Archive for January, 2014

Herot the Detective

January 26, 2014

(This is a story that I wrote in Union Station and also the MARC train from DC to Baltimore after a viewing of the Impressionable Player’s Detective Pimbley and the Case of the Rich Dead Lady.  It is presented here as it was handwritten in a notepad except where I added two words near the end.)

Herot turned the dagger in her gloved hand carefully. The thing looked like it waas from the middle ages. The lab techs might know more than that. They would certainly lift any prints and type the blood. “Who uses a medieval dagger to kill a guy in this day and age?” She thought. She deided to say it out loud.

“Who uses a medieveal dagger to kill a guy?”

“A dastardly, murderous assasin, of course.” Murphy answered. Even at two in the morning, his suit was crisp and not a hair was out of place.

In contrast, Herot’s brown hair was all over the place even with the brush she and tried running through it. She
shot him a deadly look. If the look bothered him, he didn’t show it.

“That was rhetorical, Murphy. Once again, you’re only good for driving the car.”

She didn’t wait for Murphy to respond. She walked on toward the body. The blonde was in a nightgown and other than the gaping knife wound, she was really beautiful. Herot bent down and looked but did not touch. No smeared make up, no tangled hair and no tears in her panty hose. Of course, there was a tear in her dress but the knife had probably seen to that. Whoever had killed her had done a really good job.

Murphy lit a cigarette which earned him another foul look from Herot. He shrugged and took a drag anyway with the slightest smirk. “Seems to me that this knife means the killer knew her. Knives are just so personal.”

“It seems to me that this is an assumption. We do know that either the murderer had no time to clean up or wasn’t worried about getting caught.”

“Well, which was it if you’re so smart? I’m just here to back your play, after all.”

“No. You’re here to learn. I won’t always be here to do the work for you.”

“Yeah, yeah but which is it?”

She sighed deeply and gave him the look for the third time. At least this time he had the grace to stamp out his
cigarette. Away from the body this time. Extra points.

“I think the killer didn’t care.”

“Didn’t care? So we’re with a psycho?”

“Maybe it’s somebody very, very smart and confident. It takes a lot of work to set up a murder.”

Murphy looked around as if he were seeing it all for the first time. “Ok, yeah, I can see that. Everything looks very clean.”

“A little too clean?” Herot asked, a pleased smile spreading across her lips.

“I guess. Why? Something I missed? Again?”

“If you don’t miss things, I can’t really teach you. I also can’t feel superior which is the only thing keeping me awake.”

“The sooner we solve this case, the sooner you get to sleep.”

“Aha but I’ve already solved this case.”

“No way. You’re smart, Herot, but you’re not that smart.”

“That’s still Detective Herot to you, Murphy.”

“Then why isn’t it ‘Seargent Murphy’?”

“You have to earn it, Murph. You have to earn it.” She smirked. Teasing the poor guy was way too fun.
“Whatever. Who is the murderer?”

Herot gave an exasperated sigh as if the answer should be obvious. “There was no murderer.”

“So, suicide?” Murphy asked, trying to mime the action but he had trouble getting the angle right.

“No murderer because there was no victim. No victim because nobody died.”

“What? Nobody died? What about her?” He pointed at the girl’s body.

As he pointed, the girl suddenly sat up and brushed herself off.

“She means that I’m not dead, jackass.” The girl said as she got to her feet.

Murphy very nearly swooned in his shock. Herot did not even flinch.

“Sh .. She’s not dead?”

Herot smiled. “You are getting more observant every day.”

The former murder victim for her part stood fuming. Herot turned away from Murphy and toward the girl.

“What’s your name, ma’am?”

“Margaret Sinclair.” The girl answered almost through clenched teeth.

“What was this all about?”

“It was briefly a performance art piece until you ruined it.”

Murphy’s mouth stopped hanging agape and started working again. “Wait, how did you figure it out, Detective?”

“Well, like we said, the crime scene was far too clean. The crime was out in the open for everybody to see. The tear in the dress was obviously made with scissors. That is fake blood as real blood dries brown. No make up smudges, messy hair or, mos importantly, broken nails. So you didn’t fight back. What clinched it, though, was when I complimented the kller you blushed.”

Margaret looked insulted. “I did not.”

“You did but only just a little bit.”

