Monday, February 27

Disappearing Rhapsody

View this clip on Vimeo

Last summer, my son and his friend and I decided we'd experiment with making people appear and disappear on video. So, we did this, and added a bit of music to make it, like, you know, artsy.

Friday, February 24

Boom Goes The Dynamite, Part Three

My nephew, Johnny, has autism. He's an incredibly good looking 5 year old boy, with a ton of energy and, once he gets to know you, a smile that lasts forever. Ever since he's been born, I've had a soft-spot for stories that relate to the autistic. In fact, I've been interested in autism since university when I learned about it when I was an undeclared psychology major.

This story got me choked up when I first watched it. Then, when I called my wife in to watch it too, I welled up and cried tears. Something I don't do very often. It's one of those feel-good stories.

Check it out, why don't you.

Thursday, February 23

The Annekenstein Monster Oscar Pool Reminder

Since it's getting closer, I thought I'd once again post the link for you to go to enter The Annekenstein Monster Oscar Pool.
It's as simple as clicking on the radio buttons of the films you think are going to win each category.  And the joy you'll receive in winning will be immense.  Hell, even the joy you receive in coming in last will be worth it.

So, click this link, and make your picks.  Click send and I'll receive your list.  It won't be as good as my list, but I'll tally it anyway.

Here's who's entries I already have:

My Own
Elvira "I know popcultured sucks" Kurt

Surely you can make better picks than these losers.  Give it a try.

Leave Your Ones At Home, Bird

Johnny Cash sings a child-friendly version of "Don't Take Your Guns To Town" on Sesame Street. You know, taking out the guns and the killings and such. Because, well, it's for kids.

Tuesday, February 21

RIFF 4 Shorts Review

I went last night to see both screenings of Reel Shorts at the Reel Island Film Festival.  That's a lot of sitting in those City Cinema seats, I'll tell ya!
Here, then, are my opinions on what I saw:
Pete Murphy's "The Olde Christmas Spirit" was shown first.  Frankly, this was a rough piece of work.  Pete, I think, has an interesting eye, but this film (as well as the few other films of his I've seen) suffers from poor acting, worse sound and lazy editing.  The story and script, too, could have benefitted tremendously from a prudent editor.  
The acting in the first scene was, I'd have to describe as, plodding.  Very slow and deliberate.  Couple that with languid edits and the film starts off at a less than energetic pace.  And slows down from there.  The main trouble with the acting of the lead actor is that he tries too too hard to act Angst and tries to play "Cool guy" too much.  His acting gets in the way of his, well, acting.
I could go on, I suppose, but I have to live in this town.
Next up was "Snowbird" The Search for Lonestar" by Scott Parsons.  An interesting, but slightly flawed, docu-drama on the origins of Gene McLellan's song Snowbird.  I say flawed because of too much reliance on voice-over narration to tell us what is going on.  It results in too much telling us the drama rather than showing us the drama.  The story is about this woman trying to find out about a guy named Lonestar, a former lover, who apparently co-wrote a song about her with Gene McLellan.  She's trying to find out about the song.  Turns out the song is Snowbird.  Little things bugged me.  Like when we flashback to the woman's younger days, when she's with Lonestar, she's wearing the same short denim shorts that she's wearing in "present day".  And there was no attempt to make her look younger in those flashback scenes.  Maybe that was a conscious decision, but to me it belied the reality of those scenes where she was supposed to be a teenager.  Especially since her "youthfulness" was supposed to be the thing that sets of the rest of the story.  Small complaints, really.
Third was Louise Lalonde's "Courir la chandeleur", a re-enactment of an old Acadien soiree, performed by Birchwood Intermediate French Immersion students.  This was an enjoyable film.  Yes, the acting of the junior high kids was pretty amateurish (and some of their French Immersion french was pretty rough), but their energy and enjoyment of the experience kept me interested.  Probably could have shortened the amount of time we see them dancing to a tune, though.  That seemed to go on a bit too long.
Speaking of going on a bit too long:  Jeremy Larter's "A.J." was a film that I absolutely hated and couldn't wait for it to be over.  Basically, this was a masterbatory piece of shit, where one guy, Jeremy Larter, points his camera at another guy (forget his name) who plays A.J. who may or may not be mentally handicapped and gets him to do "funny" stuff.  What a piece of crap and a waste of my time!  Scene after scene of this guy doing stupid, barely interesting, things.   There was no apparent attempt at structure.  Just random scene after scene of boring "look at me and how car-aaazy! I am" bullshit.
Thank goodness for Joey Weale's "Flagwar".  Basically, this film documents an elaborate game of capture the flag on the streets of Charlottetown.  Very well done, it kept me interested and entertained for almost its entirety.  I say "almost" because my only criticism is that it may be a few minutes too long, and a couple of times I wanted the action to move along, rather than showing me, yet again different versions of basically the same scene or idea.  The film employed a lot of still-photos to further the action, and at first I was worried that such a technique might bog the film down.  Nobody likes a slideshow, right.  But, to his credit, Joey made it work beautifully.  He used all kinds of tricks and techniques (without making them feel simply like tricks or techniques) to keep the action moving forward and to keep the audience engrossed and it worked wonderfully.  It's apparent that a great deal of thought and effort went into the production of film, and I was very much impressed with the whole thing.
Of the first round of Reel Shorts, Flagwar got my "viewer's choice" vote.

