Just forget the words and sing along

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Various Ramblings that Have Been Building Up

When I send out my "News from Markworld" tomorrow, there sadly won't be any Favourite Quotes of the Month, mainly because I don't have any. Well, I do have this one from American Dad:

Klaus>> And they say, if you play it backwards, you can hear the voice of a dead kid!
Hayley>> Whoa! Wait, how do you play Monopoly backwards?

I'm often intrigued when I read something that's billed as "semi-autobiographical," or when an author says, "Well, I based the character largely on myself." I find it intriging because I think I'm going to some grand insight into what the author truly thinks of himself/herself. Case in point, Lauren Faust.

I've finally embraced the cartoon Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, the newest offering from Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken. One of the chracters is Francis "Frankie" Foster. She's a 20-something punk rocker chick who is, for all intents and purposes, the manager of the foster home. Doing some reading online, I find that the chracter is largely based on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends writer/producer (and McCracken's wife) Lauren Faust.

So, the other day, I was watching an episode called Frankie, My Dear, and I see "written by Lauren Faust; storyboarded by Lauren Faust," and my eyebrow raisd. It was a Frankie-centred episode, so I started thinking, "Hmmm, I wonder if this'll give me some insights into this Lauren Faust person."

The episode deals with everyone around Frankie falling in love with her, and thus her trying to let everyone down easy. I walked away going, "Well, this Lauren Faust certainly has a healthy ego!"

It happened again with an episode called Store Wars. Again, written and storyboarded by Lauren Faust. In this one, Frankie slowly freaks out as everyone around her just kind of does their own (damaging) thing. I walked away going, "Hmm, must have been a bad day at the office!"

Of course, I'm certain that most of this is just my own interpretation, as I've always been dubious of people who try to interpret creative works. Ever since those first poetry analysis classes in Junior High, I always looked at my teacher and thought, "Yeah, but how do you know that that's what the author meant?"

So how do I know that that's what the author meant?

Switching now to movie directors, I had this funny thought recently.

Mel Gibson is George Lucas!

With the release of Episode III, George Lucas said that now he can get back to pursuing his personal artistic endeavours, and making all kinds of weird, crazy art films. "I've made enough and I've earned enough that I can fail for the rest of my life," he said. Well, I don't think that he'll fail.... It's more like he's made enough and earned enough that he can do whatever he wants and not worry about what other people'll will think.

And I realized that Mel Gibson is at that point that Lucas has been aspiring to. Think about it. The Passion of the Christ was, essentially, a crazy little independent film that Gibson paid for out of his own pocket and just really, really wanted to make. We're going to get that again this summer with another Gibson writen and directed epic. It's called Apocolypto, and is Gibson's speculative take on the last days of the Mayan empire.

And these are films that Gibson can make because he's made enough and he's earned enough that he can do whatever he wants and not worry about what other people will think.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Latest Column's Up! Olympics are Done!

This week's offering is all about Blood and Guts:

"So I’ve been thinking recently about the use of gore and how it’s used in films. How can I enjoy movies like Sin City and Kill Bill, where people are killed in incredibly violent and bloody ways, but I sill get squeamish when I watch the latest episode of CSI and I’m presented with yet another incredibly graphic autopsy scene? More than that, how have I changed over these years? How have I grown away from being that 10-year old who was traumatized by RoboCop?"

As always, here's where you read it all!

Well, the 2006 Winter Olympics are done. Canada had its most impressive Olympics ever, winning 24 medals and coming in third overall.

Of course, the true star of the Canadian team was speed skater Cindy Klassen, who won 5 medals! (1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze) This officially makes her the Canadian who was won the most medals at one Olympics. And, when you throw in her lone bronze from the 2002 Winter Olympics, she is now officially the most decorated Canadian Olympic athelete ever!

We were still one shy of our promised 25 medals. See, the Canadian Olympic Committee set a goal of a minimum of 25 medals and placing in the top 3 for these Olympics. I think we did pretty well, though.

The whole promise of 25 medals comes from a Canadian Olympic Committee program called "Own the Podium." The goal of "Own the Podium" is to win 35 medals at, and therefore dominate, the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Torino was our dry run.

And you know? In 4 years, we just may pull it off. See you in Vancouver!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Tons of Kevin Smith News

Wow! I really should swing by the Kevin Smith Message Boards way more often. That's where all the big Kevin Smith news seems to break. Anyway, in case you're like me and want to know:

- An Evening With Kevin Smith 2 will be coming out in August, to coincide with the release of Clerks 2.

- the unrated director's cut of Jersey Girl is actually a long ways off. (On the running commentary for Jersey Girl, he said it was coming in 2005)

- We've had Clerks X, Mallrats X and rumours of a Chasing Amy X, so I guess it was just a matter of time before he started talking...Dogma X. Smith says that Columbia/Tri-Star (who owns the home video rights to Dogma) has expressed interest in doing a new special edition. Columbia/Tri-Star is even willing to finish the special effects for some scenes. Smith says that a Dogma: Unrated Director's Cut would probably run 3 hours.

