Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, June 29, 2009

Timmy's Comes Home

I love me my fast food, and that Canadian icon of fast food/donut shops is finally coming home.

That's right, Tim Hortons is finally becoming a Canadian company once again.

But you're thinking, "Mark! I've seen those highly patriotic commercials. I thought Tim Hortons was already Canadian!" Well, not for the past 15 years.

It was in 1995 when, as you may recall, Tim Hortons merged with Wendy's. Tim Hortons became a Wendy's subsidiary and thus, an American company.

It was in 2005 that Wendy's declared Tim Hortons to be getting so big that they were competing against themselves. So, Wendy's decided to sell off Tim Hortons. It was once again an independent company, still had its world headquarters in Oakville, Ontario. But, for all legal purposes, it was still an American company.

But now, they're filling out all the paperwork and doing all the legal stuff to make it legally a Canadian company. Why the reason for this switch? Because we have lower corporate tax rates than the USA, and the Tim Hortons shareholders like that.

Here's the story

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Latest Targ's Up!


U62: The Targ -- My podcast


Moving kind of slow today. Athabasca's Magnificent River Rats festival ended at around midnight last night, and I'm still in recovery mode. Good thing I had the foresight to record this week's episode of U62: The Targ while I was still at 100%!

This week, Episode 2.38: Free with Membership. We're analyzing Pokemon, talking about River Rats, and reminiscing about MASH.

Click here to listen!

Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Of Pokemon and Hot Springs and Other Idle Dreams

It's been a slow couple of weeks. Not much to blog home about. So I guess I could do like most blogs and start ranting and rambling about the various things I am a fan of.

For example, Pokemon. I love Pokemon. Many find such a love to be weird, but there it is.

One thing I love about the Pokemon cartoon is when something overtly Japanese happens. For those who don't know, I spent a year teaching English in Japan. So when something overtly Japanese happens, I understand it, and I feel like I'm in on a larger joke.

What happened in this last episode...our heroes were walking down the road (as they do at the start of every episode) and nightfall is coming. With the nearest pokemon centre still too far away, Dawn takes a closer look at the map and realizes that a friend lives near by. This friend happens to own and live in a hot springs resort, so they can crash with Dawn's friend and enjoy the hot springs for free. What good are friends if you can't mooch off them?

And then it turns out that the hot springs have dried up so our heroes go on a quest to find out why.

But yeah. Hot springs. I loved going to hot springs. I've been going since I was 2 years old, when every summer saw at least one trip to the Miette Hot Springs in Jasper. I haven't been out to Miette in a couple of years...I'm starting to miss it.

You have to admit, Canada really is poor when it comes to hot springs. We have about three or four in the Rockies and that's it. Not like Japan, where there's whole resort towns built around hot springs. I remember a few years back, the Banff Hot Springs were running low, so they were filling up the pool with plain ol' Town of Banff tap water. The hot springs management were all like, "What? We always do this when it runs low." Meanwhile, in Japan, when word got out that several hot springs resorts were topping off their pools with plain ol' tap water, it created a national scandal and a special government subcommittee was formed to look into the problem.

But let's not forget, if weren't for those three or four hot springs we have, we wouldn't have our national parks service. As the legend goes, back when they were building the railroad, some railway workers discovered a hot spring in Banff. The hot spring soon became a popular recreation area, and before you knew it, people were starting to scrap over who owned the hot springs. The fight got so bad that finally the federal government stepped in and said, "Something this awesome should belong to EVERYONE!" So the government claimed the hot spring and formed Banff National Park to look after it. And our national parks service was born!

Hot springs. I love them. I wish I could travel the world and sample all the many different kinds. That could be a great TV show for the Travel Channel. I travel the world, sample the hot springs, hang out with the locals, learn the history of the place. I should pitch that!

But first, I should hit the gym. Let's be honest, such a series would feature me in a swimsuit for half of every episode. Stressing out about your body to look good in a swimsuit: it's not just for women anymore.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ponyo and Airbender Trailers

Let's take a quick minute to take a look at some of the hot new trailers in movie theatres.

First up, we have The Last Airbender, based on the smash-hit cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. (They changed the name for the film so as not to get confused with James Cameron's long-awaited return to filmmaking, Avatar.)

