My Big Mouth

May 23, 2016

So, I mentioned briefly that there was a reason that I created the Media Update and Why I Love Pro-Wrestling features on this blog. I live and breathe pop culture almost as naturally as I breathe air and walk around. More than that, I absorb and release facts easily like an information sponge. My ADD allows me to watch a lot of stuff while I work on something else without suffering much productivity. So all of the stuff that I watch, read and listen to gets stored away and I slowly fill up like a cup in the rain. It doesn’t take much to fill that cup and soon I can feel myself overflowing.

I have people in this world that I love. When I spend time with these people, I tend to spew forth all of the recently collected pop culture stuff that I have collected. Stories are powerful to me. In fact, I draw a lot of strength from the stories that I read, see and hear every day. But I understand that not everybody needs to hear all of the minutiae I have gathered from these stories. I can often recount plots, characters and dialogue from things I haven’t seen in a long, long time. I don’t want to bother people with this info all of the time so I decided that I would put it into my blog.

I first created Why I Love Pro-Wrestling because I remember explaining the whole Montreal Screwjob to my brother and him nodding but not having time to really get it. I felt the passion of the story inside but I knew that not everybody cares about the same story. So I created Why I Love Pro-Wrestling later that week to try to explain where that passion comes from. I wanted to tell people the stories that had already been told but I realized that there are already biographies and Wikipedia for that. Instead, I started to explain how the stories of the squared circle connected to me. It was and is important for me to explain how the silliness of that artform wormed its way into my consciousness.

For Media Update, I remember discovering the Game Grumps on Youtube and just wanting to tell everybody I met about them. Except, the Game Grumps are kind of a unique show that occupies a certain niche the same way that it’s hard to push somebody into listening to your favorite podcast. I decided that instead of annoying the people in my life so much, I would instead start typing it all out. At first, I just threw things on the page and called it done. Media Update has continued to evolve and I don’t only use it to discuss the things I’m excited about. I use it to get excited about new things. I use it to both to explore and to reminisce. I put things out there in the hopes that one person might visit my site and check out what I’m interested in. I put things out there because I literally cannot stop myself from talking about media.

I will remain passionate about the things the media that I consume. Anyone who has visited my twitter knows I can’t help but live tweet WWE programming. I also constantly search for new music or short films to share on Media Update because it has become organic to do so. One thing I do want to change in the future is that I want to feature YouTube shows on the blog again. I watch a lot of YouTube and it seems a waste to just not talk about it or just explain it away. YouTube is becoming a great platform for new programming that does not work quite like the old stuff did. Twitch, as well, is becoming a viable market for entertainment. I will happily march into the future of movies, television, books, podcasts and music. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it.

Comet Girl 2

May 21, 2016

Traci Harding’s mom was waiting for her when the bus pulled up at the stop a block from Traci’s stop. She saw her as the bus pulled up and she could feel heat creep up to her face as she blushed. She got off the bus as quick as she could and started walking toward the house. Besides being the mother to a would-be superhero, Nancy Harding was a former track star and had longer legs than Traci. Besides that, Traci was not able to use her powers in public and her mother knew it. There was no way that Traci was outrunning her mother without flying but that was not the intent. The point was to make the conversation private.

“Traci stop. I need to talk to you.” Her mom said, laying a hand on Traci’s shoulder gently. It would take an impact from a car to hurt Traci but the gentleness was always appreciated.

“I know, mom. I just thought the conversation should be private. Right?” Traci asked. She turned to face her mother in their front yard in the midst of all of her mother’s beautiful flowers. Her mother had maintained this house for all of the years since Traci’s father had disappeared. Traci had a lot of respect for her mother but it made her the only parent and a symbol of authority. It could be hard sometimes but in that moment, Traci took a deep breath and smelled the flowers.

“Ok, good point,” Her mother said. “However, when my daughter rescues a malfunctioning plane midair and does not call, I kind of lose my head.” Her mother gave her a hard look but was trying to take slow deep breaths herself.

“I was going to call but I had to get to homeroom . Then the school has a no cell phone policy,” Traci said.

They walked inside and Traci set her backpack down. It had roller wheels on it as was the fashion at school. Traci did not need them with her super strength but they were so popular and they helped Traci stay undercover. She was proud of the backpack. It was cute and she had paid for it with chore money which made it just about the only thing so far that was only hers. It was completely normal girl stuff and Traci embraced that.

“We’re supposed to debrief, Traci. I was worried about you especially when you didn’t call,” Nancy said, a look of concern in her eyes.

“Sorry, Mom. There was a lot of stuff going on. I didn’t mean to make you worry,” Traci said.

“We have rules for a reason. We need to keep the two of us safe both physically and mentally. We’re a team, ok?” Mom asked.

“I remember, mom,” Traci said. “There wasn’t a lot of time but I’ll make time for the next one. I don’t want you to have to worry about me.”

“Besides, my earring fell under the fridge this morning. If you hadn’t run off I would have had you lift it so I could get it back. I had to change earrings and I was nearly late to work.” Mom said with a playful smirk.

“Oh Mom, I can’t always move furniture for you when the world needs saving,” Traci said with a laugh.

“You know, I have said it before and I will say it again but you do not need to be the one saving the day.” Mom said. She smiled easily, making sure that Traci knew that there was no pressure.