The second round of Reel Shorts was basically a display of the talents of Fox Henderson.  Five of the nine shorts were either "all credits by Fox Henderson" and one other (Jack and The Mud Queen) utilized his studio and talents (to the point where I thought it was another by him, but in fact was directed by Devon McGregor).  Rather than go through each of his films, I'll offer a general opinion of his work.  First of all, it's obvious that he's a very talented guy and so much of his work is impressive.   Last year, he had a few animated films entered in RIFF 3, and my criticism then was that his films were technically interesting but failed on the story, editing and acting fronts.  This year, all that improved dramatically, and I was very impressed with practically all of his work.  Dan Caseley was very good playing Mr. Death in a couple of very funny silent movies.  One aspect of his work that I don't care for is in his choice to re-record the dialogue in a controlled environment (just like the big movie-makers do).  While I understand the desire to want to control the sound, it can really adversely affect the performances if the actors aren't up to the over-dubbing task.  This was most apparent in my least favourite of his films "They That Did Dream".  The dialogue-audio re-dubbing was very intrusive to the enjoyment of the film.  But, since I didn't like the story at all anyway, I doubt that better audio would have helped much.
I was very much impressed with the look of Jack and The Mud Queen, and the acting of the lead actor was good, but, like other films presented, this story needed to move along a lot more quickly.  Once again, plodding direction gets in the way.
Onto the non-Fox Henderson films of Reel Shorts 2:
Daniel Arsenault's "Music Has Family Roots" was a trifling bit of music video.  Basically a single-camera, one shot thing showing two live musical performances of Michael and Robert Pendergast.  Apart from a slightly interesting projection effect, there wasn't much of interest in this, as a film.  The music performances were good, though.
"This and That" by Richie Mitchell was a film that I ended up not "getting".   I think it was about a guy who desired to be a gay thief, but wasn't because of a priest in a car who followed him around.  In one reality he has a companion who may or may not be his lover, and they steal some money from a store owner.  In another reality, he is alone, with no companion, and rather than steal from, is given an envelope by, the store owner.  He then gives the envelope to the priest.  When he sees his alternate-universe companion crossing the street, he gasps, but the priest shakes his head "no".  ???  There are also some shots of a woman walking down the street.  She has been shopping.  I didn't like this one very much.
And the other non-Fox film was my very own, Christmas Lights.  This film, of course, is brilliant, and above criticism.  Seriously, though, I am very proud of this film and think it's a pretty good piece of work.  It's a tight, compact, funny piece of tragic-comedy.   The audience seemed to like it quite a bit.
I do think (not really), however, that a conspiracy was hatched to confuse the audience (perhaps in an attempt to keep me from any chance of winning "viewer's choice"?).  First of all, on the website, my film was shown as being directed by Jason Rogerson.  That was later corrected.  Then, on the Viewer's Choice slips of paper that each audience member was given, Driving Lights was shown as being directed by Rob MacLean.  And, the title on the actual film is "Christmas Lights" not Driving Lights, but I think that one was an honest mistake.  All the rest, though, is an obvious attempt to confuse the audience.

Of the second round of Reel Shorts, I voted Christmas Lights as my "viewer's choice".  If it wasn't in the running, then my vote would have gone to Fox Henderson's "The Last Days of Death: After Life".  It was a very funny piece of comedy and my only criticisms of it are that it is too long and the joke doesn't go anywhere.  Each scene is merely a different version of the same joke.  It is only too long because it's one-joke retold again and again.  And again.  I wanted each scene to build on the previous scenes in some way, but they didn't.  As a result, the joke didn't have a conclusion.  It just ended.

In the past, I've railed against the Reel Island Film Festival for showing films that I didn't think were good enough to be shown.  I complained that RIFF's eyes were bigger than its stomach.  Meaning that the festival was too big for the amount and quality of films it screened.  This year's event, due to a lack of funding, was very much paired down compared to previous RIFF festivals.  Whereas in the past, they might have tried to have two evenings of shorts screenings and would have had to "water down" the overall quality in order to fill up all the slots, this year's festival, I think, benefitted by the single night (of shorts).  The result was an evening with a pretty solid lineup of shorts.  An impressive variety of films.
I do think they need to be careful, though, with the potential problem that the RIFF could turn into the Fox Henderson Film Festival.  Nothing against Fox, and his work is definitely worthy of being shown, but ideally, I would have liked to have seen a couple less entries from Fox and a couple more entries from other people.

Saturday, February 18

Mythical Super Hero Anne - Chapter 5 (of 5)

And now the conclusion of Episode 21 of The Adventures of Mythical Super Hero Anne:


Super Hero Anne, now back in her Toshomiko costume, kneeled beside her fallen
adopted parents, and best friend. 
"Oh, my friend, Diannakiro," she said, with tears in her
eyes.  "My adopted father,
Matthewsan.  And my adopted
father-sister, Malirra.  How I grieve for
the loss of you all!"  But what was
this?  Miracle of miracles!  They were reviving!  All of them, alive!  "Oh, thank heavens!  You're all safe."

rose to his feet, and helped Malirra up as Toshomiko helped Diannakiro
rise.  "What happened to us?"
asked Matthewsan.

mind is all out of shape," said Diannakiro, rubbing her bum where
Gilzilla's rock had hit her.

friends," said Toshomiko, "Gilzilla knocked you unconscious."

gasped.  "Gilzilla was here?!  Are you okay, Toshomiko?"

