Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, October 31, 2005

YES!! A day late, and by no fault of my own, the latest column is finally up!

This week it's The Dark Knight Strikes:

" He’s been one of the most enduring superheroes of the past 60 years. He’s been a dark avenger of the night, a bright, cheerful hero of the Silver Age, and a gross parody of the genre. He is vengeance. He is the night. He is the Batman. And he is perhaps the one superhero I love the most. But how did I reach this point? How did I arrive at the place where, at the ripe old age of 28, I still collect the trade paperbacks and read them cover to cover? I suppose it all started way back in the summer of 1989…."

Read it all!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

DAMN IT!! What happened to you, Angelfire? Why can I not log in? Why is my website suddenly an "Error 403: Forbidden?"

I wonder if this is it..."the end." I've been fearing this for some time, now. I've been using Angelfire as my server ever since that cold, November night in 1997 when my best friend and I were hanging out one night, and he told me about this one website he found that let you have a FREE website!

I signed up for my free website, and Chaos In A Box.com was born. Back in those days, Angelfire only gave you 200k of free server space. Now, they give you 20M.

But still, it was free. And using something for free for 8 years is quite remarkable. But now...if it is gone for good, I guess I have to rebuild.

I've got most of the original webpages still here on my hard drive. Maybe now I should buy decent server space, and upgrade to some kind of php formatting that my best friend has been trying to sell me on.

I've been wanting to buy decent server space for years, but I've been worrying about the price. My best friend boasts of paying only $17.95 per year for his, and that sounds good, but while I've got no job, I can't help but wonder if I'll have an extra $17.95 NEXT year, ya know?

Hopefully, I'm just panicking. Hopefully, my part of Angelfire is just down for maintenance right now.

But man, if I've got to rebuild....
Damn Angelfire.

Trust me, I have this week's column all written, and I'd like nothing more than to upload it.

But Angelfire is having problems.

Guess we're all gonna have to wait a while.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I've been left pretty immobile all week, thanks to the flu. And, since I don't feel like moving or going anywhere, I've been watching a lot of Star Trek reruns. Between SpikeTV and Space: the Imagination Station, I can watch Star Trek reruns for a good one-third of the day.

Today's DS9 reruns were the end of the sixth season and the start of the seventh. These two episodes are notable for one main reason: they killed Jadzia Dax, and brought in Ezri Dax.

For those who don't remember, Jadzia Dax died in the Bajoran temple on DS9. She was saying a prayer to the Prophets, when a possessed Gul Dukat came in and gunned her down. Well, she wasn't gunned down as much as she was zapped down with mystical energy from Dukat's fingertips. All in all, I think it's fair to say it was a "punk death." Sadly, unless it's in a movie, Star Trek characters always die punk deaths.

And then, the introduction of Ezri. I, personally, kind of like it for being simple and understated. Capt. Sisko, refreshed from his sabbatical, is about to go off and rescue the Prophets. And then, there's a knock on the door of the Sisko family restaurant. The door opens, and in walks the cute-as-a-button Nicole deBoer. "Hello, Benjamin," she says. "It's me...Dax." Fade to black. Yeah, this happens in the last 2 minutes of the episode. But still, it's so simple and it works.

Today's trivia bit: Ezri Dax is the only Star Trek main character who has yet to be made into an action figure.

And then, I've also seen my fair share of Star Trek's "metaphor" episodes. See, some of the best science fiction has always been satirical in nature. They'll take some present-day issue, push it to ridiculous extremes, and then move it to an alien planet. The goal is - hopefully - to get you to look at the issue in a new light. Star Trek's done several episodes like this. The best ones are when the metaphor/satire is subtle. The worst ones are when they beat you over the head with it and get a little preachy.

I saw one of the more recent, better examples of a worse one. It was a Voyager episode called "Critical Care." The issue it was satirizing: private, for-profit healthcare.

The set-up was like this: the Doctor was kidnapped and forced to work in this alien hospital. Now, this alien hospital was run by a computer that would calculate your "worth to society." The more you were worth, the better the healthcare you got. The Doctor saw such atrocities as the "worthless" citizens being denied the necessary cures while those with "a great deal of worth" frittered away these cures on frivilous things like anti-aging treatments. Eventually, the Doctor started subverting the system to make sure everyone got the same quality of healthcare. The episode ends with the Doctor re-programming the computer so the hospital's administrators are deemed "worthless," and then infecting them with a deadly plague. Because the administrators are now "worthless," the necessary cure is denied to them. And thus, the Doctor brings and end to this system.

See? Now that's not subtle at all. Prime example of being beaten over the head with the message.
Got a little more King Kong news today. In case you've missed it, King Kong officially clocks in at 3 hours, with a final budget of $207 million.

Anyway, the long-awaited new trailer is that much closer to hitting theatres. You'll be able to see it in front of the war drama Jarhead, coming out on November 4. And, if you miss it in front of Jarhead, the new Kong trailer will be given "priority placement" in front of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on November 18!

(Ooo, and at this point, I'd like to point out that rumour has it that the first-ever teaser for Superman Returns will also be in front of Goblet of Fire.)

And don't forget, the original, 1933 version of King Kong FINALLY comes out on DVD on November 22. It'll be a brand-new 2-disc special edition, featuring a painstakingly digitally restored print of the film. For your bonus materials, you get a 7-part documentary about the film (directed by Peter Jackson!), a documentary about Meriam C. Cooper (writer and director of the original Kong), and a running commentary involving special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, special effects guru Ken Ralston, and historical soudbites from the cast and crew.

Or, if you want to go the prestige route, you can get the "Collector's Edition." It's the above 2-disc special edition, only packaged in a collectable tin, with a reprint of the program you got when you saw Kong back in 1933, 5 postcards featurning King Kong movie posters from over the years, and a mail-away offer for a reprint of the orignal King Kong movie poster!

And, also coming out on November 22 is the oft-forgotten 1976 version of King Kong. that's just a movie-only disc.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

If you don't mind, I'm going to take a minute to rant about the Government of Alberta.

First up: the lobbyist registry. This has been a minor issue for a few years now. People are pushing to create a lobbyist registry for the provincial government. It seems like a good idea. I mean, the federal government has one. Other provinces have them. And, wouldn't you like to know who gets paid the big bucks to try to influence our leaders?

An all-party committee was commissioned to analyze the situation. They delivered their report. And you know what? They said it was a good idea. It's very rare when here in Alberta the Tories, the Liberals, and the NDP all agree on something.

Except, of course, Ralph Klein.

Klein's been dead-set against a lobbyist registry ever since the issue first came up. Originally, he'd try to shrug off the issue...say that it would be difficult to set-up because "it's difficult to define a lobbyist." And now, today, when the committee came back with their report and said it was needed, do you know what Klein said? His exact quote:

"We don't need a lobbyist registry. I know all the lobbyists. You know all the lobbyists. The opposition knows all the lobbyists. Everyone knows all the lobbyists!"

Umm...no we don't.

If I were paranoid, I'd say Klein's trying to hide something.

Power deregulation. What's up with that?

