Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, March 31, 2006

It's Official

Yup, there is a teaser for The Simpsons: the Movie in front of Ice Age 2.

Apparently, the teaser goes like this. It's a close up of the Superman logo, with the narrator saying, "Coming to the silver screen, in a single bound!" and other Superman descriptions. The camera pulls back, and we see that it's Homer Simpson, on the couch, wearning a Superman T-shirt, and his underwear. Homer says, "Uhh, I forgot what I was supposed to say." It then flashes on screen "The Simpsons. The Movie. July 27, 2007." And Homer replies, "That soon? We'd better get to work."

If you don't want to go see Ice Age 2, then just hang tight. Apparently, for the past week on the Fox Network, they've been advertising a "secret surprise" on this week's episode of The Simpsons. Everyone's jumping to the conclusion now that it's the teaser.

What? A Teaser for the Simpsons Movie?

OK, so we've known for sometime now that Matt Groening and his crew are finally working on a big-screen version of The Simpsons. Hey, with every crappy Disney toon getting a movie version, all those die-hard Simpsons fans kept going, "When's it gonna be our turn?" The project is still pretty hush-hush, and all we know is it's finally going to be in theatres before the end of the decade.

And now, Ice Age 2 hits theatres today, and reports are starting to come in that, in front of Ice Age 2, is the very first teaser for The Simpsons: The Movie.

Actually, there are two different teasers, if the reports are to be believed. The first one is a spoof of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns teaser, doing nothing but showing iconic Simpsons images. The other is simply Homer sleeping on the couch. Each one is 30 seconds long, and each one gives a release date of July 27, 2007.

Now, I'm not telling you to run out and go see Ice Age 2 this weekend, just to see this teaser. Reports are sporadic, meaning that the teaser was probably just randomly sent out on half of all copies of Ice Age 2. So just sit back and wait. More as it develops.

And speaking of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, today it was also announced that Superman will be in IMAX...in 3D.

Releasing big blockbusters in regular theatres as well as IMAX is becoming commonplace. But, this is the first time that a film has also been re-formatted for IMAX 3D. Now, the whole film will not be in 3D, just 4 key action sequences, ammounting to about 20 minutes of the film's running time. There'll be a little icon that pops up in the corner of the screen telling you it's time to put on your 3D goggles.

But still, this just may be the future!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

CGI Catch-Up Part 2

So here's how I spent the rest of my evening:

Madagascar - I was surprised. It was a lot funnier than I expected. The pop-culture references were still there, but a lot of the humour came from good ol', Looney Toons-style slapstick. It had a great, cartoonish look to the whole thing. 3 nibs.

Chicken Little - It was short. It had too many musical montages. It stole quite a bit from other movies. But still, it was kinda, sorta, good. 2 nibs.

CGI Catch-Up pt. 1

There was once a time when I ran down to the theatre to catch every new animated movie that came out. But now, not so much. I think why can be summed up by a quote from a recent review of Ice Age 2. "With computer animation, filmmakers can tell any kind of story they want. So why are we getting nothing but talking animals making fart jokes?"

Anyway, today, since I got caught up on all the work I wanted to do, I decided to rent some of the big CGI blockbusters of the past year-and-a-half and play catch-up. I was thinking of doing a massive article over on the main website, eh, but I'm lazy. Here's what I've watched so far:

Shark Tale - Yikes. There's absolutly nothing spectacular about this one. I've seen the same story told in half-hour episodes of lesser cartoons. And the pop culture reference jokes? Not even I got them. I think this marks the beginning of the end for "the DreamWorks formula." 1 Nib.

The Polar Express - I gotta give props to Robert Zemeckis. The dude wrote and directed one of my favourite trilogies, Back to the Future. When I heard he was going to be doing an all-motion-capture animated film, I was...curious. There is some truly spectacular animation going on here...if you ignore the dead faces on all the characters. And, my big lament when it comes to Christmas movies, is that they fail to capture a sense of magic about the season. Polar Express actually manages to capture the magic in a few scenes. However, big, loud, action sequences used to fill out the movie once again proves why children's books that top out at 24 pages shouldn't be made into films. Surprisingly good, though. 3 Nibs.

Oh, supper's ready. I'll be back later this evening with Madagascar and Chicken Little.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

O, Cruel Irony

Tonight was one of the episodes of Justice League Unlimited that I'd been dying to see. Entitled, "The Great Brain Robbery," it concerned the Flash and Lex Luthor switching bodies. Of course, the whole in-joke was that Michael Rosenbaum, who does the voice of the Flash, also plays Lex Luthor on Smallville. So, for the first time ever, we'd get to hear Rosenbaum speak his Lex Luthor voice on Justice League Unlimited.

So, naturally, when I sat down to watch Justice League Unlimited this Wednesday night, there was no sound on YTV.

That's what you call irony.

I wound up watching it with the closed captioning on. There were still great moments. Like when Lex-in-Flash's-body decides to make the most of the situation.

Lex-in-Flash's-body>> Well, if nothing else, I can finally learn the true identity of the Flash!
(He removes his mask and looks in a mirror)
Lex-in-Flash's-body>> I have no idea who this is.

Or, when Flash-in-Lex's-body is trying to mingle unnoticed with all the other supervillains. Here's right after Dr. Polaris corners him in the washroom....

Dr. Polaris>> Wait. Aren't you going to wash your hands?
Flash-in-Lex's-body>> No. Cuz I'm evil.

Good thing it's on again on Saturday.

I've also been surfing the web, pricing out some radio plays. I do enjoy radio plays, and you can still buy some on CD. You have to go to bookstores and go digging through the Audiobooks section. In case you're curious, here's some radio plays on CD you can get me someday:

Two Plays for Voices - As a fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, fantasy author extrodinare Neil Gaiman adapted two of his short stories into radio plays. Gaiman's radio scripts were then fully produced by the Sci-Fi Channel. The two Gaiman short stories adapted for radio were: Snow, Glass, Apples, a re-imagining of Snow White in which Snow White is a vampire, Prince Charming is a necrophiliac, and the Wicked Queen is actually a kind and benevolent ruler trying to keep everyone in check. The other story was Murder Mysteries, a riff on film noir and its conventions in which the Angel of Vengeance is dispatched by God to find the universe's first-ever murderer.