I am fine, thank you to you."

looked about the apartment, surveying all the damage the great battle had
caused. "Mythical Super Hero Anne, the mythical super hero girl, must have
come and destroyed Gilzilla before he had the chance to finish us off

rubbed her head and said, "Malirra say, 'Now we suffer from amnesia, and
cannot remember a thing about the ordeal."

is wise and correct," said Toshomiko, going to her to comfort the wise old
woman.  "The three of you do have
amnesia.  Yes, Mythical Super Hero Anne
was here, and she did ward off Gilzilla in a great fight."  All three of Mythical Super Hero Anne's human
friends gasped as they tried to imagine what surely was the immensity of the
battle.  "But he is not dead,"
continued Toshomiko.  Further gasps, this
time of fear and dismay.  "While you
were unconscious, Mythical Super Hero Anne searched for him, but I fear she did
not catch him, as he went back to the sea. 
She hopes to catch him soon."

said Matthewsan, nodding his head, "that is why she did not stick around
to check on our injuries."  He
picked up some paper mache that used to be part of the wall between the living
square and kitchen square, and studied it, trying to figure out the role it
played in the fight.  "I only wish
that I could have seen the battle, or at least could have met Mythical Super
Hero Anne."

is true," said Diannakiro.  "I,
too, wish that I could one day meet the mythical super hero, known as Mythical
Super Hero Anne." 
Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne looked at Diannakiro, waiting for the
knowing wink that, before the battle, would have accompanied such a
remark.  But none came.  It
seems they all really do have amnesia.

said Toshomiko.  "I hope I can see
her one day, myself.  But I as well, was
knocked into a state of dizziness, and so her identity must remain a
mystery."  Toshomiko looked around
the room at her injured loved ones. 
"But now we are all tired and injured and we must rest.  Come, Malirra, we must go to bed."

say, 'Bed is the place for sleep and fun. 
Fun for two, and sleep for one."

laughed at Malirra's joke. 
Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne breathed a sigh of relief that
everyone seemed to be in good spirits after their ordeal.  She breathed another sigh of relief that now
no one knew her true identity, which would help her protect them in the
inevitable future battles she would have with Gilzilla.  And this time she would try extra hard to
keep her secret.

may be injured and have amnesia, Toshomiko," said Diannakiro, still giggling.  "But at least your adopted father-sister
is still wise and witty."

is wise and witty," agreed Toshomiko, "but we are all more

say, 'We are all tired and injured, but not so tired and injured that we will
not work tomorrow."


looked at everybody, happy that they were all safe.  "And Mythical Super Hero Anne will work

had another laugh and then went to bed, Matthewsan, Malirra and Diannakiro
resting themselves for tomorrow's workday, Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne
resting herself for tomorrow’s workday, and for future adventures.


The End


[Join Mythical Super Hero Anne and all
the gang next month for another exciting chapter, Part 22,  "Gee, I'm Glad I'm No One Else But
Mythical Super Hero Anne".  ed.

T-Dot Doesn't Want Us

We just got word that we won't be attending that CBC sketch comedy special in Toronto.  The producers picked another group from the Atlantic Provinces.  That's the bad news.
The good news is that they didn't pick any of the other groups that performed that night in Halifax.  That would have been hard to take, since I thought we were the best of the bunch.  They picked a group from Newfoundland, a group that sent in a demo tape since they couldn't make the voyage to Halifax to perform.  That's too bad, that they got to submit what I assume to be their best material, while the rest of us were judged on what we did on that night.  I wonder if we would have had a better shot if we had just sent them a DVD of our material?  Probably not.
Anyway, ahead we go, writing sketches for another summer show here in PEI.

At least Charlottetown audiences love and or hate us.

Friday, February 17

Sci-Fi With My Little Eye...

Here's a link to a short essay on The Top Ten Sci-Fi Films That Never Existed.
A pretty accurate assesment of what went wrong, story-wise, with some of the biggest Sci-Fi movies, what should have been done instead, and/or what movies should have been made but haven't and won't be.
Usually I stick my nose up at people who toss off their opinions of what's wrong with things because their annoying personalities get in the way of their points, but this guy, David Wong, sticks to the business at hand and offers an exciting alternate universe of what might have been.

Thursday, February 16

Every Cup Tells A Sad Story

The new TV ad for T** H*****'* puzzles me.  Puzzles me in why they chose that (based on a true) story as the basis of their ad.

Here's the story:
Kid plays street hockey and father tells him that he should be spending time on things other than hockey. Kid is forced to come in and stop playing street-hockey.  It's obvious that the kid doesn't like his father telling him not to play hockey.  The father, based on the inflections of his voice, seems lile something of a disciplinarian.  He rules the roost.
Kid grows up, and is nothing like his dad, because he encourages his son's hockey career by going to the rink and watching him play.  Kid gets surprised at the rink to see his father arrive and sit with him.  Father gives son a coffee (double double).
"Why are you here, Dad?" asks the surprised son.
"To see my grandson play." says the father, coldly.
"You never came to watch me play." says the son.  It's obvious that this has caused him some sadness in his life.
"Yes I did" says the father
"What was the name of my team?"
The father doesn't answer (because I believe he doesn't know) but offers a picture as proof that he at least knew that his son played on a team.
The father, still emotionally cold to his son, goes on to cheer on, and show pride in, his grandson.
Through flashbacks, we realise that the father secretly came to the rink to watch his son play, bringing coffee each time, we assume, for himself and a janitor.  Only the son didn't know this.  All these years the son thought his father disrespected the son's decision to continue playing hockey.
All these years, the son must have born resentment to his father for his stubborn attitudes towards his son's desire to play hockey.
In the end, though, the son smiles and thanks his father for coming.  We're led to believe that, from now on, father and son will be closer.
I understand that this is supposed to be touching.
My wife cries when I watch it, and I know of others who've stated the emotional impact of it.  To me, though, I see the father as something of a prick.  Why couldn't he have acknowledged his son's passion for hockey before now?
What kind of sad, pathetic home life did the son have growing up?  Obviously loving the game of hockey, but not receiving any encouragement for it from his father.
Why did the father need to keep it a secret, all these years, from his son that he watched him play?  Stupid pride?
The only sentimental moment of the ad, for me, is when the son decides to forgive his father.  When he says "thanks for coming".  He could have said something like "you old prick!  Do you realise how hurtful it was, everytime I played hockey, to look into the stands and NOT see you?  Do you have any idea how many times my heart was broken a bit more by your absense?  And now you come here, with a dish-water detergent tasting luke-warm coffee and expect me to be glad you're here?"
He could have said that.
Now that would be a great ad.  That would be a cupful of story.

