Category Archives: Unemployed Bliss

The End

Chaos in Print

Note: Well, looking at my calendar, we are approaching the 1-year anniversary of the end of my college radio show, Chaos In A Box. Cleaning out my hard drive, I found this, which I wrote the day after my final show to sort through my feelings. To celebrate the one year anniversary of the end, I’m posting it as my latest column.

The last 12 hours have been crazy. A wild rush of emotions just trying to find a voice. Kind of like the morning after a big party. I’m looking around and going “What the Hell was I thinking?”

How did it end? What was going through my mind as those final words were spoken? Well, what I was saying was what I was thinking. It was a stream-of-consciousness thing. The best thing to do at the time, I felt, was to try and communicate exactly what I was thinking. Talk through it. And that’s what I did. I had known from day 1 what the final song I wanted to play was going to be. When Return of the Jedi: Special Edition came out, I then knew of two final songs I wanted to play. After I hit play to send out “Victory Celebration,” I wondered if that’s how I should leave it. But, I knew I had been planning what song I wanted to leave people with since day 1, and I knew I had to stick with it or else it would be one of those regrets of my life things. So, “Victory Celebration” ended, and I had to play my favorite song of all time: “UHF” by “Weird Al” Yankovic. As the song played, I began doing the regular end-of-show routine: putting CDs back in the back, packing up my CDs, putting the last few songs I played into the computer. Just the routine. Well, I stashed a couple of station CDs in my bag. It’s my last show. I’ve been good for 3 ½ years. Who’ll notice? Then, the song ended, and I said my final final words: “You have been listening to the final Chaos in a Box. For the last time, this is Mark Cappis returning you to your regularly re-broadcast crap.” And I looked around. Knowing that this is the last time.

Those X-Men stickers I stuck up in my first year were still there. I’m surprised no one tried to take them down over the years. One last look at the vinyl collection. I wonder what ever happened to that first pressing of the Star Wars soundtrack I stumbled across in my first year? And, what I’ll miss most of all, that little yellow DJ chair. Whenever I came back from summer, I knew I wasn’t fully back until I went up to the station and sat in that chair. And I’ll never sit in it again. I turned off the lights, and began walking down the stairs. On the second step, I turned back and looked around. For the briefest of moments, I was back in January, 1996. It was the day after Lowel’s organizational meeting of the semester. I didn’t know my timeslot yet, I didn’t even know if I was going to be on the air, but I knew I just had to get a second look. For 15 minutes, I sat up there, and dreamed of changing the world. And now, the dream has ended. I spoke aloud the word “Good-Bye,” and walked down the stairs. My minded drifted to something I heard on Entertainment Tonight: when they had finished taping the final episode of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld stayed on the set and left at 5am, just so he could be the last to leave. I think I understand why he did that, now. As I walked down the stairs, the things I should’ve said started popping into my mind, but I dismissed them. I was happy with how it ended.

Walking back across the bridge to my room, I ran into Arlo, who was off on a midnight sev-run. We hugged. I made him cry with my final words. I offered him some M&M’s. Once again, it was brought up that I should be doing this professionally. And once again, I said no. From my visit to the Bear that one time, I have seen how everything you say and play is regulated. I don’t think I could survive under those conditions. I would have to quit being me. I returned to my room, only to run into a some people in the floor lounge. The apologized for missing the end. That was OK. I got into my room, went to my VCR and hit rewind. I was already beginning to forget my final words, and I wanted to remind myself. I had felt somewhat emotionally detached in this whole experience, but listening to the tape of my final words finally drove home that it was over.

I didn’t feel like going to sleep. I felt like taking a walk. I strapped my walkman on, and headed out into the stars. Walking through the darkness, alone with my thoughts. I’d been walking a lot lately. I feel as though if I stop moving, things will crumble around me. I don’t remember my thoughts. It was like all I was doing was repeating “Wow. It’s over.” in my head. Just one thought stuck out: in high school, I had this one experience that finally hammered home that the experience was over. Shortly after writing my second final exam, I asked my computer science teacher for the key to the computer lab so I could go up there and clean out my computer account. Up there, alone in the computer lab, I started going through my files. I printed out what I wanted to keep, and then deleted everything. When I was done, and I was staring at the my now empty directory, that’s when it hit me. High school is over. My final show was a similar experience. College is over.

I got back at about 1am. Time to watch Beast Wars and Shadow Raiders. Shadow Raiders was good. A nice, goofy episode. Beast Wars was surreal. We met the aliens. They fused together their captives of Tigatron and Airazor to create their emissary to the planet: Tigerhawk. I’m still trying to comprehend the dream sequences in that episode. And the aliens! They look kind of like the villains on Shadow Raiders. Crossover potential? Hmmmm.