I've never understood it completely. This is my closest to grasping it.

See, back in the good ol' days, TransAlta Utilites ran everything. If they wanted to increase the cost of electricity, they'd ask the government. Nice and simple.

But then...deregulation. "Look," said the government. "Stop asking us if it's OK to increase power costs or not! Here's what we're gonna do. We're going to open the doors! We'll allow more power companies than TransAlta to operate! Then, the free market can determine the prices! Viva la capitalism!"

So, they did that with electricity and natural gas. Some of the bigger players in the game right now are Epcor (formerly Edmonton Power) and EnMax (formerly Calgary Power). And suddenly, power prices shot up like a rocket. Electricity became outrageously high. The power companies had you signing into contracts, similar to a long-distance plan with your phones, in order to guarantee a fixed rate. But, because prices were so high, and the fixed rates on the contracts were even higher, no one wanted to sign onto a contract.

"Oh, don't worry!" said the government. "Once we all get used to this and the market stabalizes, the prices will come plummeting down! Just you watch!" Guess what? The prices never came down.

So, the government decided to re-regulate. When you sign up for your power, you have a choice: you can either go on the government-decided floating rate, or you can sign onto a power company contract.

As I write this, only 7% of Albertans have signed onto a contract. Ralph Klein, the mastermind of this project, doesn't even have a contract. And, Klein tells us that the re-regulation is going to end in 2011, so if the market hasn't stabalized by then, we're screwed.

I don't know. This was triggered by EnMax and their new ad campaign. They finally got the bright idea to offer a bundled electricity/natural gas contract. They promise it'll save you $100/year. "Not even Klein can turn down this contract," they said!

They say the $100/year savings comes from administrative costs...they'll be sending you just one bill instead of two, you see.

Turning on the lights became a whole lot more complicated because of deregulation.

You probably never expected me to say this, but our education system is fucked.

This was brought on by reading a letter to the editor in the Edmonton Journal last week. A mother had just come from NAIT's open house and was lamenting that her "average" daughter couldn't meet NAIT's minimum 60% average for admissions. This mother was also distraught over NAIT's requirement of the Career Investigation Report for part of your application. "What happened to the good old days, when the demands of the course weeded out those who weren't acceptable?" decried the mother.

OK, I'll admit, because I was an honour student, i have no concept as to what the average average is. So, I asked my mother, former school board trustee who lived with these stats for 15 years, and she assured me that 60% is around the average average. So, if 60% is too high for the "average" person...then what kind of standard is this mother using?

Secondly, the Career Invesitgation Report. I had to write one to get into NAIT. The instructors explained to me why. See, those "good old days, when the demands of the course weeded out those who weren't acceptable," were incredibly stressful. Drop-out rates became phenominally high. It was frightening. Radio actually had the dubious distinction of having the highest drop-out rate in NAIT. So, the Career Investigation Report was brought in to seperate those who were serious about it from those who were just goofing around.

A Career Investigation Report is the easist thing in the world to write, too. Just grab the phone book. Just pick anyone who's doing the job you want to do. Call them up, ask them a few questions about the job. Then, stretch it into a one-page essay. IT'S JUST THAT EASY! If you're too lazy to do even that, then you don't go to NAIT. And those who aren't serious about it are weeded out.

I will admit, though, that this shows how our education system is fucked. The mother lamented in her letter that they were only bothering with NAIT because her kid's grades weren't good enough for the U of A. And this is where the problem is.

The entire school curriculum has become geared for university entrance. As soon as you start grade 7, to when you graduate from grade 12, you are being groomed to go to universtiy. No where along the line anymore are the teenagers told, "You know, you might do good in a trade! Why don't you start looking at the trade schools?" It's become all "university or nothing."

And that's got to change.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wow! It's the day for top 100 lists.

As I was flipping through the channels tonight, I came across a CBC documentary called The Alberta 100. In honour of Alberta's centennial, this show counted down the top 100 Albertans. And, since I've been all about the centennial kitsch, I tuned in.

As with the geek moments, I'll just recount the top 10 for you:

10) Ian Tyson, Alberta singer and songwriter.
9) Father Albert Lacombe, frontier missionary
8) W.O. Mitchell, author
7) Vern "Dry Hole" Hunter, the man who struck oil in Leduc.
6) Grant MacEwan, author and politician
5) Col. James MacLeod, NWMP Commisioner
4) Norm Kwong, our current Lieutenant Governor and the first Asian to play in the CFL.
3) Crowfoot, Sisika chief
2) Ernest Manning, Alberta's longest serving premier (1943-1968)
1) Lois Hole, Lieutenant Governor, entrepreneur, activist, and author

Some other notables from down on the list:

93) Todd McFarlane, Comic Book Artist
77) Leslie Nielsen, Actor
71) Stu Hart, Wrestling Promoter
56) Kurt Browning
52) Douglas Cardinal, world-renouned architect (my mother loathes him)
37) Ralph Klein
19) Wilf Carter
17) Emily Murphy (all five of the Famous Five made the list; Murphy is the highest-ranking)
12) Peter Lougheed

You can check out the complete list at The Alberta 100.com

Oh, and I thought you'd like to know, the big movie of the holiday season, Peter Jackson's King Kong, clocks in at 3 hours exactly. Jackson originally promised Universal Studios that the filmw ould only be 2.5 h, but when the Universal executives saw Jackson's final cut, they agreed that it needed to be 3 hours long.
So, I highly recommend picking up the 100th issue of ToyFare. In it, they list the top 100 geek moments. I'm not going to share all 100 with you, but I will share the top 10:

10) April 27, 1956 - The first Godzilla movie hits theatres.

9) May 10, 1975 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail hits theatres.

8) February 18, 1990 - The Simpsons premieres.

7) May 3, 2002 - The most-anticipated comic book movie of all time, Spider-Man, finally hits theatres.

6) The climax of Superman in which Superman, totally distraught over Lois Lane's death, flies off into space and turns back time to resurrect her.

5) Wolverine launches into his berzerker rage and takes down all of Styker's troops in X2

4) The climax of The Matrix, in which Neo finally believes that he is "the one" and launches into his final battle with Agent Smith.

3) "No...I am you father" from The Empire Strikes Back

2) Gandalf vs. the Balrog in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

1) Darth Vader takes down Emperor Palpatine, thus earning redemption, in The Empire Strikes Back.

It's a great list...not sure I'd agree with all their choices, but they do cover all aspets of geek culture: movies, TV shows, comics, video games, and toys.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's Titanic Tuesday!

Another of those DVD mega-special editions I've been waiting for for oh-so-long comes out today:

Titanic: Special Collector's Edition

This 3-disc edition finally gives you everything you ever wanted to know about the 1997 classic. Three running commentaries, completed deleted scenes, and a slew of featurettes! I wouldn't mind having it under my Christmas tree.

Now, last week I told you that there was something controversial about this DVD. And here it is. Originally, it was going to be a 4-disc special edition, and the fourth disc was going to have a brand-new, huge, documentary about the making of the film. (Similar to Empire of Dreams with the Star Wars Trilogy boxed set.) The documentary was finished, it was all ready to be pressed to DVD but, at the last minute, Titanic writer/director James Cameron pulled the plug! He refused to release the documentary!

