Monday, February 27, 2006

The Future Ends Here (Shop, that is)

Among other things that have happened this week, I've quit my second job at the electronics store. It still feels kind of weird but I'm pretty sure it was for the best. I wasn't making much money there, nor was I getting the kind of hours that would make it worth my while to stick with it for the long-term.

I'll be looking for something new soon, possibly in another province. I'm hoping that I can make some upward movement career-wise and my wife is looking to take similar steps in her field. At the moment, she's working on some contract work she picked up through some of her professors, but that'll end soon and we need to start thinking more long-term than we have been.

I guess in a funny way, this week saw the end of one Future (Shop), and the beginning of another (ours). Cheesy to say, I know, but it's kind of the truth.


Friday, February 24, 2006

No Comments

I think I have to go check my settings because I'm having some trouble with the comments on the ol' blog. It looks like my These Girls post from a couple of weeks ago got a comment and the only way I knew about it was through my e-mail notification. For whatever reason, it doesn't look like it's showing up in the little (0)comments section in the bottom right hand corner of the post.

The only reason I dedicate an entire post to this topic is because John Hazlett was the comment poster in question whose comments almost went unseen. John, as you may or may not know, is the director and screenwriter for the upcoming These Girls based on the 'humourously edgy' play of the same name by Vivienne Laxdal (see, I managed to get her name in that time) and starring David Boreanaz (Angel), Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls), Amanda Walsh and Holly Lewis.

Okay, now I think I've made up for not mentioning everybody's names last time due to laziness, misspelling Caroline's name and the shameless plugs are out of the way.

Anyway, the main thrust of John's comment was to draw my attention to his These Girls blog which I've also linked to on the sidebar (for when this post eventually scrolls away into the e-ther) and it's worth checking out for the soundtrack links if nothing else.

I have to get ready for work now, so I'm going to fly. Click the links and enjoy.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dancing on the Ceiling

I've just spent the last few days offline with my living room empty and my in-laws over to work on some ceiling repairs. A couple of years ago, we redid a lot of the electrical wiring in the house, updating it to something more modern than what we found when we moved in. One of the results of tearing around inside the upstairs floors was some damage to the ceiling downstairs. My father-in-law, forgetting his own advice, stepped off one of the crossbeams leaving a big crack across the ceiling downstairs which we have tried, on several occasions to fix. Never with any success.

So, we pretty much redid the whole shebang this week which has left my house terminally dusty and my living room emptied of anything fun or overly comfortable.

On the plus side, we're pretty much done the reno and my wife and I can now redo our living room setup and paint the walls like we've been meaning to do for some time now. And pointless as this story may have seemed, the gist of it is that I had my computer unplugged and stashed away, but now it's hooked up again and I'm back online.

Now, I'm going to go finish watching Voyager and maybe toss in some Drawn Together special features before bed.



Monday, February 20, 2006

My Faith in Frankie

Just got back from the library and just finished reading one of the books I took out, My Faith in Frankie. I missed this series when it was released in serilaised form but I'd heard really good things about it and was thrilled when I stumbled across it on the rack. I started in on it almost immediately after getting in the house and didn't really stop for much until I was finished with it.

I've enjoyed Mike Carey's work on Lucifer and Hellblazer, but seeing as how Frankie is a totally different bag I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm pleased to say that Mike delivered a strong (if not occasionally predictable) theological romantic comedy that reminded me of some of my favourite J.M. DeMatteis stuff. The artist, Sinny Liew, is totally new to me but he did a great job with Marc Hempel at making these characters likeable, loveable and worth looking at page after page.

The only downside was that the book was not in colour, but grey tones. I think I may go and pick up the individual issues when I can to see the whole thing the way it originally appeared.

I'm going to go read Palomar, now. Or maybe Summer Blonde. I think I have some interesting reading ahead of me.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Stellar Band

Just a short post as I am off to work as soon as my clothes are suitably dry, but I wanted to point out that I have picked up on another band that I'd never heard of until very recently called Helen Stellar. They're a little three piece out of Chicago and based out of LA and they make some really fine noise. They were recently featured in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown and can be found on the soundtrack of said film, and you can find out more about these guys if you click through to their website here. I've also added them to the sidebar amongst the soundtrack links, so if you wanna find them there you can find them there as well.

Anyway, I'm already late and I gotta check my laundry, so I'll see you around.


Script Disapproval

I'm kind of all spinny in my head about this script idea I have. I may have mentioned it before in an earlier post. The story is tentatively titled, Smitten, and it's kind of a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tried to find girl but girl is nowhere to be found sort of script. It's loosely based on an experience I had a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away and I thought that I wuld be able to accomplish it as a no muss, no fuss short film, no longer than 20 minutes kind of effort. After several conversations with friends and my significant other, not to mention some time spent reading Linda Aronson's Screenwriting Updated, the thing has ballooned into something much bigger than I originally intended, and I'm not so sure that's a good thing.

