Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don't F@&! With Alex Trebeck

I can remember being four years old and sitting at the TV with my dad while he watched Jeopardy and got almost all of the questions answers correct. I often wondered what it would be like if he were to ever go on the show but thankfully TV provided the answer for me.

Anyway, one thing associated with Jeopardy, aside from the music during the Final Jeopardy segment, was it's host Alex Trebek. Always there with that 'stache of his till about ten years ago, I thought that he was...well, just a little...bland. Never really did anything exciting, not that it was expected of him, however I think the show would have had better ratings if he acted more like he did when filming this commercial. Imagine someone screwing up the Daily Double and Alex tells you the correct response before muttering, "Dumb bastard." That's a great way to get big ratings without using creepy Ken Jennings.
Not gonna lie, Ken. Mormons freak the hell out of me

Well forget all I said in the last paragraph because according to the news, you don't wanna fuck with Alex Trebek...especially when you try to steal from him. Yeah, the dude is 71, his hair is pretty white, not a spring chicken. Still, I'm willing to risk anything to say that Alex Trebek would have kicked this woman's ass! I mean, shit, she's lucky that the dude wasn't even five years younger, he probably could have done some serious damage.

Picture it, it's late, everyone's either sleeping and out partying. You're sneaking through Trebek's apartment, stealing his tailor-made suits, cutting holes in his briefs, thinking how you've dealt him the biggest bruise to his ego since Sean Connery when all of a sudden the door bursts open. There's Trebek, anger in his eyes and vengeance in his words.

"The category is 'Your Life'," he says in the familiar voice that you can recognize almost anywhere. "The answer is: 'A broken arm, a ruptured spleen, several missing teeth, broken ribs and Alex Trebek's shoe stuck firmly in your ass."

While Trebek speaks, all that's going through your mind (Aside from his words) is whether or not Trebek will mind that you've just ruined the floor in the room by pissing your pants all over it. You stumble to explain yourself and beg for mercy but you're cut off.

"The correct response is, 'What injuries will Alex Trebek inflict on me in the next thirty seconds?'"

And then your world goes dark.

Still, even though that's not what happened, this woman is lucky that she got out of this with her life. Trebek could have just run away like a little girl and called for security but instead, he took matters into his own hands. Probably didn't turn out the way he had hoped but the woman was arrested, likely to face prison time and most likely spending the rest of her life thanking God that she was spared the wrath of Alex Trebek.
"Tell that punk Sajak he's next if he doesn't watch his step."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shocker! Amy Winehouse is Dead!!!

A little over a year ago I wrote a piece about former teen actress and current waste of space, Lindsay Lohan. She had just been sentenced to a light prison sentence where she would be cut off from the booze and drugs but have plenty of access to any lesbian inmate she wanted and I applauded the decision. As I mentioned in that article, addicts piss me off.

And while I've made jokes about another addict in the past, I never wrote a page about her probably because I assumed she would just OD one day and that there was no point. However she kind of hung on and escaping death like my idiot cat, Butch. But the Grim Reaper can't be held off forever and today it seems that Amy Winehouse has done her last line...either in the form of music or cocaine. Take your pick. And yes, no cause of death has been confirmed yet but...come on, use your head.

How I signed my reaction to Amy Winehouse's death (I have a sore throat)

Look, I know that for members of her family, her friends and to fans that this must be a really sad day for them, but come on, it's not like she was making headlines for her singing ability lately. Every other article was about her fucking up a stage show, her entering or leaving rehab or how someone close to her was worried she might not be around too long if she didn't get her act together.

Go on YouTube and type in "Amy Winehouse Drunk" and you'll find that those videos have more views and comments than any video of her where she's actually singing or aware of what month it is. The woman was a wreck, looked like one and moved like one on stage.

Don't believe me? Check out this video and tell me if I'm wrong. Hell, if anything, the title is misleading because it says she "Performs". However, if you go to an Amy Winehouse performance, do you expect to see her sing or walk around the stage like a blind man who's just been hit in the head with a baseball bat and ask band members where she can score some coke?

Wait, this is Amy Winehosue, so chances are that "sing" was the last thing you expected. And if you did, it probably wasn't worth what you paid.

