Monday, January 30, 2006

Some TV talk

As always there might be some spoilers in here.

24 has been great so far this year, more happened in the first 15 minutes of the first episode than happens in a month on most dramas. It looks like this season will have a more believable storyline than the over the top cartoonish terrorist threats from last year, but I suppose that could change at any moment.

I'm super happy to have The Shield back, although I seem to remember reading somewhere that this season was only going to be 11 episodes which is somewhat depressing but it's better than none I suppose. Forrest Whitaker is great as an Internal Affairs lieutenant who is out to take Vic down for a murder he committed all the way back in the series pilot, a dangling plot thread I figured they'd just forgotten about. It's going to be great when he and Vic finally go head to head.

For anyone out there who Still isn't watching My Name is Earl, you are missing the funniest most original show since Arrested Development (which a few stations appear to be trying to pick up now that Fox doesn't want it). Watch My Name is Earl, trust me, unless your funny bone is broken you won't be disappointed.

Smallville came through with a solid outing for their 100th episode, but I'll miss John Schneider, although he has apparently filmed scenes for some upcoming episodes.

Boston Legal has been better than ever the last few weeks with guest star Michael J. Fox and the return of Betty White. This is another show that not enough people are watching, it really is quality TV.

Still haven't caught up on Lost and I'm in no big hurry to.


A brief political commentary...

If a "political party" and I use the term loosely has as it's only goal the destruction of a neighbouring country, they really shouldn't be allowed to partake in the democratic process, that's just my feeling on the matter. If someone has some insight into what the average Palestinian might have been thinking, please let me know, they do understand that the rest of the world will never deal with Hamas right?


Sunday, January 22, 2006


Some of the coolest digital pictures ever taken. Fun to look at, but if you are a tech nerd like me it's even cooler to read about the gear they designed to take the pics.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing

Sorry literary fans this is not a Shakespeare post.

I'm normally a big proponent of paying people for their work. I don't pirate video games, I buy the ones I want to play. I own hundreds of DVD's and I always buy the new CD's from artists I like, but this week, because of Sirius Canada and their fear of the CRTC I've been forced to download the Howard Stern show.

I'm being forced to steal something for which I'm begging to pay.

And after listening to 4 of the 5 episodes that have aired so far, I'm wondering what Sirius Canada is worried about. Yes the language has been much saltier than it had been on broadcast radio, but words like fuck, cunt and asshole aren't in and of themselves obscene without context. So far I haven't heard anything that any adult should find offensive unless they are an over the top right wing conservative religious wing nut, and if you are, why the fuck are you listening to the Howard Stern Show?

As for the show, it's been pretty good so far. The first episode was a little sketchy as they struggled through some technical glitches with their new studio, but since then it's been pretty solid. Star Trek's George Takei has served as announcer this week and has been the highlight of the show. Despite being the new guy on the show he has already developed a rapport with all the regulars and doesn't seem to have any problem keeping up with the adlibs. He had a 12-15 minute argument with an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator believing him to be the real governor of California that has become an instant classic.

Please Sirius Canada, grow a set and offer Howard 100 and Howard 101 to your Canadian subscribers. As soon as you do I will gladly purchase a receiver and sign up, until then no money for you.

If you haven't already signed the petition I urge you to do so. Even if you hate Stern, sign it if you consider yourself to be a fan of free speech and a free press.
When I spell checked this entry it wanted to replace CRTC with CROTCH :P