Traci wondered how her mother had reacted to her father being a superhero. He had been very public and had not only prevented disasters but had also fought a lot of high-profile battles against criminals. He had very few colleagues to save the day alongside so all of the danger was on him. Her mother was a tough woman but she still would have been sitting at home and watching Comet Man’s exploits on the news. Did she worry this much when it was him and not her daughter? What was it like for his costume to run through the washing machine while the two of them relaxed on the couch?

“Mom, there was nobody around for miles. If I hadn’t caught that plane, I shudder to think what would have happened to all those people. Not to mention all the people they might have hit on the ground. If I can be there, I’m going to be there,” Traci said.

“I know. Just like your father. Just make sure that if you’re going to be there, you’re also going to be there after. I can’t lose anyone else, Traci,” Mom said.

“I know, Mom.  I can’t promise anything but I’ll always do my best to come back to you.”

 

Media Update 5/19/16

May 19, 2016


Conan

This was another television show that I was mystified I had never talked about on here before. Conan O’Brien is an awesome performer who obviously puts his all into everything he does. It is very clear in his work that he loves what he does and lives and breathes show business. I first discovered Conan O’Brien over ten years ago when he was on and I was hooked pretty much immediately. Late Night with Conan O’Brien was a great show because it was on late and it was often absolutely crazy. Watching Conan was like being part of a fan club, a feeling he made more official lately by labeling a lot of what he does under the Team Coco label. When he succeeded Leno on the Tonight Show I was overjoyed. Finally, the geeks had taken the castle and the bully Leno was out. Of course, that situation did not work out but Conan soldiered on and gained even more of my respect. Now he has had his own TBS show for a while now and I feel that’s a better fit for him. He gets fewer notes and is able to do a lot of fun stuff on his own. His humor is very self-deprecating and he is very loyal to his staff and they are extremely loyal to them. Lately, I have been watching episodes again and they are great but that’s not all. I have started to watch Team Coco’s weekly video game stream which is an online feature that complements Conan’s own Clueless Gamer segments.


Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping

I love Patton Oswalt. He is one of those hand full of performers who will immediately make me trust that what I’m watching is at least worth a try. He is consistently in my top three favorite stand-up comedians because he is an extraordinarily talented comedian. Patton has a voice and facial expressions that make me start smiling as soon as he starts a joke. His performance in Ratatouille was touching and funny and he saved what could have been a lackluster Pixar movie and he played several hilarious roles on Bojack Horseman. It is not that rare for me to watch something and go “Hey, it’s Patton Oswalt!” excitedly. He has a very recognizable voice and his comic timing is always on target. In the new special on Netflix, you get the benefit of years of honing his craft and learning to develop material. Patton really resonates with me. He suffers from bouts of depression like I do. He obsesses over a lot of the nerdy stuff like I do and, I now find out, he has the same pop culture sponge brain that I do. Unfortunately, this special came out about a day before his wife died and I hope he and his daughter come out alright though it sounds like they should be fine. He is a great guy and a brilliant mind and I really suggest you check out the special if you can. In fact, one of his bits is about the same impulse that made me create Media Update and Why I Love Pro-Wrestling.


You Don’t Know Jack

I love video games. As a kid, I was always a console gamer but some of my friends were PC gamers. I can’t remember which friend introduced me to the You Don’t Know Jack series of games. The game series is popular even today as they just released a new party pack which let’s players and streamers are having a field day with. The game is a pretty fast-paced trivia game that uses a lot of puns and humor to test your wits. The game is tricky but it is fair and when it comes down to it not that hard as long as you are knowledgeable about pop culture and the world. Unknown to me, ABC created a show in 2000 based on the computer game series. I had no idea this show existed but that makes sense as there were only six episodes broadcast and I have now seen them all on YouTube. The episodes are a little dated now but are very fun. The show is hosted by Troy Stevens (played by Paul Reubens) a guy who only cares about himself and enjoys tormenting the contestants. A lot of the fun of the show relies on Reubens’ charm and wit as he really drives the show. The episodes I saw were well-written and had some fun contestants as well. It’s a shame that the show had to be canceled but I am glad to have found a little gem online. Check it out if you like irreverent, crazy humor.

Links of the Week:
Introducing WikiBear, the Wikipedia-powered Teddy Bear
Prince – Partyman
The Black Keys – Sister
Dragonforce – Operation Ground And Pound
The Veronicas – Cruel

Weekly Updates:
– Happy Anniversary to my nerd rants!
– This week’s theme is Nerdy Comedy because Comedy was too broad
– They canceled The Muppets! Noooo!
– Also Agent Carter! Nooooo!
– Also Castle! …. Meh.
– Nice Guys opens this week. Looks noice.
– Alice Through the Looking Glass still looks as bad as the first movie.

100 Questions to Ask Each Other #1

May 16, 2016

I decided to work on a few questions that the blog Half a 1000 Miles asked in a post from a while ago.  There are 100 questions (duh) so it will take me a while to get through it but I will post questions a little bit at a time.  Enjoy!

1. Name something that sounds like it should be fun, but it’s really not.

Performing. There was a brief moment where I thought I would be an actor or a rock star but I have horrible stage fright. If I have to do something like that in front of people, I can but I wouldn’t want to choose that life. Still, slipping into the skin of a character or rocking out on stage still sounds like a lot of fun but it’s not for me.