Star Wars - Yup, George Lucas allowed NPR (the USA's answer to CBC radio) to adapt Star Wars into a radio play as a fundraiser. It was produced way back in 1981. Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels were the only ones who reprised their movie roles...Brock Peters took over as the voice of Darth Vader. NPR then went on to adapt The Empire Strikes Back in 1982 and Return of the Jedi in 1996. They're all on CD. The only time I ever saw them on a store shelf was at an English-language bookstore in Japan. The only reason why I didn't buy them was I balked at the ¥150,000 asking price. (That's about $160.) And that was just for one. Next time I'm at Chapters I should see about special ordering.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Did you know that Douglas Adams' sci-fi/comedy classic originally started as a BBC radio play? It's true. In fact, the first two books in the series are simply the novelization of the whole series. Again, the original radio plays have been release on CD, and I wouldn't mind hearing where it all began.

So, yeah. Keep that in mind for my birthday.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Robot Chicken/V for Vendetta Review

It's rare for me to run out to the store and buy a DVD of a movie I've never seen. Even rarer is for me to run out and buy the complete first season of a TV show I've never seen.

But, today, I ran out and bought the complete first season of a TV show I've never seen.

The series is called Robot Chicken, and let me tell you why I simply had to buy it.

As you all know, I love ToyFare magazine. And the highlight of every issue is Twisted ToyFare Theatre. This is where they take vintage action figures, put them in compromising poses, take a picture, photoshop in some word ballons of the action figures making fart jokes, and make a comic strip out of it. It's one of the funniest things going.

Robot Chicken is Twisted ToyFare Theatre: The Animated Series. Instead of taking pictures, the action figures are brought to life in the glory of stop-motion animation.

The series was the brainchild of Seth Green. Nerds know him best as Scott Evil in the Austin Powers films, Oz the werewolf on the first few season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the voice of Chris Griffin on Family Guy. Green is a known action figure collector and huge fan of ToyFare magazine, so to help him bring this series to life, he went to the offices of ToyFare and stole three-quarters of the writing staff of Twisted ToyFare Theatre.

It's been airing in the States on the Cartoon Network for about a year now, and was an instant hit. And, for obvious reasons, I've been wanting to see it.

So, I bought it today. I'm going to go watch it now. I'll share my review.

Speaking of reviews, I also managed to catch V for Vendetta today. Head over to the main website to read my review!

Playing Catch-Up

WOO!! Yesterday was windfall Monday! A full two months late, my Alberta prosperity bonus finally came! And, also in the mail, was my tax refund! It pays to file early, kids.

And, with any luck, the windfall isn't over. Sometime this week, I should also hopefully, finally, be getting my paychech from my MuchMusic VJ Search chauffering gig. So, yay me!

I was reading the news this morning about the big lawsuit that just hit British courts. It's Apple vs. Apple! Here are our champions:

Apple Corps, Ltd. - This is the company that still looks after the business affairs of the Beatles. You buy any Beatles merchandise, they get the money. It's owned by the two surviving Beatles, and the estates of the two deceased ones.

Apple Computers - One of the biggest names in home computing. They make Macs and iPods.

Now, these two companies have long-fought over who owns the name "Apple." The two companies finally called a truce back in 1991 when they entered into an agreement that it's OK for each other to use the name "Apple" as long as they don't intrude on each other's business. That is, Apple Corps will never get into computers, and Apple Computers will never get into music.

And that's what's causing the trouble right now. "Apple Computers will never get into music." With the explosion of the iPod, and the millions being pulled in through the iTunes online music store, Apple Corps claims that Apple Computers has broken the agreement and gotten into the music buisness. Apple Computers says no.

It's now gone to trial in the British courts. And the judge owns an iPod.

I caught a few reruns of seaQuest DSV these past few mornings. I loved that show when it was on about 12 years ago, but now it's so dated.

As you may remember, back in the early-90's, environmentalism was quite the fad. Cartoons and TV shows were produced with "ecologically conscious messages." It's was the growing push that led McDonald's to abandon their styrofoam containers and adopted classic paper wrappers. And, as someone once said, "You can tell a fad's gone mainstream when the fast food companies jump onboard."

This is best shown in that first season of seaQuest. Villains were quite often eco-terrorists, doing things like blowing up factories because that factory's not following the Kyoto protocals. And our heroes would come charging in on their super-submarine and give a variation on the traditional "violence is not the solution" speech. "Violence is the only way, because the people are listening! They're not doing anything to save the planet!" the villain would reply. And the producers would hope that we, the people, would get the hint.

I've always wanted to write this article for my website. Hell, it's been in the back of my head ever since the Dag. The working title is "Whatever Happened to Environmentalism?" My core thesis would be that it's sad that environmentalism had such a huge awareness about 15 years ago, but now, not so much.

Don't get me wrong, environmentalism isn't gone completely. Cities have set up massive recycling programs. Many of us have become more waste-conscious in our homes. But it's sad that environmentalism doesn't have the heights of awareness that it did in, say, 1992.

I've also wanted to make a few comments on Edmonton's new hockey team.

For those who haven't heard, Edmonton was just awarded a WHL franchise. The WHL is minor league hockey, although you've probably heard of several of the other teams. The Calgary Hitmen, the Red Deer Rebels, and Medicine Hat and Lethbridge are all teams in the league.

This isn't the first time Edmonton's had a WHL team. The Edmonton Oil Kings of the 1960s are still legendary in the Edmonton sports community. They were more or less replaced by the Oilers. And Edmonton briefly had the Edmonton Ice in the mid-90s. They only lasted two seasons, before being moved to Cranbrook, BC.

So, how will we not repeat the incident of the Ice? This time around, the WHL team (they're still unnamed) will be owned by the Oilers, and pretty much be the Oiler's farm team. The Oilers and the Ice were competitors...this time, the Oilers and the WHL will be partners.

Now, you might be going, "Whatever happened to the Edmonton Roadrunners?" Well, the Roadrunners were AHL - American Hockey League. They were originally the Toronto Roadrunners, but the AHL couldn't make it in Toronto. The team was on the verge of collapse, and with the NHL lockout looming on the horizon, the Oilers (the major-league affiliates of the Roadrunners) said, "Hey! Why don't we move them to Edmonton so we've got something to fill Rexall Place during the lockout?"