Tuesday, February 14

Goodbye, Rabbit

I've known Urban Carmichael for almost two decades.  I didn't know him well, but well enough to stop and talk with him and share stories and jokes.  I considered him a friend, as did, I assume, a whole host of people in the PEI arts community.  Yesterday, our friend Urban died after a long battle with cancer.
One of my earliest memories of Urban was when we were both in a play that Dave Moses wrote, The Kelly Murder.  An historical drama based on the murder of a black man in Charlottetown.  It was a large-cast affair, and both Urban and I had small parts.  Urban's character was one of the first to appear on stage, and in the blackout of that first performance, as we all waited for the show to start, Urban uttered a noise that could be heard by all.  I believe it was "rabbit" that he said, but that was up for debate.  To this day, I don't know if Urban's utterance was intentional, or if it came from nerves.  For many of us in the nervous cast, his Rabbit cut through our nerves, made us laugh and allowed us to relax a bit.
From that point on, whenever Urban would see me, his "Hi" to me would invariably be:  "G'day, Rabbit!"  and I'd repeat it back to him.

I was fortunate enough to see Urban perform a couple of weekends ago at Madly Off In All Directions, and spend some time with him backstage.  I was very much impressed with the quality of his humour that night.  While his presentation was a bit off (not much), due, no doubt, to his frail state of health, the material was sharp and funny and poignant and personal.  And current.  As a writer of comedy myself, I envied Urban's ability to write jokes.

A couple of years ago, I had created a character, Moe Gorman, who is an honest but untalented local singer/songwriter.   Moe's voice kind of emulates Urban's unique, high-pitched lilt.  I was always a bit worried that because Moe's voice was Urban-esque, that people would think that I was making fun of Urban and commenting negatively on what I thought of his talents.  Of course, I wasn't.
I don't think Urban ever saw me perform as Moe, but I would have liked him to see it.  I think he would have appreciated Moe. 
Next time I perform as Moe, I'll be dedicating it to you Urban.  I am proud to have called you a friend.

Goodbye, rabbit.

Monday, February 13

Perry O'Grady All Over Again

One of the more popular posts I've made is called "Why I Hate That Canadian Tire Guy".  The post isn't really about the Canadian Tire Guy.  It's about when I was in grade five and a drawing I made was mistakenly credited to another person in my class, Perry O'Grady.  So it could be used as the cover of our school's newsletter, he had traced the drawing I made, and attached his name to it.
I was a little bit heartbroken when I heard some of the parents comment positively on the lovely drawing that Perry O'Grady made.

Now, it may be happening again.  A video (Driving Lights) that I wrote and directed for this past summer's Sketch22 show is being presented at next week's Reel Island Film Festival.  I was looking at their website and see on the Screening page that they have Driving Lights as being directed by Jason Rogerson.  Thing is, he submitted it on Sketch22's behalf, as a Sketch22 video.  I assume since he submitted it, the assumption was made that he directed it.  I don't know.
Trouble is, I directed it.  Meticulously.
I wouldn't mind so much if it was some other video.  But I am really proud of the video, and it'd be nice to have it properly credited.


Mythical Super Hero Anne - Chapter 4

Forgot to continue posting the final two chapters of the story.
Here's Chapter 4 of Episode 21 of The Adventures of Mythical Super Hero Anne


is I who have found you, my immortal enemy!" screamed Gilzilla, the
monster from the sea. “The mind-thoughts of these three humans pondering your
reality led me right to your door.”

he had not been such a fright, Gilzilla's voice would have made the people of Japan
laugh.  He had a high pitched, rather
effeminate voice that, when he spoke, sounded like gurgling water.  His appearance was no laughing matter,
however.  He was over six feet tall, with
bright yellow hair, and green skin.  In
his hand he held a sling shot, a weapon for flinging objects of
destruction.  It was rumored by the
people of Tokyo
that he had a mighty tail which helped him swim in the sea, but Mythical Super
Hero Anne knew from past meetings that there was nothing in his pants that
resembled a tail.  She also knew that
even without a tail, he was still the most fierce and feared villainous
creature in all the land and sea.

Super Hero Anne stepped in between Gilzilla and her loved ones to protect them
from anything dastardly Gilzilla might try. 
Diannakiro was screaming like the little girl she was. Matthewsan stood
totally still, shocked into submission by the gruesome horror that was
Gilzilla.  Malirra closed her eyes and
began to chant prayers in a tongue that predated ancient Japanese

you are evil and must be destroyed!" shouted Mythical Super Hero Anne.

Super Hero Anne," said Gilzilla, in his high gurgling voice, "you are
a super hero that I once loved with all my soul, just as everyone does to this
day.  But you would not return my love,
so therefore, I swore that I would conquer the world!"  Gilzilla took two steps toward her and the
others.  "And you are in the way of
my obtaining that goal, so I must destroy you!"