- Wow. Turns out Smith is thinking about writing a children's book. He says he's had the idea for about 5 years, all he needs to do is sit down and write. That, and hire an illustrator.

Oh, and don't forget, Smith does a voice in the computer animated film Doogal, which comes out today.

Dude, I need a girlfriend....

So, I was watching some reruns of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine yesterday. Specifically, I was watching the 2-part episode In Purgatory's Shadow and By Inferno's Light.

Now, I know a lot of people say that DS9 hit its stride with the opening of season 4 and when Worf joined the crew. I don't think so. I think DS9 hit its stride with this 2-part episode, which happened about 2/3rds of the way through season 5.

For those who don't remember, this is the 2-part episode where Cardassia joined the Dominion, and the Dominion War began.

I think that this episode is when DS9 hit its stride because, with this episode, DS9 finally found a focus. There had been many attempts at finding a focus in the past: the Dominion, the reconstruction of Bajor, the Maquis and the battles in the DMZ, and even a war with the Klingons. But with In Purgatory's Shadow and By Inferno's Light, it's like the writers finally said, "OK, the focus will be the Dominion War."

I came to this realization about halfway through part 2, when Gul Dukat, as the new head of the Cardassian government, outlines the plans for the Dominion/Cardassian alliance. And what are his plans? Reclaim Bajor. Eliminate the Maquis. Re-conquer everything that the Klingons took. In response, the Klingons re-allied themselves with the Federation, ending the Klingon War. When Dukat said all those things would be eliminated, it was like the writers saying, "OK, here's everything that's been distracting us the whole time this show's been on. We're getting rid of it!"

Voyager never had an episode like that. Enterprise desperatly needed an episode like that. One where it's like the writers standing up and saying, "This will be the show's focus."

Many books have been written analyzing Star Trek. I'm fairly certain I could write my own.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

And the big day is....

August 18, 2006

According to the official Clerks II website, the further adventures of Randal and Dante will be hitting the big screen on August 18, 2006.

In the rest of the update, Smith reveals that a temp sound mix is in place, and it'll be having a test screening in New York on Monday. He also reveals that James L. Venables (he who did the music for the Clerks cartoon, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Jersey Girl) has already written 10 minutes worth of score for the film, and will probably do a little bit more. (I wonder if that Clerks cartoon theme will get worked in?)

Smith also mentions that he went down to "the trailer house" to give a final look at the first theatrical teaser and, with any luck, that first teaser will be in front of Scary Movie 4. Yes, there's already been an Internet-only teaser circulating the 'net for about a month now, but that was Internet-only and made by Smith himself in his basement.

Olympics and more about Klein

I wish I had an opinion to share on the failure of the men's hockey team. If I have an opinion, it has to be that we take our hockey - at least on the men's level - way too seriously.

Oh, well. We lick our wounds, we learn from our mistakes, and we come back in Vancouver in 2010.

I have to run into Edmonton today, so I'm wondering if I should swing by a Bell Mobility store.

We've all heard the story by now. A little over a week ago, in one of the cross-country skiing events, Canada looked poised to win the gold. But then, disaster struck! The Canadian skier broke a pole, and, with only pole, slipped back to fourth place. But then, miracle of miracles, a Norewegian coach ran out onto the field and gave the Canadian a spare pole. The Canadian was able to fight her way back up and won the silver.

Ever since, there's been a massive outpouring of good will from Canada to Norway. And, Bell Mobility, the cellphone people, are getting ready to ship cases and cases of maple syrup to Norway to say "Thank you!"

So, if you go to any Bell Mobility store right now, and make a donation of $2.50 to the Canadian Olympic team, you'll be able to write your name, e-mail, and a message of thanks on one of the labels of these bottles of maple syrup.

It's been two days since Klein's annual provincial address, and the controversy over it is heating up.

One of Klein's big announcements in the address was Alberta's investment in "clean coal technology." This is the technology that makes coal environmentally-friendly to use. Klein even went on to say that over half of Alberta's energy is made using clean coal technology, to which the entire province responded with, "Uh...no." It is true that more than half of Alberta's energy comes from coal, but that's using old-fashioned, "burn the coal and release lots of nasties into the air" technology. There is no clean coal technology being used in Alberta to generate energy.

Afterwards, we were told that Klein meant to say, "the cleanest burning coal."

Actually, I'm surprised that no one picked up on something about Klein's address that I noticed. For those who may have missed it, Klein was more of an announcer, and lots of proud Albertans gave their testimonials as to why this province is so great. There was this one teenage girl who was talking about why Alberta is so great. Her segment was full of inspiring images of her on the front steps of the legislature, and I couldn't help but think, "Hey! Wasn't that the girl on the news right before the address? You know...the unwed teenage mother who's suffering from an STD?"

And it was!

Klein's address came after the 6 o'clock news. On the news was the story that unprotected sex among teens is on the rise again. And, in that news story, they talked to a teenage mother suffering from an STD lamenting that she didn't use protection. And there, a half-hour later, she was on Klein's provincial address, extolling the joys of living in Alberta.

