Tragic Irony, or Poetic Justice?

Chaos in Print

I think that to grow up means to become selfish and to learn that other people are for stepping on. . . . Growing up is to abandon, at least in some small way, the compassion and honesty and passion and virility that we are all capable of.
— Brad Goertz, President of the Augustana Students’ Union, in the November 1998 issue of Augustana’s Student Paper, the Dagligtale

They’re quite capable of coming in here if they start acting like adults. They’re trying to break down the door and trying to break the security cameras.
— Lyle Oberg, Minister of Learning of the Province of Alberta, explaining why a group of Goertz-led protesters weren’t allowed into the Alberta Legislature. From the November 19, 1999 issue of the Edmonton Journal

All my life, I’ve wanted to make a difference. In junior high, I was elected the grade 8 class rep for the students’ union. In high school, I was treasurer of the students’ union in my senior year. And, in university, I applied to run the radio station, ran for the position of VP External, and even ran an opposition campaign to Brad Goertz’s un-opposed presidential bid. But, it seems that there are cosmic forces at work to keep me out of leadership roles. I eventually had to resign as class rep in grade 8 because no one would tell me when the meetings were and I was constantly left in the dark. By the time my senior year was finished, I was halfway through sorting out the messy books that the treasurer before me had left, and I had yet to start books for my year. And, in university, I lost my bid to be station manager and the election to be VP External, plus my opposition campaign turned me into the most hated person on campus. Actually, it’s that opposition campaign that sticks out the most in my mind.

For those of you who don’t attend Augustana, let me explain how things work. If one person is running for a Students’ Union position un-opposed, that person is put to a yes/no vote, rather than get in by acclimation like in the real world. Throughout my 3 ½ years at Augustana, I was always frustrated at how people under-qualified for a position would get in with results of 99.9% for yes, and 0.1% for no. And so, in my final year, when I learned that Brad Goertz was running un-opposed for SU president, I couldn’t take it anymore. This was a man who had been suspended twice from his position as editor of the student paper for drinking on campus (Augustana is a dry university; no alcohol on campus). Throughout the many issues of the paper that he had served on as editor, quite a few people didn’t agree with his political views. So, I felt I should make the people aware of why they should vote no for him. I printed up a series of posters. One highlighted how he’d been suspended twice from the paper, and urged people to vote no. The other utilized a quote from one of his prior editorials in the paper, describing his opposition in derogatory terms and essentially telling them to shut up. Within hours of putting these posters up, they were torn down by Goertz supporters. This hurt me, because the Chief Returning Officer of the election had approved my campaign materials, and assured me the same protections as all other candidates. I tried putting the posters back up, only to have them torn down again and replace with posters mocking my work. So, I softened the posters somewhat. I replaced “Vote No for Brad Goertz” with “Know who you’re voting for!” After being accused of taking that quote of his out of context, I added a few more comments on the poster to try and place it back into context. But that wasn’t enough. A supporter of Goertz’s, a Mr. Andre Goulet, continuously verbally assaulted my supporters, and myself. This made me upset, so I made a poster stating how Goertz had organized his supporters into a goon squad and was trying to silence us. I was originally just going to put it on my door, but after some of my supporters saw it, and liked it, they wanted it for their doors, too.

Things came to a head when Goertz challenged me to a debate, and I agreed. On my way to the debates, one of my supporters wanted to meet with Brad before the debate. So, I went with her to support her, but Brad gave me the verbal brow-beating of my life. He was twisting my words, and made me so distressed that I no longer knew what I was saying. When the debate came, rather than give my prepared opening statements, I apologized for what I was doing, and quit the campaign. I then made (in what I will admit was mostly for dramatic effect) an exit from the cafeteria. My only regret in my short life was that I left that debate. Apparently, one of my supporters stepped in for me, and the look on Brad Goertz’s face throughout the debate showed shock and dis-belief as he began to learn that I was not a lone crackpot, but the sole voice of a silent majority. I tore down my posters the next day, and the final results were roughly 60% yes, 40% no. It was the closest yes/no vote in Augustana history. This still sticks in me because I graduated from Augustana, so all this year I cannot stay apprized of what kind of job Brad is doing. I can’t get closure on this issue.

