Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, July 31, 2005

I always laugh when I read this in the paper.

Edmonton has its annual "Animethon" Japanese animation festival next weekend. First plug appeared in today's paper. Anywho, they mentioned that there'll be a costume contest, or "cosplay," to use the Japanese word.

Now, why does this make me laugh?

When I was in Japan, I only heard the word "cosplay" in connection with porn.

You know, movies where the starlets are dressed as cheerleaders, or strippers with a whole nurse motif, stuff like that.

I constantly wonder if something was lost in translation....

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Last night, my sister wouldn't stop tickling me.

So I dug out my double-bladed lightsaber and started whacking her everytime she came near.

That worked until Mom seperated us.

Just another night in Entwistle.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I've got to get out of here.

Reason number 19832094 why I hate living in a small town: the postmistress has begun worrying about my mental health.

See, it's like this. About once every two days, I go skipping down to the post office with an armful of resumes and demos which I send to every corner of the country. Apparently, I haven't been skipping as much lately, so the postmistress told my mother that she's worried I'm becoming depressed.

Just between you and me, here's why I wasn't skipping last time I went down to the post office.

It was Tuesday. I spent the day catching up on my correspondence. Essentially, if I have your address, you'll be getting a letter from me very soon. So, I got to the post office, mailed my letters, and got home. As soon as I kicked my shoes off, poured myself a big glass of milk, and settled into my chair. And then the phone rang. My Mom came running into the room. "That was the postmistress," she said. "Apparently, she didn't notice one of your letters was going to Japan and she undercharged you. You have to go back and buy more stamps for it."

So, I hauled myself out of my big comfy chair, put the milk back in the fridge, and once again had to walk all the way downtown just to guy fifty cents worth of stamps.

So, I may have been a little grouchy that second time.

And, you also have to remember that my sister is home. And she's getting on my nerves. Especially right now.

See, my sister is one of these people who always needs a project. Be it dating a mullet-wearing cokehead because "she can change him," or sewing a potholder, she's got to be working on something.

And now that she's living at home, she's made "cleaning the house" her project. This evening she's been going through the basement, throwing out anything that looks older than three months. As I write this, all my Star Trek books are gone and all my favourite board games. And I see she's getting closer and closer to my Japan souviners.

She's just slashing and burning without consulting anyone. All she knows is her project is "clean the basement."

She hasn't lived here in 5 years.

She doesn't have the right.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Yay! More DVD news before bed!

Circle October 18 on your calendar. That's the day that they finally, finally release the 2-disc super special edition of Tim Burton's Batman. In fact, on that day, they also release 2-disc special editions of Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin.

They're still kind of vague on bonus materials. Each set will have a wide array of featurettes, each film will have its respective music videos (Batdance by Prince on Batman, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me by U2 on Forever, The Beginning is the End is the Beginning by Smashing Pumpkins on & Robin). Oh, and Batman and Batman Returns will have Tim Burton running commentaries, and Batman Forever and Batman & Robin will have Joel Schumacher running commentaries.

Also, these four films will be released in a boxed set called The Batman Anthology: 1989-1997.

October 18!

Oh, and some more rumors on the Titanic special edition coming out this winter. It was originally proposed that they'd do a 2-disc special edition for the casual fan, and a 4-disc ultimate edition for the hardcore fan. Well, the rumor is now that they decided not to do this. Instead, they're just splitting the difference and doing a 3-disc special edition.
Let's get to the big DVD news:

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith comes out November 1! Lusasfilm has yet to release the complete list of bonus stuff, but they did give us this partial list:

- feature-length documentary on the making of the film
- 2 featurettes: one about the stunts, and one about the whole "chosen one prophecy"
- the 15 web documentaries made for starwars.com
- a playable demo for Star Wars Battlefront II

November 1! Don't forget.

So, I'm looking into what one has to do to become a marriage commisioner in Alberta. It's this whole same-sex marriage thing. It's got me bugged.

See, the Alberta government likes to tell we the people that we're all opposed to same sex marriage. I'm not, but the government tells me I am. Now, the way I understand it, there's a bit in the federal law that legalized same sex marriage that goes like this:

"Religous institutions still have the right to refuse to perform a same sex marriage if it conflicts with their religion."

Not bad. Everyone seemed to agree that it's a fair compromise between legalizing same sex marriage and protecting freedom of religion. Everything's clear, pass the beer.

