Thursday, 28 January 2010

Hillbilly Theatre Feature

Every week at my radio station, we have a feature called “Hillbilly Theatre” in which we reenact scenes from famous movies, but with a hillbilly accent, and we take callers who win prizes if they guess correctly. I act in most of these, and as such I'd like to share them with you.

To cover some legal mumbo-jumbo. They're produced by radio whiz-kid, Sasha Spencer, and the movies are the intellectual property of the writers and studios they respectively originate from.

These aren't too hard, but can you guess what movies these clips originate from? 1,000,000 internet points goes to everyone who gets them right.



Monday, 25 January 2010

More About Avatar

I'm a big fan of silly nonsense from the Internet. Day in and day out I look at some truly idiotic material. For example, I've lost count (not that I was keeping a tally in the first place) of the pictures of animals doing people things I've seen. Suffice it to say that the number is truly astronomical.

But I also follow a lot of news about movies, especially when it comes to big-time films. Lately I've noticed there's lots of buzz surrounding Avatar. I know not everyone liked the movie, I for one didn't mind it because I didn't expect anything spectacular from it, but each to their own.

Since so many people saw, and continue to see, Avatar, I can understand why it makes the news every now and again. Some of the stories are just too weird though, and they have to be shared. I'll give a quick summary, but click on the title to read the for-realsies news article.

#1 – People are suffering from post-Avatar Depression

Apparently, there's a group of people who have been thrown into a depressive state after seeing Avatar. The world of Pandora is so beautiful that they want to live there too, and have become depressed over the sordid state of affairs in their own life.

"The day after I saw Avatar, I was completely depressed. I looked at my hands and thought ‘What I wouldn't give...’, going and seeing again, and again, it makes me feel good… ‘Waking up’ afterwords is extremely hard to do.”
The only movie I saw that wanted to make me kill myself was Terminator: Salvation, and that was only because I wrote off my jalopy of a car to go see an awful movie. I think this person really needs to work on getting a life or planting some trees or something.

#2 – Man dies from seeing Avatar

To summarize: Man watches movie. Man has a stroke because it's so amazing. Man dies.

Avatar was okay, but I don't think it was 'stroke-out' awesome. I understand this one a little bit though because those stupid 3-D glasses can give you a headache, and evidently they could cause strokes too.

#3 – Transgenders are upset at a lack of transgender characters in Avatar

The headline is pretty much the entire article. Some trannies are upset that there weren't any transgender blue alien people.

Personally, I know whenever I watch a movie, I think to myself “You know what would really kick this movie up a notch? Some transgendered people! They're the perfect plot device.”

I'm not %100 on this one, but I suspect it's fake. Even for the Internet, this is pretty far out in left field.

#4 – Anti-smoking groups incensed over mention of smoking in Avatar

Sigourney Weaver has a split second line in Avatar in which she says:

“Where the hell is my cigarette?”
Being that this is a PG movie, anti-smoking groups are upset that there was a mention of smoking. Kids are impressionable, and I've heard it said many times that movies influence teens to smoke, so they think that this scene should not have been included.

However, Sigourney Weaver is starting to get a little tired out looking, and she always plays the part of the Queen Bitch. I don't think many teens look to her as a role-model. Plus, there were alien boobs all over that movie! I like some cinema-nudity as much as the next person, but that was a little out-of-hand. Also, I imagine that the youths in the audience probably took note of that more than they did the smoking.

You gotta love the Internet, amiright?

Friday, 22 January 2010

A Friday Night In

In case you've been living under a rock, or just really didn't care, tonight is the final installment of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on NBC.

In the interest of good journalism I'll let this animated Taiwanese news segment explain the situation. Trust me, you don't have to speak the language to get what's going on here. Skip ahead to the 1 minute mark for the really good stuff.

But if you're not interested in that, here's the point form summary:

  • Leno retired from The Tonight show, and was picked up by NBC to do basically the same show at an earlier prime-time slot.
  • Conan replaced Leno on the The Tonight show.
  • Leno's show sucks, and so does its ratings. Conan is also dropping in ratings, and begins losing viewers to rival CBS host, David Letterman.
  • NBC wants to push The Tonight Show with Conan back, and run Leno in his place.
  • This is breach of contract, executives start fighting, and the public starts taking sides in the debacle.
  • Conan and his crew get paid off in a 45 million dollar settlement, and tonight will be final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

That's not %100 of what happened, but for all intents and purposes, it'll do for the time being.