Do we live in a party province or what?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

From All Around the World

yay! I love this Postcrossing thing. Today, I got a postcard from a random stranger in Portugal.

Not only am I getting all kinds of groovy postcards from around the world, it's also a good geography lesson. The postcard is from Lisbon, which I always thought was in Spain. But no, it's in Portugal. Colour me corrected!

I also got a very concerned e-mail from a fellow in Bangladesh the other day. He wanted to know if I'd gotten his postcard yet. I told him no, but then I got to thinking, "Where the heck is Bangladesh, anyway?" It's by India.

So, yeah. This is a really cool thing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Slick Ralphie/the T-Shirts are Right

Ah, I love Alberta. The province, not its government.

I just watched Ralph Klein's annual provincial address. Forget the fireside chats of old, his provincial addresses now are very slickly-produced infomercials for the PC Party.

There, as he was at the the Telus World of Science (formerly the Odysseum, formerly the Space & Science Centre), he surrounded himself with kids and talked about the future.

As always, he really did little more than regurgitate stuff he's already announced.

I dunno. Even since Klein "paid off" the debt, his message has been "more of the same." The same what? We need now a leader with a vision, with a plan for the future, and Klein doesn't have any of that.

Just like his infomercials, Klein is all style, no substance.

Wow. Those T-shirts are right. Canadian girls DO kick ass.

I am, of course, talking about yesterday's 4-1 victory over Sweden to get the gold medal in hockey.

And now, we all sigh, sit down, and go, "Why can't the boys do that well?"

Monday, February 20, 2006


There! In case you're interested, I just did some housekeeping over at my main site, Chaos in a Box. Essentially, I figured it was time to add a new archive to Chaos in Print, my weekly opinion column. This new archive is called "Welcome to my Midlife Crisis," and it contains the articles from August 2003 to December 2005.

In case you're curious, I got the name for this section from an annonymous NAIT student, who didn't take too kindly to some of my articles in the paper and told me to "have my midlife crisis on my own time."

%$#@ Alberta Government

So, today, I finally got an answer to that question I've been asking for a week.

"Where's my prosperity bonus?"

The Government told us that, if we didn't have it by February 10, that we should panic, as the 10th was the day they were to be mailed out. So, on the 17th, I finally decided to push the panic button. Cuz hey, I got plans for my $400.

I called the 1-800 help number. 1-866-209-8903, in case you haven't got yours. I got a friendly man who asked the usual questions.

"Did you file your 2004 taxes?" Yes.

"Were you an Alberta resident as of Sept. 1, 2005?" Yes.

And then, the unusual question. "Were you living outside the country recently?" Yes, I was in Japan from June 2002 to June 2003.

"What's the exact day you returned from Japan?" June 23, 2003.

"Ah, here's the problem. Our data says you're still in Japan."

So, according to the guy, everything's been fixed now, my Alberta residency is assured, and I should be getting my prosperity bonus in April.

Let me say what everyone else has been saying: the Alberta Government is so messed up, they can't even give away money.

Happy Family Day!

I always like to take a moment on Family Day to point out the history of the holiday, mainly because it's a blatantly manufactured holiday, and I was around for the manufacturing. Plus, it serves as an introduction to Alberta to non-Albertans. When I was doing my practicum at K-Rock last year, we started getting a lot of notices for the events for the "February Long Weekend." The newly-hired announcer-from-Ontario once remarked to me, "Gee, that's weird. We don't get Valentine's Day off back home...." So I had to explain that Valentine's Day is not a holiday in Alberta. But, instead, we have our own special holiday called Family Day.

It has long been argued that Canada needs a statutory holiday in February. It's been said that a day off would be a helpful deterrent against seasonal affected disorder. (Or, as one beloved Edmonton radio announcer used to call it, "the February blahs.") Besides, the gap between New Year's Day and Easter is just far too long for, well, everyone. While the occassional backbencher stands up and talks about making a "Prime Ministers Day," there have never been any serious plans from Ottawa to form a February holiday. So, in the grand Alberta tradition of "if Ottawa won't do it, we'll do it ourselves," the Tory Government of Don Getty brought about the Family Day Act.

People started growing suspicious of Family Day when they first saw the day chosen - the third Monday in February. See, Family Day coincides with the American holiday of Presidents Day. Well, that is no coincidence. As we know, a lot of American oil companies do business in Alberta, and a lot of those American oil companies have their Canadian offices in Calgary. The Americans working in those Calgary offices used to grumble that they didn't get Presidents Day off because they were in Canada. So, bowing to pressure from the oil companies, the third Monday in February was chosen as "the new, Alberta-only holiday."

I also think a lot of opposition came about because of the name. "Family Day." Seriously, doesn't that sound made-up? What, was "Love Day" taken? But no, the intent of Family Day was to be a day off for people to celebrate - and spend time with - the family. When the first Family Day was celebrated in 1990, a mini-scandal errupted when Don Getty's son was arrested on charges of dealing cocaine. A popular joke at the time was that Getty just wanted a day off to go visit his son in prison.