Super Hero Anne took the famous pose that was captured perfectly in the
drawings of Avonli Comics series of Mythical Super Hero Anne comic books,
available at all newsstands.  "You
cannot destroy me," she laughed.

yes, and maybe no," said Gilzilla, "but I can hurt deeply you by
destroying all whom you love."

a speed too quick for the human eye to see, and just barely within the range of
visual ability of Mythical Super Hero Anne, Gilzilla loaded his slingshot and
with perfect aim hit Diannakiro, Matthewsan, and Malirra in their bums with
poisonous rocks.  Before they could feel
the pain of the rocks, and before Mythical Super Hero Anne had a chance to stop
Gilzilla, all three of them fell to the floor, unconscious and quite likely
dead. Mythical Super Hero Anne was
stunned for a hyper-nano-second. She told herself to ignore the feelings of
grief that were sweeping throughout her body, and to return to the task before
her.  The time for grieving was
later.  The time for destroying Gilzilla
was at hand!

looked at Gilzilla, who was standing in the doorway with his slingshot reloaded
and poised to fire at her.  "You
have destroyed all whom I care about," she said, as the red hair and
freckled rage that fueled her awesome powers began to grow in her belly and
disperse to all parts of her being. 
"Now I will destroy you for sure!"

that said, she dove across the living square, faster than the speed of sound,
towards her back pack.  Gilzilla fired
his slingshot as she dove, but missed her by centimetres.  As he was reloading another poisonous rock,
Mythical Super Hero Anne, grabbed three of the micro-slates from her backpack
and, while still in the midst of her dive, threw them all at once towards the
giant green beast.  They all hit him in the
head, one in the noggin, and two in the brainpan, just as he was firing his
slingshot.  The force of the micro-slates
knocked him backwards, causing his shot to miss its target.  He dropped his slingshot and staggered back
against the wall, breaking through the paper-mache, into the kitchen square.  He was dazed, and for all battle-purposes,
out of commission.         Mythical Super Hero Anne grabbed three
more micro-slates, and two braid-bombs and ran up to the fallen monster.   "With these braid-bombs I will destroy
you.  First, for my fallen adopted
relatives and friend, and second, for Mankind."  She lifted a braid-bomb above her head, and
was about to throw it on Gilzilla.

Super Hero Anne," wheezed and gurgled the monster in his high pitched
voice, though now it had none of the strength and confidence it had had just
two seconds earlier, before the battle began. 
Now it did not sound the least bit funny.  She thought she detected a glimmer of
humanity in him.  He sounded almost
sad.  But she knew that was impossible,
for Gilzilla had relinquished all the sensitive human emotions when he turned
to a life of evil and revenge.  "I
had hoped we could be good friends," he said.

last remark caught Mythical Super Hero Anne off guard.  She knew she had heard him say this to her
before, but could not quite remember the circumstances.  All at once, she remembered.  She flashed back to their island home, before
she was adopted by Matthewsan and Malirra, when both she and Gilzilla were on
the Good side of super hero battles. Back then they fought well and bravely
together.  She knew, back then, that
Gilzilla had feelings of deep love for her, and she could not deny to herself
that she had similar feelings toward him. She remembered how hard it was to refuse
Gilzilla, back then, when he had asked her give up fighting Evil, so they could
live peacefully together forever. She almost did give into him, but in the end
knew that she couldn't, that she must remain forever single.  An Evil-fighting super hero was what she
truly was, and must always remain even if it caused great hardship in her
personal life.  And, back then, ignoring
her feelings for Gilzilla, and knowing how much that hurt Gilzilla, refuse him
she did.  Saying no to him and seeing how
greatly it hurt him was the greatest hardship she had ever faced. 

decision destroyed Gilzilla, the Good. It was what turned Gilzilla into the
embittered, resentful, world-obsessed Evilness that she now saw, crumpled on
the kitchen floor before her.  Yes, the
hurt she felt back then was the greatest hardship she had faced. Until now. For
now, having yet to properly grieve the loss of Matthewsan, Malirra, and
Diannakiro; and, facing the horrible task of having to destroy Gilzilla, the
monster whom she once loved and shunned, was the most difficult moment of her
Once I drop this braid-bomb, I will have nothing
, thought Mythical
Super Hero Anne.  My adopted parents are gone, my kindred
spirit is gone, and now, my enemy will be gone. 
I’ll have nothing left.

looked at Gilzilla, and realized she still cared for him, despite his Evil
ways.  She smiled to herself at the
thought of what might have been, and prepared to release her grip on the braid
bomb.  We had been great friends, once.

if reading her mind, Gilzilla said, "But now, we're great
enemies!"  He swung out his leg with
lightning quickness, and took the feet out from under Mythical Super Hero
Anne.  She fell to the floor, hitting her
head, rendering her dizzy.  His trick
worked!  Just as he had hoped, Gilzilla's
remark about friendship had caused Mythical Super Hero Anne to reflect on her
past, just for a nanosecond, but long enough for him to restore some of his
powers and make his move.  He jumped to
his feet, and ran for the door, still shaken from the micro-slates, but still
able to move faster than sound.  He
paused at the door, turned and looked at Mythical Super Hero Anne.  "I cannot destroy you in this lessened
state of power.  I must return to the sea
to heal my wounds," said the monster named Gilzilla, "but I will be
back to see you destroyed, Mythical Super Hero Anne."  And before she had a chance to go after him,
he disappeared down the hallway, out into the city, and down to the sea.

Friday, February 10

Bob Loblaw's Law Blog

If you're not doing anything, and you've been interested in Arrested Development, you could do worse than to spend two hours tonight watching the final four episodes of season three (but really probably ever) of the funniest, by far, TV show on American television.

Thursday, February 9

Grammy Sound Off

I didn't see all the Grammys last night, but I saw some of the production.  Seemed to me that the audio during performances was often awful, with horrendous levels between vocals and instruments.  It really made some of the performances seem second-rate.
Enjoyed the Kanye West production.  It was great to see Paul McCartney rock out.  His voice, on Helter Skelter, sounded stronger than it has in years.  Didn't much appreciate the first song he sang, when he was plunking the piano.  I'll blame that on the poor audio mixing, though.  And he showed up singing Yesterday in the Jay-zee/Linkin Park mashup.  Too bad the LP guy was trying to sing with Paul on Yesterday.  Too bad because, you know, he failed.  And made the song sound bad.
Coldplay.  Please wake me when their expiration date has passed.
U2.  Another solid performance by the world's greatest ever rock band.  Didn't like the duet with what'shername, though.
What else?
I can't say I am in favour of the current (for a while now) trend of singers warbling their voices as they sing up and down, all around the intended note.  Is it Whitney that we blame for that?  I know she didn't innovate it, but she certainly popularized it, no?  Hit the note and stick with it.
The Sly Stone tribute was terrible, I thought.  Again, I think that had more to do with the poor audio than anything.
The obligatory country songs performances.  I guess these artists are famous within their genre, but my goodness their songs were bland.  It's almost a crime to call those veiled pop songs "country".

