Movie Review – Mystery Men

Mystery Men

Directed by Kinka Usher

Starring Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, Paul Reubens, Kel Mitchel, Jannine Garafolo, Wes Studi, Geoffery Rush, and Greg Kinnear

It seems August has become the month for superhero movies. Two years ago, we got Spawn at this time, and last year it was Blade. Now, we get Mystery Men. As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for anything based on a comic book. So, when my friends called me up and asked if I wanted to see it, I was there!

The plot: Things are tough for Captain Amazing (Kinnear), the superhero of Champion City. Seems that he’s defeated all his supervillains and reduced the crime rate to zero, so his sponsors have started to pull out. His solution: rig the parole hearing of one of his greatest archenemies, Cassanova Frankenstein (Rush). But, Frankenstein quickly gets the upper hand, and captures the good captain! So, a group of superhero wannabes decide that this is their time to hit the big time. Our heroes: Mr. Furious (Stiller), with his uncontrollable rage, the Shoveler (Macy), who wields a mean shovel, the Blue Raja (Azaria), who throws silverware with deadly accuracy, the Bowler (Garafolo), who hurls her bowling ball at her opponents, the Spleen (Reubens), who has deadly flatulence, the Sphinx (Studi), who’s just so darn mysterious, and the Invisible Boy (Mitchel), who can turn invisible when no one’s looking at him. With the assistance of Dr. Heller, the non-violent weapons designer, they go off to rescue Captain Amazing and save the city!

This movie is just so funny! It is a great action/comedy, and just a great spoof of comics. Kinnear is great as the sell-out Captain Amazing, and our group of heroes is great as a group who just wants to do the right thing. And this film is also great looking! Champion City is a great amalgam of Gotham City, Metropolis, and all those other superhero cities. My favorite of the group: the Shovler. When you think about it, a shovel could be a cool substitute for a lightsaber. This movie rocks! Go see it! And it proves that there’s a little bit of a superhero in all of us.

Oh, and a sidenote: I think I’ve figured out what superhero I am. All summer, when I’ve met up with friends to see a movie, I’ve been the guy with the car. So, I am. . .the Driver! My power: I’m an exceptionally good driver! I’m even working on a catch phrase: “I’ll stay with the car!”

4 Nibs

One Of Those Weeks

This is one of the things that sucks about doing this on-line column. I have had one of those weeks where, quite frankly, nothing happened. It was just me, lying on the couch, doing nothing. That makes for very poor reading for an on-line column. What am I supposed to do, talk about how comfy the couch is and complain that Power Rangers is in to summer reruns? I don’t like writing about stuff like that, and I’m sure you don’t like reading about it. So, what am I supposed to write about?

I could write about one of the recurring jokes that happened to me this week. Really late on Monday I was looking forward to watching the launch of the shuttle Columbia. People rag on the space program for being too expensive when there are lots of problems here on earth that should be fixed, but a live shuttle launch on TV is still a good show. So, there I was on Monday night all primed to watch Colonel Eileen Collins become the first woman shuttle captain when, at t-7 seconds the launch was scrubbed! Stupid sensor glitch. So, two days later, I was all ready and primed to watch it again. But, mother nature fated it not to be, and thunderstorms delayed the launch. Again. I was getting fed up. So, Thursday night. Last chance for me and NASA. It went off without a hitch. They got into orbit, Col. Collins became the first woman shuttle captain, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched. If only all those visiting dignitaries had the same patience I had! They were crowding the stands on Monday night, but come Thursday they were all busy doing their dignitary stuff. But, the really cool thing about night launches is how they light up the sky above the Kennedy Space Center.

And speaking of Kennedys, who else got sick of the coverage of the John F. Kennedy Jr. crash and funeral? It was impossible to get away from that! Every time I wanted to watch Entertainment Tonight to get the latest skinny from Hollywood, I was always presented with “And now, we talk to the cleaning lady of the cousin of the McDonald’s employee who served a Big Mac to the man who repaired JFK Jr’s TV set to see how she is affected by the loss.” I’m sorry, but what did he do for the world? He gave us what many critics consider to be second-rate political magazine. Yes, this magazine editor will be greatly missed. Give me a break! Let’s just have our respectful two minutes of silence and get on with our lives. I got on with my life every night after Entertainment Tonight when Hollywood Squares comes on.