When I returned to Augustana to visit some friends, some of them advised me of Brad’s upcoming protest. He was going to march from Camrose to Edmonton in support of a proposed tuition freeze. I thought that this was a bad idea, as I had flashbacks to a similar protest. A group of people were going to march from Edmonton to Jasper to protest a coal mine, but it was nothing more that 10 people behind a bus. The evening news said that Brad had 200 people with him. When I was back at Augustana, I actually ran into Brad and he asked me to be part of his march. I told him that I’d think about it, which is my diplomatic way of saying “No f**king way.” The article in the paper said that this was actually a scheduled meeting that Brad had with the Minister of Learning, but that the Minister wouldn’t meet with him because he brought 200 rowdy protesters with him. I couldn’t help but draw parallels between this and my vote no campaign. Brad told me that what I was doing wasn’t part of real world politics, and that he wouldn’t acknowledge what I was doing. Now, here’s Lyle Oberg, telling Brad that what he’s doing isn’t part of real world politics, and Lyle wouldn’t acknowledge what Brad was doing. Brad accused me of goon squad politics, because of my poster accusing him of goon squad politics, and the fact that when he gave me the brow-beating of my life, I had with me one of my supporters and a friend who was just following the two of us to the cafeteria. Lyle wouldn’t meet with Brad because of his 200 rowdy protesters. I can’t help but see the parallels.

My first instinct was to gloat. I wanted this article to say “See, Brad! See what you did to me! All that effort to try and make a difference, only to be shouted down by someone who was louder! Now you know what you put me through!” But I thought about it for a while. I am right. He does know now what he put me through. I know how disappointed he his. I know how hurt he’ll be that all his work was for naught. I know that because the media is only pointing out how rowdy things got that he’ll be upset that the wrong image is being projected. But they were only rowdy because they were passionate about their cause. I was passionate about my cause, that’s why I made the poster accusing Brad of organizing a goon squad to silence me. Passionate people sometimes do regrettable things in pursuit of their cause. So, my original intent of gloating has become one of sympathy.

And, if I know Brad, this isn’t the last we’ll here of him. He’ll take a break, have a few beers, and then come back stronger than ever. If he’s like me, he’ll take solace in the little victories that came out of this. He did bring media attention to the tuition freeze, after all. And again, I go back to my opposition campaign. I received this one e-mail, the gist of which was the following: “I am a supporter of Brad Goertz. I will be voting yes for him. But I am in complete agreement with your campaign. People should know who they’re voting for.” Small victories. Maybe that’s why Brad and I never really saw eye-to-eye. We’re just too much alike. It’s going to take me some time, but I think I will try to make a difference once again. It’ll just take some time for the wounds to heal, to marshal my forces, to assemble the Avengers, stuff like that. But, as much as the universe has tried to tell me not to, I will forever be compelled to try and make a difference. We just have to learn from our opposition, use their arguments to make ours stronger, and try to see that we all have the same goals after all. Like those 13-year old kids on junior high Students’ Unions, we all just want to make a difference.

So You Want To Be On TV

Chaos in Print

I’m sure that you’ve heard by now that MuchMusic, Canada’s music video station, has begun a nationwide search for a new VJ. For those who have never watched MuchMusic, a VJ is one of those people who introduce the music videos, keep you advised of any contest that they are having, and get flown all around the world to interview big rock stars. It is one of the most coveted positions in Canadian broadcasting. And they have just thrown open the doors for anyone to try and do it! So, I figure that since I am looking for work, why don’t I jump into the fray? This could be the perfect opportunity for the Scarecrow to come out of retirement!

A quick breeze by the MuchMusic website told me all I needed to know. For your application (contest entry is more like it) what you have to do is grab a video camera and prepare a brief audition tape. Then, what you do is fill out a questionnaire that you can either download from the website, or pick up at any HMV location across Canada. Since I live in Nowhere, Alberta, I knew it’d be a long time before I get back into Edmonton, so I downloaded the questionnaire, and began looking it over. A few questions troubled me somewhat, so I thought I’d post them here, in the hopes that I could get some feedback from you, my loyal readers:

In 25 words or less, tell us who you are – Now, in 25 words, how would you describe the glory and majesty that is me? I know one thing’s for sure, I should avoid the phrase “glory and majesty that is me.” Right now, I’m leaning towards “That fat comic book store guy on The Simpsons, only with less of a life.”

Describe your personal style – Do I actually have a style? I am strictly of the racks at Zeller’s. All I can think of right now is that I am the “anti-GAP.”