And besides, look at the time at when Family Day came about. Taking a day off to spend time with the family seemed to fly in the face of the workaholic, "greed is good" mentality of the 1980s. Indeed, the opposition at the time was simply from yuppies going, "Why do I want another day off when I could be working?"

The most compelling argument though came from the Alberta Teachers Association. Yes, the ATA opposed Family Day. They went to the government and said, "Look, we always have our 2-day teachers convention in February, giving a 4-day weekend. Lots of families plan vacations for that 4-day weekend. So, really, there's already a 4-day Family Weekend in February."

But, the Family Day Act was passed, and the first Family Day was celebrated on February 19, 1990. Opposition was still strong in those early years. In fact, when Ralph Klein was elected as Getty's successor in 1992, one of Klein's first promises was to abolish Family Day. But, you know, by that time, people had warmed up to the idea of a February long weekend. And besides, who really wants to be known as the premier who abolishes holidays?

This is the 16th Family Day now, and it's become firmly entrenched in the Alberta culture. If you look around, you'll find the requisite pancake breakfasts and all kinds of Family Day activities in your community. So, dude, get out there, and enjoy your day off!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Latest Column's Up! (It's the Kevin Smith one!)

Finally, at long last, you can read all about MY Evening with Kevin Smith:

"I’ve been a fan of Kevin Smith ever since I first saw Mallrats back in university. By following Smith on the Internet, I’ve became quite well-acquainted with his near-legendary Q&A sessions. No holds barred, ask him any question, and he will answer! His sessions became so legendary that it led to a concert DVD, An Evening with Kevin Smith, which came out in 2003. I thought I’d never be able to see one of his shows for myself. And yet, on the evening of February 6, 2006, there I was, at Edmonton’s Winspear Centre, waiting for Smith to take the stage."

Read it all!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Grand Adventure/The Last Good Year

Wow. Looks like I'm off on a grand adventure.

Just hanging around the house tonight, and then I get a call from one of my old instructors at NAIT. Does anyone out there know about the MuchMusic VJ Search? Well, this year, MuchMusic decided to take their annual contest and turn it into a lame-ass reality TV show. And, they're coming to Edmonton to shoot some stuff. According to my instructor, they needed a driver; someone to ferry the crew around Edmonton and help lug around camera equipment. And, lo and behold, I'm the only one of the list of recent graduates who's old enough.

Long story short, I'm spending the next 3 days as a crewman on the MuchMusic VJ Search. It pays $175/day and it gets me out of the house.

Don't worry, I'm sure I'll find some way to screw it up.

I was kicking back and watching some Deep Space Nine reruns this morning, and I managed to catch Trials and Tribble-ations. You know, the classic 1996 "Star Trek 30th Anniversary Tribute" episode that featured time travel hijinks and the DS9 crew mucking about in the background of The Trouble with Tribbles. Ya know, I'm surprised no one's tried to edit the two episodes together yet. Nothing fancy...just take The Trouble with Tribbles and splice in the scenes of Sisko and Dax tiptoeing around in the background.

But then, that got me to thinking about 1996. Pierre Burton, Canada's favourite historian, declared 1967 to be "Canada's last good year." I think many a Trekkie will agree that 1996 is "Star Trek's last good year." Star Trek: First Contact was about to hit theatres, Deep Space Nine was hitting its stride, and Voyager was still new enough to warrant the benefit of the doubt. And, with it being the 30th anniversary, there was a celebratory air to the whole thing.

And, of course, who could forget the live, 30th anniversary special? As one critic put it, "an awards show without the awards." It was really, really...lame. When you know the headlining musical act is Kenny G, it's lame to the ultimate.

However, I do remember Ben Stiller being part of the special. Back in 1996, he was still a B-list celebrity, but on the rise. I'll never forget what he said. "When I was a kid, people called me a nerd because I liked Star Trek. And now, I'm on stage with Captain Kirk and Kenny G. WHO'S THE NERD NOW?"

However, Flag Day ROCKS!!

Happy Flag Day!

I think that we've got to work harder to help get the word out about today being Flag Day. It was on this day in 1965 that Canada's original flag was symbolically lowered from Parliment Hill, and the Maple Leaf was first raised, thus officially making the Maple Leaf the new flag of Canada.

The Canadian Red Ensign; Canada's Original Flag
It had been argued for years that Canada needed a new flag, one without the Union Jack on it. That way, we would show to the world our independence from the UK, and help promote federalism. But, when Lester B. Pearson came to power, he finally resolved to do it. See, as we all know, Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for inventing the Peacekeeping Force. The Peacekeeping Force was invented because British military involvement in the Suez Canal crisis just happened to make things worse. However, when Canadian troops showed up in Egypt to help in the first Peacekeeping Force, they were turned away by the Egyptians. The Egyptians (one of the main parties in the Suez Canal crisis) saw the Union Jack on the Canadian flag and said, "Get out of here, you lousy Brits!"