Except, of course, in Alberta. Alberta's taking drastic measures to make sure that all rights are protected in this same sex marriage that's being forced down the throats of Albertans. (Not my throat. As I've said, I'm cool with it, but the Tories are telling me to think otherwise.) So, here in Alberta, they just envoked section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is the much-talked-about "not withstanding clause." It essentially allows a province to pass a law that violates the Constitution or Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as long as the provincial government renews it every 5 years. So, what new Alberta anti-same-sex marriage law had to be passed that requires section 33?

"Religous institutions still have the right to refuse to perform a same sex marriage if it conflicts with their religion."

GOSH DERN STUPID TORIES!! Quit your fear-mongering! You just did the same thing as the feds!

Now, granted, there's more to the Alberta law than this. The new Alberta law also extends the "right to refuse to do a same-sex marriage on religious grounds" to the government's marriage commisioners. So, now, Mr. Commisioner down at the city courthouse can also refuse to do a same sex marriage because Mr. Commisioner just happens to be Catholic. (Just an example.)

I also know that the right wing pundits are all paranoid right now. They like to present this horror story: church refuses to do a gay wedding. The gay couple charges the church with violating their rights. Church is hauled before human rights tribunal. Human rights tribunal rules in favour of the gay couple. Churches all over are now forced to do same-sex marriages, even if it violates their religion.

I, in all honesty, don't think that's going to happen.

But I'm watching all this chaos and thinking, "What can I do to stir up some mischeif?"

So, I'm going to become a marriage commisioner. I'm going to marry any couple that comes to my door.

Except, of course, those horrid straight people. It's against my religion.

Let's see if I can take that to the Supreme Court.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Damn. I get too easily distracted. All I want to do is sit down and catch up on my correspondence; you know, write letters to some people. But I sit down at the computer, get on the high speed Internet, and before I know it, I've wasted an hour and I don't feel like staring at the computer screen anymore.

Tomorrow I'll do it. Tomorrow for sure!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

This week, we've got the Worst Column Ever:

So, here I am. It’s late on Sunday evening, I’ve gotta write something for the website, so let’s just sit down and do it.

What can I write about?


Just write the first thing that comes to your mind.

Read it if you dare! It's nothing but filler.
Yesterday, I managed to take part in one of those things that I thought I wouldn't enjoy, but enjoyed immensly.

I took my father to see the Alberta Centennial Tatoo. Now, I know what you're thinking and you're wrong. This wasn't some big sweaty guy with Alberta tatoos all over his body. "Tatoo" is also the term for a concert of military bands.

As you can imagine, this was made up of military bands from all over the province - and some from a federal level. It was military bands, so it was pretty much nothing but marching bands and pipe & drum music.

Now, it wasn't purely concert. They arranged a bit of a plot to go along with it. The plot revolved around a young Albertan named Albert, who joins the army and becomes a trombone player in a military band, and we follow the history of Alberta through his eyes and the wars.

There was only one part of the show where I laughed inappropriatly. When we reached the Korean War. After they did their stage show part, the band started playing. I recognized the main tune as being vaguely familiar. I just thought..."No. They're not going to play...?" And they did. For the Korean War, they played the theme from M*A*S*H. Don't get me wrong. If you've ever heard the lyrics, it actually is a very sad and poignant song. But, in that context...I giggled.

They managed to play quite a bit of movie themes. For example, when Albert first dons his uniform for His Majesty's Imperial Army for World War I they played...the Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme). The Modern Era kicked off with the Indiana Jones theme and the theme from Mission: Impossible. The grand finale was one of the greatest movie themes ever written, the theme from the Magnificent Seven, which sounds surprisingly good when played on bagpipes.

And, of course, the show ended with a mighty explosion and coloured streamers raining upon the crowd. I got hit with a big faceful of green streamers. The person sitting next to me turned to me and said, "Woah! You got hit good!" Yes, I was sitting next to the one and only Captain Obvious.

It was a wonderful show, and I had a lot of fun.

It was also cool being in Rexall Place again. (Formerly Skyreach Centre, formerly the Edmonton Coloseum, formerly Northlands Colosseum.) Since I don't really care for hockey and have never been to a concert, I never get to Rexall Place that much. I know it's just a hockey rink, but I find its size rather awe-inspiring.

