Atlantean Algorithms – A Stargate Atlantis/ Blindspot Story

April 1, 2023

(Based on this connection)

Patterson rode in the back of a black SUV, something that she had a lot of experience doing. However, this particular car trip was not courtesy of the FBI as usual. In fact, the two agents who had come to retrieve her from her lab had not exactly detailed what their deal was. Patterson was not about to get fooled again so she had brought the men to Reade’s office for clarification. It was also a better place for a firefight if these were more corrupt government types. Apparently, they were from the Air Force but what they actually wanted from Patterson was too hush-hush. Patterson’s cooperation was a request, not an order but it was definitely an urgent request. Rich had made a lot of noise but Patterson had told him to stand by and not meddle for once. The flight had been to Colorado but the windows in the SUV were blacked out leaving her to guess where they were going.

She tried to think about what somebody would want with her. It was not that she could not think of a reason, she could think of too many reasons. She was reasonably sure that this was not about the accidental exploit that she had programmed into Wizardquest. After admitting to her mistake to Reade and the team, she had worked with Boston to close the vulnerability in her code. Rich had hated being cut out of the fix. Likewise, she was sure that nobody knew that she and Rich had been part of the Three Blind Mice. They had successfully buried that fact when Kathy Gustafson was sent to jail. Patterson also thought about all of the aircraft she had handled or hacked during her work with the team including a plane, numerous drones, and a runaway satellite. 

Her phone rang and she picked it up and answered it without hesitation. The agent in the passenger seat gave her a look but Patterson shrugged it off. She wasn’t about to be intimidated.

“Patterson here,” she said.

“Have you figured out what this meeting is supposed to be about yet?” Zapata asked over the phone. “I haven’t been able to find anything. If my CIA contacts can’t figure it out, it has to be a pretty damn deep secret.”

“No, Tasha,” Patterson said. “I haven’t figured it out. I appreciate your brand of showing how much you care but maybe you shouldn’t poke the bear too much.”

“Says the hacker,” Zapata said. “You’ve never met a puzzle you didn’t want to solve or a question you could resist answering. You are one of the most prepared people that I know.”

“Maybe I trust our government,” Patterson said. There was a pause and then they both laughed. “But seriously, I can’t figure it out.”

“Well, tell me when you get out,” Zapata said. “I really want to know.”

“If I’m allowed to tell you,” Patterson said.

Zapata started to make an annoyed sound but stopped. “Okay, I can’t exactly complain about keeping secrets. I think I could settle for an answer to whether it was good or bad. I think you owe the team at least that.”

“I owe the team a lot,” Patterson said. “I’ve got to go, I think we’re almost there.”

“Say the word and I’ll have an extraction team at your location in a heartbeat,” Zapata said.

“If you have my location,” Patterson said with a chuckle.

“I have my ways,” Zapata said.

“Bye Tasha,” Patterson said. “Talk to you later.” She hung up the phone as the car came to a stop.

“How did you know we were almost here?” The agent in the passenger seat asked, her face suspicious.

“I don’t want to bore you but it has to do with calculating the movements of the car,” Patterson said. “Don’t worry, I still have no idea where I am.” She had some guesses, though.

The agent held out her hand. “I’m going to have to take the phone, agent,” she said. “No offense. Just base rules.”

Patterson dutifully handed over her cell phone and then felt generous and handed over her second cell phone, earning a look from both agents. Patterson shrugged.

“Do you need to frisk me?” Patterson asked.

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” the male agent said. “Scanners will pick up whatever else you may have.”

“Fair enough,” Patterson said. 

The agents got out of the SUV and opened the door for Patterson. They led her through an underground garage, deeper into a solid concrete bunker. They kept going down and Patterson wondered what this base was for. An underground air force base was not exactly unknown but it was an odd place to truck her out to when they could have brought her to the Pentagon. She was brought through corridors teeming with uniformed personnel. Patterson felt that she stuck out like a sore thumb. They rounded a corner and she was brought into an office. A chair spun around and behind a desk was somebody she actually recognized.

“Rodney McKay?” Patterson asked. “Oh man, just talking to you would piss off my dad.”

Rodney gestured for the agents to leave them and they shut the door.

“William Patterson,” McKay said. “It’s so good to finally meet you. Your mother speaks highly of you.”

Patterson flinched at the use of her full name. “Nobody calls me that,” she said. “Call me Patterson.”

“You are your father’s daughter,” McKay said and then thought better of it. “Sorry, your father’s allowed to be mad at me. I do tend to rub people the wrong way.”

Patterson shrugged. “I’m not my dad,” she said. “I love him but his feuds aren’t my feuds. Why am I here?”