And that's what they did. When the NHL came back, the Roadrunners finally died.

I'm not a big sports guy, but I love the business of sports, the history of sports, and the merchandising of sports. I like pretty much everything but the games themselves.

Still wondering what to do with my Tuesday.

As you know, I'm volunteering now with an Edmonton radio station as part of their street team. I'm the guy who hands out stickers and events and stuff.

Sunday was "training night," and that was a disaster. I was warned about it. When they want volunteers for this street team, they want the die-hard listeners...people who love the station so much that they want a peek behind the curtain. When they found out about me - a broadcasting grad who was doing this to get his foot in the door - well, the big boss man in charge of this program suddenly developed a very low opinion of me.

I volunteered to help out with an event today. I then heard from the second in command - actually a very decent fellow - that today, he and the big boss man were going to be having a big meeting discussing the aftermath of the training night, and deciding where to go from there. I walked away from that conversation with the impression, "Don't bother volunteering until you hear from us." I e-mailed them to get clarification - to see if I walked away with the right impression - and I've yet to hear back.

So, I'm kind of in limbo right now. Do I wait by the phone for the OK to come and volunteer today? Or do I get on with my life?

I'm just trying to follow the advice of my mother. "Just because you're working for free, it's no excuse to let them jerk you around."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Latest Column's Up!

This week, I finish my Untold Tale of Japan: Nagano:

"As is also becoming a growing custom in the Winter Olympics, the ski jumps – in fact, a lot of the skiing venues – aren’t in the host city. Let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of Olympic-level ski hills in most metropolitan downtown areas. Instead, they are at a small ski village a short bus ride from town. And Nagano was no exception. The ski jump towers were in a small village called Hakuba. On this day, I would venture deep into the mountains to Hakuba."

Go read it all!

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Race Heats Up

Wow. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Politics is one of the greatest spectator sports on Earth. The show I'm watching right now is the leadership race for the PC Party of Alberta.

To recap...during the last provincial election about two years ago, the only campaign promise that Ralph Klein made was that this is his last term. Of course, as soon as he was re-elected, the question of when he'd resign began.

Ralph finally made it clear about a week ago. He'll turn in his resignation in October 2007. The people of Alberta were stuck with Ralph's long good-bye, and the very private Tory leadership race finally burst into the mainstream.

Intergovernmental Affiars Minister Ed Stelmach made it clear he'd be running for the leadership. Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Lyle Oberg made it clear he'd be running. Advanced Learning Minister Dave Hancock made it clear he'd be running.

Then, shortly after the announcement of his retirement, Klein handed down an ultimatum. Cabinet ministers who wanted to run for the leadership have to resign from their cabinet posts by June 1. According to Klein, this is to level the playing field...to make sure cabinet ministers don't abuse their powers in their campaigns.

Stelmach resigned immediatly. Oberg said he's turn in his resignation as June 1 drew closer. And Hancock started having doubts about running for the leadership, citing that he can still do a lot of good as Advanced Learning Minister.

Flash forward to three days ago. Oberg was meeting with his riding association. Oberg criticized Klein's plan to make the cabinet ministers resign. Oberg's exact quote: "If I were Klein, I wouldn't want me in the back benches. I know where all the skeletons are."

Oberg's hometown paper ran the story. Alberta's major papers ran the story. And last night, Oberg was booted out of the PC Party for his open criticism of Klein!

His exact punishment is he's suspended from the caucus for six months. He's free to re-apply for the Tories in six months, or continue as an independent. But many agree: Oberg's political career is over.

Today, Oberg issued a public apology to Klein and the Tories, but was still critical of Klein's long good-bye.

So, as we all know, things are going to come to a head in one week. On March 31, the Tories will be having a leadership review of Ralph Klein. Will Klein get a good review, and thus be allowed to leave on his own terms, or will all the leadership hopefuls chomping at the bit vote Klein out of office, and jump start the whole leadership race?

And in case you don't know, the front-runner to replace Klein is still Jim Dinning. Dinning was Klein's treasurer back in the mid-1990s. While Klein was ordering massive cutbacks and laying off thousands of government employees, Dinning was the hitman making it happen. Dinning left the PC Party in 1997 for more lucrative positions in the private sector, but he made it clear that he'd be back someday to replace Klein. Dinning has, in effect, been in campaigning for the leadership since '97.

And many agree. If you thought Klein was bad, wait until Dinning's in charge.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Own a Piece of Tim Hortons

Today, Tim Hortons goes public.

As you may recall, about 10 years ago, Tim Hortons merged with Wendy's. Here we are now, 10 years later, and Tim Hortons has gotten so big that it competes with Wendy's. Rather than continue competing with themselves, Wendy's is selling off Tim Hortons. And, today, Tim Hortons goes on the market.

I heard that on the radio this morning, and then they shared a couple of interesting stats about Tim Hortons:

- In 1995, the average profit at the average Tim Hortons was $800,000. Today, it's $1.7 million.

- There are 2600 Tim Hortons in Canada, and 300 in the USA.

- As you can imagine, most of Tim Hortons expansion is in the States. They're having the most difficult time breaking into New York and the New England area.

- In Canada, there's 1 Tim Hortons for every 10,000 people. There's 1 McDonald's for every 22,000 people. That's right, there's twice as many Tim Hortons as there are McDonald's!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lovely Foolish Purchase

Ugh. Now I know why my old production instructor always limited us to a max of 3 hours in a production studio. Any longer, and you go batty. I spent far too much time this evening playing around. I tell ya, music editing is the bane of my existence. I get obsessed with creating the perfect cut. Counfound it, though, I love it so.

Anyway, I was surfing the old 'net tonight, I made a truly self-indulgent purchase. Now, you may think that this past month had been filled with them: my microphone, my server space, but those I can write off as having been needed. Tonight, I bought something silly and fun.

Batman: Scarecrow Tales

Batman: Scarecrow Tales is a graphic novel that compiles the best "Batman vs. Scarecrow" stories ever written for the comics. Think of it as Scarecrow's Greatest Hits. It came out back in the summer, to tie in with Dr. Johnathan Crane's appearance in Batman Begins.

I've leafed through it several times at the bookstore. You get Scarecrow's very first appearance from way back in 1941, all the way to the present day. It also kind of serves as a great chronicle of how comic book art has changed over the decades. I decided to buy it online because, even after shipping and handling, Amazon.ca still had it cheaper than Chapters.