2am. I went to bed. I slept. I don’t remember my dreams, but I do remember dreaming.

I awoke at 8:30. For the first half-hour, I just lied in bed, in a semi-conscious state. At 9, I figured I should start doing something. I finally decided to read those Death collections I borrowed. I popped my CD compilation of my MP3s into my CD player, and began reading Death: The High Cost of Living. The opening pages were read to Unicron’s Theme. Not a promising start. Shockingly, most appropriate music for Death: The High Cost of Living: Opening titles from Star Trek: First Contact. Most appropriate for Death: The Time of Your Life: Change the World by Eric Clapton. Hanging over the whole proceedings was this sense of loss. Maybe reading Death helped. I have trouble dealing with the fact that the person who best shows by example that you should lead life to the fullest is Death. Maybe she just knows. This whole experience just felt like one of those “perfect moments” that are so fleeting in our lives.

11am. I should start doing something. Maybe I should write, reflect on this. I check my e-mail. Oh, so Kenten wants to know what I felt. Maybe I’ll just send him what I write. And I began writing.

It’s going on to lunch time, now. I should go eat something. My plans for the day are fuzzy. Maybe I’ll watch some movies. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I’ll read those Sandman‘s. Maybe I’ll fall in love. I just know I’m not going to study. I don’t feel like doing that. Did a part of me die? Have I been re-born? I don’t know. But the sun is shining. The music is playing. Life goes on. And I have a day to conquer.

Midnight Ramblings VIII

Chaos in Print

NOTE: You know the name, you know the premise! Every once in a while, I send a rambling e-mail to my buddy, here called “Neelix,” just to unload everything that’s currently bugging me in the world of pop culture. This time around, though, I’ll be confessing my deepest, darkest, sexual fantasies. You might want to skip over the one involving popsicle sticks and chocolate frosting. Enjoy!

Hey Neelix!

OK, so I just rented Pokémon: The First Movie. If you remember my original review, then you’ll remember that I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between it and that classic from my childhood, Transformers: The Movie. I kept thinking that Pokémon was missing something that Transformers had. At first I thought it was the death of a hero. Who could forget the death of Optimus Prime in Transformers? But now that I’ve seen Pokémon: The First Movie again, it finally dawned on me. It wasn’t the death of a hero! It was the sneaking in of a swear! Who could forget that scene in Transformers where Spike says “shit?” So, this is my proposal for the sequel, Pokémon: The Movie 2000, coming out this July. When Team Rocket fails in their next attempt to kidnap Pikachu, Meowth should turn to his teammates and say “Ah, shit. We do we even try anymore?” But there has been more on my mind than sneaking swears into G rated movies.

Lately, I’ve been pondering one of the greatest questions of the universe: why the hell did I quit watching Sports Night? I’m not talking about ITV’s nightly sports wrap-up, but about the same-named comedy-drama that takes place behind the scenes of a sports channel news show. I was a devout watcher in the first season, but when it came back in September, I caught the first few episodes, but then quit watching. But now, I’ve just gotten back into it, and man does it rock! I just couldn’t believe it when Natalie and Jeremy broke up. They were made for each other. But then, things just got weird when Jeremy started dating that porn star. And then there’s Casey and Dan. They were the best of friends, but then when Casey made that “100 most influential people in sports” list and Dan got left off, there was a tension between them that you could cut with a knife. Things came to a head tonight when Dan snapped on air. I can’t wait to see what happens next. This show just rocks! Why did I ever quit watching it? It’s starting to replace Ally McBeal as my favorite quirky comedy-drama.

Speaking of Ally McBeal, are you still watching that? Things have really taken a weird turn this season. See, Billy started acting all male-chauvinistic, which eventually lead him to bleaching his hair, divorcing his wife, and dating his secretary. Soon, that evolved into these wild hallucinations. He finally went to see a doctor about it tonight, and it turns out he has a brain tumor. This does fit in with what I’m reading. Apparently, he’s going to die of this brain tumor in the season finale. That sucks. I kind of liked him before he got the tumor and started acting all wonky. And what about Nell? She’s launching some kind of Machiavellian scheme to take over the law firm! This makes me wonder if she’s dating John simply because she loves him, or if it’s all part of her plot. I used to like her. I used to defend her to people. Now I hope someone smacks her. No, better yet, I hope someone crushes her. Argh. I’m just too involved in my stories.

Speaking of stories, did you watch Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story? If not, I’m going to have to report you to the un-Canadian activities committee. I thought it was OK. I really started thinking it was weird in that scene where Anne was locked in a jail in war-torn France (for it takes place during World War I), and she rigs a stove into a cannon to blow a hole in the wall, just like MacGyver. Actually, it gave me a great idea for a spoof: Anne of Green Gables Episode I: The Phantom Menace. While fleeing from the planet Naboo, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn set down in the small town of Green Gables for repairs. There, they sense that the force is strong in this feisty young red-headed orphan girl. Can Anne become a Jedi, fight off the evil of Darth Maul, and find true love with Gilbert Blythe? OK, it’s still in the planning stages, but I tell you, there’s potential in this spoof.