So, the question on everyone's mind is...why?

Oh, well. It's still a nicely stacked special edition.

Some other notable DVD releases today:

The Wizard of Oz - This classic film also gets a long-deserved mega-special edition. You can go for the nicely-stacked 2-disc special edition, or you can get the 3-disc special edition that contains the original Wizard of Oz silent films made by Oz author L. Frank Baum back in the 1910's!

Alias: The Complete Fourth Season - Better include this for my best friend, who's simply nuts about this show.

The Hilarious House of Frightenstein Volume 1 - HOLY SHIT!! I can't believe this made it to DVD. The highly surreal Canadian children's show, starring Billy Van in every role, makes it to DVD. This particular disc contains the first four episodes of the show.

Kids in the Hall: The Complete Third Season - Speaking of surreal Canadian shows.... You get running commentaries by the Kids, and very old footage from some of their first public performances.

Tripping the Rift: Season One - My god, nothing but surreal Canadian shows this week! The incredibly raunchy and very funny sci-fi cartoon made for Space: the Imagination Station. All thirteen episodes from Season 1.

And that's it. Well, that's all that I find notable.

So, for those who have lived in Alberta for a long time, then you know that, whenever the economy is doing good, the Government toys with the notion of building a high-speed rail line between Edmonton and Calgary.

Today, Infastructure Minister Lyle Oberg decided to settle this once and for all.

He's commissioned a study to find out if Albertans would actually use such a thing. Oberg is very pessimistic, citing that far too many Albertans love to drive rather than take the train.

I think there's more support for this than one may think.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Oy. Not a good day. I woke up in the middle of the nigh with a charlie horse of intense pain that still hasn't gone away...my tooth still hurts despite the dentist telling me that the pain would go away "in a few days" (that was 10 days ago)...I think I'm getting my mother's flu...I'm still hurting emotionally from my recent spate of job rejections...and Space thought it'd be a good idea to preempt the Aquaman episode of Smallville in favour of the biography of William Shatner.

I'm experiencing 7 flavours of pain, and not one of them is chocolate.

But all this pain has been good. I managed to write three columns this weekend! That's a feat I haven't accomplished in a good long while. But, you're not going to read any of those. Instead, you're reading the crappy one I wrote last week. It's called Timmy's:

" Granted, in Canadian pop culture, there’s very little that we have to call our own. We’ve got very little in the way of our own TV industry, film industry, and music industry. As for a fast food industry, though, there’s one thing that rises above it all. There’s one nationwide restaurant we all look to and claim as our own. At least, I think that’s why Tim Horton’s has gotten so freakin’ popular in recent years. "

Read it all right here

Oh, and in case your interested, here's a couple of notable dates for you:

- Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox have selected July 4, 2007 to be the day of the release of Fantastic Four 2. That's the same day as the live-action movie version of The Transformers. Something tells me one of those films will get moved....

- December 13 is when we here in North America will finally be able to see Godzilla: Final Wars. The last Godzilla movie ever gets a straight-to-DVD release here in the USA and Canada.

And one useless trivia fact from Wikipedia:

If you go to Google and type in "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" Google will tell you she's in Cairo.

Friday, October 21, 2005

So, Edmonton is getting this brand-new smooth jazz station.

All week long, I've been in interviews with them. Phone interviews...in-person interviews...casual inquiries and follow-up questions over the phone and through e-mail.

And today, I was told I didn't get the job.

This is far more heartbreaking than the thing with Sonic. Every step along the way, I was getting nothing but positive feedback from the interviewers. "Oh, it's down to you and just one other person!" And it always goes to the other person.

This is why I stopped setting goals. Something always comes up, causing me to choke at the finish line.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

OK, for the hell of it, I took this quiz, "Which sci-fi/fantasy character are you most like?" and lookie who I'm most like!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

I'm just as stunned as you are. Sure beats the hell out of being Chakotay. That's what happened the first time I took one of these tests about 4 years ago. Completely turned me off of doing it again. But tonight, I figured, "What the hey? Let's try again."
This is the nerdiest thing I'm ever going to say.

I've been trying to get out to the library more.

See, about a year ago, the Entwistle Library was amalgamated with the Entwistle School Library. I was one of the ones lobbying for the change. On paper, it just made sense. Firstly, the Entwistle Library is now open regular hours. It's open whenever the school's open. That is a lot more functional than the original hours: 10-12 on Saturday Morning, 6-8 on Wednesday night.

Plus, now, they have a real, competent librarian working there. In the Province of Alberta, they have this wonderful system now where you can check-out books online. I go to the website, request the book I want, and in about a week, I get a call from the library saying that the book is now in and I can go pick it up. Thanks to having a real, competent librarian working, the Entwistle Library now actually uses this system and I can request a book pretty much from any library in the province, and have it in the Entwistle Library in about a week.

And, seeing as to how I was one of the ones lobbying for all this to happen, I figured it was finally time to partake.

Right now, I'm about halfway through Downsize This by Michael Moore. This is Moore's first book. It came out in 1996, and I've always wanted to read it. I figured it was a good one to start my newfound use of the library. It's OK...granted, as it is 9 years old, it is somewhat dated. Analyses of the OJ Simpson trial, a call to have the "Rodney King 5th Anniversary Commemerative Riot," and ripping apart Bill Clinton for being too right-wing are so...well, 1996. It doesn't seem as well thought-out as Stupid White Men. A lot of it seems like just the average guy venting. But it's still good, and still has some good points.

In the weeks ahead, I'm going to have to watch The Big One again. For those who don't remember, the Big One was Moore's third movie, in which he chronicled his book tour plugging Downsize This. The more I read Downsize This, the more it feels like The Big One is just the movie version.

And then, today, from the library, I get a call telling me that my next book is in. I'm going to have to start reading faster. Next up is Silent Bob Speaks: the Collected Writings of Kevin Smith. You know I'm just a big fan of Kevin Smith's, and this is his first book that came out back in the spring. It's nothing fancy, it's just a compilation of essays and articles he's written over the years for various magazines and websites. It has an interview he conducted with Tom Cruise, some ruminations and rants for indie film mags, and his complete Jersey Girl production blog - all 3 entries. I've already been leafing through it. It looks to be a very easy read, and damn funny.

I'm going to have to get my best friend to read Smith's review of the Star Wars prequels. Smith wrote it in the summer of 2002, right when Attack of the Clones came out, and he writes why exactly he is loving the prequels.

That essay is called "Defender of the Faith."
I have to get my "geeking out" under control.

I had a job interview in Edmonton today, and on my way out of the city, I had to stop buy Toys R Us. This is just a great time of year to be an action figure collector and/or a kid. The toy stores are starting to put all the new stuff on the shelves for Christmas, plus re-stock on what's been the favourites all summer. So, finally, a lot of stores are starting to get those Revenge of the Sith action figures I've been reading about.