And speaking of Hollywood Squares, I have a naughty little secret to confess. I seem to have developed a crush on Caroline Rhea. She, of course, plays one of those aunts on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and she seems to be on Hollywood Squares almost every second week. She is one of those Canadians who is lucky enough to have made it big in Hollywood, and she is quite the accomplished stand-up comic. If you ever catch her act, it is hilarious! But why do I have a crush on her? Well, let’s see. She’s got the whole blond haired/blue eyed thing that all men seem to go for. It’s not like she’s a total babe, but she is definitely above average. Being a comic, she’s got a great sense of humor, plus she has this great smile. Besides, she’s on TV so much, she’s always there! I once read that it’s OK to have a crush on TV personalities because they’re always there. So, I guess it was going to be either Caroline Rhea or Claire Martin of ITV News. The only plus that Claire has got going for is that cute British accent.

And speaking of British people, my sister is currently traveling in Europe and should be hitting England in about a week. This is where I’m really envious of my sister right now. She’s been saving her money for the past three years to go on this trip. Me? Whenever I get a sum of money saved up, I run out and buy a computer. Oh well, I shouldn’t complain. A wise person once said “We have no fate but what we make.” And besides, when she left, I got to go to the airport. The airport is just one of those places where I always get a good vibe. All the happy reunions, people excited about going off on an excellent adventure, there is just a good feeling about the place. Plus, there are lots of big, shiny airplanes.

And speaking of airplanes, remember a few weeks ago when I wrote of getting that little Lego biplane? Well, since then, I must have had three opportunities to go get it, but I squandered them. Why? I don’t know. I got this little voice in the back of my head going “Are you sure you want to get that today? Why don’t you buy that CD instead?” So, I bought the CD instead. That CD was the single for Wild Wild West by Will Smith. I’m am going to go broke on my next city trip, because not only will I be picking up my little Lego biplane, I’ll also be getting the soundtrack for South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. I still have to get my hands on that soundtrack! The tunes, though vile and off-color, were just so catchy! And, as always, on my next city trip, I’ll probably be seeing a movie. I have the rest of my summer all planned out: first, I’ll do a double-feature day and see Wild Wild West and Inspector Gadget. Then, another double feature day to see Tarzan and The Iron Giant. We end things with Mystery Men. Yup, all planned out. All I need is a car, and some money. And then I can get out of the house!

Speaking of getting out of the house, I went for a walk on Monday night. A nice, long walk, like I used to take when I was free and on my own at college. First, I went walking through the woods near my house. But, walking in the woods on my own tends to freak me out, so I went out of the woods. Problem was, on my way out, I decided to explore a forgotten path, and it wasn’t long until I found myself in someone’s back yard. And of course, that someone had to be in their backyard. So, I answered their questions, and they were kind enough to direct me out of their yard. Then, I just did some general roaming around town, before I went back to my house, and back on my couch.

And speaking of my couch, that’s where I spent the majority of my week! Well, I guess a week on the couch gave me a lot more to talk about than I had previously thought. But, I must admit that the couch is comfy, and I can get over the fact that Power Rangers is all re-runs. Maybe I should take advantage of the fact that Power Rangers is all re-runs and start writing that novel! I just don’t know. I seem to be in some kind of a quandary. And, as a wise man once said, “If one day you happen to wake up and find yourself in an existential quandary, full of loathing and self-doubt, and racked with the pain and isolation of your pitiful meaningless existence, at least you can take a small bit of comfort in knowing that somewhere out there in that crazy old mixed up universe of ours, there’s still a little place called Albuquerque.” Good-night everybody!

Movie Review – Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget

Directed by David Kellog

Starring Matthew Broderick, Rupert Everett, Joley Fisher, Michelle Trachtenberg, Dabney Coleman, and the voice of D.L. Hugley.

