Just forget the words and sing along

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oscar Picks Up and Other Stuff

There you go! I've got this year's list of Oscar picks up! You can head on over to the main page to check them out.

Oh, and do you notice something different about the blog? Since I was doing all this, I decided to switch the background image to the nice, new "starry atoms" background that my best friend in the whole wide world made for me.

Oscar Nominations!

Hoo-rah! the Oscar nominees have just been announced! As you know, I always do a "Scarecrow's Oscar Pics" over at the main website, and I'll probably get around to doing that tonight. but, in the mean time, let me throw up a rough draft here at ye ole blog. As always, there are only three categories I tend to care about:

Best Visual Effects
the Chornicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
King Kong
War of the Worlds

Gee, I have to agree with some other websites...what's with Episode III getting snubbed? Anyway, hands-down, it's going King Kong. When you got the hat-trick scoring team that did The Lord of the Rings, there is no guessing.

Best Original Song
In the Deep from Crash
It's Hard Out There for a Pimp from Hustle and Flow
Travelin' Through from Transamerica

Let me say two things right off the bat. First, damn the rules of this category! Thanks to the rules, all of Danny Elfman's songs from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were completely ignored! (At least, I think it was because of the rules.) Second, darn the state of Disney animation! My whole strategy of "it's the song from Disney's latest animated film" has been somewhat failing in the past few years. My guess? It'll be the one from Crash, as that's a pure Oscar favourite.

And now, my new all-time favourtie category, the one category I've been able to successfully predict since the category started....

Best Animated Film. The nominess are:
Howl's Moving Castle
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

First, I just want to say HA HA!! For the first time ever, there are no computer animated films in the running. IN YOU FACE, EVERYONE WHO SAYS CGI HAS KILLED ALL OTHER FORMS OF ANIMATION!! Now that that's out of they way, I'd say that the safe bet is Wallace and Grommit. The Oscars just love Wallace and Grommit, as well as director Nick Park. Don't forget, 2 of the 3 Wallace and Grommit shorts and the classic Nick Park short "Creature Comforts" all took home a best animated short film Oscar. Plus, it's long been rumoured that the Best Animated Film category was created because Nick Park's last film, "Chicken Run," was inelligible for any nominations, but still greatly loved by the Academy. With all this behind it, I'm definitly putting my money on the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

The Oscars are on March 5.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Of Postcards and Small Town Banks

Yay! I got my first Postcrossing postcard today! Postcrossing is this website that a friend of mine mentioned in her blg once. Essentially, it's this set-up where you can mail postcards to complete strangers all around the world, and complete strangers send postcards to you, so you can get all kinds of nifty postcards for your collection.

I was always kind of curious about trying it. And then, in that week between Christmas and New Years, I was cleaning my room and I found a fistful of Alberta Centennial postcards. They were giving them away free at the post office...when they eventually got sick of having them around, they'd give a fistful to anyone who bought a stamp. So I had all these postcards, and I wanted to use up the rest of my stamps because the price went up about two weeks ago. So I thought, "Let's give this Postcrossing thing a try."

I sent out 4. According to the Postcrossing website, three of them arrived. And today, I got my first one! From Brazil!


Tis a sad state of affairs in the small town bank.

Because I'm all commemerative coin crazy, I went to the Evansburg Royal Bank today in an attempt to get some of these new Olympic Loonies.

The Evansburg Royal Bank is a case study of the decline of a small town. When I was a kid, the Evansburg Royal Bank was a thriving bank, with at least a half-a-dozen tellers on staff all the time and a dozen offices in the back for all kinds of loan-giving and financial planning and other bank stuff.

Not the case today. Now, it's stripped down to a skeleton crew. All the offices are gone, giving the building a big, empty appearance. There's only one teller on duty, and she makes it quite clear that she's only there to assist seniors who can't figure out the ATM.

However, I discovered that, because of this situation, they're the best place to go to get the latest commemerative coins, mainly becase they don't move a lot of coins.

Sadly, though, the pension cheques must have just come in or something. There was a line of about a dozen seniors wanted to cash their cheques and I didn't feel like waiting. Tomorrow, then.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Latest Column & Other Sunday Stuff

Latest column's up! This week, I talk about Going to the Movies:

"But, for this past year, people have been lamenting that people don’t go out to the movies as much anymore. In 2005, the media made much fuss over the “box office slump.” Many reasons were floated as to why people weren’t heading out to the theatre. Some said that a night at the movies had gotten too expensive. Other analysts pointed to the steady stream of sequels and remakes and said that it was a lack of originality. The one thing that everyone latched onto, though, was the advent of DVD. The logic was why go out to the theatre when you can watch it in the comfort of your own home?"

Read it all right here!

Just kicking back, and getting ready to enjoy the Olympics. I'm starting to do some reading up on the merchandising push.

The 2006 Winter Olympic Mascots So here's the mascots for the 2006 Winter Olympics. The organizers of the Tornio games call them "the most original Olympic mascots ever!" We have Neve (the one with the round head), and she's a snowball. And we have Gliz (the one with the square head) and he's an ice cube. Interesting.

Here's some other wacky facts about Olympic mascots:

First Mascot - Schuss the Skier, the mascot for the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France.

First Summer Games Mascot - Waldi the Daschund, mascot for the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, Germany.

Only Disney-Owned Mascot - Sam the Eagle, who was the mascot of the 1984 Summer Games in LA. Yes, he was designed by, and is currently owned by, the Walt Disney Company.

First Twin Mascots - Heidi and Howdy, twin polar bears in cowboy outfits. The mascots of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Most Hated Mascot - Izzy the Whatizit, an abstract cartoon character. Mascot for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

Most Mascots - the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Currently slated to have 5 mascots.

Oh, and despite what that Simpsons episode says, the mascot of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal was NOT a vampire. It was Amik the Beaver.

Speaking of the Olympics, the Royal Canadian Mint is having another commemerative Lucky Loonie!

We all know the legend by now. 4 years ago, a loonie was buried at centre ice at the Olympic Hockey Rink in Salt Lake City, and both the boys and girls Canadian hockey teams went on to win the gold medal. Ever since, the loonie has been seen as a good luck charm for atheletes. And the Royal Canadian Mint has been there to cash in!

Two years ago, for the Athens games, the RCM released a special Olympic Lucky Loonie. It was just like a regular loonie, only the Olympic rings and the logo for Team Canada were imprinted above the loon.

But now, they've gone all out! The new commemerative Olympic Lucky Loonie depicts a loon in flight, with the traditional prive of an olive wreath clutched in the loon's talons. Oh, and the Olympic rings and the logo for Team Canada are imprinted on it.

Watch for it in your change! Or, just do what I do, and go get it from the Royal Bank.

Runnin, Runnin

I had the house largely to myself today, which is good. I got to watch a lot of DVDs...and, more specifically, some running commentaries.

Now, when it comes to DVD, I do love a good running commentary. Sometimes, you can learn quite a bit from them.

First up was Sin City. I watched it with the running commentary by director Robert Rodriguiz, special guest director Quentin Tarintion, and star Bruce Willis. That one was...OK. You can tell that Rodriguiz really loves digital filmmaking, because all he can talk about in that running commentary is how great digital filmmaking is.

