Saturday, June 27, 2009

Maple Leafs prospects by draft round

Hi everyone - just one last post on the draft for a little while. Here's the latest report from TSN that was released yesterday after the draft was finished. It recaps who the Leafs selected, what they might have been selected for, etc, etc.

Most interestingly from the draft are two things (for me). One, Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires was taken in the first round to the Nashville Predators (where he'll be with fellow Spitfire alumnus Cal O'Reily) and Jesse Blacker was drafted by the Maple Leafs (a defenceman for the Spits this year).

My last thought on the draft and the Leafs for now is (and nothing against European prospects) the Leafs drafted a lot of North American guys, and it's WAY easier to find information and videos and stuff like that about a North American guy, than it is a late-draft European selection. Second, if the guy's from the OHL, there's a great chance that we've heard of him, or even watched in play, and that's fun, too.

Here's a bit of a breakdown of how the Leafs have drafted in the past few years and how those prospects look. This doesn't include the unevaluated talent of this year's draft, yet.

A review of how the grading works is here.

Round One


Luke Schenn - defence - 5th (2008) - 8.5 B
Jiri Tlusty - centre - 13th (2006) - 8.0 C

Round Two

Nikolai Kulemin - left wing - 44th (2006) - 7.5 C
Jimmy Hayes - right wing - 60th (2008) - 7.0 C

Round Three

Dale Mitchell - right wing - 74th (2007) - 6.5 C
Phil Oreskovic - defense - 82nd (2005) - 6.0 C
Justin Pogge - Goalie - 90th (2004) - 7.0 C

Round Four

Mikhail Stefanovich - centre - 98th (2008) - 7.0 C
James Reimer - goalie - 99th (2006) - 6.5 C
Matt Frattin - right wing - 99th (2007) - 7.0 D
Ben Winnett - left wing - 104th (2007) - 6.5 C
Korbinian Holzer - defence - 111th (2006) - 6.5 D
Konstantin Volkov - right wing - 125th (2003) - 5.0 D

Round Five

Joel Champagne - centre - 129th (2008) - 6.0 C
Jerome Flaake - left wing - 130th (2008) - 6.5 D
Juraj Mikus - defence - 134th (2007) - 6.5 D
Alex Berry - right wing - 153rd (2005) - 5.0 D
Dmitri Vorobiev - Defence - 157th (2004) - 7.0 C
John Mitchell - centre - 158th (2003) - 6.5 C

Round Six

Grant Rollheiser - goalie - 158th (2008) - 5.0 D
Viktor Stalberg - left wing - 161st (2006) - 7.5 D
Chris DiDomenico - centre - 164th (2007) - 7.5 D
Tyler Ruegsegger - right wing - 166th (2006) - 6.5 D
Johan Dahlberg - left wing - 173rd (2005) - 3.5 D

Round Seven

Leo Komarov - centre - 180th (2005) - 4.5 D
Andrew MacWilliam - defence - 188th (2008) - 5.0 D
Carl Gunnarsson - defence - 194th (2007) - 5.5 D
Anton Stralman - defence - 216th - 8.0 C
Chad Rau - centre - 228th (2005) - 7.0 D

Round Nine
Pierce Norton - defence - 285th (2004) - 5.5 D

Undrafted

Ryan Hamilton - left wing - 6.0 C
Tyler Bozak - centre - 6.0 C
Alex Foster - left wing - 6.0 D
Brent Aubin - right wing - 6.0 D
Greg Scott - right wing - 4.0 C
Kyle Rogers - right wing - 3.5 C
Christian Hanson - right wing - 6.0 C

Friday, June 26, 2009

NHL draft = hope

The NHL draft this year will be like any other year - not that exciting. Just like the NBA draft was the other day. It'll be months before fans get a chance to see their picks in action (at the least) and years before they see their picks in action (most likely).

BUT there's plenty of reason for there to be hope and speculation and an opportunity to let your imagination explore the possibilities, instead of just watching another grueling season, game by game. Especially interesting is letting your imagination flop around with all of the trade speculation. In the years since the salary cap, it's been difficult to make major trades with expensive franchise players, but it seems that right now, there are enough free agents and salary cap space that there could be some exciting moves before the beginning of the draft this evening.

Right now there is a reported offer from Boston where they'd send the highly offensive Phil Kessel (a great player) to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle (a multiple all-star defenseman) and the seventh overall pick (worth a lot). To me, I'd say not a chance. Kaberle is too great a talent for too reasonable a price, first off. Second, the team continues to require solid defense (which they don't have now, let alone after they trade away their top D) - and Burke (I have to guess) wants to use the 7th pick in a package to move up in the draft (not to hand to some other team he competes with in his own division).

So that's my guess - I'd be totally shocked to see Burke agree to this move, especially after how vehement he's been for a high asking price.

Regardless, the deadline is this evening, which means the pressure to make deals, and big deals, is high right now. But it'll all be about acquiring high draft picks - not about acquiring big name players (like Heatley).

ALTHOUGH basketball had some huge players moved around to big teams last evening, where Shaq was moved to Cleveland with Lebron James and Vince Carter heading to Orlando to help out Dwight Howard (or however you spell his name). Those are serious. MAYBE the NHL will follow suit and we'll see some major moves during the draft tonight?

This is what makes things exciting, anticipation, imagination, hope. Bring on the draft.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Awesome

I'm a big fan of the AI "practice" press conference. It was echoed in many ways when Michael Vick was defending himself against dog fighting charges. There is something about simply repeating the allegations, and then speaking them as if they were non-consequential. Basically, it's like they have no defense, so they just repeat themselves in increasingly ridiculous tones.

That being said, someone had a great idea to take the ridiculous notion and take it a step further.

Please enjoy.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lost's breaking news

For anyone following along - we've all heard that Emile de Ravin, Dominic Monaghan and Maggie Grace have all been rumoured to return to Lost for the final season. Also, the executive producers basically admitted that the charcters of Mr. Eko and Libby were unhappy with filming in Hawaii and being killed off, respectively, and despite the producers have more story to tell with those characters, they've had to make do without them.

What hasn't come up yet has been Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's interest in returning to the final season as Mr. Eko once again. He says he'd do it, not that he's been asked to do it, yet.

Also, Charlie Pace's actor Monaghan reportedly had lunch with executive producer Damon Lindelof yesterday morning. If you believe that. So perhaps he will return to the show? Not sure.

This brings me to another topic: I watched Seasons 1 -3 without having any idea what the show was about, basically getting caught up to speed for season 4. I only got interested in the show because I hoped that the monster in the show would somehow shed some light on the monster from Cloverfield (which was being hyped to high heaven in late 2007).

So I started following along online with Lost and got caught up in all of the nonesense that goes along with it. That being said - I basically read every spoiler for Season 4, removing much of the surprises. I was reading lots of stuff online about Season 5 - but quit a few weeks before the season premiere this January - but, basically, I had read enough spoilers that I knew what was going to happen right up until the ninth episode of the 17-episode season, which isn't good. I just hated 'recalling' the filming reports.

So - I'm seriously considering not following along with any spoilers or anything BUT then we get into situations like this where in late June we're already hearing rumours about stuff going on. So if Triple A shows up in a scene, it'll not be as surprising becuase I'll be like, 'Oh, there he is,' Instead of 'Holy Cow, he's back.'

It's tough, because basically, I've been scanning the Internet for Lost stuff since late 2007 - it'll be a hard habit to break.


Blog anniversary

I thought today was the anniversary of my blog, so I was going to put a simple post up - but it turns out it was a few days ago (June 20) - so, I blew my first shot at remembering anniversaries. Hopefully the next important one goes better than this.

Now I look back at why I thought that and see that the data-recording software that runs in the background wasn't installed until June 24, meaning I don't have any statistics from the first couple of days. I would imagine that they'd be remarkably insignificant anyhow.