When I heard they were doing a live-action Inspector Gadget, I got so jazzed. I grew up with the cartoon, so I knew that if done right, this would rock. Even though some of the casting choices caught me off guard, I was still jazzed. I finally saw it. Am I still jazzed? Read on.

The plot, in 300 words or less. John Brown (Broderick) is a security guard at a research lab, and he has a little crush on the roboticist Dr. Brenda Bradford (Fisher). When Dr. Bradford’s father is killed one night by the evil Sanford Scolex (Everett), Brown vows to catch the killer. But, Scolex blows up Brown, and Brown crushes Scolex’s hand. So, Dr. Bradford uses her latest technology to re-build Brown into Inspector Gadget. Scolex replaces his hand with a metal claw, and takes on the name Claw. Gadget soon joins the police force, but gets frustrated when Chief Quimby (Coleman) won’t give Gadget real police work. So, Gadget goes against orders and begins investigating the murder he vowed he’d solve. Meanwhile, Claw decides to build an evil RoboGadget to wreak havoc on Riverton! Can Gadget stop his evil double and save Brenda from Claw? Well, he’ll need the help of his niece Penny (Trachtenberg), his dog Brain, and his talking Gadgetmobile (Hugley).

I hate to say it, but this movie is one huge missed opportunity. They didn’t do it right. They took a few deviations from the cartoon that weren’t needed. Gadget’s thought bubbles are too annoying, and why did the Gadgetmobile talk? All in all, it did not live up to its potential. But still, the effects bringing Gadget to life are impressive, and it’s almost worth it to see Fisher in a purple latex outfit. (You see, Claw also builds a RoboBrenda to be his “plaything,” and she wears a purple latex outfit. I’ve got my new obsession of the month!)

2.5 Nibs

Workin’ on the Railroad

What did you want to do for a living when you were six years old? I wanted to be an engineer. And I’m not talking about a person who builds bridges or digs oil wells, I’m talking about a person who drives trains. I don’t know why, probably because trains were one of the few truly magical things in my small town. I mean, it was easy to hop in the car and go down the road to Edmonton. But, if you truly wanted to go someplace, you had to figure out someway to get on to one of those great mechanized beasts that roar through town. And with a train station just over the river, it seemed to be my portal to the world. How could I not want to be an engineer?

This has led to my lifelong fascination with railways. It’s not something I talk about often. It’s probably something that a lot of my friends don’t even know about. But I just love trains. Take an old steam locomotive and have it chug its way through a tunnel in the mountains. Take a sleek silver Via, and picture it traveling over the highest bridges, with majestic waterfalls below. I tell you, it is a beautiful site. This is a fascination I seem to have been re-living lately.

True, I am fascinated with trains, but I never had a train set. My brother had one when we were growing up, and my sister’s boyfriend got her one for Christmas. Weather the fact I never got one was a cruel twist of fate, or just typical middle child neglect, I’ll never know. The fact that I never got a train set when I was growing up always seems to peak its head when I visit the store Kites and Other Delights in West Edmonton Mall. It always seemed to be a railroader’s dream, with its wide array of track, tunnel molds, guides on how to build the models, and many expensive locomotives in a glass display case. I got home, this love of the iron road strong again in my veins, and I had a brainstorm. My sister is currently in Europe, and the train set her boyfriend got her for Christmas was lying boxed up in her room. Since she’s not using it right now, I took out of the box and set it up on a table in the basement. All I could manage on that table was a simple oval, but it was great. I could just sit there and watch it go round and round for hours.

The last time I had gotten this worked up over railroads was a year ago. I had gone with my family to Fort Edmonton Park, and there they have a working streetcar. It’s not that big of a leap to go from trains to streetcars. Both run on rails. They are both a wonderfully environmentally friendly way of getting around. If anything, the streetcar is the little brother of the railroad. But I digress. I was boarding the streetcar, and they had the little box set up where you put in your exact change. I, naturally, put in a couple of nickels (you don’t have to, your streetcar ticket is free with park admission). In return, the conductor gave me a ticket which told me all about the Edmonton Radial Railway Society. They are the historical society in charge of operating and maintaining the streetcars. Not only do they have four running on their line in the park, but in the summer they’ve got one running over the High Level Bridge. They made headlines recently when they put forth a proposal to build a new streetcar line in Edmonton’s river valley, from the park to Fox Drive. After some poking around online, I found their website, where it is revealed that not only do they have the four in Fort Edmonton and the one on the high Level Bridge, but they’ve also got three more fully operational ones, and are currently working on restoring about a dozen more. Just a great little society, dedicated to preserving a part of railway history.