Next up was Titanic. I watched that with the running commentary by writer/director James Cameron. Now that is a good one. Since I know that Cameron is a director that gets bogged down with the details, I was afraid it would be a very dry, technical commentary. But no. Cameron is a fairly lively guy who talks quite a bit about the actors and shares stories of the filming...and yes, lots of the technical details.

Each film still has more running commentaries for me to listen to. Sin City still has a commentary with Rodriguiz and Sin City creator and co-director Frank Miller...Titanic still has two running commentaries: one with various cast and crew members (including Kate Winslet) and one with two noted Titanic historians.

Acutally, you know, watching these films tonight, I couldn't help but think one thing: God, I still want that boxed set of The Matrix trilogy. Last time I was in Future Shop, I pulled it off the shelf and saw it marked down to $39.95. I could have gotten it for cheaper than the DVD I was there that day to buy (The Flash: The Complete Series, which was $42.95). But I swore, I'd get it with my first radio paycheque, and I'm going to stick to that.

Oh, and before bed, let me learn something cool about Titanic that I learned from the running commentary.

Rose was ultimatly saved by...Mr. Fantastic.

Yup. The sailor who returned in a lifeboat to pull survivors out of the frigid waters was played by Ioan Gruffudd, who went on to play Reed Richards this last summer in Fantastic Four.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Check Out my Fancy Titles

I think it was time to add fancy titles for every blog post. Now that I've got the whole XML feed, I think this'll make things look nicer in your live bookmarks or RSS Feeds or whatever you use.
OK, my e-mail seems to be working OK...it's just ungodly slow. There's about a 12-hour lag time between when you send it and when I receive it. So, if it seems like I'm getting back to you really slow, that's why.

Anyway, I just did my crazy thing today. As you may recall, about a week ago, I decided to put an ad on Milkman Unlimited begging for work. Well, today I got my first response to that ad.

It was for the radio station out in Edson.

So, I thought, "Hey! Edson's real close to Entwistle. Why don't I drive on out there and give them my resume and demo in person?"

So I did.

Sadly, though, when I arrived, I was told that the guy who's doing the hiring was out in Whitecourt for the day, so I couldn't drop it off in person like I'd hoped.

But they have it. And hopefully, this'll lead to a job in Edson.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

OK, I'm all paranoid now.

I don't seem to be receiving any e-mail....

Help me test my e-mail. Just click here and drop me a quick note.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Well, I guess there's some good news about this Disney buy-out of Pixar. You may remember that I reported yesterday that, as part of this deal, several Pixar staffers got promoted to similar positions in Disney Animation.

Today, as their first official act, they cancelled Disney's plans to make Toy Story 3.

You know, the more I read online, the more it seems that I'm in a minority when I say, "Disney buying Pixar is a bad thing." Most everyone else is saying, "Yay! Look at how many Pixar staff members are now running Disney animation. Maybe Disney will start making good animated films again!"

One can only hope.

Anyway, now with the election done, I can turn my attention to another of my obsessions: the Olympics! The 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy start in, like, two weeks!

There was a bit of controversy around Team Canada last week. Right now, the Team Canada organizers are deciding who will carry the flag into the stadium at the opening ceremonies. And, several atheletes came forward and said, "You know what? Don't bother asking ME to carry the flag, because if you ask me, I'll say no."

I'm not making that up. Several Canadian atheletes have refused to carry the flag inot the stadium for the opening ceremonies. Their logic is? Carrying the flag actually eats up a lot of time, as you wind up doing a whole bunch of interviews and stuff. Carrying the flag, they say, would totally throw off their mindset, distract from their training, and maybe, just maybe, cost them the gold.

Of course, several people are pissed. They're calling them unpatriotic and all that. I thought so too, when this story broke a week ago, but it's such a non-issue now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Well, it's official. An era of really good, really high-quality computer animated films has come to an end.

Disney just bought Pixar. The final price? $7.4 BILLION.

Pixar will now be folded into Disney's animation division. And, a lot of the big muckety-mucks at Pixar get big positions at Disney:

- Pixar's CEO (and Apple Computers president) Steve Jobs gets a seat on Disney's board of directors.
- Pixar's president and co-founder Ed Catmull is now the president of both Pixar and Disney's animation division.
- Pixar's creative director (and director of the Toy Story films) because the "cheif creative officer" of both Pixar and Disney animation, and the creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering. (Walt Disney Imagineering is the Disney division that builds the theme parks.)

So, that's it. The once proudly independent Pixar now gets crushed beneath the heel of the Mouse. It was nice while it lasted.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Gives me goosebumps. And not the good kind.

Paul Martin has already said that he's stepping down as leader of the Liberal Party, so we're going to have a Liberal leadership race very soon.

Some other election notes:

- Jack Layton's wife Olivia Chow finally got elected.

- Belinda Stronach was re-elected. I'm really happy to see that. I know that I'm a minority when I say this, but I think Belinda got a lot of unneccessary shit for crossing the floor just because she is a woman.

- There's one independent. He's from Quebec City. I forget his name but he is described as "an immensly popular radio shock jock."

And, the sad news.

Anne McLellan lost. The only Liberal in Alberta got swept out in the tide of Conservative support.

What did one pundit say last night about this Conservative win? "When Alberta tires of the Liberals, they vote in the Conservatives. When Alberta tires of the Conservatives, they create a new political party."

And now, let's take a look at Alberta politics. Early next month, Ralph Klein's "prosperity bonus" cheques of $400 will be arriving in mailboxes. Many companies are already taking advantage of this and are offering their "Thanks, Ralph!" prosperity packages. The Fairmont Hotel chain (which owns Edmonton's Hotel MacDonald, the Banff Springs Hotel, the Japser Park Lodge, and the Chateau Lake Louise) are offering their "Thanks, Ralph! Prosperity Packages," weekend getaways priced at...$400 per person. The Brick is starting to advertise their "Thanks, Ralph!" specials; new furniture packages for...$400.

Ah, stupid, stupid Ralph. I still think these prosperity bonuses are a stupid idea. Rather than giving $400 to everyone, wouldn't it have been smarter to use that money to, oh, I don't know, RE-INVEST IN HEALTHCARE? Or Education?

But I'm not going to turn away my cheque when it comes.

Oh, and I have to share the scariest news to come out of Hollywood.

It looks like Disney is on the verge of buying Pixar. I seriously do not want that to happen. I think that part of Pixar's charm and success has always been that they are this little independent company way up there in northern California, so far from Hollywood. I think that Disney buying them will crush their creative spirit.

And, let's wrap up with two bits about straight-to-DVD movies:

- It's official! Futurama is making its comeback! At his official website, Futurama star Billy West (the voice of Fry) announced that he just got the call. Futurama will be returning as a series of four straight-to-DVD movies. Production begins this summer.

- Tim Daly will be reprising his role of Superman for a new Superman straight-to-video animated movie called Superman: Braniac Attacks. You may remember that Daly was the original voice of Clark Kent/Superman on Superman: The Animated Series that ran from 96 to 2000. Daly bowed out of reprising the role for Justice League because he was busy doing a new TV show. For Justice League, Superman's voice has been done by George Newburn, who's been doing a really good job, too.