I always dreamt that, someday, when I'm rich and famous, I'll buy a luxury box to see the Oilers. Not that I'm a hockey fan, but it just seems like the thing to do when you're rich.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Well, it's another high-speed-Internet-free weekend in my house! Here's the ongoing saga of "Mark vs. Xplornet."

Ever since we got our high speed about two months ago, we've noticed that it cuts out about every second weekend. Every second weekend, we just can't get online, so we use the Telus dial-up that we just can't let go of to check e-mail and such. And that's what I'm using now.

So, finally, we called up StarView, the folks who install Xplornet in this area. StarView tells us that two things can interfere with out wireless Internet signals: cordless phones and ham radios. When our high speed Internet winks out, it means one of three things:

1) Someone in the house is using the cordless phone.
2) Our neighbours are using their cordless phones.
3) The town's ham radio enthusiast has fired up his ham radio and is talking to his friend in Norway.

StarView told us that, the next time it happens, we are to phone the Xplornet customer service in Nova Scotia, complain to them, and they can adjust our high speed Internet to a higher frequency so this doesn't happen.

Fast forward to today. It's the second weekend, so the high speed winks out. We do as we're told and we call up Xplornet customer service. "Have you done this? Have you done that? Well, unplug it and plug it back in." HELLO!! Where's our promised signal re-modulation? Finally, the customer service rep passes the message onto the profesional techies, and now we wait for the pros to get back to us.

All the while, I've got no high speed.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: wireless high speed Internet SUCKS!! You don't get these problems with a wire in the ground.

Well, here's something to cheer me up.

On October 4, Paramount release Star Trek: Nemesis - Collector's Edition. This is the 2-disc special edition of the final Star Trek film, thus making sure every film now has a special edition.

Now, the question is this. The original Nemesis DVD was a pretty nice special edition in and to itself, so the question is, what's new? What warrents me buying this again? So, here's the list of bonus features on the new DVD, and I've got my old DVD right here, so I'll go through the bonus features on the Collector's Edition and flag what's new:

- running commentary by director Stuart Baird
- running commentary by producer Rick Berman <--new!
- text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda <--new!
- 7 production featurettes <--looks like 3 or 4 of them are new!
- 3 Star Trek Universe featurettes <--looks like 1 is new!
- 5 Romulan Empire featurettes <--all new!
- 7 deleted scenes <--all different from the ones on the orignal DVD! This time, we get the cut Wesley Crusher cameo!
- storyboards and production photos <--all new!
- teaser and trailer
- 3 Easter eggs <--new!

Looks like it just may be worth buying again.

And one last bit of DVD news.

On October 4, 20th Century Fox finally releases Space: Above and Beyond - the Complete Series. Man, I loved this show! But here's the catch. On October 4, it'll only be available at Best Buy. It'll be available at all locations in December.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Recently, I can't help but think of my friends and a silly game we used to play.

The year was 1999. The big movie everyone was talking about was The Blair Witch Project. It freaked out a lot of my friends. One, who lived in Vancouver, even mentioned that it had now given him the willies whenever he walked through a nearby park. So, we started talking about when and where to watch it in order to give you the maximum willies.

Let me present this scenario.

You hop in your pick-up truck. You set out down an oilfield road. You drive for about an hour and a half on a road that's barely maintained. You constantly hit potholes. You wonder if that last rock broke something. If you're lucky, you'll pass one car.

Once you've traveled about 150-km down this road, you stop and unload your quad. The trained eye has spotted the abandoned oilfield road. It's overgrown with long grass and saplings. You hop on your quad and set off down what remains of this road. Thanks to the long grass and saplings, you never know when you're going to sink into muskeg or get overturned on a log. Drive down this "road" for about, oh, 10-km.

At the end, you come to an unnatural clearing. It's a 10-year old oil lease. You're surrounded on all four sides by extremely dense bush. You can only see for about a dozen feet into the woods before the sunlight gets blocked out. The only break in the bush is the overgrown path you came in on.

You are a good 300-km from any form of civilization. It's a safe bet that if something bad happens to you, you will never be found. The last mark you leave will be a pick-up truck on the side of a little-used oilfield road, and some quad tracks disappering into the bush.

You are completely alone, in the deep, dark woods, with no hope of ever seeing another human being.

Tell me, my Blair Witch-watching friend, would being out here scare you?

It's what I've been doing all week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I'm feeling like I should take a minute to comment on the tragic Star Trek news of the day. Because I have a blog, therefore my opinion is valuable.