Stats:
4,685 visits
2,479 absolute unique visitors
6,969 page views
Most visits in a day: 83 (Jan. 29, 2009)
Most page views in a day: 106 (Jan. 29, 2009)
Most popular page: The Mist - 1,429 visits
Most popular locations:
  • North America 2,540 visits; South America 87; Central America 26
  • Canada 2,540; United States 1,218; Bermuda 8
  • Windsor 1,416; Burlington 346; London 151.
So there's some neat information.

Otherwise, some updates.

Sushi

It was a disaster. I'll try again, but probably just practice rolling rice in the seaweed for a bit before making a bigger mess than necessary next time. That roll has to be tight.

The Extent
We're filming this morning. I didn't really get a very good breakdown of what all is going on, but it is always fun being on set and being a part of the production. It's almost addictive - like hanging out with your baseball team. Now there's a website for the show, too. www.extenttv.com

Screenwriting
Instead of digging more stuff up on those projects I've been working on, I've taken a few days to read through a book on screenwriting. I've got through the first half that's been more anecdotal, the second half should be more instructive. Then I'll have an informed idea of how to move forward (although my instincts have served me well so far without the book - but this gives you move confidence that you're spending your time in the right places).

NHL Draft 2009
I'm looking forward to this. Again, this is the time for Burke to get some things done and I like to see him in action. June 26 I think is when this is. Friday night then Saturday in Montreal. Should be interesting.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Toronto Maple Leafs 2008 NHL Entry Draft Review

It’s been a year since the NHL 2008 Entry Draft, and there’s been some time to review who the Maple Leafs selected and what has come of those players. This should be fun.

Here is how the rankings work at Hockey's Future.com. Basically, you're rated from 10 - 1, where 10 is "A generational talent - - a player for the ages, one who can do things with a puck that no other player would even contemplate going."

7 is "Players not quite good enough to play on the top line or pairing on a regular basis, but still possessing enough talent to contribute offensively, defend with some authority, or competently play the goaltender's position for long stretches."

5 is "fourth liner."

4 is "top minor leaguer"

3 and lower is a waste of time.

The letter beside these ratings indicates the realistic chances of achieving that potential. An A "all but guarantees" they reach their potential. B means they "should reach it," C means they could drop two ratings, D means they likely won't be as good as they're rated and F means they've little to no potential.

So, a high score and a high letter is good. A low score and a high letter is alright and low letters and low numbers are bad. On to the draft!

Round One
In the first round, the Maple Leafs traded up for the fifth pick, selecting Luke Schenn, fifth overall. Schenn jumped from the draft directly into the NHL, playing 70 games. He was recognized around the league as a blue-chip prospect by being selected for the "Young Stars" game during the All-Star weekend, and chipped in 14 points from the back end, while learning how to play against some of the best forwards in the NHL during his rookie campaign. Overall, he's been a success with the franchise already - and is expected to develop even more in the next season. Ultimately, he's not a prospect, he's a worthy member of the franchise.

Ultimately, Schenn isn't even being considered a prospect - he's an NHLer as far as anyone's concerned. So far, a good choice. He is rated at an 8.5 B.

(Nashville's gain is Toronto's pick)
I think it will also be interesting to review who the Leafs might have selected if they had retained their draft picks. That being said, when trading up for Schenn, the Leafs' pick wound up in the hands of Nashville, who picked Colin Wilson. 8.0 C
Wilson is listed at 6'1/215 lbs. His tireless work ethic and unyielding commitment to his off-ice conditioning are evident in the areas of his strength and power. He is a difficult player to move off of the puck and has shown a willingness to play in the difficult areas of the ice. One of the truly gifted players in the 2008 draft, Colin Wilson brings a much needed boost to the Nashville organization at the center position. (HockeysFuture.com)
Round Two
In the second round, Toronto traded Phoenix’s second round pick to Nashville, who selected Roman Josi, 8th, 38th overall. A 6'1 defenceman from Switzerland, who is only 185 lbs. 7.5 D

He has a good shot that can become a weapon on the blue line. His passing game is also solid, often setting up break-aways with crisp passes from behind. On contrary he should continue to get bigger and become more dominant when going into the corners. At times he seems to shy off in battles. Furthermore his backwards skating needs some work. Too often he is losing ground and needs to chase the forward.

Josi is already quite experienced despite his age. He is rarely seen nervous on the ice and makes the right decisions on the ice no matter what pressure he’s under. An NHL career is certainly a possibility but he is not ready yet and needs a couple more seasons of maturity in the Swiss league or the Canadian junior leagues before being, able to make the jump to NA pro (HockeysFuture.com).

Later, Toronto selected Jimmy Hayes, 30th, 60th overall. (The pick was acquired from Pittsburgh). Jimmy Hayes - again, I've decided I'm backing this guy, as the second round pick. He needs someone to root for him, even though he's in total obscurity. And again, his nickname is Purple Hayes (saluting Jimmy Hendrix). Now we have to wait for Hayes to kiss the sky.
2007-08: This season marked Hayes’ second with the U.S. National Team Development. In 18 games with the U-18 club, he managed to record seven points (2+5) and another 10 points (2+8) in 19 games in the U.S. Natl. Team (NAHL). Hayes also joined the Lincoln Stars (USHL) for 21 games, where he netted four goals and added 11 assists. He had nine postseason points (4+5) with the Stars, dressing in eight playoff games with the club. He signed a Letter of Intent to attend Boston College (Hockey East) in the fall of 2008. In February, he had his USHL rights traded from the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets to Lincoln. Shortly thereafter, Hayes received a release from the NTDP program and joined the Stars.

Hayes has a big body, works hard and plays very well in a team concept. With his size, you expect Hayes to be a punishing power forward. While he's not going to shy away from the tough stuff, he is really known for his hands and work around the net. He is a big, strong, forward who is learning to use his power as he continues to grow into his frame. He is also noted as fast skater with very big and long strides (HockeysFuture.com).

Ultimately, he's already reached fourth spot on the Leaf's depth chart for prospects and is their highest rated right winger in the minors, but he's still playing college hockey, meaning he can remain unsigned for up to three more years, or until he graduates, before the Leafs need to secure his rights. He's been rated at a 7.0 C.

Round Three

In the third round, Toronto gave Chicago the Islanders’ pick, 7th, 68th overall, and they picked Shawn Lalonde. He's a defensemen for some other team, but he could have been a Leaf if Fletch didn't let him go - so hows' he looking? He spent all of last year in Belleville playing with the Bulls. 7.0 C
2007-08: Lalonde's regular season statistics remained fairly stable from his rookie year, recording 31 points in 66 games, however, he was much of a force in the playoffs than he was last year. In the Bulls 21 playoff games, Lalonde posted nine points (2 goals, 7 assists). Lalonde ranked fourth among blueliners in scoring at this year's Memorial Cup, registering 3 assists in 4 games

Lalonde is a mobile defenseman who has the ability to jump into the rush when required. Though he displays good instincts on the ice, Lalonde needs to improve his defensive play and make better decisions at times. He also needs to improve his strength and play consistently for the entire game (HockeysFuture.com)
Toronto’s third round pick, belonging to St. Louis (via Florida) selected James Livingston, 9th, 70th overall. 6.0 D
A big winger, Livingston knows how to crash the opposition's net and is difficult to move when he is there. A good skater, he needs to work on his acceleration to be effective at the next level. An excellent forechecker, who knows how to finish his checks, Livingston has the potential to develop into a good tough second or third line forward at the NHL level (HockeysFuture.com)
Round Four
In the fourth round, Toronto kept their pick, selecting Mikhail Stefanovich 7th, 98th overall.
2007-08: This season marked Stefanovich’s first in North American hockey. He appeared in 62 games for the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL), netting 32 goals and adding 34 assists. He added another eight points in 11 postseason games with the club. His 10 points (3+7) in seven games won him Rookie Player of the Month honors for the month of September. He was among those who won an RDS Rookie Excellence Award at mid-season and was invited to play in the 2008 Home Hardware CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game.