I have more to rant about, but this is running long.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hey! I Got Fancy Titles Now!

Latest column's up! This one's all about the Lotto:

" My all-time favourite book is George Orwell’s 1984. There are a lot of interpretations to that book, and you can learn a lot from it. Most of what I learned came from where I originally read it: Mr. Johnson’s English 30 class. I remember there was a hint of desperation in the air when the class read it. It was one of Mr. Johnson’s favourite books to teach, and my grade 12 year was the last year he could teach it. No big “book banning” scandal here…every couple of years the list of novels that fit the needs of the English curriculum is revised, and back in 1995, 1984 didn’t make the cut. Granted, he could keep on teaching it, but it now involved filling out forms and excess paperwork and it all wasn’t worth the hassle. So, it was the last year for 1984."

Click here to read it all!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Confederation Bridge. It starts on the mainland at Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick, and it ends at Borden-Carlton, PEI. It is the world's longest bridge over waters that are ice-covered for part of the year. It is the longest bridge in Canada at 13km. The designers put a bend in the middle and a hill 2/3 of the way through so drivers do not get bored.

Man, why didn't those designers build Alberta highways?

Highway 22, from Rocky Mountain House to Drayton Valley. 97km. Perfectly straight. At night. Nothing to see past your headlights.

Now THAT is a boring drive.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I gotta share one of the coolest news stories of the day.

Do you watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart? One of the funniest shows from the USA, and probably the most satirical.

Anyway, here in Canada, it's on every night at midnight on the CBC, so Stewart decided to do a whole bit on the election! Nothing like watching an American take on the Canadain election. Favourite line:

"What? You call those attack ads? Don't any of these guys have a war medal or a lesbian daughter they can go after?"

And, Stewart posted the whole thing on his website! You can watch it online!

Just go right here and watch the video labeled "New Osama Tape." Yeah, it starts with a 2 minute bit about the Osama Bin Laden tape. But past those first two minutes, it's all Canada.

Three things I learned about Sin City today, thanks to the super-special edition DVD:

- Frank Miller collects Hot Wheels cars. Every car in Sin City (the graphic novels and the movies) is actually a Hot Wheels from Miller's collection.

- As you may recall, Frank Miller actually wrote RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3. To pay homage to this, several characters in Sin City are seen brandishing RoboCop's distinctive gun. When it came time to make Sin City: The Movie, they actually went to Hollywood, tracked down RoboCop's gun, and used it in the movie.

- Miho uses Hatori Hanzo swords. When they were making the movie, Quentin Tarintino brought some leftover swords from the Kill Bill movies for Miho to use. (Tarintino had been keeping the blades in his garage.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Last one, homies! I'm done with this!

Flash Review!
Final Episode: The Trial of the Trickster

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: The Trickster is back, and it's time for his trial! But, he breaks out of jail with help from his female sidekick Prank, and then he brainwashes the Flash into being his accomplice!

Guess who's back...back again: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker to you and me) is back as the Trickster!

What's Good: Ye gods, watching the Trickster and Prank is probably the closest we'll ever get to a live-action Joker and Harley Quinn. Just like in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Hamill is so dangerously close to breaking into his Joker voice. (And this was a full year before he got the part of the Joker, too.) Plus, you have to love the brainwashed Flash's very Tick-like line: "Guns don't kill people! It's these little hard things!"

What's Not so Good: Nothing.

And this is the way the series ends, not with a whimper but a bang.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Just gotta take a minute to share the big movie news of the evening:

Gwen Stacy is in Spider-Man 3!

For those who don't remember, Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker's first true love. She was engaged to Peter before being savagly murdered by the Green Goblin in one of the biggest comic book plotlines ever.

Gwen Stacy will be played by Bryce Howard, the rising young star who was first in The Village. Howard just also happens to be the daughter of director Ron Howard.

Ye gods, May 3 2007 can't get here soon enough.
Managed to squeeze one in before supper:

Flash Review!
Episode 21: Alpha

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: It's a story as old as the hills. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in lust with each other. Girl turns out to be an android assasin built by the government and is now on the run because she's become self-aware and doesn't want to kill anymore. Boy turns out to be a superhero who pledges to help girl.

What's Good: Good action sequences. And the Arnold Schwarznegger wannabe who plays the evil android is hilarious.

What's Not so Good: Another superhero cliche, isn't it?

Final Verdict: So-so.

Oh, and speaking of dead TV shows, Law & Order: Trial by Jury - The Complete Series comes out on April 25. No word yet on bonus material. I just might get this one, because it's gotta be my favourite remix of the Law & Order theme in the opening credits.

Also in your DVD news, a brand-new 2-disc special edition of the American Godzilla comes out on March 28, along with several episodes of the American Godzilla cartoon.
Well, I didn't get a new parka today. It's tough. Just about every store is in the midst of tossing out its winter stock in favour of light jackets for spring. I hope I'll be able to survive until next winter.

Besides, my mother told me that my budget for a new parka was rather cheap, anyway, so maybe I can afford one next winter.

However, I have re-entered the age-old debate of whether or not to open a nice, new action figure.

There's this new line of action figures called "DC SuperHeroes." At long last, it's a DC answer to Marvel Legends: highly detailed, super-posable action figures of your favourite DC characters.

And there, staring at me from the toy store shelf at Zellers, was the brand-new, highly-detailed, super-posbable version of....

The Scarecrow.

Ah, to open or not to open....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I set a new record today. The shortest amount of time between applying for a job and being rejected for a job. I applied for a writer's gig and, exactly 10 minutes after I e-mailed off my application, I got the rejection letter in my inbox.

That was kind of bummer. That, and, the zipper's shot on my parka. It's falling apart anyway. Besides being shot, the zipper itself is actually about to fall off and I've got holes in my pockets. I'll probably go by a new one tomorrow.

So, to cheer myself up, I've been re-living past glories...surfing by the websites for NAIT and Augustana. Sometimes, it seems like the only thing I've ever been able to succeed at is slapping right answers on tests. In these months of unemployment, I've seriously considered going back to school. For what? It doesn't matter. Just cuz I want to be able to succeed at something again.

I was actually quite tickled at the Augustana website. That was the biggest list of clubs I'd seen in a long time. And I was happy to see that the anime club is still in existence. I wasn't a founder of the anime club, but I was a member in its inaugural year. Heh...I wonder if they still have a supreme-dictator-for-life.

See, back in my day at Augustana, it was in the student association bylaws that clubs needed five executives. So, for the anime club, their 5 executives were: president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and supreme dictator for life. That was funny.

I always wanted to start a club at Augustana. I had wacky ideas for clubs. Everything from a club dedicated to staging phony accidents for America's Funniest Home Videos to "the CLCR Fan Club." That's right, a club dedicated to promoting the radio station.

In retrospect, I think I should have formed a normal club...you know, like a movie club.

Maybe the next time.

