Month: September 2004

TiVo…we have guide data

Last night, after fooling with my TiVo for almost two weeks, I managed to get the guide data working thanks to the fine folks at TiVo Canada. This morning, after waiting the required 8 hours for the TiVo to index all the data it got in overnight, I have a fully functional, completely guided TiVo for the first time ever. I set up season passes based on shows I like, and I even created a wishlist to search for my favourite episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Once more…with feeling).

I gave it a thumbs up when the 90’s show was on Much Music, and a thumbs down to the Tony Danza show. Now we’ll get to see what the full power of the TiVo is all about. If I loved it before when it was a crippled digital VCR, I can’t wait to find out how it works as a fully functional unit!

Brains…we want brains…

This week was a personal record for me. I saw two zombie related movies in the theatre in the same week. On Tuesday, Jeff, Larry, and I went and saw Resident Evil: Apocalypse (though it should have been called “Resident Evil: Nemesis”), a decent enough adaptation of the video game, and probably the first movie that the three of us have seen together which wasn’t “groan worthy”, we’ve seen some stinkers.

Milla Jovovich was excellent in the role of Alice, and Sienna Guillory was decent as Jill Valentine. Of course many of the performances were over the top campy, but it was all in good fun, and we knew going in that the film wouldn’t be “good” in the classic sense of the word.

On Friday night Char and I went with Jeff and Tiffany to see “Shaun of the Dead”, which is described as “A romantic comedy…with zombies”.

It was hilarious, and filled with a ton of homages to classic zombie films like Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead (We’re coming to get you Barbara), and even Reservoir Dogs (with a tragic, yet funny Mexican standoff).

I got to spend the rest of the weekend portraying the role of a zombie myself. I’ve got a head-chest cold (my first one in over a year), which has just kicked my butt, between all the sleeping, I get up to moan and make hoarking sounds as I try to get the crap out of my chest. Good times.

I find it interesting that horror films in general, and zombies in particular are part of the zeitgeist of the moment. It has a lot to do with the general environment of fear that our governments are perpetrating, where your next door neighbour could be a terrorist, and where even your family could be suspect. Zombies are the ultimate betrayal, our own bodies rebelling against us, and the slow, inexorable creeping doom of an army of zombies slowly stalking down a road is a perfect example of the nihilism in the media, and how we as a society feel we’re all doomed.

Plus, zombies are friggin’ cool. Now please excuse me, I do believe my brain is dribbling down my chin…grossest…cold…ever.

High flying contortions

So I waited a little while before posting my thoughts on the Cirque du Soleil (which Charlene and I saw on Friday night). In short, I loved it.

My big regret from when Char and I went to Vegas, was that we didn’t get to see Cirque’s “O” at the Bellagio (although we did see Blue Man Group instead when we found out that tickets to see O were sold out for six weeks in advance!!!), but having never seen a Cirque performance, I wasn’t devastated or anything, I mean would a person who had never had peanut butter miss it if it vanished from the earth?

After seeing Allegria on Friday night though, I would LOVE to see their other shows. While Allegria was interesting, the other touring shows look as good or better, particularly Drallion, which is a fusion of Chinese circus and Cirque performances.

I loved it so much that I wrote about it in this week’s “Tales from the Darkside” column, entitled “Cirque du WWE“.

Props out to my wizzle for bizzling the tizzles! (for those of you who aren’t down with that kind of stuff, I said “Thanks to my wife for buying the tickets”…now go buy yourself some baggy pants, a backwards, fitted New York Yankees hat, and hang your head in shame).

Let the wookie win!

I picked up my copy of the Star Wars trilogy on DVD today on my way into work (right after my doctor’s appointment where I found out I’m healthier than an ox, with a Cholesterol level of merely 4.8, and a bad cholesterol level of only 2.6 (5.2 total, and 3-4 bad is traditionally “bad”). The DVD’s are excellent with amazing colour and clarity.

I really wanted them in order to see the special fourth disc which has a ton of special features, including an awesome 2 hour documentary on the making of the first three movies, and a really cool piece on next year’s “Revenge of the Sith”, all about the return of Darth Vader. There’s footage of Anakin getting all dolled up in Vader’s gear, and it looks awesome.

I really enjoyed the stuff on the lightsabres, apparently in the first movie they were created by having a spinning blade wrapped with reflective tape in the hilt of the blade, which reflected the light. In the scene on the Milennium Falcon with Luke and the target droid you can really see what it looks like.

I’m pretty happy with the purchase, definately a good buy.

