Faetown Pt. 5

December 4, 2022

Trace pulled her car into the parking lot. Jove had been uncharacteristically quiet on the way in to work. He had sat there staring into the middle distance leaving Trace to listen to her music on the way in. Jove usually argued to listen to the news on the way in. He was endlessly curious about the world that he was no longer free to journey into. She worried about his mental health but she also worried about her own mental health. Something had to give. She loved him but they had been bonded close together by the accident for far too long already. She hoped work would prove distracting.

“Are you okay, Jove?” she asked. “We’re here.”

He made no response and did not stop staring through the windshield.

“Earth to Jove,” she said, waving her hand in front of his face. “We have arrived at our destination. It’s time to get to work.”

Jove slowly came back to himself. “Sorry, how long was I gone?” he asked.

“Gone?” Trace asked. “You were staring and keeping to yourself the whole ride over but you didn’t go anywhere. Did you think you went somewhere?”

“I’m not sure,” Jove said. “I definitely did not feel like I was here. It felt more like television static.”

Trace tried to keep the horror off of her face. “Is that something we should be worried about?” she asked. “I mean, what if you ‘go away’ and don’t come back? Should we talk to Hari about it?”

“We’re at work,” Jove said. “Let’s do work things right now. We can always talk to Hari later. I’m not going anywhere.”

Trace narrowed her eyes at him and then let it go. He was an adult. “Alright, game faces on then,” she said. “Let’s do the damn thing.” They bumped fists or at least the nearest equivalent that a ghost could achieve. 

The two of them walked toward the office side by side. Trace opened one of the double doors and Jove floated through the other one. The office was bustling with people either going to their desks for analyst jobs or gearing up to get out into the field. Trace walked over to check the duty roster and found that she was scheduled for a briefing. She headed over to the analyst bullpen with Jove in tow.

They approached Calton Mirra’s desk which, as usual, looked like it was devouring the bespectacled redhead whole. She was bordered on one side by a three-monitor display and was tapping away at one of two keyboards. She was also surrounded by precariously balanced stacks of binders. The young woman seemed to sense their arrival even though Trace approached from behind and Jove made no sound.

“Trace and The Ghost approach,” she said without turning.

“I’m not a ghost,” Jove said. “You know I’m not a ghost and yet you persist in calling me that. I have a name.”

“I call you ‘Ghost’ because it is a fun button to push and pushing buttons is what I do,” Calton said. “Also, ghost is just shorthand because I know you are not a ghost but also I do not know what you are. Tell me what you really are and I will change your designation.”

“And you won’t just use my name?” Jove asked.

“By Jove, I think he’s got it,” Calton said. “You’ve got a weird name.”

“You’ve got a weird name!” Jove said in retort.

“I gave myself this name,” Calton said. “What’s your excuse?”

“Children,” Trace said, putting up a hand in between the two. “Stop arguing about stupid stuff.”

Calton shrugged and then nodded. “Agreed. Can we get to the business at hand?” she asked.  “It’s exhausting talking so much with my mouth.”

“Give us the information we need to hit the road and we’ll get out of your hair, Callie,” Trace said. “Strictly business.”

“A fair trade,” Callie said. “Thi is what we have.” She brought up an address on her center monitor. “This is where you will be going. 2532 Gwydion Street over in Faetown. That’s not a problem, right? I’ve read your file.”

“It’s fine, Callie,” Trace said. “Nowhere in Baltimore is off limits.”

“I’m not super happy about it but I’ll do it,” Jove said. “In case anybody was concerned.”

“Mildly,” Callie said. “It looks like there was a disturbance there. Not enough for the police to bother with but it has the Mayor of Faetown’s office concerned. They have hired us to investigate.”

“Don’t they have their own people for that?” Jove asked.

“Jove!” Trace said as a way of reprimanding Jove. “But I guess he actually does have a point. You would think that they would handle these sorts of matters internally.”

“There are many reasons why that’s not true,” Callie said. “They may not trust their own people with this. There’s also been a renewed effort for transparency from Fae leadership. They may want to make sure they have nothing to hide.”

“Everybody has something to hide,” Jove said. “Everybody.”

“Cliched dialogue. Check,” Callie said. “Your contact will be the Executive Assistant of the Mayor, Elicia.”

“There’s no mayor of Faetown, Callie,” Trace said. “Baltimore has a mayor, Faetown is part of Baltimore.”

“A figure of speech,” Callie said. “The duly elected council member and ambassador of the Fae. Enodia, spirit of the crossroads. Your attempt at a correction tires me even more.”

“We get the idea, Callie,” Trace said. “We’ll let you stop peopling and get back to your research. Come on, Jove. The game is afoot.”

“Cute,” Jove said. “See you later, weirdo.”

“See you later, Ghost,” Callie said. 

Trace walked out of the office before their argument could start up again and Jove was forced to follow her. She walked over to her locker to grab the keys to her SUV and her sidearm. The pistol was a state-the-art model with electric stun ammunition. Employees of the firm were not allowed to carry lethal ammunition unless they received authorization from an official law enforcement officer. Not that Trace was itching to use the firearm even though she had trained thoroughly. She left the body armor in her locker. This was a discreet detection job at best so armor seemed like overkill. She led Jove out back to the garage and they got into her official work vehicle.