Oh, speaking of Star Wars, I got bored one day and came up with this. Tell me what you think:

The Top 10 Signs That, Despite Your Best Efforts, You’ve Become a Geek:
10) You got a weird tingly feeling when you saw the trailers for Episode I.
9) You actively debate how well a Starfury would handle the Death Star Trench Run.
8) You consider “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Dare To Be Stupid to be the greatest album ever made.
7) You get the jokes in User Friendly
6) You repeatedly ask your lover to “hail to the king, baby.”
5) When you’re in a mall, you keep you’re eyes peeled for Agents.
4) You’ve been shopping for toys from the 80’s on eBay.
3) You know for certain that the truth is out there.
2) Your spell checker recognizes the names “Boba Fett,” “Jadzia Dax,” and “Ranma Saotome.”
And the #1 sign that you’ve become a geek:
1) You’re reading this list in line to see Episode II.

What do you think? Granted, I’m no Letterman, but I’m still new to this whole comedy thing.

Actually, I’d like to get serious for a second. Recently, I had this incident with my sister. I was online for 0.5 minutes, when she announced to me that she needed to make a phone call. So, I got offline, and she made her call, which lasted about half-an-hour. When she was done, she came up to me and announced that she would not feel guilty about me getting offline so she could use the phone, and despite my manipulations, she would never feel guilty about that. I was stunned. I thought I was just being nice, not trying to send my sister on a guilt trip.

This made me flash back to my infamous “vote no” campaign. When I got up in front of the cafeteria to announce that I was giving up the campaign, my detractors said I was just manipulating emotions to try and win votes. So, this leads me to my dilemma. Am I some kind of idiot savant at manipulating people? I mean, I don’t mean to do it, if I do it at all. Maybe society has just grown so cynical that when people encounter someone who’s nice, they instantly don’t trust him/her. Perhaps society has grown so mistrustful that when we listen to someone speaking from the heart, our first instinct is to think that there is a hidden agenda behind it. Or, perhaps, despite my best efforts, I am just a despicable human being. I don’t know.

Boy, that sure ended things on a downer. I think I’ll go build log cabins out of popsicle sticks, and eat a can of chocolate frosting. That always cheers me up.


Anti-Boredom Project #32,683: Superman Episode Guide

Chaos in Print

Well, it seems that every website has an episode guide of some sort. So, since I was bored and had absolutely nothing better to do (like say, find a job), I sat down and compiled an episode guide to the Superman cartoon. This is how I did it: first, I went by the official Batman/Superman website and downloaded the complete list of all the episode titles. Then, I wrote the plot synopses from memory. Lastly, I juggled around the order into the order that I remember seeing them. Not quite broadcast order, but pretty close. So, without further ado, here’s the episode guide!

Continue reading Anti-Boredom Project #32,683: Superman Episode Guide

Fear Attracts The Fearless

Chaos in Print

Do you know what the number 1 fear is? Not death. Death is only #2. #1 is public speaking. Do you know what this means? At a funeral, more people would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy. Do you think the corpse ever looks up and says “At least I’m not that guy?” — An old Jerry Seinfeld joke

As I’m sure you all know, I adopted my pseudonym “Scarecrow” from my favorite villain in the Batman universe. But not a lot of people know about this Scarecrow. Dr. Jonathan Crane was a professor of psychology at Gotham State University. A lot of his colleagues were put off with his unnatural obsession with fear. He would get an almost perverse thrill from making people live out their darkest fears, and then documenting the reactions. It wasn’t long before Dr. Crane developed a fear toxin, making people’s fears come to life in frighteningly-real hallucinations. It wasn’t long before his methods raised the ire of the administration, and he was soon booted off the campus, his funding cut. Not being able to continue with his research, Dr. Crane snapped. He donned the guise of the physical incarnation of complete terror — the Scarecrow — and set about robbing from banks to fund his research, and using the innocent people of Gotham as his subjects. Of course, he soon ran up against Batman. Unlike most villains, who seek to kill Batman, the Scarecrow’s delight would be seeing Batman curled up in the fetal position, scared out of his mind. I bring this up because I’m a person filled with irrational fear.
Continue reading Fear Attracts The Fearless

Renting Movies With Dad

Chaos in Print

NOTE: Please don’t think ill of my father after reading this. Events have been exaggerated for comedic purposes.