As I'm sure you've heard by now, James Doohan, who'll forever be remembered as Scotty, passed away today. He was 85.

Like a lot of other Trekkies, I saw him at a Star Trek convention once. He was a very cool and very dynamic speaker. I learned a lot of things about him in his speech...chief of which was the fact that he was Canadian, and he was one of the many, many brave young soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

After the war he got into acting and worked primarily on CBC radio. That's where he became a master of accents. Yeah, that's one thing that's been glossed over about him. He was actually quite an accomplished voice actor. That came in handy on Star Trek where, in addition to playing Scotty, he also occasionally did the voice of a menacing alien on the comm.

Anyway, there are a lot of better tributes out on the Internet. Go read one.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hey! I've been so busy ooo-ing and ahh-ing over my train picture, I forgot to share the big geek news in my life:

Pokemon 8 just came out in Japan!

It's called Mew and the Waveguiding Hero - Rukario! I'm still not quite too sure on the plot. From the screen grabs I've found online, it looks like this time we're taking place in a country based on Austria. And everyone dresses the part. Gotta say, Ash's Robin Hood/highwayman costume actually looks kind of cool. As for the legendary pokemon that figure into the plot, we've got Mew making his return, this new guy Rukario, and the Regi: Regirock, Registeel, and Regice. Look for the straight-to-DVD North American release to happen in December.

Actually, all this talk of Pokemon got me thinking. One thing I still really wish they'd do is release action figures of the human characters in Pokemon. You know, tap into this "super-posable" technology and make something really specatacular. There was an attempt at it about 5 years ago, but no company ever really took the concept and ran with it. Here, then, is my wishlist of Pokemon action figures they should release:

- Ash. Naturally! Ash would come with a removable backpack, a few pokeballs, his pokedex, and, of course, Pikachu. There'd be two variants: one in his seasons 1-5 outfit, and one in his season 6+ outfit.

- Misty. The first companion would also have a removable backpack, some spare pokeballs, and Togepi. Again, there's two variants: one in her original outfit, and one in her Pokemon Chronicles/Cerulean City gym leader outfit.

- May. Misty's successor for seasons 6+ would have a removable fanny pack (she doesn't have a backpack), her pokedex, some pokeballs, and Torchic.

- Brock. Again, the backpack, pokeballs, and all his cooking utensils. Version 1 would be season 1, 3-5 outfit, and that would come with Crobat. Version 2 would be his season 6+ outfit, and that one comes with Mudkip.

- Tracy. Brock's replacement for season 2 would come with the requisite backpack and pokeballs, plus his sketchpad and pencils. His companion pokemon would be Merril.

- Max. May's little brother would come with his backpack and the pokenav. He can come with Jirachi. Yeah, yeah, he's too young for his pokemon license, but he and Jirachi really bonded in the sixth movie.

- Jessie. Team Rocket member #1 comes with some pokeballs and a shovel, so she can create the pattented "Team Rocket pitfall" trap. She comes with Wobbafett.

- James. Also gets the pokeballs, and a sack for making off with stolen pokemon. He gets Meowth.

And, of course, others could include Nurse Joy, Officer Jenny, Brandon, and various gym leaders.

Oh, and I forgot to share the biggest movie news of today.

They're making a new Smurfs movie!!

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films have just picked up the movie rights for The Smurfs. Herb Ratner is working on the screenplay. It's going to be computer animated. They want the first one to be out in 2008 - in time for the little critters' 50th anniversary. Yes, I said "first one." In this day and age of animated film franchises, Paramount is hoping to give us a full Smurfs trilogy.

I only have 4 words to say about this: Christopher Walken as Gargamel.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, it's Comics: The Final Frontier:

"As long as there has been Star Trek merchandise, there have been Star Trek comics. I’ve grown reflective of the Star Trek comics as of late. Granted, I was never a full-blown collector, but I did pick up the odd issue of DC’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, usually when the new issue of Ninja Turtles wasn’t in yet. I’m guessing no one notable has ever worked on the comics. J. Michael Strazynski, the Babylon 5 creator, wrote a few story arcs when he was a struggling writer. Peter David, whose work on the Incredible Hulk is legendary, has also written a few arcs. (David is also considered to be among the greatest of the Star Trek novelists.) In case you’re curious, here’s a brief history of Star Trek in comics:"

Read it!
Yay, San Diego Comic Con! There was a massive panel on the DC animated universe, so we've got this huge update:

Justice League Unlimited - THERE WILL BE A FIFTH SEASON!! We're going to open with Lex Luthor busting out of prison and forming...the Legion of Doom! (For those who don't care, the Legion of Doom was the supervillain supergroup that battled the Justice League on the old Superfriends cartoon.) Of course, the Legion will be the "big bad" for the season. Meanwhile, in character developments, look for the Green Lantern/Hawkgirl/Vixin love triangle to heat up when they introduce Carter Hall - the original Hawkman.