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Media Update 12/1/22

December 1, 2022

Black Friday (2021)

I saw this suggested by Dead Meat Podcast and then I saw the cast and thought this would be perfect for this past week. Workers are confronted by alien zombies while being forced to work on Thanksgiving night. Despite the title, this one actually starts before sundown on Thanksgiving and we definitely see one of the dinners. The strength of this movie is the dialogue and the character work which are both excellent. This is an ensemble piece but the movie does focus on a few specific characters. Devon Sawa plays the “cool dad” of the store and a depressed mess. Ivana Baquero plays the cashier that everybody likes. Michael Jai White plays the strong stock guy who takes no shit. Ryan Lee plays the germ-averse young floor worker. Ken Park plays the brown-nosing assistant manager. Bruce Campbell plays the loveable yet problematic store manager. There is a lot of comedy and a lot of gross-out gore. The movie really touches on found family and who we actually are aside from who we tell ourselves who we are. I recommend this movie.

Blood Rage (1987)

One of the earliest Thanksgiving horror movies, this has been on my list for a while. After a traumatic incident in their youth, Todd escapes the asylum he has been in for years to attend Thanksgiving with his mother and his twin brother Terry. This movie takes place on Thanksgiving and deals a lot with family drama surrounding the holiday. We do get to see the dinner briefly. The strength of the movie are the creative gore effects. There are some pretty nasty deaths and body parts are strewn all over the place. Mark Soper is great at playing the two twins with very different personalities and physicalities. Louise Lasser is heartbreaking as the mentally broken mother who just wants everyone to be fine. Marian Kanter is the most likable character as the mental health professional trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. Julie Gordon is the final girl and is great at it. The rest are pretty much cannon fodder and their deaths are gloriously fun. I recommend this movie.

The Last Thanksgiving (2020)

I found this one while searching for movies that fit the theme. A cannibalistic family practices their holiday tradition by stalking and killing staff and patrons of a restaurant who are not celebrating Thanksgiving. This one takes place entirely during Thanksgiving night and we do see at least one dinner. While this movie is low-budget, there was a lot to love about it. The meanness and angst among the victims are relatable after working at a restaurant myself. Though it is heightened to a comical level. Standouts include Samantha Ferrand as the lead character, a bitchy young waitress and Tristan Petashnick as the diabolical and smirking villain. What starts as a low-budget horror movie actually evolves slowly into a neat story with interesting characters. I recommend this movie.


Music of the Week:

Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott – Down In Atlanta

Busta Rhymes, Skillibeng – Bulletproof Skin

Red Velvet 레드벨벳  – Birthday

The Amity Affliction – Show Me Your God

Mashup of the Week: 

Samuel’s Mashups – I Am Not Karma, I’m A God


Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Thanksgiving Horror”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Attorney Tom, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Emily D. Baker, Dan Jones, LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Onsta, Savy Writes Books, Growing Up in Scientology, Watcher, Some More News, Emma Thorne, Jenny Nicholson, Conversations with Curtis, Games Done Quick, Top10 Wrestling, Cultaholic, Thought Slime, Allison Pregler
  • I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 7
  • I watched Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation

Post-Thanksgiving

November 28, 2022

I was off from my day job for a four-day weekend and so, of course, I went to visit my mother. I spent most of the time enjoying being with family and relaxing. The reset felt really good and I have so many projects that I want to get done. I did get some writing done but I did not finish anything for today. So this week will be a bit of nothing.

I am thankful for a lot in my life and I am thankful for you, my readers.

Thursday will be Media Update as usual.

Saturday will probably be more Faetown.

Faetown Pt. 4

November 26, 2022

Balor ignored all of that with not a bit of amusement. “One of them has gotten loose,” he said. “All the safeguards we had in place but one of them has gotten loose.”

“One of what?” RH asked. “I haven’t heard of any breakouts. I have alerts programmed into my phone for all of the prisons.”

“All of the prisons that you know of,” Balor said. “This is one of the great old ones. Sealed away from the eyes of mortals and fae kind alike.”

“Like the ones we were put in?” Jenny asked. “The cold, dark nothingness that we were put in?”

“Another one just like that,” Balor said. “But even worse. Ancient things that never had a chance at redemption like us.”

“If this prison was lost, then how do you know about it?” RH asked.

“Always the detective,” Balor said with a chuckle. “The prison reconnected with this world when the breakout occurred, otherwise the inmate would have had nowhere to escape to except for the void. No sane being would journey into the void like that.”

“Some of our kind are not exactly sane,” RH said. “I’m sure some of them might consider the void instead of prison. I’m not completely certain I wouldn’t succumb to despair.”

“It kind of puts the whole elevator thing in perspective, huh?” Jenny asked.

RH stared at her for a long moment and then shrugged. “The two things are separate,” RH said. “I don’t see a connection.” RH kept staring at her and Jenny stared back, slowly raising one eyebrow.

“Oh! I get it,” Jenny said.”He’s fucking with me.” She laughed. “You’re fucking with me. I get it. Very funny.” She smirked and shook her head.

“Can we get down to business?” RH asked. “I think we’re through talking about our feelings. Who are we tracking down?”

Balor grunted and shrugged. “That’s where it gets difficult,” he said. “We have no way of knowing who broke out of prison.”

“Tell me you’re joking,” Jenny said. “That’s the most important information we need.”