So, there I was, and I saw staring me in the face one of those Episode III action figures I thought they'd never make:

The charred remains of Anakin Skywalker. Complete with removable limbs.

Yes, they actually made this version of Anakin into an action figure, so you can re-create that scene where he's lying next to the lava river, burning to death, cussing out Obi-Wan and awaiting rescue from Palpatine.

It's actually a 2-pack. Also in there is a "pre-charred" Anakin, looking just as he did before he tried to reach higher ground.

So, of course, I geeked out and bought him.

I got home and managed to catch The Real Ghostbusters on TeleToon. These scant two weeks before Halloween is the only time of the year that TeleToon shows it. Despite my love of this toon, it was actually the first time in about 14 years that I'd seen an episode. It was a lot darker than I remembered. In this particular episode, a C'thulu-worshipping cult managed to get their hands on the Necronomicon and sought to awaken C'thulu. Of course, they did, and it was the Ghostbusters vs. C'thulu. Very dark.

But I still love it so.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Today, out comes one of the DVD boxed sets I've wanted since DVD began:

Batman: the Motion Picture Anthology 1989 - 1997. At long last, 2-disc super-special editions of Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin! All in a handsome boxed set! The only question is do I dip into my savings and buy it now, or put it in the #1 spot on my Christmas list? If only they waited another month to release this...then there'd be no debate, it'd be on the Christmas list for sure!

Also out today, Batman Begins. Christopher Nolan's Batman movie is, by far, the best, finally treating Batman seriously, contending with the whole of Batman's origin, and giving us a more realistic Gotham City. Plus, it has my two favourite Bat-villains, Ra's Al Guhl and the Scarecrow.

I know, I know, a friend of mine didn't like it because Batman wasn't fighting any supervillains. But that's actually an integral part of Batman's origins. Batman first took down the mob, and that created a power vacuum that the supervillains rushed in to fill. Batman Begins only contends with the "taking down the mob" part.

Batman Begins is available in both full screen and widescreen AND single-disc movie only version and a 2-disc "Deluxe Edition."

And, for historical completeness, also out today is Batman: The Complete 1943 Movie Seriel. This Batman movie seriel was the first time ever that Batman was portrayed on the big screen. Set during WW2, it features Batman and Robin busting up a Japanese spy ring. It's now infamous for it's highly racist, incredibly negative sterotyping on the Japanese people. It was released on video about 10 years ago with most of the racist content cut out, but, amazingly, people objected. On DVD, it's available in its complete, uncut form.

For the young'uns, today also sees the release of The Batman vs. Dracula. The latest animated incarnation of the Bat stars in his first straight-to-DVD movie, where he does battle with the Joker, the Penguin, and a resurrected Dracula.

Stay tuned for next week, when, at long last, we get our 3-disc super-special edition of Titanic. There's actually a huge controversy about that, but I'll get into it next week.

Monday, October 17, 2005

If there's one kind of humour that I'm obsessed with analyzing, it's the current trend of "pop culture reference as joke." Why o why do I laugh at Peter Griffin on Family Guy when he screams "Oh no! Run ET!" and ET runs across the room, yet roll my eyes in annoyance when, while watching Shrek 2, I notice that the Ginerbread Man's dying words - "Be Good" - are exactly the same as ET's final words? It's become a very common, but sadly very difficult, style of humour. A lot of it is done poorly, but when it's done well, I laugh my ass off.

A great example of doing it well was tonight's episode of Corner Gas. A stray German shepard comes into town, and Hank is convinced it's the Littlest Hobo. The ultimate pay-off is at the end of the episode.

Hank and Brent are having a BBQ. The dog comes in and starts barking at the tool shed. Hank and Brent go into the tool shed out of curiosity, only to have the dog lock them in, grab the steaks off the table, and head for the hills, all to the strains of the theme song from The Littlest Hobo. The "heading for the hills" was actually a fairly faithful re-creation of the end credits montage from The Littlest Hobo.

It just made me laugh my ass off, to see this German shepard, running down main street Dog River, a giant stolen steak dangling from his mouth, as we heard, "Maybe tomorrow, I'll wanna settle down/Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home."
Over the weekend, I watched Mallrats again. My favourite bit of dialogue is still the debate about Superman's sex life. "The only way he could bang regular chicks is with a Kryptonite condom. But that would kill him."

Then, I watched Smallville this morning. Huh. Here's what's gone on in the first three episodes this season:

Episode 1: Clark loses his powers.
Episode 2: Clark loses his virginity to Lana.
Episode 3: Clark regains his powers.

I can't help but wonder if the writers engineered it like that so they wouldn't have to contend with the "Kryptonite condom" debate.

Here's two words that'll fire up your soul.

Stamp collecting!

Because I clicked on something I shouldn't have, I now get Canada Post's stamp collecting magazine. And they have an interesting article in the latest issue. Of course, they borrowed it from the Canadian Stamp News, which is THE stamp collector's magazine.

They ran a poll of stamp collectors to find the best stamps that Canada Post issued in 2004. The two categories were "Favourite" (which ones you liked the best) and "Most Relevant" (which is the thing most worthy of getting a stamp). Here was the breakdown:

Favourite stamp of 2004: Pets. Kids frollicking with pets.
Most relevant stamp of 2004: 60th anniversary of D-Day.
Least favourite of 2004: Urban transit. Pics of subway trains.
Least relevant stamp of 2004: Year of the Monkey.

They also point out the irony that, even though "Pets" was voted the favourite, it also scored high on "Least relevant." (#3 in the top 10)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Latest column's up! This week, I tell you all about Free Money:

"I don’t like wading into political debates. Granted, I do enjoy politics and follow them closely, but debates are not friendly to me. No matter how well prepared I am; no matter how many statistics I have in my corner backing me up, my opponent always seems to have just that much more in his/her corner, and it’s not long before I’m left gasping for breath. My opponent walks away, assured of his/her victory, and I’m left there questioning my own beliefs. But, there’s something going on right now that I feel I just have to contribute my own two cents. That’s the upcoming $400 “prosperity bonus” going to every Albertan."

Let's get political!

Actually, I have a little footnote to this week's column. In order to get your $400 prosperity bonus, you have to meet two requirements: you have to be an Alberta citizen as of September 1, and you have to have filed your 2004 income tax return. Now, a lot of people are of the mindset "The government won't care if I don't file my taxes unless I owe something," and thus don't file their tax return. And, with this requirement of "must have filed last year's tax return to get your $400," those tax places like H&R Block are finding themselves SWAMPED! This is usually the slowest time of the year, but now, everyone is rushing to file their 2004 tax return so they can get their $400.

And yes, I filed my tax return back in the spring. My mother always told me to file my taxes even if I don't owe anything, because that way, I'll get my GST rebate.

Just got back from a day trip to Red Deer. I think I told you this tale...my cousin just got back from a trip to Disneyland. Now, as you all know, I collect Star Wars action figures, and Disneyland is the only place on the planet where you can buy Star Wars action figures of the Star Tours characters. I was explaining this to my aunt and uncle:

Them>> Can't you buy them at the Disney Store?