Actually, not to take a depressing turn, but it seems that the whole concept of the railway seems to be becoming something of history. In Alberta, grain elevators are being torn down left and right. The town across the river lost its rail service about three years ago, as did just about every town in Alberta. I checked Via’s website. The only towns left in Alberta that still have rail service are Edmonton and Jasper. I often wonder why people don’t like trains. When it comes to hauling freight, the train is a lot more economical and environmentally friendly than trucks. And you have to admit, rail travel has always had a certain romanticism about it. So why do only two towns have rail service? It is still my dream to one day hop the train and voyage to parts unknown. How come no one else wants to?

But for the time being, I’d have my sister’s train set, right? Afraid not. I had the express line going when I had a derailment. The locomotive hurled itself of the tracks, over the side of the table, and on to the nice soft concrete floor. Hoping for the best, I picked up the locomotive and placed it back on the tracks. The motor made a sound like a defective power drill. I noticed that the front hitch had broken completely off, and the rear hitch was bent out of proportion. And, the whole locomotive sits on its chassis with a tilt to the right. Not a promising prospect. It looked like my railroad was done. So, I boxed it back up and hoped to high heaven that my sister would not notice. She probably will if and when she reads, but confession is good for the soul, right?

It seems as though there are cosmic forces at play for the demise of the railroad. It is like the whole world does not want to be six anymore. Should I grow up, or keep dreaming my dream? Many of the small things I loved about railroads have long since withered and gone. First, the caboose went. Why put one at the end of a train when you could put on a little sensor box that puts people out of work? When I was six, that town with rail service had a beautiful little train station. When I was eight, the train station was torn down and replaced with an ATCO trailer. Now, the ATCO trailer is gone. The entire world has grown up. Or have they? Even though it only has two stops in the province, the Via still runs. And there’s always organizations like the Edmonton Radial Railway Society, making sure that railways always have a place. So I don’t have to grow up. Every once in a while, I can hop on a train and go. Every once in a while, I can sit by the tracks and watch a train go by, reminding myself why I wanted to do that when I was six. Come back next week, and I’ll tell you what I wanted to do when I was 12.

Confessions of a Clock King

If I truly have one obsession in my life, it has to be time. If the clock on my computer is just two minutes fast, I have to reset it. If I see a VCR clock flashing “12:00,” I have to adjust it. If I go even 10 minutes without my watch, I start to flip out. So, you can imagine how my life has been for the last two days. It was two days ago when my watch strap broke, and I haven’t been able to wear it. Sure, you are probably asking “Why don’t you just carry it in your pocket?” I can’t do that because my pants have this incredibly huge hole in the pocket, and it would mean the instant loss of my watch. I could put on a different pair of pants, but I’m too much of a slob to consider that option. So, two days of asking people “What time is it?” Two days of constantly scanning rooms, looking for clocks. I can’t take it anymore! And an obsession with time doesn’t just stop at clocks.

See, since I’m never too far from my watch, everything in my life is scheduled. An obsession with time leads to an obsession with being on time. In school, I was always five minutes early for class. When I go to the movies, I have to be in my seat a minimum of half an hour before show time. I get mad if a favorite TV show is starting late because of a news thing. It could be a news report like “The United States declared war on Canada today, and the first biological warheads were sighted heading towards Edmonton. . .” and my only thought will be “Where’s X-Files? It’s three minutes late!” Being a slave to the watch means becoming a slave to the schedule. And it doesn’t help when you have one humongous schedule looming over your head.