“When ancient beings throw beings into a hole and throw away the key, they don’t exactly keep records,” Balor said. “They expect the problem to go away.”

“A ridiculous idea,” RH said. “Problems don’t just go away.”

“Our jailers were not always rational,” Balor said. “It’s left to us to clean up their mess in this situation.”

“So what leads do we actually have?” Jenny asked. “We can’t just drive around and hope to run into an unaccounted bogeyman, right?”

Balor grinned. “I suppose that would be a waste of everybody’s time,” he said. “I have only one thing to offer you.”

“The location of the prison,” RH said matter-of-factly. “That’s the only thing you could have.”

“Always the brilliant detective,” Balor said. “Yes. The approximate address of the prison has been sent to your phones.”

RH and Jenny both looked at their phones. 

“It’s not even that far away,” Jenny said, her smile fading. “Not too close to high population areas, though. Gods be praised for that.”

“What are the odds that this prison shows up in Baltimore of all places?” 

“Why do you ask such questions?” Jenny asked. “Be thankful for small miracles. Accentuate the positive.”

RH shrugged. “I don’t believe in miracles,” he said. “Miracles and coincidences are both exceedingly rare. There’s always a reason.” 

Balor grunted and frowned. “Can you take your philosophical discussion on the road?” he asked. “Time is slipping away and there’s a vulnerable population out there that might be in danger. Knowing, what might be in that prison, they probably are in great danger. Get going. Get me results.”

Jenny saluted Balor sarcastically with a grin on her face and she turned and left the office before her boss could read her the riot act for insubordination. RH briefly shrugged as if in apology but then realized that he was not responsible for Jenny Greenteeth. Nobody in their right mind would be responsible for her. Of course, he knew that he was no prize to be won either. Then he realized that he was lingering in his boss’s office to avoid getting back into the elevator. He sighed and headed out of the office and down the hall. Jenny was waiting and holding open the door to the stairs with a really annoying smug look on her face. RH pointedly walked right into the elevator and started his descent downward. He let the doors close before Jenny could react.

Jenny managed to catch up a minute or so later out in front of the office building. She was smiling but RH could tell that she was a little bit pissed. “We’re taking your car and you are driving,” she said. “I will navigate.”

RH unlocked his truck. “I don’t need anybody to navigate,” he said. “You can sit and look pretty if you would like.” He climbed up into the driver’s seat and closed the door. He knew the land. He had always had a connection to the land wherever he had lived. Ireland was now far far away but he had connected with his new adopted Maryland. It helped that Baltimore had its share of Irish Americans. That felt familiar enough.

Jenny opened the passenger side and climbed into the seat with as much grace as she could muster. “I will always look pretty no matter what,” Jenny said. “That’s a given. I will think of something to do on the way there.”

“I’m sure you will,” RH said. “Just don’t annoy me.” A truly impossible request but if he did not ask, he would never get it anyway. He had not worked a lot with Jenny but he knew her by reputation. She seemed to have subverted her now-ancient murderous impulses into trolling people. She was reportedly a good officer as well and loyal to the Fae despite her outward behavior.

“No promises,” Jenny said. “Would it have killed you to open a lady’s door, though?”

“Don’t start,” RH said as he started the truck. “If I held the door for you, you would have nagged me for that instead.”

Jenny laughed. “You think you know all of my tricks,” she said. “I will still surprise you. I will always surprise you.”

“You make that sound like a threat,” RH said as he started the vehicle toward the direction of the prison.

“Oh darling,” Jenny said with a giggle. “Everything about me is a threat.”

Media Update 11/24/22

November 24, 2022

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

The original movie was a pretty good addition to the franchise as they leaned into the memes so I was excited to see a bigger sequel. Sonic has to deal with the return of Dr. Robotnik while learning how to make friends. Ben Schwarz continues to be a really entertaining voice actor as Sonic, giving him likability but also some depth. Colleen O’Shaughnessey is so good at Tails and she should be because she has done it since before the movies. Idris Elba is the true heavy hitter as he goes all in on playing an echidna with a bad attitude. Noted anti-vaxxer Jim Carrey goes pedal to the medal as the obnoxious yet funny Eggman. James Marsden, Lee Majdoub, Tika Sumpter, and Shemar Moore round out the cast and are pretty solid. The story actually surprised me with how deep it got and the comedy never made me cringe. The action animation is so good. I recommend this movie.

The Bad Guys

I am a big fan of heist movies and the idea of an animated version seemed cool to me. A group of thieves known as the bad guys reach a crossroads in their career and have to make some decisions. Sam Rockwell stars as Wolf and is great at exuding joy, snarkiness, but also heart. Marc Maron is surprisingly good as the curmudgeonly Snake. Awkwafina is a lot of fun as usual as Spider. Craig Robinson plays Shark with a goofy kindness. Anthony Ramos continues to shine as Piranha and even gets to sing (see below). The cast is rounded out by Richard Ayaode, Zazie Beetz, and Alex Borstein who are all spot on. The movie feels like an homage to movies like Reservoir Dogs, Ocean’s 11, the Italian Job, and so many more. The classic story of criminals going straight always feels good. The animation is so smooth and inventive in places. I recommend this movie.

