Saturday, May 31, 2008

Music I'm Looking For

If you decide you want to pick me up a CD or two for my birthday at the end of June...here's a few that I'm looking to find --
  • The Avalances -- Since I Left You
  • Jim Steinman -- Bad for Good
  • Deltron 3030 -- Deltron 3030
  • Beck -- One Foot in the Grave
  • Crush 40 -- Crush 40
  • Nick Lachey -- What's Left of Me
I'm sure there aren't that many looking for this information...really, it's mostly so I have a public record of the music I'm looking for to make sure I'm actually able to find it. But, here it is nonetheless.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Interesting Ozian Quandary

According to “The Marvelous Land of Oz,” the Princess and ruler of Oz, Princess Ozma, was transformed the a little boy named Tip as a baby by an evil witch Mombi at the direction of the Wizard of Oz. Mombi hid Tip for a while until Tip eventually escaped the witch’s rule and found out who he/she truly was…a girl, named Ozma.

This poses a serious question for Ozma. When the time comes and her Royal Highness wants to get married, how exactly does she tell her future husband, “Oh, by the way, I used to be a dude…”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Story Elements

I’m going to pretend for a moment that I’m Stan Lee around the time Marvel was just starting out. What did Lee do back in those days? He came up with an idea, a general premise for a story, and handed it to an artiest who put a preliminary product together and then Lee inserted the dialogue. So, I’m going to do the first part of that – collect some random story elements and post them. Here are a few –
  • Parallel to our world, a world of magic exists. A secret, international body called the “Council of Wizardry” has been helping to hide the world of magic from the non-magical world for centuries. Merlin, in 1990, had taken up an apprentice in secret by the name of Jonathan Modus. Why Modus? Modus has the highest magical potential that the world had ever seen. Merlin passes of natural causes in 1996. After a year or so, fending for himself and avoiding being conscripted by the Council, Modus changes magical history forever…by coming public with his magical powers.
  • America elected Ross Perot in 1992. Vice President Stockdale passes away in 1995 from the strains of the position, putting the sick war hero to bed earlier than he anticipated. Perot enters into 1996 after four years of relative peace and economic prosperity as the lead in all the polls. His Reform Party is being built nationally thanks to Pat Choate. And then…Perot is assassinated. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is thrust into the Presidency in March of 1996, throwing off the entire GOP primary and shaking up the entire world. This follows the story of three men, Newt Gingrich, Pat Choate, and Caleb Tollin. Newt, from the perspective of a man who just became Speaker of the House and is now dealing suddenly with the Presidency and an internal battle with his party to figure out what to do with the election. Pat Choate, who saw the vision of Ross Perot work from coast to coast and saw an emergence of a new party, now scrambling to organize his own national campaign for the Presidency as the party chairman and one of the few national figures in the party besides New York State Governor Tom Golisano (who barely won the Governor’s mansion of New York in 1994 with a stronger national Reform Party). And Caleb Tollin is an average voter in Virginia whose life is shaken by the assassination of the President and what happens to the economy and his life as this all happens to him in the background. It also chronicles how he votes in the end.
  • Create a musical that combines in a logical fashion the storyline and music of both Wicked and The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 musical movie edition). Some ideas include…the changing of Boq back to his novel persona and creating a new/picking a different Munchkin boy to be transformed into the Tin Woodsman; or show Fieyro and Elphaba reuniting in the Emerald City where the Scarecrow was reportedly made to replace the Wizard (according to the books) OR…perhaps have another Scarecrow in Fieyro’s place that Elphaba raises to follow Dorothy.
  • Confederate Zion story. For the background of this “alternate history” world setting, check here. The idea? Tell the story of the end of secession of New England from the perspective of a Confederate Ambassador to the US or UN and a Boston citizen who’s all in favor…perhaps a newspaper writer from the time period.
  • A Modern Templar story. The Templar leader dies of natural causes at the age of 75. Sir Caleb is asked by the new leader of the Templar Knights, Sir Ishmael, to go on a secret mission into Saudi Arabia to protect a small, Christian church from some bombing attempts. He arrives to find the church emptied with no one there. Caleb is then attacked from all sides by people who fight like Templar Knights. He fends the five attackers off and finds in the basement of the Church a shrine to Moloch. What Caleb uncovers is that Sir Ishmael is not what he seems; he had been using the power of the ancient deity Moloch to rise up in the Templar order and had sent those loyal to the late Sir Peter to their deaths. Caleb then seeks out proof to stop Ishmael from warping the Templar organization and perhaps to find a way to destroy the demonic source of Ishmael’s power.
So, anyone want to draw/write up any of my story ideas? Anyone find them interesting in the least…