“Straight to the point,” Rodney said. “I need your help with some very particular algorithms.”

“My dad is the algorithm guy,” Patterson said.

“You’re underselling yourself,” McKay said. “You’re a genius. It takes a genius to recognize a genius.”

“A little bit conceited but I guess I’m flattered?” Patterson said, it had been a statement but the combination of high praise with bragging had thrown her off.

“You’re welcome,” McKay said, oblivious to her reaction. “I brought you here to help me develop an algorithm to further decipher alien technology.”

“Very funny,” Patterson said.

“That’s what I thought at first,” McKay said. “This is going to blow your mind.”


Media Update 3/30/23

March 30, 2023

The Fabelmans (2022)

This was not a movie that I picked but my folks wanted to see it while I visited. A young boy becomes fascinated by film and that obsession shapes how he deals with growing up. This is a semi-autobiographical film about the early life of Steven Spielberg as written and directed by Steven Spielberg. His three sisters also consulted on the film. Gabriel Labelle is excellent as the driven yet somewhat fragile young man. Michelle Williams plays his free-spirited mother. Paul Dano plays his level-headed engineer father. Seth Rogan plays his funny uncle. Judd Hirsch plays his crazy showbiz uncle. Julia Butters, Keeley Karsten, and Sophia Kopera play his younger sisters who are all great There are so many other great actors playing fun characters as we see many years of “Sammy”’s life. The movie has a lot of heart, comedy, and tragedy but keeps you hooked. I recommend this movie.

Dracula Untold (2014)

This has been on my list for a long time. A Transylvanian prince must make a horrible decision to protect his countrymen and his family from the Turkish army. This was the first movie in what was going to be the Dark Universe. The movie stars Luke Evans as Vlad the Impaler, a Transylvanian ruler under the thumb of Turkey. He is good at scowling and roaring and his few touching moments. There is not much plot beyond the barest bits allowing the action to proceed. It is fun watching Luke Evans or CGI bats absolutely wreck tons of bad guys. The movie is short and sweet and has a lot of good action beats. I recommend this movie.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Another one that I have had on my list for a long time. A sideshow huckster gets sucked into the land of Oz and into the middle of a supernatural conflict. Rachel Weisz plays the stern witch who loves Oz so much but has grown paranoid by a drawn-out conflict. Mila Kunis plays the young and naive witch who just wants peace. Zach Braff plays a flying monkey who wants to do the right thing  Joey King plays a living china doll. Michelle Williams plays a kindly witch. Some of the CGI was definitely out of date even at the time but there was a lot of imagination put into this. The story also feels a bit rushed in places but it has enough emotional payoff to make up for it. It definitely feels a bit like the Oz books. There are a lot of sweet moments and I like the tale of a cad overcoming his tendencies to become a hero. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Young Dolph – Love For The Streets

지민 (Jimin) – Set Me Free Pt.2

Born Techniques – Let Me See Your Body Move (I Missed You)

alt. – A.D.D

Mashup of the Week:

iWantMy ID – Dirty Deeds will Rock You

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Origins”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Super Beard Bros, Channel Awesome, Drawfee, Nick DiRamio, Sad Boyz, Jarvis Johnson
  • I finished Blindspot Season 3
  • I started Columbo Season 2
  • I watched more Lockwood and Co. Season 1
  • I started Waco: American Apocalypse Season 1
  • I watched more Altered Carbon Season 1

An Exhaustive Summary of the Batman: Arkham Games Pt. 10

March 27, 2023

This is a full post-game DLC story that takes place quite sometime after the main plot of Arkham City. It helps to bridge the gap between Arkham City and Arkham Knight. It also allows for the exploration of Harley Quinn, a very popular yet underutilized character. During this adventure, you play as both Robin (Tim Drake) and Batman (Bruce Wayne).

You start the game playing as Robin who arrives outside of Harley Quinn’s hideout. Robin and Oracle (Barbara Gordon) speak briefly over comms and Barbara confirms that she still has not heard from Batman. She is worried because Batman is not in a normal head space after… but she trails off. The conversation turns to Harley and how she is amassing a crew and preparing for a siege. She is up to something big. Batman’s signal is coming from inside. Robin infiltrates the hideout as Barbara asks him to be careful.

Robin fights and sneaks his way through Harley’s hideout, eliminating her goons as he goes. Along the way, he finds that Harley has several Gotham City police officers held hostage. She has them out in a big open space. There is still no sign of Batman. However, Harley clearly has a plan for the cops which cannot be a good thing. However, Robin resolves to keep looking for Batman as the cops seem safe for the time being if Harley needs them. 