So, yeah. That'll be here in about a week.

And now, back to scouring the Internet for "Always with Me," the song from the classic Japanese animated film Spirited Away. All that music editing was for something big and crazy, and "Always with Me" is the final piece to the puzzle.

Hire Me! now live

Now that I've got my server space all working fine, I've launched the first big new part of my website.

Hire Me! is completely dedicated to showing off my work. You can listen to my demos, download my resume, and e-mail me to set up a job interview.

So, please! Check out Hire Me!

DVD Day!

I love Tuesdays! New DVDs unleashed upon the store shelves! And, if you're a lover of DC Comics animation like me, then there's only two releases today that have caught your interest:

Batman Beyond: The Complete First Season - As has been written many times, given this show's shady origin (the toy companies demanded a new Bat-toon so they could sell more product), it's amazing it was actually good. 50 years in the future, teen Terry McGuiness becomes heir to the Bat-mantle, and is trained by the 80-year old Bruce Wayne. You get all 13 episodes from the show's first season, plus interviews with the show's creators, running commentary on select episodes, and even an isolated music track! (I own the soundtrack album...the creators were actually quite proud of the techno/trance/industrial/goth metal fusion music they created for the score.)

Justice League: Season One - The smash hit cartoon, reuniting all your favourite DC heroes! You get all 26 episodes from season one (actually, 13 one-hour episodes, but they were forced by the Cartoon Network to cut each one into a 2-parter). There's also running commentaries on select episodes, interviews with the show's creators and voice cast, storyboards, and even the very early test animation that the creators made to help sell the show.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Red Green is Ending!

I only recently discovered that that Canadian classic The Red Green Show will be having its final episode very, very soon. It has been on for 15 years. The final episode will be episode #300.

I'm sure we all know the history of the show by now. The character of Red Green was originally created by Steve Smith as part of his Smith and Smith Comedy Hour, which ran from from 1979 - 1986. Red Green started off as a parody of Canadian fishing show host Red Fisher.

In 1991, when there was an explosion of self-help and home improvement shows, Smith thought the time was righ to spoof those shows, with Red Green as the host. So, he launched the Red Green Show, originally produced by CHCH-TV in Hamilton.

The show was syndicated for a few years, bounced around from producer to producer, even settled on the Global for a while. (Those were the years where it was called The New Red Green Show.) Sales to PBS in the USA also created a strong cult following the States. And finally, it settled on the CBC in 1997.

I can't find when exactly the final episode will air, but going by the episode guide on the official Red Green website, and based on the episode that I saw last Friday, and counting forward, the final episode will be on April 7. I'm assuming. Consult your local listings, as they say on the talk shows.

According to the official website, the final episode is entitled "Do As I Do," and the plot is:

- Harold's getting married. When he loses the church, he moves the wedding to Possum Lodge.
- "Finale" is the secret word in the Possum Lodge Word Game
- Bill turns in all his stuff from his adventures, leading to his final adventure.
- In the Handyman's Corner, Red shows us how to build a perpetual motion machine.
- Red says good-bye to the audience from his desk. (You know, those monologues that he ends with, "And remember, I'm pullin' for ya. We're all in this together.")
- And then, we flash forward 10 years to see what happened to everyone.

Ah, The Red Green Show. Truly, a Canadian icon.

And, as one icon falls, another one rises. Monday night sees the end of the third season of Corner Gas. The season finale is entitled "Road Worthy." Lacey buys a new car and decides to take Brent along, because all men know stuff about cars. Since Emma always hates her anniversary gift, Oscar decides to go out of his way and get one that she'll really hate. And Davis and Karen decide to switch junk food because of all the "cops love donuts" jokes.

Latest Column's Up!

This week, I tell you an Untold Tale of Japan: Nagano:

"I’ve loved the Olympics. I have for a long time. And all those Olympic host cities always seemed in such distant, exotic locations. When I first set out from Omiya to Kumagaya, I was stunned at the name of the rail line: the Nagano Line. The Nagano Winter Olympics were a mere 4 years earlier, and they were still fresh in my mind. And now, to be living in a city so close to them, just a quick ride on the bullet train, it blew my mind. After I spent my first week in Kumagaya and got settled into the new job and my new apartment, I made a solemn vow. I would go to Nagano."

Read it all!

I've just got to say that this is, by far, my prettiest column ever! It's got pictures like this one:

I make reference to an older column, so I link to it. I make reference to one of my first-ever blog entries, and I link to that, too!

It may not be the best, but it's definitly one of the ones best-formatted to HTML.

And yeah, I know this is up really early for one of my columns, but I've spent the past few days hunched over the keyboard playing with my new server space. I'm kind of hoping to take it easy today.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


There! As far as I'm concerned, the move to my brand new chaosinabox.com server is complete! This is how you should change your links:

Chaos in a Box:
The main hub, the website that represents all I am, is now as www.chaosinabox.com

Chaos in Print: The Further Adventures of the Scarecrow
My weekly column (which I've always considered to be just above a blog) is now at www.chaosinabox.com/chaosinprint/columns.html

Midnight Ramblings
The blog is still at chaosinabox.blogspot.com. I'll probably move it onto my new server someday.

And there! All the relevant pages at Angelfire have been taken down and replaced with appropriate "please change your links" pages. I have not deleted everything off of Angelfire yet...I'll probably leave it all there for a little while longer.

And that's that! The new chapter begins!

Friday, March 17, 2006

PPG: Movie

I tend to follow the Harry Knowles theory of movie reviews. That is, your experiences leading up to the actual viewing of the movie tend to taint your perceptions of the movie, so it's best to include those experiences in your review. To paint the balanced picture and all that. The best example is Knowles' infamous flip-flop with his Godzilla review. When he first saw the American Godzilla, it was the world premiere. It was his first trip to New York, the film was shown in Madison Square Garden in a total rock concert atmosphere, and he walked away thinking it was the greatest movie ever made. When he saw it again two weeks later, it was at the local cineplex in his hometown of Austin, Texas, and he walked away thinking he'd been screwed.

A good case in point, for me, anyway, is The Powerpuff Girls Movie. I just caught a bit of it on TV. It makes me smile, not because it's good (it's just like a typical episode, only longer), but because of the circumstances in which I saw it.