For those who never watched the really awesome cartoon, The Last Airbender takes place in a mythical, vaguely Asian land where people can practice the mystical art of "bending," martial arts that manipulate the four elements. As such, there are four nations in this world: Airbenders, Firebenders, Waterbenders, and Earthbenders. One day, the ruler of the Firebenders gets it in his head that he wants to rule the world, so he starts off by killing all the airbenders.

But one escapes...Aang, the Avatar. The mystical Avatar is the only one who can learn all four types of bending, and thus bring peace to the land.

So the series follows the adventures of Aang as he journeys through this land, a fugitive of the firebenders, and learning the other types of bending.

Joining him on his quest are Katara, a gifted young waterbender, and Katara's brother Sokka. While Sokka is not a bender, he's still a skilled warrior himself.

Now, sadly, this film has become somewhat controversial. How can such a fantastic story be controversial? Well, it's like this. As I said, it takes place in a land heavily based on Asia, all the characters are Asians, so naturally the film was going to have an all-white cast. Luckily, the backlash started early enough that the filmmakers were able to rectify things somewhat in the rest of the casting.

Of course, also controversial, in that whiny fanboy way, was the choice of director. This cartoon is being adapted for the big screen by Captain Twist Ending, M. Night Shyamalan. That was controversial because many say that Shyamalan only made one good film, The Sixth Sense. This is also the first film that Shyamalan made that is not based on of his own, original ideas.

The cast is predominantly unknowns...about the only name in the cast is Dev Patel, star of the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire. Patel plays Prince Zuko, the firebender prince charged with finding Aang.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show and, controversies aside, my fingers are crossed that the film will be good. The film hits theatres Summer 2010.



Next up, another film I've mentioned several times on the blog, Ponyo.

Ponyo is the latest epic from world-renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. It hit Japanese theatres a year ago, and finally makes its way to North America.

Ponyo is kind of like Miyazaki's re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, from what I gather. It follows the adventures of young goldfish princess named Ponyo, her infatuation with a human boy named Sosuke, and her quest to become human. As for the tone of the film itself, some Miyazaki afficianados say it's for the younger folk...more My Neighbour Totoro than Spirited Away.

As with the past group of Miyazaki films, this is being brought to North America by Disney. As with the last two Miyazaki films, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, the English dub is being supervised by the head of Disney animation, the director of Toy Story, and one of the biggest Miyazaki geeks in the world, John Lasseter. Lasseter is sparing no expense this time out, with the goal of making Ponyo Miyazaki's biggest hit in North America. He's brought in Hollywood uber-producer Frank Marshall to help out. Marshall was responsible for most of the Steven Spielberg blockbusters of the 1980s. His last film was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

As is the tradition in North American films, the voice cast features a galaxy of stars. Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Cloris Leachman and Betty White all provide voices. Ponyo is voiced by Noah Cyrus, Myley Cyrus's little sister, and Sosuke by Frankie Jonas, the littlest Jonas Brother.

It hits North American theatres on August 14.



I kind of think Disney dropped the ball with this trailer...they should have put it in front of Up. Instead, it's going to be in front of the drama My Sister's Keeper in theatres this Friday. Oh, and The Last Airbender trailer is going to be in front of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight

Around a month ago, I wrote a blog entry reminiscing on the 10th anniversary of a film that had massive ramifications on the geek universe, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Well, I had a lot of fun writing that, and with the 20th anniversary of another geek classic upon us, I thought I’d write another article reminiscing about that film. Yes, today is the 20th anniversary of the film that launched a franchise, Batman, directed by Tim Burton.



I HATE YOU BATMAN!

Words cannot describe how much I loathe you as a film. Upon repeated viewings, I can’t help but think about how you ruined my life and completely destroyed me. I hatred burns with the intensity of a thousand suns. You changed me...you altered me...you made me view myself in ways that I was not yet ready for, and I hate you for it.

But that was not the case when we first met. When we first met, it was the summer of 1989. That was quite a monumental summer in my youth. My twelfth birthday was approaching. Elementary school was done, and I was preparing for the new challenges and adventures in junior high. My family moved into a newer, bigger house, and for the first time in 8 years, I finally had my own room. And I managed to steal my first kiss from that girl next door...that spirited redhead by the name of Samantha Eddington.

