 6 to be the Cerulean City gym leader. Anyway, they've finally done enough of these specials to make up one season's worth of television, so they've finally been imported as a spin-off series, Pokemon Chronicles. Yesterday was the premiere episode Raikou: Legend of Thunder - Part 1.

We open on a brand new pokemon trainer we've never met before - Jimmy. Now, he's a little older than Ash, at least Brock's age, but he's on his pokemon journey just as well; catch em all, be the best, all that stuff.

From here, we go to the secret labs of Team Rocket. We meet two of Team Rocket's more competent and deadly serious agents: Attila and Han. (Attila the Hun, get it? Guess they ran out of cowboy names.) Deep in Team Rocket's labs, a Team Rocket scientiest demonstrates his newest invention: a crystal that can control electricity. It attracts, absorbs, and discharges electricity. Attila and Han are to use it for a very special mission.

We catch up with Jimmy, who's now resting up in a Pokemon Center before heading to the next town. And here, he bumps into Marina. Turns out Marina is the girl next door from his hometown, and she's also on her pokemon journey. Yeah, they've always been kinda sweet on each other but have never been old enough to attempt anything about it. Anyway, they talk a bit, they flirt a bit, Marina starts talking about this one pokemon trainer she idolizes, thus making Jimmy a little jealous. And, before you know it, they're having a pokemon battle.

The friendly battle continues until a mysterious thunderstorm starts brewing. When a bolt of lightening strikes dangerously close, Jimmy and Marina decide to stop their battle and head back to the safety of the Pokemon Centre. Marina, however, is unable to recall her Misdreavous. Misdreavous, scared from the lightening took off into the woods for safety. Jimmy and Marina give chase.

They follow Misdreavous through the woods until they come to a valley, where Attila and Han are working. Atilla is manning a mecha, while Han runs the electricity-controlling device. Because the device attracts electricity, all kinds of electric-type pokemon are being drawn to it. Of course, the electric-type pokemon have no defence, because the device absorbs all their electric attacks. Attila and Han figure that it's time to draw out their true prey, and they discharge the device, thus taking out all the electric-pokemon. Since they are pokemon poachers, they begin freely scooping up all the unconscious pokemon and loading them in the mecha.

Then, their true quarry appears...the legendary,near-mythical pokemon Raikou. Raikou is like a 10-foot tall wolf, and, of course, an electric-type pokemon. Raikou goes nuts trying to save all the pokemon but, of course, the device simply absorbs Raikou's electric attacks. Once they capture enough electricity, Attila and Han discharge it in an electric blast big enough to severly weaken Raikou. Attila, in his mecha, moves in for the capture....

Now, Jimmy and Marina have been watching this from the bushes the whole time, and they figure that they've seen enough. Jimmy charges forward, unleashes his pokemon, and starts posturing to attack Team Rocket. Team Rocket, being easily distracted, turn their attention away from Raikou, and prepare to do battle with Jimmy. And then we see those words, "To Be Continued."

Wow. I can't believe I"m finally watching it in English. I got to watch this 3 years ago, when AEON closed up because of a typhoon and I got to go home early. I remember it completely blew my mind. "Where's Ash? Where's Jessie and James? Is this some dramatic re-invention?" It was originally a one-hour TV movie, but for its North American debut, and by putting in a lot of commercials, it's now a 3-part episode of Pokemon Chronicles!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

YES YES, OH GOD YES! This must be what sex is like!

On December 13, Miramax Films will be releasing Sin City: Uncut & Extended. (aka "The 2-disc special edition of Sin City that we've all been waiting for.") The original, movie-only DVD just has a featurette on the making of the film. What does this 2-disc special edition have?

