May 23, 2006

I Watched H*R For The First Time This Weekend (Isn't That Great?)

Those familiar with me from my action-animation domicile know that until last Christmas, my computer situation has been lacking. Flash would crash, videos wouldn't play, and MP3s barely got through. Needless to say, the internet has been hellish for me.

So, using my newish computer, I've come to discover what the internet has to offer. I bit the bullet and actually made a profile on MySpace. I checked out some of the music sites online (note to self: indy rock and hip-hop, nerdcore, and mashups like American Edit and anything from The Kleptones are pretty damned good, and Havoc TV is just a godsend). And this weekend, I finally caved into the pressure, the hoopla, whatever it is and actually checked out this thing called Homestar Runner.

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard at anything on the computer in my life. "A Folky Tale". . . oh my gosh. Frelling genius. "A Jorb Well Done" . . . wow. And Strong Bad . . . he was right in that intro video. I didn't know I was coming to the site for him, but, he's grown on me, crazy little bugger. Well, him and his little brother Strong Sad.

Then again, a lot of you guys and gals already checked this site out many moons before I did, and now I feel like I'm late to the party. As usual.

May 22, 2006

Off To Kings Dominion

The Scooby-Doo.

The Rebel Yell.

The Grizzly.

The Berserker.

Diamond Falls.

White Water Canyon.

Hanna-Barbera Land.

Anyone who has ever been to Kings' Dominion prior to Paramount's takeover of those theme parks would know those names with fondness. I remember every summer the whole family would take a trip to Kings Dominion. They've done this ever since the park opened in 1975. I remember when I was a little kid going in Yogi's Cave. The big guy was standing right in front of it near a pic-a-nick basket and a fishing pole in his hand. It was awesome. The place was huge with that silly song playing throughout, "This here cave belongs to Yogi . . . "

Needless to say, to me and my family, this was better than Disney World.

But, as the years went on, as they always do, things change and families grow apart. We didn't go to Kings Dominion as much as we did the park closer to home, Busch Gardens. The last time the whole family went to Kings Dominion was the summer of 1998. It was the first time that all of us, not to mention some newcomers to the family, went to the park as a family. Needless to say, it was a totally different place than I had remembered it, but the park still smelled the same. Fresh paint, hot asphalt, and wet wood. The Effiel Tower still stood there, 1/3 the size of the original, but tall nonetheless. A lot of the Hanna-Barbera stuff was gone in favor of this Nickelodeon theme section, though I remembered seeing the Scooby-Doo roller-coaster still in place. There was a Wayne's World section and all these Paramount themed areas. They had even built in a waterpark inside (and dang if I didn't bring a bathing suit). In all, a fun time was had by all, even if it did feel like Paramount commercial time everywhere we turned.

Sadly, it would be the last time all of us would be together. My grandmother passed the following January. And we all, as a family, never went there again.

I found out today that Kings Dominion and all of the Paramount Parks was purchased for $1.24 billion by Cedar Fair, the owners of Knott's Berry Farm, Cedar Point, Geauga Lake, Dorney Park, and Valleyfair. You know, for a theme park that has always been seen as #2 in the state, Kings Dominion's in pretty good company now. I hope they'll manage to become less like a commercial park and back to the park of my youth (but with modern, better rides, of course).

May 19, 2006

Dreams in Gunmetal Black

I've been writing the story bible of my super hero universe for about six months now. I've learned that I have well over 250 original characters on all points of the world. I know who they are, I know what kind of world they live in, I know where they can go to grab a bite to eat. I know what kind of beverage they can drink. I even know what they can watch on television.

Everything is set, or at least it was until I got involved in talking about one particular series they could watch. It was an adult-animated series (I mean adult as in mature, not adult as in "walkachicka-walkachicka") about a group of friends finding love and fun in the midst of all of them on opposite sides of the law. It felt like a cross between The Sopranos, Sin City, and Romeo and Juliet with a blending of, well, not Friends, but something with that kind of chemistry without being so vanilla. Sadly, this once again proved a theory I talked about on my website that there hasn't been an original idea since 1967.

The more I developed this story, the more I asked myself "Why aren't I really writing this story on its own rather than just a small part of a large universe?" So, I put the superhero story aside and began working on this "gangster noir" story. No superpowers. No invulnerabilities. No clearcut "good versus evil," because, despite what Rand said, there are shades of grey in everybody. Everybody has their reasons for doing what they're doing. It's not always pretty, but it's probably the most "real" story I have ever written.