DC League of Superpets

I had heard some pretty good things about this movie so this seemed like the perfect week to watch it. I also will watch anything The Rock is involved in. Krypto the Super Dog, Superman’s pet, has a rude awakening when he is forced to save the day with new friends instead of Superman. Dwayne Johnson is the star as Krypto and breathes so much life into what could have been a really annoying character. Kevin Hart is noticeably subdued as Ace the Bathound and, of course, has great chemistry with Krypto. I was really glad to see Vanessa Bayer in a movie again as I am a big fan and she played her positive character to the hilt. Natasha Lyonne’s voice is hard to miss and she is very funny. Diego Luna was almost unrecognizable as a relatable anxiety-ridden character. Kate McKinnon should play more villains because she was so good. There are a lot of other stars in the movie but they all have small parts. I recommend this movie.


Music of the Week:

Anthony Ramos – We’re Going to Be Good Tonight

Stephane Legar – Speed Life

Puppy Angst – Yellow Paint

Black Magnet – Floating in Nothing

Mashup of the Week:

DasonRZ Mashups – Still Into Party Rocking


Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Animals Saving the Day”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Attorney Tom, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Emily D. Baker, Dan Jones, LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Onsta, Savy Writes Books, Growing Up in Scientology, Watcher, Some More News, Emma Thorne, Jenny Nicholson, Conversations with Curtis, Games Done Quick, Top10 Wrestling, Cultaholic, Thought Slime, Allison Pregler
  • I watched more The Strain Season 1
  • I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 7
  • I finished The Blacklist Season 9
  • I watched more Riverdale Season 5
  • I watched more Doom Patrol Season 3
  • I watched more Bob’s Burger’s Season 12
  • I watched more Scream Queens Season 2
  • I watched Dude Bro Party Massacre 3
  • I watched Scream 2 and 3

Roger Rabbit: Toon Platoon Pt. 2

November 21, 2022

Richie, Roger, Wendy, and Jessica go out on a group date to the movie theater. Roger has fun but Richie has an anxiety attack since the picture is Wuthering Heights. On the streetcar afterward, he spills his guts to Wendy about his dad being a legendary fighter pilot and Richie washing out. Richie relates that he really wanted to be a pilot and a hero. If he can’t be a hero for real, he will play one on the screen. 

Roger and Jessica get a moment alone as well and Roger wonders why Jessica is not in movies. She downplays her looks but Roger will have none of it and obviously adores her.

The next day, Richie shows up at a studio to read for a part. He gets the part because he is genuinely scared by having to walk up several flights of stairs to the audition. 

Richie returns to the apartment elated while Roger is sad that he still has had no luck finding his mother. Still, Roger is excited for Richie. Wendy is excited for Richie the next morning as he passes by. Richie gives her the cold shoulder because he spilled his deep dark secret to her. Richie moves on to the studio, the date is December 7th, 1941. Roger soon shows up at the studio having followed glimpses of rabbit ears in the city crowd. In spectacular, catastrophic style, Roger ruins Richie’s big break. The studio execs are into Roger and offer him a contract. Richie tries to bodily harm Roger who keeps apologizing. Their fight is interrupted by the announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The two part ways yet again.

Jessica and Wendy report to the radio station, ready to do anything for the war effort. Otto Green reveals that he is German and takes them both hostage. He takes them away as Roger tries to chase the car down.

America’s part in the war begins and, as it was in real life, the fighting was not east. However, FDR reveals that they will be enlisting Toons as soldiers who never get tired or injured. However, the toons immediately show themselves to be useless in war as they were born to entertain, not fight. Similarly, Richie is having trouble as infantry when he struggles to cross a rope bridge with his platoon. Both he and the toon platoon are reassigned separately to a supply depot in Italy. Roger and Richie are reunited. We also meet a toon plane named Pee Wee who is afraid to fly. 

As work on the base continues under Richie’s command, he slowly starts to forgive Roger for inadvertently ruining his Hollywood career. Roger laments that he never found his mother and that Jessica left him. Richie consoles him.

Cut to Jessica who is reading German propaganda as Axis Annie on the radio under duress. She tries to tell Otto that she quits but agrees to continue when Otto threatens Wendy, a human who can be hurt. The two ladies talk about their predicament while Otto plays with his radio-controlled model plane again. Wendy is fighting mad but Jessica urges caution even as she reveals that Otto plans to attack a gathering of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. 

When he sees other human servicemen teasing Pee Wee, he gets a soft spot for the Toon and comes to his defense. This earns Richie the respect of the Toons who have felt disrespected by the humans. Roger finally hears Jessica’s voice on the radio and excitedly tries to enlist Richie to go rescue her. Roger and two toons escape the base and the trio heads out to save Jessica. As the MPs move in to arrest them, Richie appears and saves them having decided to help after all. The four hijack a Nazi transport. 

Back in captivity, Wendy is brought before Otto who threatens her to get Jessica in line. As they talk, it is revealed that Otto has a full-sized radio-controlled V2 rocket and the plan starts to come into focus. 

Richie, Roger, and friends show up at the chateau where Otto is holding Wendy and Jessica. They infiltrate and Richie and Wendy are reunited. Wendy tells Richie about the plot to murder the Allied leaders. A plan comes together and Richie and his squad help Wendy out by stealing Jessica’s iconic clothes from nearby stores so that Jessica can seduce Otto. With the makeover, Jessica is even more gorgeous, attaining the look she had in Framed. Roger rejoins the group and is incredibly jealous. Roger burst in to confront Otto. After a chase, Otto regains the upper hand and captures Jessica, Wendy, Roger, and Richie. 