- The original 124-minute theatrical version of the film AND a 147-minute extended version.
- Running commentary by co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller.
- A second running commentary by Rodriguez and special guest director Quentin Tarintino.
- A third running commentary made up of crowd reaction from the world premiere in Austin, Texas.
- One of Rodreiguez's trademark "15-minute film school" lectures.
- A feature all about the green screen process.
- 17 uninterrupted minutes of the footage that Tarintino shot.
- Footage from the wrap party.
- A "10 minute cooking school" with Rodreiguez.
- 4 featurettes, all about the cars, make-up, costumes, and props.
- Another featurette detailing how Rodriguez begged Miller to let him do this.
- Another featurette detailing how Tarintino came on board.
- a featurette on the casting
- The trailers
- Bloopers
- A game

And included in the package will be a special reprint of Sin City: The Hard Goodbye.

December 13!

Now, if only Miramax would hurry up and give this kind of treatment to the Kill Bill films....

Friday, September 09, 2005

Wow. I'm getting a little distraught. My best friend's been so quiet lately.

Of course, he lives in Vancouver, so by "quiet lately," I mean, "Hmm.... He hasn't e-mailed me in 2 days. This is odd."

He's always had an affination for New Orleans, so I've got this fantasy that he's been too busy to reply because he hopped on a plane and he's currently down there helping in relief efforts. He's a good guy, too, so there is a very distinct possibility that yes, that is the case.

But, I'm certain that the reality of the situation is that the real world of a 9 to 5 job is wearing him down and he's got far more important things to do than reply to my latest 600-word essay speculating on who the villains are in Spider-Man 3.

I'll admit, part of the reason why I'm freaking out a bit is because ALL my e-mail has stopped. I get nothing...not even spam! Ever since I took my laptop into the shop back on Wednesday, my inbox has been empty. All I need is one ad for penis enlargment pills and I'd be happy.

I shouldn't have gone off like that. Now, my best friend is going to read this and be guilted into saying "Hi!" And that's not good. Friendships built on guilt are unhealthy.

So, I read this really cool article in the Edmonton Journal yesterday. It was all about stop-motion animation. As the article pointed out, it's the rarest, most labour intensive form of animation, yet we've got 2 stop-motion animated films coming out in the next month.

So, we've got Tim Burton's Corpse Bride coming out on the 23rd, and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit on October 7. I'm looking forward to them both. I loved Nightmare Before Christmas, so it's great to see another film in that vein with Corpse Bride. And, the long-awaited second feature film from Aardman Studios, those who made Chicken Run. In case you haven't hear about any of these....

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride - Based on an old Russion folk tale, this one follows the adventures of young Victor, whose betrothed to be married to Victoria. But, as he practices his vows in the dark, spooky forest, Victor accidentally marries a corpse and winds up in the land of the dead. Now, he's torn between two brides: one living, and one dead. Johnny Depp does the voice of Victor and Helena Bonham Carter is the Corpse Bride. It's a musical, with some more twisted Danny Elfman songs. Despite his connection with Nightmare Before Christmas, this is the first time that Tim Burton has actually directed an animated film since his days as a struggling animator at Disney.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - Aardman's most famous creations get their own feature-length film. This time around, Wallace & Gromit are running a humane pest control agency. That is, they capture pests and release them into the wild. And, with the big vegetable contest coming up, they're working their tales off capturing rabbits in everyone's gardens. But then, it's noticed that there's a much bigger menace stalking the gardens.... Nick Sallas is back as the voice of Wallace, Ralph Fiennes voices the villanous Lord Victor Quartermaine, and Helena Bonham Carter voices Lady Tottington, the woman who catches Wallace's eye. Nick Park, director of all 3 Wallace & Gromit shorts and Chicken Run is directing.

As the article said, everyone really doubts that 2 stop-motion animated films coming out this close together will lead to a massive stop-motion resurgance. As one animator said, "At the very least, we've resurrected it as a folk art." Nope, CGI is still pushing everything out. Even Aardman Studios, who put stop-motion animation on the map, is releasing their first CGI film next year.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I miss my computer already...especially Firefox. Darn my parents' loyalty to Internet Explorer!

Anyway, there's some movie news I've been wanting to report on for a while now. As we all know, superhero movies are big, so it was just a matter of time before we started getting a slew of superhero spoofs and superhero comedies. Here's some of the notable ones:

Super Ex - So, a man dumps his girlfriend. Nothing new there, but it just so happens that his ex-girlfriend is a supehero, and she begins using her powers to harrass the hell out of her ex. Owen Wilson plays the man, Uma Thurman is the superpowered ex-girlfriend, and it's being directed by Ivan Reitman, he who gave us the classic Ghostbusters. Here's hoping it's another Ghostbusters and not Evolution.

