The End, Beautiful Friend...

Greetings from the offices of chilledmonkeybrainz,

It’s been one tough year “broadcasting” from the basement of the Pickled Pirate Pub and my ass is tired beyond belief.

So without further ado, I hereby declare this as the LAST post of the year from chilledmonkeybrainz (that’s BRAINZ with a ZED!).

And it might just be the LAST POST EVER by our crack group of writers, and artists here as well. Tough economic times have touched us all in North America in the past year and it seems we may not be able to keep the office open, pay staff, and pay the bills anymore.

So, thanks to our three readers for their support since 2002, and we hope to continue in the New Year, but if we do not, Good Night and Good Luck!

Sincerely Yours,

The Jaeger: Executive Producer, Editor, Reviews
J.C. Hunter: Fiction and Literature, Artwork
Sally Kharwache: Photography
Dan Buffet: Contributor

Johnny Twinkle: Bass
Reiko Murakami: Research

And the rest of the staff here at chilledmonkeybrainz.


Rally For Canada!

I encourage all freedom loving Canadians to get out to the Pro -Democracy rallies in your home towns on Saturday December 6, 2K8.

For more info check this site: http://www.rallyforcanada.ca/


Coup d'etat

This is freaking enough! I have to shake my head now that some smug group of arrogant Liberals, socialist NDP, and Separatist Bloc members, a cabal of political losers, who are nothing more than partisan opportunists and power grubbers are in the midst of committing a coup d’état!

There is no commonality between the Liberals, the Socialist NDP, or the Separatist Bloc Quebecois, except for their individual lust to steal taxpayer’s money and to take and retain power at any cost. They are not doing this because it is best for Canada and Canadians; they are doing it out of greed and sour grapes.

These scum that have been meeting in secret, and conniving to overthrow the Democratically elected government of Canada are nothing more than traitors and should be dealt with in the harshest possible way.

I encourage all freedom loving Canadians who believe in democracy to take up arms in the form of the only weapon we have in this country, the right to vote, and show this cabal of losers that we will not tolerate sedition in this country.


Happy Turkey Day!

To all my U.S. American reader(s) I wish you all a Happy Day Before Black Friday errr, Thanksgiving Day. Remember to give thanks, oh and fight with the in-laws. Don't ever forget that, and in the immortal words of Miss South Carolina: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because osama people out there in our nation don't have maps..."

And stay tuned for some NEW reviews next week, and perhaps a rant... we'll see.


Disco Inferno?

The building across the train tracks from my work is on fire...

Hey, I can Blog about this!

So Sunday me and the Grrl are out at the Deerfoot Meadows mall, she at the Michaels and I at the Best buy and we head out to the truck to begin the journey home.

We get to the four-way stop and are waiting for the other cars to go their way and are STRUCK FROM BEHIND by some stupid freaking woman in a grey Buick. So hard was this collision that it sent our Ford Escape ten feet forward and into the intersection.

I shook off the initial shock and got out, inquiring loudly, and with many a “colourful metaphor” into what the hell was wrong with her. Was she blind? Stupid? Did she fail to understand the concept of the BIG RED HEXAGON with STOP written across it?

Then she starts to get snippy with me. “So do you want my information or what?” and “I don’t know why you’re so angry, I got the worst of it!”
Don’t you get snide with me “Sally,” or you’ll find out what real anger is.

So the upshot of this is that we have minimal bumper damage, but the front of her car is fucking destroyed, and my neck and shoulder hurt a bit.

For seventeen years I lived downtown, in the inner city, with more concentrated traffic than anywhere else in the city and I got ran into once when that retard Daniel Royer ran a stop-sign and hit the side of the Little Red Mazda.

In the last year, living in the sticks, two people (both women by the way) smash into us due to their own inattention and retarded stupidity.

I wonder what the next year will bring…


Prepare To Be Reviewed

Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs

Directed by David X. Cohen

All right, the second of four new Futurama direct to DVD features begins some six months after the events in Bender’s Big Score. Mankind cowers in terror at a searing rend in space/time that looms menacingly over the Earth…

Futurama is my favorite series ever. Over its four seasons it proved to be funny, and clever, and able to bring its audience from gut-aching hilarity to tears in just seconds (“Jurassic Bark” I’m looking at you!) It’s tough sometimes to be completely objective when I’ve been such a passionate fan for years, but here goes.