The Batman - We're going to get a new theme song for season three! Also, look for the introduction of the revamped Poison Ivy, Batgirl, and Commisioner Gordon. (It was mentioned that we're never going to get a revamped Robin, as Robin's too busy kicking butt and taking names over on Teen Titans.) Also, The Batman will be getting his first stright-to-video animated movie, The Batman vs. Dracula, which'll be out in time for Halloween.

Superman: the Animated Movie - And it was also casually mentioned that Superman will be getting his own straight-to-video animated film. I'm sure this has something to do with the hype for the new movie. They're hoping it'll be ready in time for Christmas.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Let's see if I can get this Photo Blogging working.

My sister's home, and I borrowed her digital camera to try to get a picture of the Via rolling through town. Missed the Via, but caught a CP fright train. Most everyone in the house was impressed with this picture, but then, my family is easily impressed.

Friday, July 15, 2005

"It looks like that, after 301 days, the NHL lockout is about to come to a close. This is the greatest news for Canadians since Celine Dion moved to Vegas." - Conan O'Brian

So, my sister is now living at home as well until she goes off to school this fall. She's being a continuous pain in the ass. For example, this conversation:

Her>> So, Mark, when I was in Italy, I met this Australian school teacher who I told all about you and now she wants to come to Canada and meet you.

Me>> Uh...what did you tell her?

Her>> I just told her that you're a radio DJ and a mathematician and a physicist.

Me>> OK, as accurate as that may be, when you phrase it like that, it sounds like you're making it up.

It does, doesn't it? All she had to do was throw in that I work part time as a night club singer and it's a premise for an Elvis movie.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Oh wow.

That live-action movie version of The Transformers is no longer coming out in November of 2006.

It has been pushed back to July 4, 2007.

Wow. That's just in time for my 30th birthday.

I have an idea.

Everyone, start clearing your schedules for July 7, 2007. I'm going to throw a huge-ass 30th birthday party for myself, and you're all invited. A lot of movie theatres now have birthday party rooms, so we'll get the birthday party room, and after we party down, we'll head over to see The Transformers.

07/07/07. Roll out!

Anyway, there's going to be a lot of official announcements for The Transformers this weekend at the San Diego Comic Con. It's going to be announced that Michael Bay is now officially the director. Also, the official movie website will be going live. Sure hope they do those featurettes every couple of weeks to show us how the film is progressing.

This is how the film is shaping up. This is who's signed on so far:

Director - Michael Bay (The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, The Island)

Writers - story by John Rogers (Catwoman), screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (The Island, Mission: Impossible 3, and TV's cult hit Alias

Executive Producers - Lorenzo diBonaventure (former head of Paramount Pictures), Tom DeSantos (the first two X-Men films), Don Murphy (The League of Extrodinary Gentlemen), and Steven Spielberg (God's gift to film).

The film is a co-production of DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Pictures, and Hasbro. July 4, 2007 is the release date.

And we see it on my birthday.

You know, as much as I love Kevin Smith, I don't think the world was really screaming for this DVD.

September 20 is when you'll be able to run on down to your local DVD emporium and pick up...

Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition (aka Mallrats X)

So, here's all what you get for bonus materials. Firstly, you get everything that's already on the original Mallrats: Collector's Edition DVD. For new stuff, you get:

- original on-set cast interviews
- a brief Q & A with Kevin Smith (about Mallrats, I'm guessing)
- The Erection of an Epic: The Making of Mallrats (the new "making of" documentary)
- the long-lost blooper reel
- Mallrats cast reunion Q & A session (there's one of these for Clerks on the Clerks X DVD)
- 3 Easter Eggs

And, as I'm sure you've been able to figure out, this DVD will include both the original theatrical cut of the film and a brand new "unrated director's cut" which'll have 30 minutes of cut scenes edited back in. And the "unrated director's cut" has a special introduction by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier.