What’s the last concert you attended? and What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended? – Now, these two questions confound me because I’ve never been to a concert in my life. I’m just afraid that admitting that will lower my chances. It’s not my fault that every time someone I want to see comes to Edmonton I’m unemployed and can’t afford tickets! If those concert promoters could just call me and say “Hey! So-and-so is coming to Edmonton in a month. Can you afford tickets? No? Well, then, he’ll cancel. Call us when you’ve got a job.”

What are the last 3 CDs you bought? – The last 3 CDs I bought were the single for Look At Me by Geri Halliwell, the South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut soundtrack, and Weird Al’s Running With Scissors. What do you think that says about me? I think it says “Geez, this guy’s got varied tastes in music.”

Name 1 book that has influenced you – This one’s easy: 1984 by George Orwell. You ever read that? Good stuff.

Who are your heros? – Should I be sentimental and say my parents and my high school science teacher, or should I be the geek that I am and say Batman, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Data?

If you had the opportunity, what are the first three questions you would ask a) the Backstreet Boys b) The Tragically Hip? – I think the purpose of this question is two-fold: will you treat Canadian artists differently, and where do your tastes in the top 40 lie. I’m not sure I’d treat either one differently, because I’m indifferent to both their music. To tell the truth, I’m hard-pressed to name even one Tragically Hip song.

What do you think are the burning issues that concern Canadian youth? – Besides what’s causing that burning sensation? 🙂 But seriously, I’m not sure if I’m still youthful enough to know. If I had to guess, it would probably be a diminishing job market, couple with the fact that any degree you get is pretty much useless.

What makes Lauryn Hill worth knowing about? – Besides the fact that her music’s pretty good? I’m not sure. I think I would stick with the fact that her music’s pretty good. I mean, it’s always something like that that makes you want to learn more about a person.

So, the answers to some of these questions require some thought. I’ll be bugging my sister for help constantly over the next few weeks. But this is only one part of the equation. There is still that audition tape. I’ve been thinking about what I could put in it. I happened to catch a VJ on Much the other day who said “Keep it short. We don’t want any 10-minute epics.” Right now, I’m shooting for somewhere between 2-5 minutes. I’m thinking I’ll start it like this:

(Camera fades in on me)

Mark>> Hi! I’m Mark Cappis, one of the thousands of VJ hopefuls. I kept thinking to myself “Gee, what I could I do to make my audition tape stand out?” and it finally donned on me. I’m going to do my audition NAKED!!! (Proceed to rip off shirt)

(Cut to a standard “We are experiencing technical difficulties” sign. Elevator music playing in the background. After about 5 seconds, cut back to Mark.)

Mark (buttoning up shirt)>> OK, my cameraman has advised me that nudity is not my friend. So, don’t worry, the rest of this tape will feature me fully clothed.

And then, I don’t know what to do from there. I’m thinking that maybe I’d walk all over town, doing some of my good ol’ DJ patter, in a pseudo-Rick Mercer style streeter. Maybe I’ll head off into the woods and do some kind of Blair Witch Project thing. And maybe I’ll just do it from my basement. But for the most part, it’ll be that standard DJ patter that made the Scarecrow such an Augustana institution. Maybe I’ll even throw in a “What’s wrong with society” just for old time’s sake.

I guess what I really want to know is if the Scarecrow has what it takes to go national. I mean, I’m constantly watching MuchMusic and going “I could do that.” On the season finale for my first year, I ended by saying “Gee, I’d sure like to do this on Much. Then you could all see the sexy face that goes with the sexy voice.” I always said that, in one form or another, the Scarecrow would return. This is my opportunity. I’m sure I could pull it off. I’m already doing what they say is a good thing: setting a goal, and visualizing seeing it through. Only problem is, that’s always backfired on me in the past. Oh, well. I can do this. And if I can’t, well, it’s their loss. Wish me luck! I’m going to be famous!!

Back In Time

Chaos in Print

I had another weird dream last night. This time, I had a time machine. I, and two of my friends, were fighting zombies. It turns out we had to go back in time to 1980 to prevent the accident that created all these zombies. But, in our haste to get away (the zombies had overrun us), we accidentally went back in time to the turn of the century, shortly after women got the vote. I remember it was shortly after women got the vote because, shortly after we arrived, I overheard a beat cop and a hot dog vendor talking about it. So, after we had a meal from the hot dog vendor, I woke up. I still don’t know if I defeated the zombies or not. Actually, what I remember most is the time machine. It had to be one of the poorest designs for a time machine I ever imagined. First of all, it looked like a dustbuster. It was about as big as a dustbuster, too. In order to input your destination, it was like setting a watch. You know, you had to hit one button to select what you want to change, and then start hitting another button repeatedly to change that number. Oh, and this time machine had an automatic reset function, so if you stopped inputting the destination to, say, double check your data, the machine would shut down, so you had to turn it back on and start putting in your destination time all over again. I tell you, given how vivid my imagination is, I thought I could dream up a better design for a time machine!