The Beast With A Billion Backs is a satisfying tale, yet when compared to some of the best stories in the series, it comes off as just a little better than mediocre. There are some good twists and turns, The League of Robots is super cool, and Bender as a Pirate is just plain awesome.

The Beast With A Billion Backs is presented in a slick, clean 1.78:1 anamorphic aspect ratio that, to be perfectly honest makes one wonder why they didn’t shoot the WHOLE SERIES like this. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was passable, but nothing extraordinary. Where these Futurama DVDs really shine is in the special features. This disc includes a hilarious commentary track with creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, actors Billy West, DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, co-writer Michael Rowe, director Peter Avanzino, and producers Claudia Katz and Lee Supercinsk, The Lost Adventure, which is all the cut scenes from the XBOX Futurama game that came out a few years back, as well as animatics, deleted scenes, bloopers, 3-D models, A Brief History of Deathball, and more.

Fans of the series rejoice, Futurama is not dead yet, and hopefully if the rest of these DVDs do well, we will be treated to many more adventures in the future.

A Four, out of Five.


Sony BDP S500 Review

Those who know me know I’ve been a Sony honk for more than two decades now and have spent much more than my share of good money on Sony electronics and other consumer products. This is why it pains me to say that I might just be freaking DONE with them!

My latest purchase back in March was the BDP S500 Blu-ray Disc player. For the first three months it worked perfectly. The picture quality is awesome, the sound equally so, and the up-conversion makes regular DVDs look beautiful.

Then about ninety days in little things started happening. Little things like the player freezing up during the playback of DVDs and BDs. At first I thought it was because of dirty discs, but upon checking, I found them to be without dust, or smear.

I called tech support and they claimed it MUST be the discs. So I thought maybe they are right… it could be something like that, who the fuck knows right?

A couple of months passed and the player was free from defects… then last month a new problem cropped up. Some discs were refusing to play. After the laborious five minute boot up the S500 makes me wait through, (I was in the habit of turning on the machine, going to grab a beer and snacks, before the disc try even opens, then putting in the disc, vacuuming the floors, or raking the lawn, or doing the dishes before the disc finally spooled up) the front loaded trailers and ads would play, then the main menu screen would pop up. Only there was no cursor on the screen, and there was nothing I could do except to power down the player, not from the remote, but the power button on the unit itself, wait five minutes and try again. Usually the second time it worked. Then the random freezing began again, and I have HAD IT! And before anybody shoots their mouths off about it, YES I have applied all necessary firmware updates and it seems to make absolutely no difference to the way the player functions, boot up and load times are still ridiculous, the player is still frequently buggy.

For what this unit cost it is the WORST piece of equipment I have ever had the displeasure of fighting with. And I shouldn’t have to fight with it. It’s not like I bought a POS Sampo or Curtis discount BD player at a fucking Wal-Mart!

Anyway, I am taking this POS back to the Sony store on Saturday and we shall see where the cookie crumbles from there…


Prepare to be Reviewed

STAR WARS: The Force Unleashed
Dev. Lucasarts
All Platforms

The Force Unleashed was one of the most anticipated titles of the year, and after being delayed no less than twice, finally made it to stores September 16th. The game follows the untold story of Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice, “Starkiller” as he tracks down the last of the Jedi in between movie episodes III, and IV.

The overall story is very good with just enough twists and turns to keep one interested right to the closing credits. In fact I will go as far to say the game’s storyline is not only better than the Clone Wars theatrical release, but also head and tail above the entire Prequel Trilogy as a whole. But maybe I’m biased. I always enjoyed the so-called “Classis Trilogy” era of the saga more because I grew up with it and this game has a definite “used galaxy” look and feel to it that the Prequel Trilogy lacked. I don’t want to go off on a rant here, but imagine the kind of animated flick Star Wars fans could have got if George would have thrown fat “Ratatouille” like cash at Lucas Animation and told them to make a slick, realistically styled CG movie based on the story of The Force Unleashed… but I digest. The voice acting is good all around, and Sam Witwer gives an exceptionally strong performance as Starkiller, and any game that feature Jimmy Freakin’ Smits can’t be all that bad, can it?

