Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Boredom of Canada Day

I awoke this morning feeling awake.  Invigorated.  The entire world was mine for the having.  For many, many years in Athabasca, the Canada Day weekend had always been a very busy weekend.  That is the weekend of the Magnificent River Rats Festival, and thanks to my position, I was always very involved.  Originally, as a reporter, covering the event.  Then, when I was promoted to the on-air slot, I'd get to emcee the event.  When the festival started earning a little more money, I would be broadcasting live from the event AND emceeing.  And then, when they ran short of volunteers, there were a few years where I volunteered to be treasurer.  Broadcasting live, then emceeing, then whatever extra time in the office counting the gate receipts.  It was busy weekend. 

But now, I'm in Westlock, where they do nothing for Canada Day.  The River Rats are very, very far away.  For the first time in a very long time, I could do whatever I wanted to on the Canada Day weekend.

It got very boring very quick.

I know I went into the city just one short week ago, but come on, it's the long weekend!  Something must be done to get out and enjoy it!  My loose plan, Pixar junkie that I am, was to see Monsters University.  And this time, I finally remembered my movie passes.  For those who've never had the pleasure of being a Telus customer, occasionally they send you gifts to thank you for being a customer.  A little over a year ago, they sent me two free movie passes.  I put them on my fridge, and whenever I go see a movie, I forget about them.  I even moved.  When I moved, I took down the magnet they were stuck to my fridge with, made sure the magnet and the passes were packed together, and when I unpacked, I stuck them back on the fridge.  But this time...this time...I remembered.  A free movie is so much better than a movie you pay for.

As I've blogged before, I always feel better about spending money in the city if I buy something I actually need.  So, first to Wal-Mart for socks and underwear.  I like to go for walks.  Socks wear out quick.  And they had pants!  I don't know why, but I've always had difficulty finding pants in my size.  And there jeans, in MY size, in a style I like, and on sale!  So naturally I took two.

Blogging about buying clothes...I'd better nerd it up a little cuz that's what you come here for.

With my necessities in tow, it was off to the toy section to see if there were any collectable action figures for my collecting.  As I said last time, I currently feel strangely satisfied with the state of my collection, so I wasn't surprised when I didn't see anything I wanted.  But as I was leaving the toy section, I found myself walking past the Hot Wheels displays.

I've always wondered how Hot Wheels collectors get off scott-free.  Action figure collectors are routinely mocked on sitcoms.  Barbie doll collectors are always treated as an oddity in human interest stories on the news.  But those gearheads who have basements full of Hot Wheels and other brands of die cast metal cars?  No one says boo to them.  Probably because they are pretty serious car guys, too, and they could bash your head in with a socket wrench.

That being said though, I have mentioned that a few Hot Wheels and other branded die cast metal cars have found their way into my collection.  I have a Batmobile.  I have Herbie the Love Bug.  I have the Mach 5 from Speed Racer.  But there is one car I always wanted.  I'm sure you know of my love of the Back to the Future movies.  So as I was breezing by the Hot Wheels display, I froze in my tracks when I saw this.

A Hot Wheels version of the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future

Yup.  The Hot Wheels version of the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future.  No question in my mind.  It went into my basket with nary a thought.

When it comes to the stories about the making of films, the making of Back to the Future is the one I know backwards and forwards.  Do you know why they chose a DeLorean to be the time machine in Back to the Future?  They had already written the script, and there's that gag where Marty first arrives in 1955, and thanks to the gullwing doors on the car, the old farmer mistakes it for a spaceship.  And the DeLorean was the most prominent car that boasted gullwing doors at the time.  When they settled on the DeLorean, it was turned over to prominent Hollywood designer Andrew Probert (who also designed the Enterprise-D for Star Trek: The Next Generation) to customize it and make it look like someone modified it into a time machine in their garage.

And this Hot Wheels version will have to until I'm rich and famous and can by me a real DeLorean.

Now that I had my necessities (and something new for my toy collection), it was off to Best Buy.  Yeah, I was going to do my usual gazing longingly at flatscreen TVs and hoping to some day have enough money to upgrade to one, but I also had a specific goal.  I've also been blogging a lot lately that, thanks to all the hype around Skyfall, James Bond movies got dirt cheap on Blu-Ray.  So, for the past few months, I've been snatching up my favourite Bond films at discount bin prices.  And now that I'm finished with that, I looked around, and realized that in the wake of Star Trek Into Darkness, the Star Trek movies on Blu-Ray had gotten dirt cheap.  So it's time to upgrade the Star Trek movies.