See, having grown up with the Back To The Future movies, I’ve got this impression that a time machine has to be a big, bulky machine, like a car. When you stop and think about it, a car would be an ideal time machine, because as soon as you get to your destination time, you’d have a mode of transportation! So a car is a good time machine. I would outfit this car, though, with some kind of holographic cloaking device, so you could instantly disguise your time machine as a vehicle popular to the time you are visiting. And the Back To The Future movies also got right what kind of data you would need to know. As you may remember, there were three digital displays in the DeLorean: where you’re going, where you are, and where you came from. In short: destination, current location, and departure. That’s pretty much all you need to know to time travel, besides knowledge of the time you’re visiting.

Which raises another question. When time traveling, what tools would you need? Well, if those Star Trek time travel stories have taught us anything, we’ll need clothes common to the time we are visiting. You know, so we can blend in with the people of the time we are visiting. Of course, so the time-line isn’t contaminated, all modern technology should be kept in your home time. What always confused me about time travel, though, is how would you get money? I mean, I can’t go back to 1973 and start buying stuff with my 1999 $20 dollar bills. No one will have seen them yet, so that would be a time-line contaminant. So this is my plan: in your home time, buy some gold, jewels, or other such “hard currency.” When you go back in time, sell off this stuff for some quick cash. Gold and jewels have no characteristics saying what time they are from, so that should be pretty safe to cash in. So, I think that when the time comes, I am all prepared for time travel.

But what of these evil “time paradoxes?” Let me give you a common example. Say your grandfather died when you were very young, and you never got to meet him. So, you hop in your time machine and go back in time to meet him as a young man. While searching for you grandfather, you get caught up in a bar fight and kill a man in self-defense. You soon discover that the person you killed was your grandfather. Now, you have altered the time-line so your grandfather died young, and never played his part in conceiving your father. If your father never existed, then that means you never existed. If you never existed, then how could you have gone back in time and killed your grandfather? See the problem? Of course, there’s always the possibility that you were adopted, and you killed the man you believed was your grandfather, but for arguments’ sake, you’re not adopted.

There’s another time paradox that I kind of like. Let’s say that Shakespeare is your favorite author, so you go back in time to meet him. You bring along your book The Collected Works of Shakespeare, which contains all his plays. When you arrive, and meet Shakespeare, you talk, you laugh, you hit it off. But, when you read some of Shakespeare’s plays, you discover that he sucks. You show Shakespeare your book, and he marvels at how good they are. You return to your time, somewhat disappointed. But, you left your book behind. Shakespeare, then, copies these plays and says that he wrote them. He becomes the great author, and years later, he becomes your favorite author and you want to go back in time and meet him. We’ve got a nice little time-loop going on. But the question becomes, then, who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays? Was it someone who was forgotten in all this re-writing of history? Or some kind of divine gift?

This is the paradox that always got me, and it’s a common one in sci-fi. It’s quite simple: you go into the future and meet yourself 30 years older. Now, how could you meet yourself 30 years older? Wouldn’t you be altering history so you haven’t existed for the last 30 years? Or is meeting yourself 30 years older conclusive proof that you will get back to your home time safe and unharmed? With my little bit of knowledge, I’ve come up with a theory that should resolve all these paradoxes.

We always talks about a “time-line,” suggesting that time is one-dimensional. But, as we all know, there are many possible futures. So, then, that means that our present was just one of many alternate futures, suggesting then that there might be alternate presents. This means, then, that time is not the one-dimensional line we imagine, but multi-dimensional, with many, many, branches coming off and converging all over the place. Time travel, then, is not about jumping forwards and backwards on a line, but from one time-line to another. If you kill your grandfather, there is no paradox, just the creation of more time-lines. Shakespeare’s plays, then, would have somehow found there way from one time-line to ours. And, if you go 30 years into the future, you are just seeing one possible future you from the infinite possibilities that there are. As always, this is just a theory. First, we’ve got to build that time machine.