On paper, Stefanovich looks to have all the tools that teams look for: a blend of scoring ability and size. Stefanovich’s sharpshooting abilities and offensive instincts are top notch, but his effort is inconsistent at best. Though he is willing to drive to the net, Stefanovich is a player who mainly fights through contact but doesn’t initiate physical play. His skating needs work, especially his acceleration, but his hockey sense and his ability to read to play softens the blow of this weakness (HockeysFuture.com).
Ultimately, Stefanovich has reached 3rd on the prospect depth chart, actually higher than Hayes. He's a centre rated higher than all the others in his position. 7.0 C.

Round Five
In the fifth round, Toronto kept their pick to select Greg Pateryn, 7th, 128th overall, and then used Phoenix’s pick next, selecting Joel Champagne, and then the next pick (from Florida) for Jerome Flaake.
Greg Pateryn; 2007-08: In his first season with the team, Pateryn appeared in 60 games for the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets (USHL). He recorded 27 points (3+24) and 145 PIM during the season. He signed a Letter of Intent to attend the University of Michigan (CCHA) in the fall of 2008. He was traded to Montreal by Toronto with Toronto’s second round choice in the 2009 Entry Draft for Mikhail Grabovski on July 3, 2008 (HockeysFuture.com).
Ultimately, Pateryn belongs to Montreal, part of the Grabovski trade. 6.0 B

Joel Champagne; 2007-08: Champagne began to see an increased role for Chicoutimi in his sophomore season, as the big centerman began to use his size more effectively. He earned increased ice-time as a result of his solid two-way play and willingness to get involved physically, but also developed another integral aspect of his game. Champagne proved to be a dominant face-off man, often serving as the pivot that the Chicoutimi coaching staff looked at to win the key late-game face-off. He also began to get involved offensively, finishing his second season with 18 goals and 40 points, good enough for sixth on the team, as well as posting an impressive 58% face-off-winning percentage. Champagne was also a participant in the CHL Top Prospects game, utilizing his size in the corners and in front of the net.

Blessed with great size, Champagne already has the physical makeup of a professional hockey player. However, appearances can be deceiving and despite his visible attributes, he is very much a project. Willing to use his body to his advantage on the ice, Champagne is a hard object to move when he plants himself in front of the net. As might be expected, his foot speed and puck skills still need work. He has good two-way ability, and his adept ability at winning face-offs will prove beneficial further down the line (HockeysFuture.com)
Ultimately, Champagne is rated at 13 for Maple Leaf prospects, with 6.0 C rating, in the fourth slot on the depth chart for centres in the minor system.
Jerome Flaake; According to Cologne general manager Rodion Pauels, Flaake's strengths lie in his skating abilities, intelligence on the ice as well as his nose for the net. U18 head coach Jim Setters takes this assessment of this particular asset even further, stating that Flaake "has a very good sense around the net. In any league he has played he collects a lot of points. He very rarely misses the net when he shoots. He has great stickhandling skills."

As with many young players at his age, any path to the NHL will have to be accompanied by a significant gain in strength and weight. This will no doubt go hand in hand with Cologne's plans to give Flaake every chance to be a regular member of their senior team in the 2008-09 season, a plan that proved fruitful for the aforementioned Philippe Gogulla (HockeysFuture.com).
Ultimately,Flaake is rated 16 on the prospects depth charts. He's ranked 4th of left wingers in the system with a 6.5 D.

Round Six
In the sixth round, Toronto used their own pick to select Grant Rollheiser 7th, 158th overall.
2007-08: Rollheiser went 19-26-0 in 46 games with the Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL). He finished the season with two shutouts and a 3.19 goals against average. In three postseason games, he went 0-3-0 with a 4.90 goals against average. He singed a Letter of Intent to attend Boston University (Hockey East) in the fall of 2008 (HockeysFuture.com).
Ultimately, Rollheiser is the only goaltender the Leafs selected in the draft, and his promise is low. Unrated in the list of 20 top prospects, he's rated as a 5.0 D.

Round Seven
In the final round, Toronto kept their own pick to select Andrew MacWilliam 7th, 188th overall.
2007-08: In his second season with the Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL), MacWilliam recorded 13 points, all assists, in 54 games. He recorded another five helpers in 18 playoff games with the club (HockeysFuture.com).
Ultimately, MacWilliam falls in the same category as Rollheiser. Another defenseman who won't likely ever play at the NHL level, rated at 5.0 D.

Ken Holland's magic?
For the record, Detroit had the very last pick of the entire draft, selecting Jesper Samuelsson 211th overall. They have a knack for picking awesome talent late in the draft, so it’ll be interesting to see what this guy can achieve. 5.5 D
Great mind for the game that can't be taught ... Primarily a set-up man who will work well with a tough, scoring winger ... Does plenty of damage when he has time and space on the power play ... Has shown flashes of good skating and puck skills early in his career.

Extremely slight and had trouble gaining weight before being drafted because of gluten intolerance ... Wildcard pick because he played in a mediocre league against weak competition, and has yet to pass the test of facing faster, stronger players in the Swedish Elite League (RedWingsCentral.com).
So, let's keep these things in mind while we're going into the next draft. Certainly, if the Leafs aren't happy with their goaltending, they'll be interested in picking up something soon - they drafted a goalie in the 7th round who has no chance of even signing a contract, according to these scouting reports - so something's got to be done there.

Yesterday was busy - today no better

Yesterday I had the good fortune of getting a lot of things done, and was absolutely unable to post anything to the blog.

First off, I was sleepy and unable to get up - preventing me from blogging anything in the morning - but then I had a phone interview at 10 a.m. for the Alpha Sigma Chi history I'm researching. It went really well, and my pal Mike was happy to help out. We had to reschedule for 1:30, but still wound up chatting about the old days for about an hour.

In between, we had an editorial meeting at the paper to get prepped for the next edition. So that's getting ready to roll out for July 7 - hopefully our offices won't be closed for the July 1 - July 4 festivities that always go down around here.

Then it was out to the gym or the grocery store - only time for one - and we picked the grocery store. (PLUS I snagged a bunch of stuff to make sushi. I'll let you know how that goes. I was going to make some last night, but it totally didn't work out last night - just wasn't any time.)

Then back out to the office to work with two colleagues on preparing some questions for our interview process to hire a new editor in chief for The Lance, scheduled for this morning. So we're going to get those interviews done today and be ready to recommend someone to our board of directors. One of my final duties as Editor in Chief - which is exciting.

Then, after that, we were filming for The Extent again - in a lab, in an office and in a parking garage. That took till about midnight - so the day came and went. Lots done, but just not a lot of time to a) make sushi for the first time, and b) write anything on the blog, or make more progress on any of my other projects. That's okay, though, there will be time later (maybe not today, but soon) to get back at them.

Hope things are going well.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

If you're reading this, then you'll be reminded that it's Father's Day.

Maple Leafs looking for a keeper
Apparently some guy that nobody's been reporting on or talking about up until yesterday, is the greatest goalie not in the NHL - and he's looking at four teams to sign with before free agency starts July 1.

Nicknamed "Monster," the goalie is Jonas Gustavsson, from Sweden, and he spent yesterday hanging with Brian Burke talking about signing in Toronto, says the Toronto Star. He's also looking at signing with Dallas, Colorado and San Jose.

My plan for the Leafs (take it semi-seriously)

The Leafs should make the following free-agent signings, and I'll explain why in a moment.

Centre - Mike Peca and Doug Weight (to one year contracts)
Right Wing - Todd Bertuzzi and Mark Recchi (both to one-year deals)
Left Wing - Keith Tkachuk (who just signed, ruining my strategy)
Goalie - Scott Clemmensen (bring him back - one year contract)

This would do the following - provide some leadership and mentorship to the team, some veteran experience, and show some of the losers on the Maple Leafs how to win at a level better than junior.