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More on Bones Season 3 Finale

So, I've been sitting and thinking again about the Bones Season finale, and I've had some more ideas on Zack and his joining of Gormagon. I know it may seem a little far fetched and maybe I'm thinking too far into it...but Zack doesn't make mistakes and had to know that they'd look at his results to try to figure out how to help him. So, the question is...did Zack get tricked by Gormagon because he has a weak personality and sometimes logic is able to be used to manipulate him...realized the flaw in his logic quickly and purposely became sloppy so that he'd be caught.

Notice that the moment they told him they figured it out, he was pretty quick to tell them exact details about Gormagon and where he's living. Yes, they had to "logic" it out of him...but perhaps he was just playing dumb and playing the "insanity" card already so that he could give them the information, go to a mental institution, and perhaps atone for his ridiculous sin. Maybe I'm thinking too much into this...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bones Season 3 Finale: Comments

I’m warning all those who watch Bones, this rant contains tons of spoilers for the season finale. That said, the season finale marked the end of an era for Bones and filled me with a bit of disappointment, not in the episode…but in a particular character and his betrayal.

The episode began with me and my wife yelling at the screen. It was Booth’s funeral, and the reactions from the team made it seem as though Booth had died. They all seemed to be actually mourning his death and it bothered me to no end. Booth was one of the two main characters. He was a practicing Roman Catholic who added soul to the dynamic duo of the series. He was personable and distant simultaneously and provided so much to the show’s dynamic that without him…the show would become rapidly boring. Then, during a salute to the departed, we see that one of the soldiers present was Booth. A sigh of relief came to us both. The interactions between the characters as they realized that Booth was alive were awesome and made for some great story. What followed was intense…and saddening to a fan of the show.

Gormagon showed up on the scene suddenly, dropping off the jawbone of a man. Throughout the rest of the episode, it’s cast that Dr. Sweets or Hodgins could be Gormagon’s apprentice and the case is made indirectly and directly by different characters and comments made by the two characters. Hints here and hints there, with an explosion and permanent injury of Zack…it became clear that Gormagon was among them and manipulating them all. That’s when the realization hits you; at the same time it hits Booth and Bones…its Zack. You think back throughout the entire episode and all the pieces fit together…Zack was a murderer and an accomplice to Gormagon. It shatters this circle and shatters the team to me. It makes logical sense and of all the people in the team, Zack could be manipulated through the use of logical arguments alone. His mind works in such an extremely logical fashion that if one can use logic arguments, they can convince him to do anything. That’s why Gormagon was able to draw him in. It makes sense…but it destroys the current dynamic of the team. Zack wasn’t the glue that held them all together…he was just another cog in the well oiled machine that was the “Squint Squad.” But, he meant so much to the team and after his character had become so well developed that viewers like me really liked Zack. We saw him evolve from a reserved young grad student, into a confident Doctor who had an amazing singing voice and was still socially awkward.

It’s disappointing to see him go, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the cast reacts to his departure, the search for his replacement, and how the replacement interacts with the cast. Part of me expected this Gormagon story to last longer…to extend beyond this season into the next in an interesting way with more hints being dropped that Zack or whomever was the Gormagon apprentice. But, it is what it is. The outcome may not have been what I wanted to see happen…but it was an excellent twist ending that instead of defying logic making you go, “WTF!” it followed the exact logical scheme that the show has used throughout and made the plot that much more interesting and engaging. Well played, writers of Bones…I look forward to the next season that will hopefully not have a strike in the middle of it to mess up the number of episodes. Want to see or learn more, catch up on Bones at Fox's website. You can stream a bunch of episodes off the web.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Emerald Reich: Part II