Anyway, I have to rest up for a fun, full day of parka shopping. Oh, and I need a new colour cartridge for my printer, too....
To celebrate a successful morning of job hunting, I sat down and watched more Flash over the lunch hour:

Flash Review!
Episode 20: Good Night, Central City

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: A small time crook has stolen a sleep-inducing machine from his scientist cousin with the plan to use to hit the big time. And, a weasly Internal Affairs officer is trying to pin it on Barry! It's up to the Flash to clear his name and bring in the crook.

What's Good: Some great special effects.

What's Not so Good: Cliche, cliche, cliche.

Final Verdict: Not bad. Not good, but not bad.

Oh, and I also have some news about some of the more popular sitcoms. Mainly, they're ending.

May 18 will see the final episode of That 70's Show. Yes, the 70s are finally over. Which is good, because it's been 1979 on that show for about four years now. The show was on for a total of 8 years, and the final episode will also coincidentally be the 200th episode. Here's hoping they pay the big bucks to get former stars Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher back for the finale. (they both left at the end of last year.)

And, just a few days before on May 14, will be the final episode of one of my favourite sitcoms, Malcolm in the Middle. That one was on for a total of 7 years, and the finale will coincidentally be the show's 150th episode. I don't watch it as much as I used to, but it's still one of the sitcoms that I find consistently funny.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Had to squeeze in one more today:

Flash Review!
Episode zz: Done with Mirrors

Summary in 5 Episodes or Less: One of Barry's old friends turns up in town, and she's run afoul of master theif the Mirror Master. It's the Flash vs. Mirror Master!

What's Good: Another member of the Flash's rouges gallery makes an appearance. His gimmick is switched from mirrors to holograms. Some great special effects.

What's Not so Good: The subplot is a whole angst-ridden reconcilliation between Tina and her mother.

Final Verdict: So close....
*sigh* I'm not getting any work done! But I've still got my afternoon. Guess what I wasted my morning doing?

Flash Reviews!
Episode xx: Captain Cold

Episode Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: It's another of the Flash's rougues gallery! Captain Cold, the assasin who uses a variety of freezing weapons, comes to town to eliminate the Flash.

Hey! I Know that Guy! The crime boss who hires Captain Cold is none other than Jeffery Coombs, the B-movie star who's had a ton of recurring roles on various Star Treks.

What's Good: A solid action episode with some great special effects.

What's Not so Good: Is there some unwritten law that all super-villains with freezing-based powers have to attack during a heat wave?

Final Verdict: A good Thursday Show.

Episode yy: Twin Streaks

Episode Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: A mad scientist clones the Flash! Now, there's a second super-speedster on the streets, but with the mentality of a child. Sadly, it's not the origin of the Reverse-Flash.

What's Good: John Wesley Shipp does an amazing performance as Pollux, the child-like Flash clone. Great special effects, too. And everyone needs a message about slowing down and relaxing.

What's Not so Good: Not much.

Final Verdict: One of the better episodes.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Had to do one last one before bed:

Flash Review!
Episode (I've lost count): Deadly Nightshade

Episode Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: A new, murderous vigilante calling himself Nightshade is on a killing spree. It's up to the Flash and the original Nightshade (last seen in Ghost in the Machine) to bring him in!

Hey! I Know that Guy!: Who's that frightened heiress that the Flash rescues in the opening scene? Why, it's Jeri Ryan! Who's the somewhat frigid psychiatrist who's trying to discredit the Flash? Why, it's Denise Crosby! Trust me, this is the only place you'll ever see Seven of Nine and Lt. Tasha Yar on screen together.

What's Good: The fact that there's a bit of a mentor/student relationship between the Flash and Nightshade. A nice, psycho villain and some decent action.

What's Not So Good: Not a lot.

Final Verdict: One of the better episodes.

Oh, and just one thing I'd like to point out. In his costume and methodology, Nightshade (the good one) seems to be heavily inspired by the Golden Age hero the Sandman.
Latest column's up! This week, I tell you about Lawn Signs:

" Here we are, once again in the throes of a federal election. As I write this, there’s still about three weeks until the big day, and the election campaign is just going to get nastier and nastier. It reminds me what I did during the last federal election, just a short two years ago. Now, I’m fairly certain that I talked about this to death over in my blog, but when I recently re-told it to my best friend, it was all new to him. So then, let me remind you of how I got a lawn sign for every candidate. "

Read it all here!

And you know, I've been so busy with my Flash reviews that I've been neglecting some other bits of news.

Right now, I'm all sad that I haven't been able to watch season 5 of Justice League. It's been on the USA since September, but not so in Canada yet. True, with my high-speed Internet, I could open it up and pirate the new episodes, but at 180M per episode, that's still a long time to download, even at high speed.

So, I e-mailed YTV to ask them when season 5 starts in Canada. Now, in the past, I've noticed that YTV has one of the friendlist and most responsive customer service departments ever when it comes to TV channels. You e-mail them, you will always get a polite response.

And I got my response! Season 5 of Justice League starts in Canada on Wednesday, February 1!

But, the e-mail from YTV had more information. In essence, the rest of the e-mail said, "It's safe to assume that your next question will be about season 5 of Teen Titans. Season 5 of Teen Titans starts in March. We don't know the exact date yet...check back with us at the end of January."

So there ya go.

Now, last week, I told you that The Weird Al Show looks to be coming to DVD. Are you ready for even more "Weird Al" Yankovic on DVD?

On February 7, the DVD The Simpsons: Kiss and Tell comes out. This DVD contains several Simpsons episodes that focus on the romance between Homer and Marge. And, yes, one of the episodes on that disc will be Three Gays of the Condo, which featured special guest voice "Weird Al" Yankovic. Amazon.ca is already advertising it for $12.95.

And one tiny little bit of movie news.

Acclaimed actor and political activist Tim Robbins is planning on doing a new movie version of George Orwell's classic (and my favourite book) 1984. Robbins himself is adapting it for the big screen with designs on directing it. No word yet on who he'll get to star.

I don't think a new movie version is needed, as the film that came out in 1984 is about as close to the book as you could get. But still, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Flash Review!
Episode xx: Fast Forward

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: Pike, the evil biker from the pilot who killed Barry's brother, is released from prison on a technicality. This, naturally, leads Barry into all kinds of self-doubt about the Flash and if he's really doing any good. And then, Pike's big revenge scheme accidentally propels the Flash 10 years into the future, where Pike is a ruthless mayor/dictator! Can the Flash get back to the past and stop this future from happening?

Hey! I Know that Guy! Pike's henchman, Kelso, is played by Robert O'Reilly, whom the Trekkies best know as Gowron, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire.

What's Good: I was really looking forward to re-watching this episode. It's one of the ones that I have very vivid memories of. The special effects are really above average for the show. The acting is great. My memories of it have really held up over the years. The future Central City really kind of resembles the Gotham City we saw at the start of Batman Begins, if only on a TV budget.

What's Not so Good: Yeah, it is fairly cliched that most superhero sagas have to do at least one storyline where the hero has a crisis of faith and questions if he's really doing any good.

Final Verdict: One of the best the series has to offer.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll follow what I wrote yesterday. I'm going to go outside and play, come back, write a couple of brilliant columns for the website, upload this week's column, and just get away from the TV for a while.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I really should go outside and play this weekend. Or something.
Flash Reviews!
Episode 13: Tina, Is That You?