Which brings me to the game play; it’s mediocre at best, and downright annoying at its worst, although to be fair, I did have only one “controller throwing moment.” In The Force unleashed the camera is NEVER your friend. Ever. Many times even sticking you in spots where you cannot see, or figure out where the hell you are, or what the hell is attacking you. The battle with Vader near the end gives you crappy stationary camera with only one crappy angle making it almost (but obviously not quite) impossible to launch the attacks you need to uses to defeat him. Then there are the Real Time Events… ung… following the annoying industry trend, The Force Unleashed has many, many, many, many RTE’s in which you are prompted to press (on the XBOX 360 of which this review is based) X, then B, then Y, then A, etc, etc, to create a Pre-Rendered finishing move. I hate RTE’s in games because they take the game play out of my hands, instead of defeating a Boss the way I want to, I get stuck with something the game designers think “looks cool.” While sometimes they do, there are so few of these animations in the game that if you’ve watched it once, you’ve pretty much seen it all.

To its credit, the game looks and sounds awesome, but for all they hype and all they waiting this game put me through, I was a little disappointed that it never aspired to be anything more than a standard “hack ‘n slash” game with Force powers. The Force powers in the game, as awesome as they are, (and they are wicked cool believe you me, thanks in part to naturalmotion's Euphoria engine) still cannot save this game from being any more that just mediocre.

Three screaming Stormtroopers out of Five.

But, if I were to review the story separately from the game play, it would have gotten a Five, proving once again no matter how much game development studios poo-poo the thought of hiring good writers for games, a good story is still a very important element in the overall gaming experience. Lucasarts has bucked the industry trend with this game delivering a great story, with less than stellar game play.


Prepare To Be Reviewed

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Directed by Dave Filoni

Man, Star Wars fandom are a fickle bunch, well US American Star Wars fandom anyways, judging by how few went out to see this flick this weekend on the big screen.

Lets get the B.S. over with first, I know this is just the first three episodes of the new TV series re-edited into a 95minute flick. This DID NOT have even a quarter the budget of something like Ratatouille so lets not even make such a ridonkulous comparison. In other words, all you haters out there living in your parent's basements blogging on rotten tomatos with the "brilliant" observation that "the animation sucks" can just shut your drooling trogladitic traps right now beacause I don't want to hear it.

As a kid when I first saw Star Wars, I always wished that some day there would be a cartoon series made. In the mid eighties we got Droids, and Ewoks shows that lets be honest, were less than stellar. Then came the Clone Wars Micro-Series, this was more like it! Action, adventure, and most of all, FUN seemed to have returned to Star Wars on the small screen.

Which brings me back to this flick: I loved it. I loved it because I love Star wars and I love cartoons. Especially cartoons with lots of explosions in them. If you don't like either Star Wars, or cartoons, then you will not like this, it's that simple. It was pretty much everything I was expecting, except for maybe a stronger plot, but it still managed to get me even more charged up for the new TV series debuting this fall. What more could you want? This flick is FUN, and arguably better than Phantom Menace, so you can't really go wrong.

Star Wars: Clone Wars gets THREE exploding battle droids out of FIVE.


Brett Farvre Signs With Toronto Argonauts!

Yeah, no.

Not really, but stay tuned for some new Monkey Brained madness later in the week! Sorry to my three readers for being the lazy bastard that I am!


Clean Sweep?

Ah, it’s that time of the year again, the crazy, hazy, lazy days of early summer where the streets are clean and the bums are… hey where are the bums anyway???

If you live or work downtown, you know that in the last few years Calgary has been the summer holiday destination for bums from all over the country. They love it here, the warm weather, the clear blue sky, all the change they can steal from working people, but where are they right now??

Yes, that’s right! It’s time for the annual Pre-Stampede Bum Clear-out! It’s that happy time of year when the cops, or the city in some other unknown and perhaps insidious fashion, gathers up the majority of the vagrants, pan-handlers, and bums and effectively hides them away somewhere until after Stampede

Where do they go? Nobody knows.

All I know for sure is they are not in the inner city anymore.

So I give you that to chew on, and bid you good day, and Happy Stampede!



Water World

So it’s close to the end of week one of my four week “water-world health experiment.” I decided to drink nothing but WATER in place of my usual AMPs and Red Bulls and coffee in an (perhaps foolish) attempt to flush the impurities out of my biological system.

I’m not certain if it counts as the absolute worst decision I ever made in my life, but it’s got to be pretty damn close. I’ve never felt so tired and run down as I have this past week. I suppose I just never realized how much I depended on that good mornin’ jolt of caffeine and other delicious nutrients supplied by my energy drinks and the extra kick in the pants that mid-morning coffee gave me.