Needless to say, Pearson took it be a kick in the nuts, and he made it one of his top priorities to get a new flag for Canada. Upon his retirement, Pearson called Canada's new flag his proudest accomplishment as PM.

So, back in 1996, today was declared to be Flag Day, and thus began Heritage Minister Sheila Copps's controversial program to give away one million free flags by the second Flag Day. "Waste of taxpayer's money!" people said. I don't care, I got mine!

There are some who argue that Flag Day should be made a stat holiday, because Canadians need a day off in February. It's often been argued that the gap between New Years Day and Easter is just far too long to go without a holiday. Of course, we here in Alberta have Family Day, but that's a rant for Family Day.

I would like to call for patience in regards to our Olympic team.

I know, I know, that the Canadian Olympic Committee promised us 25 medals, and that the games have been going for 5 days now and we don't have 25 yet. I think we only have 4. And I know it upsets people when you've got people like Emily Bryden, who I heard on the news this morning. She was ranked best in the world in alpine skiing, expected to bring home a gold, but came in 20th. "What didn't happen today is I didn't perform to my ability and to my expectations and to what I know I can," she said, close to tears. "Why I didn't, I don't know. I went in 100 per cent prepared."

It's kind of funny. In the past, we'd always target our frustrations on the Olympic Hockey team, cuz hockey's our sport and all that. But now, that we won the gold last year, and are expected to win gold this year (just won our first game against Italy, 7-2), and our women's hockey team have just been throughly humiliating the competition (16-0 againt Italy, 12-0 against Russia, 8-1 against Sweeden), we just need someone new to vent our frustations on.

But my point is, remain patient. Our team is doing its best. And there's still lots of days left.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day Sucks

I hate Valentine's Day, if only because I've never been able to take part in it. Never bought gifts for a girlfriend, never had a girlfriend lavish gifts on me...never even got a pity valentine in high school from the girl whose bitchiness hid a heart of gold.

Well, Seba never had any girls whose bitchiness hid a heart of gold. Just a lot of bitches.

Anyway, I just finished writing my article about seeing Kevin Smith! It came it at 15 pages. According to the document statistics, 15 pages, 102 paragraphs, 645 lines, 7194 words. And I spent 229 minutes writing it.

Because I still have some time before publishing it this weekend, I hope to do some revisions still. Like a lot of my articles, I'm not too happy with the ending, so I definitly hope to change that within the next few days.

Monday, February 13, 2006

It's Gonna Be a Doozy


I often find that my high-speed Internet connection can be incredibly distracting. So, when I'm serious about writing something, I'll unplug my laptop and take it to some other place in the house.

I just spent the last 2 hours at the kitchen table, writing my article about seeing Kevin Smith. It's currently at 8 pages. And only about half-done.

My best friend is the one who's really wanted to see this when it's finished, but sadly, since it's already 8 pages and only half-done, I already know what his reaction is going to be. "Ugh. It's so long, I get a headache reading it." Apparently, he can only tolerate me in small doses.

So, once it's done, I guess i'll be chopping it into three articles and running them over three weeks.

Man, I was going good, too. I didn't want to stop. But Dad wants to go to Swan Hills tomorrow, so I should probably get some sleep.

But to tide you over, here's a picture for you. I took a friend to Kevin Smith, and my friend brought his digital camera. It was a crapy camera, so here's a blurry, slightly out-of-focus picture of Kevin Smith on stage.

Trust me, that's really him

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Latest Column's Up!

This week's offering I like to call A Chick Flick Diguised as an Action Film:

"It’s always kind of amazing to go back and re-visit an incredibly popular film. No matter how much loved they are in the time they are released…no matter how many awards they win…they soon fade from public consciousness, save for a few members of a fanatical cult following. And then, when you dig out your dusty old DVD that you bought in the last spurt of mania over the movie, it becomes a time capsule, reminding you of the time when the movie came out. I’ve been going through this quite a bit lately, as I’ve been buying a lot of brand- new special editions of these films. And the one I’m talking about specifically seems to sum up the 1990s and its times: Titanic."

Read it all!

Sorry that it's not about Kevin Smith. I plan to definitly sit down and write it this week.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday Means Nothing When You're Unemployed

I was finally going to sit down and write my article about Kevin Smith this afternoon, but I got wrapped up in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies on the CBC. Great show as always.

February's always a crappy time for movies, but there's one coming out today that I"m mildly curious about, and that's the new movie version of Curious George.

There was an article in today's Edmonton Journal about it. Ron Howard's company Imagine Entertainment bought the movie rights back in 1990, and have been trying for the past 16 years to do a movie version. At one point it was going to be live-action, with Curious George being a real monkey. Then, it was going to be a live-action/animation blend, with George being all special-effects. Then, it was going to be all CGI. But it finally opens today, in traditional, hand-drawn animation.