Wendy and Richie are brought before a firing squad where Richie finally professes his love for Wendy. They are saved by the toons who have managed to break free. The Germans chase our heroes since Jessica has managed to snag the keys needed to launch the V2 rocket. As things look grim again, the rest of the toon platoon shows up to fight the good fight. Otto has grabbed Wendy and Jessica yet again but Richie is afraid to follow them up the radio tower. As Roger gives chase, Pee Wee the plane flies in, having gotten over his fears. In Pee Wee’s cockpit? It’s Richie who similarly has gotten over his fears. They knock Otto off the tower but while the quartet happily reunites, he slips away.

Otto launches the rocket. Roger and Richie climb aboard Pee Wee and fly off to save the day. The rest of the toons take out Otto, leaving Richie, Roger, and Pee Wee to take out the rocket. Richie and Pee Wee take out the rocket by pulling off one of Riche’s father’s big tricks.

Cut to stateside where Riche and Roger are given a hero’s parade and deliver speeches. Roger’s speech attracts a particular person: Roger’s mother. They are finally reunited. Roger asks about his father and the camera pans over to Bugs Bunny who gets the last line. “Ain’t I stinker?”

Faetown Pt. 3

November 19, 2022

RH walked through the decadent marble and brass of the new government building that had recently opened in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. As usual, he was covered head to toe in black clothing and wore a ceramic mask that only left his eyes exposed.  He much preferred the offices that he and other officers worked in. It was a solid concrete bunker. It felt more private and had fewer needless decorations. He flashed his badge at the security guard who had started to stand up. The guy sat back down and waved him through. RH gave him a grateful half-smile that the guard could not have seen through RH’s mask and did not break his stride. He hit the button for the elevator which opened right up. He stepped inside and took a deep breath as he watched the doors close. He hated elevators. They were a stupid human invention. Just before the doors closed, thin green-tinged fingers appeared between the doors. When the doors slowly re-opened, there was the grinning visage of Jenny Greenteeth. It startled him and he actually let out a gasp.

“Nice to see you too,” Jenny said with a smirk. She stepped into the elevator with style and grace. “Well, as much as you can be seen.”

“It’s not you,” RH said. “I hate elevators. You caught me at a weak moment.” The doors closed again and RH winched. The elevator started to rise.

“Imagine a bogeyman like you having a weak moment,” Jenny said. “Imagine something like you admitting to a weak moment.”

“I guess you just have a way of making people feel vulnerable,” RH said.

“I know,” Jenny said. “Exploiting that vulnerability was where I ran into trouble.”

“Yes,” RH said. “A lot of us got into trouble. That’s why we’re here.”

“That’s why we’re here,” Jenny said with a smile. “Redemption.”

RH grunted. “I suppose,” he said. “Or at least something to do each morning.”

The elevator dinged and the door opened and RH pushed past Jenny to get out. He could hear Jenny’s laughter at his back but he did not care. He was out. He started on his way down the hallway and Jenny easily caught up, her luurious green hair bouncing as she walked and her green eyes shining with mirth.

“We’re going to the same place, slow down,” Jenny said.

“When the big boss calls you in, you can’t get there soon enough,” RH said. “How do you know we’re going to the same place?”

“Just a hunch,” Jenny said. “Besides not many offices on this floor.” She added quickly.

“True enough,” RH said and slowed down a little.

“You also just confirmed that we’re both meeting with the big boss,” Jenny said.

“Top level detective,” RH said. He opened the door for her and then they both walked into the reception area for Balor’s office. His secretary snapped to attention.

“Can I help you?” she asked. The sign on her desk said that her name was Becky.

Jenny spoke first. “Yes, hello Becky,” she said sweetly. “We’re here to see Balor. Could you buzz us in? I’m Jenny Greenteeth and this is – “.

“Just RH is fine,” RH said, interrupting.

“His name is a little long,” Jenny said. “He’s sensitive about it.”

“I’m not,” RH said. “It’s fine.”

“That’s right,” Jenny said. “Repress, repress, repress.”

Becky looked from RH to Jenny and back again and then hit the intercom. “Mr. Balor, your nine AM meeting is here,” she said.

A deep baritone voice came in over the intercom. “I told you that it is simply Balor,” Balor said and then sighed. “Send them in.”

Becky gestured to the door and Jenny and RH walked side by side, opening the double doors and walking inside. Balor stood in front of the big glass window of his office. Looking past him, RH could see the faint glow of Faetown on the other side of the harbor.

“Heavy is the head, eh boss?” Jenny asked gently.

Balor replied without turning around. “I am no longer a king,” he said. “I have no crown. Still, I have responsibilities and loyalty to our people.”

Jenny and RH looked at each other for a moment and the silence stretched on.

“We all do,” RH said. “How can we help?” His voice was kind and gentle, something that seemed to catch Jenny off guard. He was capable of compassion despite what all the old stories might say.

Balor slowly turned around, his one enormous eye blinking a bit as his mood went from wistful to the intensity of being on the job. RH and Jenny stood at attention as his gaze took them in. RH had known Balor for a long time. Centuries of shared experience in seeking redemption from the bad old days.