Me>> Nope.

Them>> Can't you buy them online at Disney's online souvineer stores?

Me>> Nope. I've tried. The only place on the planet where you can buy them is at Disneyland. Well, and Disney World, too.

So, when they left, I requested that they bring me 2 Star Wars: Star Tours action figures, and I'd pay them back. Picked them up today. I now have 2 Star Tours action figures for my collection! And it cost me $22 American.

And then, after that, I was browsing through Toys R Us, and I geeked out and bought Zett Jukassa. For those who don't care, Zett Jukassa is the young Jedi padawan that's mercilessly slaughtered in front of Bail Organa in Revenge of the Sith. The only thing that makes this character notable is that he's played by Jett Lucas, son of George Lucas. That little fact has made him popular with collectors...and very tough to find.

So I geeked out and bought him.

Also had coffee with one of my old classmates from NAIT, who is now doing very well for herself in the Red Deer radio market. She's kept in closer touch with the rest of my class and, apparently, the biggest unsolved mystery among my old classmates is "How come no one will hire Mark?" Apparently, among my classmates, I had the reputation of being the smartest and the most talented and the hardest working.

(Personally, I thought that the SHE, the one I was having coffee with, was the smartest and the most talented and the hardest working. That's why I'm working to stay in touch with her. She's gonna go far, and I'm gonna ride on her coattails as far as I can.)

And she told me some very good news. As you've heard me rant about, I was totally distressed when I turned on the news one night and saw that the class stoner was now at 96X, one of Edmonton's top radio stations. I told that to my friend, and she said, "What? No! That wasn't him! He got fired from his practicum and thus flunked out of NAIT. He went to work for another radio station, and got fired from there, too. Last I heard, he'd given up on radio and he was a clerk at Sport Check or something like that."

Needless to say, that REALLY brightened my day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Today at around 10AM, I get a call from Sonic's producers. They were whipping up some 30-second spots for us wildcard candidates. They gave me 20 seconds to say why people should vote for me. I took a deep breath and said,

"People should vote for me because I have the experience, I have the education, and I've worked too hard for too long for a job in radio to be denied now."

I recounted this tale to my father. Dad said, "I think that [what you said] was more a message for the Sonic management than the voters."

Anyway, there's 24 hours left in the polls, and I'm a distant second-last. Unless something freakin' miraculous happens over the next day, I think we can say this ball game is over.

I'd like to say thanks to everyone who voted for me. And a special thanks to Drew King Dalby and Adam Kerr for letting me crash at their place on the eve of my on-air shift, so that way I could get there on time.

Monday morning, I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. And the adventure continues....

Friday, October 14, 2005


The Sonic 102.9 FM Wildcard voting has now begun, so maybe, just maybe, you can vote me back into the running.

All you have to is go to the Sonic 102.9 Website and click on CLICK HERE TO VOTE!!

So rally your friends and neighbours!! Help me win a job in a contest!!

Polls close Sunday at 1800h. (6PM, for those who are 24-hour clock challenged.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Well, I'm feeling kind of sad today.

Ever since I was a kid, there was this hardware store that stood at the end of main street here in Entwistle. Next to that hardware store stood a big blue barn, which was built in the early 1980s sometime.

The hardware store was a Link Hardware. I used to go there a lot with my Dad. It was infamous in this town because a group of old men would always sit on the stoop of that hardware store, look down main street, and ponder the fate of the universe. Link Hardware eventually became a Home-All Building Centre, and the Home-All eventually moved to Evansburg.

The Blue Barn was a variety of stores over the years. I mostly remember it as a video rental store & arcade. I remember dropping a lot of quarters into Star Wars: the Arcade Game. Eventually, it became a feed store. The owner of the feed store also aquirred the hardware store, connected the two together, and turned it into one big feed store.

Now, as it turns out, in the late 80s or so, before all this feed store stuff took place, the hardware store and blue barn were bought by the village. Why? I don't know. The village council loved buying property. Naturally, when the county took control of the village, all the village properties were now owned by the county. And the county has been trying hard for the past few years to unload all these properties.

The feed store didn't want to to buy the building, so that moved to a newer, nicer building on the other side of town. The hardware store and blue barn have stood empty for about a year now, and the county just couldn't find any buyers.

And then...it was discovered that the hardware store and blue barn were built with asbestos insulation. Suddently, the cost of fixing up and selling off these buildings was a lot more expensive than tearing them down and selling the empty lot.

So, today, the county is tearing down the hardware store and the blue barn. It was a landmark, that's for sure.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh my God! Another of my favourite failed TV shows is coming to DVD! Coming out on Boxing Day is...

seaQuest DSV: Season 1

We don't have any specifics yet on bonus material, but we are promised "never before seen footage!"

Now, a lot of people are thinking that it's weird that it's coming out on December 26, because December 26 is a Monday this year, and DVDs always come out on Tuesday. But, it makes perfect sense when you think of it. Wouldn't you like to target all those Boxing Day shoppers?

Actually, I'm going to take advantage of this to make a little list. For the longest time, I've been wanting to throw together a bit of a DVD shopping list for my website...something to keep track of the new releases I want to buy.

So, with this seaQuest announcement, I'm going to throw together - right now - a list of all the TV shows on DVD I want that are coming out between now and January. I mean, this is in addition to all the Star Treks and Futurama and GI Joe and Transformers and Batman: The Animated Series that are already readily available.

Anyway, here's the list!

October 18
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season 1, Volume 1

November 8
- Space: Above and Beyond - The Complete Series
- Jay and Silent Bob do Degrassi

December 6
- Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 1
- The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special
- Star Wars Clone Wars: Volume 2

December 26
- seaQuest DSV: the Complete First Season

January 10
- The Flash: The Complete Series

that should do it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

When I saw Serenity last week, I saw it at Edmonton's North Edmonton Common theatre. I think I'll be going there more often...it's just like South Edmonton Common, only easier for me to get to. And cheaper than Silver City.

Now, the "Edmonton Commons" theaters are Cineplex Odeons, and I don't get to them much because Silver City is a Famous Players. And, as I was sitting in the theatre waiting for Serenity to start, I noticed something cool.

Cineplex Odeon has its own radio station.

They do! It's their own radio station to pipe into movie theatres before the movie starts. I was listening to this station and I started thinking, "That must be a pretty sweet gig!"

I started thinking of the logistics...odds are, Cineplex Odeon has subcontracted this to some production house in Vancouver. They probably don't have to do much work, because, let's face it, people are only listening to 20 minutes worth as they wait for the movie to start. It's probably only a 2 or 3 hour show, recorded in this Vancouver production house, then beamed via satallite to every Cineplex Odeon in Western Canada. Probably just record a new one every week, too.

Really sweet gig.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Latest column's up! Well, I don't really have a column this week. This week, in lieu of a column, I'm just directing everyone to a page where they find out when and where to vote for me in the Sonic 102.9 Newscaster wildcard selection.

And this would be the page in question.

I don't know...I'm starting to have second thoughts about doing this. It just kind of smacks of desperation.