OK, there was no girl living next door, there is no such person as Samantha Eddington, but everything else is true, and when I sit down some day to write my coming-of-age tale, it will be set in the summer of 1989, and little miss Eddington will come to life on the page. And another aspect in my coming of age tale set in the summer of 1989 will be true...Batman will be everywhere.

It was impossible to escape from Batman that summer. The Batman logo was on merchandise of all kinds. That Diet Coke commercial was constantly running on television. Batdance by Prince was always on the radio. The Edmonton Journal deemed it “the summer of the bat,” and even ran an interview with a graphic design major at the U of A who had painted the Batman logo all over her car. “I understand it’s all a fad, and I’ll repaint my car this fall,” she said. “I’m thinking maybe a soccer ball pattern.” Of course, all this didn’t happen spontaneously. It was all because of the movie.



Batman directed by Tim Burton. No other movie to date had been that heavily hyped. And, with my 12th birthday approaching, along with it came the annual tradition of my birthday movie. Yes, ever since my 11th birthday, I have celebrated my age by going to see a movie. And with the summer of 1989 upon me, there was only one movie I wanted to see...Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Other things happening in pop culture was that Star Trek: The Next Generation had finished its second season. I had become thoroughly hooked on this thing called Trek and I was wearing blinders for that summer. The only movie that was on my radar was The Final Frontier. So arrangements were made. That was the movie I was going to see on my birthday. There were some friends of the family who wanted to come along, but they didn’t want to see Star Trek, they wanted to see Batman. So, Mom bent over backwards, scouring the movie listings for a Cineplex in Edmonton that was showing both Star Trek and Batman. And she found one, Capitol Square 4, right in the heart of downtown Edmonton.

My birthday came around, and it was fantastic day. We arrived at the Capitol Square to see Star Trek and...it wasn’t playing. “We’re so sorry,” said the clerk. “We stopped showing it yesterday.” My 12 year old heart sank. “Is there any other movie you want to see?” my mother asked. I walked into the lobby to stare at the four movie posters to make my decision. To this day, I remember very clearly what those four movie posters were: Batman, Lethal Weapon 2, Dead Poets Society, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. My blinders were off. My eyes were finally open to the other films out in the summer of 1989. I made my decision, and walked up to my parents. “I want to see...Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!”

My brother said, “Screw that, I want to go with the others to see Batman.” So we split into two groups. My brother and Group A went to see Batman. Me and Group B went to see Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was really good. My 12-year old self enjoyed the hell out of it.

And then came the waiting. Batman had a later start time and a longer length than Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, so we started spending a lot of time in the lobby waiting for Batman to get out. We went for a walk around the block. Sunset in downtown Edmonton is always really pretty, even my 12 year old self enjoyed it. Eventually, Batman ended, and this endless wave of people started pouring out of the theatre. Never had I seen a crowd so large! And it wasn’t ending. They just kept coming and coming and coming. And finally, my brother emerged from the crowd. “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!” He sure was a lot more excited about Batman than I was about Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.



And for the rest of the summer...hell, for the rest of the year, my brother was the biggest Batman geek you’d ever meet. He had the official “making of” book..the deluxe hardcover edition. He got the soundtrack, so not only was it on the radio, but Batdance was being cranked up at every available opportunity. At least every 20 minutes, he’d ask me if I’d ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight. For his birthday, we went to the auto show, so he could get his picture taken next to the Batmobile. As I said, there was just no escaping from Batman that summer.

December was soon upon us. Naturally, my brother got Batman on VHS for Christmas. And there, on Christmas afternoon, huddled around the TV set, was when I finally got to see Batman. And you know what? It was so much better than Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. If I could go back in time to my 12 year old self, I would probably say, “Dude, no. Go see Batman.”

As I said, it was impossible to escape from Batman in the summer of 1989. For a stretch there, it felt like I was living with Batman. Because of its prominence that year, Batman came to symbolize a lot of the magical things of that summer. Hanging MY posters in MY room. Sleepless night wondering how different grade seven would be from grade six. And wondering if the girl who would serve as the inspiration for Samantha Eddington would ever notice me. It was the last summer of my childhood, and it was so much fun.