About a month ago, online, I found the boxed set of all the Original Crew films for $45.  Now, to complete the collection, I was off to Best Buy to get the boxed set of the Next Generation films.  Last time I was in Best Buy about a month ago, I saw they had it marked down to $35.  Lucky for me, it was still in stock and still at that price.  And I now own all the Star Trek movies on VHS, DVD, and Blu.

From there, to my favourite of haunts, West Edmonton Mall.  The great Mall...always in flux, always in transition.  That constant state of flux is currently throwing me off, as a few of my favourite kiosks in the food court have shut down.  But that's a blessing in disguise, as it forces me out of my comfort zone and trying new things.  Have you heard of this burger place called Harvey's?  The put whatever toppings you want on your burger!  Right in front of you!

(Yes, I know about Harvey's.  I was being sarcastic in that last paragraph.)

The usual stops in the mall, again, like last time didn't have much to offer me.  You know in HMV you're scraping the bottom of the barrel when you whip out your smart phone and start going through your Amazon wish list.  "Do they have this one?  Do I want this one?  Do I want pay that much for it?  I don't know."  It always feels strange to walk out of there empty-handed.

But now, to the theatre, to see Monsters University.  I'm so used to using those automated ticket machines, but with my free movie pass, I had to go to clerk and actually initiate some human contact.  Luckily, there was no line.  I got up to the clerk, asked for a ticket to Monsters University, and proudly gave her my free movie pass.  She hit a few buttons on the cash register and said, "Ya know, for next time, you've got to present these before you order."  "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know," I said, but she just shrugged in a "Whatevs.  Happens all the time," kind of manner.

So.  Monsters University.  Like a lot of Pixar fans, I'm growing weary of the sequels.  Toy Story 3 was heart-wrenchingly amazing, and Cars 2 was...Pixar's child that we don't talk about much.  And while Monsters University is way better than Cars 2, it's not Toy Story 3.  For those who haven't kept up on the premise, Monsters University is a prequel to Monsters Inc., as it chronicles how Mike and Sully first met in college and overcame their differences to become best friends.

There is a lot of "I've seen this all before" to it.  I mean, we've all seen Animal House by now.  But there is some genuine emotion at the climax, and while you have seen it all before, it's still entertaining, and I found it to be quite satisfying.  Pixar's still in a bit of a slump, but this one shows some steps back in the right direction.  3 Nibs.

Oh, and I can't forget, as is the grand Pixar tradition, it started with their latest short film The Blue Umbrella.  It's about a romance between a blue umbrella and a red umbrella.  Have you seen those memes where they find faces in everyday objects?  Imagine a movie where those faces are the characters.  And through them, a whole city begins conspiring to get these two together.  It did remind me a lot of the Disney short Paperman from last year.  But again, very good.  My only complaint is that the music sounded like it was ripped from a Coke commercial.

After all that, I was ready to call it a day, and began heading home.  I'm still not used to the shorter travel time to the city and back, so I was pleasantly surprised that I had enough time to do some grocery shopping when I got home.

And that's how I conquered the boredom on Day 1 of my Canada Day weekend.  What does the rest of the weekend hold?  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin -- Van Helsing: The London Assignment

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look upon one of the many DVDs I own and I try to answer the question, "Why did I buy this again?"  This week, we get to a forgotten straight-to-DVD tie-in called Van Helsing: The London Assignment.  This entry is originally dated October 12, 2012.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strangely Satisfying

A little less than two weeks ago, my Opa passed away.  The last two weeks have been nothing but a rush, as I rushed to clear my schedule so I could attend to the funeral, rushing off to the funeral and all family events pertaining to, and then rushing to get caught back up once I returned to work.  Today, I finally had a day to myself.  Finally, a few hours to relax and unwind. 

Of course, I was going to go see a movie.

I headed into the city, but I didn't have much on my checklist of places to see.  I did decide, though, to swing by Toys R Us.  I hadn't been by Toys R Us in a while to scan for collectable action figures.  Ever since I finally got my holy grail of Star Wars figures back at Christmas time, I've felt strangely satisfied with my action figure collection and haven't really been desiring anything new.  But still, for old times sake, I figured I'd swing by. 