Barbara worries about Batman too as he is off his game and refuses to even talk about Talia or Joker. Robin promises he will find Batman and that they will help him deal with everything. After fighting a few more goons, Robin finds Batman’s discarded utility belt. Barbara begs Tim to answer as he is momentarily speechless.

We flash back to two days earlier. Commissioner Jim Gordon has set up a perimeter around Harley’s hideout. Batman arrives and Gordon tells him that Harley’s goons ambushed several of his cops and dragged them inside. Batman says that he will deal with it but Gordon asks if he is sure since Harley blames Batman for Joker’s death. It could be a trap. Batman tells Gordon to have his men fall back and let Batman deal with it. 

Batman stealthily takes out the goons outside of the steel mill hideout and then makes his way inside. One of the cop hostages is dangling on a crane inside. Batman fights off the horde of henchmen taunting the cop and lowers the crane to free the officer. Batman travels through the hideout, tracking the hostages to a previously unused high-security portion of the steel mill. Batman saves another cop but Harley herself reveals herself. She is dressed in mourning with her makeup showing signs of crying as it drips down her face. She aims at the cop and fires but Batman takes the bullet for the police officer. The heavy ammunition knocks Batman unconscious and Harley tells her goons to grab Batman. As her henchmen drag Batman away, they fiddle with his utility belt which sets off a defense mechanism so they leave it. The utility belt activates a homing signal.

Robin picks up and stows Batman’s utility belt. He tells Barbara that he thinks that he is close to finding Batman when she worriedly questions him. In the next room, Robin finds Batman locked in a bulletproof glass globe in a giant statue of the Joker. Robin sets about investigating the robotic statue’s mechanism to see how to release the unconscious Batman. 

Robin is missing a key and he decides that Harley must have it. It is time to confront Harley directly. He faces off against Harley and several of her henchmen, wary of Harley’s high-caliber gun (the one that took Batman out). Through stealth, he is able to corner Harley and grab the key off of her before leaving her tied up and dangling off of a ledge. Robin returns to Batman but must fight through even more henchmen (including a Titan-infused goon).

Robin finally releases Batman who regains consciousness and accepts his utility belt. Always selfless, Batman asks Robin about the cops who Robin has not rescued yet. Harley interrupts over the public address system and tells them not to worry about the cops. They will be dead soon as will the dynamic duo. She then reveals a giant bomb. Batman will handle the bomb while Robin saves the cops. Batman deactivates several bombs until he runs into Harley back in front of the Joker statue. She activates several robots (obviously salvaged from Wonder City) that are painted to resemble the Joker. The robots attack Batman as Harley launches rockets at Batman. 

As Batman defeats the robots, Harley reveals that the final bomb is inside the heart of the Joker statue. Batman takes her by surprise and takes the detonator from her. However, it is too late. Outside of the building, we see Jim Gordon start to rush the building when it explodes, sending him to the ground singed but alive. Batman appears with Harley and both of them are fine. Harley tells Batman that he should have left her to die. At least then she would be reunited with the Joker. She breaks down into sobbing hysterics and Batman asks Gordon where Robin is. Gordon thought Robin was with Batman. They look back at the building which is a deadly inferno.

Harley asks Batman if it hurts and Batman turns on her furious and asks what she did. Now Batman knows how she feels. As Batman turns to watch the building burn, Harley draws a dagger and attacks Batman from behind. Gordon goes in for the save but he is too far away. A projectile hits Harley and then returns to its owner. It is a birdarang. Robin appears with the cops in tow. Robin is fine and the cops are a little injured but fine. Batman declares that he is done there and swings off into the night. Gordon asks Robin if Batman is doing alright. Robin covers for Batman but does so while turning away, not quite believing it himself.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 13

March 25, 2023

They had all gotten some sleep that night after a good dinner but they had gotten up fairly early. They all had things to get back to. They gathered in the grand room that they had used for portaling. It was so nice to see everybody so happy and relaxed after all of that trouble and strife. Couples were happily close to each other and everybody was eager to return home. Enchantress had disappeared in the night but everybody was fine with that. They would all know how to alert each other if she started to cause problems. Belle hoped the troublesome fairy had given up her more wicked ways. She could deal with a little chaos but the cursing was over the line.

“Can I just say something before we all start going home?” Belle said. 

“Of course,” Anna said. “If not for your leadership, we wouldn’t have stopped the end of our worlds.”

Belle blushed slightly. “We’ve all learned a lot,” she said. “I don’t want to go home and never see each other again. We have such a great opportunity to learn more by visiting each other.”

“Definitely,” Aladdin said. “I’m always up for learning new things and I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen so far. I can only imagine what whole new worlds can hold.”