I know I might be a little cold and downright mean with my words right now but one thing I can't get over is that she was just 27. That's just two years older than me. Imagine that, you're in the prime of your life and for the past couple of years all you've done is just self-destruct and piss away everything you ever did or wanted to do? Like with Lohan, I would love to have the adoring fans, the ability to inspire, to have fans waiting for my autograph. And besides, what the hell was so hard about your life that you needed drugs and alcohol to end it?

Look, I enjoy a good drink. At Aaron's bachelor party I was drunk to the point where after I downed a shot of God knows what, I raised my arms and proclaimed, "I AM A MAN!!!" and continued to wolf down a deep fried cheesecake. But I know my limits. I don't do it every night, every week or every month even. In fact, the last time I can remember having anything alcoholic was at Aaron's wedding.

Is it sad that she's dead? Yes, of course. But we shouldn't act surprised by it or any other celebrity who spends more time at the Betty Ford Clinic than doing their job. Honestly, let's just make Robert Downey Jr. a motivational speaker for retarded celebrities who didn't get the message even after South Park put is so plainly for us.
This was the best picture of her I could find of her

As a final note, I would like to say that while Amy Winehouse was indeed a talented singer, it's a shame that the troubles she brought into her personal life overshadowed all the accomplishments she made (and could have made) in her professional life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bad Movies Happen in Threes

Despite the fact that I often use the Superman logo to define my identity and do enjoy the Man of Steel, my favourite superhero of all time is Batman. And like everyone else, I saw The Dark Knight and thought that it was made of awesome. They had taken Batman Begins, fixed the shitty fight sequences and turned it into a masterpiece.

Now of course, in the years that have passed, fans have been eagerly awaiting the sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, which is due out next year. It'll be featuring Catwoman and Bane as the main villains. Personally, I'm a bit mixed about Bane considering how useless he was in Batman and Robin, but if anyone can bring to life the original character from the comics, a man who could recognize that Bruce Wayne was Batman just by looking at him, it's director Christopher Nolan. Our villain...who got beat in less than one minute by Chris O'Donnell and Alicia Silverstone. Lame!

Since we're just a little more than a year away from it's release, a website for the film has already been set up and a poster has been released. And to further whet the appetites of film goers, a teaser trailer was leaked onto YouTube via some guy's camera phone. I can't really make a lot out of what's there but at the same time, I'm really intrigued and wondering how they're going to close out this series.

And at the same time...I'm nervous as shit about it. Let's face it, The Dark Knight is probably the best superhero movie ever and nothing in maybe the next twenty years will be able to top it (Unless Rises does it somehow) and...well, sometimes it's the third movie in a series where the quality really drops. Let's look over a few examples, shall we? Oh and these examples probably contain spoilers, I guess.
"What do you mean Kevin Conroy is dubbing all my dialogue in the next movie!?"
1) Star Trek III: The Search for Spock-Ah, the sequel that started the 'Odd-Numbered-Trek-Movies-Suck' rule. But if I can be blunt, while this movie isn't as good as it's predecessor, Wrath of Khan, what is? Seriously, the last movie had space battles in nebulas, torpedoes blowing off engines and to top it all, the most popular character in the franchise sacrificing himself to save his friends.

This movie is by no means terrible, it just had the unfortunate duty of following a movie that put Star Trek back on the pop-culture map. Still, it's got good special effects for it's day which still hold up in my view (I prefer models over CGI starships), a good story and Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon commander. What's to bitch about? If you want something to bitch about, trust me, that's what the rest of this list is for.Spoiler Alert: They find him

2) Superman III-Oh God, talk about a drop that was faster than a speeding bullet. The first movie was a great adventure for the whole family with a simple story, great actors and stellar direction. The sequel continued that story with three dangerous villains from Krypton teaming up with Lex Luthor to rule the world and destroy a conflicted Superman. It really made you look forward to the third movie. Which villain from Superman's Rogue Gallery would be used? Brainiac? Bizzaro? But it would be neither. The producers decided to do something totally unexpected. With two great films under their belt, what could the filmmakers do to take a Supercrap on a promising franchise?

