Jan 31, 2008

Sad Day

As a HUGE fan of the Bruce Timm DC animated cartoon series I've been lucky enough to get 10 seasons worth of stuff.

Only one problem with that. Once you've seen all 10 you've seen them all.

Today I finished off the last 4 episodes of Batman Beyond. The last episodes I needed to see of the Timm cartoons.

No more for me. *tear*

Jan 28, 2008

One Year Later... Drumheller

Finally here on my return trip I've gotten around to the number one thing on my list to do. Return to Drumheller to check in on the good museum Tyrrell and her crew.

The Town

Setting the stage for the overall trip this quote from David Loyd was pretty telling. "It's Drumheller nothing really changes around here."

I mean apart from a little erosion since my last time here in December 2006 the Badlands remain fairly unchanged (considering the rocks are some 70 million years old that stands to reason).

Due to both the snow of winter and the quickness of my trip I only got preview levels of the badlands and their beautiful layers... Definitely no fossil prospecting in there either :(

On the surface nothing in Drum had really changed. Yet looking closely subtle changes were abound everywhere. All the "Cementosaurs" for example had new paint jobs (resulting in the extinction of my favourite "Funkosaurus Rocks" *tear*).

To be all little frank I didn't care for 90% of the new paint jobs I saw...

Though this new job on the Fast Gas Corythosaur was not only a major improvement, but the best of the lot.

I didn't snap a picture out of disgust, but probably should have, the ground sloth had changed from the logical brown to green?!?!?

The Crew

My main objective of this trip was to catch up with and see all my good friends at the museum.

Though I only managed to make it into town for 1.5 functional days (spread over 3 actual days) I feel I was more than efficient in this regard.

Out of all the people who still live and work in Drum I saw 100% of them. Sadly I only talked to 99% of them with one key person disappearing without managing to say even hello... I guess there's always next time?

Here are the old guard mixed with the new at Rowley. Yes this trip was perfectly timed for Rowley!

The main event was a surprise per-b-day party for my main man Tyler. With him and Kelly expecting their baby around the time of his actual b-day it was decided by the staff to celebrate it now while he definitely could. It also meant this was a real surprise for him...

Funny side story I was nearly the weak link in altering him to this event. People over the net told me about the party, but neglected to inform me that it was a secret. I nearly mentioned in the email to Tyler I was excited to make it to his party, but opted not to mention it as it was a no brainer I would be showing up to it... Dodged a big social responsibility bullet there for sure!

I was sadly not as camera happy as I normally am, and only got a few individual shots. Like this one of Yumi and Kristen (the wonderful hero who gave me the ride out to Drum!). Here we enjoy a breakfast before me and Kristen hit the road for home.

On the first night in Drum a number of us, having just enjoyed the new all museum staff band, returned to Cam and Megan's to hang out further. Here Megan and Luke rejoice in the comfort knowing Spiderman's got them covered.

Chara loving Peter Bond's painting (set piece and prop in the The Hardcore Apocalypse After Next Tuesday) from inside a laundry basket on the second self of Cam's puter room. It was a fun night as you can tell...

Also full of surprises as it turns out Chara is actually just the hidden form of a transformer Buster Primer... 5 geek points for everyone who catches why I gave her this name.

I also met the new member of Cam and Megan's family in the form of Lucy. Cam found her as a stray hanging outside Yavis' (which speaking of which I went to, and you'd never recognize it now that it's smoke free!).

The Royal Tyrrell Museum

My secondary objective of the trip (honestly not first but second!) was to hit the museum.

Cam was nice enough to take an hour out of his one day off this week to come into work so I could check it out.

The one bright spot is that Cam had never had his picture taken with the Allosaur despite it being his favourite Dinosaur. So the hour paid for itself (or so I try to lie to myself).

My main goal of the quick pop into the museum was to see all the displays that were put up and completed RIGHT after my departure for New Zealand

The Ceratopsians

Greeting you to display is an old friend, whose had a bit of a upgrade in the meantime.

It's partner now stands high above as the official greeter to the display area. Breaking their eternal conflict (which to be honest I'll miss as I thought the dueling Chasmosaurs were among the coolest mounts due to the life like nature of their interaction).

This mountain-Chamosaur as it's called is a little controversial with people at the museum. Some think it's a silly place to put the skeleton. I though think it is cool in that it's a unique perspective and point of view you normally don't get of a Dinosaur skeleton.

They also have a very cool section of metal cut outs to give you the sense of scale of the various sorts of ceratopsians.

As an aside with the lovely Cam as my human model in this shot, this is going to be used shortly to make new cast members for Traumador's upcoming adventures. That's a big hint as ALL of these ceratopsian families will make an appearance... with one of them being a new main cast member!!! You'll have to guess which one.

The real fossil mount of the Dinosaur Park Pacyrhinosaur is VERY impressive in person. It's awesome to see the real skeleton in the gallery. It give the public an idea of what palaeontologists call a complete skeleton, and how hard it is to mount real bones as opposed to casts.

The Eotriceratops cast by Mark is awesome to see finally on display... No thanks to me and my near accidentally knocking off the horn in 2005... Not that it was a serious near knocking off, but it sure smartened me up when working in the cast lab!