2. Name something that people complain about regarding the opposite sex that doesn’t bother you at all.

Well, the easy thing to pick is feminism. I see a lot of guys complaining online about feminism and Tumblr feminists and I don’t see what the problem is. The equality of women (and all people) does not threaten me the way it threatens other people. I love girl power as I grew up with a lot of reminders of how awesome it is.

3. Do you grant more favors OR do you ask for more favors?

I tend not to ask for favors. People do me favors all the time but I try my best not to ask for them. I am trying to get better at not expecting anything of anybody. I don’t want to be a burden to those around me. In the past, I have not been good about granting favors as I can get a bit psycho about scheduling ahead of time. Trying to change my schedule at the last minute often drives me crazy. I am trying to get better at rolling with the punches for the good of my friends and family.

4. Do you think you are smarter than your boss?

Smarter than my boss? Currently, I don’t really have a boss besides my family. Do I think I am smarter than my family? No, I do not. I am younger and less experienced than my folks. However, there are many different kinds of intelligence and my technological abilities are way higher than most people I have worked with. I also usually figure that there’s a reason that they are the boss and I am the employee and such comparisons are usually counterproductive.

5. Do you find watching strangers perform karaoke entertaining OR boring?

I really enjoy watching people perform karaoke. A lot of people are really into it and I always appreciate somebody who puts heart into what they’re doing on stage. Ability is not as important to me in karaoke as whether or not the performer is having fun. In fact, I usually don’t like watching somebody try to be technically proficient up there.

6. Would you take prescription medicine if it had been expired for 5 years, but you were really in pain?

Probably not. I have suffered from migraines and tension headaches for a large part of my life so I am used to managing pain. It sucks but I would hope I could keep myself from doing something potentially dangerous for possible short term benefits. Over the counter stuff can help a little if you need to stay conscious but a Tylenol PM helps to temporarily escape the pain until you can get help.

7. If you found a $100 bill on the sidewalk today, would it be the best thing that happened to you in a week? If not, what was better?

This week? I am of an economic class where $100 means a hell of a lot and I would not look that gift horse in the mouth. Yet, I value experiences more than money because I can’t carry the memory of money further into my life. It’s not memories of money that make me smile to myself just before I drift off to sleep. This past week, I finished a lot of final papers and exams and I am very proud of that. I wouldn’t sneeze at $100 but it would not be the best thing this week.

8. When you receive a Christmas card from someone unexpected, do you turn around and send them one?

Not usually. I don’t usually engage in snail mail these days. If I get something in the mail from somebody, I tend to text, phone, e-mail or contact them electronically. Words mean a lot to me and they mean a lot more when they are timely and not written in my indecipherable chicken-scratch.

9. If you, your child, and a group of 10 were stranded in the snow after 2 days and you secretly had 2 granola bars, would you share with your child only OR with everyone?

I would share with everybody. If I ever had a real child instead of a hypothetical one, I would hope it would teach them a lesson about helping other people. I was actually thinking about this sort of problem lately after watching a Game Theory episode. I vowed to put the needs of the all above the needs of the one or the few. Thanks, Spock.

10. If you didn’t answer your cell phone for 3 days in a row when your friend called, would you feel you owe them an explanation?

Yeah. That would be the first thing I told them and I hope I could be honest. Actually, I would hope that I would have already called them back or texted them a reason. Three days is a long time to leave somebody in the lurch. Some of my friends don’t actually ever physically see me so they might think something bad happened to me.

11. If you went to a party where half the guests were bikers and half the groups were doctors, who do you think you would talk to most?

I would probably end up talking to the bikers. I have met all of two bikers but they were nice and they gave me the impression that a lot of bikers were ok people. Bikers have a lot of different world experience that is different from my own. The closest I have come to that lifestyle was when I briefly worked for the circus so I would be intrigued. If I talked to the doctors it would probably be about books, movies or television and I can do that anytime. Of course, the real answer is whoever wasn’t an asshole.

12. Do you think forgiving your partner for doing something you two had previously agreed was unforgivable raises OR lowers their opinion of you?

In the end, if you really love somebody (whether romantically or otherwise) you have to forgive them or move on. However, if I was dating somebody and they crossed that line and I forgave them, I’d hope it would raise their opinion of me. I wouldn’t want to date somebody who felt that my forgiveness was a sign of weakness when it feels like it would be a sign of strength.

13. When you tell someone to make themselves at home, what do you actually mean?

Mostly sit down and feel free to use the bathroom if they need to. I don’t think anybody ever actually meant it literally when they told somebody to make themselves feel at home. You are not home and becoming that forward with the space feels really rude.

14. If a man publicly asked a woman to marry him and she said no, would you feel more sorry for him OR for her?

I would feel really bad for her. Asking somebody to marry you is like a lawyer asking a question in court. You never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. You’re really just making the words real by asking and having her answer even though you were over ninety percent sure she would say yes.

15. If you won the big lottery and the Lottery Commission said you would not get the money if anyone found out you won in the upcoming month, are there people you would still tell?