A few days ago, it was my birthday. I am now 22 years old. I have been in existence for 22 years (or 22 years and 9 months, depending on when you believe life begins). This means out comes the schedule! You get all moody and introspective and start looking at “the schedule of your life.” We generally laugh at people who have their lives mapped out, but we all do it on some sub-conscious level. When I turned 7, my plan was at this point in my life I was to be driving trains across the country. I really wanted to be an engineer at that age. When I turned 13, my plan was at this point in my life to have become the youngest astronaut in the Canadian Space Agency, and to have had sex at least twice. When I turned 17, my plan was at this point in my life, I would be prepping to go for my masters degree in some scientific field, settling down with my true love, and getting ready to have the 2.3 kids. The reality: I’m a 22 year old virgin, living in my parents’ basement, with a B.SC. in Physics that the establishment tells me is useless, and just confused about where to go from here. This was not scheduled. My timing seems to have escaped me. The watch strap broke for me a long time ago, it seems.

But how did I spend my birthday? Well, most of the morning was spent doing that moody, introspective thing. At lunchtime, I had cheered up enough to open up the gifts my parents got me. This is the sad thing about growing up: you don’t get cool things for your birthday anymore. You just get clothes. Although, the Darth Maul shorts are pretty nifty. The afternoon, and more moody introspection. Only now, I was doing it in nifty Darth Maul shorts. Then, my mother had a proposal. Every year, since my 11th birthday, my parents took me in to see a movie for my birthday. I can still name every film I saw on each of my birthdays. But, this year, an opportunity presented itself, and I elected to see Star Wars: Episode I for the second time. I was still feeling kind of down. My life was not planned to turn out like this.

My moody afternoon passed. I did smile occasionally when the song What Would Brain Boitano Do? from the South Park movie ran through my head. For the most part, though, I was just run down. But, before long, I was in the theater, and the movie was about to start. I had been waiting for Episode I for a long time, and even though this was the second time I saw it, I just smile my biggest smile when those words appear on screen: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away. . . . I couldn’t help it. That was the only time on my birthday that I was completely happy. I was smiling throughout the whole movie, but not as big as when I saw those words. Out of all my schedules, there was only one thing that remained constant. I would always make time to watch a Star Wars film. Being enraptured by this film, something began to don on me.

Very early in the film, Qui-Gon Jinn is telling Obi-Wan Kenobi one of those Jedi lessons. The lesson pointed out that we should be aware of the future, but live in the moment. Jedis, apparently, don’t follow schedules. You never see Obi-Wan Kenobi fretting about how his life didn’t turn out as planned, or that he’s running late for an appointment. Forgive me for my geekieness, but it looks like I can learn from the Jedi Knights. And I started smiling again.

So, who cares that I’m a virgin? Who cares that I’m not an astronaut? Who cares that I didn’t even get one happy birthday e-mail from any of my friends? Live for the moment. Ignore the schedules. Just live! Do your own thing! I never planned on being spontaneous. I still have trouble with it. Every one is on me to get some plans in place, but I don’t want to. For once, I want to know what it’s like to go without the schedule. And that’s what I’m doing right now. So, how come I’m climbing the walls because my watch strap broke? Apparently, old habits are hard to break. But, if all goes well, I’ll be getting my watch put back together. And then, I can start following the schedule again! I can focus on getting employed, buying a DVD player, and having sex!

Right after this TV show.

Fits of Boredom

Greetings, y’all! ‘Tis I, the Scarecrow, coming at you in print once again. Now, a lot of people, myself included, are wondering what is the point of me writing this column. Since I no longer have a respected outlet (such as a student paper) to print these, then chances are that readership on this column will be next to nothing. So, why do I write it? Simple: I am a college graduate, unemployed, and sitting in my parents’ basement wondering what my next move should be. When you wonder what your next move should be, you begin to get incredibly bored. And I mean bored! Many a sibling (well, just my sister) wonders how I can sit at home all day and watch TV. Easy. I’m bored! There’s not much more I can do by myself than watch TV. Sure, I’m starting to think of doing other things. I’m wondering if I should take advantage of all this free time to see if I can finally read The Lord of the Rings. I’ve tried many times before to read it, but I usually give up because, for being one of the most respected works of literature on the planet, it’s boring! Sure, there are other things I could do. Since I have the entire first season of Batman Beyond on tape, I think it would be neat to compile a comprehensive episode guide. For the first season, at least. I’m not even sure if I’m going to be getting the second season. So, when I’m not watching TV, I’m finding other ways to occupy my time.