So how did I grow to hate such a symbol? Well, we jump forward to the year 2004. I’m back in school, going to NAIT, studying to get my radio diploma and achieve that dream of being on the radio. I’m down in NAIT’s South Lobby, doing a remote broadcast. I was partnered up with one of my classmates for this broadcast. As is my want, I was up there, dancing to the music, waiting for my time to be on the radio, when Batdance came on. “Dude! This is like the greatest song ever!” I said to my classmate. “This song is crap, how can you like it?” she said to me. And I started telling her the tale...an abridged version of what you just read. The magic of the summer of 1989. “How can you not remember the summer of 1989?” I said to her.

She looked at me cockeyed and said, “I was two years old in 1989.”

BAM. I felt as though a batarang had hit me in the face. It finally occurred to me that I was now surrounded by people who had never danced to Batdance. People who don’t know what it means to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. And they don’t know it because it was before their time. Remembering a magical summer from 20 years ago...had made me old.

That’s why I hate you, Batman. You turned me into an old man. You are now part of a distant past that only exists in history books. And because I was there to experience it first hand, it makes me aged and decrepit. Damn you, Batman. Damn you to hell.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Latest Targ's Up!


U62: The Targ -- My podcast


Not going to lie. Things are starting to get really dull in my life right now, and that's leading to a lot of dull episodes of U62: The Targ.

This week is Episode 2.37: Smalltalk. We're chatting about my recent trip to the dentist, analyzing Weird Al's new song, and counting down to Revenge of the Fallen!

Click here to listen!

Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New YouTube Vid: Athabasca University Convocation

I made my latest YouTube video! We just had one of my favourite events in Athabasca, Athabasca University Convocation!

See, Athabasca is home to the main campus of Athabasca University, and every June, thousands of graduates from all over the world descend on this town to have their moment on the stage and accept their degree or diploma.

It's always been one of my favourite Athabasca events mainly because the events staff up the university always puts on one heck of a show.

And I tried to capture that show as much as I could!



A couple of interesting stats I couldn't work into my narration: AU Convocation is a 3-day event. The only day I could make it was day 3, and that's where all this footage comes from. This year, the University was expecting 2200 people to show up. That includes graduates, their family and friends to cheer them on, and various dignitaries. That pretty much doubled the population of the town for those three days.

Monday, June 15, 2009

WEIRD AL'S NEW SONG!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, "Weird Al" Yankovic has released a new song!

A loving homage to the Doors called...Craigslist.



Some notes about the music video: it was directed by Liam Lynch, who directed such fine films as Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny and Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic. Weird Al says it was an incredibly low budget affair, filmed completely in Lynch's garage.

This is the second in Weird Al's new project called "Internet Leaks." Weird Al is going to be releasing 5 songs online over the next few months...this is the second. The first was his TI parody Whatever You Like which came out back in the fall.

It goes on sale tomorrow everywhere were MP3s are sold!

The End of Pushing Daisies

Well, Pushing Daisies is now officially done.

You may remember that it was canceled back in December. However, there were still three episodes left. And they finally got around to showing those final episodes this month. The third and final one aired Saturday night. I taped it and just finished watching it.

I know series creator Bryan Fuller was disappointed with the end. Mainly because, like a lot of TV shows, he had an overreaching, all-encompassing storyline mapped out. And the show was canceled at a point when he decided to take a break from the main storyline, and do a group of standalone episodes focusing on the supporting cast.

Luckily, the show has a narrator, so through use of the narrator and some clever editing with scenes from previous episodes, they were able to create a coda that wrapped up some of the dangling loose ends, but not all.

But it looks like Fuller is going to get to finish the story. He just got all the i's dotted and t's crossed so he can do a Pushing Daisies comic book. The comic, with the working title of Pushing Daisies: Season 3 is planned to be a 12-issue series, and Fuller is describing it as "a fresh take on the zombie genre."

And don't forget that Pushing Daisies: The Complete Second Season hits DVD on July 21. So everyone, run out and buy a dozen copies! Maybe if sales of the DVD are strong enough, we can pull a Firefly and spawn a movie version.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Latest Targ's Up!


