Hello Everyone! Welcome to the first edition of CrossTopix! We’re thrilled to be making this site. This edition of CrossTopix is what we call “the pilot edition” as we hope to show the readers, current guests, and potential future guests what each week will be like. Please leave feedback here after reading or go onto our Facebook Fanpage (http://www.facebook.com/pages/crosstopix#!/pages/CrossTopix/253175679524?ref=ts) and tell us what you think about this edition and what we can do to improve on the page or even what you want us to keep doing!
CrossTopix originally had three hosts but is now scaled down to two, STVO and Charlie Cat. Due to outside issues and being very busy with many other things in her life, AranPo will not be a regular host at this time. She’s been a great friend to STVO for many years and has become friends with Charlie Cat since starting this site. We hope the best for her and welcome her back if she decides to return full-time (or even as a guest, possibly recurring.) In the meantime, check out her awesome art website at http://jazzcatnya.deviantart.com/ If you see anything you like, please message her for information regarding commissions, STVO has gotten one done from her and it was really amazing!
STVO: Alright everyone, this is normally the spot where we have our guest promote something that they have come on to our site to promote. With no guest this week, we are each going to promote something of our own. On my half, the only project I’m really working on is CrossTopix, so to everyone reading please pass along this site to your friends (http://crosstopix.blogspot.com) and please give us all feedback as to what you thought of this week’s edition! The second thing I’ll promote is my two friends, Rhodrick and Robin’s website, www.littlebrassbird.com. It is a creative webpage which hosts their new cartoon “Little Brass Bird.” The two of them are future guests on the show, so I’ll let them explain more about it down the road. But please everyone, check out the two sites I have promoted, give us all feedback as to what you think, and if you like them, please encourage others to check them out!
Charlie Cat: Quick plug for my friend Greg57. Here are a couple of my favorite photos of his. This man is not some wandering amateur who just likes to play around and think of his equipment as a toy, and find something, say, “hmmmm that looks pruuttie”, quick frame up and click. No, no, no. This man goes out and stops and smells the roses in this fast paced world of ours. He finds the big things and the little things. He finds the beauty in nature and human made constructs when they decide to do a rare pose that the rest of us miss. He even manages to catch animals and people in captivating form, in just everyday situations. Please check out his work at the following site and prepare to begin wOwing, emphasis on the O. Also, please leave comments. We always appreciate feedback from anyone to everyone. Thank you. Check out his photography at: http://greg57.posterous.com/
1.) Apple just revealed the iPad coming this March. So far there are many naysayers about this new piece of hardware. What are your opinions? Is it going to be revolutionary or will it flop? (For more info, check out Pee-Wee Herman's explanation of the iPad on Funny or Die! http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/f7a03edbd7/pee-wee-gets-an-ipad)
STVO: At first look, I thought “This is just a giant screen from the iPhone with applications.” After further reading, I heard it can act as an e-book or even an electronic drawing journal. Those two aspects really interest me! The $429 to $829 price range is a bit steep though considering it doesn’t have any USB ports and isn’t really a complete computer. One thing that hasn’t affected me with most products I’ve owned but could affect other consumers (or me if it does happen) is the fact you can’t change the rechargeable battery. That means if you have a defective unit, you pretty much have to replace your iPad and risk losing data. Personally, I see the iPad either being fairly successful (not a mega-hit like the iPhone or iPod) or the starting point for a really successful new device everyone will use this decade.
Charlie Cat: Wow, I want one! At around $500 for a 9 inch diagonal screen and only an inch thick, this high tech tablet offers a lot. Just about the entire Mac's features including internet access. It's so cool that you can flip it long ways and be able to read a long article and flip it back for a wider article with pictures and other stuff. You can also buy books offline and have a “bookshelf” application that stores all the titles on one screen and then you choose and read. One initial problem I had with this device was since it is flat, it has no screen protection. There is an accessory you can buy that acts like a book case to put it in though. This will be an accessory heavy device. I also am not a fan of the touch screen it uses. Most of us have greasy hands and are at our computers a lot creating for some big messes. Overall, I like this product. Mac is the way I go.
2) Movies. 2009. Was this a good year overall for theater goers? What were some of your favorites? What were some disappointments?