It was in 2002. I was in Japan. When it opened in Japan and came to Kumagaya, it was only playing in Japanese. Bad for me. So, in order to see it in English, I had to hop the train and go to this tiny, out-of-the-way art house theatre just next to the heart of Tokyo.

It was one of those hidden treasure kind of deals. I had to walk through these narrow streets - alleys, practically - to get there. But then, the alleys ended, and it opened up into this beautiful, hidden town square, with the theatre being on the south side.

The theatre was actually on the second floor of the building. I had to walk up the narrow staircase, and on the second floor was this tiny 4-screen multiplex. It was kind of like the ol' Bailey Theatre in Camrose...the kind of theatre where you buy your ticket and snacks from the same counter and clerk.

I bought my ticket, a small cola, walked past a vending machine selling beer, and made myself comfortable in the theatre.

And it was beautiful, sunny day to boot.

Given all those experiences, I thought that The Powerpuff Girls Movie was a pretty good movie.

I occastionally catch it on TV now, and I see that, actually, it's not so good. But I'm flooded with the memories of a really good day.

Size DOES Matter

In a statement that has come back to haunt him many times, Bill Gates remarked in the late-1980s that "640k ought to be enough for anyone."

When my parents bought a new computer in 1997, my brother sat staring at the monitor in amazement. He was amazed by the wallpaper. "The picture file is 256k in size," he told me. "Our very first computer (1988 or so) had 256k of RAM. Just think! It would take every ounce of computer power on our very first computer to show this picture."

I just had a moment like that.

I finally finished the gigantic cleaning-out of my website. Despite all my bluster, all I really did was free up 3M. My whole website is 17M in size.

Just think! The main reason why I bought my server space was so I could post audio files that are BIGGER than my whole website!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Klein Steps Down

With all the fun of playing with my new server, I haven't mentioned yet the latest in Alberta politics.

Ralph Klein is finally retiring!

Of course, people have been pushing for him to set a date, seeing as to how "This will be Klein's last term" was pretty much the entire PC platform during the last provincial election. "Re-elect him one more time. Please?"

Anyway, October 2007 is when Klein steps down from public life. So, already, the people of Alberta are bracing for Klein's long good-bye...and comparisons are already being made towards Jean Chretien and his long good-bye.

With this announcement, the leadership campaign to replace Klein has finally begun. In fact, today Klein announced that, if any cabinet ministers want to run for the leadership, then they have to resign from their cabinet posts by June 1. This is to level the playing field, says Klein. So those cabinet ministers don't abuse their powers in their campaigning.

And, of course, the rumour still exists that Klein may actually be voted out by his own party at the bi-annual leadership review at the end of the month. A lot of these leadership hopefuls really are chomping at the bit *that* badly.

Klein's already said that he'll step down if he doesn't receive a "clear majority." That's one of those wonderfully vague terms in Canadian politics. In the early 1980s, former Prime Minister Joe Clark got a 66% approval rating at his leadership review, said it wasn't a clear majority, and stepped down. Hell, just a year ago, Bernard Landry of the PQ got 76%, and resigned, saying that 76% wasn't a clear majority. (To be fair, he said it wasn't a strong enough majority to lead Quebec to independence.)

In the past, Klein's always come out of the leadership review with a percentage in the high 90's. He's expected to come out with something similar again, so the old man can retire on his terms. But still, even Klein's starting to come across as worried.

Chaos in a Box.com: Going swimmingly!

Wow, have I been a busy guy today!

In case you didn't get the e-mail last night, I finally bought some nice and proper server space for my website. Chaos in a Box is now add-free, and I've got more room than I ever needed!

Of course, with moving onto the new server, I've got to update all the links and stuff. And today, here's what I accomplished:

Chaos in Print - All the archives have been update with the new links, so everything's still readable. Pretty much every column survived intact, so it looks like I won't have to re-code all 350!

The Obligatroy Link Page - I noticed that pretty much every link was dead. So, I made a new link page from scratch.

The Picture Gallery - Fixed and updated, so everything's looking OK.

The Old Stuff Gallery - Fixed and updated, so all the links work.

There's about only one thing left I want to do now. As I'm doing this, I've noticed that I've got a lot of crap clogging up my server space. Remember back in 1998, when I ran a page dedicated to compiling news on Star Trek: Insurrection? Well, it was still there, just taking up space. Remember the summer of 1999, when I had a page dedicated to Crystal Pepsi? It was still there. And why the hell do I still need all those pictures of Extra Foods? And a movie review of Mulan?

So, I'm going to do some mass cleaning out. I still divide my life pretty much into two halves: "Before Japan" and "After Japan." Everything BJ can pretty much go.

Actually, I'm in a unique opportunity. This, I think, will be the easiest way to clean out my website. Right now, in order to facilitate the move, I downloaded my entire website to my hard drive. Granted, I've always had my whole website on my hard drive, but for the first time ever, I've got it all laid out in directories just like it appears on the server.

So, what I'm going to do is go through the website on my hard drive, toss everything that needs to be tossed, and get it all looking like it should. And then, I delete my entire website, and upload the leaner, cleaner version.

That's the plan for tomorrow!

Oh, and hey, wanna do me a favour? E-mail me at my brand new @chaosinabox.com address so I can see it work!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rick Mercer Ends Auction/HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray

Well, in case you didn't notice it, Rick Mercer pulled the plug on his Liberal Leadership Kit auction back on Sunday.

Mercer cancelled the auction because he was hit with an overwhelming belief that the $16 million bid for it was a joke bid. Rather than spend the rest of his life trying to get $16 million out of some joker - and be on the hook himself for a $250,000 seller's fee - Mercer decided to pull the plug.

"I should have seen this coming," said Mercer in his news release. "It was for the Liberal leadership, after all, and part of the job is to promise lots of money in the run-up, and then not deliver in the end."

If you still want to bid on a Liberal Leadership kit, I see that about half-a-dozen copycats have popped up.

And, be sure to tune in to the Rick Mercer Report tonight at 8 on the CBC, where I'm sure Mercer will have the last laugh.

Let's get ready to rumble!

The format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray officially begins today!

For those who don't care, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are the competing formats in the next generation of DVD. Not since the days of VHS vs. Beta have we seen a format war like this!