Episode Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: Tina (the hot scientist who helps out the Flash) accidentally gets a jolt from her biofeedback machine, and it turns her into a homicidal punk bent on destroying the Flash!

What's Good: It's just always fun watching familiar characters go nuts and insane and all that. A few good comedic moments, too.

What's Not So Good: I don't think the concept was taken as far as it could. Oh, and spandex wasn't good in any decade.

Final Verdict: You walk away going "meh."

Episode 14: Be My Baby

Episode Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: Barry meets up with a woman whose daughter was fathered by a mob boss. The mob boss is hunting for his baby. Flash must save the baby!

Hey! I Know That Guy! The mob boss is Bryan Cranston, the dad on Malcolm in the Middle!

What's Good: A few good action scenes. A few good comedic moments, too, as Barry uses his super-speed to quiet a whole roomful of babies.

What's Not so Good: The "big tough guy stuck caring for a cute little baby" is one of the biggest cliches in action shows. Even way back when this first aired in 1991, the jokes were routine.

Final Verdict: Good, but cliched.
Guess how I spent my Saturday afternoon?

Flash Reviews!
Episode 8: Shroud of Death

Summary in 5 Sentences of Less: An assasin is picking off the members of the police force who arrested her father. One of them just happens to be the Flash's boss. So, he's off to stop an assasin!

What's Good: Some really nifty explosions and death-traps. And the final scene in which Barry convinces his partner - Julio Mendez - that he's not the Flash is priceless.

What's Not So Good: A lame "don't be consumed by hate" message.

Final Verdict: A good Thursday show.

Episode 9: Ghost in the Machine

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: The Ghost, a super-villain from the 1950s, walks out of his cryo-tube and is ready to conquer the future of 1990! The Flash has to team up with Nightshade, a 1950s superhero, to deal with the threat.

What's Good: I love technology-themed villains from old TV shows. Even though this was at least 5 years before the Internet went mainstream, they managed to get it right. And you have to love those "villain is still out there" endings.

What's Not So Good: Not much

Final Verdict: A fun and exciting romp.

Episode 10: Sight Unseen

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: An invisible man steals a deadly virus and threatens the city. Meanwhile, Tina is infected with that virus and is left to die in Star Labs. Can the Flash save Tina and the city?

What's Good: I really enjoy it when a hero and a villain actually sit down and talk about their differing philosophies. It makes the villain a little more dimensional. Plus, great use of not only the Flash's superpowers, but his skills as a scientist.

What's Not So Good: Is there, like, some unwritten law saying that every superhero has to meet up with an invisible man?

Final Verdict: Good, but not exceptional.

Episode 11: Beat the Clock

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: A famous jazz musician was framed for murder, and is slated to be executed in 1 hour. But, the Flash just got evidence clearing the guy's name. Can the Flash blow the lid off this conspiracy in one hour?

Hey! I Know that Guy! The murder victim (who we learn was not really murdered) is Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett!

What's Good: Supporting character Julio Mendez finally gets an episode. The Flash taking out a bad guy by crashing cymbals against the bad guy's head at super-speed. And I always loved that image of the Flash running into the execution chamber at the last possible second to turn off the electric chair.

What's Not so Good: Rather cliched plot, don't you think?

Final Verdict: Pretty good.

Episode 12: The Trickster

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: Halfway through the series, we finally start meeting the Flash's rouges gallery! Psychotic mass murderer James Jessie has an encounter with the Flash, and is inspired to don his coloured costume and gimmicks. He is reborn as the Trickster, and starts going on a rampage in Central City.

Hey! I Know that Guy! Ladies and gents, this is why this show gets a whole paragraph in the Geek Handbook and not just a footnote. The Trickster is, in real life...LUKE SKYWALKER!! That's right, Mark Hamill plays James Jessie.

What's Good: Everything. It's like they finally took everything you like about comic book movies and managed to make a proper TV show about it. Healthy doses of action, some much-appreciated humour without seeming forced, a truly psycho villain, and a knight in shining armor.

What's Not so Good: Nothing.

Final Verdict: One of the best episodes so far.
Oh, I have to play catch-up. I got a load of more....

Flash Reviews!
Episode 5: Double Vision

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: The Flash is injected with a microchip, thus allowing a mad scientiest to control the Flash through virtual reality.

What's Good: Love that trippy dream sequence where the Flash tries to uncover his suppressed memories of what he did while under the mad scientist's control.

What's Not So Good: Hey! Just like all action shows, it's the token "episode set in a city's ethenic community," so we can have all kinds of "get out of here, stranger!" and "you don't understand our problems!" scenes.

Final Verdict: That mad scientiest was actually a pretty cool villain. I give it a thumbs up.

Episode 6: Sins of the Father

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: An old bank robber that Barry's father put away has escaped from prison and is gunning for revenge! It's up to the Flash to save his father!

What's Good: The Flash busting up a bar.

What's Not So Good: When it comes to 1-hour action shows, those "redemption between father and son" plots always seem kind of weak.

Final Verdict: A wholly unremarkable episode.

Episode 7: Child's Play

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: A young runaway has stolen an incriminating article designed to put away a 60s drug lord who's been hiding underground. Naturally, the 60s drug lord is all pissed off, because this'll put a cramp in his big comeback. It's up to the Flash to stop the drug lord and redeem the kid.

Hey! I Know That Guy! The young runaway was early-90s teen sensation Johnathon Brandis, who went on to greater fame as Lucas the boy genius on seaQuest.

What's Good: This episode contains two of my all time favourite Flash moments: the Flash uses his super-speed to catch bullets and hurl them back at a villain, AND, while high on the 60s drug lord's new drug, the Flash discovers that, when he vibrates his body at super-speed, he can pass through solid objects. Plus, one of the more accessible DC comics in-jokes. As the Flash, in his civilian guise as Barry Allen, passes a movie theare showing a double feature of Superman and Batman, he remarks "Haven't we had enough of these guys?" (In this scene, show composer Shirley Walker even slips in a little of Danny Elfman's Batman theme.)

What's Not So Good: The villain is like a bad guy from the 1960s Batman TV show, what with him being a hippy and all and having all his henchmans dressed as hippies and saying things like "groovy" and "far out, man." That, or when the Flash finally stops the villain by strapping on an electric guitar and playing a super-fast version of Purple Haze.

Final Verdict: This episode rocks. It's got healthy doses of comedy and drama.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Here, I think, is the best illustration of Alberta's near-fanatical devotion to the Conservative Party.

I saw this report on CTV NewsNet this morning. It's the story of Rob Anders, the Conservative incumbent for the riding of Calgary West.

Now, as soon as the writ was dropped, Anders dropped off the face of the Earth. He hasn't shown up for any candidates forums, he hasn't done any door-knocking, and his people have declined all requests for interviews. When the media asks about his current whereabouts, the media is told that Anders is out in BC, helping out a Tory campaign in one of those all-important BC swing ridings. Calls to the that BC riding office say that Anders was there, but he's gone now.