As I've already mentioned, when it comes to Star Wars figures, I've been a sucker for the retro packaging figures.  Well, those figures are becoming tougher to come by as they've run their course and they're starting to phase them out for the newer lines.  I saw a few in the Toys R Us discount bin and started perusing them.  I didn't have much hope for anything outside of the typical pegwarmers, when I did spot this fella. 

Lightsaber Construction Luke Skywalker

The Star Wars Blu-Rays gave us some never-before-seen deleted scenes from the trilogy, so of course these deleted scenes became fodder for new action figures.  One of the more famous deleted scenes comes from the start of Return of the Jedi, where we see Luke Skywalker hiding out in a hut on Tatooine, building his new lightsaber.  Once I saw that "Deleted Scene Blu-Ray Figure" sticker on the bubble, I knew I had found a rarity.  And marked down to $8, how could a guy say no?

I got to West Edmonton Mall at around 12:30.  My original plan to see Man of Steel was to catch the 3:15 show, because it's not in 3D, and therefore a little bit cheaper.  Normally, the prospect of hanging out in West Edmonton Mall for three hours would be a good afternoon, but today, the prospect of sitting around the mall for that long just seemed...stupid.  So I thought, "Fuck it, I'll pay the extra $3, and see it in 3D at 1PM."  It wasn't so bad, though.  I got in to the theatre early enough that I was able to choose the exact dead centre of the theatre for the film, which they've always told me is optimal seating for 3D films. 

So then.  Man of Steel.  Our 21st Century Superman.  I loved it.  Finally, we've got a Superman who's allowed to kick ass on a Superman-scale.  There are some fantastic, amazing, fight scenes in this film.  I loved our new version of Krypton.  I love that they finally got rid of the crystal Krypton and tried something new.  Henry Cavill makes a pretty good Superman.  He's got the great commanding voice.  Amy Adams is a great Lois Lane, doing actual investigative reporting into finding out the identity of this alien. 

"Alien" for me would be way to sum up this film.  This is an alien invasion movie.  Certain scenes just sparked memories of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  They really play up the mystery of life in the universe and how Superman comes to represent that. 

Great villain.  General Zod is a nice threat.  He truly represents Superman's power unchecked.  I like the formula that Christopher Nolan created with his Batman films and that others are trying to emulate:  save the best-known arch-enemy for the sequel, so you can focus on the pure origin story. 

Some problems, though.  There's one line that Superman never crosses, and when they show him crossing it, my jaw dropped.  And you suck, person in the theatre who laughed at that moment.  Superman never does that, and seeing him do it was horrific. 

But I enjoyed it.  I thought it was good.  It was how the world would probably react if a being like Superman actually showed up. 

And sadly, there was no post-credits scene with Christian Bale as Batman revealing that Superman isn't the only superhero in the world and maybe they should form some kind of league. 

After the film, there wasn't much left to do.  Did the requisite walk-through of HMV.  Didn't buy anything, but still left strangely satisfied.  There's not much in the DVD world that I want right now...well, except for the odd franchise boxed set that's still priced out of my budget.  Did a walk-through of Target, but they don't have those fabled Target-exclusive watermelon-flavoured Oreos yet.  Did a walk-through of the T&T Asian Supermarket, but the lines at the checkout were so ridiculously long that I decided not to treat myself to a bottle of my favourite Japanese soft drink.

On the way out of the city, I figured I hadn't hit Quiznos for a while, so I settled on them for supper.  I ordered my sub, and began dancing to the song playing on the radio, as I do from time to time, and the clerk said, "Wow.  You must be in a good mood."  And you know what?  I was.  I needed this day.  Summer's here, which is always unbelievably busy in radio as every weekend you're live on location from some festival.  And with the family stuff, I haven't had any time to myself.

But today was the day.  Days off are about to become few and far between, so each one that comes along must be savoured.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin -- Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look upon one of the many DVDs I have my collection.  Today, I finished what I started last week by doing the biggest movie of the summer of 1991, Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  This entry is dated in my notes at September 23, 2012.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Knife Through My Heart

Well, I think it's time to shut down the blog.  Hang it up, call it a day, and walk away.

I discovered the website I Write Like, where you put in a sample of your writing and it tells you what famous writer you write like.

After putting in a few blog entries, here's what it told me.