Not a chance. I would not risk the good I could do with lottery winnings by breaking the rules ahead of time. I firmly believe that my family and friends would understand if I kept that big of a secret and did not tell them. The payoff is way too big to not just wait to tell people. A month can be a long time to keep a secret but the benefit far outweighs the hardship.

16. Do you think there is a big difference in Coke and Pepsi? Do you think a restaurant should have to ask you if Pepsi is OK if you ask for a Coke?

No. I don’t really think there’s that big of a difference between Coke and Pepsi. I buy both for different reasons. Part of my family comes from Georgia and so I am loyal to Coca-Cola for that reason and also that’s what I grew up with. On the other hand, there’s a Pepsi plant very near where I live in Baltimore so I am kind of loyal to that for my hometown. I think the restaurants can save time by not asking the question because the content of both drinks is very similar.

17. If you and your partner were lying in bed with the window open and you both decided it was cold, would the same person always be the one that got up and shut the window? Would the person that got to stay in bed appreciate that OR take that for granted?

If I had a girlfriend or wife, I wouldn’t mind always being the one to get up and close the window. I would hope that she would appreciate the effort but I would not mind if she also took it for granted. I mean, I’ll always do it so she could depend on that. Of course, I run hot so unless she asked I would not get up and close it myself. I like it cold at night.

18. Is it fair to get mad at someone for something they almost did?

It depends on what the something is. If they were about to do something negligent like they almost hit somebody with their car then I think it would be fair to be angry with them. They should pay attention and there are few excuses for that sort of behavior. However, if they stopped themselves from doing something malicious I don’t think it’s fair to be mad at them unless they were stopped by an outside force. If somebody stops themselves from doing something bad then they should be rewarded because we all get mad and it takes strength to control that.

19. Do you think buying stocks is gambling?

Yes, I think it is gambling. I don’t really understand the stock market other than buy low and sell high. It is gambling in the same sense that poker is gambling. If you’re good at it, there’s less risk and it’s a more acceptable practice. If you have no idea what you’re doing then you need to stay away.

20. Have you ever made a cake and not tasted the batter?

No. Such a thing is not possible.

Redcross Pt. 6

May 14, 2016

Redcross

It was about dinnertime when Sarah got back to her office. She had to search around for more signs of those ugly rag men who had blown the mine. She wished she had tied the unconscious one up when she had the chance. Her nerves had been a little frayed after the explosion and the gunfight. She had allowed her curiosity and Roy Simmons to distract her. It made her mad as Hell. She was mad at the murderer, mad at the men at the mines and mad at Roy Simmons too. Most of all, she was mad at herself for not handling things right.

Of course, she had never dealt with an actual murder mystery before. She had also never seen anybody like those things at the mine before. She had also never seen anything like the carvings at the mine or that type of stone either. It had certainly been a red letter day and Sarah was frustrated and dog-tired as she hung up her hat. She unbuckled her gun belt and hung it up as well. She took out her pistol and carried it over to her desk. It was time to do a little maintenance and cleaning to make sure she was ready for another firefight. To say that another firefight was an unwelcome phrase was a bit of an understatement.

“Sheriff Redcross? Are you here?” A tiny voice asked as the door opened with a jingle of the bell. It was only the fact that her gun was half taken apart that saved Holly Dawson from getting shot. Sarah thought she had locked that door but she realized she was tired and distracted enough to have forgotten.

“Oh! There you are. Sorry for intruding,” Holly said. She glanced at the lamps around the room. Most of them were off. There was a little desert finch on Holly’s shoulder and it looked almost as curious as young Holly.

“Oh sorry, Holly. I haven’t turned the lights on yet. I just got in,” Sarah said. She checked her pocket watch. “Oh, I guess it was already twenty minutes ago. It’s been a long day, Holly.”

“I can imagine, Sheriff. You do so much for Essex,” Holly said. Her voice was soft and if you did not know her, you might think she was shy.

“Can I help you, Holly?” Sarah asked.

“Oh! I was just wondering if you were hungry.” Holly said with a sweet smile. The bird hopped back and forth on her shoulder, strangely silent this whole time. Sarah’s stomach grumbled and she hoped it was not loud enough to hear. Holly was carrying a dish.

“I wouldn’t turn down food kindly given, Holly. You didn’t have to bring that over, though. You know that, right?” Sarah asked with a smile. She pushed her gun forward on her desk so that Holly could set the dish down.

“Oh yes, ma’am but I remember that you used to bring your father dinner from our house,” Holly said as she set the dish down. Holly Dawson’s family had indeed helped feed Sarah and her father not too long ago. They were friends with everybody in town and Holly’s dad ran the general store. Holly herself was a quiet girl with an affinity for birds and she had always been eager to please.

“Angling for a deputy job, Holly?” Sarah asked with a sly smirk on her face. She was teasing, there was little chance of that. This was confirmed by the blush and flustered look on Holly’s face.

“No, of course not, Sheriff. I really just want to cook someplace someday,” Holly said. She was still blushing furiously and the finch was starting to get excited. Sarah decided to give her a break.

“But seriously, Holly, I’d like to thank you and your family for the help you’ve given my family. You’re always welcome here as long as long as I don’t have somebody in lock up.” Sarah said.

“I suppose that’s a deal, Sheriff,” Holly said with a satisfied little smile.