This Grammys show won't be winning any Emmys.

Wednesday, February 8

Mythical Super Hero Anne - Chapter Three

Here is chapter three of five, from episode 21, "The Destruction of The Loved Ones" of The Adventures of Mythical Super Hero Anne.


            Matthewsan and Diannakiro were
sitting on the edge of the luxury futon sofa, looking at Malirra, who was not
moving, so deep in thought was she. 
Mythical Super Hero Anne, still disguised as Toshomiko, a mild mannered
fourteen year old Japanese girl, was pacing the floor, behind the futon.

            "Malirra," said
Matthewsan, with urgency in his voice, "can you tell me where Mythical
Super Hero Anne can be found?"

            Malirra looked at Matthewsan, then
to Diannakiro.  They both looked so
worried.  Finally her gaze fixed upon
Toshomiko, who stopped pacing, eager to hear Malirra's answer to Matthewsan's
question.  "Malirra say, 'Mythical
Super Hero Anne is very close to me. 
Both in my heart and in who I see.'"

            Toshomiko gasped, and began to pace
again.  Malirra knows my identity, thought Mythical Super Hero Anne.  Why
hasn't she said anything before now?  She
truly is wise, for she must have kept silent knowing all would be lost if my
identity were to be publicized
Toshomiko looked at Malirra, who was still staring at her, and smiled.

            Matthewsan was confused.  "I do not understand," he
said.  "What can that mean,

            Diannakiro quickly looked at
Toshomiko, with a look that asked what she should do.  Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne shook her
head at Diannakiro, as if to say not to tell.

            "Diannakiro," asked
Matthewsan, "do you know what the riddle means?"

            Diannakiro turned her attention to
Mattewsan and said, "I am afraid I am unable to help you with that riddle,
Matthewsan."  She felt bad for being
misleading to an elder, but at least it wasn't an out and out lie.  She really couldn't tell Matthewsan what she
knew for his own good and safety.

            Matthewsan looked at Malirra.  "Is that the only clue you can give me,

            "Malirra say, 'Diannakiro says
she can't help so, but maybe her friend does the answer know.'"

            Matthewsan looked puzzled
again.  He never was good at figuring out
Malirra's puzzles.  But if ever there was
a time to put all his effort into solving one, it was now, for all of Tokyo was
depending on Mythical Super Hero Anne to save them from Gilzilla. To do so,
Mythical Super Hero Anne must be found.  Diannakiro says she can't help so, but maybe
her friend does the answer know
? "Well," he mused, "who is
Diannakiro's friend?"  Matthewsan
thought hard for a moment, and then looked up in surprise, a little angry at
himself for not seeing the obviousness of the riddle right away.  "Why it is Toshomiko!  She is the one!"

            At that moment, Mythical Super Hero
Anne thought her secret was out, that Matthewsan had figured out that she was
the super hero girl. "Toshomiko is Diannakiro's friend," said
Matthewsan.  "Toshomiko, do you know
what Malirra's riddle means? 'Mythical Super Hero Anne is very close to me,
both in my heart and in who I see'?"

            Toshomiko looked at Matthewsan.  He is
so kind to me
, she thought, he really
should know, and he will likely figure it out anyway in a short while.  After all, Diannakiro knows, as does
Malirra.  So telling one more loved one
can't hurt
.  Toshomiko took in a deep
breath and said "It means that I am Mythical Super Hero Anne!"

            Matthewsan could not believe what he
was hearing.  "You?!" he
said.  "You, such a mild mannered
fourteen year old Japanese girl can make such a claim: that you are Mythical
Super Hero Anne, the mythical Japanese super hero?"


            "Toshomi-- Mythical Super Hero
Anne, why did you tell him?" asked Diannakiro.

            "I told him because I knew he
would soon figure out adopted father-sister's riddle."  Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne walked to
behind Malirra and put her hands on the wise, old one's shoulders.  "You see, according to Malirra's riddle,
Mythical Super Hero Anne is someone who is both near and dear to her, both as a
loved one, and as a physical presence in this living-square.  The only two people in this living-square
whom Malirra loves so much are myself and Matthewsan.  And Matthewsan knows he is not Mythical Super
Hero Anne--"

            Matthewsan laughed, still in
shock.  "How could I be such a
hero?  I am but an old man."

            "--therefore I am the
one," continued the super hero, walking towards Matthewsan.  "I am very close to her, both
physically, and in her heart.  I am no
more than two metres from her physically, and in her heart I am loved as one of
her own offspring."

            "You are Mythical Super Hero
Anne," said Matthewsan, rising from the luxury futon sofa and touched the
girl’s shoulder.  "But why didn't
you tell me sooner?"  He turned back
to the futon, and looked to where Diannakiro was sitting.  "And you knew this as well,

            "Yes," said Diannakiro,
proudly.  "I've known it since we
first met."

            Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne
took Matthewsan’s hands in her own, and looked into his eyes.  "I could not tell you," said
Toshomiko, "like I could not tell anyone. I was afraid, and still am, that
if you knew, you might let my secret out. 
But I weighed that danger against the danger of you finding out on your
own.  I feared it might break your heart
to know that I kept a secret from you. 
So I told you myself, even at the risk of putting your life in

            "It is true," said
Matthewsan.  "The sting of
discovering this truth was lessened by your telling me yourself.  If I had discovered the truth, for instance,
tonight, alone on my futon bed, the shock might have been too great for my old,
weak heart.  Toshomiko...”  Matthewsan again put his hand on the girl’s
shoulder, smiling with great pride, as he realized who he was speaking to.  “Mythical Super Hero Anne, by telling me this
secret, you may have put my life in jeopardy, but you also saved it at the same
time.  Thank you."

            Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne
hugged Matthewsan tightly, surprising him with the grand gesture of physical
contact.  Then she looked at everyone in
the living square.  "It is vital
that no one but you three know my true identity.  It must be a secret to the public."  She looked back at Matthewsan.  "Now that you know, you cannot tell
anyone, Matthewsan."

            "Of course," said
Matthewsan, standing proudly erect and at attention.  "It is an ancient Japanese tradition to
keep secrets forever.  And I am a man who
lives and dies by ancient Japanese traditions. 
I will not tell a soul."

            Diannakiro took Toshomiko by the arm
and pulled her aside. "But what about Malirra?" she asked. "She
knows now.  Won't she tell?"

            That was a worry to Mythical Super
Hero Anne.  While Malirra wasn't known as
a gossip, she did have numerous friends and acquaintances in the community who
were very gossipy.  It was possible that
they could pull the secret out of Malirra's brain.  Mythical Super Hero Anne was just about to
warn her, when Malirra spoke.

            "Malirra say, 'I am much too
wise to tell this secret, but right now it is Gilzilla that Mythical Super Hero
Anne must get."

            Matthewsan put his hand on
Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne's shoulder. 
"Malirra is right," he said. 
"Mythical Super Hero Anne, I am proud to have you as my adopted
daughter, but now you must destroy Gilzilla, the evil monster from the

            "But before I destroy
him," said Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne, reaching into her backpack
which was leaning against the front of the luxury futon, "I must first put
on my Mythical Super Hero Anne outfit." 
She pulled out a straw hat that had bright orange braids hanging down
from both sides, and put it on her head. The transformation was immediate and
total. And at that moment, Diannakiro, Matthewsan and Malirra were the first
humans to witness the transformation of Toshomiko, from mild mannered, polite
female Japanese worker to all powerful Mythical Super Hero Anne.

            "And now I must find
Gilzilla," said Mythical Super Hero Anne.

            At that moment, there was a
commotion in the hall outside Matthewsan's apartment, and then the door crashed
open, splintering into a million shreds!

The Annekenstein Monster Oscar Pool

Last year, Matt Rainnie won it by a landslide.
This year, it could be you.

Enter the Annekenstein Monster's Oscar Pool and see how you fair against the competition.  It is guaranteed to be the coolest Oscar pool going.  Especially if *you* join.  You know who I mean.  I mean *you*.

It's easy as pie.  Just click on The Annekenstein Monster Oscar Pool link and fill in all your answers.
The winner won't win any prizes, but will receive the adoration of your competitors.

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Tuesday, February 7

Empty White Page

Here I sit, with an empty white word-processor page in front of me.  Today is the first day of my concerted effort to write new sketches for Sketch22's new show next summer.  We had our first "Season Three" meeting last night, and it's time to begin the writing process.
The emptiness and whiteness of the page is very daunting.  I have no concrete ideas right now, not even vague whispers of ideas. 
The page is really white.
And empty.

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Monday, February 6

Prince on SNL

I've been a pretty big Prince fan since his earliest days. One thing about him that often gets neglected is his ability to rock out on the guitar.
He was on SNL this past weekend and he really rocks out on this new tune.

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The Roadies, With an "A"

I've been watching The Beatles Anthology, an 8 part series documenting the history of the Beatles.  I had seen it before, but I'm really enjoying it this time around.
One thing that I found really interesting, in disk three, was when they performed in Washington DC the first time.  This was during their first trip to America, during the Ed Sullivan performances, etc.  During the Washington performance, the stage was in the centre of the hall, in the round, with the audience surrounding all sides.  After they performed a couple of songs in one direction, they'd stop the show and physically rotate the platform that Ringo's drum kit was on.  Though, instead of having roadies come out and do the manual labour of rotating the platform, a couple of The Beatles would do it themselves.
Amazing.  How times have changed.

Thursday, February 2

Mythical Super Hero Anne - Chapter 2

Here is chapter 2 of part 21 (The Destruction of The Loved Ones) of The Adventures of Mythical Super Hero Anne:


was sitting on the luxury futon sofa, watching the colour television. On it, a
respectable looking man, dressed in a dark suit was sitting behind a large
mahogany desk and talking.

so", the man was saying as he smiled, "the United States of the
1950's became the laughing stock of the entire financial world thanks to the
Ford Motor Company's poor selling invention called the Edsel Vehicle.  We'll be back to American Business Blunders
after these important messages from your employer."

logo for Tondo Motor Corporation appeared on the screen, as the same pleasant
female voice from the loudspeaker at the plant said: "Attention Tondo
Motor Corporation factory workers! If you intend to rise and shine by five
o'clock tomorrow morning, it is recommended that you go to bed
immediately.  That is all."

man came back on the screen and said, "Join us next week, on American
Business Blunders, as we explain the Savings and Loan crimes."

clicked off the television and laughed his friendly, hearty laugh.  "I love that program," he said,
putting down the remote control. "Malirra, it is time for you to go to

Matthewsan's sister, was commonly believed to be the oldest and wisest person
in the world.  She was, as always,
dressed in her kimono, and her white hair was done up in a bun, held to her
head with two chopsticks, which formed an 'x' through the bun, and her eyes
were closed.  To Matthewsan, she looked
as if she were sleeping, so he nudged her gently, and said, "Wake up and
go to sleep.  You must be up at dawn, so
that you will be able to keep all your appointments tomorrow for the people
coming to you, seeking wisdom and truth."

