Midnight Ramblings XIV

Chaos in Print

NOTE: OK, since I’m really putting off finishing the huge column about my trip to Camrose at the start of November, I’m writing my buddy Nelix with the latest pop culture wants, desires, and confusion.

Hey Neelix!

Last night, my Dad took me to my second hockey game. Yup, he got another set of free ones from a ruthless gravel company. I am fully convinced now that there is no more fun in sports. It’s all a business. There, in the Skyreach Center, I couldn’t help but think how much the game being played before me was so much like a movie. Shameless product placement, lots of bright pyrotechnic displays, and lots of sweaty men fighting it out. It wasn’t a game, it was an action movie. I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big hockey fan, but I’m not going to turn down free tickets at center ice, courtesy of our friends at LaFarge Construction.

There’s only one sport I only kinda sorta follow, and that’s WNBA. Yup, women’s basketball. Think about it. This is the only major league for women that receives any kind of major coverage. Well, it’s true I still have difficulty finding the standings in the Edmonton Journal, but they have the occasional televised game. But still, it’s the only major women’s league that I’m aware of, so that alone deserves our support. I’m still eagerly searching out a hat depicting the logo of one of the teams. Like with my other hats, I’ll simply choose the logo I like the best. They’re difficult to find in Edmonton, so I think I’m finally going to have to knuckle down and buy one at the WNBA online store.

But, why do I need hats when I’ve got my burgeoning action figure collection? Actually, I’ve been reading the latest ToyFare about something that Toy Biz is cooking up. See, people have been making the same complaints about the Spider-Man action figures that they’ve been making about Batman: too many variants on our hero. We’ve got “Anti-Grizzly Bear Spider-Man,” “Super Hyper Kinetic Power Guy Spider-Man,” and “Disguised as Batman Spider-Man.” So, Toy Biz decided to go back to their roots. They’ve got this upcoming line called Classic Spider-Man. The only notable feature is that this line will boast the most insanely poseable Spider-Man figures ever! Each Spidey will boast 30 points of articulation! (A point of articulation is a joint, for those who don’t follow the biz.) Series one, due out any day now, has: Spider-Man, black costume Spider-Man, the Man-Spider, and Venom. Series two, in the planning stages for the spring, will have: battle ravaged Spider-Man (Spidey in a torn costume), first appearance Spider-Man (Spidey in his original costume from Amazing Fantasy #15), the Scarlet Spider, and the Rhino. I hope they make a Spider-Man Unlimited.

Did I tell you? Spider-Man Unlimited has returned to the airwaves! This Spider-Man cartoon debuted a year ago, only to be inexplicably yanked from the schedule after only three episodes. Well, it’s back. Seems they want to burn it off, so they can do an all new, 100% CGI Spider-Man cartoon to tie in with the movie. The premise of Spider-Man Unlimited, in case you forgot, is as follows: Col. John Jamison (Yup, JJJ’s son), is going on a mission to a newly-discovered “counter-Earth,” but Venom and Carnage hijack the shuttle and Spider-Man is framed for it. So, in order to clear his name, Spider-Man hijacks the rescue shuttle to rescue Col. Jamison. On this counter-Earth, Spider-Man discovers that it is ruled by the High Evolutionary, and his half-human/half-animal creations the Beastials. Humans have been reduced to second-class citizens. Here, Spidey discovers Col. Jamison leading the human resistance against the High Evolutionary, and Spidey decides to stay and help the fight. He is assisted in the battle with his all-new suit, which Reed Richards helped him design specifically to fight Venom and Carnage. The new Spider-Suit is actually trillions of nanites covering his body. When Peter Parker needs to become Spider-Man, he just hits a button on his watch, and the nanites crawl out and form the suit. Of course, this gives him all sorts of new powers like: body armor, invisibility, and the sonics, which is a hypersonic pulse that stuns Venom and Carnage. It was a good show, and now we’ll be able to watch the whole saga.