“I won’t even hold you to it. I won’t expect you.” Sarah said. She needed to make that clear.

“Understood, Sheriff. I’ll be here when I can. I need the cooking practice,” Holly said.

“What’s for dinner tonight then?” Sarah asked.

“Rabbit stew,” Holly said.

Sarah dug in and was quiet for a long time while Holly watched her eat. Sarah truly felt at peace after a few moments. She really loved the food but she also made a conscious effort to make little happy noises. Holly was standing right there and it seemed only right. Halfway through she pulled out a bottle of sasparilla. She was done way quicker than she thought she would be.

“That was delicious, Holly. Boy, you are an amazing cook. Best in town but don’t tell your mother. How do you do it?” Sarah asked.

“The proper seasoning is really the key to a good meal. At least, that’s what I think.” Holly explained.

“Wait, did you say ‘key’?” Sarah asked.

“I think so. Did I? Why do you ask, Sheriff?” Holly asked. The little finch on her shoulder cocked its head.

“Nevermind, Holly. One day I’ll tell you the whole thing but for now, I have to play it close to my vest.”

“I understand, Sheriff. I’ll try to keep my curiosity in check.”

“At least you’ve given me the whisper of an idea. If it works out, maybe you’ll earn that tin star yet.” Sarah said and winked at the girl.

Media Update 5/12/2016

May 12, 2016


Captain America: Civil War

I woke up last Friday with the knowledge that a lot of my friends were going to see this movie on Saturday and since I was attending my high school reunion, I could not join them. I felt bad about that but I knew that I wanted to go out and catch it before any of it was spoiled any further. I had seen a few trailers but I had taken to muting my television during later trailers and looking away. If I was forced to rank my favorite comic book movies, the Captain America movies are still in the top five if not the top three. I remember reading the original comic book storyline and I have rated it five stars on Goodreads.com. I occasionally like a well-written story where both opposing forces are both right and both wrong. This is one of those stories and the sides are even more even than in the original comic book and therefore, I thought it was even better. This one raised a lot of the same type of philosophical questions that the previous Disney’s Captain America movies posed. Is it just to follow an unjust order? What are we willing to sacrifice in order to be safe? What value is there in vengeance? How far do we go for a friend? The movie is also Avengers 2.5 and has a really strong ensemble backing up the brilliant Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. I absolutely recommend this movie as it is really awesome, touching and a lot of fun.


Kick-Ass 2

This was a strange experience. I remember being really interested when the original Kick-Ass movie came out because it was a franchise that I was unfamiliar with. The movie ended up being pretty good. It was colorful and shot really well like most comic book movies but the plot and characters were given a different twist. More or less Kick-Ass is kind of a depiction of what would really happen if somebody decided to become a superhero. There’s a reason that Bruce Wayne traveled the world to learn the skills to be Batman. You need those skills. The world of Kick-Ass is a world where the heroes are not always smart and skilled and neither are the villains. I then read the original comic book and I was disappointed. Mark Millar is kind of a horrible writer when it comes to his own properties. He writes to intentionally shock the reader with violence, sexuality and language and it feels like a ten-year-old trying to write superheroes. He is also one of the writers most well known for fridging female characters. Kick Ass was not a good comic and I only read a synopsis of its sequel. This movie was equally disappointing and it made me question whether the first one was even worth liking. Every character curses like a ten-year-old whose mother is out of earshot and the jokes are about as mature. The fights are interesting but they are worth little when the script keeps changing the character’s motivations every five minutes. Just pass this movie on your way to something better.


Batman: Bad Blood

I wanted to round out this week with a third comic book company and DC animation is just as great as their television. While television is kind of going for its own story, the animated features tend to more or less adapt established comic book storylines. I have no interest in the Frank Miller animated features and also no interest in the upcoming Killing Joke as I’m not a fan. I am a huge fan of Batman and, of the recent writers, I am very fond of Grant Morrison’s run. Before the reboot, he established Damien Wayne as the new Robin and did a great run with Dick Grayson as Batman. This animated feature adapts Batman RIP which was a good little story. The animation is really interesting and is kind of on par with the recent Suicide Squad: Assault on Arkham art style. As the title suggests, this movie does not follow Batman as much as it follows the Batman Family. Alfred, Damien, Grayson and Batwing were all great but the real stand out for me was Batwoman. Katie Kane was a great character for DC to bring back into the comics. Not only does it allow them to include a well-written lesbian character but she’s just a good character in my view. The movie also brings out a few lesser known villains along with a lot of memorable returning villains. Some of them are merely obstacles and some of them are nuanced, fleshed-out characters. All in all, I really liked watching this adaptation and I hope it leads to more features following Morrison or Scott Snyder’s runs. Check it out, Batman fans.

Links of the Week:
Goth Fitness
Foster the People – Houdini
Justin Timberlake – TKO (Black Friday Remix)
Utada – You Make Me Want To Be A Man
Gatas Parlament – Hokus Pokus

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is comic book superheroes
– Next week is the one year anniversary of this feature. Wow.
– Fun fact: I went to college with Sebastian Stan
– Fun Fact: My middle school’s library promoted Free Comic Book Day
– I finished reading Squirrel Girl Vol. 2 and it was awesome!
– So is the new Hawkeye series so far
– I really want to see Keanu soon. It looks great.