U62: The Targ -- My podcast


Ho hum. Just another Sunday of no cosmic importance. Except, of course, the most cosmically important event of all...a new episode of U62: The Targ!

On tap today is Episode 2.36: Uppity. Just a few rants and observations about Up, and Zagat just released a fast food survey that I need to comment on!

Click here to listen!

Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Law & Order: UK in CDN

You may remember a few months back I did a massive blog about all the international versions of Law & Order. Here it is, in case you missed it the first time.

Well, in case you missed the TV spots, Canada's very own City TV has picked up Law & Order: UK for the summer! I watched the first episode a few nights ago...it is undoubtedly Law & Order.

Oh! And something I forget to mention in my original post about all those international Law & Orders. Everyone's favourite crossover character John Munch is actually in negotiations to make guest appearances on both the Law & Order: UK and Paris enquĂȘtes criminelles (the French Law & Order: Criminal Intent). In fact, when originally asked if Munch would be on Law & Order: UK, the producers said, "Umm...we actually thought that was required."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Legion Street Sale

Here's my newest YouTube video, in which I check out the Legion Street Sale.

It's got my first special effects shot. I'm so proud.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Latest Targ's Up!


U62: The Targ -- My podcast


We got gray skies and rain outside my living room window today, so it's a great day for indoor fun...such as uploading and downloading my latest episode of U62: The Targ!

This week, Episode 2.35: The Golden Squirrel. We're ranting about Edmonton's Expo bid, Transformers voices, and Disney's next animated film!

Click here to listen!

Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Up Comments / Discount DVDs!

So, I just got home from watching the latest Pixar epic, Up. Damn you, Pixar! This is three films in a row now where you made me cry at the end! And that's a good thing.

It's just spellbinding as we watch this old man try to finally fulfill his lifelong dream. Highly, highly recommended.

And, of course, composer Michael Giacchino does another spectacular score.





Apparently, the soundtrack is only being released on iTunes. That makes me sad. I'm no fuddy duddy, but I still like to have a CD cluttering my shelf.

Highly recommended. Go see it. As always, a complete review will be coming to the website in the days ahead.

Also, I saw the film in 3D. I think that's worth noting. As we all know, 3D is currently being rammed down our throats as the future of film, and it looks like all computer animated films for the foreseeable future are going to be in 3D, so we'd better get used to it.

First I got over the sticker shock that they charge $3 more for these 3D films. $15 for an adult! Also, being one of poor eyesight, the glasses always fit awkwardly over my regular glasses. The discomfort of those things smooshed against my face made things tough to get into. And I noticed that 3D doesn't meld well with the much ballyhooed curved screens that movie theatres started installing 10 years ago. It causes things to go blurry the closer you get to the edge of the screen.

For having to pay $3 more, I kept the damn glassesIs this really the future? I don't know. All the 3D films on the horizon are animated films, a few slasher flicks, and the odd sci-fi film. As soon as we get Oscar-bait filmed in 3D, then I think it's the future.

But, I also took a moment to poke my nose in the DVD discount bins. Whenever there's not much in the new releases that I'm after, I always go poking around in the discount bins to see if there's anything I missed.

My brother was stunned to learn that I still own a VCR. I told him that I actually still have quite a few VHS tapes that I haven't upgraded to DVD yet. When I first got my DVD player, I swore I wouldn't buy a film again unless a 2-disc special edition comes along with enough bonus features to justify buying it again.

So when I looked up today and saw the 2-disc special edition of Apollo 13 for just $10, I figured, "It's time to upgrade Apollo 13."

I'm still somewhat fascinated by the space program, and Apollo 13 is still the best true space story on film so far. You all know the plot by now. Apollo 13 had one of their oxygen tanks explode on the way to the Moon, so they had to abort the mission, and all of NASA's top rocket scientists worked around the clock to figure out how to get the astronauts home alive. Featuring an all-star cast, especially focusing on Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon as the Apollo crew, Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigart. I can hardly wait to crank up the launch of the rocket through my 900W subwoofer!