I previously posted the first three sections of my Emerald Reich story, a darker toned Sonic the Hedgehog fan fiction. Here are sections 4 through 6 of this comic book that would have been...had I been capable of drawing. If you wish to know the backstory, go to the previous link before reading the following section. It's poorly written, I warn you...but I find it interesting.
Part 4: Worlds Collide
(Robotnick is seen from behind. He is shown from the back and is surrounded by 9 computer monitors showing all different rooms, filled with robots. One showing a large skeleton-like robot being built, the rest are fairly generic).
Robotnick: Let me see, (Show his face as he says) Computer, connect me to myself.
(The middle most screen blinks off from whatever image it was and goes to that of Robotnick. He appears to be surrounded by all manner of machinery, and connected to it through a few tubes his head. For ease of reading, he shall be referred to in this section as Myself.).
Robotnick: (Zoom in on Robotnick’s face) How are the last humans and their (a pause, he looks down shaking his head) leader doing?
Myself: (Seen as the screen before Robotnick with no emotion in his face) They are gone.
Robotnick: (Show Robotnick’s face and arms open outward about as he smiles) Defeated and crushed, we are as efficient as ever.
Myself: (Zoom in on the screen itself, can see some of the tubing’s connected in more detail, the grotesque machinery behind him clenching onto some human that appears to be flailing about) No, not defeated, gone.
Robotnick: What?
Myself: They have left this world entirely. They have entered your realm.
Robotnick: (Zoom in on his face, he looks bewildered) He tessered! (Back to a rear view of Robotnick’s head with the screen before it). I shall find him here and destroy the remaining humans. Enjoy your world, myself.
Myself: I shall (he smiles and then the transmission ends).
(Robotnick’s chair spins around and he presses a button on the armrests of the chair).
Robotnick: Snively, come here. Apparently we have a new pest in our realm… (he presses the button again and zoom in on his face which is contorted into an evil smirk) And we need to create something to remedy this. (A zoom in on the middle screen with the surrounding ones still partially in view, you see the robotic skeleton standing and a fur being brought over to it). HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH!

Part 5: Cain
(You see Cain sitting in a chair behind a desk. Desk is very nicely kempt with a few papers in a neat pile, a letter opener, and a stapler. In front of the desk is a chair, its back is to the viewer. A light orange Echidna in a suit can be seen standing behind the chair)
Cain: I don’t understand how a majority of people support HIM.
(Pan around to the side, you can see both Cain and this other Echidna standing across from him. It’s a male Echidna named Leba. He has no facial hair, and has a lighter fur tone. He wears a white suit with a black undershirt and a white tie. His braids are pulled back with a band of sorts holding them together).
Leba: Yes, I can understand where you’re coming from.
Cain: I don’t dislike him as an Echidna, I dislike him as our leader, as a guardian.
Leba: (Still standing, zoom in on Leba, he has his hands out) I know, you’ve said this a hundred times before.
Cain: (Angrily slams his fist into the desk) He allowed the Master Emerald to be stolen and SHATTERED in the human realm.
Leba: (Zoom in on Leba, arms crossed as though thinking) Yes, he did. (Show Leba with his hands on the desk looking straight at Cain) But wasn’t he the one who entered into the human realm risking his hide so that he could return every single piece to Angel Island.
Cain: (Cain fidgets in his seat) True, but if he was a better guardian he would not have lost it in the first place.
Leba: (nodding as he speaks) Perhaps, but we’ll never know now.
(Zoom in on the door) KNOCK KNOCK
Cain: (Cain stands and walks Leba to the door while saying) I’m sorry Senator Leba, but I have another meeting right now.
Leba: (As they reach the door) Good bye, Cain. Oh, and Mother says she hasn’t seen you in ages…
Cain: (Pushing Leba out the door) Good bye (grumbles) my brother.
(Another Echidna enters the room, dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans. He’s a black Echidna with a scar over his left eye. It seems to have blended in over the years)
Black_Echidna: You wanted to see me sir?
Cain: Yes, Claudius. I have…business to discuss. (Door slams on viewers)