Every night this week around eight-thirty I began feeling as if the gravity well of the Earth was sucking me down to the molten core, the very life essence being sucked clean out of me. I would begin to feel aches and pains that made me just want to crawl into bed, as well as a miserable headache that would come and go seemingly at random. It’s true what they say; the detox is worse than the addiction!

Oh, hideous misery!

I don’t know how long I can keep this up, but I hope to make it the whole four weeks! I need me AMPs and Red Bulls and to a lesser extent, me coffee! Help me! Think “energizing” thoughts for me, as I appear to need all the help I can get if I am to survive the next three weeks!


Lond Ho Respite

J.C. Hunter reached down and pulled up on his skull-covered socks and continued to stare at the disorganized pile of jewel cases, and loose Compact Discs that sat, stacked haphazardly on the gritty, hardwood floor in front of the five-disc player. It drove him crazy that his friends seemed to have no sense of order when it came to things like this.

Hunter thought about the flat he was sharing with Bill back at The London House Apartments. There one would never find a book, a CD, or Betamax video that wasn’t in alphabetical order on the shelves, well Hunter’s shelves anyway. Bill tended to keep his stuff in no particular order, but at least the CDs were in their cases where they belonged.

The more Hunter thought about the “Lond Ho” flat the happier he was. As far as he was concerned he had three things to be happy about. Number one, Living downtown, “were the fucking action is” as he was fond of saying. Two was working for the Cosmodemonic Security Company, a job that although it did suck, it only did so when he was there. And third was the fact that he made just enough money to eat, and get pished with his buddies three times a week, which in his opinion was “just about right.”

What was there to be sad about? The truth was Hunter couldn’t think of anything, and in a way he kind of missed the comfort in being sad, because as he reasoned it, when you are at rock bottom, wallowing in your own pit of depression and self loathing the only way to go was up.

Hunter shut his eyes for a moment and listened to the Pixies kissing mermaids and riding the el Niño. Just as he was about to stand and pour himself another drink, his buddy Paco reached over and yanked a CD from the middle of the pile, sending the rest tumbling to the hardwood floor, skittering and rolling.

“Man, be careful. You don’t want to scratch your discs.” Hunter said as he headed towards the fridge.

Paco just shrugged and slurred drunkenly, “Ah whaddareyagonnado?”


Prepare To Be Reviewed

Directed by Jon Favreau

Last year @ San Diego Comic-Con the first teaser for this flick hit and immediately every Fan-Boy, and Fan-Grrl in North America got that “special feeling” down below. I was just kind of “meh” about the whole thing. I had never read any of the comics (still haven’t actually, as I had no desire to color my expectations before seeing the flick), but I knew the jist of the story was drunken, genius, spoiled brat builds suit and fights crime.

Fast forward to April 30th 2K8. A year of hype has, I have to say, gotten my ass excited about this flick, and with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark (could that casting be any more perfect? I think not!), and Jon Favreau directing need I say more? So when a buddy of mine from the Calgary Sun called me at 3:30pm on Wednesday and said he had an extra pass for the premiere that night I was all “hells yeah!”

What can I say about this flick other than BELIEVE THE HYPE. Iron Man is a different kind of comic book flick, and by different I mean in a good way. The action, which is freaking second to none by the way takes a back seat to the character development, the mood, and the atmosphere, but let us not forget the humor. This flick is hilarious when it should be, and somber when it needs to be, and this is good because without the funny elements it could have ended up as another X3: The Last Stand, and we all know how much that flick sucked ass.

The 2 hour and 6 minute running time just blows by with no extraneous scenes. This is not just a good “comic book flick,” it is a great film period, end of. My only disappointment comes not from the film itself, but with the theater. After waiting patiently to the end of the closing credits with breathless anticipation of Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo as Nick Fury of SHIELD, the projectionist cut the flick prematurely leaving me all WTF????!!

Ah, well guess I’ll just have to wait until it comes out on BluRay to enjoy that last scene. For being a great flick that far exceeded my expectations, Iron Man gets a Four out of Five. Go see it kids; it rocks all kinds of roll.


