Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Time of the Season

I don't like the Fall. Sure, the leaves and the big billowy clouds are beautiful, but then there's also the days getting shorter, the air getting colder, and the overall dreary look of it, which leads to the complete lack of desire to leave the house.

On the bright side, it's also the start of the new TV season.

In the new show category, I'm already a fan of Heroes, but I'm really loving Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It's just brilliant, I'm hooked.

Last Thursday was great with My Name is Earl, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, and ER all premiering, but tonight, my Superman sweet tooth gets its fill with the premier of Smallville.

And then next week is the season premier of my most recent TV show obsession, Veronica Mars. Jenny got me hooked over the summer. I got the first disc of season 1 from Netflix and I wasn't quite sure what to think. It had some really cool elements and it was really unique, but something left me feeling iffy. Maybe it was Paris Hilton guest starring in the second episode.
By the end of disc 2, I was completely hooked and itching to see the resolution of the Lily Kane murder mystery. The investigation spanned the entire season and somehow managed to never get old or tiresome, plus, after you've suspected everyone of being the killer, the big reveal at the end actually delivered.
I got Mom hooked and when the season 2 DVD set came out, we watched the whole thing in just 3 or 4 days.
The show is just excellent. Great cast, great characters, and fantastic writing.
So now we're eagerly awaiting the start of season 3 on Tuesday.

Okay, it looks like this Fall should be alright.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shiny and New

My MacBook rules. Flat out. Without a doubt. No ifs, ands, or buts.

I'm finally able to play The Sims 2 and I'm addicted. I'm a police officer on the vice squad, I married Andrea Corr, and we have a son named Fernando.

He looks nothing like me. Scandal!

I've also been having lots of fun with the built in iSight and a program called Photo Booth. It lets you take snapshots and warp them in various ways in real time. I now have a bunch of creepy pictures of myself.

I've got my iTunes library all set up and organized, including cover art for the cool new jukebox-like feature. It's not really important, but man, it looks slick.

So, I've set up shop on my new computer, now it's time to get to work again. If only the writing bug would bite me.

That wasn't meant to sound mean, I have no animosity toward the writing bug. You know what I meant.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

100th Entry!

This, lads and lasses, is the 100th entry of this blog!
To mark this special occasion, I'm unveiling my new toy. Watch the video below and guess how excited I am.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Losers and Monkeys and Bats. Oh My.

After one week on iFilm, the films are doing pretty well. The Losers Have a Junkyard has chalked up 18,471 views so far at the moment I'm typing this, while Batman's Gonna Get Shot in the Face has been viewed 8,833 times and is currently the #1 most viewed animation in the past 7 days. A cool little bonus is that still hanging in at #3 is Nintendo: OldSchool Revolution, which is currently up to a total of 411,171 views. Thanks to everyone who's been watching!

I think Revolution spoiled me. In its first week online, it racked up over 200,000 views. I've been finding myself disappointed with Batman's numbers, thinking "Okay...only 8,000? What's the problem here?" Then I remind myself that a year ago I would have freaked at the thought of eight hundred people seeing my work would have freaked me out. No matter what the numbers, I'm extremely proud of Batman.

Another cool note, Batman and Losers are both officially listed on the Internet Movie Database! You can view the pages here and here.

I'm still plugging away at that script of mine. It's taking longer than I'd have liked, but I'd rather take a bit longer and get it right as opposed to rushing it at the cost of quality. Wow, with all this talk, this thing better not suck.

I watched Sin City again tonight and it's got me feeling the creative flow, not only because it's an awesome movie that was amazingly executed, but because, cheesy as it might sound, Robert Rodriguez inspires me.
I mean, the guy started out by basically being a guinea pig at a drug testing facility to make enough money to shoot his first feature. He worked his way up to where he is now because he loves doing what he does.
He's such a hands-on filmmaker, doing everything he can do himself to keep the films as close to his vision as possible. That's how I want to do things. It'd be torture for me to film a whole movie and then just pass it off to somebody else to edit.
His movies just get me pumped to make movies. Can you tell?

I'll end this post with something I have recently finished, the second installment of Ask the Reading Monkey! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lappy's On Life Support

My laptop's been acting funny for about a week and a half. It was making a strange grinding sound and running really slowly. On Monday night, she gave out and wouldn't start up again.

Seeing if anything could be done, I headed out to the Apple Store yesterday. In a nice change from the norm, I got helped way before my scheduled appointment.
When I mentioned the grinding sound, I couldn't hold back the laughter when the guy actually whipped out and used a stethoscope to listen.

Long story short, my hard drive is shot and I'm now running my system from an external drive. After four long, good years, my lappy's on crutches.

In more cheerful news, Batman's doing great at iFilm! They featured it on their main page today and it's currently been viewed 3,500 times!
Losers is cleaning up too! After being featured yesterday, it's up to 12,300 views!

