Monday, December 9, 2013

Real Life Mirrors Edge

Check this shit out! Mirrors Edge was a parkour video game released on PS3 and XBOX 360 in 2008. It was hyped up like crazy before the games release, mostly do to the 1st fast parkour moves beauty shown in the demo and trailers. Now some crazy mother fuckers have decided to climb some buildings and try it for themselves. The result looks pretty damn amazing. Check the link below from 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Shows Time Forgot: Clone High

Where I live in Ontario, Clone High was a show that was talked about in High School all the time. The show seemed to be an endless supply of hilarious quotes and wacky ideas that could never fail; but it did. I often ask why shows that are so well written, uniquely animated and packed with uproarious comedy can get completely overlooked. I guess this is why I wanted to include this amazing cartoon in my series of The Shows Time Forgot.

Clone High was the story of a High School populated by teenage clones of famous historic figures; an experiment by the schools principal Dr. Cinnamon Scudworth (voiced by the shows co writer Phil Lord). The show focus' around a group of friends consisting of Abe Lincoln voiced by Will Forte (SNL, MacGruber), Mahatma Gandhi voiced by Micheal McDonald (MAD TV), Cleopatra voiced by Crista Miller (The Drew Carey Show, Scrubs), JFK voiced by co writer Chris miller an Joan of Ark voiced by the Nicole Sullivan (MAD TV, King of Queens, Family Guy). The show ran with a continuing story line through each episode but each episode still carried an independent plot making it a easy show to just jump into. Much of the comedy that came out of Clone High was through the juxtaposition between the clones and the historical figures they're based on. For example the real Abe Lincoln was a confident leader, while his Clone is an extremely insecure follower. There are a lot of historical jokes thrown in through out the show like their after school hang out being called the Grassy Knoll (part of a JFK assassination conspiracy) and how Joan believes shes hearing God's voice in her head (which turns out to be radio signals picked up by her retainer).

A big part of what makes this show so good is how its a parody of old after school specials and shows like Degrassi (the 80's series). Each episode was a melodrama based on a particular subject. In one episode they parody a common AIDs story line where in Gandhi is diagnosed with ADD and is ostracized by the school due to their lack of understanding. In the stereotypical drug episode a dealer shows up in town (voiced by Jack Black) who introduces the teens to the wonders of smoking raisins. In the very funny episode dealing with the death of a friend JFK's best friend (who is never seen in any other episode) Ponce De Leon is killed by litter in the school yard.

The style of the show was another interesting aspect of the show is the use of very minimal animation. The blocky animation style is extremely simple and was often times lacking in detail, detailed colour paterns and movements. This was all done intentionally though, and worked. The decision of the animation style was meant to draw the focus away from the look of the character, to the almost constantly running gags. Personally I really loved the style of the show, but I could see how someone used to more modern animation techniques could be turned off at first glace.

Clone High was created by the very funny Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who have gone on to gain a lot of notoriety from their work on How I Met Your Mother, the Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs films and the hit comedy 21 Jump Street. The show was also co created by Bill Lawrence whos worked on shows like Spin City, Cougar Town and the very popular Scrubs (many of the stars of Scrubs lend voices to Clone

When on, this show seemed like a perfect storm, but unfortunately never survived after a first season. I remember in the early 2000's there was a petition circulating the internet trying to bring the show back, but at the time something along those lines just didn't happen. Just remember this was probably a few years before the famous cancellation and resurrection of Family Guy which was a television landmark.

I really wish I could have seen more of these great characters, but I guess all good things must come to an end. Thankfully, the last episode could work as the final episode as is brings together many of the events of the show in one nicely wrapped package.      

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Album Review: The Flatliners - Dead Language

Growing up in my towns local punk rock scene I saw a lot of bands come and go. Many of them I don't remember, mostly because there was nothing memorable about them. Every once and a while though a band was get on stage that would strike a chord with me and leave me wanting more. Thankfully The Flatliners just never seemed to go away, and unlike the other bands that rolled through town, they got bigger and better. I lost touch with my towns scene for a few years, and the show that brought me back was The Flatliners who had come back to town to play songs from their record The Great Awake, and my mind was blown. Since that record dropped in 2007 on Fat Wreck Chords they've had two more releases, 2010's Cavalcade and their new album that dropped last month Dead Language.

This record definitely builds on the new sound that The Flatliners have been working to develop since their first major release Destroy to Create (2005). On Destroy vocalist Chris Cresswell had an enormous amount of speed and power behind his voice which gave a great youthful sound to their blistering punk/ska sound. Though now, they have really established themselves as a much more matured band. Their songs now are more driven by a developed musicianship and th unique vocal style of Cresswell. Their songs seems to speak from the years spent on roads in vans and on planes going around the world.

Dead Language picks up where Cavalcade finish and ramps up with the opening track "Resuscitation of the Year" which is an intense anthem hitting you hard in the face to tell you "Sit the fuck down and listen". This song almost sounds like it could have been on 2010's Cavalcade and feels like a bridge between the two records. The blistering punk rock drive, with blistering quick chords and a destructive rhythm section automatically put this song into my good books. The albums continues with a great pace through "Bury Me", and ramps down to a slower and deeper pace for the very noteworthy "Birds of England." not before stabbing you in the ears with "Drown in Blood".