It's becoming a great mystery in Calgary. Where is Rob Anders? People are starting to grow cynical with this man. How can the person be so arrogant that he'll do no campaigning in his own riding? On the CTV NewsNet story I saw, they had footage from a candidates forum where all the candidates attacked him for not showing up, and many a voter walked away going, "I'm not voting Conservative, seeing as to how he can't even come out to meet his constituents."

Anders, however, is expected to get re-elected in a landslide.

And let's not forget the exciting story of Edmonton Centre. As I'm sure you know, the incumbent in Edmonton Centre is Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan; the only Liberal in Alberta.

There's a bit of a mini-scandal brewing in Edmonton Centre. I'm surprised that even Edmonton's most devoted Conservative supporters called it a nasty and underhanded blow.

Laurie Hawn, the Conservative running against Anne McLellan, sent everyone in Edmonton Centre an envelope. Inside was a little note saying, "If you were a friend of the Liberals, this would be stuffed with cash! Stand up for Canada. Vote Conservative."

McLellan called it an attack on her integrity. Hawn called it a light-hearted reminder of the Gomery inquiry. And, shockingly, most people are siding with McLellan.

And, you know, with all these crazy attack ads going on, probably the best spoof of them happened on the Rick Mercer Report back on Tuesday.

It was an ad attacking the Communist Party and it was paid for by...the Marxist-Leninist Party. As the announcer says at the end, "Bet you didn't know that Canada has two Communist Parties. The Marxist-Leninist Party. Splitting the lost cause vote."

Head on over to the Rick Mercer Report website and watch it. You want to click on the big picture of the leader of the Communist Party.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ya know, I really should be focusing my energies on that job hunt instead of pissing around doing this:

Flash Review!
Episode 4: Honor Among Theives

Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: An all-star team of the world's greatest theives converge on Central City to pull a museum heist. It's up to the Flash to stop them! Meanwhile, Barry has...issues with the director of the museum.

What's Good: The Flash chewing down on a turkey leg after rounding up the last of the crooks.

What's Not So Good: Special effects kind of take a nosedive in this episdoe.

Final Verdict: Not too shabby.
Yay! It's time for more....

Flash Reviews!
Episode 2: Out of Control

Episode Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: A mad scientist is experimenting on homeless people. The mad scientist is an old boyfriend of Tina McGee, scientest and confidant to the Flash. Oh, and thanks to genetic experiments gone wrong, the Flash fights a werewolf and...the Hulk?

What's Good: Now that the show has gone to series, production values have gone up. The special effects make-up on the werewolf and the Hulk-like monster are quite good. And Shirley Walker's score is still spectacular. You can tell that their goal was to try to do Batman in a one-hour weekly format. Plus, this episode contains the one gag that stands out the most in my mind from when I was 13 years old: Barry Allen, at a party, using his super-speed to down an entire tray of h'ors douvers in under 5 seconds.

What's Not So Good: Ye gods, I think this episode was edited with a chainsaw. And I'm not to sure about Amanda Pays, who played Tina Her acting seems a little...off.

Final Verdict: A pretty good second episode.

Episode 3: Watching the Detectives

Episode Summary in 5 Sentences or Less: A sleazy DA learns the Flash's true identity and starts blackmailing the Flash to do his dirty work. Meanwhile, the Flash tries to convince the private eye who uncovered his true identity the error of her ways.

What's Good: The scene where the Flash uses his super-speed to rig every game in a casino. All the lead actors are starting to settle into their roles, and the acting is just getting better.

What's Not So Good: All the sleazy mafia types gets you confused really easily.

Final Verdit: Really, really good comic book entertainmnet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Here's your first one, folks:

Flash Review!
Episode 1: Pilot

Summary in 5 sentences or less: Barry Allen's in a lab accident and gets super-speed. Barry's brother is killed by a murderous biker gang. Barry becomes the Flash and brings in his brother's killer.

What's Good: John Wesley Shipp (Barry Allen/The Flash). He struts around and mugs for the camera like he's the poor man's Bruce Campbell. Some of the special effects have actually held up very well. Subtle references to the whole Flash mythos. It's a comic book show in the best sense of the term.

What's Not So Good: A fairly routine superhero origin plot. Some of the special effects have NOT held up very well. The laboratories look very low-budget. And Shipp doesn't know how to fight yet. Seriously! I'm no fighter, but I know when a guy doesn't know how to throw a punch.

Hey! I Know That Guy! Richard Belzer, best known as Det. John Munsch on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, pops up as TV news reporter Joe Klein. If memory serves, this is a recurring role.

Final Verdict: I still see the cool bits, but I'm also noticing some healthy bits of cheese.
If there's one thing I love about DVD, it's this trend of every TV show that barely lasted 13 episodes getting a super-special edition boxed set, preserving the series forever. And, of course, when one of my favourite TV shows of all time finally gets said treatment, I darn near wet my pants.

The Flash: The Complete Series

It was the fall of 1990. My brother and I were still on the high of Batman from the year before. Everyone was predicting a huge tidal wave of comic book movies and TV shows, thanks to Batman. Naturally, when we started reading about The Flash, we just had to tune in.

Based on the classic DC character of the same name, The Flash followed the adventures of Barry Allen, a forensic scientist with the Central City Police Department. One freak accident in the lab, and he was given the power of super-speed. Naturally, he decided to use these powers to become a superhero, and thus the Flash was born.

My 13-year-old-self absolutley LOVED this show. It was fun, exciting, and action-filled. Everything about it screamed "Batman light," from the sculpted rubber Flash suit to the Danny Elfman-composed theme music. But all good things must end. After one year and 22 episodes, it vanished.

Of course, the explosion of comic book movies didn't happen until now. And with the teenage Flash having made a guest appearnace on Smallville last season, his new prominence as one of the main characters on Justice League, and rumors of a Flash movie to be written and directed by David Goyer (writer of Batman Begins and the Blade trilogy), I guess it was just a matter of time for the series to come out on DVD. But, I was awash in shock, amazement, and excitement when the announcement was made late last year. The Flash: the Complete Series.

I've been counting down to this day. I ran into Edmonton today just to buy this. I know I really shouldn't be spending my money on DVDs - especially 6-disc sets containing complete TV shows - but I just had to get this.

I haven't seen any of these episodes since they were first on TV some 15 years ago. I sure hope it's still as good as my 13-year-old-self thought.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier with every other dead TV show I bought. Over the next couple of weeks, as soon as I finish watching an episode, I'm going to post a review of said episode right here on the blog.

Man o man. I am just so happy right now.

Monday, January 09, 2006

It's kind of hard to not be a disillusioned voter where I live.

Today, in their series of riding profiles, The Edmonton Journal got around to do my riding - Yellowhead. As the article points out, Yellowhead has been Conservative since 1958. Well, first it was PC, then Alliance/Reform...the point is this is a very safe riding for the right wing.

I like it when the Edmonton Journal does their riding profiles. Since Yellowhead is a geographically huge area, all the candidates forums tend to be a minimum of an hour-and-a-half's drive away. And none of the candidates come door-knocking in Entwistle. The Edmonton Journal's riding profile is almost my only chance to meet the candidates.

As such, the Conservative incumbent - a backbencher by the name of Rob Merrifield - just seems to be phoning it in. He's got no real vision for the riding of Yellowhead. His only goal is to combat voter apathy. You know...get more of his supporters to the polls.