If you're wondering as to why there's no new running commentary, Smith says that, between the new documentary and his introduction to the unrated director's cut, he's said about all had to say.

Once again, September 20 is the magic day. I, personally, am still debating as to whether an extended cut and some new bonus stuff is enough to warrant buying it again.

Oh, and fear not, true belivers! Kevin Smith is also hinting that Chasing Amy X is on the way for 2007!

And, in other news, I have caught a chimecho. I have named her Spanky.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

So I got my free Alberta Centennial flag. And on Canada Day, I watched a great documentary about the Canadian flag on the CBC. So I'm sure that you can understand that my current obsession is flags. As part of this obsession, I found the official website for NAVA, the North American Vexillogical Association. They're an orginaziation of Vexilloligists. (Vexillology, as I'm sure you've figured out, is the study of flags.) Anyway, they produced a brochure called "Good Flag, Bad Flag." In it, they outline what they believe to be the 5 basic principles in designing a good flag. In case you're curious, these are those 5 principles. I quote these verbatim:

1) Keep it simple. A flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory.

2) Use meaningful symbolism. The flag's images, colours, or patterns should relate to what it symoblizes.

3) Use 2 or 3 basic colours. Limit the number of colours on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard colour set. They define the "standard colour set" as being red, blue, green, yellow, black and white.

4) No lettering or seals. Never use writing of any kind or an organization's seal.

5) Be distinctive or be related. Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show a connection.

If I've piqued your curiosity, you can read the whole brochure right here.

Also, got a little DVD news. On October 4, Paramount will release the 2-disc special edition of Star Trek: Nemesis. Once that's out, all the Star Trek movies will be available in the 2-disc special edition treatment. Naturally, on that day, Paramount will also be releasing Star Trek: The Motion Pictures Collection. This is the big boxed set of the 2-disc special editions.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Tonight, for the first time in a few months, I swung by the official "Weird Al" Yankovic website. As I was scrolling through the latest news, I caught this little tidbit that got me all excited:

Al and the band are in the studio right now recording their next album

Yes! The new Weird Al-bum is in the works!! WOO HOO!!!

And the rest of the latest Weird Al news:

- the entire Weird Al catalogue is now available for purchase on iTunes.

- Weird Al can be heard on the next children's album from Sandra Boynton. Al's song is a duet with Kate Winslet (!!) called "I Need a Nap." The album is called "Dog Train" and will be out in October.

- As you may know, Ben Folds (formerly of Ben Folds Five, and now on his own) played piano for Weird Al on Al's song "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" Well, Al returned the favour by singing back-up on the Ben Folds song "Time." The song can be found on Ben Fold's latest album "Songs for Silverman," which is in stores now!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I tell you all about The Tram:

"At this point in my life, I’ve divided my life into two parts: “before Japan” and “after Japan.” Something about spending a year in another country shifted my viewpoint somewhat. And now, when I do things that I haven’t done since before Japan, they seem slightly different, although wholly familiar. There’s one thing I’ve wanted to do since “after Japan” started, and that’s return to my beloved Canadian Rockies. It’s an opportunity I didn’t have until just a couple of days ago."

Read it all here!

And, when you're done with that, I got my review of Herbie: Fully Loaded up. Read that one here!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I'm starting to get frustrated with the fact that my favourite movie website has started listing the releases of animation DVDs on Saturday. They used to do it on Tuesday - the day DVDs come out - and they split their list into two: live-action films and animation. But then, the animation list started growing so long (thanks to anime titles) that they decided to start listing animation on Saturdays. Cuz you know, Saturday morning cartoons and all that. So, it wasn't until today that I learned that back on Tuesday they released...

The Best of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

This 2-disc set contains the top 10 episodes of He-Man, as voted on by readers of the website He-Man.Org. You get featurettes about the making of the show, reproductions of original scripts, and even some postcards drawn by animators who worked on the show (including Justice League creator/genius Bruce Timm).

As my website also pointed out, if you're a hardcore fan, then you may want to wait until this fall, when they begin with the season-by-season boxed sets.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Hey! I've been so pre-ocupied, that I haven't weighed in on what's going on with one of my favourite obsessions: the Olympics!

So, the 2012 games will be held in London, England. I think that's a cool choice. Yeah, I know that Paris was the front-runner and I was rooting for New York, but I think London will pull it off greatly.