Part 6: From the Grave
(See an image of Sonic shocked in the throne room of Acorn)
Sonic: You?
(Show in a black robe, with the hood pulled back, Shadow the Hedgehog)
Shadow: Yes, it’s me.
(Sonic walks over, puts out his arm and the grabs Shadow, hugging him)
Sonic: It’s good to see you, my friend…it’s been too long.
Shadow: Yes it has, Sonic.
(Sonic pulls away and looks confused for a moment)
Sonic: Wait a second, how did you…didn’t you?
Shadow: (Shadow shakes his head) It matters not how I returned, all that matters is that I have…and I’m here to help (latter line with his hand on Sonic’s shoulder)
Sonic: King Acorn, do you mind if I speak to Shadow, alone?
Acorn: (Can be seen behind the two) By all means (He walks out)
Sonic: How did you get to this world?
Shadow: I came here. (Shadow says somberly)
Sonic: Ok…How is Earth? (Sonic looks questioning, but optimistic)
Shadow: Currently under the reign of Robotnick.
Sonic: What?!? But he’s here.
Shadow: Then he’s about to attempt to control both worlds, we can not allow that. I fled that world with the remaining humans. (Show the humans being led through a portal with Shadow’s head at the top, text alongside saying) I led them here, hoping we would find refuge. (Back to Shadow’s face, he appears almost sad) There are a good 200 humans here. They are the only ones I could find. We are the Secret Service and we plan to eventually take out Robotnick.
Sonic: How? (Zoom in on Sonic) If he was able to take over their world, how could we possibly defeat him here?
Shadow: I have no idea. (He sighs and hangs his head down)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fraggle Rock: The Movie

The Weinsteins have the rights to make a Fraggle Rock movie. Apparently the director of "Hoodwinked" is being connected as a probable director. With this and the new Muppet Movie in the works...Muppet fans seem to be in for a treat in the next few years. Ahh, the memories...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jason Segel Does the Muppets?

Jason Segel, now famous for his roles in How I Met Your Mother and as the lead/writer of the hit film Forgetting Sarah Marshall...will now be working alongside director Nick Stoller to make a new Muppet movie. And news of it came out quite a while ago. How the heck did I miss this?

I'm already ridiculously excited.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kelly Clarkson and the Pope MP3

HT to poster Helen who pointed me to NixMix...which has a downloadable mp3 of my American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, singing Ave Maria to the Pope. Thank you and enjoy.

If an official version comes along...I am so getting it.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Testament

For those of you who read comics/graphic novels, it's time you pick up one of the most interesting books you'll read. It's entitled Testament. Written by Douglas Rushkoff, Testament offers an interesting look into the world of the Old Testament. I'm borrowing all of it piecemeal from a friend of mine, and it's been some of the greatest comic-reading experiences I've had. First, let me tell you a very little about Douglas Rushkoff. He's one of the founders of Open Source Judaism and is an extensive writer on non-fiction topics like faith and the entirely fictional.

Now, let's return to a discussion on Testament. Testament, as I mentioned previously, explores the Old Testament/Torah. Instead of merely addressing its stories and writing them in comic book forms, it shows the stories as taking place in a time-space continuum that is ever changing and always occurring. All things at all times are, to a certain degree, simultaneously occurring to God/the gods in the case of the story. In this case, these all things refer to the Biblical stories of Abram, Jacob, Adam and Eve, Joseph, etc and to a semi-futuristic tale about a new global currency and a group of hackers and misfit college students trying to change it all and fight this new system. The stories are compelling and Rushkoff's interpretation of these Biblical stories is incredibly interesting and insightful. Let's do this through a for instance...

Rushkoff interprets the story of the binding of Isaac differently than I've ever seen. Instead of a test from God asking Abraham to kill Isaac...it's more of a test of his old faith. Prior to Abraham following the traditional Judeo-Christian God, he lived his life as many in his land had before him...following the ways of the old gods, which included child sacrifices in such horrific means as perscribed by Moloch. Abraham had Isaac and was going to, in the classical traditions, follow the old gods' ways of child sacrifices so that their retribution may be held at bay. Instead, his God stepped in and stopped the ritual saying that this was not the way. Human sacrifices were to no longer be performed and an animal sacrifice would suffice. Abraham was internally torn between the old ways he understood and which worked for him and the new ways of his new God who had proven to be true thus far, despite him falling short. It's an interesting view and one which would be consistent with the writing of this section.

This also points out the acceptance that there may be other gods in the way the Old Testament stories are written. But as Adonai is the God of the Gods, the God above all others, and commanded His people to worship Him above anything else...so long as they do, it matters very little how many other gods exist.

This well written story/collection of stories spans much of the Old Testament and provides some amazingly well thought insight into The Bible and the nature of God. I'd suggest it for the religious and non-religious alike because even if you don't believe...it's so well written and so exciting that it's hard to put down.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kelly Clarkson and the Pope

The woman who still is my American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, sang an awesome combination of the Olde English and Latin versions of Ave Maria for The Pope during his visit to the US. Here's the video -- the sound quality of the video is very weak and if you a) know one that's better or b) know if Clarkson plans to record this tell me immediately.