“Then are we agreed?” Anna said. “This isn’t over and we can visit each other in the future. The worlds are united from now on.”

“Show of hands?” Esmerelda asked. “That’s the fairest way to decide, right?”

“Sounds fair to me,” Eugene said. “Let’s see those hands people. We don’t have anything to be afraid of, right?”

Everybody raised their hand and they all smiled. They really had developed a fellowship of trust during their battles. They trusted each other with their lives and it showed. They had all been forged tough by adversity but this adventure had done so much more. They would never forget each other.

“We should check with the people of our worlds, of course,” Tiana said. “We don’t speak for all of the people. We’re just a handful of the people involved.”

“Right,” Merrida said. “And we need to make sure that evil people don’t take advantage.”

“But the good thing is that if one of us has a problem, we can all jump in to help out,” Naveen said. “I feel like we’ve proved how well we work together.”

“Agreed,” Jasmine said. “I have many things to settle here and I am sure you all must check on your worlds. There has been a lot of chaos. In the meantime, we will keep the three witches imprisoned here outside of Agrabah until we decide we have another solution. They built this prison, we might as well use it.”

“But they just might surprise us and redeem themselves,” Aladdin said. “It happens.”

“It does,” Elsa said.

“I won’t hold my breath,” Esmerelda said. “But we can hope, I guess.”

“Are you sure you guys can handle things?” Tiana asked. “No offense but they are more than a handful and dark magic can be real trouble.”

“We have the fairies here, at least for now,” Jasmine said. “We also have Genie. We have more than enough power in our corner.”

“Yeah, last time they took us by surprise,” Aladdin said. “Now we know more of what to expect.”

“Well, I guess that’s it for now,” Adam said. “Let’s all go home. We deserve it.”

“Until next time!” Rapunzel said with a big grin.

They all started opening their portals to return home. There was a lot to inspect back home but they all had a feeling that the worst was behind them. They were excited to see their friends and family but many of them were already making plans to visit other worlds. Things really would not be the same ever again.


Media Update 3/23/23

March 23, 2023

The Hallow (2015)

I found this on several lists of Irish horror and I can see why. A man takes a job as a woodcutter out in the middle of nowhere in Ireland. Disturbing the woods brings something out of the woods and they want the couple’s baby. It feels like Straw Dogs mixed with Pan’s Labyrinth. The cast is small in this one but that is very effective. The scares build slowly but the movie explodes into a raucous ride of body horror and existential horror. Depicting the fae as deadly as they are really supposed to be is a true recipe for horror. Joseph Mawle plays the intellectual woodcutter, a bit bored with country life and curious about science. Bojana Novakovic plays his wife, the one in the relationship with a good head on her shoulders. Michael McElhatton plays the face of the community, trying to warn the poor couple. The special effects are so creepy that this movie legitimately shook me. I recommend this movie.

I Sell the Dead (2008)

With a title like this, how could I resist? Two Irish rapscallions work their way from the graverobbing business into the hidden world of the occult and the undead. A funny little horror movie inspired by the real-life graverobbers Burke and Hare but with an actual supernatural twist. This one gets weird in the best ways. The movie stars Dominic Monaghan, a man who was recruited from a young age into graverobbing and became a resourceful scoundrel. Larry Fessenden plays his grimy and gritty mentor. The chemistry between them is very good and they are funny together. Ron Perlman plays the priest there to hear Monaghan’s confession, wanting every sordid tale. The movie gets more and more outlandish as it goes and feels like it follows the Irish ghost story tradition. I recommend this movie.

High Spirits (1988)

I  had seen the poster for this on Tubi and I thought it was a pot humor movie but I was very mistaken. A hotel owner rebrands his establishment as a haunted attraction which pisses off the real ghosts who decide to show up. It has a dark humor that reminds me a bit of an Irish version of Mel Brooks. Peter O’Toole plays the hotel owner, playing a bit of a boozy loser. Steve Guttenberg plays one of the American tourists who falls for the hotel’s charms. Beverly D’Angelo plays his uptight, socialite wife. Daryl Hannah plays a beautiful ghost and Liam Neeson plays her crazy lover. My beloved Jennifer Tilly is in this!  A lot of the Irish actors are a background ensemble but each one is so funny and charming with the few lines they get. The movie has a lot of heart and there is definitely a love for the Emerald Isle here. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Faintest Idea – War to the Palaces

Jon Wiilde – Carry On

Desmond Doom – You’ll Never Be A Rockstar (That’s Okay)

Ava Max – Ghost

Mashup of the Week:

 Amerigo Gazaway – B.I.G. Poppa’s Got A Brand New Bag

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Spooky Ireland”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Super Beard Bros, Channel Awesome, Drawfee, Nick DiRamio
  • I watched more Blindspot Season 3
  • I finished more Columbo Season 1
  • I finished Midnight Mass

Top 11 Things Not to Do When Dealing with Columbo*

March 20, 2023

*After watching the first season and the pilot episodes

11. Don’t Assume That Columbo is Ignorant

A lot of the time, the suspect ends up being a wealthy professional of some sort. They are cultured and well-read and feel that anybody of a lower class does not know as much as they do. A lot of their specialized knowledge ties into the murder because they use what they know to plan the crime and hide it. Columbo is a ragdoll of a man with a glass eye, rumpled clothing, and a junk heap of a car. He constantly seems distracted and forgetful which snobs interpret as ignorant and unintelligent. What they do not realize is that while Columbo enjoys the simple things in life, he also has a passion for absorbing information. He genuinely enjoys talking about new things he discovered. For example, he really got into the art world while investigating an art critic.

10. Don’t Let Him Touch Any of Your Things

This is kind of a specific rule but whenever Columbo can get his hands on a pivotal object, it always ends badly for the suspect. Letting him examine a key bit of evidence gives him a chance to notice inconsistencies. Some examples: In Suitable for Framing, Columbo excitedly grabs at the suspect’s art portfolio before he is shoved aside. Leaving his fingerprints on the pieces of art becomes the smoking gun. In Short Fuse, showing Columbo the exact cigar box used as the murder weapon allows him to trick the killer into confessing because the killer thinks Columbo is holding a bomb. 

9. Don’t Try to Direct the Investigation

This happens so often and it is a mistake every single time. The suspect knows that they are under investigation (or at least can deduce as much) but they try to lay breadcrumbs to lead Columbo to accuse somebody else (or drop the investigation). Short Fuse is all about the suspect walking Columbo through a cleverly planned frame job but he is so obvious about it. The same goes for Suitable for Framing when the suspect botches the frame job at the last moment. The most egregious example (in Season 1) is Dead Weight where the suspect actually tries to woo the only witness to the crime and turn her against Columbo. Directing the investigation where you want is great on paper but any investigator worth their trenchcoat will see through it.

8. Don’t Taunt Columbo

This happens so many times that it is ridiculous. The suspect gets filed with a mixture of fury and arrogance and actually challenges Columbo to prove his theory. So far, the only place it was directly stated was Prescription: Murder where the suspect ends up directly taunting Columbo. However, suspects often more subtly challenge Columbo. For example, in Dead Weight the general tells Columbo that if he wants to catch any fish, he better use better bait or fish somewhere else. Of course, Columbo had a fishing pole in his hand but the intention was very clear. This challenge is all but an admission of guilt and just gives Columbo more motivation to solve things.

7. Don’t Let Your Guard Down Too Early

Columbo is a master strategist and is very good at manipulating suspects into a corner so that they either confess or otherwise reveal their guilt. He is like a bulldog as when he grabs onto a case, he doesn’t let go. His dedication to his job is unflagging and the only thing that makes him stop working is that he wants to go home to his wife at some point. (Yes, his wife exists). Considering how obvious he is about his dedication to the case it seems almost silly when Columbo seems to agree to back off or give up. He never gives up so letting down your guard is an absolutely ridiculous notion. He is like a horror villain in that he always comes back.

6. Don’t Lie to Columbo

This is just good sense when dealing with any officer of the court but especially a rule when dealing with Columbo. Columbo has a razor-sharp mind when it comes to details about the case. Inconsistencies and contradictions jump out at him and bother him until he can figure out a solution. Sometimes a simple lie can solve the case right at the beginning. In Short Fuse, the suspect lies to Columbo’s face right after meeting him. When Columbo catches this suspect he says that this moment was what drove the investigation. The lies they pick are often either ridiculous or entirely too convenient. They do not really reflect how things really happen so near to a serious crime like murder.

5. Don’t Involve Another Person

In several episodes of Columbo, the killer has intricately planned out the deed and thought of everything (or so they think). They rigorously planned each step and they follow those steps religiously and carefully. However, some of these geniuses decide to involve an accomplice to who they also give intricate tasks. Putting any part of your plan outside of your direct control is a very dangerous risk. Of course, the other party inevitably misses a step or screws up something and ends up accidentally providing a vital clue in the story. This usually leads to the suspect feeling the need to kill the accomplice to further cover their tracks which never works. 