This has become a scenario played out every Saturday in my house. “There’s nothing on TV,” my Mom says, “so why don’t you and Dad go rent some movies?” Now normally, that wouldn’t sound so bad. But, my father and I have radically different tastes in film. Case in point: The Empire Strikes Back. As most of you know, I love the Star Wars movies, and consider Empire to be my favorite. I’m sure you are all familiar with the opening shot. Here we have Luke Skywalker, riding a majestic beast called a Taumtaum across the frigid wasteland that is the planet Hoth. Every time I watch this film with my dad, he says the same thing. “Ha! Look at that guy riding a dinosaur! What a phoney show!” Then he breaks down in hysterical laughter. Actually, this would explain why every Saturday we have to rent movies, rather than allowing me to watch something from my meager film library.
Continue reading Renting Movies With Dad

Who Wants To Make Out With Me?

Chaos in Print

Who caught that recent episode of Friends? You know, the one where the characters ponder how their lives would have been different if they had taken different paths in life. In this counter-Earth, Monica was still grossly overweight. As a consequence of this, she was a 31-year old virgin. So, on the one night that she thought that she and her boyfriend were finally going to do it, she got stood up. In walks he good friend Chandler (in this Elseworld, they weren’t dating). Monica starts talking about how depressing it is to be a 31-year old virgin, and it isn’t long before Chandler proposes that maybe they should sleep together. “This is just one friend helping another friend,” Chandler said as they went off to the bedroom. Of course, the episode ended with Chandler and Monica wanting to become more than friends, and showing us that no matter what happened in their lives, they are meant for each other. But the ending’s not important.

I mention this episode because it induced a dream. In this dream, I was sitting on a couch with a young woman I happen to be friends with (names withheld to protect the innocent). Talk soon turned to how I am 22-years old and have never been kissed (which is no surprise if you’ve read my column The Last You’ll Hear About Me Being A 22-Year Old Virgin). So, she soon proposed that perhaps she should kiss me. And so, we did. Now, I know that this dream was induced by that Friends episode because, as she leaned in close, she said that line: “This is just one friend helping another friend.”

(Before we continue, I feel it necessary to reiterate the moral of The Last You’ll Hear About Me Being A 22-Year Old Virgin. My big hang up isn’t that I’ve never had sex, it’s that I’m a virgin in the strictest sense of the word. I’ve never been kissed, never held hands, never felt love and have it reciprocated. Brought up to speed? Good.)

So once again I find myself obsessing over when and where my first kiss is going to happen. When asked about my first kiss, I’m never going to have some cute memory about doing it with Pam Eisly behind the backstop during track & field day at school. My big fear is that I’ll be 31-years old and it will be “one friend helping another.” I don’t want it to be like that because I have developed this grandiose image in my head that, when it does happen, it will be some huge romantic moment, signaling the beginning of my first love affair. Once again, thanks to pop culture, my mind is so warped as to what it should be like. And of course, there is that ever-present tingling about how to do it.

Like the tongue. What does it do when you kiss? Do you just jam it down her throat? Are you supposed to lick the back of her teeth or something like that? And what about her tongue? If she jams it down my throat, is there anything I’m supposed to do to be more receptive? Get my tongue out of the way, perhaps? If there’s tongue involved, that would mean that my mouth is open. At what point in a relationship do switch from closed-mouth kissing to open-mouth kissing? And what are my eyes doing throughout this? Are they opened, and gazed lovingly into hers, or are they closed, so that the only sensation I am aware of is the kiss itself? How can people be so nonchalant about kissing when there are so many questions involved?

But anyway, this dream coupled with something that recently happened in pop culture has resulted in divine inspiration. It’s time for me to start making my own destiny. I propose that we have a game show: Who Wants To Make Out With Me? I would take applications and from there narrow it down to 50 women. Then, rather than doing some kind of twisted beauty pageant, I would conduct 50 sit-down interviews. Each interview would start with the same simple question: Now that you’ve seen me, why do you want to do this?

That’s the biggest question behind every kiss. Why are you doing this? Are you doing it because it’s some cold, mechanical response? Is it because you are deeply in lust with this person and want to give them a preview of what’s to come? Or is it because you are truly in love with that person and want to express it? What people rarely understand is there is emotion behind every question. No matter how much you try to keep your emotions in check, there will always be some emotional influence in your decision making. And, when it comes to the kiss, the ultimate symbol of love, emotion will always run high.

So that’s why I have to ask the question why do you want to do this? What a lot of people don’t understand is that, having been without love since, ever, is that it has resulted in having very little self-confidence about all matters of the heart. First of all, I wear glasses. When was the last time you saw a truly sexy person wearing glasses? And notice how they are always the first to go in one of those “geek-to-glamourous” make-overs. Secondly, let’s face it people, I’m fat. Ever since I was eight, I have been obsessed with how fat I am. I mean, look at me! I’m a pig! I’m swine! I’m huge! That’s what it boils down to. Why do you want to kiss a fat geek?

