Too Many Long Boxes!
   
   

End of Summer
 
THOUGHTS AT THREE A.M.
by editor I forgot my name

Discussed this month:

Hey, what happened to that Fanzing website?…Thanks for the assist!…Schedule changes…Fun stuff…A new merchant…The amazing movie I just saw…Quizlet

Hey, What Happened To That Fanzing Website?

Well…how was YOUR month?

August 1st, Fanzing's web site disappeared, replaced by a white page that just said "Brrrrrrrr" with the title "It's cold in here." As you may have guessed, this was not planned. I'd been told on June 13 that I had 60 days to find a new server. Well, I guess the person who told me that just saw that August was two months away and meant it as a rough estimate.

I managed to find a fantastic web service that gave me 350 megs of space for only $20/month and had it set up by that evening. Just one problem: moving the Fanzing.com domain so that it points to the new server! Since my fanzing e-mail address was now defunct, I couldn't regain control of the domain without faxing off my driver's license and a form on company letterhead. THAT took a while.

By the time I regained control, it was 10 days into August. I moved the domain. Then I waited ANOTHER 10 days before I could see the web site on my own ISP, since everyone's ISP needs to refresh its information to point at the new server!

So, here we are, a month late. I know we've had several delays this year. I apologize.

Thanks for the Assist

I'd like to thank David R. Black, Matt Morrison, Chaim Keller and Michael Rees, all of whom have begun working in HTML to make this editor's job a LOT easier!

A little over a month ago, I put up a simple tutorial on how to convert your work into HTML and then make it into a Fanzing Web Page. As these four guys are all big contributors to Fanzing, getting their work in Fanzing-ready format saved me a lot of time in setting up the new issue. Gentlemen, your help is greatly appreciated, and I salute you!

HTML is pretty easy, and I've done what I can to make learning it even easier. I hope you'll all check out the tutorial for yourself.

Oh, and in response to a question I've received…I may indeed turn the little fake script I did as a joke into a real story. "Captain Carrot vs. The Wormmonger" is just too fun a concept to let it lie!

Schedule Changes

The Fanzing schedule has suffered some setbacks. I've extended the Swimsuit contest due date to fit the new schedule. I realize it's a bit silly to have the Swimsuit art results in October, but there you go.

I may move the "Affirmative Action Comics" issue back to a later month, as I'd like to fit in the Dick Grayson month while it's still his 60th Anniversary.

Fun Stuff

Steven Conroy is completing two more movies…and in addition to that, he's redoing some of his old ones. Steven recently found his source materials for "Crisis" and "DC One Million", and he's making a new "master reel" using his latest techniques. The new versions will be much more compressed than the earlier ones (that means shorter download time), while at the same time containing sharper images, better text and stereo sound. And unlike George Lucas, he doesn't even charge you anything for the Special Edition.

In other news, I have recently upgraded to Dreamweaver 3.0 and Fireworks Studio 3.0 so that I can better maintain this site. I was actually pretty content with D-weaver 2.0 and would have kept it except for one thing: Microsoft Word HTML clean-up. Now, contributors can create web pages in Word and send them to me…and instead of letting out a primal scream of frustration at the bad coding, I just hit the little "Clean Word HTML" button and say, "Thanks for sending that in!"

There's a little bonus here. See, I'm gonna sell this copy of Dreamweaver 2.0 on eBay.com and I'm going to put the starting price really low so that some Fanzing contributor or reader might be able to afford it. I know a lot of you run your own sites, and Dreamweaver is a great program for managing web sites…but it's usually too expensive for an amateur web designer. (I wouldn't even have mine unless I'd gotten it for a job.)

I'm going to add a "What's New" section to Fanzing's site, with the latest installment posted on the home page. This way, we can keep Fanzing's home page hopping with new information several times a week. I'll also have links to the latest hot topics we're discussing in the Forum.

Fanzing's new server host has included a CGI bin full of goodies. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about CGI programming to make use of it. I'll try to muddle through, since some of this could be quite fun. One of the niceties is a message board of our very own! I'll see if I can figure out that one.