For the first time in a long time, I feel truly energized by something I'm actually creating. Probably because it's not giving me a headache like the network-oriented articles I've been writing on my own site for years (man, just when I think Cartoon Network is going in the right direction, they continue to make that right turn at Alberqurque instead of that left).

I originally wanted to use my MySpace blog to talk about my progress. Then, my friend Karl Olson enlighted me about the revised TOS saying that, legally, MySpace and its corporate owners (that would be News Corp) would have ownership in everything posted there. So, I have created another place for that, Dreams in Gunmetal Black.


May 11, 2006

Quick Toonami-relevant Plug

Over at the mothership taking place at all points on the globe, Ben, Karl, William, and Knux all take part in a once in a lifetime interview with the maverick fathers behind the block we call Toonami, Jason DeMarco and Sean Akins.

At the same time.

Listen as they talk about the evolution of Toonami Jetstream, the new season of IGPX, Black Hole Megamix, Oblivion, why they picked up Bo^7, why Gundam just isn't working (and what did), who's the better Guitar Hero guitarist, what they did during the reconstruction of Williams Street, and the crusty old guys who inspired them to do what they do. Head over to the eighth episode of The Toon Zone Podcast right now. And when you're done with that, talk about it.

May 10, 2006

A Smarter Network?

On Monday, a group of individuals announced plans to change the face of television. Okay, it's kind of hyperbole, but it's true. Two network groups (ION Media Networks [formerly Paxson Communications, owners of i, the network formerly known as PAX TV] and NBC Universal [owners of Telemundo and some broadcast network who name escapes me]) and three media companies (book publisher Scholastic, Corus Entertainment [owners of YTV and Nelvana Animation], and Classic Media/Big Idea [the former owns properties ranging from Rocky and Bullwinkle and Underdog to Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing to the Little Golden Books characters while the latter, a unit of Classic Media, created religious-based and secular value-based programming, most notably VeggieTales) are joining together to launch a trio of children's entertainment outlets under the "Smart Place for Kids" banner:

- Three national broadcast blocks on NBC (Saturday mornings beginning in September), Telemundo (Saturday mornings beginning in October and Sunday mornings in Spanish beginning in January 2007), and i (weekdays beginning in September)

-- A new 24-hour digital kids channel (majority owned by ION, which will bring it to their national feed and concurrently on digital cable outlets) with library properties from the partners (which will range from classic theatrical and television animation, popular kid-friendly titles, familiar series and franchises, and kid-friendly live-action series) launching on September 2, 2006.

- Video on-demand services on Digital Cable and official branded website.

Their mission: bringing literacy and values to children's television to all families (well, if you speak English and Spanish) by providing kid-empowering and parent-approved programming.

In short, E/I, E/I, oh.

You probably won't see something like, say, Exo-Squad or WildC.A.T.S. on the new block (what a pity), but it wouldn't be farfetched to see Pandalain or the new Mr. Magoo or Gerald McBoing Boing. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they'll somehow sneak in reruns of Goosebumps or Clifford The Big Red Dog on the network equivalent considering the fact that a number of shows commonly seen on PBS Kids are missing on PBS Sprout, who at first glance is one competitor on the cable front, and may not air on their relaunch digital television feed PBS Kids Go.

This announcement leads me to believe that this fall is going to be the most intriguing fall season in a long, long time. CBS abandoned Nick Jr. programming in favor of a DiC-programmed block. The CW's Kids' WB block will drop all anime in favor of a more comedic lineup harkening back to what the block looked like in 1995, and ABC Family has given up the good ship Jetix, giving that block exclusively to Jetix, I mean Toon Disney. Cartoon Network's airing original programming on Saturdays (though benching the more interesting Dragon Hunters for reasons yet to be revealed) while Nickelodeon still airs reruns and dominates, a trend that has had some success on ABC Kids.

I mean, back when NBC and Discovery Kids ended their partnership, nobody knew what NBC would program their Saturday morning block with. Now, NBC has, in a way that might have surprised even them, found friends in high places, renewed a strained partnership with ION, and found a way to unify programming on both NBC and Telemundo, NBC's Spanish-language network.