Murphy shook his head, clearly impressed. “So what do we do now?”

Herot shrugged. “I can’t think of a crime we can charge her with unless you count dragging me out of bed in the middle of the night. I guess we let her go.”

Margaret nodded. “Yeah thanks but my big end of the year project is still ruined.”

“I don’t know about that.” Herot responded. “You really did do a good job. I’ll make you a deal. If you clean up your own crime scene, I’ll talk to your professor for you. I might even throw in the crime scene photos if I’m feeling generous tomorrow morning.”

Margaret sighed and shrugged, every bit the drama queen. “I guess it’s the best deal I’m going to get. Fine, I’ll do it.”

Herot shook her head. “You really are a ray of sunshine.”

Murphy coughed and spoke up. “So we go home?”

Herot nodded and yawned. “We go home. You get to write the report tomorrow though. Oh and call into dispatch and tell them to forget about collecting the body.”

Murphy nodded, gave a little wave to Margaret and headed for their car’s radio.

“Good night, Ms. Sinclair.” Herot offered.

“Good night, Detective.”

Herot walked off into the night towards the car. They left Margaret Sinclair to clean up her own crime scene.

My Entrance Theme

January 16, 2014

This is kind of a short post but it’s something I think of all the time.  I have been obsessed with thinking about what my entrance theme song would be if I were a pro-wrestler.  It is never going to happen but it’s a lot of fun to dream.  So I picked 5 heel (bad guy) themes and 5 face (good guy) themes.  These are in no particular order because I have a head cold and whatever.

Skillet – Hero

This one is more or less self-explanatory.  This is good for a straight up, honest-to-god hero face.

X-Cutioners ft Linkin Park – It’s Going Down

This music definitely says “Let’s Get This Started”.  It gets me fired up and definitely suits a determined face.  It’s a little hip hop but I don’t think it goes too deep with it.

Avatar – Let it Burn

The title says it all.  A destructive, screw-it-all heel who barely cares about the rules or the safety of others.  It would be really fun to just cut loose a little.

The Poodles – I Want It All

This would be if I was a really good face.  The music strikes me as inspirational and a pick me up in the vein of good Van Halen.  It’s a little slow but a little more epic.

Stone Pilots – Dead and Bloated 

I love singing along with this one in the car.  It just feels so angry and defiant.  I think it would be great for a self-righteous heel especially since the lyrics barely make sense.

Alice in Chains – Hollow

This song just burns with the sense of ‘I’ve got bad intentions’ or at the very least ‘I don’t care about you’.  Great for a heel with a dark cloud hanging over him.

Avenged Sevenfold – Scream

This song would be great for a psychotic heel.  I like the actual scream on the beginning of the track so this one wouldn’t even need much editing.

Devour the Day – Good Man

A struggling face might use this.  Just a guy trying so hard not to succumb to the strong temptation towards evil.  There might be a little too much religion in it for me but still good.

Charm City Devils – Unstoppable

Who doesn’t want to be unstoppable?  This song gets me fired up and earns bonus points for being from a local band.

Eighteen Visions  – Victims

This feels like a good song for a dirty, cocky heel.  By dirty I mean literally and also a rulebreaker.  There’s a little anger in it which feels really good.

Man of Steel

January 12, 2014

So on New Year’s Day 2014 I finally decided to sit down and watch Man of Steel. I watch every single comic book movie (eventually) no matter what because I am a huge comic book fan. I was wary about a Superman film because the franchise has really burned me in the past. At least when Batman was bad it still entertained me. Superman Returns was so boring though. Still, it was time to man up and get through Man of Steel. Maybe all of the negative buzz was wrong. Maybe. I kind of live tweeted throughout the movie which is what you’ll see below along with explanations and further reflection. This is going to get spoilery fast, folks. To those who might complain I only have one thing to say: Rosebud was his sled.

I’m finally getting around to watching Man of Steel.

This one is kind of self-explanatory but is included as to be accurate and complete.

There sure are a lot of good actors in this mostly uninteresting movie.

Man of Steel has an impressive cast. I think I posted this when Larry Fishburne first showed up and I realzied just how good a pedigree this film’s cast had. When I bad mouth the movie later, keep in mind that I am in no way blaming it on the cast. They were just all hamstrung.