Track after track on Dead Language put a smile on my face as it's always a surprise that a band that has been consistently pumping out amazing material for years has yet to jump the shark.

While this album is great, it still didn't seem to reach the heights of their last two albums. Many of the tracks on The Great Awake and Cavalcade would get stuck in my head for days and I've yet to experience that in the week or so I've been listening to Dead Language. That could be in part that those last 2 albums were very chorus driven and simpler than their new tracks. It could also be that the years on the road are taking a tole because an amount of settling down can herd in comparison to Cavalcade. Either way Dead Language does not disappoint a fan of The Flatliners and I could see it being easily accessible to someone who is into punk, pop punk or even just general hard rock.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Shows Time Forgot: Mission Hill


                Mission Hill is a largely forgotten animated series that was originally aired on the old WB network; and fell well in line with the popularity of young-adult oriented TV shows at the time. The show was created by former executive producers of The Simpsons, Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. Mission Hill focused on 24 year-old slacker Andy French (voiced by Wallace Langham) dealing with his big city life in the fictional city of Cosmopolis’ Mission Hill neighborhood. Mission Hill would be be described as a hipsters paradise, filled with indie musicians, artists, loft apartments and unique personalities. Andy can’t seem to make a break in life; he has a dead-end job working at a waterbed store, no girlfriend, no money, is failing at his dream of being a cartoonist and on top of it all is left to take care of his nerdy younger brother Kevin (voiced by Scott Menville). Though his slacker life isn’t amazing, he is comfortable with his small world of drinking malt liquor and going to local ska shows.

                When Kevin shows back up in his life suddenly everything is turned upside down and Andy now has to struggle to be a guardian as well as dealing with his brothers annoying habits. For example: his continuous chanting of “bling blong” over and over again to drown out distractions. As much as this show focus’ on Andy’s annoyance with his brother, there is another side of the coin. Kevin has lived a sheltered life with his parents and being thrown into the big city is sometimes more than he can handle. Many of the themes involve Kevin experiencing new things and letting down his guard to become more accustomed to his new world.
Andy with his often present bottle of Maestro Malt Liquor

                The show also focus’ on Andy’s many friends and neighbors which help to add great banter and unique comic relief to the mix. Andy is often accompanied by his best friend and roommate Jim Kuback (comedian Brian Posehn) who is a quintessential stoner working at and advertising agency, his other roommate Posey Tyler (Vicki Lewis) who is a wispy new ager interested in organic vegetables and deep meditation, their elderly gay neighbors; the very flamboyant Gus (Nick Jameson) and Wally (Tom Kennedy) who is a giant angry-looking bald man who owns the local diner as well as a plethora of other very unique personalities.
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s most of the major networks in the united states were jumping on the band wagon to create adult oriented animated shows that they hoped will help compete with shows like The Simpsons, Futurama and South Park. The animated shows on the major networks like Fox were getting a lot of attention and the smaller cable networks figured they could mimic this popularity by getting their own shows, unfortunately this wasn't the case. Many of the animated shows bought by the larger cable networks crashed and burned and often times only made it to 1 season, or less. Some definitely note worthy examples are The Oblongs, Clone High, Undergrads and Mission Hill.
From left to right: Posey, Jim, Kevin, Andy and their dog Stogie
               Unfortunately Mission Hill did not last long as a series, after 2 episodes the show was pulled from The WB’s line-up due to a lack of ratings. Originally there were plans to make a full 18 episode series but due to it not being as popular as anticipated, only 13 were produced. After a little while some cable networks started airing the 13 episodes. I originally saw the show on the Teletoon cable network in Canada as part of their prime time line up of cartoons. I was instantly drawn to the show and became a really big fan of the style and overall presentation of the series. I was of course pretty upset when I learned that the 13 episodes I saw would be the only ones ever released.

                 What made Mission Hill such a great show was in part due to the unique style of animation. It used an old style where every animation cell was individually hand painted, instead of adopting the use of Flash which almost every animated series is done on today. Flash is okay for animation, but it definitely does not have the same warm look and feel as the older animation methods. The animators also used blocky colour splashes that sometimes fell outside the drawn line which made for a very interesting artistic style.   
A good example of the shows unique style
                I believe if more people knew about this show at the time that it could have been at par with the popularity of shows like Family Guy. I think the main reasons people didn't grab onto the show was in-part due to the style of animation and art direction which was really very unique to Mission Hill. This show is definitely worth checking out, and I know some episodes and clips are available on YouTube. You can also purchase a DVD set of all 13 episodes which is definitely worth picking up. The DVD’s has really great
commentary tracks by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein as well as many of the voice over actors.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Blacklist - Pilot Review