4. Don’t Try to Get Columbo Taken Off the Case

This actually happened from the very first pilot movie and has happened since. Most of the time, the suspect that Columbo is after is wealthy and connected. When Columbo inevitably gets too close to solving the case, they get nervous/annoyed and try to pull strings with the higher-ups. They try to get Coluimbo reassigned and a less fervent detective assigned. This often backfires because Columbo has a really good reputation among his superiors. Other cops may think him strange but his Captain knows he gets results. In fact, in Prescription: Murder, Columbo reveals that the request made his Captain suspicious and told Columbo to dig in deeper. This is a huge signal to Columbo that he is on the right track.

3. Don’t Lose Your Cool

Columbo’s whole strategy when dealing with a suspect is to annoy them in any way that he can. Part of that is his nature as a forgetful guy and part of that is obviously an act. He tends to needle his suspect and those he believes are accomplices relentlessly. He asks seemingly innocuous or obvious questions. This can be infuriating and the suspects inevitably lose their cool and snap at Columbo or try to get rid of him. Of course, by asking what seems like silly questions, Columbo is laying a foundation and establishing a baseline. One of the biggest mistakes here is that the suspect will snap and declare that they don’t know the answer to his question or “what does it matter?”. 

2. Don’t Forget Your Story

If you are going to lie to Columbo, it is imperative that you never deviate from your story no matter what. That requires the suspect to remember their story at all times, even when Columbo surprises them or they are talking to non-Columbo characters. Of course, those of us who watch a lot of procedurals know that rehearsing your story leads to suspicion. It can’t be too perfect but forgetting key details usually causes an alibi to suddenly implode. This can be somewhat related to Do Not Lie to Columbo as the truth is way easier to remember than a lie. Telling a lie over and over can imprint on you so much that your memory changes but I think that the truth is generally easier to remember.

1. Don’t Kill Again

If somebody is dogging your every step and showing up at your place of business/home/random location then you should not commit another crime. While you may be able to commit that second crime unnoticed, the coincidence of another dead body in your orbit is very suspicious. What are the chances that two people even tangentially related are killed and/or disappear around the same time? Probably not a high probability. In Murder By the Book, the suspect kills a witness who tries to blackmail him. In Suitable for Framing, the suspect kills his accomplice to try to wrap up loose ends knowing full well that they are both part of the local art scene and could be linked. In Prescription: Murder, the suspect does not kill his accomplice but saying he was willing to kill her convinces the accomplice to testify against him.

In short, if you have killed somebody and Columbo shows up, you are already screwed. You cannot possibly follow all of the above rules. You will forget something or be provoked into spoiling your plan. Give up immediately.

Special Mention:  Don’t take sleeping pills right before you commit the murder. In Lady in Waiting, the suspect takes sleeping pills as part of her carefully planned murder plot. The idea is that she plans to shoot her brother in an impaired state so that sche can say that she thought he was a burglar breaking in. (It’s complicated). However, her brother misses his cue and the pills hit her really hard. This causes her to pretty much botch her plan and forget a lot of steps in her plan as she is sleepy.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 12

March 18, 2023

When Chernabog and the smoke dissipated, the team up on the mountain climbed back down carefully. There were plenty of cuts and bruises but miraculously, everybody had escaped grievous bodily injury. In fact, the worst injuries were Belle’s burned and cut hands from digging through the rubble. Rapunzel wrapped Belle’s hands with her long blonde hair and, in a few moments, the wounds started to heal. Belle sighed in relief as the pain started to subside. The long ordeal was over. At least, it was almost over. She looked around and saw all of her new friends recovering from the battle. Grimhilde was cowering on the ground.

“We offered you an easy way out but you chose to fight and you lost,” Jasmine said to Grimhilde. Her stern, authoritative tone sure came from growing up as royalty that cared about their people.

“And now you can kill me,” Grimhilde said. “Go ahead. I’ve been dead before.”

Aurora silently walked up and held her sword just under Grimhilde’s chin. Grimhilde shut her eyes.

Everybody looked at each other and they all shared a very similar feeling. Jasmine shook her head. “Even after all that, we would not kill a defenseless person.”

“We’re better than that because we have to be,” Adam said.

“But we’re still going to throw you in prison,” Aladdin said.

“Maybe you’ll rethink things in your cell,” Tiana said. “We can only hope.”

“But let’s make you a little easier to transport,” Elsa said. She gestured and they all watched as ice crystals slowly formed on Grimhilde who started to panic a bit. They stayed clear as the villain’s movements slowed and she froze over.

“I’ve got her,” Adam said. He reached down and carefully picked Grimhilde up. They all started to walk back to where the portal had opened up when it brought them there. There was no portal.