Recently, my sister’s boyfriend left an old copy of Popular Mechanics here, because it has some woodworking plans he thought my Dad would like. This magazine hails from April, 1985, and I find it fascinating. I don’t know why, but I have a bit of a fascination for history. Flipping through this magazine, I find articles with titles like Preparing for Stereo TV and Cellular Phones for your car, briefcase, and even your pocket! One my computer science friends might get a kick out of is the article Good-bye floppies? Make way for low-cost hard drives, in which a computer expert is quoted as saying “In the near future, all computers will come with hard drives.” These things, which were technological innovations 14 years ago, are now commonplace. Just think, everything old was once new. This reminds me of a similar situation I was plagued with in 1997. Having quit my job at the gravel pit two weeks before the end of summer so I could have some vacation time before I went back to school, I was helping my Dad clear out some old newspapers from my neighbor’s place. Hauling them out to the truck, I took a look at one near the top of pile to find it was dated August 20, 1981. I took a look at the date on my watch to discover that this newspaper was from exactly 16 years ago! Being the person I am, I thought “I wonder what movies were playing 16 years ago?” so I flipped to the movie listings. I was first confronted with an ad stating that Raiders of the Lost Ark was beginning its eighth great week in Edmonton. Disney’s animated blockbuster was The Fox and the Hound. Opening that weekend was Superman II and Escape From New York. And, returning to theaters for a special repeat performance was The Empire Strikes Back. Everything old was new again.

Speaking of movies, I am currently saddened because I am a Star Wars junkie, and my sister doesn’t give a damn about George Lucas’ universe. But, she has seen Episode I, twice, and I have only seen it once. I’m hoping within two days of me writing this column I’ll be seeing it at Edmonton’s spectacular new Silver City theater. I’ve already seen a movie there, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and on that trip to Edmonton I had to stop in at Toys R Us. I’m currently holding off on buying more Episode I action figures, because I’m waiting for the second assortment which should be hitting stores in August. So, I wandered over to the Lego section. Now, I’ll admit, I’ve never been a big fan Lego. As a kid, it seemed that the only thing that I could build out of Lego blocks was bigger blocks. I’d slap some wheels on a bigger block, and get a car. I’d slap some wings on a bigger block, and I’d get a jet. But no matter how hard I tried, it would just look like a big block with some wheels and wings sticking out of it. So, the few Lego sets that I got were the kinds where they built something, and came with instructions. Then, I’d know that I could build something cool. I know what you’re thinking: when using Lego like that, you may as well skip Lego and just get a model kit. But, Lego was more fun model kits. The very last Lego set I ever got was the Lego Space Shuttle, circa 1990. It was the complete launch complex, orbiter vehicle, satellite, car to take astronaut to shuttle, and 3 Lego people (1 little Lego astronaut, 2 little Lego mechanics). Now, most Lego models usually gets torn apart, and used to build other things. I never tore apart the Lego Space Shuttle, and in fact it is still fully assembled, and immediately to my right as I write this. Immediately to my left is the G.I. Joe space shuttle, the Crusader, but I digress. Wandering through the Lego section of Toys R Us, I saw the next Lego set I’d like to get. As part of this Adventure Lego that’s currently on the market, there’s this little Lego biplane that looks kind of cool. It comes with one Lego man, the pilot, and he looks kind of like a little Lego Indiana Jones. I’ll probably end up getting it on my next city trip.