But then, it IS desperation. I mean, the way I see it, this is the end. There can be no more job hunting after this. In the past, when a radio station turned me down, I could chalk it up to just that one station. But now, a whole city has the chance to turn me down. If I get turned down by the whole city of Edmonton...I just don't know what to do next.

Probably means it's time to try Calgary.
Ahh, Thanksgiving. My family is having its Thanksgiving dinner today. My brother, nephew, and father had to head into town to pick up a few things, my sister, my niece and my mother are spending some quality time together, and I have that "me time" that becomes very rare when the house is full of family.

So, I'm taking advantage of this to share my favourite Thanksgiving memory with you.

It was November of 2002. They day was American Thanksgiving. I was teaching English in Japan. And boy, my two American co-workers were just in a serious depression all day. They were hardly functional. "Right now, the family is sitting down to the turkey," they cried on my shoulder between classes. "Do you know what we had for our turkey dinner? Turkey sandwiches at Starbucks!"

Finally, one of my co-workers had an epiphany. "Hey, Mark, they have Thanksgiving in Canada, right? How have you been dealing with it?"

I looked at them, and, rather coldly, said, "Canadian Thanksgiving is in October. I dealt with it by getting up, going up to work, getting my job done, and not whining about it to everyone I work with." What can I say? They were getting annoying.

Gee, no wonder they didn't like me.

Well, that's not true. When Thanksgiving came around in Japan, I celebrated by having the traditional Japanese substitute for turkey: a bucket of KFC. My students explained to me that most Japanese people have KFC for Christmas dinner, because chicken is the closest they have to turkey.

Actually, to try to lighten the mood a little bit, let me share some Thanksgiving Day facts from Wikipedia:

- Thanksgiving actually grew out of the European harvest festivals that are traditionally held around this time.

- It is believed that the first Thanksgiving in North America was held in Newfoundland in 1578.

- The first Yankee Thanksgiving was held in 1621, when the pilgrims celebrated a huge harvest after their first winter in the colonies. Around the 1630's was when it became a regular festival.

- Thanksgiving used to be declared every year by the US President...it wasn't until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln standardized it, and made it the final Thursday in November.

- In 1939, US President Franklin Rosevelt wanted to change it to the second-last Thursday in November, arguing that, with the Great Depression going on, most businesses would like to have an extra week of Christmas shopping. Congress was opposed, so eventually a compromise was reached: Thanksgiving would be held on the fourth Thursday of November, because sometimes the fourth Thursday is that last and sometimes it isn't.

- Even though the first Thanksgiving was in Newfoundland, Thanksgiving didn't gain prominence in Canada until the American Revolution, when the Loyalists brought the Thanksgiving traditions up north with them.

- Canada's first official Thanksgiving Day was April 5, 1872, when the people were told to give thanks for the Prince of Whales recovering from illness.

- Thanksgiving wasn't made an annual holiday in Canada until 1879. Until then, it was just "whenever."

- Just like in the States, Thanksgiving used to be proclaimed every year by Parliment. It wasn't until 1957 that it was standardized as the second Monday in October.

- And, because of its connection to English Canada and Loyalists, Wikipedia says that Thanksgiving isn't really celebrated in Quebec.
Got the family home for Thanksgiving, of course, and since Saturday is always a dull night for TV, my mother turned to my nephew and said, "Well, why don't we watch one of Uncle Mark's DVDs? You can choose it."

So, you can imagine my pride (and the horrified look on my mother's face), when my nephew passed over all my Disney animated stuff and, with a twinkle in his eye, he chose....


I have taught him well.

Turns out his interest is building. Halloween's on the horizon, and Halloween is the only time of the year that TeleToon dusts off their reruns of The Real Ghostbusters. My nephew only knows about Ghostbusters from these annual reruns, and TeleToon is starting to hype up that they're doing it again this year.

So, my nephew chose Ghostbusters to get an early start.

Although, I did kind of hope he'd choose Star Wars, seeing as to how earlier in the day I chided his father (my brother) for not letting him watch it yet.

Speaking of Star Wars, here's an interesting bit. Next time Episode I is re-released on DVD or in theatres or whatever, you'll notice something odd about Yoda. That's because the puppet Yoda has been completely replaced with a CGI Yoda. Prequel trilogy animation director Rob Coleman revealed this in a recent interview plugging the Episode III DVD. He says that they did it between work on Episode II and Episode III, and that it was essentially their warm-up to Episode III.

And, he did assure us, that they have absolutly no intention of upgrading Yoda to a digital model in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Friday, October 07, 2005

So, if you were listening to Sonic 102.9 about 40 minutes ago, then you heard the news. As with every other job application I've sent out in the past 6 months, it turned out to be the Kobayoshi Maru. That's Star Trek talk for "I lost."

But see, here's the thing about this contest.

Only by my losing can you vote for me!

That's right, I am now in contention for their "wild card" spot, which is where you the listener get to vote your favourite loser back into the running! And boy o boy, do I hope I'm your favourite loser.

Voting begins on Friday, October 14 at 1000h (that's 10AM for those who don't watch Star Trek) and ends on Sunday, October 16 at 1800h (that's 6PM for those who never read G.I. Joe comics). You vote online at their official website, http://www.radiosonic.fm.

And if you read my website, then I'll warn you that I'll probably dedicate this week's column to a special "vote for me!" spectacular. I'm going to try to get an Internet grassroots campaign going. Hey, back at Augustana, an Internet grassroots campaign got my arch-enemy, the co-editor of the school paper, to declare me "the most fascinating person on campus," so I know it can work.

So, that's where things sit right now. If there's one thing I learned from Star Trek II and the Kobayoshi Maru, there's always a way to beat the no-win scenario.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

First and formost, I've got my review of Serenity up! Go read it!

Spent some time today enjoying my new DVDs...on the new Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Edition, Kevin Smith offers up why he wanted to do an extended edition. It originally started out as an intriguing concept. See, out of all of Kevin Smith's films, Mallrats is the only one that Smith didn't edit himself. So, his original concept was, "What if I edited it?" He sat down to re-edit it, and came to a horrible conclusion: his edit would be no different. See, as it was only his second film, Smith wasn't very big on "coverage" or "alternate takes" yet, so there was really only one or two shots for each scene. What Smith ended up doing was putting a lot of those cut scenes back in, and thus creating a "work print." This would have been what you would have seen in a test screening a long time ago. Anyway, I can hardly wait to sit down and watch it!

And watched a little bit of the bonus stuff on the new 2-disc special edition of Star Trek Nemesis. I think it was worth buying that film again if only to see the much-hyped but sadly cut Wesley Crusher scene. Nothing big...he exchanges a few words with Capt. Picard at Riker's wedding, and we find out that Wesley is now the cheif engineer on the Titan, Riker's command. It was only 45 seconds...I don't see why they had to cut it.