And sadly, the Liberal candidate - Nancy Love - seems no better. She seems to have resigned herself to losing and is also just phoning it in. Now THAT'S the kind of dedicated representative I want in Ottawa.

On the other hand, all of the other candidates - Noel Lapierre of the NDP, Monika Schaeffer of the Greens and John Wierenga of the Christian Heritage Party - now they all seem somewhat passionate about their parties and their platforms.

Even though we already fairly certain that Merrifield is once again going to do a lackluster job of representing Entwistle, we know he's going to get in again. Almost makes one feel like not voting. But I'll vote anyway. I know...in Yellowhead, voting against the Conservatives is like banging your head against the wall. But, if you bang long enough, that wall will eventually crumble.

I'd link to the Yellowhead Riding profile, but the Edmonton Journal's website is one of those nasty newspaper websites that you have to pay to get into. They don't even offer a "24-hour free sample" that you could exploit. I get in because I get home delivery of the Journal, and subscribers get free access to the website. If you're curious to know more about Yellowhead, let me know and I'll e-mail you the article.

In more fun news, the first-ever Clerks 2 teaser is up!

I will give it this: it looks and feels like the first film. With sequels, that could be either a good thing or a bad thing. I'm siding with "good thing" for now.

Anyway, you can go see it for yourself at the official Clerks 2 website!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Holy moly.

Watching the news tonight and the latest on the election...something big must have happened this weekend, as the Conservatives have jumped ahead to get an 8-point lead in the polls. The Conservatives are building momentum. This just may be a Conservative government when all is said and done. "Prime Minister Stephen Harper." Gives me goosebumps. And not the good kind.

I don't know. I just don't think that the Conservative Party is ready to rule yet. Essentially, they're not unified. They're still this Franken-party, made up of remnants of the Progressive Conservatives, the Reform, and the Alliance. Everyone's not on the same page yet. Hell, you've still got the Member from Kicking Horse Pass screaming "The West Wants In." It's not so much that they have a hidden agenda, as that everyone is following their own agenda. Once they have some policies that the whole party can get behind, then, maybe, the whole country can get behind them. And maybe even me.

That, and, you know, I just don't like Stephen Harper. Something about him gives me the willies.

Now, I'm not saying that the Liberals are a better choice. When you're in power for 13 years, eventually you're going to get lazy, sloppy, and addicted to the power. Case in point: Ralph Klein.

I just can't help but think that the Conservatives are going to win because, based on the media portrayals right now, the Conservatives are simply the lesser of two evils. What's that old saying? "Governments aren't won. They're lost."

With me, it kind of goes back to the first leaders debate a couple of weeks ago. There was Paul Martin, getting all passionate and raising his voice as he said he'd defend Canadian unity and get emotionally swept away. And there was Stephen Harper, just calmly and cooly making his points, his voice hardly showing any emotion. I walked away thinking: "OK, essentially, Paul Martin is Bones, and Stephen Harper is Spock. Where the hell is Captain Kirk?"

I look at this election and that's what I think. Where the hell is Captain Kirk?

The next debate is tomorrow night. Let's see how things change....

Heads up all you fellow Kevin Smith fans! It's been revealed that the very first teaser for Clerks 2 goes online tomorrow! Now, yes, they already made an Internet-only teaser made up completely of clips of the first film. But this is going to be the first, official theatrical teaser with footage from the film!

So, keep your eyes peeled for that!
Latest column's up! Today, I tell you my history as a Gamer:

" I don’t know if I have to turn in my geek membership for revealing this, but I’m not really into video games. Don’t get me wrong, there was a time when I was, but that seems like such a long time ago. I’ve come a long way from when I was a scant 13 years old and I saved my paper route money for 6 months in order to buy a Nintendo Game Boy. This was back when the Game Boy first came out, too, so I wound up paying $130 for the basic black-and-white screen that burned through 4 AA’s faster than you could finish Super Mario Land. But, time passed, and when I was around 16 or 17, the Game Boy was relegated to the back of my closet to gather dust."

Read it all here!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wasted my afternoon finally watching Titanic, all beautifully digitally re-mastered for DVD. Whenever I watch a DVD of film I already own on VHS, I'm always amazed at the visible improvment in picture quality. But yeah, it's great to finally have it on DVD. (It's one of the films where I've been waiting for a nicely loaded special edition before buying it again.)

Anyway, I watched Titanic, and, as I got Batman for Christmas, I've been watching Batman a lot lately as well. And those two movies have something in common. When they came out, they were so incredibly fucking popular. I remember that, in the summer of 1989, you couldn't spit without hitting Batman's logo. And then, Christmas 1997, I remember reading the report of a woman who sat and watched Titanic over and over again for 36 hours straight. It's incredible.

So, I'm going to share with you an idea I've had for a long time now. I want to do some kind of creative project someday that's set in the summer of 1989, if only so I can have a character who's seen Batman about a hundred times and constantly dispenses arcane wisdom in the form of quotes from Batman.

I did a little surfing...there is a very similar film coming out. It's called 5-25-77. It's about a teenage boy who loves movies and, one day, his mother pulls some strings so he can go visit a real movie set. Of course, this being the mid-70s, the film set he visits is Star Wars. The kid walks away thinking, "This Star Wars is going to be the greatest movie ever made." The bulk of the film takes place on May 25, 1977 (hence the title), and it's mostly about the kid's odyssey to the movie theatre to see Star Wars. It's a small indie film. It's been bouncing off and on the radar for a few years, and I see it's finally been made and will be coming out this year some time. It was written and directed by a Patrick Reed Johnson, and the film is apparently autobiographical.

But yeah. In that case, the movie hype is core to the plot. In my project, it'll just be the setting, resulting in a quirk of a supporting character.

Just thought I'd share. You'll probably steal it now.... Damn this blogging!

Friday, January 06, 2006

You know, what I love the most about DVD is this trend of obscure TV shows that didn't last very long coming out in a big boxed set containing every single episode. As it currently sits, there are three (3) obscure TV shows that I'm waiting for a DVD release.

And two of them come out in 2006.

Firstly, as I've ranted before, The Flash: The Complete Series comes out on Tuesday. That's one where I'm digging deep in my savings and buying it as soon is its one the shelves. I've already got Tuesday cleared on my schedule. (Something very easy to do when you're unemployed.)

And...number two. It was just announced today that sometime in 2006 we're going to get a super special edition DVD boxed set containing every episode of...

The Weird Al Show!

Yes, late today the official "Weird Al" Yankovic website announced that DVD label Shout! Factory will be bringing The Weird Al Show to DVD in 2006. No word yet on when in 2006, or what you'll get for bonus features. Weird Al is also expected to release a new album this year, so I expect that they'll come out around the same time.

For those who don't remember, The Weird Al Show was "Weird Al" Yankovic's short-lived Saturday morning TV show. It premiered in the fall of 1997 and ran for just one season. It followed the adventures of Al as he lived in his subterranian cave and learned valuable life lessons. It featured such notable recurring characters as the Hooded Avenger (the superhero who lived in the cave next door), Val Brentwood - Gal Spy, Madam Judy the Psychic, Al's Cousin Corky, and Al's sidekick Harvey the Wonder Hampster. Throw in some gratuitous celebrity guest appearances and cartoons featuring Weird Al as the superhero Fatman, and you had a solid half-hour of comedy.