Hotter than lava in your lap

I got in to work early, did some work, had my computer crash, as it’s rebooting, I decide “Hey, I’ll go over to Starbucks, and since the boss is out of the office, I’ll steal his spot when I get back.”. I buy my Grande Starbucks Maccalattachattabattanattafoofoo, put it in my coffee holder, go back to work. Park in my boss’ (sweet assed) spot, grab coffee, open door…when disaster strikes!

The coffee cup hits the steering wheel. The adult sippecup that holds the coffee luckily retains it’s structural integrity, but a fine ooze of hot Starbucks goodness strikes directly on my PENIS! I blurt a quick obscenity as I grab the offending scalding hot beverage, when a level five tropical storm style disaster strikes. The cup buckles as I grab it, and the lid pops off in my lap. Now rather than a trickle of scalding hotter than the sun Starbucks goodness on my penis, there’s a TORRENT OF HOT BLOODY COFFEE ON MY D!!! I leap out of the car at maximum speed (causing a small sonic boom to go off), knock my cell phone half way across the parking lot, and grab at my now burning hot pants to get them away from my skin. The thought of tearing my pants off my body goes through my head, but luckily it cools quickly.

However, I was covered from the waist down in coffee. Not my normal “grande mild blend black please”, oh no, this had to be my “let’s treat myself to a grande strong blend with two packets of sugar and some cream”, the kind of coffee that stinks to high heaven.

So I had to go home like a three year old, wash my pants, shout the crap out of my car seat, and let my car air dry because there was no way I was sitting on that seat again.

Ahh well, at least I’ve got my health…but I think I’m getting sick.

Cirque tonight

Charlene and I have tickets to go see Cirque Du Soleil tonight. The show should be really good, so I’m looking forward to that.

I finally decided on a name for the upcoming TSN.ca redesign project. For so long I’ve just been calling it “CSS”, but today I named it officially. I present you with the brand new project: TSN.ca 1997. The name comes from something I’m always saying “Let’s get out of 1997”, meaning that something is an old way of doing things. Since this project is all about bringing the site into the new millenium and getting rid of tons of old code, I’m calling it 1997 since I will have to retire that saying after this project.

In some sad news, David C. Sutherland III, has terminal cancer, and is auctioning off tons of his stuff to pay for his bills, and supplement his estate. I haven’t played D&D since high school, but this is a worthy cause.

Weekend catch-ups

Okay, I need to catch up on two weekends here right quick.

Last weekend (September 4th, 5th), Charlene and I went up to Collingwood and spent Sunday at Blue Mountain. It’s amazing what they’ve done up there with the new layout and the new village, it’s pretty nice. Afterwards we headed over to this little waterfall which was absolutely gorgeous, smack dab in the middle of nowhere. You’re walking through a little wooded area, and suddenly it all drops off into this massive gorge, and there’s a great little waterfall.

This past weekend we went looking for furniture, appliances, and all of that good stuff. It was busy, but not packed with things. We are currently making a “wish list” of things we need, and breaking it all down by priority.

I also visited with Kevin from Paradise Comics and Paradise Conventions, talking about re-doing their websites (both Paradise Comics website and the Toronto Comicon website), using the new HeadsDown Content Managment tool (which should launch formally next weekend).

Why the comics industry will one day implode upon itself…

…And why I won’t give a damn.

I just read an article from AP on Identity Crisis, “DC Comics Series Remade As a Tragedy“, the 7 issue mini-series from DC Comics which is shaking the comic universe to its very core.

First off, Identity Crisis is an amazing read. It’s doing one of the things that a story is supposed to do, showing characters we are familiar with in a whole new light. There’s a whole strolling of a “League within a League”, where some heroes are willing to do the darker, dirtier work in order to get the job done. It’s kind of like a Navy Seals within the Navy organization. The story has made a few heroes even more human, many of them heroes who have never been shown as untarnished. Hawkman and Green Arrow for example have forever been at odds, now a new explanation for some of their tensions has been put forth.

What irritates me is this line from the article: “Some comics fans are livid over the story. Morales said he has heard rumors about editors punching walls after reading the “Identity Crisis” script and other writers and artists who have threatened never to work with DC again, although few have come out publicly.

DiDio said most internal comics people who are angry are waiting until the end of the series to cast judgment.

Give me a break. First of all, if you’re so mad about a story that you’re punching walls, get over yourself and check into friggin’ reality. Second of all, if you’re willing to put your livelihood in jeopardy just because an imaginary tale upsets your little fanboy sensibilities, you really need to get into a new profession…Try knitting, it’s catching on.

Damn, DC puts out one of the finest stories of the last 20 years which actually has some lasting repercussions, and some friggin’ amazing story telling, and people are so upset they’re punching walls.