Probably, the most idealized time machine would be the Phoenix Gate from the cartoon Gargoyles. All you have to do is hold the Phoenix Gate close (it’s about as big as a saucer), say the magic words (Deflegrate muri tempe et intervalia), and you are instantly teleported to whichever time and place you are thinking about. Quick, simple, and efficient. Oh, and in case you are curious, those magic words are just in Latin. In English, the magic words are “Burn down the walls of time and space.” But, until that day, time travel is only the stuff that dreams are made of. I wonder if I’ll continue the fight against zombies tomorrow night. I hope I can dream of some improvements to the dustbuster design. All I ask is a simpler interface! If I ever dream up the person who invented it, I’ll have to have words with her.

Movie Review – Pokémon: The First Movie

Pokémon:  The First Movie

Directed by Kunohiko Yuyama; English translation directed by Michael Haigney.

Starring the voices of Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart, Addie Blaustein, and Phillip Bartlett.

I’ll confess, I’m a huge fan of the Pokémon cartoon. So, I said to myself, “When Pokémon: The Fist Movie hits the cheap theaters, I’ll go see it!” Well, it’s in the cheap theaters now. And besides, since I missed Princess Mononoke, this is my only chance to see anything remotely anime in a theater.

Actually, Pokémon: The First Movie is a bit of a double feature. First, we are presented with the short film Pikachu’s Vactaion, in which we follow the adventures of Pikachu, Togepi, and all our other favorites at their day of fun in a Pokemon-only park. Then, we get into the good stuff: Pokémon The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back. We are presented with Mewtwo. He is a genetically enhanced clone of Mew, the strongest Pokemon ever known. Mewtwo is confused about his creation. Why was he created? What is his purpose? Not wanting to be a slave to humans, Mewtwo destroys his captors and comes up with a plan: he will wipe out all humans and pokémon on Earth, leaving behind only him and his superior Pokemon clones. He invites the best trainers in the world, including our trio of Ash, Brock and Misty, to his island so he can clone their pokémon. Of course, it is then up to our heroes to save the day. Oh, and Team Rocket comes along for the ride.

Watching this, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to that classic movie-based-on-a-fad, Transformers: The Movie. Since they were animated by the same Japanese studio, even certain shots look the same! And I am starting to truly love seeing anime on a big screen. However, unlike Transformers, the end gets awful, awful preachy. Put on your helmets, because you’ll be beaten with 3 messages! All in all, entertaining for Pokémon fans, all others beware.

3 Nibs (Hey, I’m a fan!)

I Must Speak, Yet I Can’t Shut Up

Chaos in Print


This is weird. I think this is the first week since I started doing this that I have absolutely nothing to talk about. I mean, I had this brilliant column written. It was gutsy! It was real world! It was cutting edge! But, one of my friends asked that I not publish it. So what if I portrayed him as murderous, treacherous, and just plain evil drug dealer? If you can’t make false accusations about your friends, then who can you falsely accuse? Now, with that column in the “un-publishable” file, I need to throw something together at the last minute. So, then, what should I write about?

I could write about how I seem to have become a magnet for pen-and-pencil sets. I came to this realization the other day, when I got one in the mail from Augustana Interactive Radio manager William Voth. It was his way of expressing his thanks for doing my Al-a-thon ’99 last week. So, I took that pen-and-pencil set and put it with the others. Let’s see, there’s the one I got from my godmother as a college grad gift. There’s the one my Dad stuck in my stocking last year for Christmas. There’s the hand-crafted one I got from some German relatives. There’s the one my parents’ got me from the Neuschwanstein gift shop when they were in Germany. And finally, there’s the one my Grandpa and Grandma gave me for my high school grad. That one I do treasure, if simply because it’s the last gift I got from my Grandpa and Grandma. Shortly before my grad, my Grandma was killed in a car accident, and when my Grandpa gave me that pen-and-pencil set for grad, me made it very clear that it was from him and Grandma. I have declared that set the lucky set. I just filled out a job application with it, and it’s a job I hope to get. I find I set all these pens aside, and save them for a special occasion. You know, I tend to carry around a 50-cent Bic with me wherever I go, just in case I need a pen. I only carry these with me when I’m all dressed-up. They’ve become “dress pens.” I eventually see a day where the pen-and-pencil set is phased out in favor of the keyboard-and-mouse set, seeing as to how everyone types everything these days.