Monday, January 09, 2006

Rant Time: Part Deux

So the wife and I finally went and checked out King Kong on Saturday. Great flick. What isn't so great is that the movie started at 12:30, or I should say, the time on the marquee said it started at 12:30. The movie of course didn't actually start until 12:50. Now I'll concede that the majority of this time was spent on movie trailers, and I like movie trailers, although 7 of them is pushing it especially in front of a movie that has been out for 3 weeks already. No my main beef was with the commercials that preceded the trailers, all 8 of them. That's right, 8 commercials, for such new and innovative products as Coca-Cola and car insurance. Buy a clue guys, I'm sitting in a movie theatre, I'm already drinking a Coke, no need to advertise to me. I arrived at the theatre in my car, which I already have insurance on and oh ya, I live in a province with only one auto insurance company. I can't even tell you what the other commercials were for, my mind just went more and more blank as my annoyance went higher and higher.
This has just gotten completely out of hand, we paid $20 admission to see the movie. We paid another $20 for snacks (the same tray of snacks in a mall food court would have been $10), yet I still have to endure 8 fucking commercials. What's that you say? If I don't want to see the commercials I should just show up late? Well that would be super if I wanted to sit directly in front of the screen all the way to one side. No if you want a decent seat for most new movies you need to show up ahead of time, and if you're lucky you can watch trivia questions about upcoming movies flash across the screen, oh and between the trivia questions, some more ads. Throw in the fact that manners in western civilization has declined to the point that most people don't think they are being rude by sitting behind you and chatting with their friends through the whole movie, or talking on a cell phone, or bringing a small baby to the theatre that you know damn well isn't going to stay quiet through an entire movie. Gee, I have no idea why movie ticket sales are on the decline.
Let's compare that to later on Saturday evening when we couldn't find anything on TV and decided to watch a movie on pay-per-view. Cost of movie $4.95, cost of snacks $5, number of commercials 0, amount of time spent waiting for the movie to start 15 seconds.
There was a time when my average number of movies seen in a theatre was more than 1 a week. I loved going and seeing movies, but I fear those days are past, now going to a theatre is more of chore than anything else, and it just doesn't seem worth it for anything that isn't a big event movie.
Please movie theatre operators, implement the following policies:
  1. Limit the number of commercials shown before a movie to 2, I can handle 2 30 second ads.
  2. Limit the number of trailers to 4.
  3. Have "Adults Only" showings of movies, no one under 18 admitted, period, regardless of the rating.
  4. When building new theatres, include technology to block cell phone signals.
  5. For God's sake, go a year without jacking up the ticket prices.

Thank You.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Time Wasters

Current time wasters:

Playaholics - Yet another site full of online games, I'm particularity fond of Lightning Pool

Kontraband - More games, funny video clips, etc.

Pandora - Type in the name of a song or artist that you like and it'll play you a series of similar songs, does a pretty good job of finding things you should like.


The Year in Comics

It was a pretty damn good year if you love comics. Lot's of great books were published last year, here are some of my favourites and some that I feel didn't live up to their potential. Spoilers abound, you have been warned.


Far and away the best of all the miniseries leading into Infinite Crisis was The OMAC Project, written by Greg Rucka with art by Jesus Saiz. Batman, being the paranoid fuck that he is, built himself a satellite, Brother I, to spy on the worlds meta-humans. Somehow, which has yet to be explained, Batman lost control of the satellite to Checkmate leader and former Justice League International liaison Maxwell Lord. Max somehow go it into his head that having a bunch of super powered "heroes" running around the planet was a bad thing and decided to use Brother I along with 1.7 million or so mechanically enhanced mind controlled drones called OMAC's (Observational Meta-human Activity Construct) to take out many of the meta-humans. Of course Max himself is a meta-human who possesses the ability to control peoples minds, but one must assume that he has no problem with his own existence and isn't planning on sending any OMAC's after himself. The story really gets cooking when we find out that Max has managed to mind control Superman and uses him to attack both Batman and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman, seeing no other way to stop Superman kills Max. Superman being the boy scout that he is becomes enraged that Wonder Woman would murder someone even if that person was an evil murderous psychopath himself. From there we see the heroes work together to try to end the OMAC threat, although their relationships with one another are far more strained then they ever have been. The heroes partially succeed, reducing the OMAC's numbers down to 200 thousand or so, but in retaliation Brother I broadcasts footage of Wonder Woman killing Max for all the world to see. OK, no that I typed that up it does sound a bit on the corny side, but trust me, it was one heck of a good read and sets up a lot of tension between the 3 biggest icons in the DC universe that isn't going to be easy for them to get past.