The war begins today as Paramount Pictures unleashes the first HD-DVD on store shelves. What is that DVD?

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow


Monday, March 13, 2006

I Love Brad Bird

Yay! We're getting another Brad Bird movie!

As I'm sure you know, Brad Bird is one of my favourite animators. He directed my all-time favourite movie, The Iron Giant, and he directed Pixar's mega-hit The Incredibles.

Well, it was announced today that Bird's next film will be Pixar's Ratatouille. It's about a mouse who lives in a Paris restaurant, and all the talking animals he runs into in France.

Ratatouille has been in development at Pixar for about three years under the guidance of Jan Pinkava. Pinkava is the writer/director of Pixar's Oscar-winning short film Geri's Game. (You know...the one in front of A Bug's Life.) It was always assumed that Pinkava was directing, so today's announcement came as a surprise to quite a few people.

Ratatouille - directed by Brad Bird - comes out in June 2007.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Latest Column's Up!

This week's is called Good Evening Madam Chairman, Honorable Judges, Ladies and Gentlemen:

"My parents, upstanding citizens of the community that they are, are currently in the throes of judging the local 4H speech competitions. I guess speech giving is a big part of 4H. As my parents sit over the dinner table and compare notes about the weekend’s speeches, it’s gotten me to reminiscing about my own time taking part in speech competitions. It makes me go down to my room and dig out the one and only award I’ve ever one for my speeches. "

Click here to read it all!

Wow. I was able to sit down and write three columns this afternoon. It's a good thing, too. Now that I've got everything to mess around with audio here at home, I'll spend a lot more time doing radio stuff than writing, I think.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Tonight's Weird Trivia Fact

From Wikipedia:

Robin Williams is an avid video gamer. Because of this, Williams claims that he was once contacted by Nintendo and told that he was the first, last, and only choice to play Professor Oak, should a live-action Pokemon movie ever be made.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Fun and Philosophy with Digital Cameras

There's no better way to have fun with a brand-new digital camera like a day at work!

The future is like a darkend highway...except for today, when it's clear and sunny and the snow-capped Rockies are on the horizon!

Ah, nothing like a day in the most wild and remote parts of Alberta. Sadly, it's not all about the view. I have to get to work!

And this is the name of the game! Oil! These things are messy. And, it's my job to tell them how messy they are and how to clean it up. (Actually, it's my Dad's job. I just assist. I'm the muscle.)

After a hard day of telling the oil companies to clean up their act, I kick back and relax with the finest cola you can get from a vending machine for 55¢.

What gets me the most about digital photography is how the act of taking a picture and the picture itself becomes so...disposable.

For example, here is a picture of a bowl of soup. Clam chowder, to be specific. I had the special at the restaurant. I took out the brand-new digital camera and took a picture of it. Now, in the past, with a traditional 35mm camera, I would think, "Oh, it's not worth wasting a shot! I only have 7 exposures left! I have no extra rolls of film on me! Why the hell would I want to take a picture of a bowl of soup, anyway?" But with a digital camera, there is no debate. I don't have to think about whether it's actually worth taking a picture of it or not. Just point and click. These questions are no longer issues.

What almost frightens me, though, is, with digital photography, there is no permanence. With my old 35mm camera, I'd have a print of this bowl of soup cluttering up my closet forever. But, with a digital camera, all I have to do is look at it and say, "That was stupid," and hit delete. Pictures can now be erased from existence with nary a thought. Just point and click.

That kind of makes me sad.

Canadian Pop Culture Update

16 freakin' million dollars.

That's how much Rick Mercer's "Liberal Leadership Kit" is currently selling for.

When the $16 million bid went up, attributed to a "Brad Barnett," many wondered if this was a hoax, or if this Bard Barnett was real and/or serious. That led to Barnett sending out a very angry news release on Thursday that yes, he is real, yes, he is serious, yes, he does have the money, and that he's "a new breed of politician."

In this morning's Edmonton Journal, Mercer finally spoke up on how out-of-hand this has gotten. Mercer is a little worried because, if it really does sell for $16 million, Mercer himself has to pony up a $250,000 seller's fee.

Says Mercer about this, "It started out as an idea in a bar, and like a lot of ideas that start in bars, it's ending badly." Mercer originally thought that it would only go for around $500, and that the money would be spent on beer for his staff, but, when the bidding first reached $20,000, he decided to give the money to charity, because that much beer for his staff would have a serious effect of productivity.

Mercer also predicted/hoped that a lot of these ridiculously high bids would eventually be recinded as the auction's close drew nearer.

Well, Ted and Gloria, aka "the Canadian Tire couple," are no more.

You know them. Those annoying next door neighbours who are always hocking the latest gadget from Canadian Tire. Their commercials have been running for almost a decade. Canadian Tire has decided to axe the campaign because, according to their market research, far too many people find them annoying.

Seriously. Type in "Canadian Tire Guy" into Google, and you'll find dozens of website dedicated to hating the couple.

Canadian Tire unveils their new ad campaing tomorrow.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Day of Mixed Blessings

Right now, I'm really mad with myself.

I had a phone interview all lined up for a job in Dawson Creek, BC. The guy told me he would call this morning to do the interview. So, I waited by the phone all morning. And I waited. And I waited. When noon hit, I said, "Well, I guess he's not calling...already filled the position and all that." And my Dad said, "Hey, Mark! I've got to go into Edmonton for a few hours. Want to come?" And I said, "Sure!"

Three hours later, we get home. The dude called me at 2PM.

I tried calling him back, but the only thing I got from the phone number he gave me where the clicks and whistles of a fax machine. I finally dug through my records and found his e-mail and e-mailed him, but no response.

I don't know. Was I right in taking off like I did? I mean, he did say he was going to call this morning. He did not call. I was justified in stepping out, right?

I'm trying not to be upset. After all, when we had a preliminary interview back on Tuesday night, he did ask me all the questions that aren't supposed to be asked in a job interview: "Do you drink? Do you smoke? Are you married? How old are you?" He also said that not being married got me onto "the short short list."

Man, I feel stupid.

But, there is some good news. What always cheers me up is playing with new technology! Why did Dad and I have to go into Edmonton? To pick up our...brand new digital camera! So, let's test this sucker out, and we can boldly go where no woman has gone before - my bedroom! (Or, as I like to call it, the "Markcave.")