Doom! DOOM!! And Other Stories

Chilled Monkey Brainz from its inception in 1999, then known as “Jaeger’s Rants,” was never meant to be anything more than “Short Stories, Flick Reviews, Rants, and Raves.” It was never meant to be a forum for serious, (or not so serious, as the case may be) discussion. To be honest, I am perfectly happy to have the fan page for that sort of thing. However, today we were supposed to have part two of the Summer Flick Preview, but instead you are getting this because I do believe it is an important issue to discuss.

The biggest fallacy of the Global Warming Doomsayers is the erroneous assertion that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, which it is not. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic gas which is essential to all life on Earth. All green vegetation requires carbon dioxide as plant food, and the process of photosynthesis, in which plants take in carbon dioxide, absorb solar radiation, store the carbon and emit oxygen. As concentrations of carbon dioxide increase, the rates of growth of plants also increase. Flowers and vegetables grown in hothouses are frequently fed with extra carbon dioxide for faster growth and higher yields. This is science fact, not fiction.

Every time a story on global warming is featured on TV, either a background image of a cooling tower from a power station, with its plume of minute water droplets above, or a smoke stack belching forth dark plumes of soot, ash, and other particulates, is shown. In this mendacious way, carbon dioxide is identified as a serious pollutant, and the USA and Canada are always labeled as the world’s greatest polluters. Mark Steyn said “In the past third of a century, the American economy has swollen by 150 per cent, automobile traffic has increased by 143 per cent, and energy consumption has grown 45 per cent. During this same period, air pollutants have declined by 29 per cent, toxic emissions by 48.5 per cent, sulphur dioxide levels by 65.3 per cent, and airborne lead by 97.3 per cent.”(1)

One of the other things that bugs me is when people like Al Gore say that ”Unless anthropogenic (that means HUMAN for you that don't know - Jaeger) emissions of carbon dioxide are reduced by 50–60 per cent of current levels by the year 2050, by 2100 our descendants will have to endure global temperatures of between 1.4 to 5.8°C warmer than the present.”

This claim is at the heart of the global warming scam. It is based on projections
coming out of models run on the most powerful computers which purport to simulate the behaviour of the atmosphere as it responds to changes in carbon dioxide concentrations. The claim that computer models can do this and produce meaningful results is regarded as nonsense by leading scientists in the fields of fluid mechanics, numerical modeling of complex systems, and climate science.

For example, Hendrik Tennekes, wrote recently, “the task of finding all nonlinear feedback mechanisms in the microstructure of the radiation balance probably is at least as daunting as the task of finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. The blind adherence to the harebrained idea that climate models can generate ‘realistic’ simulations of climate is the principal reason why I remain a climate skeptic. From my background in turbulence I look forward with grim anticipation to the day that climate models will run with a horizontal resolution of less than a
kilometer. The horrible predictability problems of turbulent flows then will
descend on climate science with a vengeance.”

Reid Bryson, Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin, and regarded by
many climatologists as the ‘father of climatology’ has written, “A model is nothing more than a formal statement about how the modeler believes the part of the world of his concern actually works … it may be years before computer capacity and human knowledge are adequate for reasonable simulation … the main models in use all have similar errors, but it is hardly surprising, for they are all essentially clones of each other.”

Australia’s Bill Kininmonth, director of the National Climate Centre from 1986 to
1998, writes, “The apparent ability of the computer models to simulate the global surface
temperatures of the 20th century comes with too many assumptions and
shortcomings. Despite the IPCC advocacy, it is not possible to isolate
anthropogenic greenhouse gases as the cause (or even a major cause) for
the observed warming of the last two and a half decades of the 20th century.
The world-wide advance of mountain glaciers until the mid-19th century,
and their steady retreat since, point toward large-scale natural processes
systematically affecting the climate system over prolonged intervals.
Whether the systematic processes are internal to the climate system, an
outcome of external forcing, or a combination of these, cannot be
determined with any confidence from existing data and analysis tools. As a
corollary, the sensitivity of the earth’s temperature response to greenhouse
gas forcing cannot be scaled by reference to the magnitude of recent global
temperature increase and the forcing by anthropogenic greenhouse gases
as represented in computer model simulations of the 20th century.”(2)

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that the Earth goes through periods of climate change, just look at the history of the planet as proof of that. One hundred million years ago the Earth was a much warmer place than it is now, and there were no people, or SUVs. Ten thousand years ago there was a great Ice Age, and a smaller one just over five thousand years ago, and in the seventies David Suzuki was saying we were defiantly heading into another, but these days the money is in “warming” and the so-called threat that it represents and that is why the media is all over the Global Warming scam these days.