“Where is the portal?” Merrida asked. “I know it was right here. I don’t forget a step I’ve made.”

“No, you’re right,” Aladdin said. “It was right here. They must have closed it to try and keep Grimhilde and her armies here. In case we failed, I guess.”

“That’s fair,” Eugene said. “But we didn’t die so how do we get home?”

Belle held up her spell book and called out. “Hear me fairies!” she shouted. “Open the gate and let us through!”

The air in front of them shimmered and then the swirling portal opened. They hurried through. Adam made a beeline toward the cells to get Grimhilde stowed away before she thawed. Anna and Elsa followed behind as support.

“So formal,” Enchantress said with a smirk. “Did you think we were going to strand you?”

“I thought you might,” Belle said. “But the others would stop you.”

“Do you think I can’t take those lightweights?” Enchantress asked.

Belle smirked. “I notice you’re not saying that so loudly with Godmother so close,” she said, looking directly into Enchantress’ eyes. Enchantress glanced over her shoulder to see that Godmother was not there. In fact, she was clear on the other side of the grand room. “Made you look.”

Enchantress laughed. “I know when I’ve been beaten,” she said. “But I really have turned over a new leaf. Mostly. At least I won’t darken your doorstep anymore.”

“I hope you’re telling the truth,” Belle said. “After all, I have the means to protect myself. Adam and I won’t be such pushovers next time.”

“No you won’t,” Enchantress said. “Things have changed. The worlds are more connected than ever now.”

“What does that mean?” Belle asked.

“Once the veils between worlds were thick,” Enchantress said. “All of this travel has thinned things out. Travel is easier now and things will never be the same.”

“Maybe we can make that a good thing,” Belle said.

Media Update 3/16/23

March 16, 2023

Matilda: The Musical (2022)

I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl as a kid and that has carried into adulthood. I also really liked the late 90s adaptation but I was interested to see the musical version. A young overlooked and mistreated girl discovers the power within to change the world. This is more of a musical adaptation of the original book which makes it an even darker story. Matilda is so downtrodden but so defiant and part of that is the great portrayal by Alisha Weir. She has such a presence which makes it easy to root for her. I had no idea that Emma Thompson played the main villain as she transformed so much but she did such a great job. Lashana Lynch is an absolute ray of sunshine. Sindhu Vee is so warm and relatable. The rest of the cast is so great. The story still resonates and there were still some dark moments that took my breath away. I recommend this movie and I want to listen to more of the cast recordings.

High Society (1956)

This has been on my list forever and I finally took the leap. A young high-society woman struggles as her wedding approaches but her ex and reporters start coming around. The movie stars Grace Kelly who was actually right in the middle of her engagement to the prince of Monaco so this was a bit true to life. She has great comic timing and gets to really let loose in this (but not sing). Bing Crosby plays her ex-husband and first true love and he has that great sardonic charm. Frank Sinatra plays the reporter who comes to cover the wedding and he has more of a rugged charm. Celeste Holm plays the sarcastic photographer. The greatest treat is the appearance from the legendary Louis Armstrong as a sort of Greek chorus. The whole movie actually feels a lot like Shakespeare’s comedy with a lot of chaos and fun before everything wraps up. Plus it has a lot of great songs. I recommend this movie.

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile (2022)

I had not really heard of this movie and I do not remember reading the book as a little kid but the drawings look cute. A crocodile that cannot talk but can sing tries to figure out his place in New York City and what he wants to be. The voice of pop star Shawn Mendes is very sweet and endearing. The animation and motion capture is so sweet that you cannot possibly be afraid of a ten-foot crocodile. Javier Bardem has kind of a scummy charm to him. Constance Wu is absolutely great as the mother. Scoot McNairy is a great straight man as the father. Winslow Fegley is a great child actor. There are also great small bits from Ego Nwodim and Brett Gelman. The musical has some really great original songs. The story also has a lot of twists and turns that I did not expect. Just when I thought it was going to follow a cliche, it would swerve me in the best way I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Måneskin – GOSSIP ft. Tom Morello

HEFNA8LACK – Quick Inna Rain

KAI 카이 Rover

Avenged Sevenfold – Nobody

Mashup of the Week:

Anthony Vincent – Running Up That Hill in the Style of Master of Puppets

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Musical Adaptations”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Super Beard Bros, Channel Awesome, Drawfee, Nick DiRamio
  • I watched more Blindspot Season 3
  • I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 12
  • I watched more Columbo Season 1
  • I watched more Midnight Mass

Blogging from A to Z 2023 Theme Reveal

March 13, 2023

Once again I will be taking part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge which my friend Lise introduced me to years ago. Every April, those who participate post twenty-six (26) items on their blog. Each of these posts starts with a different letter of the alphabet (hence the name). This is difficult enough to accomplish and for the first few years, I did not opt to use a theme. In 2020, I started a theme which I enjoy heartily. I will be using that thee a fourth time.