STVO: Overall, I’d say I went to theater a fairly good amount of times in 2009. I’d say 2008 was a lot better (Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wall-E) but I enjoyed quite a few movies this year. From the beginning of the year I enjoyed Coraline, My Bloody Valentine 3D (two movies that got me into the whole return of 3D movies) and I thoroughly enjoyed Wolverine and Terminator: Salvation. Later that year, I enjoyed Up, Saw 6, Avatar, Zombie Land, and I thought the Hangover was decent. The only movies I considered somewhat disappointing were Watchmen (decent movie, only two stories really interested me) and G.I. Joe (didn’t disappoint, but didn’t exceed expectations either.) Movies I didn’t get to see but want to see are Monsters vs. Aliens, Star Trek, and Drag Me to Hell. While it wasn’t a phenomenal year, I’d say it was acceptable.
Charlie Cat: Hmm…. Movies of 2009... Ugh. Animation saved the day for me with Coraline and Ice Age 3. Disney/Pixar’s UP was probably the best movie of this year. The Star Trek reboot, sequel, whatever you call it, was surprisingly good out of all the franchise movies. Transformers 2 and Terminator Salvation were let downs. The Road was greatly adapted from Cormac McCarthy's dystopian tale about the bound between father and son. The Collector (made by the team that did the last three Saw movies) was pretty good. Speaking of Saw, Saw VI was good. Same old formula: torture, splatter, scream, die, rinse and repeat. Drag Me to Hell was awesome; Sam Raimi returning to his Evil Dead roots. Sherlock Holmes was good but it is the only movie I have ever seen that spends a great deal of its time setting up for a sequel. The Watchmen I have mixed feelings about. As a lover of the graphic novel, I appreciated that they tried to stay as close as possible to the source material. But it was...uh, that's another discussion. But there is no denying the awesomeness of Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach! As for other movies I have left off, I was just not compelled to see them. And that's it for 2009, pretty meh. Oh, and that movie Avatar was pretty good. Not worth all the hype but it was good. Just thought I'd mention that one in case people didn't know about it. Haha.
3.) While we love the 80s/90s, who are some newer artists you have heard and enjoy? If you don’t know any specific artists, is there a specific genre of music that has recently interested you?
STVO: I have to admit it, I’m an old man when it comes to music (the 90s was 20 years ago, WHAT!?!?!) I did like a few bands in 2000-2009 such as the White Stripes, AFI, etc. but my heart is mostly stuck in the 80s and 90s. I do have a friend that likes some techno, industrial dance, and other various music that I like to get into, not really sure where to start though. Two songs I hear on the radio that I like are “Fireflies” by Owl City and “Evacuate the Dance Floor” by Cascada. I’m not sure if I’d buy CDs from them, but they’re enjoyable songs. I’ll have to give credit to Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson as well, both are talented women. It’s funny though, my parents know a little more about the current music scene than myself.
Charlie Cat: This is a tough one. I am a crockety old fart when it comes to this one. “You dang kids! I love my 80's and 90's music.” Ok, I had my say. I'll behave now. Some newer stuff that I don't mind would have to be Shiny Toy Guns. I have only heard one album but I liked it and their cover of Peter Schilling's “Major Tom” is VERY good. The Toxic Airborne Event I can tolerate. Their hit song “Wishing Well” is pretty catchy. And I will say, although I do not like her music, Lady Gaga is very talented. She's got a voice and can play a piano. Now, for all you kiddos out there, try some Depeche Mode, Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Simple Minds, Jane's Addiction, Nirvana, Sound Garden, Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, and I got a whole bunch more...
4.) Sega has recently revealed Project Needlemouse is really Sonic the Hedgehog 4, a true direct sequel to the popular Sega Genesis titles. Will this Sonic title be the needed fix for the recent negative opinion of the Sonic the Hedgehog titles? Will it live up to being a true sequel? (Check out the small, yet awesome trailer here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQjc_nt_8wg )
STVO: Being a BIG fan of the original Sega Genesis series, I am pretty thrilled about this decision. Some people, previously myself included, consider Sonic and Knuckles to be the fourth true Sonic game, but looking back it was more of an extension for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic 3. Looking at Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles together, they seem more like they’re two halves of one really great Sonic game! To me though, the truth is that this won’t fix the Sonic series (not right away at least.) Capcom and Nintendo have found some great success recently with MegaMan and Mario playing closer to their 8-bit counterparts (Capcom is even making MegaMan 10 this year!), but Sega has had somewhat of a negative track record with their titles in recent history. No I’m not saying it will suck, but they will have to do some good promotion for this title and if they want to make big money with their retail Sonic titles (Sonic 4 will be a download-game on Xbox Arcade, PSNetwork, and WiiWare) they will have to really step it up. I’m very excited for Sonic 4 and hope the best, but it will take a lot of time to win back old fans.