I've always been a Conan fan, and I'll miss his wacky hijinks and silly sketch routines. This probably won't be the last time we'll see him though, but it's more than likely the last time we'll see him on, or working for, NBC. If you've been watching his show the past two weeks he's practically burned every bridge possible with NBC and CEO Jeff Zucker.

This week's 'Stick It To The Man' pranks have included a new segment where Conan doesn't even try to be funny, he just shows a very very expensive sketch that NBC has to pay for. Wednesday night's segment cost 1.5 million dollars, last night's clocked in at 4.8 million, and tonight's promises to be even more expensive.

This unveiling of the Bugatti Veyron dressed a mouse set to the music of the Rolling Stones cost NBC 1.5 million.

The finale tonight is also guaranteed to have huge guests start to finish, some big routines, and end with a major flourish. I can't even imagine what tonight's expensive segment will be. They kept mentioning the price tag on his 50 million dollar set yesterday, so perhaps he'll trash the living daylights out of it for kicks.

Nobody is coming out of NBC's debacle looking like a hero. Leno looks like a pushy jerk who can't handle low ratings, Jeff Zucker looks like an idiot who doesn't know how to run a successful network, and during a time when poor nations are in serious need of aid, *cough* Haiti *cough* some folks are viewing Conan's expensive routines as jabs that are in extremely poor taste. I can imagine any friendships between network or host have been permanently bruised.

Regardless though, I'm staying in this Friday night to watch television history be made. I'm lucky enough to get the same television networks from different timezones, and I'm going to watch as many opening monologues and talk shows as possible tonight, including, but not limited to:

  • The Jay Leno Show
  • Late Night with David Letterman
  • The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (this'll mark the second time I've actually tuned in for this show)
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live

and of course, the soon to be retired but not forgotten,

  • The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

It was a pleasure watching you these many years Conan. I can honestly say I'm saddened to see that tall, nearly translucent, freakishly slender, ginger-headed, self-deprecating guy being forced off the air.

At least for now.

Silversun Pickups - Substitution

Monday, 18 January 2010

Banff Mountain Film Festival

I'm somewhat of a film geek, and especially enjoy documentaries. I should also note that I'm not a very outdoorsy person. Sure, I've gone fishing, done some hiking and camping, and one time I even tried to climb a tree; But the outdoors aren't what comes to mind first when I write down places I like to spend time.

This being the situation, my movie obsession and my lack of outdoorsmanship rarely cross paths. But, once a year, the Banff Mountain Film Festival rolls through town and I get to see a bunch of documentaries filled with some of the most amazing footage you've ever seen and stories about extreme sports, rock-climbing, winter activities, and just about anything you can imagine.

Scene from 'Revolution One' directed by unicyclist Dan Heaton

Every year in Banff, Alberta, thousands of people from around the globe come to screen the best of the outdoor documentaries from that year. From there, the festival's greatest films are sent around the world on tour everywhere, and probably in a town near you.

Last year I was introduced to the festival by a friend, and I was instantly hooked! Words cannot describe some of these documentaries. They range from laugh-out-loud hilarious, to jaw-droppingly amazing, to painful to watch (I don't mean bad either, I mean seeing some of the skull-cracking spills these guys take is literally almost painful to watch). It brings in a hugely diverse audience too, I saw young kids and old men and women sitting audience together, proving that great filmmaking transcends all barriers.

Here's a trailer of one last night's movies, and so far the best one I've seen. It actually both the judges and people's choice awards at the Banff Film Festival.

If there's one thing you should check out if it hasn't already ripped through your town, it's the Banff Mountain Film Festival. If you're lucky enough to be in Grande Prairie (a phrase I rarely use) there's one last night of movies, and there might still be tickets. If you're somewhere else, check here to see if the tour is coming to your area.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Homage to Cardboard


We use it constantly, but it goes unappreciated day in and day out. Think of all the things that you use every day that are made of cardboard, like:
  • Large boxes
  • Small boxes
  • Medium-sized boxes
  • Arts and crafts made from various sized boxes

Yes, cardboard has all sorts of different uses. But where did it first come from?