Well it’s that time of year again, where the major networks open the gates and release a mix of terrible garbage and fantastic shows. One of the most advertised in the recent month, and most anticipated, is the serial national security drama “The Blacklist” starring all around crazy fucked up Hannibal Lecteresq James Spader (Stargate, Boston Legal). I was intrigued by the 1,000 promos shoved down my throat by NBC and Global TV in Canada so I figured last night I’d sit down and check out the pilot.
So this program is about Raymond Reddington (Spader) who is a long time fugitive and former armed forces member who disappeared on Christmas eve many years ago. He magically appears at the FBI headquarters and turns himself into the FBI. And tah dah he refuses to talk to anyone but this cheeseball oversimplified FBI newb named Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boon). What bothered me right off the bat is that she was really nice and kind of naïve and ditzy. This isn’t a problem until she’s pulled into meet with Reddington and the first thing she says is that her former coworkers thought she was a Bitch. What the fuck is that all about? I didn’t know a kind woman dedicated to her man and was trying to adopt a kid was a bitch.
So after the awkward and cheesy character intros are done with, the story actually picks up and makes the Reddington character actually seem pretty cool. He has some daring escapes and there’s some inventive archs as the story goes on and you’re introduced to one of the people on the blacklist.

So Reddingtons blacklist is list of crazy mercenaries, terrorists, hackers, criminals etc. that the FBI isn’t even aware of but for some reason Reddington is willing to help agent Keen capture these baddies.

So the first guy on the list is this crazy Scandinavian guy who is terminally ill and wants to detonate a chemical weapon in Washington as some kind of revenge. As you’d expect his plot is foiled, but I don’t want to go into too much detail in case you’re actually interested in seeing the pilot.  

In my opinion this pilot suffered from what I’d like to refer to as “Pilot Syndrome” where a really good show has a shitty first episode which turns picky assholes like me off. For this reason, when binge watching shows, I usually start at the second episode to know if I like it. This way you’re not watching the intro show that they are putting out for the purpose of the network picking it up, but rather starting on the episodes where the real artistic intention of the show is realized. Overall this pilot was cheesy, but also showed a strong premise, the promise of good twists and turns and some decent actor (mostly from James Spader). I’m definitely interested in seeing more of this show in the coming weeks. I don’t see a reason to rate a pilot but I’ll just give it a comme ci, comme ça and the hand flipping back and forth that goes with it. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bye Bye Cigarettes

Screw you cancer!

So this summer I was finally able to give up my addiction to cigarettes. I can’t even imagine how much money I inhaled and the disappointment I caused my family. But now I feel like I've set things right in my life. About 2 years ago I started reading about electronic cigarettes and their popularity in the US, but in Canada they were basically impossible to get. After a little while they started to release certain brands into the Canadian market, but alas they had to contain no nicotine. It is not legal yet for vendors to sell pre-loaded electronic cigarettes with nicotine in Canada. I tried the no-nicotine e-cigs and yes they produce vapor and taste nice, but without the nicotine it was more of a novelty than anything.
In May of this year I was at my local sketchy convenience store, probably to buy cigarettes, when I saw something I had only seen online, a refillable vaporizer. Upon asking the clerk it turned out he was also selling nicotine e-liquid so I tried it out and fell in love. On that day in late May I threw away the last of my cigarettes and I have not smoked one since. 

Now the apple martini liquid by HD Vape was not very good at all, and I even questioned the actual nicotine content. But after a while I discovered the website These guys had a great, easy-to-use website with a huge selection of liquids and accessories. They make it really easy to get started with vapeing and have nice staff. Their prices are also much better than other vendors I’ve seen in my area. There’s a guy at my local flea-market who also sells vape equipment and liquid but everything you buy from him is about 5 dollars more expensive and he has no where close to the selection CanadaEJuice has.
nd I can honestly say that after about 3 months I never NEVER want to pick up another cigarette. And how was I able to do this? With a nicotine vaporizer, that’s how, and with the great people at CanadaEJuice.
A typical vape. 
There’s a good chance you have seen a vape or electronic cigarette before but didn't really get what they were all about. Essentially the device is devised of two parts: a battery and an atomizer. The battery is usually activated by a button or by the back pressure from the user pulling on the e-cig. The atomizer is the top section where you suck on and is filled by the e-liquid. The current from the battery heats a coil in the atomizer that vaporizes the e-liquid and produces the “smoking” effect. You then inhale the vapor into your lungs, like you would with a conventional or “analog” cigarette, and then exhale. The main benefit is that you are cutting out all of the thousands of dangerous chemicals that are added to cigarettes and instead are only inhaling 3 very benign chemicals. The three chemical are propylene glycol (often pumped into the air in hospitals to help with sanitization, also used in some dog foods), vegetable glycerin (used in the food industry as a sweetener and is also used in products like toothpaste and cough syrups) and of course the addictive component of cigarettes, nicotine. Now I know that nicotine has a pretty bad reputation because of tobacco and its use as an insecticide. Nicotine can actually increase concentration, relax the body, promotes the growth of new blood vessels (which can really help diabetes patients) and can reduce depression in people with schizophrenia. The medical industry has been looking for a viable delivery system for nicotine for decades, and vaporizers may be that step forward.If you want any more information check out and feel free to search google and find the hundreds of testimonials from long term heavy smokers who were able to drop the habit in a matter of moments. You too can be smoke free! I urge any smoker to try an e-cig or vaporizer and see if its right for you!