Sidekick vs. Henchman - Only the script has surfaced, so we don't know anything about stars or directors yet. The premise: a superhero and a supervillain, mortal enemies, kill each other in combat. This leaves the hero's sidekick and the villain's henchman to pursue solo careers and continue the battle of good vs. evil.

Ant-Man - Yes, this classic Marvel character is getting his own movie, and it'll be a comedy. Marvel has begun negotiations with Edgar Wright, writer/director of the British horror comedy Shaun of the Dead to write and direct.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wow. I just got home from the city, and there was a message on the voice mail. Returned the call, and had an impromptu job interview at one of the multitudes of stations I've applied to. I'm afraid to say more would jinx it, but I'm still kind of shaking.

Anyway, I want to share my happy news. As I've ranted many times before, one of my favourite TV shows was The Flash, and if they ever release it on DVD, I'll probably snap it up really, really quick.

Now, a new trend with TV shows on DVD is to throw in a "bonus episode" from a similar show, in the hopes that it'll entice you to buy that other show. For example, The A-Team: Season 2 has an episode of Knight Rider on it.

Smallville: Season 4 comes out next week, and it's just been announced that it'll have a bonus episode on it...an episode of The Flash! It'll be the second episode of the series, entitled Out of Control.

And, once again, they tell us that The Flash: The Complete Series is in the works and should be out early next year.

Oh, and in other news, hell must have frozen over. One of my all-time favourite movies is finally getting a 2-disc special edition! Good Morning, Vietnam: Special Edition comes out on January 17.
Well, this is it.

As soon as I'm done writing this, I'm going to be shutting down my laptop and taking it in for repairs. I can no longer stand this "randomly shutting itself off" thing.

Naturally, I'm worried. I mean, the last time I took my laptop in for repairs, they had it for 6 months and did nothing but break it more, until I finally insisted that, under the terms of the extended warranty that they convinced me to pay $300 extra for, they just give me a new one. And they did.

So, what's different this time? I'm taking it to CompuSmart for repairs instead of the place I bought it - Future Shop. Two main reasons why:

1) As I learned last time, Future Shop's service center sucks hard. On the other hand, my parents have had repairs done at CompuSmart before and have nothing but good things to say.
2) Mt laptop's a Toshiba. According to the Toshiba website, CompuSmart is the "authorized Toshiba repair center" in Edmonton. I'm hoping that their staff is more trained in working with Toshibas.

but, another big difference is that fact that the warranty has expired on this laptop, so every time CompuSmart cracks it open, it'll cost me money. I swallowed my pride and asked my parents to help me out, so, that'll help.

But all is not lost. I am better prepared this time than I was the last time. I spent all last night backing up my hard drive to a series of CD-ROMs. Files that I know I'm going to need to access a lot (i.e. my resume, the MP3's of my demos, my address book) I flat-out transferred to my parents' computer.

I also uploaded my address book to my Gmail account. For the time that my computer's in the shop, I'll be diverting all my e-mail to my Gmail account, mainly because Telus webmail sucks ass. But I'll still be checking my Telus webmail for those who didn't get the memo.

I don't know. I did some reading up as to why my laptop may be shutting itself off. the #1 reason why a laptop shuts itself off is because it's overheating. Given the age of my laptop, it's a very real possibility that all that's happened is the heat sinks have become clogged with dust. In that case, all they have to do is crack her open and blow out the dust.

Oh, I hope that that's all it is.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Let's have some fun today. When I paid the extra dollar to get all my vacation photos on CD, it was for a situation just like this. Here I am, doing my best to look like Indiana Jones at Lake Louise.

It's amazing what'll spark off a memory.

As I was going for a walk this afternoon, I passed by the school, and all the kids heading outside for recess. I couldn't help but be reminded of one of the traditions of Entwistle School.