I write like
Stephenie Meyer
I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I'd like to apologize to the 20 readers of this blog. Obviously, it's been time thoroughly wasted.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Terminator

Time once again for Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look at one of the many movies that I figured was just so darn good I had to buy a copy for myself.  Today, we do the classic 1980s sci-fi, that launched James Cameron's directing career, and saved Arnold Schwarzenegger from a lifetime of Conan...The Terminator.  This entry is dated in my notes at September 22, 2012.  

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Targ Returns for Summer!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

You know what I haven't done in a while?  A podcast.

I felt the itch to do one.  I'm been itching for a while, but today is when I finally found the energy to scratch, and I pumped out my Summer Special: Blue Skies.

Some of the things I rant about in this one:
  • The usual excuse-making as to the big gap between episodes
  • A request that I should do a What's Wrong With Society on everything I hated about Athabasca
  • A request that I do another Mark Tastes Random Things, so I sample A&W's Sweet Potato French Fries
  • I share why Star Trek Into Darkness made my head explode
  • And some thoughts on the series that was Doctor Who 
It was fun getting back into the groove.  I don't know if I'll be able to keep this up, but I'll do what I can for as long as I can.  Thanks for listening!

Click here to go download it!

Head here to subscribe in iTunes!

Be a fan in Facebook! 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Davy Crockett: Series 2

Time for another installment of Fishing in the Discount Bin, where one of the many VHS, DVDs, or Blu-Rays in my collection inspires me to blog!  Today, we finish off what I started last week...it's the second half of Disney's Davy Crockett series.  This entry is dated in my notes at September 16, 2012.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The end of Weird Al?

The Weird Al fandom lit up this past week when, while on the road, Weird Al gave an interview in which he revealed that his next album will probably be his last

Don't worry, Weird Al's not going to go away completely.  He just points out that the Internet is starting to make his act a lot harder.  By the time he gets an album together, there's already been hundreds of parodies of the songs he's parodying all over YouTube.  So, he's got one album left on his current contract, and once that's done, he'll probably give up on traditional albums and just head to digital distribution.

To be fair, though, Weird Al has been saying this for some time, as to how his job is getting more difficult.  As he said in 2006, back when his album Straight Outta Lynwood came out, it's not like the old days of the 1980s, when he'd just pick whatever artist was currently in heavy rotation on MTV.  With the further fragmenting of music genres, it's tough to choose which artist to go by.

Weird Al started getting serious about digital distribution back in 2006.  When his "not allowed to be released legally" single You're Pitiful (a parody of James Blunt's You're BeautifulI) couldn't be released, he made it a free download at his website, and it promptly went viral. Thinking there might be something to this digital distribution, he made his big experiment in the fall of 2008 with Whatever You Like, a parody of Whatever You Like by T.I.  Within 2 weeks, Weird Al got T.I.'s permission, had the song written and recorded, and out online while the original was still at #1.

The experiment was successful enough that the next year he released the digital EP Internet Leaks.  As Weird Al pointed out, he tends to record the original songs on his albums first, and then record the parodies closer to the album's release so he can parody something current.  So, he figured, why not release all the original songs while waiting to figure out what to parody?  And that's what he did.

Internet Leaks wound up being half of his 2011 album Alpocalypse.  So, yeah.  Weird Al's revelation that his next album may be his last is nothing too Earth-shattering.  He's just been working towards it for the past few years.  As we've seen from the multitude of parody videos flooding YouTube, that's just the medium for parodies these days.  Only makes sense that Weird Al is going to get on board.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Sleepy Sunday Morning

You know why the blog is called "Midnight Ramblings"?

Back in my original blog, Chaos in Print, "Midnight Ramblings" was a series of entries in which I'd just recap some of the headlines in pop culture and offer my thoughts on them, all in the guise of an e-mail to my best friend.  So, when I started this blog, I felt like "Midnight Ramblings" had earned a spinoff.

Now, here I am, bored on a Sunday morning, let's resurrect the original Midnight Ramblings tradition because why not?

In my frequent online window shopping, I found that Disney has a movie club, much like the Columbia Record Club of yore.  I'm debating whether I should sign up for it or not.  The big selling point is they have exclusives...long forgotten Disney movies that are released on DVD exclusively through this club.  And there are some movies in that club I wouldn't mind getting.  But then I'm roped into the club, and I have to buy x movies a year, and they've got that whole "negative billing" BS where if you forget to send back the card, they automatically send you a DVD and now you have to pay for it.  I was in the Columbia Record Club all those years ago, I remember it, and it gets to be a hassle.