Most importantly, come the trade deadline, these types of players are always in high demand. This would be like signing an additional six 2nd or 3rd round draft picks to your roster, and it would free up loads of space for the next season.

You would definitely be able to find a team looking to make a push in the playoffs who would be interested in players like Peca, Bertuzzi, Recchi and Weight (who get traded every year at the deadline anyhow), Tkachuk (who again, damnit, signed just earlier this week with St. Louis - but for only one year - meaning someone's going to deal him away for a pick later on down the line anyways) and a reliable backup goalie in Clemmensen.

These are great moves for rebuilding - it provides experience to the existing line up, and promising potential in the draft. All those extra draft picks could also help you make moves later on in a trade.

Barring this - there are at least a half-dozen third-line grinders who work their tails off, that are available in free agency this year that could all be dealt away at the deadline like Dominic Moore was.

Acquiring centres like Dean mcAmmond, Stephane Yelle, or Mike Rupp; wingers like Brian Willsie (okay, there aren't that many wingers that fit this mold); and defensemen like Shane Hnidy, Daniel Tjarnqvist and Jason Strudwick, will all follow this line of thinking. Picking up gritty guys with some experience under their belt helps the roster right now, and the rost for the future.

These would be WAY better moves than what the Silver Fox pulled off last year at this time with Ryan Hollweg (great move) and Jamal Meyers (how many years did he sign for?).

Burke's gotta show up soon
Time to see what Brian Burke is really about. He's got to start doing something - all he did was trade away a few guys for some mediocre draft picks since he's been signed on - nothing special yet. Trading for Brad May wasn't a tremendous move either. But I have one prediction going into this year - he's going to be making some conclusions with Vesa Toskala and Justin Pogge this season - they'll be locked up for the long run, or they'll be done like dinner. "You'll never work in this city again," yelled Burke. ;)

The NHL draft and opening of free agency is really the first chance that Burke will have to begin to turn the Maple Leafs into something he can call his own. He's already done a great job snagging some characters out of college while no one was watching - so he's done what he could given the constraints of the season - but this summer should be an exciting and impactful one for Burke and the Maple Leafs. It'll be very exciting to watch.

Available dinosaurs?

I know that it's father's day, and not really a day for me, necessarily, but I've become aware of a place where they've got a bunch of dinosaurs, and they're going to be getting rid of them. If you wanted to pick one up and give it to me, I wouldn't say no.

Turns out the University of Wyoming has dinosaurs, but they're closing their museum, and putting the dinosaurs down. Wherever will they go? To me? Well, okay. This is also the home of 'Big Al,' the Allosaurus. He's probably the most famous allosaurus out there. The Beeb actually released a show all about him.

The story is, they found this allosaurus, and all of its bones were all busted up and crushed - but also healed over. It told a story of a dinosaur that went through a helluvan ordeal throughout his life, but survived. Now, I'd like to think that it was because he was engaged in mortal combat all the time as he dominated over the world around him - but the BBC presented him as some sort of clutz who kept stubbing his toe on things. I wasn't all that impressed.

Lost rumour
And this has been getting enough attention lately that I figure I should mention in for the sake of all the crazy theorizing and such that it has generated - but Lost has reportedly recontracted Maggie Grace to appear on the show next season. She died early in season 2, and to bring her back now would have to serve some bizzare solution.

What she's going to be doing on the show I can't even guess, but I'm sure it will be interesting.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

You're invited


Today we're going to be working on Bridal Shower invitations - which should be fun. They were almost done, when it was discovered there was an error in one of the phone numbers - so we're going to fix them up and have them all ready to go. People should be receiving their invitations shortly.

NHL Awards
These were on the other day - and frankly it was a bit of a disappointment. There wasn't much of a show, it was just Shaka Khan (who?) and Michael Goulet singing duets. Couldn't Vegas drum up someone people care about? Someone that hockey players/ fans might have cared about? When's the last time you heard Michael Goulet or Shaka Khan at a hockey game over the loud speakers? Good choice producers.

Second - are there only three good players in the NHL? Why were Ovechkin, Datsyuk and Malkin the only players nominated for everything? It was ridiculous. Seriously, they were the only players nominated for The Hart Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Trophy, and the Datsyuk was won the Selke and the Lady Byng and then Malkin won the Art Ross and Ovechkin the Maurice Richard. The NHL needs to find some more players.

Also, while at the awards, I don't know it's a good time or a bad time to start harrassing the "Most sportsmanlike player" in Datsyuk over his shit-bad English. But, Ovechkin did it anyhow: (see the 1:50 mark)




So take that you ugly, no-English-speaking, award winning Russian. (Labeling someone by their nationality always sounds like an insult rather than an adjective, eh? )

I would also like to link to the trailer for ZombieLand. It looks mighty awesome, and includes a bunch of name-brand actors, too. Premise, find a way to have Woody Harrelson resurrect Natural Born Killers, and have a helluva time doing it against zombies. Looks cool.

Two of clubs came up today - so I'll be working on Zombie Dinosaurs (the twos are coming up often, but randomlly, too.) So I'll be having some fun with that, too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Scary and less scary

Today - starting off awesome with Roy Orbison's greatest hits (16 of them). Nice. He can rock a mean pair of shades.

More sex, porn charges against Lakeshore woman

Yeah, this headline gets your attention, doesn't it.
The Lakeshore woman recently arrested after allegedly having sex her with child and dog over the Internet is now facing a slew of new charges.
I'll tell you what - if you're going to be writing these words in a sentence, you'd better put them in an order that makes sense, because, in the worst case scenario, this could be misinterpreted in the most horrific of ways. You need to get this sort of thing right.

Luckily for the reporter, and the reader, I think that what this lady has been charged with is just what it sounds, so misinterpretations aside, it's still grizzly.

The woman, who can not be named to protect the identity of her child, was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual exploitation and bestiality.

Police said Thursday they’ve also charged her with importing/distributing child pornography, sexual assault, sexual interference with a person under 16 years of age, sexual exploitation and four counts of printing/publishing child pornography.

Man, that's crazy. Is this someone who's just not right, or are they so desperate for money that this was what they had to resort to? It's almost unimaginable - I mean, you expect to hear these stories out in wild crazy parts of the world, but not in Lakeshore! That's just east of here - in a relatively well-reputed small town.

Less awful (although not much) is "How to make Jurassic Park less scary:"



Just two more things. Jays are now 3-0 (sweeping the Phillies!) since I started caring. Go Jays! Second, I drew the six of clubs today, meaning I'll continue to work on revising/editing Lefevre's Redemption. Sounds like another good day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Having fun with graphs

Here is something fun you might want to procrastinate with:

GraphJam: you could spend all day here agreeing with what these graphs have to say. I am enjoying these quite a bit.

Alpha Sigma Chi
Well, the random card selection today was the nine of clubs, meaning I'm back to work at the Sig stuff. I found about six binders full of material to cipher through (including 80s haircuts). It should be fun. I'm also hopefully going to interview someone from the west coast on the subject later on today - which should help me gather neat information for the book.

Zombie Dinosaurs

I was working some more on this project yesterday, and the over-arching history of what motivates the first bit of the book is going to be awesome. It's taking some serious research ( I mean googling items I want to know more about ) but I think the motivating mystery and back story that will put our heroes and anti-heroes on the quest is going to be pretty strong - almost "DaVinici Code-esque."

It should be a neat mystery that people will be interested to know more about. One of the greatest things that Canadian literature ever did was create someone name Michael Ondaatje, who has made his living filling in the gaps between what people know about a subject, and what people only speculate. This has included brilliant works on Buddy Bolden (the first blues musician who went missing and returned crazy) and Billy the Kid. And, literally, everything he's done is outstanding.