Over the past 16 years, 42 different writers took a crack at it. Pat Proft, writer of the Naked Gun movies and the first Police Academy wrote a script. The producers admitted that, while it was very funny, it didn't quite capture the feel they wanted. My hero, Brad Bird, writer/director of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, was once attached to direct. The producers called Bird's script "brilliant," but once Pixar greenlit The Incredibles, Bird quit the project.

Anyway, it finally comes out today. Curious George was directed by Matthew O'Callaghan, an ex-Disney animator who directed a lot of their stright-to-video sequels. Will Ferrel does the voice of the Man in the Yellow Hat, and voice-acting legend Frank Welker provides George's monkey sounds.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Postcards That Kick Ass

I saw this postcard in Chapters today, and instantly thought that it was the coolest postcard in the world. I naturally had to buy it for my collection. And at $2.50, it's one of the priciest in my collection.

If there's one thing that I truly miss about Japan to this very day, that's the Japanese stationary shop. It wasn't quite the simple repository of paper, pens, and blank floppy discs like over here. The Japanese stationary shop was also home to some truly beautiful greeting cards.

And racks and racks of postcards just like this one.

My postcard albums are full of postcards similar to this, which I got in Japan. Pages and pages of them.

Man, I miss postcards like this.

Looks like I"ve got nothing scheduled for tomorrow, so I'll be able to sit down and write my article about Kevin Smith. I starting to discover that, even though it was two nights ago, I can't force my memories of it. I kind of need to sit back and let my mind wander, and bit by bit, it comes back to me.

Here's another tidbit. Earlier in the night, Smith was asked the question, "Now that you've achieved your dream, what are your dreams now?" That question kind of took him off guard, and he'd revisit it throughout the night. After the intermission, he said this,

"Actually, when I was younger, I dreamed of opening a deli. It had to do with the fact that I worked in a sandwich shop, and I became really good at making sandwiches. So, I think I'd like to open a deli. It would be a "Jay and Silent Bob" themed sandwich shop, just so I could make a grilled chicken sandwich and call it 'The Cock Smoker.'"

The Working Stiff

God, I want to sit down and write about Kevin Smith, but I haven't had the time yet. In the oil patch all day yesterday, and now I must run yesterday's samples into the lab today. When can a guy sit down and write?

Oh, well. Since I'm going into the city, I'll probably do something foolish like buy Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I really shouldn't, but I'm going to.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


"I'm one of those guys who, when he learns something new, just has to learn EVERYTHING about it. So I read up on the Mall, and I find that it actually divided Edmonton. Edmonton used to have this really vibrant downtown, and then all the businesses got sucked to the west end, and I started thinking, 'Wow. Edmonton is a town divided. It's a town divided by a mall.' I figure that there's a movie in that some where. Then I remembered the last movie I made about a mall. Didn't go over so well."

And thus began my evening with Kevin Smith. Of course, that was just the end of a half-hour tale about his impressions of Edmonton, which was used to kick off the show.

All I can say is that seeing Kevin Smith live was truly one of the greatest experiences I've ever had.

And now, I'd love to rant more about, but I've got to be up in 4 hours to go sump sampling.

Monday, February 06, 2006


YES YES OH GOD YES! Kevin Smith comes to Edmonton tonight! And I have tickets!

I'm really, really excited about this. Firstly, I've never, ever been to a concert before, so this'll be the closest I've ever come. (Technically, I guess, it's a lecture.) Secondly, I just love Kevin Smith. I"m currently sitting here, trying to think of a really good question to stand up and ask him during the Q&A that makes up most of his show. Right now, I'm leaning towards this one:

"OK, now, we all know the story of how you were working in the QuickStop until you finally decided to get up there and go for it and pursue your dream of making a movie. Now, I've learned from personal experience that, when you work a minimum wage shit job like that, you have this nasty tendency to get comfortable, and it sometimes takes a kick in the ass to make you go, 'Fuck this! I'm going to pursue my dream!' So, if you don't mind me asking, what was your kick in the ass?"

Right now, I'm only wondering how long his show will go. Apparently, his show in Indianapolis back on Thursday ran 6.5 hours. I'm only concerned because, at 7AM on Tuesday morning, I've got to be on the road to go sump sampling in Fox Creek. I would like to get at least a little sleep in....

In a perfect world, I'd have Tuesday off and I'd spend all Monday night writing a column about the show for my website.

I hate the double standard in our political system.

Steven Harper's cabinet has just been sworn in, and with it came the surprise that former Liberal Cabinet minister David Emmerson has just crossed the floor and become a Conservative. Under Martin, Emmerson was the Minister of Industry. Under Harper, Emmerson is going to be the "Minister of International Trade & Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver Olympics."

Now, where's this double standard?

Are we going to see any angry editorials portraying Emmerson as a traitor and a turncoat? No.

Are we going to see any cartoons portraying Emmerson as a whore who sold himself to the highest bidder? No.

Are the Conservatvies forcing him to resign and then re-run in a byelection like they promised in the election? No.

Are we going to continue saying it all about Belinda Stronach, just because she's a woman? Yes.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Latest Column's Up!