I could write about the strange dream I had last night. OK, here’s how it went. I was one of the newest hotshot lawyers working for the firm of Cage and Fish. That’s right, I was one of the lawyers on Ally McBeal. After unsuccessfully hitting on Nell, word came in that John Cage had been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. So, I heroically took on the case. After a lengthy court battle, I was able to clear John’s good name. Since that was a rather long day, I returned home to relax, only to have my parents drag me off to some Agricultural Fair in Edmonton. It wasn’t long before I managed to ditch my parents so I could hang out with my bestest friends in the whole wide world. That’s right, I was hanging out with the gang from The Drew Carey Show. After successfully wrestling my Jell-o away from Lewis, Kate and I went some place where we could be alone and eat some Jell-o. That’s when I woke up. Strange. I think it simply means one thing: I have been watching way too much TV.

I could tell you with my girlish glee how I just discovered that my new favorite animated film, The Iron Giant, is coming out on video and DVD on November 23. For people like me, it is also being released in a widescreen edition. But then, I’ve already e-mailed everyone I know about that, so I think I’ll leave that alone.

I could rave on about Gargoyles. One of my favorite cartoons of all time, and the Family Channel is showing it every night at 12:30! Thank God for my VCR! I’ve almost completely filled a tape. Just the other night, they showed the episode “Metamorphosis.” This was the origin episode of one my favorite under-utilized characters: the Mutates. As it turns out, the evil Xanatos contacted the geneticist Sevarius to see if it would be possible to “create” gargoyles. Sevarius originally wanted to simply clone Goliath, but he didn’t have any of Goliath’s DNA. (He eventually got some and created Thailog, Goliath’s evil clone, but that’s another story.) So, Sevarius came up with this plan. Gargoyles have the strength and speed of a jungle cat, the wings of a bat, and intelligence of a human. Why not genetically combine the three? But, he discovered that, in order to sustain their strength, a gargoyle would need to eat 3 sides of beef per day. He then learned that when gargoyles turn to stone in the day, they actually become solar collectors, and that’s what keeps their energy up. The closest thing he could find in nature was the electricity producing organs of the electric eel. So, he created a mutagen that would add cat, bat, and electric eel DNA to a human (when injected), thus turning the human into a gargoyle-like creature. But, these gargoyles don’t turn to stone in the day, and (as a side effect of the electric eel DNA) can electrify their bodies and shoot lightning bolts. These mutates were in the employ of Xanatos for a while, but they eventually saw his evil, and thus formed their own gargoyle clan, and allied themselves with Goliath and our heros.

Xanatos and Sevarius created four mutates. The first was Fang. He was some kind of street punk before he was mutated, and stuck with his evil ways even after leaving Xanatos. Then, there was Claw. There was a flaw with his mutation, and it left him unable to speak. Maggie the Cat is the third. Old story: young woman comes from the country to make it big in the city, but soon finds herself homeless and on the street. Young woman becomes assistant to mad scientist, who uses her as guinea pig. Of all the mutates, she is the only one who retained her human name. And finally, we have Talon, leader of the mutates. In his human life, he was Derek Maza, Elisa’s brother. His mutation, naturally, caused heartache for his sister and family, but he vowed to use his new powers for good, thus continuing the family cop tradition. I wish there were more episodes with them. I would have loved to have learned more.

If I wanted to, I could continue on with Coldstone and the cyber-gargoyles, but since there is no direction to this column, it’s best to keep it short. Instead, I’d like to share with you two of my favorite dialogues from Gargoyles. This first one comes from the episode “Awakenings Part III.” It is between Hudson and Elisa, and it is when Hudson chooses his name. Let me set the scene: Goliath and Elisa have just met the night before, and Elisa is about to show Goliath the city. Hudson swoops in, saying he was watching over Goliath to make sure Elisa wasn’t setting a trap. And thus, our dialogue:

Elisa>> Jeez, you guys are paranoid even for New York! (Turning to Hudson) And what’s your name?

Hudson>> You humans. Nothing exists to you until you’ve named it; given it limits. Why is that?

Elisa>> (Stammering) Er, uh, well, it’s just that things need names.

Hudson>> Oh really? Does the sky need a name? (Pointing to the river) Does the river?

Elisa>> The river’s called the Hudson.

Hudson>> (sighs) Fine. Then I shall be the Hudson as well.