I seem to remember that being the worst way to deal with a tornado. Google agrees with me.

At a major point in the movie, the evil, mustache twirling tornado from Twister appears and Kevin Costner tells everyone to get out of their cars and get under the overpass. I vaguely remembered that this was specifically a very bad idea. Google happened to back me up this time. Here’s a link.

Oh Amy Adams you are so pretty and so utterly wasted.

I love Amy Adams in almost everything. I used to say that I love Amy Adams in everything but not anymore. I prefer to think she was a mediocre reporter and idiot who stole Lois Lane’s identity and tied her up in a closet in this one. Lois Lane is brave and intelligent. She takes so many stupid risks in this that I wanted to shake her. The top one was “Ooh there’s a menacing robot thingy. Time for flash photography.”

At this point, I wish they had just made a Russell Crowe sci-fi adventure and just left the rest out. He was badass.

Russell Crowe was the best part of the movie. The Krypton sequence was so good and new and interesting and it was because Russell Crowe was dynamic and determined. The mix of alien biology and technology was pretty interesting. After entering the rest of the plot, I wanted to retreat back to Krypton.

It’s like every morning before shooting, they made each cast member take a shot of nyquil.

Nobody seemed to act like anything actually mattered. Almost nobody was charming. They all seemed irritable and sleepy. None of the actors seemed to be able to muster much personality at all and it made the movie drag by so slowly.

This movie is no fun. Daredevil was way better. Ghost Rider was better. Ang Lee’s Hu… ok wait no that one sucked too.

Let me explain something. I am a fan of Daredevil. I think it was a fine movie. Ghost Rider was an ok movie and I definitely enjoyed it. I will never forgive Ang Lee for Hulk. Never.

What’s with all of the bug ships?

My friend Joe reminded me that Jon Peters was involved with this one. Jon Peters is obsessed with insects as Kevin Smith told us. Still, every one of Zod’s ships looks like a insect or arachnid. This post was specifically about one of the shuttlecraft looking like a beetle and not about the giant spider.

This movie needs a Gene Hackman.

Or even a Kevin Spacey, really. Everybody in this movie was acting all broody and dark, I desperately wished for a fun, over the top villain. Zod was basically grumpy cat going against emo Superman.

I feel bad about yelling at my laptop. It didn’t do anything wrong.

I think this was me yelling at Superman to actually try to save people instead of just slugging it out with the vilains. Ursa (or whatever her name was in this one) was mopping the floor with the Air Force or Marines or whatever but Superman didn’t make an effort to break away from Andre the Giant to help them even once. He didn’t even cast a sympathetic glance in their direction.

Suddenly the villain is both dynamic and sympathetic. What the hell?

When Zod lays out the full gravity of his situation, it looked like the cough medicine had suddenly worn off and I actually felt for the guy. That’s what I needed the whole movie but I got it for maybe two minutes in the last ten minutes of the movie.

This wasn’t a Superman movie. This was an Elseworlds tale about Superman In Name Only (SINO). Another Earth where everything’s all sad.

Yeah, this was a response to the controversial ending. I just about hit a BSOD on this one. It was not right. There was probably twenty different ways to deal with that ending that could have been way better. Way, way better.

Zack Snyder you suck. David S. Goyer, I expected better of you. Christopher Nolan… I’ll forgive you but only this once.

Alright, here’s where I take some of the venom out of my previous statement. Zack Snyder does not suck. 300 was watchable and I really liked Watchmen. David S. Goyer did a great job with Batman. Christopher Nolan did magnificent thing with Batman. The thing is, they tried to do Dark Superman. They tried to do Superman in shades of gray but Superman is not shades of gray.  Superman is good versus evil. Superman is truth, justice and the american way. This was not your father’s Superman. This was not even my Superman.

And that was Man of Steel. The last thing I will say is: Kick his ass, Affleck. Kick his ass!

I still think that Superman has a reckoning coming. Why would the world trust this asshole after all of that? I think Batman would need to have a talk with Supes after all of this.

So was it a bad movie? Yes. Was it as bad as I initially thought? No. The effects were fun and like I said the Krypton part was neat. It’s not as bad as Ang Lee’s Hulk but it got close enough.