If this isn’t enough for you, check out this:

And let me know what you think in the Chilled Monkey Brainz Fan Page.
See you tomorrow!

(1) The London Daily Telegraph, December 6, 2K5
(2) Bill Kininmonth, Climate Change: A Natural Hazard, Multi-Science Publishing Co. Ltd, UK, pages 192–3.

Some material excerpted from “The Nine Lies about Global Warming” by Ray Evans.


Repair To Be Previewed

Well, the Flames season is over, albeit too soon for me, but in the immortal words of Brody Bruce: “You face forward, or risk shock and damage!” So here is the second annual Chilled Monkey Brainz


MAY 2, 2K8

Directed by Jon Favreau

Based on the Marvel Comic, Inventor and overall rich prick, Tony Stark played by Robert Downey Jr. (isn’t it nice to see he’s finally got his shit together?) dons his most powerful creation, a high-tech suit of armor, to fight Mandarin, an evil scientific genius bent on (what else?) taking over the world. Who isn’t excited about this one? I am, and I never even read the comics! I know, I know, I can already hear the cries of “blasphemy” coming from my comic geek buddies, but what the hell, I’m going to see the flick, that should be enough for you! Throw in Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and this one should be a no brainer.

Son of Rambow
Directed by Garth Jennings

A shy kid growing up in a sheltered British community makes teams up with a schoolmate and attempts to film his own shot-by-shot version of First Blood.
This flick was pretty well received at Sundance and is getting a limited North American release, so if it plays in your town you should check it out, it looks like a lot of fun.

MAY 9, 2K8

Speed Racer
Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski

Based on the Japanese Anime of the same name, the story follows an uber-skilled young race car driver who belongs to a family of gear-heads, is blackmailed by the head of the nefarious corporation Royalton Industries to participate in The Crucible – a nasty cross-country rally that claimed his brother's life years before. Behind the wheel of the Mach 5, his father's greatest invention, “Speed” goes head-to-head with his chief rival, the mysterious, yet strangely familiar Racer X. Gotta admit, even though I am a HUGE Anime and Manga Otaku, I had very little interest in this flick, until about three weeks ago when I saw the trailer on
HDNet, now I am all over it. And even though the marginally talented brothers behind the Matrix Trilogy are directing it, I still want to see it. Go Speed Racer Go!

MAY 16, 2K8

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Directed by Andrew Adamson

With an evil king ruling over Narnia, the Pevensie children are summoned to help restore the throne to its rightful heir, Prince Caspian. Not interested at all in this flick but I do know some folk who are so here it is. I never read these books as a child, and didn’t much enjoy the first flick.

MAY 23, 2K8

The one we’ve all been waiting for…

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Man that title is a freaking mouthful isn’t it? The studio is keeping a pretty tight lid on the plot for this one, which I predict will have a Kingdom, a Chrystal Skull and Indy’s son played by Shia LeBeouf somewhere in it, but alas no Nazis this time. You may quote me on this one. The closer this one comes to release, the more excited I seem to be getting, who would’ve thought!

That’s it for May 2K8 releases, check in again next week for June, and possibly July!



Happy Earth Day to all you grubby, lazy, socialist, hippy, sandal-wearing whiners and global warming, fear-mongering liars!

It's FREEZING here in Calgary and since Friday we've had about a foot of snow! Huzzah!

For everyone else out there not caught up in the lie of global warming, Happy Earth Day! Well all know that Mankind's influence on the climate is insignificant at best, and it is BEYOND ARROGANCE to believe that humans could destroy anything as gigantic, complex, and powerful as the Planet Earth.

Remember when a well-paid, mouth-piece like David Suzuki spouts off about how "doomed" we are he is no different than some nutcase fundementalist preacher screaming "Repent sinners! The End is Near!" And the preacher probably has more evidence to prove his point!

But what the hell!

Make up your own mind, don't just take Al Gore's word for it! He's a millionare who made heaps off this global warming scam!


Robert J. Sawyer Alienates Fans

Attend any Science Fiction Convention and check the program and you will find an panel called “The State of Fandom,” or the always shocking, “Is Fandom DEAD????” I have attended more than my share of these panels of which the upshot invariably is a rousing, “NO! Fandom is NOT DEAD!” These panels are usually on the Sunday and are most likely meant to send convention goers home with a warm and fuzzy feeling in their gut-meats.