This week, it's a Dead TV Show-palooza:

"I’ve said it many times before. One of my favourite aspects of the DVD phenomena is how those dead TV shows that barely lasted for 6 episodes soon get a super-special edition DVD boxed set preserving the series for the fans that became so dedicated to it. This is starting to become an accepted practice, as many studios see it as a way of recovering losses from a failed TV show. I, too, have fully embraced this practice, and have bought many DVD boxed sets that have the subtitle “the complete series.” So, I’m going to take a minute to rattle them all off and recommend them to you."

Click Here to read it all!

And a big special thanks to this week's special guest publisher for making it look all purty.

Where is this week's column?

Nerd: Spends his free time reading articles on Wikipedia.

Super Nerd: Spends his free tim editing articles on Wikipedia.

I couldn't help it! I was bored. There were some interesting trivia facts I knew about that one thing, so I clicked on "edit," and before I knew it, I was editing an article.

Anyway, I'm just kicking back right now, waiting for my best friend to e-mail me this week's column. No, he didn't write it. He knows some new tricks in HTML, and he wanted to try them out on this week's column. He wanted to be my "special guest publisher," as he put it. He e-mailed me back on Wednesday to tell me that it was pretty much done, just that he needed to do a couple more things to it.

but of course, the clock is ticking down on Sunday and it hasn't arrived yet. I got so used to uploading them on Sunday afternoon just out of boredom.

and the weird thing is, I kind of new this was going to happen. We he first approached me about doing this a week ago, I spetn 24 hours of e-mail going, "It'll be ready by Sunday, right? I'll be ready by Sunday, right?" and he said, "Sure it will!" And, here it is, Sunday, and it ain't here yet.

Oh well. I have a back-up primed and ready to go. Plus, I have that little disclaimer "New one posted by Monday 9AM MST" just to cover my butt in situations like this. there will be a column this week. It just might be up a little later than you're used to.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Workin' On Saturday

I was going to do stuff this evening, but I'm just so tired. Spending all day marching across frozen oil leases does that to guy....

Actually, do you want to know what really freaks me out? Really dense forests. I've run into this several times working with my Dad in the oil patch. You go to this oil lease in the middle of nowhere. And, surrounding you on all four sides are really dense forwards. You can only see about 1 metre into the bush, and then it gets as black as night in there.

It gets freaky after a while. Espeicallly when you reach this point by travelling 5km by quad.

In much happier news, I finally found what happened to Rick Moranis! And no, he wasn't in the really dense forests.

You remember Rick Moranis? The Canadian comedian. He was in such fine movies as Ghostbusters, Spaceballs and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. His best known role is still Bob McKenzie (as in "Bob & Doug McKenzie") from SCTV.

Anyway, he stopped making movies around 1996 and just kind of dropped off the face of the Earth. Well, he didn't disapper completely. Around 1998 or so, Bob & Doug McKenzie became the spokesmen for Molson Canadian in the USA, and Bob & Doug were resurrected for a series of TV spots in the USA. (God bless cable.) And then, he did a voice in the Disney animated film Brother Bear. Needless to say, his career has been decidly low-key.

Moranis is enjoying a bit of a comeback right now. As he's been explaining in interviews, his wife passed away in 1991, and, around 1996, he started realizing that working and being a single dad was too hard. So, since he made millions from all his movies, he retired to be a full-time dad. Very cool.

But now, why is he enjoying this comeback? He actually has a country music album out right now. As he explains in interviews, his kids turned him on to bluegrass, and from there, to country music. And, since he's always been a musician, he broke out his guitar and started goofing around. He ended up writing a whole bunch of country music songs - each with his own distinct brand of humour.

The end result was an album called The Agoraphobic Cowboy. Moranis recorded it independently and sold it exclusivly through his website.

And, it's made headlines because, despite this very limited release, it's gotten a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album. Because of all this added hype, it's getting a mainstream release this Tuesday.

After I heard all this, I had to go looking. In case you're curious, here are this year's nominees for Best Comeday Album:

the Agoraphobic Cowboy - Rick Moranis
Family Guy Live in Vegas - The cast of Family Guy
Luther Burbank Performing Arts Centre Blues - Lewis Black
Never Scared - Chris Rock
the Right to Bare Arms - Larry the Cable Guy

Friday, February 03, 2006

Little Mermaid on DVD

Yay! It was announced today that Disney is finally giving The Little Mermaid the 2-disc special edition treatment! Work has only just begun, but you can expect a digitally remastered picture and sound, plus a whole new swack of bonus materials including deleted scenes, unused songs, storyboards, concept art, brand new retrospective documentaries, and running commentaries. It's penciled in for an October 3 release.

I bring this up because I already have the 2-disc special editions of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Once I have The Little Mermaid, the quartet will be complete! You know, when Disney was making good animated films, and before they settled on a formula and started pumping them off an assembly line.

Superman Stuff

This has been news for about a week now, but I have to report it.