The game show, then, is a hugely wrong idea. There is nothing I could do in a sit-down interview that could make a woman want to kiss me. I think, then, that it is right for me to have this hugely romantic image of my first kiss. Think about it. By the time it actually gets around to happening, she will have gotten to know me. She’ll have seen the inner me. She will be able to look past the glasses and the extra pounds and see me. At least that’s what I hope will happen, and it won’t happen on a game show.

I once read in the paper the other day that people who believe in fate and destiny are pessimists who view life as a burden. So, would that mean I’m being pessimistic if I quit worrying about this for now and just leave it up to the fates? I know it will happen someday, and that I should quit obsessing over it and just let it happen in its own time. I should quit listening to those elements of pop culture that tell me this should have happened years ago. It’s hard to do when they are so loud. I’m sure I will survive, with a little help from my friends. But not in that way.

Midnight Ramblings VII

Chaos in Print

NOTE: OK, I’m sure you all know by now, but just for the new ones. Every once in a while, I e-mail my buddy “Neelix” to let him know what about pop culture is currently bugging me. I decided to leave him alone, and start submitting our correspondence as columns. Enjoy!

Hey Neelix!

So, how you doing today? It’s just been another lazy Saturday morning for me. Saw the usual assortment of cartoons, with one exception. I thought I’d tune in for the premiere of the latest incarnation of Power Rangers, entitled Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue. Now, I know that I said a few ramblings back that I had pretty much lost interest in Power Rangers. But hey, I was curious to see the latest spin on these pop culture icons. The new premise is as follows.

Centuries ago, the world was rampant with a band of demons led by the evil Diabolico. A sorcerer was finally able to create a spell and imprison Diabolico and his minions. Years past, and recently some unwitting travelers freed these evil forces, and they once again seek to conquer the Earth. But the city of Mariner Bay was built on their holy ground. So, before they go out to conquer the Earth, they seek to destroy Mariner Bay and rebuild their temples. Is there no hope for the Earth? These people cried out for a hero.

Enter the government. They had known about Diabolico for some time, and had been building weapons and technology to battle his forces if he was ever freed. The government went out and recruited the operatives who would battle these forces: a firefighter, a paramedic, a stunt pilot, an extreme sports athlete, and a marine biologist. These five have been endowed with new morphers, and as the Lightspeed Power Rangers are off to save the world from the forces of evil!

Actually, I’m quite impressed. This new incarnation gives the Power Rangers something they’ve never had before: last names. I also find it interesting that these Rangers are funded by the government. If I were to draw and X-Men analogy, it would be like the original Rangers were the X-Men, and these new guys are X-Factor. And there’s a new city to protect! Originally, the Rangers were defenders of Angel Grove. Then, when Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy premiered, the Rangers became defenders of space colony Terra Venture. And now, Mariner Bay. I’m not going to get too excited, though. I’ll probably keep watching it until the mysterious sixth ranger is introduced.

That’s become the Power Rangers formula. About a month into the new series, a “mysterious sixth ranger” is introduced. For the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, it was the Green Ranger, later to become the White Ranger. For Zeo, it was the Gold Ranger. For Turbo, it was the Phantom Ranger. For In Space, it was the Silver Ranger. And most recently, it was the Magna Defender for Lost Galaxy. I could give origin stories on all of them, but I won’t. We don’t know who it will be for Lightspeed Rescue, but apparently at Toy Fair 2000 in New York a “Titanium Ranger” action figure was unveiled.

One last thing before I quit rambling about Power Rangers. I just have to mention the Psycho Rangers. The Psycho Rangers were something I’d always wanted to see in the Power Rangers universe. Before, there were always “evil twin” plot lines done for episodes, but the Psycho Rangers were the first time we ever saw a full-blown group of evil Rangers, with their own suits, Zords, the whole deal. To continue with X-Men analogies, the Psycho Rangers would be the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. They were originally introduced in Power Rangers In Space, where they were there for a 10-episode story arc before the Space Rangers defeated them. They were resurrected by a magic spell in Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, where the combined efforts of the Galaxy Rangers and the Space Rangers defeated them once and for all. The Psycho Rangers were just some of the best villains ever introduced on that show.