I agree that fandom is not dead, in fact for the last fifteen or so years it seems that the Science Fiction Genre has been gaining greater prominence not only on mainstream television with channels like Space: The Imagination Station in Canada, and the SciFi Network in the United States, and Hollywood seems to have changed it’s collective mind about the genre as well, green-lighting more Science Fiction projects every year. Sure, not all of them have high quality writing, and for the most part flicks based on books are pale reflections of their literary counterparts, but they are still enjoyable escapes right? Doesn’t this in itself prove that Science Fiction in all forms is becoming more popular with the masses?

Not really, says Canadian Science Fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer who is determined, along with a large group of neo Sci-Fi Lit fans, to drive a huge wedge between themselves and fans of wider ranges of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

According to Sawyer and is rabidly loyal fan-base, the only real Science Fiction comes from paper-bound books (presumably his) only, and any other media including e-books, graphic novels, television, and film are “the single worst thing that has ever happened to the science fiction genre. I say that without reservation or without hesitation.”

At a recent lecture Sawyer spoke of the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and referred to as what he perceives as the “two kinds of (Science Fiction and Fantasy) fans: those who read the books and were wary of the films, and those who never read the books and loved the films.”

I find it strange that Sawyer, who always struck me a rather intelligent man, would make such a generalization about the fans, the people to whom he owes his very career.

He goes on to say in an interview with SciFi Dimensions that he “question(s) the clarity of thought of those who put on the Mr. Spock ears or the Stormtrooper costume (and) the clown with a lobster on his forehead pretending to be a Klingon." He goes on to say that groups of fans who like to celebrate fandom through the hard work of constructing a costume and having fun wearing them are nothing more than "arrested, overweight adolescent who’s putting on a Halloween costume, and it’s nowhere near October 31st.”

I gotta say I have to question Mr. Sawyer’s clarity of thought when he lets loose these kinds of blasts against the very fans that read his books. Even animals know not to defecate where they sleep. I wonder if RJS even realizes what he is saying when he bashes Sci-Fi film, television, the books that spring from them, and the fans that enjoy them. He claims that the Sci-Fi genre is on the decline, yet the sections in bookstores showcasing Science Fiction and Fantasy are growing bigger every day! I remember, not too long ago either when there were one or two shelves devoted to the genre, and now there are whole sections in the stores deticated to the genre that are iterally overflowing! Does it even occur to Sawyer that Television programs like Battlestar Galactica are introducing new generations of fans to the genre? Does he not realize that these new fans will be more likely to gravitate towards the Science Fiction and Fantasy section of the bookstore and possibly buy one of his books? That’s how it started for me anyway. Back in 1977 I saw Star Wars in the theatre and since that moment I have been a big fan of all things Sci-Fi, from novels (including among others, his books) to comics, from short fiction to television, and movies.

Until hearing one of Mr. Sawyer’s talks at a local convention I honestly had no idea he was trying so actively to perpetuate a vicious “Us vs. Them” attitude amongst fans at a time when we should be united, and all the stronger for it.

Which brings us back to the initial question: Is Fandom Dead? The answer is still no, but with well known, well liked writers like Sawyer determined to alienate fans and drive wedges between them, Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom as we know it may not have many years left in it.


Prepare To Be Reviewed

No Country For Old Men
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Picture, as well as for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, No Country For Old Men is not only critically acclaimed, but one hell of a good flick.

The story begins with hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin, The Goonies, Planet Terror) coming across a drug deal gone wrong out in the desert. He finds a case filled with about two million bucks, and soon finds himself being tracked down by a psycho “cleaner” known as Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls), who is being tracked himself by Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones, Men In Black).

The Coens love for great dialog shows through in their Oscar winning screenplay, and the flick is shot with the care and beauty that we have all come to expect from a Coen Brothers Film.

The Blu-ray transfer is sharp, pristine, and looks fantastic even running at 1080i (which is all my current TV can muster), and the audio is equally awesome, with this disc giving us a near perfect PCM 5.1 Uncompressed track, as well as a slick sounding 5.1 Dolby Digital track.

Unfortunately the bonus material is lacking, including only three little featurettes where the actor sit around masturbating about what great Directors the Coen Brothers are and how great the material was. Pretty standard fluff really.