Yes, 2006 is going to be a good year.

Oh, and in case you're curious, the third TV show that I"m praying gets its complete series boxed set was the brilliant sitcom Andy Richter Controls the Universe.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

You know, I just can't go to bed without sharing the big movie news of the day.

Futurama is making a comeback! Maybe.

See, Futurama is very much following in the footsteps of Family Guy. Thanks to being on in reruns 3 times a day on 6 different cable channels, plus its strong sales on DVD, Futurama has finally found an audience and is gaining in popularity. When that happened with Family Guy, it came back from a 4-year hiatus to finally pump out new episodes. The rumor has always been, though, that Futurama would come back as a straigh-to-DVD movie.

Well, it was reported today that 20th Century Fox (the makers of Futurama) have begun negotiations to "get the band back together" on Futurama.

But will they be back for a straight-to-DVD movie? No.

They'll be back for a long-delayed fifth season.

Now, of course, this could still all fall apart. They've only just begun negotiations to reunite the entire original creative team. If they can't get the whole team, this won't go forward.

But for now, it's nice to dream.
I'm just loving my new DVDs. I love Sin City. It's just so over-the-top in its violence, and its dialogue, and its poorly-computer-animated "digital backlot." Makes me want to run out and buy Pulp Fiction. I spent my morning watching Sin City.

I haven't been able to sit down and watch Titanic yet. Most of its bonus features are "branching," which I find thouroughly annoying. For those who don't know the lingo, "branching" is when you're watching a DVD, and a little icon will pop up in the corner of the screen, and you hit "enter" and it'll take you to a featurette about the making of that scene. I know some love that, but I find it annoying. I'll watch all my featurettes after the movie, thank you very much.

However, I did take some time this morning to watch Titanic's original ending. We all know the original end. After telling her story, Old Rose goes out, we see that she had the diamond all along, and she tosses the diamond into the ocean. Well, in the original ending, Brock (the guy looking for the diamond played by Bill Paxton) discovers Old Rose hanging on the guard rail, and, thinking Rose is going to jump, goes and stops her. Old Rose then reveals to Brock that she had the diamond all along, and she gives Brock a speach about the "trappings of wealth" and "money doesn't buy happiness" and other such cliches. She allows Brock to hold the diamond just once, and then she tosses the diamond overboard. Brock gets closure, and is finally able to let go of his quest.

I can see why they cut it. It was far too preachy.

Oh, and there are three very good Easter eggs on Titanic. These are the kinds of Easter eggs I love. They are:

- The classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch "Titanic's Original Ending," in which Brock (played by guest host Bill Paxton) beats the crap out of Old Rose to find the diamond's location, only to have Rose confess that she made the story up. And then, Titanic's writer/director James Cameron (played by himself) comes on to admit that he re-filmed the ending because he was "chased out of the test screening by people with torches and pitchforks" and that he wrote his original ending because he "thought it was funny to watch an old lady get beat up."

- From the 1998 MTV Movie Awards, a sketch in which two soulless Hollywood executives (played by Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn) try to convince James Cameron (played by himself) to make Titanic 2, in which a secret society of Titanic survivors have built a utopia in the Titanic wreckage.

- The classic Internet cartoon Titanic in 30 Seconds (and Re-enacted by Bunnies).

It's a very nice DVD. I will not disclose how to find the Easter eggs, because that would ruin it for you.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ahh, it was a good day. It's always a good day when you get a lot of stuff but spend very little money.

Firstly, I had no problem at Future Shop in exchanging all the duplicate DVDs I got for Sin City: Extended, Recut, Unrated. I was also very tempted to blow some Christmas money on Fantastic Four and Serenity, but I decided not to. Instead, I'll save my money for next week and The Flash: the Complete Series.

Then, I hit the greeting card stores. As I'm sure you know, starting in about August all the greeting card stores start selling their super-exclusive collector-geared Christmas tree ornaments. A lot of them are pop-culture centered, and, trust me, it's a lateral move from "action figures" to "Christmas tree ornaments." Now, all those greeting card store collector's ornaments are quite pricey...until Boxing Day. Then they all get marked down to 80% off. (They are all stamped "Christmas 2005" after all.) Of course, when you leave it to around this time, most of the good ones are gone. But, I lucked out. I got the super-exclusive Christmas tree ornaments of Storm and Princess Leia in the gold bikini. Regular price: $22, each. I paid: $5, each.

Then, I got home, to discover that there was a parcel for me! My very good friend gave me a $30 gift card for Amazon.ca which I blew on one of my most-coveted DVDs...the long-awaited 3-disc super-special edition of Titanic. And it arrived today!

Wow...ultra-mega-special editions of Sin City and Titanic. Each one has 3 different running commentaries. That means I'll be watching each film a minimum of 4 times. I have no idea when.

See, as I recently explained to my best friend, you'd think that, by living at home and being unemployed, I could watch DVDs whenever I want, but NO! My father takes every afternoon off to watch his judge shows, and prime time is reserved for Mom's soaps. So, if I want to watch a DVD on a weekday, I've got this very narrow window in the morning.

I just need my own house. Then, I can watch DVDs whenever I want! Even naughty ones.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Do you want to see something funny? Do you want to see something truly roll-around-on-the-floor pee-your-pants funny?

Go to the official Conservative Party website. You'll notice in the right-hand column that they have all their TV ads loaded and ready to play with the click of a mouse. You want to watch the one called "They'll Go Neg."

It's a very negative attack ad attacking the Liberal party for...running a negative attack election campaign.

HOLY FUCK!! This thing is up there with "so bad it's good." And it's whole tone!

"The Liberals are a party embroiled in scandal. The Liberals are a party in the depths of corruption. And what are they going to do next? They're going to run a negative election campaign. Stand up for Canada."

Did it not occur to anyone in the Conservative Party that running an attack ad attacking attack ads is a VERY STUPID IDEA??

Especially, when, so far, the Liberals are the only ones who AREN'T running negative ads. The Conservatives are attacking something that hasn't happened yet! And probably won't happen! But then, as the election campaign kicks into high gear, I guess the Liberals might be rolling out an attack ad or two.

But man, now I've seen everything. A negative ad attacking negative ads.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Latest column's up! This week, I tell you about The Making of a Christmas Card List:

"Ah, the holidays. I really do like this time of year. Christmas trees, the lights, and the presents! Lots and lots of presents! But there’s one part of the Christmas experience that I had yet to take part in, and I swore that this year I would start. It was time for me to put together my very first Christmas card list. It made such perfect sense! I mean, I’ve always been a guy who loved sending letters and postcards and the like, so why I hadn’t done it in the past was alarming. Well, that’s not true. I did put together a bit of a list and I sent everyone cards from my Christmas in Japan, but that doesn’t really count. It didn’t have the same sense of “official” about it."

Read it all here!

And, while you're at it, why don't you go check out my beautifully re-designed main page? Man, it looks good!