I just picked this up in trade paperback form last week and was blown away by it. 100 bullets writer Brian Azzarello crafts an excellent story with stunning artwork by Lee Bermejo. In Lex Luthor: Man of Steel we get to see the story unfold from Lex's point of view and in my opinion Azzarello gets it spot on. Lex doesn't necessarily see himself as being a villain, he truly believes that Superman is a threat to the planet that must be stopped.

The Crossover storyline in Ultimate Fantasic Four caught me off guard. Marvel teased it as though the Ultimate FF were going to visit the regular marvel universe. What we got instead was a fun little tale in which the FF ended up in a weird parallel dimension filled with evil zombie versions of all the familiar Marvel heroes.

One of my favourite books every month is Punisher, written by Garth Ennis. After only 35 year of existence, Marvel finally figured out that a vigilante who likes to shoot people would probably work best as a "mature readers" title. So, say you're a mob boss who wants to piss off Frank Castle, how would you do it? Well really given that he's sworn a vendetta against organized crime you don't really need to do much more than breathe, but say you really, really wanted to piss him off, how would you do it? How about you go dig up the bodies of his wife and kids and then piss on them and send the video to the media. Oh ya, that's going to get a reaction. That's the storyline in Up is Down and Black is White, and it would have made a hell of alot better movie than the one they did make.

Writer Ed Brubaker managed to do the impossible this year, he brought Cap's WWII teenage sidekick Bucky Barnes back from the dead and he made the story believable (in comic terms anyway) and interesting. Kudos to Mr. Brubaker.

If you like classic zombie flicks like George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, you'll love Robert Kirkman's stellar The Walking Dead. The tale of the challenges faced by a group of people whose world has been taken over by zombies is consistently one of the best books on the market.

Joy! The entire run of Calvin and Hobbes, in chronological order, collected in 3 breathtaking volumes. The only Calvin news that would be cooler would be Bill Watterson coming out of retirement and doing new strips.


DC's All Star line - Launched in August, DC's new line of comics featuring iconic characters in stories written and drawn by superstar creators has shipped a grand total of 4 issues. That's right, just 4 issues, 3 of All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder (I shit you not, that is the actual title) by Frank Miller and Jim Lee and 1 of All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. Now don't get me wrong, these stories have been really good so far, but the lag time between issues is just ridiculous. I stopped buying the monthly issues because I just can't remember what happened last issue when last issue was 10-12 weeks ago and if I have to go back and reread issues to figure out what's going on then I might as well wait for a collected edition.

Seriously DC, how hard is it get your creators to finish books on time, you told us as far back as June that Quietly was hard at work on pages for All Star Superman yet you announced that issue #2 would be delayed 3 weeks, until almost February after shipping issue #1 in November. That's just not acceptable.

A 7 issue miniseries, a half dozen or so tie in miniseries and tie in issues in over half the titles in the Marvel universe, all of it to set up Scarlet Witch saying 3 words - "No more mutants". Great. There's 8 months of my life I'll never get back. Nothing of consequence happened in any of the tie in series. Most characters don't even remember the whole thing happening and most of all - THERE ARE STILL A TON OF FUCKING MUTANTS! Granted, that their numbers were cut down from millions to hundreds, but still, for the most part it's back to the status quo, all the mutants that mysteriously still have their powers are the ones you've heard of and all the ones that don't are ones that no one cared about to begin with. Sure currently Magneto seems to be powerless, but with another movie coming right away does anyone seriously think he'll be powerless for long? This could have easily been a 4 issue miniseries without a ton of tie in's, but of course then Marvel wouldn't have been able to sucker us into buying a ton of extra books every month.

I hope you've enjoyed this look back at some of the events in the comic world this year.


Happy New Year!