This next dialogue comes from the episode “Eye Of the Beholder.” It’s is Xanatos’ marriage proposal to Fox. I love it because it’s the most emotionless marriage proposal I’ve ever heard. The scene: a romantic candlelight dinner at Xanatos and Fox’s penthouse:

Xanatos>> Marry me.

Fox>> Are you serious?

Xanatos>> We’re genetically compatible, highly intelligent, and have the same goals. It makes perfect sense to get married.

Fox>> True. But what about. . .love?

Xanatos>> I think we love each other. As much as two people such as ourselves are capable of that emotion. (Presents the Eye of Odin)

Fox>> For me?

Xanatos>> To seal the bargain.

Fox>> It’s beautiful. Proposal accepted.

Don’t worry. As the episode progresses, we see that the Eye of Odin turns Fox into a werewolf, and Xanatos fights with all his resources to cure her, even begging his greatest enemy for help. We discover that these two are much more capable of love than they let on. And that’s where I’ll end this!

Movie Review – The World is Not Enough

The World is Not Enough

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Robert Carlyle, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, and Judi Dench.

Directed by Michael Apted

So, with my Dad officially off on Christmas vacation, I knew it was the proper time to drag him on down to the theater to see the newest James Bond film. Seeing the James Bond movies has become our thing. We’ve seen GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies together, so it was off to see The World Is Not Enough!

Our story: the film opens with an attack on MI6 Headquarters, in which James Bond (Brosnan) is left with a broken collarbone. It seems the attack was set up to kill the head of the world’s largest oil company, who was there to recover some money that was stolen from him. Fearing that his daughter Elektra (Marceau) may be next, Bond goes off to be her bodyguard. The villain behind this whole thing is Renard (Carlyle), a terrorist who one attempted to kidnap Elektra, but things didn’t go his way, so he is now enacting his revenge on Elektra’s oil company. He has a bullet lodged in his brain that makes him impervious to pain. Along the way, Bond teams with nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones (Richards) and Russian crime boss Valintine Zukovsky (Coltrane), whom we first met in GoldenEye.

There seems to be two James Bond fans in the world: those who like the formula, and want to see what new things are brought to it, and those who wish that they’d scrap the formula and try something new. I’m still pretty new to Bond, so I like the formula. This film has some pretty spectacular stunts, like the opening boat chase, and when Bond and Dr. Jones go jetting through a pipeline in an attempt to diffuse a nuclear warhead. I know that this Bond tried to be more “character-driven” than the last few, and succeeded for the most part. Some good points: it does have a a surprising plot twist (as surprising as things get for Bond films), and David Arnold’s score just rocks! Some complaints: Richards doesn’t make the most convincing nuclear physicist (but I sure would have stuck with physics if all my colleagues looked like her!), and it does end with what has to be the raunchiest James Bond one-liner. All in all, a fun frolic for 007. Check it out.

3 Nibs

Midnight Ramblings III

Chaos in Print

For those just tuning in: I’ve got this friend, whom I’ve dubbed “Neelix” to protect his identity, and I occasionally send him these rambling e-mails just to get stuff of my chest. Well, I decided to start publishing them as columns. Here’s my latest:

Hey Neelix!

OK, I’ve had this anecdote swelling up in me for the last two weeks, and I finally had to get it out of my system. One Saturday, my sister was feeling unusually generous. Her boyfriend and her were going down to Drayton Valley, and she asked me if I would like to come. As soon as she said that they’d be stopping at McDonald’s, and that she was buying, I was in. So we’re in McDonald’s, and I’m eating a Big Xtra, McDonald’s latest novelty burger. As I was dining on it, I mused aloud “Gee, I wonder whatever happened to the Arch Deluxe? It came in with such big fanfare a few years ago, and they don’t have it anymore.” As my sister, her boyfriend and myself started tossing around theories, the woman at the next table spoke up. It turns out she was the manager of this particular McDonald’s, and before that, she managed one in big city BC (Chilliwak? Coquitlan? One of those “c” names), and she gladly filled us in. The Arch Deluxe is no longer sold because it just wasn’t selling anymore. She worked at a downtown location, and they would only sell 50 or so in a day. That sounds like a lot, but bear in mind that this is a McDonald’s in the downtown core of a city. That’s not much. So, the Arch Deluxe was canceled. But, she said, the Big Xtra is just like the Arch Deluxe with only 2 main differences: 1) The Big Xtra is made with lean beef, making it less greasy, less fatty, and more filling. 2) The Big Xtra has a slightly different assortment of spices in its special sauce. Other than that, they are exactly the same.