opened her eyes and looked at her brother, as he helped her from the futon
lounger.  She was so wise that she spoke
only in riddles.  "Malirra say, 'Bed
is the place for sleep and fun... Fun for two, and sleep for one.'"  Matthewsan laughed at this riddle as he took
her into her bedroom to put her to bed. 


of cleaning the supper-time meal utensils, Toshomiko and Diannakiro came into
the living-square, having heard, through the paper wall separating the
kitchen-square from the rest of the apartment, Malirra's latest bit of wisdom.

adopted father-sister is a very wise woman," said Diannakiro.

is the oldest woman in the world," replied Toshomiko.

is why," said Diannakiro, "people come from every city and village to
seek her advice.  You are lucky to live
in the same household as her, Mythical Super Hero Anne."

glanced quickly to the door of Malirra's room. 
It was closed, and she could hear Malirra and Matthewsan chanting their
prayers behind it.  She turned back to
Diannakiro.  "Please,
Diannakiro," said Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne.  "It is important that you never call me
by my supposedly mythical super hero name. 
My adopted father and adopted father-sister cannot know that I am
Mythical Super Hero Anne, for it would put them in great mental and physical

bowed her head, deep in shame.  "I
am sorry for almost having given you away. 
Please forgive my stupidity and carelessness.  From now on, I shall call you only by your
adopted name... Toshomiko."

accept your shameful apology," said Toshomiko, bowing. "I give you


came back into the living-square. "Toshomiko.  Diannakiro." he said.  "You two girls must also go to bed if
you want to be at the factory for morning workout.  Malirra is in the bathroom, so you will have
to wait a couple of minutes until she finishes."

at that minute, Malirra could be heard through the wall separating the bathroom-square
from the living-square.  She had just
thought of another pearl of wisdom, and as was her custom, said it out loud so
as not to forget it.  "Malirra say,
'Most men are standing when they pee, but women sit, just like me.'"

she flushed the toilet, Matthewsan, Diannakiro and Toshomiko broke into
laughter. As the laughter subsided, Diannakiro said, "Malirra is not only
wise.  She is oftentimes witty as

nodded in agreement.  "Somebody
should write all her sayings down in a book sometime.  The publishing company I own in America would
be sure to publish it."

said Toshomiko, "but for now we must concentrate on going to bed.  Let us listen to the news while we wait for
Malirra to finish peeing."

clicked on the radio, and stood beside it. As he listened, he became horrified,
hearing a live news report from the streets of Tokyo.

towards the peaceful northern end of the city!" cried the news reporter,
above a din of wails and cries from the many thousands of Tokyons who must have
been running wildly and chaotically about the streets. "I repeat!"
cried the news reporter.  "Our
beloved city, Tokyo,
is under attack, once again, by the evil super-monster Gilzilla, who has yet
again come out from his home beneath the sea. 
He has rampaged all throughout the inner-city, destroying hotels, retail
businesses and restaurants, and countless civilians!  The mayor of our city is sending a plea to
the robotic super hero Mythical Super Hero Anne to come to our rescue yet once
again, for it seems our U.N. sanctioned tanks and aeroplanes are no match for
Gilzilla's great ire.  He is still loose
and heading towards the peaceful northern end of the city!...I repeat!  Our beloved-"

clicked off the radio, and flopped himself down in the luxury futon sofa, so
dazed was he with concern.  "We live
in the peaceful northern end of the city! 
Gilzilla is on his way to destroy us! Our only hope now is Mythical
Super Hero Anne."  He jumped up from
the futon.  "I must go and get
Malirra.  She will know where to find
Mythical Super Hero Anne." 
Matthewsan shuffled out of the living-square, towards the

looked at Toshomiko, not knowing what else to do.  My friend looks so pale and
small, and strange
, thought Diannakiro.  It is peculiar, she thought, that a Japanese girl would have red hair and
.  Then she remembered that
Toshomiko was adopted from a far away place, an island of super heroes, where
no one looked normal.  Diannakiro
wondered if all the people from this far away place had mythical super powers
as great as Mythical Super Hero Anne's. 
If they did, she wished they were all here now, to fight the monster
Gilzilla, for she was not sure that one super hero was enough to stop him.  She knew that Mythical Super Hero Anne and
Gilzilla had fought many times in the past, and always the fights ended in
stalemate. What tricks, if any, had Mythical Super Hero Anne learned, what
powers, if any, had she discovered since their last meeting that would ensure
Good's victory over Evil?  Diannakiro
voiced her concern to Mythical Super Hero Anne. "Toshomiko," she
said, being careful not to call the hero by her super hero name, "what can
you do?  Gilzilla is a horrible monster
who wreaks havoc on all that he surveys."

looked deep into the eyes of Diannakiro. 
She could see the doubt that lingered in her.  But for all the doubt that may have been in
Diannakiro's mind, there was none in Mythical Super Hero Anne/Toshomiko's. With
every battle she had had with Gilzilla, she had learned a little more about his
techniques and style of battle.  She was
more confident than ever that she would defeat Gilzilla this time.


assuage Diannakiro’s fears Toshomiko/Mythical Super Hero Anne performed her now

famous super-hero pose- hands on hips, feet slightly wider than shoulder length

apart, chin thrust proudly out- and said, "I will fight Gilzilla and

destroy him!"  The surety in her

voice instantly calmed Diannakiro's worried mind, so strong was its conviction.  "This time I will make sure that he is

destroyed.  Not like last time, when he

was able to slip through the Sunday School Picnic trap I set for him."

(see The Adventures of Mythical Super

Hero Anne
, Part 19, "Carrot Stew For Me And You". ed. note)