The other big news was that baseball and softball have been booted off the Olympic program. They will not be Olympic sports come 2012. Baseball was booted off because, despite being open to major league players, major league players don't show up. And softball lost it because of a lack of worldwide popularity.

So, the five sports being considered to replace those two were golf, karate, squash, rugby and roller sports. Sadly, none of them got the two-thirds majority required to make the Olympic program.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

And thus ends another birthday. Hopefully my mother will forgive me for being a mean ol' uncle who made his niece cry.

Anyway, got to uphold the long-standing tradition of the birthday movie. My original plan was to wait until tomorrow, and then we'd go see Fantastic Four. But, that went out the window because, tomorrow, I'll be halfway to Red Deer taking my neice and nephew home. And, with the younglings around, War of the Worlds was right out. So, my choice was limited to family movies. And, at the moment, there's only one family movie out there that I kinda sorta wanted to see.

Herbie: Fully Loaded

Hey, I was raised on those Love Bug movies and I wanted to see how Disney re-imagined it for the next generation.

Well, they didn't re-imagine it. It was the same old Herbie formula that I grew up with. I'm sure we all know it. Down-on-his-luck race car driver finds Herbie. Driver discovers Herbie is "alive." Driver is smitten with a special someone. That special someone is also interested in the driver's rival. So, Herbie helps his driver beat the rival, save the day, and win over the heart of that someone special.

This was the same thing, but with a gender twist. Now, the driver was played by "tween idol who stars in every Disney remake" Lindsay Lohan.

Absolutly no surprises, but a fun little nostalgia trip. They even included great little touches like slipping in samples of the original Love Bug score in the music. And my neice and nephew thouroughly enjoyed it.

Still trying to determine if my final rating should be 2.5 or 3 nibs.
Just got back from the post office.

Should it take 2.5 weeks for a postcard to arrive from Denmark?

I don't think so.

I'm starting to think I should write it off.
Ech. It's my birthday. Can't shroud myself in my usual cloak of angst because the niece and nephew are visiting. Gotta be all happy-happy for the younglings.

Anyway, at least I have the Internet Movie Database with me today. I don't have to watch Entertainment Tonight to see which celebrities share my birthday. According to the IMDb, I share my birthday with:

- champion figure skater Michelle Kwan
- actress and voice artist Cree Summer
- CSI star (and resident hot chick) Jorja Fox
- Law and Order: Trial by Jury star (and resident hot chick) Amy Carlson
- Ally McBeal singing sensation Vonda Shepard
- Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman
- Bill Campbell, star of one of my favourite movies, The Rocketeer
- Perpetual Star Trek guest star Vaughn Armstrong
- Beatles drummer Ringo Starr
- Stanley Brock, best remembered as Uncle Harvey in UHF
- and great actor Yul Brenner, you know, had he lived past 1985.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm back! But I doubt you noticed I was gone.

The neice and nephew are visiting right now, so naturally I went out to Jasper with them for a whirlwind overnight tour of the Rockies. I got to see where Jasper's McDonald's used to be, lament that I've gotten too out of shape to do the Maligne Canyon hike, experienced the worst winds ever at the top of the Jasper Tramway, and topped it all off with a soak in the Miette Hot Springs.

God I love it. Look for this to be the next column.

Anyway, I should mention that my postcard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa came yesterday before I left. But still no postcard from Denmark. Dude, it's gotta be soon. 2.5 weeks? the Danish postal service can't be that slow.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Wow. I can't believe what I got in the mail today.

My MLA actually delivered on an Alberta Centennial flag.

I now have this nice, big flag displaying the logo of the Alberta centennial. And no flagpole to fly it on.

My neice and nephew are visiting right now, and I told them that I also have a Canadian flag. "What are you going to do with all these flags, Uncle Mark?" they asked. And I told them the truth. "Someday, I'm going to have my own house. And I'm going to have a flagpole in the front yard. And I will fly them on my front lawn!"

So, yeah. Guess I gotta send my MLA a nice thank you letter.

Still no postcards from Denmark or Italy, though.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Latest column's up! this week, I've got More Grandiose Plans:

" I’ve lived in Entwistle all my life. In that time, I’ve seen many a project come forward, and many old ones torn down. So, it’s only natural that I would eventually have my own plans for the town. There are things I’d like to build, or at least see them be built. Every time I walk through the town, I pass every vacant lot and see another possibility. And the one that constantly comes to the fore is what to do with Entwistle’s gas station. "

Here! All! Read it!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

So here I am, home alone, and it's really late on Saturday night.