But the one thing I really wanted to see was this one Easter egg. You know Bryan Singer, right? He's the director who brought us the first two X-Men films and next summer's Superman Returns. Well, Singer is actually a huge trekkie, and he has a "blink and you'll miss it" cameo in Nemesis as an Enterprise security officer. This Easter egg is a 3-minute interview with Singer about why he loves Star Trek. Singer even shares the tale of the first time he was on the bridge of the Enterprise. When he was an aspiring film student, he was attending a lecture on the Paramount lot. He snuck away from his group and onto the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation. They weren't filming, so he hung around and tried out the captain's chair until a security guard threw him out.

I just watched that and though, "Man, now that was a missed opportunity!"

Think about it. Here's Bryan Singer. Thanks to X-Men, we know he's capable of doing large-scale sci-fi action with a large cast of characters. And he loves Star Trek. We know he could have done justice to the characters and given us one kick-ass film. Why the hell didn't anyone think of getting him to do a Star Trek film?

Oh, what could have been.
YEAH, BOY!! WOO! The one DVD release I've been hoping for and praying for has finally come. On Januray 10, I'll finally be the proud owner of....

The Flash: the Complete Series

I loved this show when it was on 15 years ago! It rocked my 13-year old world! For those who don't remeber, let me recap....

John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen, a forensic scientest with the Central City Police Department. Now, Barry comes from a family of cops, and he's somewhat of the black sheep for choosing science over old-fashioned crime fighting. His father constantly jibes him, telling him that forensic scientists aren't real cops, and he's forever stuck in the shadow of his big brother Jay, a highly decorated officer with the Central City PD.

Then, one night in the lab, a bolt of lightening strikes a rack of chemicals, and these electrified chemicals totally soak Barry Allen. He eventually discovers that this accident has given him the powers of super speed!

A little while later, Barry's brother Jay is brutally murdered by the leader of a vicious biker gang that's terrorizing Central City's streets. Learning from this that "with great power comes great responsibility," Barry dons a red costume and becomes...the Flash!

Amanda Pays was Dr. Christina McGee. She was a scientist as STAR Labs and was studying Barry to find out why those eletrified chemicals didn't kill him. Naturally, in her research, she discovered Barry's superpowers, and became a close friend, confidant, ally in the Flash's quest for justice, and possible love interest.

Finishing off the cast was Alex Desert as Dr. Julio Mendez, Barry's best friend and fellow forensic scientist. Dr. Mendez was, of course, obsessed with the Flash and always sharing a theory with Barry as to who was really the Flash.

And, of special note, is ol' Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. In two episodes, Hamill played the Trickster, who was the Flash's equivalent of the Joker. It's a great forshadowing to Hamill having gone on to voice the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series. (Ooo, and I just found out that Hamill will actually be reprising the role of the Trickster in an upcoming episode of Justice League!)

I'm straying off topic now. The Flash: The Complete Series comes out on January 10. All 22 episodes will be beautifully digitally remastered. Sadly, there will be absolutly no bonus stuff. But, I'm just geeking out so much that they finally actually made this.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The personality-driven newscast. As the name suggests, it is a newscast where the newscaster injects a lot of his/her personality. The newscaster may make snide asides or comments about the news stories that he/she is reading, all in keeping with the newscaster's personality. It is one of the most difficult kinds of newscasts to do because the line between "news story" and "editorial" gets very blurry very quickly. A grasp on journalistic integrity gets highly tenuous. My news instructor at NAIT was often left struggling to find a good example of this kind of newscaster in the Edmonton radio market, and often cautioned we students against trying it.

Sonic 102.9 is looking for a personality-driven newscaster. That became apparent in the feedback they gave me.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

They wanted me there at 6AM, so, as is my way, I was there at a quarter to. A comination of nerves and a lumpy matress left me with insomnia. I was lucky if I got maybe 2 hours of sleep last night.

6AM, I'm in the building. Introductions are made, and they put me to work. They don't have any of the fancy radio news software like Newsroom yet, so I had to do it the old fashioned way. They pointed me to some of their preferred prep websites, gave a copy of the Edmonton Sun, opened up Microsoft Word, and told me to start writing. It was about quarter after six at this time, and my first newscast was at 7:30.

So, I got to work. I had absolutly no idea as to what they wanted for a newscast. All they told me was that it had to be 90 seconds. And NAIT, they wanted 2 minutes, so I'd have to make things shorter. Their morning guy told me that one of the hot stories of the morning was Edmonton's 30th murder. It wasn't in the papers yet, so he gave me what little I had. Sonic's sister station, CKER, was also running the story, and the CKER news guy was e-mailing me his newscasts. Plus, when no one else was around, I'd tune the radio to 630 CHED, Edmonton's news/talk station. In the mornings, CHED runs the news every 15 minutes. And yes, borrowing like this happens in radio all the time.

So, murder was my lead story. The number two story seemed obvious. Granted, they said that most Sonic listeners aren't interested in politics, but everyone is looking forward to their $400 prosperity bonus. And, it was just announced that the bonuses won't be coming in time for Christmas, despite what was originally promised. That was a good number 2.

For a 90-second newscast, four stories is a good amount. And, I did listen to the morning guy do newscasts at 6:30 and 7:00, to get some idea of what was expected. They wanted lots of wacky news; pop culture and bizzare stuff. OK, I can do bizzare. For my first newscast at 7:30, I found a story about a couple in India who were arrested for playing their porn movies too loud. Turns out porn of all kinds is illegal in India, so for this little infraction, this couple was actually facing 3 months in prison. My second one had to do with Martha Stewart. She was going to come to Canada for a pumpkin festival, but it turns out she's banned from the country as part of her parole.

Had a few extra seconds to throw in a bit of a sportscast, so I figured I should at least mention that it was the start of hockey season. I had it done, I timed it to 90 seconds, did my revisions, and I had my first newscast ready by 7:20.

7:30. Go time. I had issues with this newscast. I was a little bit rusty, so my inflections were way off. I didn't like my pacing either...it felt like it was going on too long.

I wanted to head back to the makeshift newsroom and get to work on my 8AM newscast, but they held me back. They wanted to do some banter; kind of spring an impromptu job interview on me on the air. So, I played along. Here's where I got a little goofy and cracked a few jokes. Made 'em laugh, so that always counts for something.

7:45, I finally got to work on my 8AM newscast. Just 15 minutes to write it...just like the good old days. the murder and the prosperity bonus stories could be recycled...it's perfectly OK to recycle a news story in radio, just as long as you completely rewrite it and offer up a sentence or two of new information. Grabbed a couple of new silly stories...Conan O'Brian is going to be doing an "all U2" show, and "chick flick" and "bikini wax" have now been added to the dictionary.

8AM newscast...I was a lot more relaxed. Pacing was better. Inflections...still rusty. This time I got a laugh from my silly news stories. All things considered, it was an improvement from 7:30.

After this, they break it to me that there's not going to be an 8:30 newscast, like they originally planned. But, after two more songs, they were going to drop their feedback on me on the air. Oh, joy.