It all boils down to one question:  how desperately do I want to own a copy of DuckTales: The Movie -- Treasure of the Lost Lamp

So what's going on with that live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie?  It's been filming in New York City for a few weeks now, and details are starting to dribble out from the set.

Our story thus far:  Michael Bay is producing it through his company Platinum Dunes Productions.  It's the first Platinum Dunes movie that's not a slasher film remake.  Jonathan Liebesman, director of Battle: Los Angelas and Wrath of the Titans, is directing.  There was much fanboy rage about a year ago when an early script was released, altering the Turtle's origins from being mutated in a sewer to being aliens from Dimension X.  Bay claims that was an early draft from before he signed on, but people are wary.

There was also much geek rage when it was announced that Megan Fox would be playing legendary TMNT supporting player April O'Neil.  Now, I'm not going to rage.  I'm going to be cautiously optimistic.  Here's why.  My best friend once pointed out that Megan Fox's acting was one of the very few good things in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  There's a scene early in the movie were Megan Fox and Shia LeBouf are going to have a Skype date, but LeBouf blows it off to go to a college party.  And Ms. Fox is sitting there in front of her computer all sad and alone.  "Megan Fox sold that scene," says my best friend.  "She genuinely seemed heartbroken."  So, who knows?  Maybe she can pull it off.

As filming is going on, more cast members are being announced, and thanks to pictures from the set, we're learning who they're playing.

Will Arnett, still best loved as GOB on Arrested Development, was spotted on the set, and it was learned that he's playing Vernon Fenwick.  For those who don't remember the original 1987 cartoon, Vernon was April's cameraman and eventual rival reporter in the Channel 6 newsroom.

Whoopi Goldberg was spotted on the set, and it was revealed that she's playing Bernadette Thompson, a gender-flipped version of Burns Thompson, April's editor-in-chief at Channel 6 news.  Because this is a Michael Bay production, I guess we can expect her to be a sassy black stereotype.

Glancing in Wikipedia for this blogging, I see that Saturday Night Live cast member Abby Elliot is also in the cast.  Seeing as to how they're filling out the Channel 6 newsroom so much, I'm guessing she's playing Irma, the Channel 6 receptionist and April's best friend.

And also in the cast is legendary character actor William Fichtner as a person "iconic in the Turtles mythology."  You might remember Fichtner from his small role as the bank manager who shoots at the Joker in the opening scene of The Dark Knight.  Because they haven't announced the villain yet, many are assuming he's playing Shredder, but with his distinct features, he looks more like Krang to me.  I'm saying Krang.

And what of the Turtles themselves?  Well, they've got largely unknowns for the Turtles.  Pete Ploszek is Leonardo, who only has a couple of TV guest shots to his name.  Noel Fisher is Michaelangelo, who's on the TV show Shameless.  Jeremy Allen is Donatello, who has a lot of small roles to his name.  And Alan Ritchson is Raphael, whose best known role is Aquaman on Smallville.  Because they chose such lesser-known actors for the Turtles, I'm also guessing they'll be getting celebrities to do the voices.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Danny Woodburn, probably best known as Kramer's friend Mickey on Seinfeld, is playing Splinter.

I really have no idea what to expect from this film.  With the large amount of comedic talent, and with so many members of the Channel 6 newsroom in there, I'm starting to figure it's very much going to be based on the 1987 cartoon...somewhat tongue-in-cheek, very comedic.  Those who've embraced a grittier TMNT over the years might be in for a shock.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits the big screen June 4, 2014.

We're getting ready for a new Doctor on Doctor Who.  The BBC just announced that Matt Smith has decided to hang up his bow tie and call it a day as the Eleventh Doctor.  It seems about right.  We got three series out of David Tennant, so three series seems like a good number to go out on.

As I've already blogged, I thought Series 7 was good, but not great.  The dynamic just seems off now that we now longer have the Doctor/Amy/Rory trinity.  Smith's final appearance as the Eleventh Doctor will be on this year's Christmas special, which will end with him regenerating into #12.

And who #12 is, no one knows.  Speculation is very rampant, so I'm not even going to try.

And just to finish things off with a song, I saw on TV last night that Owl City wrote an Oreo Cookies jingle. Damn, it's catchy. And the commercial is 90 seconds long. I don't know about you, but when a commercial goes for more than 30 seconds, I start thinking, "OK, why isn't this ending?" Here it is. As I said, damn, it's catchy.