But speaking of all this Lego reminds me of a really cool idea I had laying on the couch. A friend of mine once told me this tale, and now I tell it to you. His brother is a big Lego nut. Even though he’s like 25 years old, he still buys new Lego sets and puts them together. One day, he was at the Bay in Camrose, looking through the toy section for his next Lego set. And, to his shock and dis-belief, he came across a Lego set, in pristine condition, from 1981! By his reasoning, this set was probably sitting in the stock room since 1981, continuously being passed over, until a week or so before, when a stock boy finally noticed it and put it on the shelf. So, he snatched up this 1981 Lego set, took it home, and put it together. He put it right next to its older counterpart. That’s right, he got the exact same Lego set when he was a kid in 1981 and never tore it apart. I’ve been told that when you see the two side-by-side, it’s amazing to see how dirty Lego can get when it’s just sitting on a shelf. But, this leads into my cool idea: why doesn’t Lego release a set of Lego Classics? You know, they can delve into their records, find these really cool Lego sets from late 70’s/early 80’s, and re-release them. I mean, the way I understand it, a cool toy never goes out of style. G.I. Joe and Barbie have been big hits since the 60’s. Transformers (as Beast Wars) is still going strong. So why not give us some classic Lego sets?

While we’re talking about my great ideas, here’s another one I had recently. I’ll admit, this one is a little more surreal. For Father’s Day, I went with my parents to Airfest ’99 at the Alberta Aviation Museum. It’s located at the old Edmonton Municipal Airport, and they had an actual CF-18 Hornet from Cold Lake there, and it put on a little bit of a show for the people. But, in their main museum, they had all these vintage aircraft on display. I mean, full sized aircraft! There was the deHavland Vampire, a Canadian built fighter plane used extensively by the British and Canadian Air Forces in WWII. There was an F-86 Saber, the first jet fighter used by the Canadian Air Force, and a CF-100 Canuck, a 100% Canadian jet fighter built by the same people who gave us the ill-fated CF-105 Arrow. So, this is where my great idea came to me. A museum dedicated to science fiction, and the main display would be full-scale models of fighter ships from movies and TV! There would be a complete Star Wars room, with full-scale X-Wings, Y-Wings, TIE Fighters, Naboo Fighters, you name it! There would be fighter ships from Babylon 5, Battlestar Gallactica, Stargate, Wing Commander: The Movie, you name it, we’ll have a ship from it. And, of course, from Star Trek, we’d have full-scale runabouts and shuttle craft. (A full scale starship would be kind of big.)

Speaking of Star Trek, one thing I love about my current situation is everyday at 9 am, there is a re-run of Star Trek: The Next Generation on. This morning there was a Q episode. It had been a long time since I had seen a Q episode, and I was starting to forget what a cool character he was. This one particular Q episode was the one where the Continuum stripped him of his powers, made him mortal, and dumped him on the Enterprise. My all-time favorite Q episode is the one where he makes the Enterprise crew re-enact the story of Robin Hood, with Picard as Robin Hood, and Vash (Picard’s girlfriend from a previous episode) as Maid Marion. Riker was Little John, Data was Friar Tuck, and the NextGen crew filled out the Merrie Men. Q himself was the Sheriff of Nottingham. It’s just a fun episode. That reminds me, there’s this series of books on the market now called Star Trek Script Books, where it is the actual scripts from Star Trek episodes, made public for the first time! I’d love to get my hands on Volume 1, which is entitled The Q Chronicles, and contains the script for every Q episode! All his appearances on The Next Generation, from Encounter at Farpoint, to All Good Things. . . . His one appearance on Deep Space Nine and his two on Voyager are also included. I would love to get my hands on that book!

Speaking of scripts, this is my second option to conquering boredom in the basement: I’ve had inspiration to make a movie in my basement. Think South Park enacted with old G.I. Joe action figures. The plot would be a spoof of Armageddon. I just have to sit down and write a script. Then I have to find a video camera. Then I could film. But first I have to write that script. And writing a comedy by yourself is hard. If there’s two people, you can always bounce ideas of the other person, and the other one could say “That’s not funny. Cut it.” But, I’m on my own. I’m just in the basement watching TV. But who knows? As you can tell from this column, it was mostly a stream-of-consciousness thing. Maybe this is the warm-up I need to finally start writing my novel. Or that script. All I know is it’s time for Rosie O’Donnell, so I’ve had enough of being creative for today.