Albums That Stuck With Me

January 12, 2014

Recently I was asked to come up with a list of 10 albums that have stuck with me without researching them.  I provided the list and then thought I’d break the rules and provide a few more words and research.  So here is a list of ten albums that stuck with me.  Each one goes Artist – Title – Time that it was introduced to me.   I also included some honorable mentions.

The Blues Brothers Movie Soundtrack – Probably Middle School

This movie had an enormous impact on me when I first saw it though I can’t pin down which year it was. I remember it was winter break though and it was cold outside and the whole family sat down to watch it on VHS.  It’s not like I was unaware of Blues, Country, Big Band Jazz and Soul but it definitely made me seek them out more.

Metallica – ….And Justice for All – Fifth Grade

The very first album I remember owning. I can’t remember if my mom bought it for me or my dad but understandably neither gave a crap about Metallica.  The cassette was crushed later in a horrible accident that I don’t fully remember. A year ago, I found the replacement cassette crushed in my basement.  I was probably not meant to have an intact copy of this album.  I still like to rock out to some good Metallica though.

The Who – Who’s Next – Middle School

I always loved the Who and encountered it pretty early in my life.  However, when I got a little older I realized that my favorite song from their whole discography is Behind Blue Eyes.  I try to be a good guy and I have been doing better in recent years but I have an anger problem and I can be a real asshole.  In the past few years as I’ve come to grips with this the line “Noone bites back as hard on their anger as I do” means a whole lot more.

They Might Be Giants – Flood – Middle School

This band is catchy as hell and I really fell in love with them over one summer during Midle School.  In fact, a friend and I made two different music videos from their songs at the time.  The one I remember is “Particle Man”.  I played the part of smaller man.  I was always conveniently short in life.  Also, as a young liberal child of two liberal parents, I couldn’t resist “Your Racist Friend”.

The Beatles – Abbey Road – High School

I have distinct and powerful memories of listening to the whole album as I walked home from school.  I have an almost pathological distaste for slow songs but somehow I made an exception for some of the songs on this album and especially “Here Comes the Sun”.  During this time my love affair with “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” was born an I still usually choose that when somebody asks for my favorite Beatles song.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-nerd – Middle School/High School

I inherited a love of Lynyrd Skynyrd from my mother and “Gimme Three Steps” has a special importance to our family.  Aside from that, I always liked the fun energy and pace of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs and the fact that I could sing along to almost any song. To this date, the only concert I have ever gone to was Skynyrd at the Maryland State Fair.  I sang along until I was practically hoarse and it was the first time that I smelled marijuana smoke.

Jonathan Coulton – Best. Concert. Ever. – After College

JoCo is absolutely awesome.  I play “I Feel Fantastic” and “First of May” when I feel depressed.  I sing along to “Still Alive” and “Re: Your Brains”.  Alright, I sing along to all of his songs.   I attend his performances virtually over the internets yearly when he performs at PAX.  “Code Monkey” made me never want to work in an office and then I got an office job anyway.  It’s just a great album to throw on when I want to feel good.

Annie Get Your Gun Soundtrack – Middle School

I played this on a loop at many times as well.  There’s not a bad song in the bunch.  I grew up with the Ethel Merman recording but Hutton was great in the movie as well.  Hell, every version I have heard of this is good.  This was one of the first exceptions to my No Musicals rule that has become my No Crappy Musicals rule.

Buckcherry – Buckcherry – High School

I have an anger problem that I have had since I can remember.  When I was  going to blow my top, I would go to my room and crank All Lit Up and sing along.  To this day, Buckcherry feels like letting my anger out.   The album also appeals to the same fun part of my brain that heavy metal music hits.

Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen – High School

I found this left behind in a classroom at Carnegie-Mellon University and after that I really became a fan of Ben Folds. I probably got annoying about it at some points. I do have a tendency to dive headfirst into being a fan of things sometimes.  Still, I maintain that Ben Folds is great music.  One Angry Dwarf and Hiroshima (not on this album) are definitely my favorites.

Honorable Mentions:

Green Day – Dookie
The Guess Who – Greatest Hits
Queen – Greatest Hits I and II
Ozzy Ozbourne –  The Ozzman Cometh: Greatest Hits
Heart – Greatest Hits
The Charlie Daniels Band – A Decade of Hits
Guys and Dolls Soundtrack
Jurrasic 5 – Jurrasic 5


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