Somebody cash a reality cheque quick!

Star Wars on DVD

As everyone and their brother knows, the original Star Wars trilogy will be released on September 21st. The discs look totally packed, and the fourth disc is of most interest to anyone I know.

Of course as with every time he releases these films, George Lucas had to change more stuff.

Episode IV: A New Hope. Only subtle changes here. The cantina shootout between Han Solo and the green-snouted bounty hunter Greedo is virtually identical, but now it seems their guns fire almost simultaneously. Lucas had changed the original for the 1997 rerelease because it seemed that Han had fired first. Also, Jabba the Hutt has gotten a makeover and looks more realistic in his scene with Han than when it was added in 1997.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The Emperor, whose face is seen in a hologram broadcast, goes uncredited, but he sounds and looks like Ian McDiarmid, who played the Emperor in Return of the Jedi and Senator Palpatine in Episodes I and II. (Clive Revill is listed as the Emperor in the Empire credits.)

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker in Episode II: Attack of the Clones and in the upcoming Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, now appears at the end of Jedi as Anakin’s spirit. He replaces Sebastian Shaw, whose face you still see when Luke Skywalker removes the iconic black Darth Vader mask. (In all three films, David Prowse wore the Vader suit, and James Earl Jones provided the voice.)

The thing I’m most looking forward to though is the bonus disc which will have a preview of the upcoming final chapter in the Star Wars Sextology; Revenge of the Sith. The disc will also include;

Episode III Behind the Scenes Preview: The Return of Darth Vader: Finally, Star Wars: Episode III will reveal just how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, the most iconic villain in film history. In this exclusive preview, George Lucas discusses Anakin’s descent, with a first look at the new Vader costume forged for Episode III. Also, experience how Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor have prepared for the epic lightsaber battle that has been anticipated for more than two decades: the climactic showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Birth of the Lightsaber: Its unforgettable hum and scintillating glow are instantly recognizable around the world. Now, viewers will discover the origins of this elegant weapon from a more civilized age in this documentary devoted to the lightsaber.

The Characters of Star Wars: An in-depth look at how favorite characters came to be, featuring rare concept art, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with George Lucas and the cast and crew who shaped the screen’s favorite heroes.

The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars: Star Wars opened up a galaxy of possibilities to a generation of filmmakers and creative talents. Hear from some of the most notable filmmakers of our time about how influential the Star Wars movies have been to their lives.

Star Wars Battlefront Trailer and Playable Demo: The fourth disc will offer a trailer featuring an exciting look at the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront video game from LucasArts, along with a special demo for Xbox users that lets players fight the Battle of Endor as a Rebel or Imperial soldier and drive AT-STs, ride speeder bikes and use different weapons to lead their side to victory. The full version of Star Wars Battlefront will also be released Sept. 21 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC.

Star Wars: Episode III Making the Game Preview: Video-game players will be able to experience the stunning Jedi action of Episode III themselves in the new Star Wars: Episode III game, due out in Spring 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This special feature shows how game developers at LucasArts worked behind-the-scenes and on the set to create the most authentic Jedi experience ever.

Original Trailers and TV Spots: The original theatrical teaser, launch and re-release trailers for each film, plus TV spots, are featured on the DVD.

Never-Before-Seen Production Gallery: Delve into an unseen corners of the Lucasfilm Archives with exclusive photos from the making of the trilogy, with hundreds of rare behind-the-scene images.

Posters and Print Campaigns: The original releases of the Star Wars films came at a time when international campaigns produced a wealth of intriguing, alternative poster art. Explore a collection of theatrical posters from around the world.

Exclusive DVD-ROM Content: The Star Wars Trilogy DVDs are keys that unlock exclusive content available only through a special DVD-ROM website.

Atari to hit gamers with a blast from the past

Thanks to Erz, who’s manning the wire for sending this one off;

Atari wants to take you back in time, and to get there, you can ride a “Centipede” or an “Asteroid,” or bounce back and forth between the pixilated paddles of “Pong.”

The video game company told The Associated Press on Tuesday it plans to reissue scores of its classic titles from yesteryear on a single disc that can be played on the game consoles Xbox and PlayStation 2.

“Atari Anthology” will feature 85 games and is scheduled to go on sale in November at a cost of about $20.

But it’s only one of the nostalgia projects Atari will push into the market then. The second is Atari Flashback, a slightly miniaturized version of the old Atari 7800 from the mid-’80s. It will have 20 games built into it, including “Breakout,” “Solaris,” “Crystal Castles” and “Battlezone.”

Flashback will sell for $45 and include a pair of old-school joysticks.