Class Reunion/Free Comic Book Day 2016

May 9, 2016

So every year there is an event that I look forward to almost as much as Halloween and it’s Free Comic Book Day. Of course, this year Free Comic Book Day was on a day that was also scheduled for my Friends School class reunion. This was year fifteen so you know I was going to be there. In fact, since I attended the 10-year reunion, I promised myself that I would do whatever I could to keep attending reunions. A lot of these people were people I spent twelve years studying alongside and we grew to know each other whether we wanted to or not. Friends School is also an important place in my life as it was where I spent a lot of my most formative years. I knew I was in for a packed Saturday so sadly I had to skip out on tabletop gaming and going to see Captain America: Civil War with my friends.

I saddled up in the morning and somehow climbed out of bed even though excitement and nervousness had made it a little hard to sleep the night before. Also, I had very little sleep the day before but more on that Thursday. I hopped in my car and drove over to the school and I was surprised to find all of the parking in the world open to me. For some reason, I thought that everybody would be attending events all day like I was. I got my name tag and headed to the Math/Science building to meet up with my first event. I had signed up to go on a short birding trip mostly because of my relatives (Jack and Sandy). Everybody in the group was at least twenty years older than I was but it was still a lot of fun. The teacher and alumni who led it are bird experts and their interest was contagious. The coolest thing we saw was a Red-Tailed Hawk having a dogfight with an American Bald Eagle. I talked with another relative by marriage who (surprise!) is also a graduate of Friends. I also talked with a few other alumni who were very nice.

After that, it was time for a break from the school which was great because I was getting hungry too. I took off toward the Senator Theater and parked. I walked past Batman who was hanging outside of The Amazing Spiral and headed inside. The Amazing Spiral is my comic book shop when I’m in Baltimore because the staff is always knowledgeable and extremely courteous and welcoming. They always have a great selection of trade paperbacks and graphic novels which are usually what I spring for. I walked around and took the place in. There were people dressed as animals, superheroes and Disney characters and everybody had a smile on their face. Free Comic Book Day happens the first Saturday of May and is a nationwide holiday for geeks like me. I picked up my five comics and the second trade of Squirrel Girl. I also picked up Hawkeye #1 and an issue of Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat. I then drove north and grabbed a Qdoba burrito and headed back to the school to eat and listen to Chris Hardwick interview Bruce Campbell. After, I read a little bit of my haul as I relaxed.

Having observed the holiday the best I could without seeing Captain America again, I shut my eyes for a little to conserve my energy. I got bored of that after a while and I decided to walk around the campus for a little while to check things out. The campus had changed a lot since I went to school there and I wanted to walk around the place to see the new stuff and drink in the nostalgia of the old stuff. I ended up doing a lot of walking since it is a huge campus. Eventually, it was time for my schedule tour and I really enjoyed seeing all of the new stuff inside of the buildings. The school is a really good one and it seems that it is even better than when I went there. It made me sad that Baltimore public schools did not get the same advantages and awoke my liberal/progressive spirit at the unfairness. Seeing all of the stuff that was the same as when I went to school there was like a boxer getting hit with body blow after body blow. I felt swept up in memories every step I took and it was a really powerful tour to take.

Finally, we got to the cocktail party and I was excited and nervous since I had yet to run into anybody from my graduating class. I walked around the party and ran into Mr. Watt but time ticked by and I still had not seen anybody from my class. I thought for a moment that they had all blown off the event in favor of starting our private party earlier. Finally, I ran into one classmate and slowly that became four and then we were all together. Talking to them was like no time had passed but also felt like a million miles away from high school. High School really sucked and by the end of twelve years of being together, I never wanted to see my classmates again. However, as time has gone by it’s easier to remember all of the good times and forgive all of the stupid mistakes we each made. These people are all pretty good people and it was really a joy to have great conversations with them. We ended the night at Cosima’s at Mill No. 1 which was a little fancier than the places I like but it was a nice atmosphere to share with the handful of classmates who decided to show. I had a great time and I can’t wait until next time. It’s going to be a long five years.

Quick Lass Pt. 2

May 7, 2016

Maddy took a moment before building up to top speed. Her boots splashed over and over on the floor of the aqueduct until that water was spraying out behind her. Suddenly, she could hear the sonic boom echoing off the walls behind her and she was glad there was some ear protection to her costume. She could look up and see the mile markers she had painted on the walls when she was really bored one day. Speaking of bored, the miles ticked by one at a time so slowly. Breaking the sound barrier had been for fun but now she forced herself to slow down to sixty miles per hour. It was thirty miles to school and it took a whole twenty plus minutes and that was forever to Maddy.

Maddy knew that she did not belong in her school but her mother just would not listen. She found it hard to connect with the other students when she spent her extracurricular time fighting crime and running around faster than most cars. She could not imagine herself as a cheerleader or a band geek or acting in a play. Sports were out of the question because she could just not hold herself back even if all of the other kids did not have superpowers. The few kids she did connect with were usually skipping school anyway. They were street-smart and were already learning things that actually mattered instead of stupid dates and equations. Some day, she dreamed of hanging out with other superheroes but they were few and far between around Patton. There were a few in Drake City but that was halfway across the country. Jan would squeal for sure if she commuted to Drake even once.