But enough of Power Rangers! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but did you hear about this? Jim Varney died at the age of 50. He had succumbed to a 2-year long battle with Lung Cancer. Varney, of course, will forever be remembered as Ernest P. Worrell, the star of about a zillion TV commercials and all those Ernest Goes To… movies. Actually, in the late 80’s, he also had his own TV show, Hey Vern, It’s Ernest!, one of those Pee-wee’s Playhouse kinds of show. I’m going to miss him. He was also the voice of Slinky Dog in the Toy Story films. And who can forget Varney’s contributions to The Simpsons? He did the voice of Cooter, a carnival worker on one of the funniest episodes of that show. And, in a few episodes, the Simpsons went to see the films Ernest Needs A Kidney and Ernest Goes Someplace Cheap. Over at Ain’t It Cool News, they revealed that there are also two straight-to-video Ernest movies that have yet to be released. Ain’t It Cool News titled their article about his death “Ernest Goes To Heaven,” which seemed strangely appropriate. You know, back at college, an Ernest movie marathon was one of the ideas I had to promote my show.

In one of those weird twists of fate, the earliest conscious memory I have of a movie trailer is seeing the teaser for Ernest Goes To Camp. I was watching one of those Disney animated films at Christmas time, and the whole teaser had that Christmas theme. We saw a Christmas tree, and we hear someone humming Jingle Bells. The camera pans to a gift under the tree. We see a hand reach over and take the lid off of a gift and we see…the face of Ernest! Then, he goes into his speil: “Hey Vern! It’s your ol’ buddy Ernest, and I just wanted to tell you I’ve got my very first movie coming out soon!” He then continued on, telling us all about the film and throwing in the trademark “KnowhatImean?” Then, the teaser ends with Vern slamming the lid to the gift back on Ernest’s face, and the words appear on screen: Ernest Goes To Camp. This Spring.

I’ve got to pass along something I just read in my latest issue of “Batman: The Animated Newsletter.” Could it be that there is a lost episode of Batman: The Animated Series? To see this episode, you have to cast your minds back to 1995. Remember the Sega CD video game system? It was nothing more than a CD-ROM drive for the Sega Genesis. Anyway, for the Sega CD they released a game called The Adventures of Batman & Robin, a video game based on the Batman cartoon. What makes this game a “lost episode” is that the plot was written by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, the head writers of the Batman cartoon, and 17 minutes of original Batman animation is included! And this is good animation, at least as good as the episodes, with all the original voices from the show! It would be really neat to see.

Something else about the newsletter I feel compelled to pass along. They review the latest issue of Superman Adventures, the comic based on Superman: The Animated Series. The issue they review is #41, and the final issue for head writer Mark Millar. For his last issue, he decided to do something spectacular. So, what he did, was fill the issue with 22, 1-page long short stories! This I’ve got to see. I might pick it up next time I’m in Comic King.

And I’m just about rambled out for now! Until next time!


Game Boy Galleria

Chaos in Print

Hey all! This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I just noticed on my calendar that we are nearing the 10th anniversary of my first major purchase: my Nintendo Game Boy. I was working as a paperboy, and I had saved up my money for a good six months. Then, over Spring Break in the seventh grade, I bought it at the Woolco in Red Deer. I had an aunt who worked there, and she used her 15% employee discount to help me get a good deal. I really splurged that weekend. I bought the Game Boy, the rechargeable battery pack/wall adaptor, and the game Super Mario Land. I don’t play it that much anymore. I only do like I’ve done very recently: dig it out and play when I get really bored. So, if you don’t mind, I would like to dedicate this column to doing mini-reviews of all my Game Boy games. I’ll be using my patented Nib rating system, which is what I use for my movie reviews.

One final note: I was originally going to include scans of all the labels for my Game Boy games, but ultimately I didn’t want to fill my server space with 300k of single-use images. That, and I just got lazy.
Continue reading Game Boy Galleria

I’m A Travelin’ Man

Chaos in Print

It seems like everyone in my life has done some traveling as of late. There’s my sister, who spent the summer backpacking in Europe. There’s Streiff, who returned to his native Newfoundland by rail back in December. And then there’s Chuck, who spent New Years in New Orleans. All this time, I have been in my parents’ basement; landlocked, as it were. Like all these people, my heart yearns to travel; to boldly go where I’ve never gone before.

That’s what I’ve come to admire about a lot of anime. A common theme is that of the journey. While still very new to the anime world, a lot of what I’ve seen has involved people on quests. Not even quests, just traveling. Even something as mainstream as Pokémon. We’ve got Ash, who’s on his “pokémon journey.” What’s really unique about that show is how they travel. We don’t see Ash, Pikachu and Misty on a bus, or in a car. They are walking. They are out to savor every moment of the journey. It’s always been said that getting there is half the fun. So, what about those journeys where you don’t get anywhere? But I’m starting to stray off topic.