It was almost like Harry Potter. When I started the first grade, I learned that the school was divided into four houses: Green, Gold, Red, and Blue. No magic sorting hat divided us...it was all done by the principal.

In the first and second grade, we were taught that our houses were everything. We'd have meetings with other students from other grades who were in our house. And we'd have strategy meetings as to what we could do. Apparently, there were events that we could take part in, and thus earn points for our house. At the end of the year, whichever house had the most points would win a trophy. There was always a team captain, who was a grade 9 student, and he was the head of our house.

Where our house affiliations became most important was at the Track Meet. Or Track and Field Day, if you prefer. It was a way of splitting up the school into teams. Every time you won, your house would get a certain number of points. And, at the end of the day, was the special "all school" relay race. We would be split up into our 4 houses. Those were the four teams in the race. A grade 1 student would pass the baton to a grade 2 student, and then grade 3, and up the line until the grade 9's ran the final leg.

In the first and second grade, I was in Gold House. And it was a source of pride. Then, with grade 3, a new principal took charge of the school, and the whole house concept just kind of faded into the background. No more events in which we could earn points. It became nothing more than a way to divide the school into teams for the Track Meet. Even the traditional "all school" relay race got ditched.

By the time the fifth grade rolled around, the houses were all but forgotten. On track day, the teacher would tell us which house we were in, and that was it. The trophy for the house with the most points was still given out at the end of the year, but it had become meaningless...a way of rewarding the winning team from the Track Meet just a few weeks earlier.

Somewhere around grade 5, I got traded to the Green House. And I didn't really care.

And that was it for Entwistle's Four Houses...until Grade 9, and my final awards ceremony at Entwistle School. Before the ceremony started, I was pulled aside by the principal. The Green House won the Track Meet a few weeks ago, but, as I said, since the whole tradition of the houses had faded away, there was no Team Captain to accept the trophy on behalf of the Green House. So, the principal had just arbitrarily declared me the Green Captain, and I got to accept the award.

It was a kind of a sad end to what started out with so much excitement and promise on a warm October day, when the Gold House had their first meeting, and we came out of that meeting with our team cheer: "Gold is Bold!" For the six year old that I was, the house was everything.

I should expand this into a column someday.

Monday, September 05, 2005

As I've gotten progressivly fatter, I find that I'm currently in an awkward position. Most of my pants have gotten painfully tight, and I haven't had an opportunity to buy anything larger yet.

All day, I've been fighting a horrible headache.

Reminds me of this classic dirty joke:

"A man has been plagued all his life with horrific headaches. Finally, he consults with a team of specialists. Something is causing excess pressure on his spine, and that's the cause of the headaches. The doctors come up with a radical plan. They're pretty sure that the pressure will be relieved...if they remove the man's testicles. The man ponders this. Continue with a lifetime of pain, or have his testicles removed. He chooses to have his testicles removed.

A few days after the operation, the man is enjoying his new, pain-free life. He is ecstatic! He feels freer than he has in years! He walks by a tailor, and decides to celebrate his new life with a new suit. He walks into the shop.

The man asks the tailor for a new suit. The tailor looks the man up and down and says, "Certainly! Your pants are a size 38."

The man says, "Wow! That's right. And you didn't measure me!"

The tailor says, "Well, sir, when you've been in the business as long as I have, you can just look at a person and instantly tell what their measurements are."

The man decides to test the tailor. "Really, then. What's my inseam?"

The tailor: "28"

The tailor is right, and the man is astonished. "What's my shoe size?" asks the man.

The tailor: "10"

He's right again! The man asks, "What's my underwear size?"

The tailor says, "8"

The man says, "A ha! I got you there! I take a size 6! I've worn size 6 all my life!"

The tailor says, "That's impossible! If you were to wear size 6 underwear, that would press your testicles against your spine, and the pressure on your spine would cause horrific headaches!"