So she was largely left to her own devices and she had gotten used to it. She drifted in and out of classes as if she were in a dream. Teachers yelled at her for not finishing her homework and she nodded absently, knowing the same thing would probably happen the next day. Somehow she was passing all of her classes but it was definitely not pretty. It was a terrible way to live, the only fun she had came from beating up bad guys every night and during the day on weekends. Sure, her mother was upset at her bad marks but the city had to be safe and Maddy had to have a release. Besides, the press had taken to her even if the police had not really appreciated her efforts. They had labeled her the Blur but she had remembered to bring a permanent marker on the next patrol and wrote ‘Quick Lass’ on the forehead of every crook she caught. They had not made the same mistake since.

She decided to flip on her radio. It was really the only decision in a boring situation such as the one she found herself in. It had been all of ten minutes and Madeleine was so incredibly bored. The radio was another of Jan’s modifications to her costume. The ear protection was installed after some jackass had attacked ElanCorp headquarters with sonic weaponry. Maddy had asked Jan if she could install some sort of digital radio system into that part so that Maddy would not get so bored on patrol. Jan had done her one better and had installed a powerful radio and had thrown in a phone, wifi connectivity and 4G. Her kid sister was an amazing child and it was a wonder that she did not want to fight crime with her big sister. She was content to explore the wonders of the universe while breezing through elementary school.

She clicked on the local morning show and sighed with relief that there was something to occupy her other than her own thoughts. After a minute of chatter about the latest local news, a song came on and Maddy found herself tapping her side in time even as she kept up her speed. While the latest Halestorm was certainly worth listening to, Maddy only made it a minute into the song before she felt that familiar itch. Her fingers were touching her earpiece before she even realized she was doing it. She not only changed the station but also the band on the radio. After a buzz of static, Quick Lass could hear the police radio signal.

At the moment, two guys were discussing last night’s big game with the dispatcher. Maddy was almost disappointed that there was not something big going on. Obviously, she would have much rather foiled a crime instead of sitting in homeroom and hearing the morning announcements. Her homeroom teacher was Ms. Dashwood and Maddy could comfortably go a long time without ever seeing her again. It was just at that moment when her thoughts were interrupted by a change of tone in the radio. The dispatcher asked the two men to clear the line before she started to put out the call for all officers. Maddy had listened to the scanner enough that she was starting to learn the codes. This was a code 211 which meant it was an armed robbery. The location was a convenience store.

Maddy made a hairpin turn a mile from school and bolted toward the scene of the crime. She ran faster, quickly reaching 600 miles per hour and it was like scratching an itch. When she arrived, there was already a police officer taking cover behind his patrol car. She ran around the scene faster than the normal human eye could follow. She saw the cop’s car was already riddled with bullets on the side toward the store. She saw two thugs through the window of the store and they both had machine guns. Those were pretty fast but she was definitely faster. The guys were arguing with the clerk who looked like he was doing his best but the guys were on edge. Things looked dangerous as hell but Maddy was ready for it.

They leveled their machine guns at the clerk. They were already in a desperate situation and apparently they had decided that guns were the answer. Guns were pretty much never the answer except in trivia questions about guns. Maddy bolted directly toward the store and did not bother with the door as the crooks opened fire on the clerk. She crashed through the glass at top speed and skidded to a stop right in front of the clerk. She carefully plucked each bullet out of the air and it was a pain because machine guns throw out a lot of bullets with the slightest squeeze of the trigger. She tossed the bullets down at the floor as fast as she could and then kept running.

A less experienced crime fighter might have announced herself to the crooks but that was a rookie move. They were both still armed so all they saw was a multicolored blur tear through the store. Her fingers still burned a bit from the bullets even with the gloves but she balled her hands into fists anyway. She imagined her fists were like machine gun bullets as she let fly rapid fire punches into her targets. After a dozen hummingbird punches landed on each they went down, slumping against racks of merchandise. The cops were pulling up outside, a lot of them. As they pulled their guns in response to the machine gun fire, they probably expected to see the gun-wielding goons. What they saw instead was Patton’s favorite speedster, Quick Lass. For about a split second as she gave the thumbs up before disappearing toward school.

(Happy Free Comic Book Day!)

Media Update 5/5/2016

May 5, 2016


Battle Royale (Japan 2000)

I had heard about this franchise a long while ago. I knew that it was a novel first (published in 1999), then a manga series and I had first heard of a tabletop RPG game based on the franchise. I never read or played any of that but I was aware of the franchise and I was vaguely interested. The basic premise is that 42 Japanese school children (our Grade 7, I think) are hauled off to an uninhabited island. They are each given a weapon and told that all but one must die or all will die in three days. This is fully supported by the Japanese government. What ensues is a very gory and very dark story of children in combat against children. The movie mostly follows a student named Nanahara and his friend Noriko. However, it also shows the audience the fates and movements of the other students through short vignettes. The movie was violent but very exciting, chilling and moving. I have heard the comparisons with Hunger Games but not only did Battle Royale come first, it is way more compelling. That is not to say that Hunger Games is bad, it is just a statement about how good Battle Royale is. The child actors are perhaps some of the best I have ever seen especially considering some of them were not given much to go on. This movie really surprised me and I definitely recommend it.