They cast Richard Pryor. Look, I'm not saying Pryor is not funny. His standup is hilarious, he's an influence to millions of comedians and drug users but...Jesus Christ was casting him just a bad idea. In fact...the whole movie was a bad idea. They replace Lex Luthor with this guy who's just Luthor with a different name, the fight between Clark Kent and Superman (Yeah, you read that right) and the so called 'comedy' in the film. If there's one thing I remember liking in this movie, it's this scene. But don't worry, if this abomination didn't kill the franchise, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace finished the job."I've come to save this franchise from any future credibility."

3. Batman Forever-The first two Batman movies directed by Tim Burton were really good. However, after the first two he handed the role of director over to Joel Schumacher. Where Burton's films were dark and gothic, Schumacher just made everything really...campy.

Remember how the villains from the first two were dark, menacing and intriguing? Too bad, because now we got loud, annoying and making us wish we were watching a better movie (An omen of things to come for Jim Carrey's later work). Oh and they finally decided to throw Robin into the mix. But instead of him being a teenager like he normally was in the comics (I refuse to believe Batman would let a nine-year old fight crime), they thought that casting 25 year old Chris O'Donnell was the best move. Cause there's nothing that can be misinterpreted by Bruce Wayne allowing a grown man to come and live with him.

Oh and Tommy Lee Jones was just forgettable as Two-Face. Oh and way to piss on the character's personality by having him constantly flipping the coin until he gets the result he wants. The coin in his only judge. Once a decision has been made, it is done. There is no appeal, no nothing.

And what's with that title anyway? Batman Forever sounds like something a fanboy would write as his Facebook status after getting an autograph from Adam West. But to the film's credit, at least it wasn't Batman and Robin.
Little known fact: Billy Dee Williams (Lando) was originally supposed to play Two-Face

4. The Godfather Par III-How the mighty had fallen. The story of the first two Godfather movies is almost like a Greek tragedy while the third movie is just a tragedy in and of itself. What hurt this movie? The absence of Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen? The casting of Sophia Coppola as Micahel's daughter? The whole kissing cousins subplot? Connie being too dumb to know that Michael had Fredo killed?

I've only seen this movie once and it just didn't feel right. In my eyes, it was like watching a movie that was trying to be like The Godfather but just came up really short. On the one hand, I can see why they would want to make a sequel but on the other hand, after 16 years, it just didn't really make any sense. Michael at the end of Part II had beaten all of his enemies yet was probably hurt the hardest with his wife leaving him and choosing to murder his own brother. Let's hope that we just leave this series where it is. Yeah, this is what mafia movies need: More incest!

5. Spider-Man 3-How could I possibly forget about this series? It started out with such promise. Granted it wasn't without flaws; the first movie had atrocious dialogue that I would write when I was still in grade school and the second movie...well, I think it's overrated. Granted I've only seen it once but it didn't leave that big an impact on me like it did everyone else.

However I was excited for the third movie because they were going to be bringing in Venom, played by Topher Grace along with Thomas Hayden Church as the Sandman and James Franco now out for revenge against Peter Parker for apparently killing his father in the first movie. I knew right then and there that it was too much for just one movie.

Having Sandman be Uncle Ben's real killer to me cheapened the impact of Peter's discovery in the first film. I sat there thinking, "It took you that long to figure this out? Wait, the original guy you caught, yeah, he was an accomplice, but he didn't even try to make some sort of deal with the cops?"

Oh and then there's the issue of Harry finding out his father died by his own hand. What the hell was that butler waiting for? Harry had already gotten his face fucked up by a bomb because of his revenge due to this guy not telling the truth and NOW he thinks this is the best time to tell him, "Oh, hey, Spider-Man is totally innocent"? I would be beating the shit out of that old dude and I don't care if his brother was President Taft or not.

And then there was Venom...what little there was. Why did they have to show Topher Grace's face every time he spoke as Venom? We know who Venom is. Stop reminding us. We're not retarded. How would you have liked it if every time Batman spoke in The Dark Knight I nudged you in the ribs and shouted, "That's Bruce Wayne played by Christian case you forgot!!!"