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I've got Grilled Cheese on the brain:

"So there’s this movie out right now called The 40-Year Old Virgin. And yes, I have heard the jokes. “Hey Mark, is that your life story?” And I respond, “No! It’s not going to be my life story for 12 more years.” Now, while I have not seen the movie yet, I have read a certain character train of the titular character that I identify with. Seems that the 40-year old virgin is on a quest to create the perfect egg salad sandwich, and he spends most of his time looking for ingredients rather than looking for sexual gratification. And I can’t help but realize that I, too, am on a similar quest. Only, instead of the perfect egg salad sandwich, I seek to create the perfect grilled cheese sandwich."

Read it all!

Oh, and in other not so exciting news, I finally got to try an A&W Swiss Veggie Deluxe today. And I was pleasantly surprised! It's actually quite good.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Dad had lunch with the oil company reps today. Dad was sharing the tale about how their conversation turned to the rising gas prices, and one of the reps said, "Yeah. Can you imagine what it's going to be like next year, when gas prices are $2 per litre?"

Now, maybe I've just watched too much X-Files, but to hear a statement like that from an oil company rep makes me wonder if a higher power has a plan in place. And I ain't talking about God.

Anyway, back to the oil patch. Be back Monday.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Here I claim to be a Kevin Smith fan, but I haven't reported on this DVD yet.

Coming out on November 8 is Jay and Silent Bob do Degrassi. This disc contains the 3 episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation that featured special guest star Kevin Smith!

If you missed these episodes when they were on back in March, here's the plot. Smith comes north to Canada to film his latest movie, Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh?. He decides to film a huge chunk of it at Degrassi Junior High, thus getting Smith intertiwned with all the Degrassi characters. It also features Jason Mewes as himself, and cameos by Alanis Morissette and Smith's wife Jennifer Schwalbach.

Anyway, if you missed it, you can pick it up on DVD on November 8. They tell us that this is an "unrated version," with 5 minutes of footage that was too hot for TV! Here's all what you get for bonus stuff:

- Interview with Kevin Smith, all about his love for Degrassi Junior High.
- Running commentary by Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Degrassi star Stacie Mistysin (on both the original Degrassi and the new one, she plays Caitlin. Yes, Caitlin Bree in Clerks is named after her), associate producer (and Degrassi co-creator) Jim Jackman, and episode writer Aaron Martin.
- Reel Footage: The Canadian Ninja Scene
- Blooopers
- Cut scenes
- Behind the scenes photos

All Kevin Smith fans should have one!
You know, talking yesterday about my cousin's "second wedding" and all that, I can't help but be reminded of this short film I saw when I was younger.

It was called Espresso. It was a short film. I saw it when I had free SuperChannel, and SuperChannel was showing it pretty regularly as filler. Let me sum up the plot for you.

Our main character is this young pizza delivery guy. And, as we learn in an elaborate opening musical number, the one thing he really wants in life is an espresso maker. Bear in mind that this was in 1991, when an espresso maker was still quite the luxary item. Our main character couldn't afford one on a pizza guy's wages.

So he hatches this plot to get an espresso maker. He starts hanging out in front of a bridal shop. And, every time a woman comes buy and stares longingly at the wedding gowns, he proposes to her. This led a montage of face-slaps, untill, finally, this young immagrant woman says yes.

Over donuts at Tim Horton's, our main character shares his plan with his immigrant bride-to-be. They get married, get a ton of presents, get an anulment, and split the presents. He figures that, out of everyone he invites to the wedding, he'll get at least one espresso maker. But he has to explain to this woman what an anulment is. Seems this immagrant woman is rather horny, and she can't wrap her head around this concept of marriage with no sex.

So they have their wedding. And yes, as he predicted, he got an espresso maker. They also got quite a bit of wine. And the immagrant woman wants her honeymoon. So, she gets our main character drunk and they do it.

Of course, he wakes up the next morning, and realizes that his plan is now shot to hell. He can't get a divorce, because he can't afford one on his pizza boy wages. After talking to every religious leader in the town, he finds out that he can still get an anulment through the Catholic church...but only the pope can grant it.

The film ends when we learn that our pizza boy is now trapped in a loveless marriage and father to three kids.

Yeah, when I was younger, it seemed kind of "out there."