Keep spreading the word!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Film News

Okay, for anyone who had trouble with the films before, the wait is over. has been revamped and the video issues have been resolved. So go check it out!


As of a few hours ago, Batman's Gonna Get Shot in the Face and The Losers Have a Junkyard are online at iFilm!

To see Batman, click here:
To see Losers, click here:

Enjoy and spread the word!

Niagara Falls 2006: Day IV

Nursing an achy stomach, I somehow managed to wake up on time for checkout on Thursday morning. The mist was still thick like the night before.

We debated doing more around the Falls after checking out, but with both of us slightly under the weather, we agreed to just hit the road. While waiting for the bellman to come help with our luggage, we took a few last pictures from our room.

Buckled in and loaded up, we started the ride home. A few people had told us that you get money back at the duty free shop if you give them a receipt for at least $50 worth of non-consumable items, so we made it a point to stop on the way.

In a brief moment of confusion, we turned off of the freeway one exit too soon and ended up at the Ontario Welcome Centre.

Apparently we weren't the first ones that day as they quickly drew a simple map with directions to get us back on track. Minutes later, we were at the duty free shop.

We took a little time to shop around, grabbed a bite to eat, converted my casino winnings to US dollars and left a little later with my refund and some souvenirs.

I also bumped into an old co-worker of mine.

Mario & Me

After crossing the Peace Bridge back into the States, the rest of the ride was scenic and uneventful. Unevenftul for the most part, anyway. In an unexpected recreation of another event from last year, I killed a bug. With my face. Involuntarily. I guess that's the risk you run by traveling with an open window.

Again, thanks to some good music, the ride flew by and we were back home a little after 5 PM. Before long, we had gone through the pictures and I was back on my laptop, trying to figure out how to fix her up. In a way, it felt like we never left.

It was a great birthday week and a great little getaway. I needed it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Niagara Falls 2006: Day III

The first order of the day was to shop. I've been a huge fan of Chantal Kreviazuk for at least ten years now, and her newest CD, Ghost Stories, was released in Canada last week. If I had ordered it online, it would have arrived at the house while I was away, so I just decided to buy it while I was up there.
After a bit of research, I found out about the Pen Centre, the fourth largest mall in Canada. Sounded like a plan.

So, after waking up from a (slightly) better night's sleep, we hit the road for the Pen Centre in St. Catharines. We weren't on the road long when I completely cracked up. What could possibly crack me up on the road like that? A Canadian biker.
Now, there's nothing immediately that funny about a Canadian biker, the funny part was his choice of music. Picture, if you will, a big, gruff looking older man with a grizzly beard riding a heavy duty, mean looking motorcycle. What would you expect to hear blasting out of his speakers? Probably something like Born to Be Wild, right?
Guess again.
A fit of laughter overtook me when I recognized the music to be (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Canada's own Bryan Adams.
At full blast.
I'm not knocking the song or Bryan Adams by any means, but in that setting it was absolutely hilarious.

About twenty minutes later, we arrived at the Pen Centre.

After seeing this place, I can really see how far downhill our mall here has gone over the years. It's big, nice looking, tons of stores that are actually open, etc. Even the food court was impressive. They actually have sinks and microwaves if you needed them. It may not sound like a big thing, but it was a nice little touch of convenience.

It was strange not recognizing so many of the store names as we roamed the mall. I was pretty amused by the name of one store in particular...

They also had a giant chess board on the floor, complete with huge, movable pieces. It was kind of like that scene in Harry Potter, but less violent and with senior citizens instead of magical British children.

I eventually found my way to HMV and grabbed my copy of Ghost Stories. I also treated myself to Trailer Park Boys: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD. Mmm...Canadian goodness.

On my way out of the store, I stopped and posed for a quick picture with a poster of Chantal.

Before heading back to the hotel, we took a slight detour and drove by the Centre for the Arts at Brock University in St. Catharines, where, to my extreme excitement, I'll be seeing Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida perform in November.

Back at the hotel, the sun and clouds decided to give us yet another beautiful photo opportunity.

Even more great shots presented themselves as we journeyed to the Skylon Tower.

The Skylon was cool again this year, though it was already getting dark out, so the pictures didn't come out very well through the windows. We tried to find a wheelchair-friendly way to leave that would aim us toward Planet Hollywood, but that turned into a twenty minute headache full of running around, broken elevators, and badly lit sidewalks.

We eventually got onto the right path, though I underestimated how long the walk actually was. It was long and dark and the night air was chilly. Mom even temporarily ditched her shoes at one point to ease her feet. Just after passing Clifton Hill, they started to shoot off fireworks over the Falls, so we paused to watch.

After a run in with a kiss, we continued on our way.