But I digress. Let’s get back to they toys for a second. After all my sweating and waiting, the brand new Simpsons action figures have finally come to Canada! (Well, the Edmonton Toys R Us stores anyway.) This now makes us roughly one year behind the Americans. I had to snatch up Bart right away. Actually, the coolest feature of these figures is their Intelli-Tronic voice chips. You can also get these playsets, depicting a famous Springfield locale, and each set comes with an exclusive action figure. When you plug the action figure into the playset, they speak! Think those COMMTech chips from the Star Wars action figures, only with vastly improved technology. If I do get a playset (they run about $25-$30), I’d get the Quik-E-Mart with Apu. This’ll be the only way to get my Apu. Now if only my Radioactive Homer would come in the mail.

Mail is OK, but you gotta love e-mail better, and the world in which e-mail is from. My Dad got a call today from one of his friends. He was in a bit of a bind. It seems that his modem crashed. (I didn’t know you could crash a modem, but it’s what he said.) Anyway, after he was done talking to the Telus Help Desk, he was trying to reinstall his modem driver. In the instillation process, it asked for his modem’s serial number. So, what he wanted me to do was go to his house, tear apart his computer, find the modem, and read the serial number to him. I’ve tried to give this guy tech support before, but he’s a stubborn one.

A year ago, I tried to give him some help. He had just bought a new printer, some kind of Epson bubble jet. After he brought it home and hooked it up, it wasn’t printing as fast as it was in the showroom. He wanted me to make his printer print faster. So, I fiddled with the printer drivers. I unplugged a few unnecessary peripherals, and plugged them back in. I think I finally found what the problem was, but I didn’t want to say anything. Here, I’ll give you some tech specs to his machine, and let’s see if you jump to the same conclusion I did:

256M RAM

30G Hard Drive

56.6k modem


2 scanners; one hand-held, the other flatbed

Win 98 for his OS

All running on a 286

Gee, you think it was running slow because his processor was an antique? He said he’d run that by the guy at the store when he bought the new printer cable. When he came back with the new cable, he said that the guy at the store said, “Could be.” The new cable didn’t help.

I shouldn’t talk, though. My computer’s getting that way. The first trailer for Tomb Raider: The Movie has gone online, and my machine is too slow to run even the lo-res version. When I was Christmas shopping, I came across these Pokémon computer games. Each one was stuck on a 3″ CD (yup, the tiny ones), and featured a game or two featuring a pokémon. I was going to get myself the one featuring my favorite, Bulbasaur, but, minimum system requirements were for a Pentium 166. When my little ol’ 133 won’t handle a less than $10 game, it’s time to upgrade. I would like to home build my next one, and my buddy Darmok has offered to walk me through the process many times. But, I always say the same thing to Darmok: “Let’s wait until I have more money saved up.” Who knows? Maybe, after Christmas, instead of getting that DVD Player, I’ll call up Darmok and say, “Let’s do it.” Maybe I should buy that Pokémon game, as a goal-setting exercise: someday, I’ll have a computer powerful enough to run this game.

Speaking of video games, have I told you about the latest video-game-turned-movie? When I read the plot of the game, I knew it would be my kind of movie. The video game is called American McGee’s Alice, and comes out soon. The game is a sequel to Alice In Wonderland, and boy has Alice’s life been rough. Her parents were killed in a fire, and that, combined with her ramblings about a ‘wonderland,’ got her thrown into an insane asylum where she spent most of her teen years. Now, approaching 20, she escapes from the asylum and seeks refuge in Wonderland, but Wonderland has changed. The Red Queen has become a ruthless dictator, and all of the old Wonderland denizens have become dark, distorted versions of their former selves. Can Alice defeat the demons in her past and restore Wonderland to its former glory? Play the game to find out. Or, wait for the movie. Wes Craven (the Scream movies) will be directing. John August, who wrote Go, turns in his first draft of the script in January, and Natalie “Queen Amidala” Portman is being wooed to play Alice.

Actually, my movie sites showed a few screen shots from the game. How can I describe Alice’s look? Take Death from the Sandman comics, and put her in the blue dress/white apron combo that Alice wore in the Disney animated Alice In Wonderland. And be sure to embroider Death’s trademark ankh on one of the apron’s pockets. Some other symbol adorned the other pocket. I’ve got to play this game. This movie’s got to be made.

And that’s all for now. Guess I should finish that column about my trip to Camrose now.

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