“Obviously, I called you here because of a sensitive job,” Balor said and gestured toward the armchairs in front of his desk as he sat down. “Otherwise this could have been a conference call or an email.” He shuffled through a few files on his desk. “Thank you for coming in, of course. I know it’s a little out of the way.”

“I’ll always make time for you, boss,” Jenny said with a bright smile. ”No problem at all.”

“Brown noser,” RH grunted. “It’s fine. Let’s get to business, boss. What have we got?”

Jenny stuck out her tongue and gave RH a one-finger salute in response which RH shrugged off.

Media Update 11/17/22

November 17, 2022

Hocus Pocus 2

I was a big fan of the original mostly because I was in the correct age group when it came out. When I found out that there was going to be a sequel, I was intrigued but not exactly excited. Of course, the Sanderson sisters Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are back and just as goofy as ever. They still have those characters down pat. Doug Jones also returns and gets more to do as Billy Butcherson. Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, and Lilia Buckingham are the newcomers as the heroes of the movie and all do a really great job moving the plot along. Tony Hale and Sam Richardson bring a lot of comic relief. The problem I had is that the script is kind of a mess. They spend too much time on the “witch out of time” gags and gets muddled by jokes that did not land with me. Also, they kind of lost some of the characterization of the Sanderson Sisters from the first one. I really did like the flashback and the actresses that played the young Sanderson sisters killed it. I would not recommend this movie.

Ultraviolet and Black Scorpion

I am a big fan of Lucha and any show that takes a stab at trying to embrace the culture will be an automatic watch for me. The show is about a young woman who is gifted a magic Lucha mask that transforms her into a superhero. Her uncle also has a mask and tries to teach her the Lucha way. Scarlet Estevez shines as the main character, full of energy and joy. JB Villareal is great as the gruff Black Scorpion, trying to balance being a caring uncle with being a demanding teacher. The rest of the cast is really good, mostly made up of the title characters’ family. Lucha is a big part of their lives and culture and something that binds them together. It is one part sitcom and one part superhero show. It balances the two pretty well. I recommend this show.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

I always thought that the idea of this franchise was pretty neat and I had fond memories of the first movie and I remembered the second one being alright. Ben Stiller is great when he is acting as a normal guy just trying to do the right thing. Robin Williams, Rami Malek, Owen Wilson, Steven Coogan, and Skyler Gisondo are great at bringing the comedy and are all fun to watch. Dan Stevens is great as the clueless Lancelot, basically doing his best Chris Hemsworth as Thor impression. The movie comes to a grinding halt whenever Rebel Wilson or Ricky Gervais show up on the screen. They do a lot of mugging and bits that fell flat for me. I am shocked that this movie was made in 2014 because it aged like milk. Too many gay jokes, piss jokes, sexist jokes, and so on. I found myself groaning through a lot of it. This kind of sucks because I thought that the parts that worked really worked. I would not recommend this movie.


Music of the Week:

Sabrina Carpenter – Nonsense

Rod Wave – Break My Heart

Bryson Tiller – Outside

Nickelback – Those Days

Mashup of the Week:

William Maranci Mashups – Closer But It’s Funkytown By Lipps Inc.


Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Magical Whimsy”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Emily D. Baker, Tamara Chambers, LegalEagle, NWA, Dead Meat, Quinton Reviews, Onsta, Savy Writes Books, Gabi Belle, Brutalmoose, Growing Up in Scientology, Watcher, Some More News, Tales from the Territories
  • I watched more Chucky Season 2
  • I watched more The Blacklist Season 9
  • I watched more The Strain Season 1
  • I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 12
  • I watched more Doom Patrol Season 3
  • I started Titans Season 4
  • I watched Amityville Clownhouse
  • I watched Jack vs. Lanterns

DC Comics Television and Film Wishlist

November 14, 2022

Since the announcement that James Gunn and Peter Safran were taking over as heads of DC Comics Film and Television, I have been more optimistic about what might be coming down the line. I decided to put together a little wishlist in no particular order of projects they could work on. The last time I did this, I apparently wished She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Hawkeye into existence so my fingers are crossed. Some of these are repeats but with a different twist.

1. Birds of Prey 2 and/or Harley Quinn 2

I loved the Birds of Prey movie produced by Margot Robbie and directed by Cathy Yan. The movie was a roller coaster from start to finish. While Warner Brothers’ marketing would feel the need to change the name to Harley Quin: Birds of Prey, the movie introduced a lot of cool versions of classic characters. It is an absolute crime that this is not already a franchise. I would love to continue the madcap adventures of Harley. I like the idea of her flitting in and out of other people’s stories and there are a ton of heroes and villains she can mess with. I also want to see the continuing adventures of Black Canary, Renee Montoya, and Huntress. They could go on a lot of adventures together and there is a wealth of Birds of Prey comics to draw on. These actresses deserve better than being pushed aside for the Snyderverse.