As a result of the aforementioned factors things have gotten a bit more complicated for my characters (well, maybe just the main character) structurally and I have the feeling that the whole point of the story - the whole innocent, squishy, sentimental core of it - has gotten lost somewhere in the details.

I can't say that I'm not enjoying the exercise. To be perfectly honest, it's kind of neat to see something you thought you were doing turn into something else, but I've been told that I'm falling victim to formula and cliché, which in any galaxy is a level of suck I don't want to achieve. My wife is telling me that I'm not putting enough of myself into the story or the characters and, while I don't know if I agree with that sentiment, it's certainly something I need to think about more. I mean, ultimately, if I don't convey the emotional hook of the story, if you don't care about this guy's emotional 'journey', I've failed.

Urgh. It makes me want to just forget about it all for a while and shoot the two scripts I have sitting on my bookshelf. Ahh, if life were so simple.

Anyway, it's late and I have to be up in 4 hours, so I'm going to put my anxiety attack on hold for a while.



Friday, February 17, 2006

Joss Whedon Podcast

I just ran into this interesting bit of fun while trolling on the Millarworld Forums. It's a pretty decent little podcast of a Marvel press conference regarding the Astonishing X-Men picking up again where it left off a few months ago. It's a round robin of press and Joss doing the ol' Q&A with Joss being amusing, as he is prone to being when publicly speaking.

I have to admit listening to Whedon interviews is a mixed bag for me. It sort of brings out the 'bitter boy', to a certain degree, seeing as I've been this close to interviewing him on about three or four occasions. I actually had a confirmation on one when I began the odyssey that is my Buffy Post Mortem, but he backed out at the last minute. My man in the know at Dark Horse has tried to nab Joss every time I've asked since Fray hit the stands, I think, so kudos to you, Lee. You're a prince among men.

But, yeah, as much as I enjoy them, I get a little cranky around them. Joss has sort of turned into my white whale, as far as the interview world goes. The quest never ends, but you can be damned sure it has a way of discouraging a guy.

I'm rambling, now. It's a cool listen clocking in around 30 minutes, or so. Go check it out if you like Joss or the X-Men.



Thursday, February 16, 2006

Seth Fisher R.I.P.

I just received an e-mail from Seth Fisher's wife, Hisako, informing me of his death on January 30th, 2006. I am...flabbergasted, to say the least. I was corresponding with Seth all through December as we finished up our last interview together and I never saw any of the news that's been circulating since that time. I'm not sure what to say about it. I'm still trying to put together my thoughts for my reply to Hisako.

Seth was probably one of NorthAm's greatest visual stylists and storytellers and he, as well as his work, will be missed. I know I will miss our semi-annual interview exchanges.

Lacking anything more sage to say, I'm just going to post links to our three interviews, the last of which is probably the last interview Seth ever did.

I'll likely post on this again when it's light out.

I'm so bummed out right now.

Silver Bullet Comicbooks Interview #1

Silver Bullet Comicbooks Interview #2

Meanwhile... 2005 Interview


Monday, February 13, 2006

Dead Monkey

I honestly had to wait 24 hours before posting this due to my intense disappointment with the TV industry and the almost uncontrollable urge to just break down and cry.

CBS seems to be taking a cue from FOX now as they've cancelled their absolutely wonderful new show, Love Monkey. This show was part Jerry Maguire, part High Fidelity and part Sex in the City (only with men instead of women). It was, in my opinion, one of the best shows to hit the airwaves in some time, and definitely one of the most male-friendly pieces of entertainment on any network. But after three episodes (out of an order of 8), CBS has put the show on hiatus with no real intention of bringing it back.


Kitchen Confidential goes before I can even catch it on TV, Love Monkey dead on arrival and Arrested Development airs its last episode this past week. A sad day for TV fans.

Maybe they should come up with another Law & Order.


Friday, February 10, 2006

These Girls

I've been waiting to see the wonderful Caroline Dhavernas in something else since I watched Wonderfalls and it looks like I will finally get my chance - and with David Boreanaz, to boot!

There's a new film coming out in March called These Girls, directed by John Hazlett based on a play (the name of the playwrite escapes me at the moment) and starring Dhavernas, some Much Music VJ and another girl whose name I also can't remember unless I go back to the site (located here). If you get a chance, pop over and check out the trailer. It looks like it could be a fun little romp at the cinemas this spring.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wrapping Up the Deep Space Season

I'm happy to say that we are now down to the final three episodes of Season One. They don't exactly get off to a great start but they end off very strong. In fact, they cap off the season with one of the best episodes out of the 19. But before we get to In the Hands of the Prophets, we must begin with...