Part 1 of the museums own Styracosaur.

Part 2 of the the Styracosaur.

Lords of the Land

The revamped Theropod Hall that is for the most part the same idea, but with a nice new decor and atmosphere of an art gallery. Complete with classic music playing softly throughout!

This space was also officially dedicated to late museum director Bruce Naylor which is fitting. So let's go through the new Naylor Hall.

It's a Dromaeosaur the best we've ever seen!!!

A Saurornitholestes.

It is about time there were LOTS of raptors up in the museum. Their crowd pleasers, and frankly are just cool skeletons.

Some more Ornithomimids

New Geo Station

Because they took out the teaky booth by Lillian's corner there was a need for somewhere for the GEOs to do their thing. Complete with real ceratopsian bone in the front for people to interact with, a gallery map on the counter top, and a simulation micro fossil matrix dig station it's pretty awesome.

Cretaceous Alberta

Technically the first display in the museum, but due to my foolish uploading of these photos first and this being my favourite display it's the last. I'll go with saving the best for last.

Though I'd seen the new Albertosaur family just before I left, but their new environment was sway! (in the words of Batman Beyond)

My only compliant is how open it is. The premise of the display is you walking into Alberta 70 million years ago with the pack of Albertosaurs from the Dry Island bonebed. You're surrounded by their prehistoric jungle to the sides, but removing the illusion is open ends into the present. Be nice if even the into the gallery side had a backdrop behind the running Albertosaur.

Otherwise it's a brilliant addition, and a worthy replacement of Lillian's corner. Which brings the museum's restoration back to the cutting edge of science.

New Finds. Fresh Minds.

After being taken down for a year for an Ice Age display (which I sadly missed) the old classic museum concept of show casing the curators and researchers is back. I have to say it is a very impressive upgrade. With such displays as a cast saurpod visitors can stand beside to compare themselves too, and this Francois' current research in theropod bite force and methodology. Very nice.

Off till at least the Spring

Though 1.5 days was hardly enough, it was FUN as! It was awesome catching up with everyone I saw. Equally amazing to see the place I've invested so much into evolve into something better.

With a mere 2 weeks till I head back down under (including the actual down under of Australia!) my last big outstanding to do is get that job at Dinosaur Provincial Park so I can return and visit the museum in its real prime the summer! (Well okay I'd also like to visit Edmonton, but time grows short).

Funny As Palaeo Commercials

Over at Laelaps there are several funny palaeo related commericals. Among my favourite are a series of caveman era themed Cup of Noodle ads like this Moa one below. Laelaps has several more posted (not wanting to steal his thunder from posting them I just advertise ;p )

Jan 17, 2008

Blind Music Purchases

So after a year in New Zealand, a place at least 6 months behind the rest of the world entertainment-wise and typically only mainstream, I've been relatively without no music.

Thanks to two relief efforts by Karen and Clare I thankful had some needed injections to my limited library of music. However in preparation for the plunge back down under I ventured out and picked up some new CDs.

I however haven't seen any movies this year really so what was I to get?

Rather than scout out the music in their films first I took gambles on the following. Let's see how I did.

So Seinfield's animated movie. That alone had me avoid this one in theatres.

What attracted it to my attention though was it's by the same people who made Antz, one of my fav soundtracks. The music however was by Rupert Gregson-Williams, brother of Antz composer Harry Gregson-Williams... In the case of Harry I these days buy his stuff without reference due to the overall high quality of his work, and he has yet to sting me (pun intended!) unlike any other artist on that elite list.

Would I cut his brother a break? To be honest no. However my usual review site Film Tracks compared it to not just Antz, but Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and my all time favourite Chicken Run. Though I disagree with film tracks on some topics (John Williams for example... he hasn't been any good since the 90's... tracks blindly worships the ground he walks on EVEN War of the Worlds' music!?!) they've never led me astray when comparing things to Chicken Run.

So picking up the Bee Movie CD, were they right? Yes indeed. In fact album to album their dead ringers of each other. Both are fun throughout, but have 4 amazing standout silly zany fun tracks. I suspect this will be a Craig classic.

Than I found on film tracks minutes after returning from buying the Bee Movie CD that Water Horse was done by James Newton Howard... oh man

Howard being my favourite of all time, and the first one I ever just picked up at total random without seeing the movie. With no track record established for Howard in 2002 I just grabbed Atlantis for some reason. It was brilliant. Just like SOME of the tracks from Water Horse.

Water Horse has about 4-5 really good tracks in and of itself. Sadly not as consistently good as Atlantis or one of his water themed best Lady in the Water, but still entertaining none the less.

Jan 16, 2008

Long Overdue Update

I have been back in Calgary for about 3 weeks now, and the trip with my parents went well.

So far I've caught up with 90% of people in Calgary, and I plan to head up to Drumheller and possibly Edmonton if I can manage it to catch up with all them folks.

I will try to get a post up with my own photos of my trip with the parental units, but my mother has set up a very detailed and complete account of our travels on her own new blog. It's a much better version than I'd be able to give you.

The fictional mirror image of that trip and ALL my others through out New Zealand are currently in progress in Traumador's life (the reason I'll be too busy to give you a good account of the REAL trip) so be sure to check that out as well.