The fact is just about everyone I know has gone on a journey of some kind or another. So, I would like to lay out for you the definitive list of everywhere I’d like to travel:

Glendon, Alberta – What is the draw of this little tiny town? Why am I drawn to this place in the middle of nowhere? Simple. It is home to the world’s largest pyrogy on a fork. Ever since it was unveiled in the early 90’s, I’ve known I wanted to go there and see the pyrogy. Hell, if I had a little more money during these unemployed days, I’d go off on a road trip to see it. Drive all the way there, see the pyrogy, spend a night at the Pyrogy Motel, and come home the next morning. Yes, sir. The world’s largest pyrogy.

Toronto – I don’t know why, but the capital of Ontario has always had this strange pull on me. I just want to go there. If nothing, to see the view from the top of the CN Tower. I’m sure there’s more to do there, but that’s the main reason. That, and there’s Speaker’s Corner, where I could tell MuchMusic to bite my shiny metal ass in person.

New York City – Because if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. But seriously. There’s a deep-rooted reason why I want to go. This goes all the way back to high school. There was this guy I knew. 85% of the time, he made fun of me. The other 15%, he tolerated me. This happened during that 15%. He was going on about how he never wanted to go anywhere. And I said “Oh really? There’s no where you want to see?” And he said “Well, where do you want to go?” The first place that popped into my head was New York, so I blurted that out. To this, he replied “Are you nuts? Haven’t you read anything about New York? You’ll get the crap kicked out of you! You’ll get mugged! And Mark, since you are such a wuss, you’d probably get raped and killed in an alley.” That’s honestly what he said. So, I’ve got to go to New York if simply to say “Screw you!” I always wonder if he was showing genuine concern for me, or if he was projecting his own fears upon myself.

The Olympics – Being a guy who doesn’t like sports in general, you might find this one odd. But you have to admit, the Olympics is more about the experience than the sports. I’d probably want to go to a Winter Olympics, because it has more sports I tolerate (hockey, ski jump, bobsled). Who knows? If the fates smile upon our country, I may not even have to leave Canada. I’ve been reading that Toronto is one of the finalists to host the summer games in 2008, and Vancouver is one of the finalists to host the winter games in 2010.

BotCon – Oh, come on, who doesn’t want to go to the annual Transformers convention? It’s held in a different American city every year. I think this year it’s being held in the capital of Iowa.

The Gathering – Oh, come on, who doesn’t want to go the biannual Gargoyles  convention? It used to be in New York (because that’s where the show takes place), but I think this year it’s in Dallas, Texas.

The Star Wars World Tour – About the only trip I’ve put any thought into. We’d start in London, England, home to the Pinewood and Leavesden Studios. Most of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back was filmed at Pinewood, and most of Phantom Menace was filmed at Leavesden. From here, it’s up north to Norway. A glacier there doubled for Hoth. Then it’d be down south to Italy. The Naboo palace in Phantom Menace is a real palace in Italy. Farther south we’d go to Tunisia, which has always doubled for Tatooine. Time for a really long flight, as we head to Sydney, Australia. The newly opened Sydney Fox Studios is going to be the studio where most of Episode II and Episode III is to be filmed. Finally, we’d end in California, where Death Valley doubled for the Sarlac Pit, one of their nation parks was the forests of Endor, and, if possible, a trip to George Lucas’ fabled Skywalker Ranch, which is home to ILM.

Germany – Because I have relatives there, and pretty much everyone else in my family has already been.

Bungee Jumping – OK, this isn’t a trip per se. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to try, and it seemed appropriate to stick it on this list. Some day, when I have the money, I’ll head to that tower in the World Waterpark, drop my $60, and do it. I wonder if they still give you a free T-shirt.

And now, the big one:

My County By Rail – Rail travel has always had a certain mystique for me, and I’ve always wanted to see Canada, my homeland. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and I haven’t really seen that much. I’ve covered just about every square millimeter of Alberta, been as far east as Regina, and as far west as the Okanagan Valley. Everything else is unseen by my eyes. So, here’s the plan. I get a CanRail pass so I can travel by train as much as possible. Problem is, Via Rail really doesn’t cover that much of the country anymore. I can’t go through Banff, Calgary, and Regina. Newfoundland has no coverage whatsoever! So, I’d also get a Greyhound Bus Pass, and take the bus where the train doesn’t go. With transportation covered, I’d borrow my sister’s huge traveling backpack, hop on the Via in Edmonton, and just go where the road takes me.

Well, there you have it. To end, I’d like to quote the book The Lord of the Rings. Of course, it’s been a while since I’ve read it, so I’m really paraphrasing. Anyway, in it Bilbo turns to Frodo and says “The road is like a river. And every country road, city street, and pathway are its tributaries. It is very easy to get swept away.”