Dramatis Personae (1x18): Another 'concept' episode not entirely dissimilar to other episodes we've seen this season - specifically in shows like The Passenger.

The crux of the story is that the telepathic history of a dead civilisation takes hold of the crew of DS9 as they attempt to replay the power struggle that brought their culture to an end. Everyone starts to behave strangely and a rift begins to form between the Bajoran and Federation personnel as people take sides - Sisko or Kira being the two options.

Very little happens in this episode, which I think is supposed to spotlight Odo, yet again, but the usual character moments that are present in some of the worst episodes of season one are totally absent here. I have to say that I was utterly bored watching this one and cannot remember any redeeming features to it at all. I guess that makes it, perhaps, the worst episode of the season. At least previous stinkers had a moment or two that caught my attention, or at least had me actively disliking it. Dramatis Personae engendered nothing but complete apathy from me.

Duet (1x19): Duet came at a funny time where I, quite literally, was watching Clear and Present Danger special features (which included interviews with Harris Yulin and other members of the cast) when I switched to watching DS9 and this episode, also featuring Harris Yulin in a great performance as a Cardassian who is being held on suspicion of being a war criminal.

Yulin brings a weight to the episode that really helps push this one beyond your standard 'who are you...really?' episodes that you usually see. The scenes he plays with nana Visitor in the detantion area are wonderful to watch. The transformation from bewildered file clerk to mass murderer was all accomplished through the dialogue between the two characters and Yulin gives the words all the emotional resonance they need. He never goes too far, or gives too little. The guys a real pro and I think he brought out the best in Visitor who often just stands around furrowing her brow and bouncing on her heels.

I shouldn't give all the credit to Yulin for this episode since it was very nicely written by Peter Allan Fields from a story by Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci. I was missing the Cardassians (my favourite nemeses in any Star Trek series) and these guys gave me exactly what I was looking for with the wordplay, doublespeak and manipulations that are part of the Cardassian character and what, in my mind, makes them so interesting.

The ending of the episode, which I don't want to give away, was also very well handled providing for some nice character moments between Visitor and Yulin and giving viewers what has become a signature DS9 ending (at least in the good episodes) with not all of the characters coming out unscathed physically or emotionally. It's good stuff.

In the Hands of the Prophets (1x20): The season ends with 'one of the great ones' which features, not only a compelling story, but the return of the amazing Louise (Nurse Ratchet) Fletcher as Vedek Winn - one of the few actors around, I think, who could have really pulled off this character the way it needed to be played.

When Bajoran religious beliefs come into conflict with the Federation's areligious approach to education, Vedek Winn begins a crusade to either include Bajoran spiritual teachings in Mrs. O'brien's school or to seperate the children altogether. This creates a debate amongst our main cast as to what approach is the correct approach with Kira and Sisko butting heads once again, and Keiko showing how truly closed-minded and annoying she can be. I guess she's supposed to represent the Federation right while Kira takes the Bajoran spiritual left and Sisko tried to stay a moderate and believes there's room for all philosophies on the station.

They could have easily botched this episode by becoming too heavy handed and preachy but writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe doesn't forget where the truly interesting moments lie. Sisko has a conversation with Winn in the Bajoran temple on DS9 and is somewhat uncomfortable with being referred to as Emissary, sparking a wonderful exchange between the two which lays the groundwork for the rest of the episode and many more to come. Sisko also has a great scene with his son, Jake, in their quarters where he convinces him that if they treat the Bajoran's as radicals then they are just as bad as people like Winn. It was a nice subtle little scene that paid off for me far more than the 'explosive' finale.

A great episode and, from what I've seen of Season Two so far, the beginning of a direction for the series that I'm looking forward to exploring.

So, there you have it. The end of Season One, at last. Overall, it was a pretty balanced set of episodes with a handful of stinkers in the middle but enough exceptional material to really assert themselves as one of the better Trek shows, if not the best. I would argue that DS9's first season was probably the strongest of any of the five series and still stands up to scrutiny after 10 years of sitting on the shelf (try looking back at TNG season one and you'll know what I'm talking about). Considering the producers as much as admitted that they were flying by the seat of their pants for much of the season, I have to give them credit where credit is due. It could have been a rough ride but it wasn't.

Onward and Upward!


Superman Returns to DVD

I just caught this release from DVD Times. The announcement that there will be a 14-disc DVD release of the 4 Superman films (along with a re-release of Supergirl) is great news in some respects, and crappy news in others.

The good news is what the set will include, and the support that Warner is finally showing this series - particularly Superman II by including the original restored Donner Cut. The set will feature the first three movies in 3-disc Special Editions, the fourth in a 2-disc SE and Supergirl as a 3-disc SE. Like the absolutely amazing Alien Quadrilogy from Fox or the Matrix Ultimate Collection, extended editions and theatrical cuts make up the first two discs with a third special features disc to round out each installment of the series. The aforementioned Superman II Donner Cut has never been seen previously, and the extended cuts of III and IV have not been seen since they first aired on television, so their inclusion is a welcome one. I, for one, am quite curious to see whether or not an extra 30 minutes will improve the dismal IV.