And of course, what kind of person would I be if I didn't mention emo-Peter or that god damned fucking stupid dance scene. That's the direction you wanted to take this movie? You have Peter Parker, slowly being taken over by an alien organism that is changing his behaviour and actions...and a fucking dance scene was the best thing you could come up with? I'm sorry, but did you call in Joel Schumacher to write this scene? I watched the Spider-Man cartoon when they did the Venom storyline and nowhere, nowhere was there any stupid dance scene!
Are you trying to show anger or constipation cause right now either one is making me laugh

I think I might be worrying about nothing when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises. After all, the people behind these movies have shown that they want to do adult stories for adult audiences and not take said audience for granted. But still, if there's a dance scene...even if it's a small one, cut it from the film.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Did I Sell Out?

Back in late 2007, I was sort of a...I'll say 'mascot' for our journalism class. I was a funny guy who said lots of funny stuff and everyone (For the most part) liked. However, one thing was still being requested of me and I wouldn't give in. I would be pested and prodded, yet no matter what, I would vow that I would not set up a Facebook account.

However, if you're reading this then chances are you clicked the link to this which I posted on my Facebook wall. Yeah, I gave into the Facebook craze like almost every other human being but one thing I was adament about was refusing Twitter. I mostly thought it was just Facebook but just with the status update.

However, I've given in and gotten my own Twitter account. I was really against it because while I'm not against social media, the lack of real social skills demonstrated by people today really does upset me.

These guys still got nothing on Zuckerberg

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Calgary Expo 2011

After missing the Calgary Expo last year due to my bosses being complete assholes and changing my schedule at the last minute, I was determined to make it this year. While I do count myself as a big nerd, I wasn't about to dress up for several reasons:

A) I do not own a costume or Starfleet uniform

B) I really don't want the attention.

However I did want to show that I was a part of the community and thus wore my Green Lantern t-shirt, despite the fact that I don't care at all about Green Lantern and find his weakness to be laughable at best.

So off I went, on the C-Train after arriving home at work and failing to get in a quick cat-nap. As I rode, I saw that I couldn't see anyone cos-playing but quite a lot of people with weekend passes. And since I wasn't too familiar with where I was going, I just decided that I would follow someone and do my best not to look like a tourist in a city I've lived in for almost two years.

Entering the convention reminded me of that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where Bowman reaches the monolith and says, "My god, it's full of stars" and is then exposed to a screensaver (Can you explain to me what I'm watching in that movie?). However instead of stars, it was just nerds. And yet it was so awesome. I was overwhelmed by the numbers and I was expecting a lot of people to show. This is what happens when you say that Star Trek is better than Star Wars out loud

I knew that there was a lot of stuff to see but at the same time I was just so overwhelmed by the people I saw. On my left I saw Robocop looking through comic books from the fifties while a guy in a Superman costume handled a boa constrictor. On my right, a ninja from the Villiage Hidden in the Leaves shopped shuriken (Throwing stars). It was like I had travelled into a modern day version of the Mos Eisley Spaceport. Every life form from pop-culture converged on that large area and were all cool with each other. Even though I was tired from being up all night before, I suddenly got a surge of energy that would carry me through the day.

One of the first booths I wanted to check out was for Blind Ferret Entertainment, a Montreal based group which produces the webcomics Least I Could Do, Looking for Group and Gutters. I don't read Looking for Group but the other two I keep up to date with. While LICD may not be for everyone (You'll be offended eventually and most likely laugh at the same time in the back of your mind), I find it enjoyable and decided to pick up a volume of their work.

Now you might be saying, "Uh, Schweitzer-Man, you can read every strip online...for free!" True, but I like that the book came with creator commentary on the strips. And besides, I get a free reusable bag out of the deal, so we all win. Plus I got it autographed by writer Ryan Sohmer and artist Lar DeSouza.
Least I Could Do is about a narcissist who uses his charm, humour and vivid imagination as much as possible to enjoy life. Why are you all looking at me like that?

Now of course the big deal about this convention was the the one and only, two time Emmy winner, Golden Globe winner and of course, the man who put the "star" in Star Trek, William Shatner was going to be there. And if Shatner is going to be there, then there's going to be a massive lineup for his autograph. And if Shatner is giving autographs...then you're going to be paying a lot. I think I heard that it was $40 for just a picture with him and $75 if I wanted an autograph.