I will be writing short fanfiction pieces during the month of April. All of them will be PG-13 at worst and I do not write sex scenes on this blog. This is a window into the fandoms and media that I like to consume. 

This is what the first week or so looks like:

  • April 1 – Atlantean Algorithms – A Stargate/Blindspot Story
  • April 2 – Batwoman: Curiouser and Curiouser
  • April 4 – The Cat Came Back – A Gotham Knights Story
  • April 5 – During the Blip – A MCU Story
  • April 6 – Elementary – A Sherlock Holmes/Dracula Story
  • April 7 – Fighting Evil By Moonlight – A Sailor Moon Story
  • April 8 – Guess Who? – A Scooby-Doo/Doctor Who Story
  • April 9 – History Protectors – A National Treasure Story

I am still nailing down a few dates but I am very close to planning it all out.

I plan to continue to do Media Update on Thursdays throughout April.

Let’s have some fun!

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 11

March 11, 2023

The remains of the makeshift magical kitchen that Tiana had been working in were on fire and the rest of it had been scattered across the field of battle by the explosion. As everybody ran in that direction, Grimhilde attacked. One of her attacks lanced through Aladdin’s shoulder and the group was forced to turn back around to continue the assault. Things were disorganized and desperate now but also fueled by the renewed passion of revenge. The heroes attacked with that fury and quickly turned the balance of the battle. This would not hold, though. Nobody could sustain rage for too long before the body gave out.

Belle reached the ruins of the kitchen and started to pull away pieces of the wreckage, clawing at it. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. Somewhere inside she had known that many of them might get hurt or even die but this was real. She had told Tiana to be in that spot and that decision had led to Tiana’s death. On top of that, the plan was now in shambles. 

“No no no,” she muttered as her hands started to hurt as she handled still smoldering pieces of wood. “Please please please.”

She looked up at the battle and knew that she would have to rejoin soon or more of her new friends might die. Up on the mountain, her husband was counting on her for survival and their world also hung in the balance. A lot had happened since she washed up on the shore of Ariel’s kingdom. She just wanted it all to be over. That was when she heard some coughing from a few feet away. The smoke was starting to clear but it still stung her eyes a bit.

“I could use a little help,” Tiana said, sitting on the ground next to the huge iron cauldron.

“I failed you,” Belle said. “You’re dead because of me.”

“I sure hope I’m not dead,” Tiana said. “I don’t feel dead. All your pain is supposed to go away but my hands hurt really bad from carrying that hot cauldron. I’m not sure if I can be of any more use with these burned hands.”

“You’re alive!” Belle shouted with delight. “Thank you!” She shouted that last to the universe, to the angels, to whoever would listen. 

“Amen to that,” Tiana said. “I’m not finished with this world yet but I amI finished with your recipe. What’s the next step?”

“I’ll handle it from here,” Belle said. “You’ve earned a rest. Stay low and get as much fresh air as you can and rest. We’ll tend to those hands when this is over and it will be over soon.”

“What about this magic stew?” Tiana asked.

Belle picked up her spellbook and focused her will through it and waved her hand and the liquid started to rise from the cauldron. The liquid slid through the air and spiraled into some glass vials. Corks rose from the ground and stopped up the vials of liquid.

“Stew, huh?” Belle asked with a smile. “Well, soup’s on for Grimhilde.” She scooped up the vials and ran toward the battle.

Belle waited for her opening before she threw the first vial at Grimhilde. It shattered against the witch’s right cheek and some of the glass stuck there as the liquid poured down from her face to her body. Grimhilde launched a fireball in Belle’s direction but Belle dodged it easily. She showered Grimhilde with the rest of the vials. Grimhilde gestured at Belle but nothing happened.

“What’s happening?” Grimhilde asked, confused. “What did you do?”

“Anti-magic potion,” Belle said. “No more magic for you.”

“Nooooo!!” Grimhilde screamed to the sky, her eyes wild. The heroes around her stopped in their tracks but remained ready to continue. Instead of attacking again, Grimhilde kneeled on the ground. 

Up on the mountain, the image of Chernabog flickered and the giant monster stopped and looked down at Grimhilde. Something in the air between them suddenly snapped like a clothesline being cut in half. Chernabog screamed and evaporated into a foul black smoke. Grimhilde reached out in a futile gesture and then slumped in defeat. The still armies surrounding them crumbled into dust. The battle was over.

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