The majority of their feedback boiled down to one thing: I wasn't funny. Like the good little newscaster I've been taught to be, I played it straight and didn't go for anything daring like a personaliy-driven newscast. I didn't crack jokes, I didn't make snide comments, I didn't give the silly news stories punclines. "Aw man, with that porn story, and Martha Stewart, there were so many jokes you could have made!"

The one thing that surprised me, though, was the feedback from the Edmonton Sun reporter who's judging this. Now, for those who don't know, the Sun is very pro-conservative and, most days, little more than a mouthpiece for the Klein government. Now, when the Sun reporter called me out for not making jokes about the prosperity plan and how the cheques are going to be late...I thought I fell into a mirror universe.

They picked up on the things I picked up on...they agreed that the second newscast was better than the first, that my pacing and inflections were off, that I was more relaxed during sports. (I'm always more relaxed doing sports, because, as they taught us at NAIT, it's really the only part of a newscast where personality-driven is expected. Besides, sports is always at the end and, by that point, I just don't care anymore.)

But they were confused, too. From my demo at the open auditions a few weeks ago, I WAS funny. That was a different situation, too. They passed me a pre-written newscast with one serious story and three joke stories. I wasn't rewriting the news as much as I was rewriting jokes. Regardless, they made it very clear that my original demo that I did at the mall was more in line with what they wanted.

Off the air, they also added that, apparently, I've already picked up a little bit of a fan club. Back on Monday, someone dropped in at the station to root for me and, yesterday, they got a caller from someone claiming they went to high school with me and that person proclaimed me "the smartest person on the planet."

So...where do we go from here?

I really don't know. In their feedback and comparisons to my original demo, they made it clear that I'm capable of giving them what they want, but, when it came time to deliver, I didn't.

There's a lot of checks in the "for" column. And a lot of checks in the "against" column. The way I see it, it can go either way.

If I had to choose, I would say that, on Friday, I will be getting a call saying I didn't make it to the next round. Yeah, I'm a pessimist, but something deep down inside says this is the end.

Aftewards, to celebrate my victory or drown my sorrows (can go either way, remember) I bought a bunch of DVDs I'd already bought (upgraded to the brand-new 2-disc special editions of Mallrats and Star Trek: Nemesis) and went to see Serenity. I really enjoyed Serenity.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Well, this is it folks. I'm off to the big city to do my audition thing for Sonic 102.9.

Yeah, it's not until tomorrow morning, but they want me at their station at 6AM. So, in an attempt to get more sleep, I'm going to be crashing with some friends in Edmonton tonight.

Don't worry, there'll be a massive blog entry about it tomorrow evening right here.

Naturally, I'm nervous. Trying not to be, though. I had a chat with my old news instructor yesterday and she was all like, "What do you want me to tell you? You got the skills!" Well, that's not all she said. She also gave a few helpful hints.

But, yeah. This is a crazy and insane way to get a job. God, I love it!

Oh, and I guess I have to comment on the big movie news of the day. Are you ready for a movie based on a video game that might actually be good?

Peter Jackson, he who gave us The Lord of the Rings and this December's King Kong, will be the executive producer on the movie version of the immensly popular Microsoft video game Halo.

Because of Jackson's involvment, Halo will be filmed at Jackson's studios in New Zealand, and Weta Digital and Weta Workshop will be doing the special effects.

The screenplay has been written by Alex Garland. Garland wrote the smash hit horror movie 28 Days Later, and he wrote the novel The Beach (which was turned into the Leonardo DiCaprio movie of the same name).

A director will be announced in the forthcoming weeks. The film will be a co-production between Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Microsoft. Summer 2007 is the targeted release date.

Microsoft is heavily involved in this because Halo has become a mutli-billion dollar property for the software giant. A crappy movie based on their video game could seriously hurt their bottom line.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Unemployment is not the best time to suddenly develop a mysterious toothache. I fear I dislodged a filling with my dental floss. The floss snagged on the filling...I pulled the floss...a dull throbbing ever since.

Oh, well. In preperation for my big day on Sonic 102.9 on Monday morning, I had a chat with my old NAIT news instructor today. Glad to know her faith in me hasn't wavered. She always though I was rather well-suited for news. In the beginning of the program, she gently nudged me towards news...near the end, she was getting close to shoving me towards news. No matter, though. She's on maternity leave right now and so busy with her new kid that she hadn't heard of Sonic's contest. She thinks it's an interesting idea and she thinks I'm a shoe-in.

Will I be? Tune in on Wednesday morning to find out!
Had two very different comic book experiences last night.

For the first one, I finished reading V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. As you may have heard, a movie version is coming out in the spring. I watched the trailer, and the film looks like it's going to be a dystopian tale in the same vein as my beloved 1984. So, since I have lots of time before the movie comes out, I decided to read the book first.

It's a graphic novel, so it was an easy read. (That's not a slam against graphic novels...I'm just saying there were a lot of pictures.) I tend to read graphic novels in a very non-linear way...I'll spend about a week leafing through it before I sit down and read it proper. And yesterday was the day I sat down to read it proper, seeing as to how I have to take it back to the library today.

But V for Vendetta was interesting. You take a totalitarian London - not too dissimilar from Orwell's London - and, in the middle of it, you drop a terrorist dedicated to bringing down the government. The majority of the story is told from the point of view of the people that the terrorist affects - the police hunting him down, the widows of the people he kills, and, in particular, one Evey Hammond, his adopted protoge. It was one of those books where I walked away going, "Huh. Never thought about it like that before." It was pretty good. I'll probably check it out again as the movie draws closer.

In case you're curious, V for Vendetta was adapted for the big screen by the Wachowski Brothers, those who gave us The Matrix Trilogy. James McTeague, who was 2nd unit director on The Matrix Trilogy (kinda like the Evey to the Wachowski's V) is directing. Natalie Portman is playing Evey, and Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) is playing V. And yes, you can definitly spot elements in the graphic novel of V for Vendetta that went on to influence parts of The Matrix. The film's due out in March.

And now, that other comic book experience was the season preimer of Smallville. Oh my God! The continuity porn was out in full force! The Fortress of Solitude, looking exactly like it did in the 1978 movie..."the deciples of Zodd"...the Phantom Zone...and, in the end, Brainiac! It was geek-tastic!

Now, if only they don't drop the ball this season.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Latest column's up! This one is called 37:

" The 1990s will most likely be remembered as an influential decade in movies. This was where we had the rise of the independents. Miramax suddenly became one of the hottest studios in Hollywood, bringing a multitude of smaller, indie films to the mainstream. Thanks to this rise, we got a mind-blowing twist ending with The Crying Game. Quentin Tarintino re-wrote the crime thriller with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Robert Rodriguez amazed us with his low-budget El Mariachi. The decade opened with Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather films, predicting that, “very soon, the greatest movie in the world will be made by a little girl using nothing but her father’s video camera.” Coppola was almost proved right near the end of the decade with the massive success of The Blair Witch Project. These indie directors, dubbed “artisans” by most because of how they wrote, directed, edited, gave themselves small roles, and baked cookies for the crew, seemed to signal the next wave in Hollywood. And, out of it all, arose the cult following around a director named Kevin Smith."

Read it all, boyos!