Here's a small chunk of my action figure collection. I call this "the Star Wars Wall."

Here is my bed. This is where I sleep. And, some nights, not sleep.

This is my desk. This is where I do brilliant work such as these blog entries.

This is my dresser, cluttered with the latest additions to my action figure collection.

Hey, someone bought a microphone!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rick Mercer Rocks

Damn I love Rick Mercer.

In the grand tradition of the "Getting Stockwell Day to change his first name to Doris" campaign, Mercer's hit another grand slam.

He announced it on his show last night. He pointed out that the Liberal leadership is "no longer the prize it once was," and that how all the front-runners for the leadership dropped out shortly after it was announced. Mercer went on to point out that current front-runners are Bob Ray and Belinda Stronarch, "two people whose biggest assets are they came from other parties."

So, what's Mercer doing about this?

He's auctioning off the Liberal leadership on eBay!

Now, the winning bidder does not get to lead the federal Liberals. Instead, the winning bidder gets 15 minutes of time with the Rick Mercer Report writers to craft a campaign message, and use of the Rick Mercer Report printer to print off flyers.

Bidding started at $15 "to discourage vanity candidates."

I just checked up on it. The auction's been going for about 12 hours now, and bidding has risen to $15,100. (As of 9 AM MST.)

Click here to see the auction for yourself.

And check out the official Rick Mercer Report website, where you can watch the video of Rick Mercer announcing the auction.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Greetings from Bangladesh

You may remember that I blogged a few times about these concerned e-mails I was getting from a fellow in Bangladesh. I signed up for Postcrossing to get postcards from random strangers around the world, and a random stranger from Bangladesh sent me a postcard. And, he was getting quite concerned that I hadn't received it yet.

Well, he can stop worrying, because it came today. He had a right to be concerned. It takes 62 days for a postcard to get from Bangladesh to Canada.

For those keeping track of my Postcrossing adventure, so far I've gotten 3 from the States, 2 from Brazil, and 1 each from Spain, Portugal, and...Bangladesh.

Studio Ghibli Day!

Yay! Today, Disney releases their latest batch of dubbed Studio Ghibli films! I just had to take a moment to tell you before taking off to go sump sampling. Anyway, today, run out and buy or rent:

Howl's Moving Castle - Hayao Miyazaki's latest, in which a little girl is turned into an old woman, and that leads to a series of adventures with the enigmatic Howl. I ran out to the theatres to see this when it first came out, and I agree with the critics: while no Spirited Away, it's still really good. For bonus features, you get interviews with the American voice cast, interviews with the American directors, a few snippets from the "making of" special from Japanese TV, and the storyboards for the whole film! Oh, and I forgot to mention that there's also a featurette about Miyazaki visiting Pixar. See, it's actually the folks at Pixar who've been dubbing these films, so Miyazaki came to the USA to poke his head in at the American dubbing sessions.

(And, you know, if you're blessed with a Region 2 DVD player, you'd be much better off special-ordering the massive, 4-disc special edition that was released in Japan.)

My Neighbor Totoro - How most in North America got their first taste of Miyazaki. (20th Century Fox originally dubbed it and released it back in 1993.) Disney now gives us a brand new dub of this tale of two little girls growing up in the country and hanging out with forrest spirts. Again, there's interviews with the American voice cast, the original Japanese trailers, and the storyboards for the whole film.

Whispers of the Heart - A coming-of-age tale about a young girl and her first romance. She also dreams of being an artist and her main creation - a cartoon cat - figures prominently. This one was not directed by Miyazaki - he only wrote it, storyboarded it, and produced it. It's a sad tale, actually. This was directed by Yoshifumi Kondou, whom Miyazaki was grooming as his "heir apparent." Kondou was killed in a car accident shortly after the film came out. Anyway, again, you get interviews with the American voice cast, the original Japanese trailers, and the storyboards for the whole film.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Day Full of Mixed Feelings

Never in my life had I felt a need to walk into a store that sold musical instruments.

Today, I walked into one.

And I walked out with a $130 microphone.

The goal was simple enough. I downloaded some free software so I can start doing some audio recording, sharpening of my skills, and general goofing around here at home. But, I needed a microphone so I could start recording myself.

What I got is far more high-powered than I ever needed...but, it's about on par as to what you'd find in a radio station.

In a half-hour, after Corner Gas, I'm going to crank it up and see if it'll work for me.

You know what I always found fun about volunteering?

You're pretty much hired if you show up.

That's also what happened to me tonight. I learned that NewCap was accepting volunteers to be part of their street team. In Edmonton, NewCap is this station and this station and even this one. The street team are those folks who go to concerts and other station events, pass out stickers and other trinkets, and do whatever general labour needs to be done.

What can I say? It's volunteer work, so I got hired just by showing up. This'll give me some new radio-related experience to put on my resume. Plus, I've been turned down a lot by NewCap stations, and they always tell me the same thing: "We prefer to promote from within the company." And, from what I gather about NewCap, this is what you have to do to get within the company.

And besides...now I got something to do on weekends.

Oscar Musings

Woo! So, how about those Oscars, eh? Wallace and Gromit won Best Animated Film! WOO!! I have now successfully predicted that category since it began!

I also successfully predicted King Kong for Best Visual Effects. That was such a no-brainer.

And, as you know, I generally don't like reality TV, but, just this week only, I'm going to point out that maybe you should watch The MuchMusic VJ Search. Why?

Cuz this week, they show the episode where I was driving the crew around Edmonton.

I'm going to tune in. Finally! I can see what the heck they were doing while I was sitting in the van waiting to take them some where. At the very least, I want to see if I made the end credits. "Driver: Mark Kappis."

Yeah, they kept spelling my name wrong. But, as long as the cheque comes this week, I don't care.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Latest Column's Up!

This week, I wax poetic about a Rest Stop:

"It’s kind of weird what we associate happy childhood memories with. We could be cleaning out our closets and come across some raggedy old piece of clothing and suddenly we’re having a scene right out of a chick flick where we remember that incident from that summer. Having once been a child myself, I do have my fair share of childhood memories. And there’s this one I’ve been having quite often of late. Working in the oilpatch with my Dad, I end up driving by it many, many times. Of course, we don’t stop in anymore, mainly because our business takes us elsewhere, or the lure of the greater services in Edson just causes to keep on driving. I’m talking about the Edson Rest Stop."