The Man In The Mirror

Chaos in Print

Lately, I’ve taken a few blows to my self-image, and it’s starting to make me wonder about how other people perceive me. For example, my sister still talks of her trip to Europe this past summer, and is a strong proponent of how everyone should do it. Whenever she tells me that I should do it, she always quick to point out how every hostel in Europe has Internet access. This has led me to believe that my sister perceives me as being some kind of Internet addict who will only go some place where he can plug in. Then there’s my mother. We were watching TV the other night, and one of those promos made up completely of clips from episodes of TV shows came on. My mother turned to me and said “You know, I bet that you could name every episode that those clips came from.” This led me to believe that my mother perceives me as being some kind of television addict who will watch anything that’s on, simply because it is. Another example is the postcard the L sent me from New Orleans. See, the New Orleans custom at street parties is that if you give a young woman some beads, she is to expose her breasts. This custom came as a complete shock to L, and on her postcard she wrote of the multitudes of exposed breasts she saw. She ended it with the simple words “Wish you could have been there (tee hee).” So, this has led me to believe that L perceives me as being some kind of sex-obsessed pervert. But the biggest blow came just the other day.

MuchMusic recently announced the winners of the VJ Search. And, as my spider-sense predicted, I was not among them. It was no surprise that I wasn’t selected, but it hurt nonetheless. I mean, did you see who did win? There was some guy standing there naked screaming about how much he wanted to do it, and some woman standing in a record store droning on in a monotone about how much she new about reggae. I was way more creative than that. Who else showed off their interviewing skills by doing a hard-hitting interview with the Decepticon warrior Cyclonus? Who else showed off their superior public speaking skills by preaching on a soapbox to an empty street? Who else showed off their impressive collection of Star Wars action figures? Only me. But a monotone voice talking about reggae is right up their alley. This once again reminded me of my tempestuous relationship with MuchMusic. No matter how many times I’ve written, e-mailed, and attempted to call that 1-800 number, my requests for “Weird Al” Yankovic are continuously rebuffed. It as though the heads of MuchMusic convened long ago and said “OK, this guy, Mark Cappis? He is a geek. And since we are the committee that decides what is cool and what is not, he is not.”

What is it about me that gives off these uncool vibes? Why am I perceived to be some kind of troll unfit to be paraded on even the slimiest of sideshows? When did I move from becoming the knight in shining armor to the hideous ogre that must be slain? Let’s look exactly at why MuchMusic would not have chosen me.

Number one: the lack of Spice Girls/Backstreet Boys good looks. I’m about ten pounds overweight, dark haired, dark eyed, and wear glasses. Not TV friendly. Number two: my style tends to revolve around shirts with trendy logos and faces of celebrities. I tend to gravitate towards T-shirts with the emblem of Superman, the visage of Darth Maul, and the cartoon likenesses of Pinky and the Brain. Number three: eclectic musical tastes. I own CDs of pop, rock, country, alternative, classical, and stuff that defies categorization. So I can’t be pinned down as the “the rock guy” or “the reggae guy.” Number four: I use the computer too much. So what if I got through college by doing the majority of my research on the Internet rather than in the library? Yup, let’s face it, I’m a geek. Who in their right mind would put me on the air? How about the station manager at my college radio station, where I had the #1 show for 4 years running?

What is it about the geek image that the general public finds so unattractive? Well, let’s look at famous geeks. There’s Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and John Lasetter. They are all leaders in their field and world renowned, but they’ll never be mistaken for the Backstreet Boys. Then there’s Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who have transcended the geek image to become two of the most powerful men in the universe. So would I rather be among this company, or that of Rachel Perry, Rick Campanelli, and Ed the Sock? I think the answer is clear.

The way I see it, I could be on TV raving about the latest one hit wonder, or I can continue adding to my collection of an artist who has continuously put out for the last 17 years: “Weird Al” Yankovic. I can continue listening to The Tractors, John Williams, Smash Mouth, and Aqua, or be subjected to the latest promotional album from Boy Group #127. I could jet all over the world, hobnobbing with celebrities, or I could continue to indulge in the delights of the city of Edmonton. I could wear logos that mean something, continue telling people to watch the film The Iron Giant, and debate the deeper meanings of Ranma 1/2, or I could scratch my head and ask “What the hell is Ranma 1/2?” I could be me, I could be the personification of a big business shill. But the sad thing is, they don’t put me on TV.

The only geeks we’ve ever seen on TV are Saved By The Bell‘s Screech and Steve Urkel. Geeks can be cool! Hell, I am cool! Coolness is not so much as what MuchMusic says but a state of mind. And someday, the entire TV industry is going to wake up to that. But until that day, I will continue being me. So what if my sister thinks I’m an Internet addict? She’s thankful for the personalized tech support. So what if my mom thinks I’m a TV addict? One can learn quite a bit from the Discovery Channel. So what is some view me as a sex-obsessed pervert? I’m a virgin! I tend to view a sex-obsession as optimism. And MuchMusic can bite my shiny metal ass.