That being said, the story I'm going to use that puts this all together has some awesome legendary stuff in it, and it's going to be a real delight to put it all together into a back-story that works. It's going to be great. Or not, I'm biased on the subject, I admit.

The Extent
WANTED: older, creepy guy who looks like an informant from the X-Files to appear in our show. If you, or someone you know, is tall, creepy, and interested in acting without using dialogue, let me know. ASAP.

Psittacosaurus
Well, paleontologists have hypothesized that the psittacosaurus is the first known dinosaur to eat nuts - using its parrot-like beat to eat them.

A few years ago I decided that the psittacosaurus was a crap-dinosaur because they found its remains inside of a mammal. Now, I've got nothing against mammals, but you've got to be the worst dinosaur ever, to be eaten by mammals during the Mesozoic era. Seriously, that's like us being eaten by a gecko. Or a goldfish or something. It's ridiculous.

Also on dinosaurs, here is some more information linking the evolution between some coelurosaurs and birds. Limusaurus has special hands.
"This new animal is fascinating in and of itself, and when placed into an evolutionary context it offers intriguing evidence about how the hand of birds evolved," said James Clark of George Washington University. He and several colleagues have described the theropod dinosaur in the June 18 issue of the journal Nature.

And knowing's half the battle ...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baseball season - I'm jealous


Now that the NHL playoffs are finished, it's officially baseball time. The Jays started off real hot - and then they fizzled to be about as bad as any team out there - and now I'm starting to watch, beginning with their inter-league play with the Phillies.

So far, so good! I flipped the game on last night, and they were down a run in the top of the ninth. Not good - esp. considering they don't have a come-back win after the eighth inning all season. Until now! They were loading the bases over and over last night - so they were doing something right - and it was just a matter of time until the dam burst and the runs started pouring in. Watching them bring in five runs in the top of the tenth inning was great.

Game 2? They're up 7 - 1 right now, and there have been two big homers already. Time to get going, Jays, and climb back up to the top of the division if you can.

For the record, the radio down here is saying:

1) Mike Illitch says he'll do what it takes to get the Tigers into the playoffs
2) Roy Halladay wants to make it to the playoffs, and will go where he needs to for this to happen.
3) The radio is certain that Illitch will do what it takes to bring Halladay to Detroit.

So you've heard it here first.

and I'm JEALOUS that someone is playing baseball, because we're still stuck in the middle of a strike where they won't cut the grass on public diamonds. The grass is HIGH.

I think I should have been a pro-ball player, now that I think about it.

(Today's card was the three of hearts, I think, meaning Zombie Dinosaurs, again. That's coming up pretty often. But it's a good thing because I'm getting some serious plot designed for it. I think this book is going to be awesome!)

Jays are 1-0 since I started caring.

Birds are not descendent from dinosaurs - argued


Alrighty, as I mentioned earlier, I'm going to try and illustrate all of the things wrong with this article, with the help of the Dinosaur Mailing List (I'm not a member, just a reader).

The article's argument is that birds did not come from dinosaurs because of evidence in their leg bones:

The premise is that almost everyone believes that some dinosaur lineage spawned the proto-bird families, and thus, birds are descendants of some species of dinosaurs. This paper is working to challenge that theory - which is the best scientific method really. You want your theories to stand up against challenges - and this is one of them.

The feedback:

How does this make any sense at all? Birds don't breathe the same way as fish either, are we to conclude they're not vertebrates?
- Andreas Johansson

It doesn't make sense; it's tossing all the correlatives from osteology, just for starters.

I'd think it was obvious to the meanest intelligence that they've just found out why gastralia were retained in theropods, and how they could be lost in birds without loss of lung function.
- Grayden

Reading that, I was wondering how this stuff gets past peer review...
Well, the answer is that it doesn't. At least not in this case, from what I can see.

It's a dishonest tactic to imply in press releases and interviews that your (peer reviewed) paper supports a conclusion which it doesn't--especially because we know full well that most people won't read the paper.
- John Conway

I admit that I do not feel good about talking down a paper whose lead author is a fellow young researcher that just finished her PhD. Devon does have some very good work here, and I hope that the recently minted Dr. Quick continues to work on avian respiration and physiology, because there is some very useful stuff in the paper. Several of the conclusions, though, just aren't up to snuff, and I simply do not see any way around that.
- Mike Habib

This kind of stunt is really damaging to science. While Mike's objections are all valid, my personal favorite stems from the cognitive dissonance that arises from their claims in the paper and press:

1) Birds could not have evolved from animals that did not have flow-throw lung.

2) Birds "evolved" in the Jurassic before bird-like dinosaurs (i.e. Archaeopteryx is a bird)

3) The neornithin condition is necessary to have flow-through lungs.

Someone point out what I'm missing, but didn't Ruben and friends just prove that birds couldn't have evolved from ... other birds?

Seriously, WTF are they thinking?
- Scott Hartman

Indeed - ostriches (and probably most large ratites) move their femora during a fast run, yet I'm assuming they're fully capable of breathing at the same time.
- Dann Pidgon

I can't say I care much for the way of thinking; ignore and, when possible, mock evidence that does ot support your own hypothesis.
1) The implication, the researchers said, is that birds almost certainly did not descend frmo theorpod dinosaurs, such as tyrnnosaurus or allosaurus.
2) "A velociraptor did not just sprout feathers at some point and fly off into the sunset," Ruben said.
3) The newest findings, the researchers said, are more consistent with birds having evolved separately from dinosaurs and developing their own unique characteristics, including feathers, wings and a unique lung and locomotion system.
- Espen Knutsen

Ps! I also found it odd that they in the scientific article
> compare an ostrich with a Tyrannosaurus rex, and that this
> looks like it was taken from a 30 years old reconstruction.
> *

Actually, it is from Osborn 1916, and thus a 93 year old reconstruction!!

- Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weird Al's latest song/video

As promised, here's Weird Al Yankovich's latest song and video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZqciuoiikw


You have to click the link to watch the video - embedding has been disabled - I imagine so that he gets all of the advertising dollars instead of people watching it on my blog.

To the tune of something the Doors might have played.

Lyrics:
Whoa, yeah!

You've got a 65 Chevy Malibu
With automatic drive, a custom paint job too
I'll trade you for my old wheelbarrow
And a slightly-used sombrero
And I'll even throw in a stapler, if you insist

Craigslist
I'm on Craigslist, baby, come on
Yeah

Well, we shared a quick glance Saturday at the mall
I never took a chance, never approached you at all
You were a blonde half-Asian with a bad case of gas
I was wearin' red Speedos and a hockey mask
Come on, let's find that love connection that we missed

On Craigslist
Yeah, Craigslist, come on
I'm on Craigslist, baby
Maybe you are too
Bee bomp a chonk a donk bim bang boo

An open letter to the snotty barista
At the Coffee Bean on San Vicente Boulevard:
I know there were 20 people behind me in line
But I was on a cell phone call with my mother
Didn't you see me hold up my index finger?
That means I'll order my soy decaf hazelnut latte in just a couple minutes
So what's with the attitude, lady?
No tip for you

Got a trash can of Styrofoam peanuts, you can have em for free
You can drop by on the weekend and pick em up from me
But the trash can ain't part of the deal
Only givin' you the peanuts, get real
Don't have no Hefty bags, so bring your own
Don't bug me with questions on the phone
Don't ask for help, don't waste my time
And don't complain, cause they won't cost you a dime
Just ask yourself
Do you want my Styrofoam peanuts?
You can have my Styrofoam peanuts
Do you want my Styrofoam peanuts?
You can have 'em all

They're on Craigslist, yeah
Craigslist, oh baby, come on
I'm on Craigslist, Craigslist, Craigslist
I'm on Craigslist, Craigslist, Craigslist now
Craigslist

Is it good? It's not exactly catchy, funny or even that inspired.

Elephants never forget

While I'm doing research on the Detroit Zoological Society, I'd like to say on a related note - it's very sad to hear about the events from last weekend at the Metro Toronto Zoo.