To say we're in interesting times would be a mild understatement.

May 9, 2006

A Lame Attempt To Sell T-Shirts

Spring is winding down (what, already? It seems like it just got here over a month ago), so get ready for summer con season by blatantly advertising my site.

Yeah, it's a cheap ploy to get you to buy my shirts from Cafe Press. Shameless, I know, but a guy gotta have a hobby. Who knows? Maybe if I could convince folks to buy the shirts, I'll have confidence to make better ones in the future. Instead, just the basics for now.

Here goes:

TXB EyeSquare White (with TXB logo)- $15

TXB EyeSquare Button - $2

The X Bridge Logo Black - $20

Shameless? Yes. Tomorrow, I'll do a real update.

Bloody Scatcakes

I never thought I'd see the day that there would be a Black, female version of Cartman on television. And tonight, I've seen it on Bromwell High, an animated, adult British/Canadian animated series that recently started airing on BBC America. Wish they'd advertise it better since it's obviously been airing for weeks now. It currently airs on The Detour on Teletoon in Canada (the Canadian equivalent to Adult Swim). Have you seen this show?

Chances are that if you're only looking at the billionth rerun of Family Guy over on Adult Swim, you probably aren't.

If you're just started or want to know a little something about it, let me give you the skinny.

Bromwell High chronicles the hardships of those who attend this underfunded, broke-down, overcrowded high school (every city has one) ran by this scheming, vulgar headmaster who isn't exactly the brighted bulb in the lamp (though he did win the school in a poker game). The three central characters are naughty, politically incorrect girls who cause trouble and bother all who cross their path.

Natella is the youngest of the girls and also the smartest person at Bromwell High. Not smsrtest student, smartest PERSON (teachers are even shocked by her intelligence). Of course, she uses her genius is used for manipulative purposes.

Latrina, named after the location of her birth, isn't exactly known in at Bromwell High for her intelligence. She's more of a beauty queen with a "white trash" background often using her looks to get what she wants. What Latrina lacks in sophistication she makes up in, um, I'm not sure.

The final member of this trio is Keisha Marie, a violent, ADD-ridden deviant prone to saying the first thing that comes to her mind and damning whatever occurs as a result. For example, in one episode, Keisha starts to have feelings towards a new student at Bromwell, but instead of giving him affection, she commits to giving him contusions and punches.

I am really starting to like this show, and you might dig it too. Catch it on BBC America every Thursday night at 11:30 PM EST with an encore airing Monday nights at 11:30 PM. I'm sure you can miss Family Guy on those nights to check it out.

May 8, 2006

Where Did That Gun Come From, Little Buddy?

Remember Steve Purcell's ginchy anthromorphic detective series Sam & Max: Freelance Police? Great series of games and a GREAT animated series from Nelvana. Too bad it only lasted one season.

Well, straight from E3, GameTap (the subscriber-based video-game broadband nirvana owned by Turner Broadcasting) and Telltale (a nice group of fellas who is comprised of a lot of former Lucasgames artists and programmers, many of whom were involved in numerous titles, including Freelance Police) announced plans to produce a brand new Sam & Max series exclusively for GameTap.

The new series, which will also be availiable for sale at TellTale's official Sam and Max site, where new strips can also be found, will mark GameTap's first original production. GameTap will also introduce the new Sam and Max game on their network, an industry first.

If you're able to attend E3, check out GameTap's booth (Booth #1078 located in the South Hall ) for a sneak peek as well as other giveaways.

Nice news.

Have $500 Laying Around?

If you do, you can get yourself a brand new Playstation 3 when it launches on November 17, 2006 in North America ($549 in Canada). If you have an extra $100, you can get one with a 60 GB HDD (the standard one comes with a 20 GB HD). That's $110 extra in Canada.

So, what do you get with that uberhigh console?

Well, here's the skinny:

- Blu-Ray straight out the box (of course, it'll help if you have an HDTV to play them on)

- Able to play on traditional televisions.

- Plays ALL generations of Playstation games (PS1, PS2, and, of course, PS3).

- Maximum heat and noise reduction has been achieved with a noise level equivalent to that of the current slim-line PlayStation 2.

- Rich, Cortithian leather, I mean, "clear black" casing.