Still, I can't help but think that for those of us who have bought some of this material in the past we will be seeing a lot of what we already own. Warner may yet surprise me (as FOX did with the Quadrilogy) but I'm not sure what could be added to Supergirl that isn't on the wonderful Anchor Bay Collector's Edition and what new features they could conjure up for Superman.

There's some commentary and an interview with Donner over at AICN which I'm going to head over to read. It may address some of the concerns I have about the set, or it may just be an entertaining interview with Richard Donner. Either way, I'm probably going to be pleased by the end result.

I'm going to fly. I'd be curious to hear thoughts on the set so feel free to comment.



Monday, February 06, 2006

It Was Bound To Happen Sometime

I found this on Shoutwire. It's frickin' poetry, I tell you.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Return to Deep Space

It has been a while since I've posted any of my thoughts on Deep Space Nine so, since I have recently picked up where I left off with the series, I decided it was time to resurrect the ol' Deep Space Thoughts posts. I hope this doesn't cause you all to flee in panic.

One of the benefits of starting to watch the show again is that I have now, officially, completed the first season. I have seen many of the show's episodes before, and came very close to getting the whole whack of them in on my last pass over with my buddy Brad's VHS copies but, until now, I haven't seen all 19 episodes in order and in a row. In the Hands of the Prophets ended shortly before I started typing this, and I think the next episode on the list to post on is 1x16, so here goes...

If Wishes Were Horses (1x16): Probably one of the worst episodes of Season 1, but not as bad as I was previously led to believe - or perhaps I'm just feeling overly generous given my long absence.

The story revolves around the fantasies of the crew becoming reality while they deal with the added trouble of a plasma field which threatens to destroy the station. As it turns out, the fantasies are, in reality, explorers that have recently travelled through the wormhole and are observing us and learning about us. The crew also learns that the plasma field was a figment of their imaginations turned real, and when they realise this, it disappears.

Pretty pedestrian plot that feels like something we've pretty much seen before in the Star Trek universe. Perhaps a recycled TNG episode? If I recall correctly, the DS9 companion that I had for a while stated that this was not one of the producer's favourite episodes either, nor one of the cast's.

Overall, a less than inspired episode that, while not entirely without entertainment value, fails on enough counts to make me want to breeze on to the next episode in line.

The Forsaken (1x17): After last episodes hiccup of quality we return to the good stuff with The Forsaken.

The A plot, as it were, is a standard Maguffin story featuring a strange probe that comes through the wormhole. While the DS9 folks try to download the data from the probe, it manages to somehow get into the stations computers and wreaks havoc with them. The rest of the character stories in the episode, however, are what make this one so entertaining - particularly Odo's.

I've never been a fan of Lwaxana Troi and I was worried when she came on with love eyes for Odo. When a guest character you dislike gets on your show to attempt to romance a characetr you find interesting, it usually amounts to a lot of eye rolling and getting up for snacks whenever they have scenes together. In The Forsaken the writers manage to push past the tired old clichés and use the opportunity to advance Odo's character and add hidden depth to Lwaxana, as well. Instead of being the show's resident comic relief, she ends up as one of the most sympathetic characetrs on the show. I'd almost say I'm looking forward to her return.

And while I won't get into details, I should also mention that Bashir's subplot was equally entertaining, despite its rocky start.

A nice episode overall.

Three more to go before season's end. I'll get to those in another post.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Stars Not Shining for Me

I just found out today that the Stars show that I have been planning to go to for a month has been sold out for a week. Money has been a bit tight lately and I was forced to wait until now to actually try and buy my ticket, even though I've been tempted on many occasions to just grab one anyway and damn the consequences. Anyway, my brother just told me that they're sold out so I'm pretty depressed that I'm not going.

My luck just doesn't seem to be working for me these days. I also just found out today that I have to go in for work at SuperStore tomorrow for 7 in the morning, which just sucks ass in unbelievable quantities.


I may post later.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

W For Wachowski

I'd heard rumours to this effect, but Rolling Stone pretty much has as complete a story as you're going to get on the eccentric filmmakers, and Larry in particular.

I skipped through a bunch of the middle stuff because, really, the LA dom world doesn't interest me that much, but the stuff on Larry and his equally reclusive brother was decent.

As funky and washed out as I find these guys to be, I'm still pretty jazzed about seeing V For Vendetta in theatres this March. I recently read a Vanity Fair article at work that discussed the film (among other things) and it renewed my interest which had pretty much waned since first hearing about the project some time ago.

Let's hope it's as good as people are saying.