To answer this question, we have to take a trip back in time to the 1800s. Tall silly-looking hats were all the rage at the time, but making felt hats from animal furs is a long and expensive process. Plus, they were filled to the brim *pause for laughter* with mercury. Several English gentleman who wore these hats suffered the fate of going insane and becoming badly stereotyped characters from a Lewis Carroll novel.

Then comes the 1850s and corrugated paper is patented in England and manufactured as a liner for tall stovepipe hats. Everyone digs the new caps, and life goes on.

Then, in the 1870s, a young Scottish whippersnapper by the name of Robert Gair shows up on the scene.

He just wants to make paper bags for seeds, and goes about doing so for a time. But one day his paper machine goes haywire and accidentally created corrugated cardboard.

Robert Gair says to himself, probably in the thickest Scottish accent you can imagine,
"I can sell this for lots o' money and drink scotch whiskey all day long!" (We can only assume at this point that drinking scotch all day long was Robert Gair's ultimate plan)

From this accident, he figured out a way to make the cardboard that we know today. So the next time you see cardboard, remember to say:

"Thanks Mister Gair, you really thought outside of the box on this one!"

Dropkick Murphys - Sunshine Highway

Monday, 11 January 2010

Things I Want To Waste Money On

I've been a Star Wars geek for a long long time, so when cool new Star Wars stuff comes out I still get a little excited. One of the main story elements of the series has always been The Force, and now you can bring it home to enjoy for your very own!

Presenting: Star Wars Force Trainer

This has been out for a while, but it still blows my mind every time. What happens is that a sensor picks up your brainwaves, breaks them down into a signal, and that signal is transmitted to the toy where it activates a fan that lifts a ball up and down, giving you the illusion of manipulating the force.

There's another, slightly more advanced version of this toy, in which you guide the ball using your mind through an obstacle course.

The price for either of these toys comes in at more than $100. I won't be wasting my money on these just yet, but maybe when they get more complicated and intricate I'll invest.

Using the technology as it is though, I could easily construct a device to turn the lights on and off in my house, which would be a great party trick.

But with great power comes great responsibility, and if we're not careful the whole thing could up looking like the movie Matilda:

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Blood Money

Canada's Junior Hockey Team lost the gold medal game to the United States this past Tuesday. It's quite the feat, since Canada has gone undefeated at the Junior World Championships for the past 5 years.

Now I feel for the boys, they had big shoes to step in to, a major winning streak like that isn't easy to carry on, and this is one of the greatest grudge matches you can imagine.

Like I said, in the end, the US went home victorious with a 6-5 win in overtime and left Saskatchewan with a hard-won gold medal.

Just like I took home a hard-won TWENTY BUCKS for betting on the Yanks!

I've been called names, I've been scolded for carrying around blood money, and I'm pretty sure my coworker who eats, sleeps, and breathes hockey is considering murdering me. But I'm up twenty bones, so they can suck it.

Yeah, it would have been nice to see Canada win. But Canada winning a few hockey games doesn't put bread, or beer, on my table.

This tidy little profit has got me thinking too. The Winter Olympics, which are being held in Vancouver are just around the bend, February 12th to be precise. If I play my cards right this could be a nice post-holiday bonus for Jake Hammell.

Let it be stated that I'm not rooting against Canada, I'm still going to cheer for them the entire way. But let's say Canada isn't #1 at everything; If I place a few bets, play some odds, and happen to win a few times this could be a good thing for everyone! I'll be doing Canada's fans a service by reminding them that blind pride can be your downfall, and you need to look abroad and appreciate what other countries have to offer.

Because isn't the spirit of team-work and togetherness what the Olympic games are really about?

So, who wants to make a bet?

Kim Mitchell - I Am A Wild Party

Monday, 4 January 2010

Another Winner

Over the past couple months I've come to the conclusion that I can't do hip-hop commercials on country radio. For some reason the audience just doesn't seem to dig it. Go figure.

But, that doesn't mean my goal of being like Charlie Sheen in Two-and-a-Half Men, with a rich playboy lifestyle built on the back of some successful jingles, can't be attained.

To you I present my latest jingle:

Wally's Mini-Mart: Hot Dog Song

I think it debuts today. Hopefully someone rich will hear this and decide to give $10,000 for being awesome.

So, your thoughts? How much would this annoy you if you heard it on the radio? Is it a jingle of sing-along quality?