- The new PlayStation 3 controller, a touch-sensitive, high-precision system using Bluetooth wireless technology

Now, you'll just have to find the killer app that'll make you want to put down this kind of coinage. I'm not just talking about a really, really good game, I mean something that'll make me want a PS3 yesterday. As for me, I think I'll wait until 2008 before I can get one.

Ah, I love this season. The season of E3, a glimpse of things to come and things to drool over encased in a polygonal display of euphoria and smoke and mirrors. It begins in the morning, so watch the net.

Thought I'd Spruce Up The Place

I did it on the main site.

Figured that I should do the same for Thoughtnami.

Consider this Phase Two.

May 4, 2006

Clang Clang *head explodes*

It's 10:44 PM in the East when I started writing this.

I'm watching Sci-Fi Channel.

I'm not watching science fiction.

I'm watching Law and Order: SVU.

Okay, call me crazy, but when did SVU become classified as a science-fiction, horror, or fantasy series, the three typical genres I tend to feel belong on Sci-Fi.

It's not. I like SVU, but I'd like to see it on USA and NBC, where they belong, not Sci-Fi.

At least Sci-Fi's smart enough to focus on the more horrific serial killer episodes rather than the regular ones. And hopefully, it's just one night only as the ad I just saw suggests.

And for all you people complaining about Passions seen on Sci-Fi, stuff it. At least Passions has fantasy elements like witchcraft, spiritual themes, and other oddities. Hell, they just brought back the fantasy elements on the NBC episodes recently with the introduction of mermaids and the current Vendetta plot with all the paranormal elements seen in things like um, that upcoming movie about the biblical code in the DaVinci paintings or something. Never read the book.

I Am Not A Number (Just Felt Like One In College)

You remember The Prisoner? Crazy, insane series about a former secret agent man who gets kidnapped and sent to this strange (you know, I don't think strange even describes The Village) where chaos was the order and rational thought wasn't anywhere in sight?

No? It reran on Sci-Fi back in the 90s and recently on BBC America. It's been parodied on a lot of pop cultural institutions like The Simpsons and ReBoot. That show with the floating white balloon chasing the lead character.

Yeah, that show. It was one of the greatest sci-fi series ever made. No, it wasn't set in space or involved an intergalactic war. It wasn't even about confronting alien creatures of any kind. It was a straight sci-fi psychological thriller action-adventure and no modern series has ever come close in replicating it. Well, according to C21 Media, the folks at Sky One in the UK figure if you can't beat 'em, remake it, and in 2007, that's exactly what they're going to do.

Hot off the heels of BBC's successful and critically-acclaimed new series of Doctor Who (season two is currently airing while season one is currently seen on Sci-Fi stateside Fridays at 9 PM EST/PST with encore airings at Fridays [technically Saturdays] at Midnight and Sundays at 11 PM), Sky One and ITV Productions (broadcasters of the original series) are producing a six-part series to air next spring 2007. And to further cement the Who factor, Christopher Eccleston, who previously played The Ninth Doctor in the first season of the new series, is tapped to play the lead role in this remake.

Sounds like a good time to be had by all. Be seeing you.

. . . And FINALLY, George Lucas Gives The Fans What They Want

This September, one of the greatest sci-fi epics ever created comes to homes in the way they were meant to be seen.

In cutesy little plastic pieces.

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy completes the popular franchise by giving you a chance to relive the adventures of Luke, Han, Leia, and the rest of the pop culture icons in a fun-sized format.

Oh, right.

And to mark this upcoming release, 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilms are going to release The Original Trilogy on DVD for a limited time on September 12, 2006. And when I mean The Original Trilogy, I mean Han shoots first, English on the control panels, no celebration on Naboo, and Hayden isn't a ghost. Yeah, THAT Original Trilogy. But if you like the other stuff, they'll be in this release too. Here's the official press release.

Yub yub indeed.

May 2, 2006

Today's Fox Trot Gets It

Ladies and gentlemen. This is why Bill Amend is one of the greatest comic strip writers/artists around today. He gets it. Of course, Mr. Amend is always ahead of the mass media when it comes to covering stuff those late to the party haven't found out about yet. The iMac. Wikipedia. TechTV. Now Cartoon Network not showing cartoons (and even skewering cable news "talk shows" to boot). Well played, Mr. Amend. Well played.

By the way, this is the first time I posted an image on Blogger. Pretty cool, eh?