An elephant died over the weekend at the Toronto Zoo after another elephant shoved her to the ground over some food.

Tessa, 40, fell and couldn't get back up even with the help a crane after a more dominant elephant pushed her Saturday, zoo officials said.

"We tried to lift her up with the crane and she put her feet on the ground, but she just wasn't supporting herself," Eric Cole, supervisor of the African Savanna, told the Toronto Star.

"She just stopped breathing when we put her back down. She died slowly. The breath went out of her and her heartbeat got dimmer and dimmer and then she was gone."

The elephant, one of the zoo's first animals when it opened in 1974 and a favourite among zookeepers, was weaker than other members of her group, zoo officials said. Her trunk didn't work well and one of her tusks pointed the wrong way.

Her shortcomings made her an easy target for the others in past years, though Saturday's accident wasn't about bullying but about getting food, Cole told the Star.

Zoo caretakers were distraught when Tessa died three hours after her fall.

"Lots of tears," Cole told CBC News on Monday. "Everyone's grieving in their own way."

Even the other elephants mourned.

"There was a lot of activity around where Tessa was," Cole said. One elephant "spent a lot of time with the body, throwing some dirt on it, digging around, some of them even sleeping beside her."

As for the elephant that pushed Tessa, she stood over the body and wouldn't leave her side.

"She was probably thinking, 'What have I done?'" Cole said.

The veterinary staff at the zoo will conduct an autopsy and then bury her on the grounds near other elephant graves.

It's remarkable that she was a centre-piece at the zoo since was opened in '74. I had no idea the zoo was so young. It had always just been there. When it's been there all of your life, you seem to just think that it was always there.

The Extent
I drew the 10 of Spades today, meaning I'll be working on developing the story for the show we've been working on for the past few months. The first season was a bit rushed while we were developing it, because wedding season is upon us (very, very soon) and things get overwhelmingly busy for co-executive producer/director/creator/ everything, Jay Nassr.


We've got an idea for how the second season should roll - and certainly how it should fit into the overarching scheme of three seasons and 30 more episodes. Planning some of it today will definitely help the progress for the future. The best part is we already have characters, we know who the characters are, and we can finally start sending them on a journey together.

I'm looking forward to really crafting a great story for the second season that does a bit more than just introduce characters into a crisis. (I mean, it'll do that, but do more, also).

My promise
I mentioned earlier that there was some paper that was recently released concluding that birds are definitely not dinosaurs' ancestors. I promise I will blow the lid off of this article (through the words of the Dinosaur Mailing List who have reviewed the paper closely) to demonstrate that it is heavily flawed beyond just misspelling a couple of names.

But it will have to wait for another time - I'm on deadline right now! Back to work.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In Business Magazine has updated their site for this month, and it features the Red Bull Air Races (a story that I had nothing to do with) AND an article about utilizing Windsor as a transportation hub for North America (and, the rest of the world, believe it or not).

Beware, this link leads to a .pdf document, so it might not open real quick.

History of Alpha Sigma Chi
Before a chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity can be awarded its charter, it has to go through a petitioning process that takes a few years to accomplish. This was the case with my chapter's story down here in Windsor where the concept of establishing a Sigma Chi chapter at the University of Windsor began in 1989. The chapter wasn't installed until 1994. There's a lot of neat history that exists in between those dates, and I've always wanted to write that story, publish it up, and put it on the bookshelf at the chapter house so that nobody ever forgot what it took to get a chapter in Windsor.

I've been thinking about this for years, literally, but yesterday, due to the random card selection, I finally got my tail in gear and started making calls to set up interviews for the book. I'm excited, and most people I've spoken with are excited, too.

Today's card is the 2 of diamonds - which is Zombie Dinosaurs again! Alright!

The Extent
I've also got to take all of the songs that I liked from this week and consider which scenes they would fit nicely into for the show we're working on. I'll consider some stuff and then make a proposal at our next meeting sometime this week. I'm excited - these songs will really add an excellent quality to our show.


Contentious dinosaur issue
Someone in Oregon has decided that according to the position of the femur in birds, that they have unequivocally evolved separately from dinosaurs, thus nullifying the suggestions that birds have evolved from dinosaurs.
The Archeopterix [whoops, wrong spelling idiot], long considered the oldest bird, lived there before 150 million years when dinosaurs appeared earlier, 200 million years ago. According to Professor Ruben, birds and dinosaurs share a common ancestor, Karamuru vorax, who walked on earth before 250 million years.
I have some concerns with any article that misspells the famous name of the most famous ancient bird, Archaeopteryx. I also cannot find any mention of this type of argument on the Dinosaur Mailing List which is a mailing list for paleontologists from all across the world who debate and discuss all matters of dinosaur stuff - mostly arguing over the interpretation of bones, to be honest. If they haven't mentioned this yet - then I doubt it's been subjected to much of a peer review. MEANING this isn't much of a weighty article.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stay tuned for the vid at the end

[sneaky]
(so as not to have my fiance overhear me)
Man, watching the Pens win last night was awesome. I slept in today and haven't seen any footage of the Red Wings crying yet - but I'll post some when I can
[/sneaky]

That game was intense, I had to turn the channel some times to relieve the pressure. That was a good game!

The Extent
Still going through lots of musicians, but the end is in sight. I've almost looked at 50 of them, about three songs each, about 40 seconds - two minutes per song. That's a lot of music to go through.

Biking around
I'm getting a pretty solid tan biking to the gym and back lately - and on that sweet trail I found, there was a bunny, and I saw the heron twice. It's a great trail.

Lefevre's Redemption
After reviewing the whole thing yesterday and setting up a beat structure so that the story follows the appropriate pathways, etc, I realized, my subplots, character arcs, balance of rising and falling tension and all of that stuff were remarkably well spaced out, considering no formal training. I was pleased to see it. But the final edits I make are going to really solidify the story where it needs to belong. There are some pretty weak elements to it that even I don't like, so once those are shored up, I'll be comfortable printing it into a hard copy.

I'm not trying to write The Great Gatzby or anything, but I do want to be happy with the final product.

Lost
Yeah, it's that time of year when Lost isn't on tv anymore - so we spend forever theorizing over what might have happened, and what be yet to happen. Well, here's my first cockamamie theory:

Hurley was born on the Island.

Think about it.

Partners in Blog
From the team at Immediate Regret here is a Street Fighter vid that will make you wet your pants.



Excuse me while I go change my pants.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lefevre's Redemption

Today I drew:

So I'll be doing some more work on Lefevre's Redemption. I wrapped up the story-telling of this book last November, and haven't picked it up since - but that doesn't mean that I don't have more ideas for it. Specifically, I want to go back and make everything work out just right. I think there are a few areas that need improvement, if not entire rewrites, and ... basically I want to plot out a beat structure and make sure that it's all snug.

Simply, I have chapter breakdowns for the entire book, but I'd like to include some more material that helps to explain what's going on a bit more - perhaps take out a dream sequence for a better chapter that makes more sense and adds more to the story, and basically reshuffle where everything is, so it's in the best order possible.

Red Bull Air Races

It rained A LOT yesterday, which has impeded with the practice flights of the racers from this weekend's Red Bull Air Races. That doesn't mean that they aren't roaring past our house right now, though. I'll see if I can snag a picture or not of them ripping up and down the waterfront. They fly very low to the water, though. It'll be a rare shot if I do get one.

How does a zombie's brain work?

According to Dr. Steven C. Schlozman:

The Frontal Lobe is involved with "executive functioning" - enabling us to think carefully and solve problems in an abstract way. Clearly, there's not much going on there if you have the misfortune of being afflicted with living deadness. But we do know that zombies can see us and sense us. Schlozman concludes that zombies possess just enough frontal lobe activity to "listen" to the thalamus, through which sensory input is processed.