2. Sandman Mystery Theater (TV Show)

Now that we have seen the success of the Netflix version of Sandman, it would be cool to see some of the possible offshoots and spinoffs connected to that world. One character that I have loved since I first read the above-titled comic is Wesley Dodds who was also known as the Sandman. Dodds was a wealthy eccentric who is haunted by strangely prophetic nightmares about the crime happening in his city. He would don a World War 1 style gas mask, three-piece suit, and trenchcoat. He uses some gadgets and traditional detective work to determine the truth of the crime. He carries a gas gun that ejects a sleeping gas or a gas that causes delirium and uninhibited truth from the subject. He fought the symptoms of societal problems like racism, nazism, classism, and mental illness. He did not kill. He was aided by Dian Belmont, the socialite daughter of the District of Attorney who used her connections and the fact that she was a woman to hear things to help Sandman save the day.

3. Batwoman (Season 4)

I have been thinking about this show lately since I watched the last episode produced. The show was canceled along with all of the other Arrowverse shows which are in the process of wrapping up. This show got a lot of initial buzz when Ruby Rose was cast as Batwoman, Kate Kane. The show had a compelling story and created a really neat world with excellent characters. When Ruby Rose quit the show, the showrunners decided to replace her instead of just trashing the whole thing. This ended up being the best thing to happen to the show. They introduced the new character of Ryan Wilder. They were able to keep a lot of what made the first season work including the return of the villainous Alice (Kate’s sister) who stole every scene she was in. I feel like the change also shook up the cast a bit and allowed characters Luke Fox and Mary Hamilton to step into the foreground. The third season saw Batwoman face down her own demons along with the legacy of Batman, finally realizing who and what she is. The show ends on a cliffhanger and there was so much more to explore.

4. Green Arrow: Supermax

This is an idea that has been kicking around since the mid-nineties on various film rumor sites and apparently, at least one script was written. The idea is that Green Arrow is framed for a crime he did not commit and is sent to a prison designed to hold supervillains. If he is to survive, he will have to fight through some of DC Comics’ criminals and law enforcement. I think the idea was that he would also team up with some anti-heroes. There are so many possibilities of who Green Arrow would fight or team up with inside the prison. The setting would allow the blending of a lot of franchises within DC Comics. I feel like one of the reasons that the movie was never made was that mainstream folks did not know who Green Arrow is. With the success of the Arrowverse, that has changed. It is time to pull out an old idea and dust it off.

5. The Outsiders (TV Show)

This is a variation of an idea that I have had for some time now. The Outsiders is a DC Comics team that has had several different lineups. The team is most linked with Batman who started the team as a more covert alternative to the Justice League. There have been versions without Batman at all. My favorite was actually co-led by Nightwing and Arsenal. This would be a different idea. This would be Batman forming a team of young heroes who all have the burden of having at least one villainous parent. The idea would be that all of them somewhat share an understanding and similar motivations for heroics. The core team would be Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Robin (Damian Wayne), Enigma (Evelyn Nashton), Orphan (Cassandra Cain), and Ravager (Rose Walker). There are plenty of other characters who could slide in and out of the show. I would think it would be best for this to be animated.

6. The Question (TV Show)

I always loved the character of the Question as soon as I was introduced to him. He is a throwback sort of hero similar to “mystery men” like Sandman (see above), Crimson Avenger, and Vigillante. The character is a detective who wears a blank face mask and a color-changing suit. The character of Rorschach in Watchmen was based on him. However, unlike Rorschach, he is a character who is more likable and his politics are much easier to stomach. He is also a hero, operating in the shadows. A detective show is always a win for me, especially if the detective is not a cop. Also, he eventually recruited cop Renee Montoya to be his successor. The idea of a show where a cop is slowly shown the right way sounds great to me. While we are rebooting it, we could also remove more of Steve Ditko’s objectivist leanings.

7. Suicide Squad (TV Show)

I feel like this idea is a no-brainer especially since one of the new heads of DC Film and Television revived the franchise on the big screen. I feel like there are several more Suicide Squad movies that can happen but there are also smaller stories that can be told as well. The Suicide Squad is a great repository of B and C list villains where we get to explore who and what they are. It is also a great way to refurbish and fluff up villains before they are in a movie or continue their story after they have been in a movie. The Peacemaker show was successful. I feel like there is more meat on that bone.

8. Catwoman: The Heist (TV Show or Movie Series)

I watched the movie Catwoman: Hunted earlier this year and I loved it. It felt like somebody put Lupin III and DC Comics into a blender and hit frappe. I would love to see more of this charming world. The series would pick up where the original movie left off with Selina Kyle aka Catwoman having her own agenda as a world-renowned thief and less renowned fighter for the rights of the weak. She would work with and/or manipulate her relationship with Batwoman, Julia Pennyworth, and King Faraday to steal valuables, fight injustice, or both at the same time. The series would continue the International feel of the original with the team showing up anywhere on the globe to fight familiar faces and more obscure foes.

9. The Shadowpact

This is a little bit of a deep cut but I really liked this team when they briefly got the spotlight in DC’s Day of Vengeance storyline. They are all supernatural heroes who banded together by chance but stuck together because they felt like family. The lineup originally consisted of Detective Chimp, Blue Devil, Nightmaster, Enchantress, Nightshade, and Ragman. The group is full of has-beens and never-weres. Still, they are all experts in their own areas. For example, Detective Chimp is possibly the world’s second greatest detective (after Batman). The team operates out of the Oblivion Bar, a bar that exists outside of our known dimension. The bar is frequented by every supernatural creature you can think of. I feel like they could provide an interesting story that has not been told yet.