A New Merchant

I'm switching our Shopping Section over to Buy.com and should have the links revised in a week or so. The Shopping Section and Download Section (where the Desktop Themes will be) have taken a back seat to the new issue, but I'm commited to revising them as soon as possible. I'll be ditching Vstore and Amazon.com as link referrals, although I'll still have them as alternatives in case you don't want to use Buy.com.

I've been quite impressed with Buy.com. See, in the last few months I went out shopping while using the iChoose Savings Alert (which lets you know if another e-Commerce site has a better deal than the one you were about to buy) and 9 times out of 10 it's Buy.com that beats the other sites by a couple bucks. On top of that, their service is fast. Read the next item for more on that.

The Amazing Movie I Just Saw

I just finished watching "Deterrence" an hour ago. It is an amazing film. I found it only because the lead actor, Kevin Pollak, is one of my favorite actors. You'd know him as the mechanic in "The Usual Suspects," the lawyer with "no purpose whatsoever" in "A Few Good Men" and Schwarzeneggar's sidekick in "End of Days." He's also a brilliant stand-up comedian (watch "Stop With The Kicking" if you don't believe me) and does the world's best William Shatner impression. When William Shatner approached him, trying to do Pollak's impersonation of himself, Pollak said, "Not only is that not you, but you suck at doing you."

Anyway, back to "Deterrence." After reading about it, I pre-ordered it sight-unseen from Buy.com. Due to be released August 29th, it arrived August 28th. That's how good Buy.com is; they actually time travel back before the release dates and ship stuff out. Wow.

Deterrence is the story of an unelected Vice President who then becomes President of the USA following the death of the previous president. While campaigning for the presidential nomination in 2008, Saddam Hussein's son invades Kuwait. The President must manage the crisis from a diner in Colorado where he's snowed in…and with America's military forces committed elsewhere, he must decide whether to threaten Iraq with nuclear annihilation.

While the story is a mix of previous presidential situations (the Gulf War, Truman's inherited nuclear decision, Ford's unelected status, the Cuban Missile Crisis, even Clinton's nuclear secrets "leaks"), there is another element which was unprecedented when the film was made: as a Jewish president, the Iraqis will not deal with him…and annihilation of Iraq will be elevated to the status of a Jihad. Six months ago, this was a unique idea. Now, Joseph Lieberman's nomination for veep has made it "ripped from today's headlines"…ahead of the headlines!

The movie was made for only $1 million and filmed in 18 days. Sometimes, it shows. A larger budget might have allowed for better computer graphics here and there, and some of the stock footage and file footage, while used inventively, keeps reminding the audience that it's a small budgeted movie. At the same time, it's meant to be a claustrophobic potboiler like "12 Angry Men", so the single set used in the movie doesn't really stand out. More to the point, the film is so tense and well-directed that it can be favorably compared to a Tom Clancy movie.

I have only a few real complaints. Sean Astin's character, while providing some of the movie's best comedy relief, is too much a stereotype of the racist bumpkin. (Hollywood really does believe that one out of every six people in "flyover country" is a guy like this.) In fact, most of the diner's inhabitants are cookie cutter characters, exaggerations of what middle America is like. And listening to the president's closest advisors reacting with shock to everything he does gets a little monotonous.

My biggest complaint is the needless "R" rating. The numerous uses of the F-word just didn't need to be there. I realize some will claim that it's in character, particularly in such a tense situation drama…but the movie would be equally intense without it, and the otherwise PG-13 movie could be far more accessible.

But Kevin Pollak brings this movie home. It is his film, and Kevin is brilliant in it. I hope you'll check it out. It's available to buy on DVD and to rent on VHS (it will probably come out at a reasonable price later).

Quizlet

Q: Which canceled book most deserves another chance?
(of 241 respondents)
23%   Chase
21%   Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
18%   L.E.G.I.O.N.
20%   Captain Carrot / Amazing Zoo Crew
13%   Resurrection Man
6%   Heckler
 
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This column is © 2000 Michael Hutchison.
Fanzing is not associated with DC Comics.
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DC characters are used here in fan art and fiction in accordance with their generous "fair use" policies.

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