The conclusion is No Country For Old Men gets a Four out of Five for the flick, and a Two out of Five for extras. For those of you ready to start a Blu-ray collection, go out and get it! Now! I command you!



There are some days when it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed, like last Tuesday. I hit the “ignore bar” on the clock radio four or five times and pleaded with The Grrl to play hooky just this once. Outside the temperature was hovering somewhere around –37c and the wind chill made it feel closer to –50c. This was not a day to be out if it could at all be helped. One more time I tried my best to cajole The Grrl into taking the day off only to get the old, “I have to go in,” routine that is ever so prevalent in our “work your ass off your whole life and retire only when you are ready to die” Western Society that we live in.

I bundled up and headed out into a white wilderness of snow, blowing snow, and sub-zero winds that tore at every millimeter of exposed flesh. I trudged through the icy plain toward the parking lot. After nearly twenty seconds of struggling with the block heater cord, I finally managed to pull the plug from the extension cord, snapping off the brittle plastic prong cover in the process. Looking at it grimly in my mitted hand I hoped it wasn’t a harbinger of things to come.

The truck started no problem, so I struggled back towards the condo, icy snow blowing across my face like heavy-grit sandpaper. Tearing open the storm door against the wind I finally managed to get my frozen carcass back inside.

Twenty minutes later we were off, late again, The Grrl driving me into work. At the bottom of the hill a white car sat, abandoned, its emergency lights blinking slowly, ready to give up the ghost. In this kind of cold, nothing survives for long.

At an intersection two blocks from the main causeway a school bus in front of us slows down, then moves into the right lane to turn. It begins its turn, slowly, surely and just as we are passing a blue Windstar appears from out of nowhere in front of us, having ran the stop sign.

I don’t remember if I said anything, but remember hearing The Grrl shouting “Ohnoohnoohnoohnohno!” I reacted, grabbing the Holy Shit Handle™, bracing for collision, and the inevitable explosion of powder and airbag that I expected would be hitting me in my grill at any second.

The Windstar hit us in the front, closer to the passenger side and drilled us back and to the side. The air bags didn’t deploy, perhaps because we weren’t going any more than twenty at the moment of impact. That said, the truck was un-drivable, as the Windstar’s bumper hit at an angle, completely destroying the radiator and the transmission cooler.

I got out and started shouting at the other driver, waving my arms around and ranting at this point not knowing if it was man, woman, or child. When the woman emerged (what a surprise) and started saying it wasn’t her fault because she was trying to see around the school bus, I lost it and inquired quite loudly as to whether she was “a fucking retard, or what?”

I called the police and they sent someone out quick, along with a HAZMAT fire truck to clean up the coolant still spraying from our punctured radiator. It took an hour for the Police to take our statements, and issue the retarded female driver of the Windstar a ticket for leaving a stop sign when it was unsafe to do so.

We were only five blocks from home, and the sun was now shining on this wonderful day so we decided to limp the truck home, drink a cup of coffee and call the insurance company. As we sat there on the leather couch, sipping our hot, steamy brew I said to The Grrl, “I bet you wish you’d stayed in bed.”

She looked at me and laughed.


Baked Badz

As much as Hunter was a full-on Grinch when it came to celebrating X-mas, he was a sucker for the delicious “baked bads” that always showed up by the hundreds in the lunchroom at work.

On the last Thursday before “Holiday Shut-Down,” Hunter found himself strolling about the building, continuously moving. Like the Great White Shark, he felt that to stop at this point would be to invite death.

It was only a little after 11:00 in the morning, the hunger for lunch came over him early that day, and his only hope for survival (or so he felt) was to get on into the lunchroom and check for high calorie snack items.

Hunter shoved the doors open, starling the three fellow X-mas snack scavengers crowded around the big table inside.

“Hey,” one of the drones called out, “Sally brought in some Christmas baking!”

Hunter nodded and circled the table to see that indeed, there was an all new pile of baked goodies including (but not limited to) Nanaimo Bars, Short Bread Cookies, and moist, delicious, Two-Bite Brownies. He tore a strip of paper-towel from the roll and grabbed one of each of the various cookies, bars and goodies, as well as a Double Choco doughnut left over from the case he brought in that morning.

Before exiting the lunchroom, Hunter snagged one last item, and feeling like a rebel, took the Two-Bite Brownie into his grill, crushing it in one mighty bite before returning to his desk with his pilfered, pre-lunch feast.

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