Do you know the whole story of Superman, the now-classic 1978 film? See, originally, they were making Superman and Superman II at the same time, with the idea that they'd come out within a year of each other. You know, like The Lord of the Rings. But, the two films were constantly running behind schedule, and, when about 80% of Superman was done and 60% of Superman II, the producers went up to director Richard Donner and said, "Ya know what? We're going to put #2 on hold. Just focus on finishing #1." And that's what was done.

Now, Superman comes out and makes a ton of money. Naturally, they all said, "Great! Now let's go finish #2!" But, did they ask Richard Donner to come back and finish directing #2? NO! See, the producers always wanted the movie to be kind of silly and campy, like the ol' Batman TV show. Donner wanted to make a version more faithful to the comic. And they had constantly huge fights on the set about that. So, when it came time to do #2, the producers told Donner to go to hell, and they brought in British director Richard Lester to film the remaining 40% of Superman II.

And, from that point on, it's always been a bit of a geek fantasy to see Superman II: The Richard Donner Version.

And you know what? We're finally going to get it!

With Superman Returns slated to come out this summer, Warner Brothers has begun work on a massive boxed set containing super-special editions of the first 4 Superman films. And, as a special bonus, you're finally going to get Superman II: The Richard Donner Version. Donner himself has declined to participate (still some bad blood over all this), but they're going to be assembling the Donner edit using Donner's editor and all of Donner's notes.

This is very, very cool.

Oh, and I've got an interesting bit about Smallville. Last year, young Clark Kent met up with the teenaged Flash. Back in November sweeps, he met up with the teenaged Aquaman. Which DC Comics superhero will young Clark Kent be meeting in February sweeps?

Why, it's everyone's favourite Teen Titan, Cyborg!

In the comics, young Victor Stone was the child of STAR Labs scientists who was victim to a lab accident, and in order to save his life, his father turned him into a cyborg. On Smallville, Victor Stone is a victim of a LuthorCorp experiment, thus turning him into a cyborg.

The episode will be on in the next couple of weeks.

But, as we all know, there's still one superhero we're all dying to see on Smallville. We're all still waiting for that one episode were Clark bursts in on Lex Luthor and Luthor says, "Ahh, Clark. Here, I want you to meet an old prep school friend of mine. Clark Kent, meet...Bruce Wayne."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's Midnight...I'm Rambling...and that's how this blog got its name

So much going on I want to share:

- So, tomorrow morning, Northlands is expected to announce major changes to Klondike Days. For about a decade now, they've been talking about changing the theme, and the finally did it. If the rumors are true, then tomorrow morning, it will be so long, Klondike Days! And hello...Capital Ex. As in "The Capital Exposition." Sounds like a rejected X-Men title.

- Something that was announced yesterday. Highway 21 and 63, the two roads that lead to Fort McMurray. Considered to be the most dangerous highways in the province, especially with a number of large-casualty car accidents along it. People are calling for the highway to be twinned. The government is saying, "No, the highway doesn't need to be twinned. What needs to happen is for people to finally start obeying the speed limit on that highway. Failing that, we need more cops on that highway." So, yesterday, the government announced that they would be hiring 10 special constables to patrol the highway. And, says the government, if it works well, they'll expand to put more special constables on other dangerous highways. In essence, the Alberta Government is creating a highway patrol.

Now, for as long as I can remember, there have been rumours of the Klein Government forming an Alberta Provincial Police force. I first heard the rumour about 11 years ago, when Fish and Wildlife officers were finally cleared to carry sidearms. It was whispered again about a year ago, when Klein announced that the government would be starting its own police academy, to make sure that county mounties, First Nations tribal police, and other smaller police forces get the same training.

I definitly see it happening. I say, in the next 10 years, there will be an Alberta Provincial Police.

- And hey! The second Gomery Report came down today. This report lists the way that the federal government can fix the system, so something like the sponsorship scandal will never happen again. Just think! If the Liberals had their way, we'd be calling an election now, because Paul Martin always maintained that he'd call an election when the second report came down.

It's February!

Yay! I got a second Postcrossing postcard today! I'm going to have to sit down and send out some more. I'm sure they'll love me at the post office when I walk down there with $5 and buy a bunch of those postcards that have the stamps already on them.

Oh, and I was able to get to the bank today and I got my lucky Olympic loonies. Huh. Yesterday, I sent a purely platonic Valentine of friendship to a friend of mine, and I was hoping to throw in a lucky loonie. Since I didn't have one yesterday, I opted for an extra Alberta Centennial quarter instead. I hope she likes it....

And I have to share the big movie news of the morning. Genndy Tartakovsky is going to be directing the long-awaited sequel to the cult classic The Dark Crystal. Tartakovsky is the animator extrodinare who brought us Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars. This sequel, currently titled The Power of the Dark Crystal is going to once again be all with puppets, but with computer-generated sets. So, think Sin City, but with Muppets. Filming begins this summer for a 2007 release.

Now, to have some lunch, and then I'll get to my "start of the month maintenance" to my website this afternoon.