Naturally, I watched Heavy Metal on TV.

Note to self: When home alone and it's really late at night, never ever watch fucked up movies.

So, I've been enraptured by this new documentary that they're showing on the Travel Channel. It's called Canada's Greatest Ride.

(I'll pause for a moment while you make a joke about your prowess in bed.)

Canada's Greatest Ride is about going cross-country by train. It's centerpiece is the fact that they bolted a camera to the roof of a Via locomotive, so you get to see exactly what the engineer sees at the front of the train. There are whole hours of nothing but this "front of the train" footage.

Sounds kind of cool, right?

But it's not. In fact, it's making me laugh my ass off.

For example, day one. Vancouver to Kamloops, BC. Now, I'm sure that, like me, you're assuming this must be a pretty spectacular sight. Going through all those mountains, crossing babbling mountain streams, and going through tunnel after tunnel. Oh, it must be beautiful!

Too bad the Via runs this route at night.

So, for a solid half-hour, I was watching nothing but "going through tunnels at night." My God. Talk about your boring television.

And then, to add insult to injury, we came to day 2. Jasper to Edmonton. Now here's what I was looking forward to. I wanted to see some cool footage of what it's like to ride the rails through Entwistle. Give my home town it's props!

But...as the narrator explained. They had technical difficulties. As they left the Japser park gates, the camera winked out. No more footage. And they couldn't get out to fix the camera until they stopped in Edmonton. So, from the Jasper border to Edmonton, they had absolutly no footage.

Well, that's not true. They had lots of footage of the technical crew running around the train like chickens with their heads cut off trying to fix it.

Canada's Greatest Ride. Great concept. Hilariously bad execution.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Wow. I am happy. There is a God.

For you see, tonight, YTV just happened to re-run the episode of Justice League Unlimited that I missed last week due to the cable being out. I saw, what is potentially, the final episode of Justice League Unlimited and, prehaps, the entire DC animated universe.

The episode is called Epilogue. Wanna know what happened? Wanna know the last deep, dark secret of the DC animated universe?

We flash forward 65 years. Terry McGuiness, aka the future Batman and star of Batman Beyond, is now fully grown and in his late-20s/early-30s. And he's just learned a horrible truth.

The man who was killed at the hands of Derek Powers way back in the first episode of Batman Beyond, Mr. Warren McGuiness, was not Terry's father.

His real father is Bruce Wayne.

Short story long: OK, so, in this final season, they introduced the government agency known as Cadmus. The goal of Cadmus was to genetically engineer superheroes to work for the US Government, should the Justice League ever go rouge.

Well, Justice League and Cadmus finally resolved their differences and Amanda Waller, the head of Cadmus, became a close ally and friend to the Justice League. Over time, she really grew to respect and admire Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Naturally, as time went on, she realized that Batman was only mortal; that someday Batman would grow old and die. But this couldn't happen. The world needs a Batman.

So, Amanda Waller and Cadmus created "Project: Batman Beyond."

They obtained a sample of Batman's DNA. They analyzed psychological profiles until they found a young married couple whose personalities were virtually identical to that of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Of course, that couple was Warren and Mary McGuinness.

Nanites were prepared that contained samples of Bruce Wayne's DNA. These nanites were injected into Warren McGuinness, and through the mircale of nature, these nanites were used to impregnate Mrs. McGuiness.

9 months later, Terry was born. As Amanda Waller put it, "Not quite a clone, but it would do."

Now here's where the plan fell apart. When Terry turned 8, an assasin was hired to murder Terry's parents as the family walked home from the movie. It was an exact recreation of the tragedy that killed Bruce Wayne's parents. The goal was that, since everyone had a virtually identical personality, this would drive Terry down a path of vengeance and turn him into a new Batman.

But, at the last moment, the assasin froze. For you see, the assasin was the Phantasm. And, as Phantasm explained to Amanda Waller, Batman would never resort to murder. And if they were to commit cold-blooded murder, then they would be dishonouring everything that Batman stands for. Waller agreed, and the project was abandoned.

but then, in that true comic book fashion, there were some strange twists of fate that saw the murder of Terry's father and Terry's meeting up with Batman.

All in all, it was a great end.