I got the 2-disc, 10th anniversary edition of the DVD, and it boasts two versions of the film. These days, it's quite commonplace for a film to be released in both regular theatres and IMAX theatres. Well, back in 2003, IMAX was still experimenting with their technology to show regular films in IMAX, and decided to test it on Apollo 13. So, on the 10th Anniversary DVD, you get both the original theatrical version and the IMAX version. Since the IMAX technology was still experimental, the film had to be re-edited to an IMAX-friendly length, and thus the IMAX version is a half-hour shorter than the theatrical version.

For bonus features, there's a documentary about the making of the film, a documentary about the real events, a documentary about the evolution of the space program, a running commentary with director Ron Howard, and a running commentary with the real Apollo 13 commander, Jim Lovell.

I also snatched out of the discount bin a little ol' western by the name of Quigley Down Under. It's one of those films that I always run into on late night TV and enjoy. Tom Sellick plays Matthew Quigley, an expert sharpshooter from the Wild West who accepts a job on a cattle ranch in Australia. When he arrives, he finds that the job is to murder the Aborigines who still live on the rancher's land. Naturally, Quigley tells the rancher to go eff himself, and it turns into kind of a "Die Hard across the Outback," as Quigley uses his skills to outsmart the rancher's henchmen and bring the rancher to justice. Professor Snape himself, Alan Rickman, plays the villanous rancher. It's also got a great music score from a legendary composer named Basil Poledouris.

So, why did I fish this one out of the discount bin? Well, back in high school, I had a friend named Travis. Travis was one of the few fellow movie buffs in my high school, and he's frequently loan me films from his vast VHS collection. He'd even regale me with tales of his uncle in Vancouver who owned a Laserdisc player...Laserdisc being the format of choice for home theatre enthusiasts in the late-80s/early-90s. "But the best film on Laserdisc has to be Quigley Down Under," Travis would tell me. "That part at the start of the film? Where Quigley first shows off his rifle? When my uncle cranks that up through his sound system...the whole room shakes!"

So whenever I spied Quigley Down Under in the DVD discount bins, I'd think, "I wonder how that rifle shot would sound pumped through my surround sound system and my 900W subwoofer?"

Travis, if you ever read this, it sounds damn fine.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Some Disney Bits

Wow, it's been a slow week in Markworld. Not much to blog home about. Which kind of screws me over seeing as to how I tend to use this blog as prep for my podcast. Nothing to blog about means nothing in the show.

A few tidbits on Disney came across my desk that I feel like sharing, so there's that going on.

So, as I've blogged about already, Disney returns to traditional, 2D hand-drawn animation this Christmas with the release of The Princess and the Frog, but what's next? Is it a one-off, or are they going to stick with it?

Well, they're sticking with it, and Disney just let slip what their next traditional, 2D hand-drawn animated film is going to be.

They're going back to the well, and giving us another Winnie the Pooh movie!

I once read a message board post where someone mused that snatching up the movie rights to Winnie the Pooh is one of the smartest things that Walt Disney ever did. I can't help but agree as Disney has been pumping that well dry for the last 20 years now.

Animated Winnie the Pooh started with three short films in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These three shorts were then edited together into the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

But the pumping of that well really started in 1988, with the Satruday morning cartoon The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. That series spawned two straight-to-video movies and three theatrical films (The Tigger Movie, Piglet's Big Movie, Pooh's Hefalump Movie) that don't count because they were made by Disney's TV animation division.

The most recent animated endeavour was the computer animated series My Friends Tigger and Pooh, which is edutainment for pre-schoolers. It generated controversy among Pooh afficianados for replacing Christopher Robin with a spunky little red-haired girl named Darby.

No word yet on what direction this new Winnie the Pooh movie will take. Will it be a for-real animated film, made by the Feature Animation Division, or a "doesn't count" animated film, made by the TV animation division? It's slated for a release in 2011, so we'll find out as the date draws closer.

And that's not all! Following the model of George Lucas and his Star Wars Celebrations (i.e. the official Star Wars conventions), Disney is planning their first ever official convention!

See, back in February, Disney started their official fan club for grown-up Disney fans called D23. "D" for "Disney" and "23" for the Walt Disney Company having been founded in 1923.

And, September 10-13, they're having their first official DisneyCon, the D23 Expo. It's all down in Anaheim, the home of Disneyland.

So that's what Disney's up to!