But the frontal lobe function most relevant to understanding zombie behavior is the control of "impulsivity"-the general term for when you do something and, if you had two more seconds, you might not have done it. For instance, if in a fit of rage you have the sudden urge to punch your boss in the face, the frontal lobe intervenes and allows you to consider why that might be a bad idea.

Read more.

Rob Zombie's Mike Meyers.

I won't post the pictures here, because this time they're grusome! But check 'em out if that's your bag.

Lots of Chinese Dinosaurs (but I have no idea what they're talking about)

The State Media in China have released some press on a massive dinosaur bone bed, with the following description:

Included in the find was the largest "platypus" -- or "duck-billed dinosaur" in Chinese -- ever discovered measuring nine metres high with a wingspan wider than 16 metres, the report said.
So is this a massive mammal that resembled the platypus? Or is it a hadrosaur, and incredibly common dinosaur, even for China? Nine metres high is pretty big, but dinosaurs are most often measured in length - and how the hell does it have a wingspan? Esp. of 16 metres! What the hell are they talking about? It's about time for me to mock up another fake dinosaur image like I did for the carnivorous thousand-toothed duckbill the last time something didn't make a lick of sense. Perhaps I'll get that done tonight while watching the Pens' game.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Unbelievable Stories of Adventure

So I've been mulling over the excellent idea of Zombie Dinosaurs in my mind for quite a while, but ... if I was serious about somehow applying them into a story of some sort, ... well it's awfully difficult to come up with a story that somehow delivers dinosaurs, that are zombies, into the modern world.

When I first conceived the idea (in early October) - I imagined that some scientists just happened to be able to open a portal to a new world (which turned out to be the Mesozoic) at the unfortunate coincidence of a zombie pandemic emergency. BUT readers would certainly think, "That's a bit far-fetched, even though dinosaurs and zombies are totally awesome."

Also, there would be the dilemma of somehow dealing with a horde of undead zombies at the same time as dealing with zombie dinosaurs. It's just a lot of storytelling all at once - which makes things complicated, which is undesirable.

I got onto this topic by random chance today - I've established a system that can randomly select one of five projects I'd like to work on as a hobby - allow me to explain.

Projects I'd like to work on:
  1. Zombie Dinosaurs
  2. Lefevre's Redemption
  3. The Extent
  4. Choose Your Own Adventure
  5. Alpha Sigma Chi history
If you're a traditional reader of Spring Chickens, then you're well aware of Lefevre's Redemption (which I reported on frequently) and the Choose Your Own Adventure novel from the Nanowrimo fiasco back in November. Both of these projects are unfinished - and require a lot more work. BUT there are three other projects that I am seriously interested in working on as well - but how do I decide which one gets my attention when I feel like working on a hobby? Well, I developed a random selection system.

I have associated some playing card values to each of the projects, and then select a card at random from the deck, to decide which project will get my attention for that day.
  1. Zombie Dinosaurs (Low Ace, 2, 3)
  2. Lefevre's Redemption (4, 5, 6)
  3. The Extent (7, 8, 9)
  4. Choose Your Own Adventure (10, Jack, Queen)
  5. Alpha Sigma Chi history (King, Ace High)
I decide if the Ace is high or low according to the next card I draw. In the event of an Ace, the next card drawn will determine whether the Ace is considered High or Low. Because the Alpha Sigma Chi history has low odds of being selected, I increased the odds of it being selected in the instance of an Ace by having Low determined by cards lower than and including 5, while all other cards will be considered High.

Complicated, I know, but hopefully it will continue to motivate me to work on these projects. First off, it provides a scarcity of time to work on a project (just for one day at a time) meaning I'll be dedicated to it while I can. Also, it will keep the project that I'm working on fresh and exciting because I'll never know which one it's going to be until the next morning.

But I digress - Zombie Dinosaurs, to be titled "Unbelievably Awesome Stories of Adventure" came up today, and I've been wracking my brain to find a way to tell this story - and the first of it is to find a way to get zombie dinosaurs into the modern age. It's been tricky, but I think I've come up with an innovative, unique and pleasing experience. The downside is - I might have to write an entire GD-ed trilogy to make sense of it all - an unbelievably awesome trilogy of adventure.

Using the skills and tips learned from the screenwriting workshop I mentioned a while ago I'm crafting a great tale that basically serves as a prequel to the actual zombie dinosaurs - but it should be a great story in itself. That just means that the zombie dinosaur story is going to take a while - but trust me, it's going to be well worth the wait. I think I'm going to refrain from posting too much progress on this project so that people aren't tired of it before I'm even done the planning stage.

BUT while I'm in the planning stage - my fiance and I developed a much more simple way to make zombie dinosaurs happen - and I think I'll post a short comic strip outlining that story in small segments over the next few weeks. I think it will be funny.

Anyhow - who knows what project I'll get up to tomorrow, but today was awesome. I was learning about the oldest Egyptian pyramids, the most famous baptism's location in the Holy Land, Constantinople, Cyprus, tombs and resurrection. Fascinating stuff.

Zombie Triceratops

I had this finished ages ago, but for some reason didn't post it.

Here's a Zombie Triceratops:

[Click to enlarge.]

Neat anecdote

The other week I was being set up for a new assignment with In Business magazine when I received a call from my editor, and he had been tipped off that I like dinosaurs. And it just so happened that they were interested in assigning me the "Dinosauria" human interest piece at the Detroit Zoo - hence why I was at the zoo the other day.


One of the features at Dinosauria is an actual paleontologist named "Paleo Joe" or, by his parents, Joe Kchodl. Joe happens to be an expert on marine invertebrates, particularly the trilobite, but recently he has helped uncover an enormous bonebed in Utah that has been unearthing a tremendous amount of animals. And I've had the chance to interview him. That's cool.


The trilobites are my area of expertise, however since I discovered the camarasaurus I’ve been doing a great deal of study on him, so kind of like a dual specialty. [...] And we actually in that one site last year and this year discovered an apatasaurus, a brachiosaurus, barosaurus, all of those are sauropods, in one formation. To find that many sauropods in one location within maybe about 100 yards of each other, that tells us that area back them must have been fairly decent as far as vegetation goes, a great habitat for them. Otherwise, these guys ate tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of food. Well, to have that many in one location, seems to tell us that the area was quite hospitable to sauropods. [...] [They're from] the Jurassic and middle-Jurassic period, and we actually have found an allosaurus as well, and we found a carnotaurus, too. So we do have some meat-eaters that were in the area, and we believe we’ve found a stegosaurus, as well. It’s a fantastic site, it’s going to be a rich dinosaur national site in Utah. It’s the Hanksville Burpee site.
Pretty neat, eh? I got to interview a straight-up paleontologist, rather serendipitously, while working on another project.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Extent Sound Track?

The other day when I was biking to the gym I found a totally awesome bike path that runs alongside the EC Row Expressway - and today I saw like a half dozen turtles, some ducks and a heron! It's WAY better than the scenery on Howard Ave. or Tecumseh. I might take a camera next time a snap a few shots, it's really nice.

Also, all of this listening to music for The Extent has been interesting. There are a couple neat tracks out there. I'm getting excited listening to all of this music, and don't want to slow down to make dinner! I wish there were some way to embed music onto the blog, so you could hear it, too.

Some of the tracks we're listening to will really add some cred to the show. There's a lot of good material, and it's exciting that it can be a part of the show.

Some examples:
www.myspace.com/tjfans (Work in Progress)
www.soundclick.com/tragicandnoogie (Chivalry is Dead) I liked this one!
www.myspace.com/michaelsaintjamesrocks (Freakzone Superstar) Acid Rock!
www.myspace.com/nicknittoli (New Day Remix)
www.fireintheasylum.com (Song named after the band! The Asylum is on Fire)

But there's LOADS more stuff to go through.

There's always room for Econoline Crush's Sparkle and Shine, too.