Journey to the West (China 2011)

I previously mentioned how much I loved Kung Fu Hustle. That movie was a Stephen Chow creation and, despite spelling his first name wrong, he put together a masterpiece of a martial arts film. Journey to the West is another Stephen Chow movie and his take on a Chinese novel published back in the Ming Dynasty. The original book followed the adventures and trials of a Buddhist monk journeying to obtain sacred texts. The novel added folk tale elements to the monk’s true account. I love folk tales and mythology. The movie takes that framework and makes a story about a demon hunter who fights demons through peaceful, empathetic means. The movie follows this man’s literal journey into the west to reach enlightenment and to fully accept his non-violent path given to him by his mentor. On the way, he encounters three powerful demons including the legendary Monkey King (a key figure in Chinese folktales). The movie has Chow’s great mix of comedy, strangeness and touching drama along with amazing digital and practical effects. This one does not have as much fighting but there is plenty of action and adventure to keep you satisfied. There is a very smooth merging of Buddhist philosophy with the playful brutality of the folk tales. Like most films that are similar to this one (Kung Fu Hustle, City Under Siege are two examples) there are a lot of different genres represented. I don’t want to spoil anymore so I will just say that I strongly urge you to watch this movie.


Wing Chun (Hong Kong 1994)

This was an interesting find. The movie seems to be designed mostly be a vehicle for Michelle Yeoh who would later go on to great fame in the United States due to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and one of the worst Bond films. Yeoh is a great martial artist but the choreography looked a little sloppy here in places. The acting is all in hyper-melodramatic style which makes some sense considering the plot. The movie is both a martial arts film and a romantic comedy of sorts. It shares a lot of classic Shakespearean (and older) comedy tropes such as mistaken identity and the effect of gender roles on dating. The movie is very, very silly but not in the way a Stephen Chow movie is silly. It was more Jackie Chan silly as there was a lot of mugging along with the martial arts. While it was not really a bad movie, it was not really my cup of tea. Maybe it was the mood, I was in but the exaggerated acting and the way the characters shouted almost every line was a little unnerving. It also felt like the movie could have used better ADR work in places. If I am listening to the original language track (Chinese) then it should not sound badly dubbed. This is a rare movie I would say don’t bother with.

Links of the Week:
Beach Slang – Noisy Heaven
Heaven & Hell – Bible Black
Method Man – Even If
Hank Williams – Jambalaya (on the Bayou)
Puffy Amiyumi – K2G

Weekly Updates
– Lost Girl Season 5 is really good.
– Daredevil Season 2 is awesome
– Gonna go see Keanu and Captain America: Civil War
– Started watching Kimmy Schmidt season 2 and it is hilarious
– Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday. Support your brick and mortar shop!
– This week’s theme is “Asian Action”
– Did everyone enjoy the A to Z Challenge last month?

The A to Z Blog Challenge: Reflections 2016

May 2, 2016

Well, April has come and gone and here we are on my regular non-April schedule which means it is Monday. I wanted to use this post not only to decompress but also to reflect a little just like last year. I really loved this year. Sure, the challenge is difficult but it was way harder last year. I feel like I have come a long way since last year. Writing is way easier and I am much more confident in my material. I also feel that I tried too hard to please people last year. I purposely picked provocative posts last year and I felt unprepared and rushed through most of the month. This year I followed my desires and posted things that I wanted to do and I prepared far ahead of time. In fact, I think I only changed one day’s topic from what I originally planned.

I will be back next year. I am already doing a little planning but nothing concrete as it is nearly a year until April 2017. Now it is time to take down the A to Z graphic for another year and get back to normal operations. Once again, I will be updating Thursday, Saturday and Monday so please feel free to stop by through the rest of the year. If you choose to come back in October I will be doing a month-long Halloween event of my own design. It worked so well last year that I have decided to give it another try. There will be more information that closer to October. To those who participated in the challenge: We did it! Rest and celebrate! To those who continue to support me: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do this for love of the game but I do get a happy feeling each time I see people visiting and commenting.

This Year’s Posts:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Baltimore on Film
Comet Girl
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Envy
Felix Graham: Osaka Adventure 6
Gender Moments in Television
How to Train Your Dragon
Shield of the Ishim 7
Jazz
The Key 11
Leon: The Professional
The Mystery Part 7
No
Oh Canada
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday
Quick Lass
Redcross Part 5
The Sword Part 5
Top 11 Romantic Comedies
An Uncooperative Subject
Victor Frankenstein
What I Love About Pro-Wrestling: Lucha Underground
The Real X-Files
Yoriel
Zoolander 2

I would like to thank those who came by and chose to comment:

Nilajana Rose of Madly-in-verse

Moondustwriter’s Blog

Michele of Angels Bark

Liz of Laws of Gravity

Ronel the Mythmaker

Tyler Charles Austen

Miss Andi of Music & Words

Hangry Fork

Liz Brownlee

Diary of an Internet Nobody

Star Lit Stories Blog

Silencing the Bell

But I know it’s hard to find time to comment or think of a good one so thank you also to those who came, read and left. Also, thank you to my regulars and subscribers. Thanks to Eye of the Beholder for getting me into this last year. Thanks to my family, friends and the world for being so inspiring as well.


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