Charlie Cat: YES!!! This has been long awaited. A true follow up to the Sonic franchise! This one will pick up where Sonic and Knuckles (really just an extension of Sonic 3) left off and continue with Dr. Robotnik causing mayhem and exacting revenge on our beloved heroic blue hedgehog. Sonic just did not flourish in the 3-D realm or in side games unlike his long time marketing enemy/now brother? Mario. Sonic worked best on a 2-D plane with beautiful backgrounds that you could either fly by or slow down and enjoy while doing all the small things: bashing baddies to save innocent little animals, collecting rings, or getting goodies out of the boxes that can be busted open. The only thing I hope for is that the game sticks to the old format of every level(zone) being two stages with second ending in a boss fight with a cool yet destructive machine controlled by Dr. Robotnik, er, Eggman. Wait! Isn't that giant egg bad guy from the old Batman and Robin show, played by Vincent Price (holy lame villain reference Charlie Cat!) I also hope for Tails and Knuckles to come back and be playable! It's interesting that this is a download and not a disk release. This tactic and the debut trailer of going through Sonic's history, briefly, is definitely a play for the generation who got the best of Sonic. And I am ready to welcome him back with arms wide open. OUCH! I forgot how spiky he is...
5.) A new decade has arrived and TV made some drastic changes going from the 1990s to the 2000s (i.e. more reality shows and talent contests became popular on television, family sitcoms weren’t on network primetime, laugh tracks are being taken out of some shows, etc.) What are some changes/additions you’d like to see arrive on the primetime network scenes this decade?
STVO: Well I see NBC has an open 9 PM (central) slot after the Winter Olympics. Since Jay Leno is going back to the Tonight Show, how about an hour show for CrossTopix? NBC will jump to No. 1 in NO TIME! I’m just kidding, but getting serious here, I really hope we see far less reality shows on network TV or just in general. 3D television will be neat and I’m sure that we’ll get some fun experiences around 2015 or later. With that said, with the success of Avatar proving that animation can work (sure it is live action too, but I think people were more entertained by the animated scenes), how about a series that does push computer animation in an action/adventure type of setting? Something else I’d like to see is Fox pick up animated comedies that don’t involve families, something more in the lines of Mission Hill or The Critic.
On the non-animated front, it may sound corny, but how about some more family sitcoms? Perhaps some without laugh tracks? NBC was very successful with the Cosby Show and Fresh Prince, maybe they just need to look back at what made them successful (no, not do remakes like they did with Bionic Woman or Knight Rider) and give it consideration. Also, I’m always entertained by good action dramas like Law and Order, CSI, Heroes, House, among others.
Charlie Cat: The 90's were a better time for TV viewing than this past decade. I mostly watch MLB games, NBA games, and the shows “Fringe” and “Dexter”. Some changes I would like to see happen this coming decade are cutting back on the reality TV (yeah I know, dream on). I cannot stand it. What “Survivor” started and “American Idol” helped make the American pastime of television is something I cannot stand. Also, there needs to be a lot less medical and law/crime investigation shows. They DOMINATE what's on the tube. “House” and some of the “Law and Order” shows are acceptable but the rest just irritate and are recycled versions of “Law and Order”, “CSI”, and “ER”. It's even harder to get into shows because more are serial than ever before. You have to see episode 1 of season 1 and every episode thereafter or you're lost.
6.) Let’s pretend you’re the big executive producer of the Spider-Man movie series: This year’s situation of Sam Raimi (director) and Toby McGuire (actor playing Spider-Man) leaving the production of Spider-Man 4 applies to you. Do you instruct the crew to cast and create a sequel to the current franchise or do you decide to start the series from scratch and reboot the series like they’re going to be doing? Feel free to add how you’d move the story along.