Picking music

For The Extent show that we're filming, we've been looking for some music to score the videos with, and there have been a bunch of artists interested in having their work added to the show - so today I've been going through their sites and listening to their work.

A real good one has been Love Was Never Here by Laura Ranieri. I hope that we can figure it into the show - it's not really a love story, so this lyrically isn't a great fit, but the tune is pretty great. It has a great feel to it.

The worst part of this is having to use MySpace. I hate the entire layout of the site, and in particular, that the songs just start playing as soon as you load a page. It takes up unnecessary amounts of kb to just load the lousy layout. The backgrounds are awful and ... man, I hate MySpace.

/rant


I also like one of the tracks from Nick Nittoli called New Day (remix), which could fit into the show somewhere, too. It's going to be tricky adding music at any point, I think. We certainly didn't write any scenes to be necessarily accompanied by music, AND it'll be tricky to add a whole song to a scene (with the episodes only being a few minutes long to begin with).

I've got a neat anecdote about the sauropods being discovered out in Utah right now, too - for another time. Talk to you all soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New sea monster video?

Out in Vermont, posted by a paper in Burlington, there is a new video of "Champ" the mysterious crypto-zoological oddity - that people still can't seem to get a good picture of.

Very recently, a cell-phone has been used to capture the image of a remarkably still, but odd, figure passing across about 40 feet of water through a small inlet. It hardly moves, but still seems to float across the surface of the water and the video captures about two minutes of whatever this is. It's neat, but far from definitive evidence of the animal. Because embedding has been banned on the video, you'll have to visit the link. There's a whole write-up about the situation at Cryptomundo.com (the study of rumoured animals, that haven't been definitively discovered yet).


Weird, eh?

So what do you think? Real or not?

Interesting Marketing
ABC has sneaked evidence that Dominic Monaghan will be returning to a television show this fall, but they won't say which one, they want it to be a surprise. An interesting idea - generating a mystery that no only gets people guessing, thus engaging the audience, thus capturing their interest (the goal of marketing), but also will stimulate people to watch all of their shows searching for their beloved actor rather than just tuning in to one show to see what it's about. It's like Where's Waldo? You've got to see all of the crafty things that Martin Handford has set out on the page, not just Waldo. Well done.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Round up of neat stuff (June version)

Alright, I've been sitting on a bunch of material of interesting items that haven't seemed to fit into my recent topical posts, and I've got to unload them: so check out this interesting stuff.

Mattel
Mattel (the famous toy makers) are releasing a new monster that's super secret, but it's coming with an odd twist. From the New York Times:
Apparently the latest monster to emerge from Mattel’s toy-creation laboratories is so terrifying that the company will not give its name or say when it is hitting shelves — yet the beast is also so appealing that it has already been signed up for its own movie musical.

Variety reported that Universal Pictures, the home of vintage movie monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolf Man, as well as the summer singalong hit “Mamma Mia!,” had struck a deal with Mattel to create a live-action musical film about the new creature.

The movie is to be produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (whose credits include the “Hairspray” film musical) and will reunite them with the “Hairspray” composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman. Mattel gave no details about its coming monster toy, except that it “aspires to add a fresh twist to monster lore,” according to Variety.
Weird, eh?

High value
The New York Times has also reportedly reported "Two rare dinosaur skulls, one of a 65 million–year-old Triceratops and the other of a smaller member of the Tyrannosaurus rex family, were auctioned on Monday afternoon at the Manhattan auction house Bonhams & Butterfields. The Triceratops’s skull raked in $242,000, and the other skull, of a Tyrannosaurid, sold for $206,000. Both beat out the house’s estimates."

Yeah, man! Dinosaurs are awesome - as indicated by their high-fetching value.

Michael Meyers remake
Here's another image from Rob Zombie's upcoming Michael Meyer's film:


Dinosaurs breaking free!
Indianapolis has installed three alamosaurus to their childrens' museum. Here's a picture, pretty cool!

Movies
I saw Star Trek last night (pretty cool, inspired me to investigate the original series to see how closely the actors followed their characters of their inspiration) BECAUSE we have been waiting to see "Land of the Lost." Here's a review (they didn't like it) - one which I would suspect could identify with Anchor Man at some point. The beauty of Will Ferrell's comedy has always been in his over-the-top childish behaviour and tantrum-like inability to grow up. So perhaps this frustrated the reviewer?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Went to the zoo this morning


A T-Rex with bloody jaws looks over you as you exit the Dinosauris exhibit at the Detroit Metro Zoo.

Went to the zoo this morning, as promised, to see the Dinosauria exhibit that's been put on. The contacts that I am going to interview weren't available this morning, so I'll have to do the rest on the phone next week, BUT that doesn't mean I didn't get a chance to check the exhibit out and take some pictures.

First off, these animatronic models aren't life-size, which was a little disappointing, and their heads were a bit too large (they looked cartoony as a result) but they were still neat to go and walk through. The Detroit Zoo appropriated a huge amount of space to house the exhibit, and children are going to love it. Two of the animals actually spit at you, if you're close enough. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the exhibit was making noises that made the Red Pandas and Bactrian Camels uneasy.

I didn't really tour about the rest of the zoo or anything like that, I was guided by a member of the PR department, who was a collegiate basketball player for the Ferris University. She really helped out.

Turns out you can find her on the Internet, as a member of the basketball team just like she said. Cool.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Saw some videos recently

This one is hilarious - basically suggesting that Kanye is ... well, watch the video and make your own conclusions. (Thanks to the team at Immediate Regret, as usual, for finding this type of material)



I like the guy's t-shirt, as well.

Also, a comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:


And here's another neat video that ABC is putting out to promote their network, with one of the cast members from Lost.



And tomorrow morning, on an exciting note, I get to conduct another interview for In Business Magazine in Detroit (at the ZOO). I'm covering a dinosaur exhibit, which is going to be really great. I'm excited to see what they've got, how they're presenting it, and especially to talk with people behind the scenes to learn more about it. It's going to be wonderful, and I'll try and post some pictures about it shortly.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I hate the Red Wings(' fans)

Ever since I was a little, I never understood why people liked the Red Wings. It seemed that all of these folks who were ranting and raving about them only seemed to appear after that 95/96 season when they set the record for most wins in a season - they all agreed the Red Wings were the greatest. Did it matter that this was beginning just as the Leafs were dumping themselves into a slump for a few years? Maybe.

BUT I renew my problems with the Red Wings now that they're competing in the finals once again now that I have to listen to the radio shows around here. The Wings are up 2-0 for the last little while, and Jesus! people are complaining like there are league-wide conspiracies, that the NHL doesn't want the Red Wings to win, that they want to promote Crosby to the end of time, and therefore, Crosby is a baby. The Pens are dirty, they're evil, they're awful, they're the team that the NHL wants to win, ad nauseum. So the fix is in, and my God! it's all I hear about.

But now that the Red Wings have actually lost a game, I can't wait to hear what callers on 97 The Ticket today. The people calling in have been complaining about the injustice of the Red Wings losing a single game that even the pro-Wings broadcasters are fed. They're losing their minds with callers complaining about everything from last night. And since I turned on the radio, they've been yelling at callers, telling them to settle down, and many of the callers have been a bit more level-headed since the broadcasters have started to lose their mind. (Probably the call screener is rejecting some of the idiots that have been calling up.)

I guess all fans are the same, they hate it when their team loses, and they can't stand officiating that's anything less than perfect. But there's absolutely no honour in sports when it comes to fans. And the worst part of it all is, fans seem to think that becuase they like something that's great, that they themselves, by virtue of their anamour, are therefore great, too. (that logic is as flawed as possible - AND predates even highschool in terms of maturity).

Hard to be great when they've got to "channel their inner-Crosby" (as they're calling it) after every game. Maddox's recommendation?

Seriously, the radio show is talking more about how callers and fans need to shut up, than they are about the game. It's remarkable. God, I hate the Red Wings.