First, a couple of birthday announcements...
Two old fan friends of my inner circle, Matt Drinnenberg and Scott van Sickle celebrate birthdays this week.
Yes, it's not just about Elvis anymore. (Never really was for me.) January 9th--as I write these words, in fact--Matt Drinnenberg turned 40 years old. I'll be
that myself pretty soon! (heh heh..coff coff.) Matthew has been a columnist for this fanzine from the beginning, and a friend of the gang since the '70s. Altho Matt
lives in Massachusetts, we keep in good touch, thanks to the computer. Matt wrote some thoughts on turning 40, and pretty funny ones, in "Matt's Rail" (Commentary section.)
Scott van Sickle turns 38, January 14th. To say Scott and I are close is like saying the Pope is sort of Catholic. Besides being the ultimate bass player for The Hats/ Blade/ Sniper/ Labyrinth, Scott is one of the best friends I ever had. Besides music, he's also a very talented graphic artist. His comics work has been published in various forms and he's had illustrations appear in a few major magazines.
I sincerely wish both friends a happy birthday and many happy returns!
Now then, let's talk about me....I fooled around with the design of this page again. While I was gaga over last week's results, I decided I had devoted too much black space to the "nav bar" column and that was a waste of space. AND WE CAN'T WASTE SPACE! So, that's been modified with this shorter nav bar, that I created myself and coded in the image maps by hand. Speaking of this...I've started to wean myself away from my beloved Easy Designer web-editing program just a little bit. All of you who've been following my exploits here have no doubt noticed the "page created by Easy Designer" logo thingy at the bottom of each and every page I've ever published to my space at AOL. The program was a godsend in helping me figure out how to create web pages. However, over the last year, I've been studying HTML code--and its offshoots--from books and websites, but mostly books. While web-editing programs like ED are great for quick and dirty (but effective) webpages, they all have some limitations. This page was written and coded entirely by me, by hand. I mean everything. OK, I'm not a top-drawer webmaster yet, not even close, but I'm having a great time learning and seeing what others are doing on their websites. For the time being, the Letters and Commentary page will still be done with ED. Eventually, that will likely also change.
OK, enough about me.
The MSN homepage and the evening news had pieces on the new Spider-Man movie. Director Sam Raimi seems to be taking pains, fortunately, in staying true to the spirit
of the comic. The movie, which stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, started filming January 8th. Reportedly, Maguire is "buffing up"
for the role so he doesn't have to resort to a bulky rubber suit. The script, which has gone thru countless revisions, is staying pretty close to James Cameron's original
vision--or so it's told. Sam Raimi did let one cat out of the bag: Spidey's web-shooters will not be the mechanical contraptions he invented in the comics; the movie
version shows the shooters as being genetic mutations, presumably borne of the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker. And the costume is staying the familiar
red-and-blue. So, that studio photo that was circulated earlier last year of the nearly all-black Spider-Man was a decoy. Or maybe a pre-production version that didn't make it.
The eonline page on MSN also discussed some of the other casting, but, like an idiot, I didn't copy it right away and when I went back to research this article--mere hours later--it was gone. Apologies. I do remember they discussed the actors playing the aunt and uncle, but I don't remember who they are now. Woops. In any event, the movie's due for a 2002 release.
And finally this...The return of Art Bell...again. Long-time loyal readers will remember from WAAAAY back that I'm a loyal Art Bell fan. Thru the "pages" of this newsletter, I've chronicled his up-and-down relationship with the Coast-to-Coast AM overnight radio show. (For the uninitiated: the show's about aliens, conspiracies, and such. If you work at night, like I do, it's a best friend. Art Bell was its initiator and long-running host until he "retired" several times over. For references, click on "The Archives 2000", nav bar at upper left.) Well, word came down the pike last week that Art will return To Coast-to-Coast, February 5th, 2001, and his fans couldn't be happier. Not that his replacements have been slouches by any means. Mike Siegel, Ian Punnett and Barbara Simpson have done a remarkable job at manning the helm and keeping the show afloat and entertaining. In fact, they have their own fans now and I wouldn't be surprised to see any of them spin off a like-themed show. But there's no one like Art Bell.
Coming soon: I get back to railing on Fox shows. First up--my follow-up reactions to newest The X-Files episodes!