STVO: I would attempt a sequel personally. There are flaws to using a different director and of course many fans are never happy when an actor or multiple actors are replaced, but rebooting the franchise this is early is ridiculous as all three movies were smashing box office hits and unlike most people, I liked Spider-Man 3. It had its flaws (emo Spider-Man) but it did have strong storytelling with The Sandman. I don’t want to go spoiler-crazy, but I think they could have continued with Venom in a sequel and personally, that’s what I would do! First off, it’s been said and is evident that Sam Raimi was NOT a fan of Venom, so that’s one quality I would like for the next director, a fan of comics and one that actually enjoyed Venom! Topher Grace did not fit Venom by voice or appearance, I don’t know which actor to cast but it would be a bulkier guy who can pull off a good mean guy attitude. I’d have the story follow-up from the other three movies but I would try to give it a new feel. The story would be one that doesn’t focus on depression, identity crises, or love triangles; rather my story would have the feeling of an ultimate grudge match, Spider-Man vs. Venom, Peter Parker vs. Eddie Brock. I’d either do that or a Maximum Carnage storyline where Carnage would debut and more details of the black goo from Spider-Man 3. Now if I was forced to do a reboot, I wouldn’t go with Green Goblin or Venom right away, instead, I’d make the first villain Lizard as I feel he's a popular villain and with Pete being back in high school, it would be great to have one of his teachers become a supervillain.
Charlie Cat: I think it is a terrible idea to reboot the Spiderman franchise. The Batman franchise needed one because of the mess it had finally become at Batman and Robin and almost a decade had pass since that release. Spiderman 3 was not a mess of a situation like Batman and Robin. Just get a new director to move forward with the current continuity and a new actor. I think Ryan Gossling would make a perfect Peter Parker/Spiderman. Here is how I would move forward in the story aspect of things. They already had been setting up the Lizard with introduction of Peter's one armed science teacher, Dr. Connors, who is the Lizard in the comics. But I want a director who loves Venom, unlike Mr. Raimi. This fourth installment should explore the origins of the venom substance and bring him back. I would also like to see him played by Sam Worthington. He is more of a Brock than Topher Grace was. And then somehow Carnage gets in the mix, I think would be best played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Rebooting a huge superhero franchise this soon would be horrible. They can't reuse the villains that have already been done, it is too soon. It's just easier to keep the series running as is with a new director and actor.
Alright everyone, this is the ending segment of each week where each participant picks another participant and either gives a rebuttal or a full-agreement in relation to a certain topic. Everyone, please be courteous and respectful with your views.
STVO: In response to Charlie Cat’s opinion of the movies of 2009, I disagree with his view on one particular movie, and that one was Terminator Salvation. Okay, so the movie wasn’t as great as Terminator 1 or 2, but it was at least 10 times better than the horrendous 3rd movie. Despite being PG-13 (one issue I did have with the movie) there was a lot of great action and I thought that Christian Bale did a great job playing the role of John Connor and Sam Worthington made a great cyborg. After seeing this movie, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing some sequels down the road. Heck, original director James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger even felt it was a decent movie. Again, my only gripe was that this movie was PG-13 which led to a reduction of mature content movie from the previous Terminators. I understand film studios are trying to get more people to see it, but I personally don’t like it when an R-rated movie goes down to a PG-13 rating because it sometimes feels like it’s going to be watered down from the previous films.
Charlie Cat: (In response to movies of 2009) STVO, I couldn't agree more that 2008 was an overall much better year for movies and you named three gems from that year. :) I forgot my shout out to Zombieland, that was a good one! Love my zombies. I am weird in that I kinda liked G.I. Joe but you're right in what you said, all in all, it's nothing to get excited about nor trash to death. Where I have major differences are with The Hangover and Wolverine. No disrespect but those were terrible movies, box office success aside, especially what The Hangover brought in. Yikes! But The Hangover is just another Old School/American Pie/Role Models pile of barf. We've lost the great comedy writers and actors. Where have they gone? The people who were truly funny people with their skills, not some outlandish line involving anal sex or f-bombs. Wolverine? It broke so much continuity of its after movies. Sabertooth knew Wolverine?! Then why so unfriendly when they meet up in the first X-Men movie. SPOLIER ALERT: And at the end Scott Summers was saved by Wolverine and is rescued by a lame CGI Professor X because I guess Patrick Stewart was unavailable. And then cramming in Gambit and the Blob in suck lame ways. I did however, unlike many others, like Deadpool. He was one of the highlights of the movie.
That is all for this week’s edition of CrossTopix! Please leave feedback of what you thought in the comment section on this site or on our Facebook fanpage! We are looking to do another edition very soon! Take care and have a good Valentine’s weekend!