Read the whole thing!

I know, this is very early, but it was done, and now I'm free to do lazy Sunday afternoon things.

Last Night's SNL

I did this once before, and I'm doing it again! To bolster my failing memory, I'm going to do a blow-by-blot summary of Saturday Night Live!

Guest host: Natalie Portman!

Sketch 1: George W. Bush summing up his latest trip of the middle east, and complaining about the critisism of his administration.

Opening monologue: Here come the Star Wars jokes! Ms. Portman gets flooded with continuity questions, and, lo and behold, she out-nerds the nerds! And when Star Wars runs out..."You shaved your head recently? Oh, it was for a movie role. Well, no, I thought it was because you had lice. Guess I owe my daughter an apology."

Fake commercial: Toupees for babies. Unusual, but pretty funny.

Sketch 2: Natalie Portman's an overly-hyper clerk at a Booster Juice-style place. No wonder I don't frequent those places.

Sketch 3: Larry King discusses people who have had sex-change operations. Natalie Portman is a woman getting ready for the surgery to become a man. Ye gods, she does look like a boy! Larry asks incredibly stupid questions. Not bad.

Sketch 4: "The Needlers: The Couple that Should be Divorced." Natalie Portman is their fertility doctor. This usually delivers.

Robert Smigel Cartoon!: Token Power: the first cartoon made up completely of token black characters from cartoons. Franklin (Charlie Brown), Valerie (Josie and the Pussycats), and Winston (Ghostbusters). And this leads to a montage of fake cartoons starring black characters.

Sketch 5: Ah, this again. A weird, Euro-trash married couple. Natalie Portman is their daughter, brining her new boyfriend home. It's almost like it's a descendent of Mike Myers' "Sprockets."

Weekend Update: I love it!

Wakefield AV Club: Ehh, it's OK. It's past Weekend Update, so it's all downhill.

SNL Digital Short: A Day in the Life of Natalie Portman. Holy moly, she's Eminem! Hilarious!

Another fake commercial: Oh, it's the smoke detector/greatest hits of the 80s one again.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Yay! Shockwave!

This morning, the completion of a three and a half year quest!

I saw Shockwave, Part II, the second-season premiere of Enterprise.

I'm sure I've ranted about this several times before. Thanks to me teaching English in Japan, I missed the entire second season of Enterprise. That's OK, as it was kind of lame from what I heard, but the first season finale, Shockwave, ended on a huge, "WTF?" of a cliffhanger, and I never, ever got to see the resolution.

and now that I've seen the resolution, all I can say is, "I waited three and a half years for that?"

Yeah, it was a typical, bland, Enterprise episode.

But at least I finally got to see how Ensign Hoshi Sato wound up topless. (No, that wasn't the cliffhanger, but when I was in Japan and looking for a synopsis, that photo accompanied every one.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ralph Klein! The Flash! Green Arrow!

Here's the newest evidence that Ralph Klein has lost touch. Today, in the session of the house, he was smacking around a page.

For those not in the know, a page is one of those teenagers who carries notes and stuff between the MLAs during the sitting of the house.

The big issue of the current sitting of the house is Klein's "Third Way" of healthcare, which is a two-tiered, privatized system. As it was being debated in the house, Klein said that if the Liberals had a better idea they shoud send it over. So, Liberal leader Kevin Taft sent a copy of the Liberal Healthcare Policy Manual over to Klein. When the page presented the book to Klein, Klein threw it back at the page and said something along the lines of "Don't give me this crap!"

Klein did apologize to the page, and explained his outburst as "frustration over healthcare."

To me, this is just classic Klein. Klein is the kind of politician who does not like to be questioned. He often dismissed the opposition parties with "No one elected you...to run the government." Alberta has the shortest sittings of Parliment in Canada. (On average, a session lasts for about two weeks.) And, when Klein came to power, he passed all kinds of "emergency powers" that allows him to spend public money without debate in the house.

This guy has got to go.

Here's the original article.

So, we're in the fifth and most likely final season of Justice League Unlimited. You can tell the writers believe this to be the final season. Gone are the well-thought-out plotlines and well-developed characters. Replacing it is, "Let's do all the cool stuff we always wanted to do with these characters!" Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tonight's episode was a prime example. It was called Flash and Substance. Central City is honouring its favourite son, the Flash, with a "Flash Appreciation Day." The grand finale of which is the opening of the Flash Museum. Naturally, four of the Flash's nastiest villains - Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, the Mirror Master, and the Trickster - decide to destroy the festivities. So, Batman and Orion decide to show up and give the Flash a hand.

Of course, the biggest and most obscure geek in-joke in this episode was casting Mark Hamill as the Trickster. Ol' Luke Skywalker actually played the Trickster on the short-lived live-action Flash TV show. And I tell ya, the Trickster was the funniest character on the show. Mark Hamill is definitly a comedic talent waiting to be fully tapped.

But, it was truly a great episode. Catch it if you can!

Oh! And my latest library book came today. It's a graphic novel I've been dying to read. Green Arrow: Quiver by Kevin Smith.

You know I love the works of Kevin Smith. And, comic book geek that he is, he's now written a few comics. Way back in 1999, after he got some serious comic book street cred for writing Daredevil: Guardian Devil, he marched into the offices of DC Comics and said, "PLEASE let me write my favourite superhero...Green Arrow!" Smith, of course, wanted to resurrect the original Green Arrow - Oliver Queen - who, at that point, had been dead in the DC universe for about 5 years or so.

The end result was a storyline called Quiver, in which Oliver is found roaming the streets of his hometown Star City, and he doesn't remember the past 10 years of his life before his death. So, he eventually teams up with Batman, and they set out to learn how and why he's back from the dead.

Now, this book got a lot of grief because it is very immeresed in DC continuity. You've got to be a real fan to understand a lot of it. Lots of minor heroes and DC characters help fill in the gaps. Hell, even Neil Gaiman's Sandman pops up.

In essence, it was written by a geek for a geek. And that makes it really groovy.

Oh, and Smith actually wrote two Green Arrow storylines. The second one was called Sounds of Violence, and focused on Oliver Queen reconciling with Connor Hawke. Hawke is Queen's long-lost son who, up until this point in the comics, had been acting as the new Green Arrow.