10. Justice League International

Or whatever you want to call it. The point is, I would love them to capture some of the fun from the Justice League International days that was specifically carried over into Formerly Known as the Justice League. That title was full of superheroics but its real strength was its goofy humor and witty banter. The series saw the reformed Maxwell Lord build a new team called the Super Buddies made up of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Elongated Man, Sue Dibny, Mary Marvel, Captain Atom, Fire, and Power Girl. It feels like Always Sunny in Philadelphia and DC comics had a baby. In the end, they are heroes but they are going to be very snarky about it. This would be a great antidote to the grimdark reputation that Snyder left behind.

Faetown Pt. 2

November 12, 2022

Trace stepped into the bathroom and shut the door. She knew that Jove could just walk through the door but setting boundaries was still important. Especially when Jove insisted on testing those boundaries. It was not as if Trace did not still have feelings for the guy, it was just more complicated than that now. She was still processing things but something would have to give soon or they would both go crazy. Sometimes she wondered if Jove hadn’t already gone crazy. She could no longer predict his moods. It was troubling.

She turned on the shower and disrobed as steam filled the bathroom. She breathed in and breathed out, trying to center herself. When you visit a lot of mystics, you start to pick up on a few things as a side benefit. A lot of them were into meditation and yoga which Trace found helped her out. She looked down and ran her fingers over the shrapnel lodged in her abdominal muscles. As far as anybody could tell, these were pieces of a fae artifact from the cart that Jove’s car had plowed through. Nobody knew what it had actually been which meant that it was obscure and probably highly illegal.

These pieces of rare metal were imbued with magical energy and acted as an anchor that forced Jove’s spirit to stay within twenty feet. When doctors had tried to remove the fragments, it had hurt both Trace and Jove horribly. After a quick consult with a local mystic named Hari Shaw, the doctors decided to leave the shrapnel in. The metal was mostly stuck in muscle and fat and luckily had not pierced any organs. It was not an ideal solution. It kept both Trace and Jove from having complete autonomy and the artifact might have unforeseen effects down the line.

Trace snapped out of it suddenly and hopped into the shower. She always got lost in herself in the mornings and it always caused her to nearly be late to work. She quickly washed herself, letting the water wake her up and wash away the last vestiges of sleep and negativity. If she started the day on the wrong foot, it would throw the whole day out of whack. She yanked on her underwear and her uniform. It was gray and black with the Waverton corporate logo very prominent. Her name was stitched carefully on the vest. She burst out of the bathroom to look for her boots.

“I still can’t believe you’re a cop now,” Jove said softly, watching her from the far side of the living room. He was pretending to lean against the wall as if he was not intangible. He would have fallen through the floor if he had not instinctually floated to make it appear like he was being held up by the floor. His hair was perpetually shaggy as it was unable to grow or get cut. His eyes twinkled with mischief. He had not had heterochromia before the accident but that seemed to be the only change.

“I’m not a cop,” Trace said, probably a little too forcefully. “Waverton is a private security and detection firm. I trained for this”

“I know,” Jove said. “I was there for most of it.”

That was true. The accident had happened after she had been accepted to Waverton’s academy so Jove had been dragged to basic training. It had been awkward. They almost tossed Trace out but probably kept her because they would be automatically getting two people for the price of one.

“Yeah yeah,” Trace said. “Thank you and sorry for that.”

Jove shrugged. “It’s whatever,” he said. “I was trying to say that you look good in your uniform. Also, your boots are over there.” He pointed and Trace could not help but smile.

“Thank you,” she said and pulled her boots on and laced them as quickly as she could. “Are you ready to go?”

“Let me just grab my purse,” Jove said with a dopey grin.

“Very funny,” Trace said. “I just don’t want to drag you outside before you’re ready since I have the legs.”

“Right,” Jove said. “I’m ready. Let’s get you to work on time.”

Trace nodded and grabbed her bag and opened the door. She was determined for this day to be a good one.

***

Jove followed Trace, working to match her intensity. It was not like he was actually exerting himself but it took a little extra will to make himself go faster. He still had no idea how this spirit thing was supposed to work. He reached out and watched his hand phase through the door handle of Trace’s SUV. He had been trying to learn to manipulate physical objects with no success so far. Sometimes he trained with Hari while Trace was in bed. Even if the training had not been successful yet, at least it helped pass the time.

He took a deep breath and pushed himself through the passenger door and then he was in the passenger seat. As he had passed through the door he had briefly felt his essence interact with the electrical circuits in the door. This had happened before but it was infrequent.

“Are you alright?” Trace asked.

Jove absolutely did not want to talk about it. “I’m fine,” he said. “Let’s go. Take the HOV lane.”

Trace started the vehicle and pulled out, heading toward the office.

“I don’t know,” Trace said. “Is that cheating?”

“I’m here and that makes two people,” Jove said. “They’re not going to pull you over and stick a nightstick through my head.”

“You say that but they might,” Trace said with a teasing smile.

“I bet they won’t,” Jove said. “Ten bucks.”

“Sure,” Trace said. “You’re on. It’s a bet.” She pulled the car toward the entrance of the HOV lanes. Jove gave her a self-satisfied smile. “How is it that I’ll be disappointed if I win or if you win.”

“Pure skills,” Jove said.

“Whatever,” Trace said and rolled her eyes as she kept driving.


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