I'd been wanting to check out Planet Hollywood for a while, so I was relieved when we reached the end of our long walk.

Once inside, I took a quick picture with the Terminator, but that was just about it. I wasn't really into anything on the menu and the tables were too tightly packed to walk around and look at all the stuff, so our visit was relatively short.

We wanted to avoid having to go up the big hills on the way back to the hotel, so I lead the way toward the main road. At least that was my intent. About a half hour later, it was clear I had gotten us lost. Sort of. We could see where we wanted to be, but had no idea how to get there or where we were. Passing tattoo parlors, small foreign food restaurants, liquor stores, and the serial killer museum, we eventually found ourselves on a familiar street. A few blocks later, we were back by the hotel.

Cold, hungry, and tired from our several miles of walking, we went to Fridays, it's become a tradition for the last night in Niagara Falls. We split some chicken and I tackled an Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea.

Back in the room, I took a last nighttime look at the Falls. It was something I hadn't seen before, the mist was so thick, it would occasionally entirely block out the American side of the Falls. Impressive, to say the least.

Knowing I had to be up early for checkout, I headed to bed after another busy day.

Niagara Falls 2006: Day II

After an oddly restless night's sleep, I woke up around 11:30, which, if you know me, is actually really early. I took some time to wake up, enjoy the view from the room, and call home while Mom got herself ready.

First up for the day was Marineland. It was another overcast day, which was actually pretty nice, since I got sunburn the last two times we went there. The park itself seemed strange though, there was hardly anyone there and we only saw one concession stand in the whole place that was actually open. I'm not complaining though, it's always nice not having to battle a crowd.

We got right up to the killer whale viewing area in Friendship Cove, which was nice. They were constantly moving around this time as the mother nursed the baby. It was really amazing to watch.

Since it was pretty cool last year, we tried to check out the deer park area, but decided against it when the deer seemed to be somewhat overly social. There were a handful of them right up at the gate when we got there, if we tried to get in, they would have gotten out.

I've never imagined a deer growling before, but I'm pretty sure I heard one doing that to some guy inside the enclosure. We even saw a couple of them knock over an empty baby carriage by the gate. So, we decided to go somewhere a bit more tame. The bear pit.

We watched them horse around a bit and wait for people to throw food in, but the smell of bear gets old really fast, so we didn't hang around too long.

Next was the beluga area, Arctic Cove. I'm always surprised at the number of them in there, always clamoring for food.

A really cool sight, much like at Friendship Cove was a mother nursing her baby. Yes folks, I saw Baby Beluga in person.

While eating lunch, it became apparent to us who was actually in charge of the park. The seagulls.

Wherever you look, where you would expect to see park employees, you'd instead see seagulls patrolling the area. Remember the Goodfeathers on Animaniacs? It was like that, but with seagulls instead of pigeons and in much greater numbers. I never noticed how cocky the walk of a seagull is. Never trust a seagull.

As if that's not enough avian fun, we had a strange sparrow encounter as well. As we picked at our fries, we heard a slight "thud." A sparrow flew right into the window. From the inside. He wasn't hurt as he was going relatively slow. The bird hovered down to a chair to take a breather, moved down to the next window pane, and once again, "thud." This went on, pane after pane. A blind Canadian sparrow with OCD. Probably a spy for the seagulls.

We headed back to the hotel for a few minutes to gather ourselves and the sun finally broke free from the clouds in an impressive way.

By some strange coincidence, Maria and her boyfriend, Steve, were visiting the Falls at the same time we were, so we made plans to meet at Tony Roma's for drinks.
I noticed how good the music they were playing was and thought back to hearing a Corrs song played in there last year, a rarity around these parts. I casually said to Mom "I'll freak if they play Chantal this time." To my surprise, mere seconds later, I heard the opening notes of Chantal's latest single, All I Can Do. As promised, I freaked. Well, it wasn't so much of a freak out as it was a stare that said "Holy crap."
*Sidenote- To my amusement, the Moby waiter was there again!
A few minutes later, Maria and Steve showed up. It was a nice couple hours of drinking and catching up.

Hoping to ride my luck from the previous night, I headed back to the casino. I sensed the vibe wasn't there after a few minutes and stopped before the fun was taken out of the experience.

Despite the fact that it was dark and cold out, Mom and I wandered down to check out the Falls and take some pictures. Again, the area was pretty empty, so the walk was nice and leisurely. We got some pretty cool shots thanks to the lights they use to light the Falls. Also, the camera's flash combined with the nighttime mist produced a really funky orb-like effect, see for yourself.

Chilly, damp, and tired, we returned to the room. I played with the laptop a little to see if it had sorted itself out and to get some driving directions for the next day. I got the directions, but lappy was still cranky. Adding "frustrated" to my list, I rolled over in hopes of a better sleep than the night before.