She then continued on telling us how the same fate befell McDonald’s pizza. The one she used to work at would order in a 3-months supply, and it would go bad before it was even touched. For some reason, she said, McDonald’s pizza just didn’t do well in Western Canada. Apparently it’s still a big seller in the Maritimes. This manager told us how she loved McDonald’s pizza, and that she would eat a cheese one on her break all the time. At this, her break ended, and she had to go back to work. Then, I turned to my sister and her boyfriend and confessed the truth: I though McDonald’s pizza sucked and I never noticed it was gone. But, I was amazed at how our dining experience at McDonald’s had been enhanced by this friendly person.

Speaking of people who work in fast food restaurants, I had the pleasure of watching Clerks again the other day. My sister, who loved Chasing Amy and Mallrats had never seen it, so it was time to induct her into Kevin Smith’s full body of work. As I was watching it, it finally donned on me how much I have in common with the character of Dante. We both endlessly complain about our station in life, yet we do very little to try and change things. Why is that? Speaking from experience, I think it’s because I get comfortable too easily. And when you’re comfy, you don’t really want to change your position in life. Maybe I should quit whining and start doing something. But hey, hasn’t that already been the subject of at least a dozen prior columns? I tend to end each one with that theme with “Tomorrow things will be different!” But tomorrow comes, and I spend the whole thing on the couch watching TV. Why is that? Maybe the sad truth is I’m all out of ambition.

What’s really weird is what I’m currently ambitious towards doing. I’ve been wondering what it would take to complete my collection of Ninja Turtle comics. To be more specific, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Adventures. This was the comic put out by Archie Comics (of all studios!) To tie in with the Ninja Turtle toys and cartoons. A lot of people may dismiss it as simply being something to sell toys, but there was a lot of good stuff in that series. Along they way, they introduced a lot of interesting characters, like Jagwar, the Brazilian half-human/half-jaguar who lived a Tarzan-like existence in the rainforests. There was Dreadmon, the Jamaican werewolf, who also ended up in South America. And then there was Ninjara. After the fans started screaming that they introduce a female mutant to the comics, Ninjara was introduced. She was from an ancient race of fox people who lived on an island off the coast of Japan. Soon, she turned her back on her homeland to see what life was like out in the real world. She quickly became the top thief in Japan, and was the right-hand mutant to Chein Kahn, the half-human/half-dog Japanese crime lord. When she discovered Kahn’s true plan (unleashing a demon and taking over the world), she renounced her evil ways and assisted the Ninja Turtles in stopping him. When this adventure in Japan was over, she journeyed with the Turtles back to New York City, where she moved into the sewers with them and joined their team. She also became Raphael’s lover. So, back to completing this collection. I have no idea how to go about doing it. I have a hunch that trying to find back issues of TMNT Adventures is going to be like what you discovered with the G.I. Joe comics: they aren’t worth a lot, but they’re not out there, meaning those who have them aren’t letting them go. Just in case you’re interested, this would be what I need to get a complete collection:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 62+
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Special #3+
Merdude (3-issue mini-series) #1 – 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (The comic adaption of the movie)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (The comic adaption of the movie)

And, if I really wanted the complete collection:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (mini-series) #1 – 3 — This was a 3-issue adaption of the first 5 episodes of the cartoon, and the first Ninja Turtle comics put out by Archie. They started doing the regular series about 6 months later.

I guess I’ll always regret having quit collecting the comics when I did. The last one I bought was issue number 61, and I think the series lasted to issue number 75. So, if I stuck with it just a little longer, I would have had them all. But, I quit buying them because I couldn’t afford them anymore. That’s why I didn’t buy the specials (which I think lasted to issue #9), and passed on the Merdude mini-series. But, what I do have is very cool. I’ve got the special one-shot The Ninja Turtles Meet Archie. I’ve got the 3-issue Mutant Universe Sourcebook, which was the Marvel Universe and D.C.’s Who’s Who for the Ninja Turtle series. I’ve got the two April O’Neil mini-series. And, I’ve got the complete run of Mighty Mutanimals. This was a short-lived spin-off where a group of other mutant animals banded together to form their own super-hero group. They started in a 3-issue mini-series, then had nine issues of a regular series. So, if I do decide to complete my collection, I hope you lend me your Wizards to do the research!

Well, I’m sure I pestered you for enough tonight. See ya!