Considering that the man is still able to get work these days, I have to wonder why I should have to pay for his signature? Now, if the money is going to a good cause (Which I like to think), then I'm pretty cool with it. However I heard from someone that Shatner wasn't really interacting with people; that he was just signing the photos and moving on. Now should I ever get rich and famous (Support this cause by giving me lots of money!), one thing I'll do if I'm ever at a convention, is not only sign what you want my autograph on, but also take a few seconds to talk to you. "Hey, how's it going? Enjoying your day? Favourite episode is...?"
The reason these people got where they are is due to the fans.

This was the closest I got to getting a picture of William Shatner

However after hours of wandering around, I saw there were lineups to get photos and autographs from voice actors. I was initially going to get one from Vic Mingnona but didn't at the last minute mainly because I can only think of one anime he'd been in and that was Full Metal Panic.

However, I did see one voice actor's name and instantly knew that even if I had to face a thousand Klingons, I would get Maurice LaMarche's autograph for my dad. Back in the mid-90's, there were awesome cartoons on at the time. Animaniacs being one as well as it's spin-off show, Pinky and the Brain. Now my dad's pretty old school about animation. If it doesn't involve anything that includes the voices of Mel Blanc then he honestly couldn't give a shit. You could show him the lastest English dubbed anime from Japan but he would much rather watch Foghorn Leghorn smack that dumb dog on the ass with a stick. My dad could probably look at this picture all day and laugh

However, he loved to watch Pinky and the Brain. He would listen to the Brain insult people, things, Pinky and would laugh his ass off. One of his favourite moments is when Brain super-imposes a picture of himself on a horse with Pinky's head and says, "Here I am atop the beast of ignorance." So when I saw that Maurice LaMarche was not only going to be signing autographs and posing for autographs for free, I instantly got in line and waited forty-five minutes.

It was worth it because I had some interesting conversations with other fans as well as heard some gay guy lisping about how he didn't know anything about Pinky and the Brain.

"Oh, isn't that the show where there's like a grumpy mouse and a happy mouse?" he mused.

I would have smacked the stupid out of him right then and then however I was getting closer to Maurice.

"I'm not sure if this will be safe for Slimer," he said as Egon from The Real Ghostbusters. As I got closer and closer, I started to feel a bit nervous. Granted I wasn't meeting Shatner but this was the next best thing.

Maurice shook my hand, smiled and couldn't have been nicer, even breaking out the voice of The Brain to say a word to my father. If you want to check it out, just follow this link. Part of me wishes I had said a little more to him but I didn't want to sound like some blabbering fanboy. However, if there's anything I regret not saying, it's that my younger sister used the song Brainstem to study in her nursing program."Hello, I'm Maurice LaMarche and I'm awesome. YES!!!"

I thought about getting into the line for Rob Paulsen (He did the voice of Pinky and a lot of other characters) but that was three times as long and I was lucky to get to the front of mine early. No, I would have to wait another time. One thing I also regret missing was a panel Maurice, Rob and Jess Harnell (The voice of Wakko) took place in. Apparently they took turns doing William Shatner impressions and did other things too. I have no idea if anyone asked Rob to recite Yakko's World but I've seen video of him doing it before and that would have been cool to see.

I kept wandering around with no clear goal in mind. As the final hour approached, I got near the autograph section again and saw that there was a very short lineup to get an autograph from Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Genearation and also hosted Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, which was sort of like a modern day Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. This I couldn't pass up, especially since in the third grade, I wrote a brief explination to a magazine, explaining why Riker was my favourite character. Looking back at that letter, I can say that it's poorly written and I only picked Riker because all the characters were my favourite. But it still got published anyway.

Regretfully, I wasn't allowed to film my encounter with Frakes but he was nice, shook my hand, signed my picture and thanked me for coming out. I didn't mind shilling out $20 for that. By that point, fatigue was beginning to set in. I could write a whole other paragraph or five about my adventures with Calgary transit, however I expect you're pretty tired from reading this already. All in all, it was a great time, I'll be going back in 2012 and getting a weekend pass.Probably my favourite picture I took that day. I don't know why but it feels like a perfect representation of this convention

Behind the Scenes

It almost sounds a bit strange for me to actually say it out loud but for the past year, I've been making comics. Certainly not on a pro...