Welcome!  You've just walked into
New!  Mike's Rant in Letters Column!
Nolan's Newsstand
Tampa, Florida
My personal headlines and those of the crazed fan community!
All the news that's sick to print!  A newspaper and magazine in one.                        Publisher and Editor, Nolan B. Canova
Vol 1, No. 3     This edition is for the week of April 2--8, 2000.
The climactic lightsaber duel
Star Wars Episode 1: "The Phantom Menace" released this week on VHS
Stan Lee and computer comics
  Opening last year to mixed reviews, the object of much ridicule, and a victim of a near shut-out at the Academy Awards, "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" has nonetheless become the number 2 box office attraction of all time, surpassed only by "Titanic."
  Many fans reported being disappointed at the child level fairy-tale mentality of much of the story. Jar Jar Binks, arguably the most hated of the new characters, was the first all-computer generated character to be given a starring role.
  This week on April 4, 2000 (today, as I'm writing this) 2 versions of Episode One were released on VHS video simultaneously worldwide, reportedly the first motion picture to accomplish such a feat.
  Version 1 is the sell-thru priced, full-screen version (something like $16.99, depending where you go) and version # 2 is the letter-boxed version (around $29.95), with a behind-the-scenes tape included.
  Not to be seen is a DVD version which George Lucas has steadfastly maintained he will not release until all three "prequel" episodes are done, somewhere around 2005.
  However, there is a laser-disc version exported to the Orient with overdubbed dialogue only, perhaps so video pirates will have a tougher time developing a market for that version stateside.
  As a crazed fanboy, I have long had the ability to memorize and/or absorb near limitless amounts of data on almost every genre subject put in front of me.  BUT...
  While I am a Star Wars fan, even somewhat of a collector, for some reason I never developed the qualities necessary to absorbing limitless amounts of trivia/data about the SW movies like so many of my younger friends, so I confess to having some help with the details in this article.
 If you'd like to contribute (or correct) any material or sound off about Star Wars movies (The Phantom Menace or any of them), please write to "Letters to the Editor" listed below. Any entries seen this week before Saturday will be posted immediately. Any after Saturday will appear in next week's issue.
  
   
Stan Lee, past publisher and editor emeritus of Marvel Comics, has quite a bit to crow about these days. At an age where many men would be pleasantly retired and fishing from a canoe somewhere, Stan (77) has emerged with another avenue to exploit: comics on-line.
Recently, I've been reading a lot about Stan's ideas and
decided I would write my evaluations here. I'm running out of room for this issue, so I'll keep my comments brief.
  After reading an article in the current TV Guide about the new live-action X-Men movie (scheduled for release July 14)and another in the local paper about stanlee.net, his website devoted to "webisodes" of new comic characters, I was inspired to check out the latter.  There's good news and bad news.
  First, some "bad" news: in order to view Stan's site (or parent company shockwave.com) it's necessary to download something called "Flash 4.0" aka Flashplayer aka Shockplayer. Well, la-dee-da Stan!  Sorry my computer wasn't good enough before! I guess it's like "RealPlayer" but for "advanced multimedia." (OOOoookaaaay.)
  Now some good news: once you've downloaded this (and I did) you're in for a treat; Stan's site (and Shockwave's) will take you for quite a ride!
  Stan's project is called "The 7th Portal." It has a distinctly "japanamation" feel, but with high resolution graphics. There are 3 "webisodes" of "Portal" so as not to over-burden your computer; you watch one at a time. I enjoyed all 3 webisodes (each about 5 minutes long)and will go back for more, I'm sure.
  My favorite thing about Shockwave and these sites, including 7th Portal, is not so much the graphics, but the sound! The integration of high quality audio and scoring to these animations cannot be over-estimated! Makes the experience more movie-like somehow.
  The only remaining bad news, and it may just be for antiquated systems like mine: the show takes quite a while to download--but, someone thought of putting a simple video game on there you can play while-u-wait! After the feature started, it got "stuck" every couple of minutes, due to an interruption in the "streaming." This phenomenon is very familiar to those who have spent any time on computer media players. But, like I said, a fast new computer may not experience such delays. And it wasn't enough to seriously dissuade me from going in again.
  Postscript: I got an email from Shockwave stating that when I downloaded their player, I became a member with a password! That's OK, I went back and changed the password and did a little more surfing.
  (Nolan B. Canova, 4-6-00)  
Tampa Public Access Under New Management.   (4-4-00)
  For the first time since the early '80s, Tampa public access television is being managed by a non-profit group instead of the local cable service provider.
 It all started with Tampa Cable Company. (When I first signed up for cable TV was in October of 1985, the very INSTANT Tampa Cable made it available in my neighborhood.)  Then around the late '80s the franchise went to Jones Intercable. In the '90s, Time-Warner came along and ate up ALL the competition. (I don't know of any cable service around the Bay area that's NOT owned by Time-Warner at this time.)
Through it all public access television was always there, and with two channels worth: one goes to all Hillsborough County, the other to greater Tampa only. A necessary evil to the cable provider, because it's part of the county's franchise "deal", so is not designed to make any money. But it does gobble up maintenance resources. Public access stations around the country have been going to non-profit managers and most have seen improvements as a result.
  Speak Up Tampa Bay is the new non-profit organization that took over the Tampa facility Monday (4-3-00); Tampa public access will now be referred to as the "Tampa Bay Community Network."
  Founded 4 years ago to promote public debate of local issues, Speak Up has an 18-member board including Tampa Bay area journalism professors and journalists such as Ben Eason, publisher of the Weekly Planet.
  Under its new franchise agreement with the city, Time-Warner will give a start-up boost of $1.7 million in operating expenses and $500,000 to upgrade equipment to the new group.
  That's terrific news to P.A. stalwarts such as myself and Malcolm Hathorne who do the "UFOs and Metaphysics" show, Joe Redner with his "First Amendment" show and, of course, Jerry Cantor, the "pig-man" with his obsenity-laced call-in show. And not to leave out "Lifestyles of the Up and Coming"--those titty videos would be sorely missed! Although there was some trepidation at first by the P.A. producers at the possibility of having their visions compromised, spirits are pretty high down there now, what with the prospect of new equipment.
Nolan Canova passes P.A. studio producer's test! (4-5-00)
 I would like to announce to the world that I am now a Studio level Producer at Tampa Public Access Television!
After a brief setback last week (namely I failed my first attempt at the producer's test), I passed the test with a perfect score today (Wed. 4-5-00)!
 That means I am eligible for a weekly, live in-studio series. While such is not my desire at present, I have agreed to take over the reins of the "UFOs and Metaphysics" show from Malcolm Hathorne (the show's present producer and regular host) for the summer season, which begins June 26th and lasts for 13 weeks.
  Before that date, I have to produce a "special"--to prove I can go solo, I guess. I had to rush and get a time slot secured (lest they be gone) before I even knew what my "special" would be about!
  In all likelihood, it will probably have to do with my crazy fan world and my crazy fan friends who are going to be invited/drafted/dragged kicking and screaming onto the set!
  I've already entitled it "The World of Nolan" (shocker)as a tentative, but it'll grow on me and I'll probably keep it.
  The show will be an hour long and will tape as live-to-tape May 11 for a June 7 airing.
  My desire for the moment is to finish an original TV series pilot episode I've been working on, on-and-off, for nearly a year and get that on the air. Hopefully, the two programs will air on dates near each other.
All contents this page are 2000 by Nolan B. Canova, all rights reserved.

 

page created with Easy Designer