Archive for May, 2016
So I have been thinking about doing this post for a while but it takes a little more research than most editions of What I Love About Pro-Wrestling. I love the storylines of sports entertainment but sometimes the stories behind the scenes can be just as entertaining. We live in a new world where we can see farther behind the curtain than we ever could before while carefully maintaining suspension of disbelief. I am not comfortable with the term “Amateur Wrestling” because it implies that what they do is lesser than Professional Wrestling. While professional wrestling is incredibly impressive athletically, it is scripted and improvised with full cooperation between “opponents”. I do not use the term “amateur” and instead, I call them “real wrestlers”. So here’s another list of sports entertainers who were real wrestlers before their careers took off. The premise here is that real wrestling helps to make you a better athlete and therefore a better performer. It is one part of a three-part equation.
I have known of Xavier Woods as a performer for quite a long time. I first noticed him when he showed up in the Total Nonstop Action promotion as a young and eager performer. He wrestled under the name Consequences Creed, originally so he could pair with Ron “The Truth” Killings for a tag team with an obvious name. He later teamed with Jay Lethal and wrestled on his own as a high flier with an Apollo Creed kind of gimmick. The next I saw him, he had shown up in NXT under the name Xavier Woods. He still had that high energy and great work ethic but he had embraced his geeky side. He yelled “It’s Morphin Time!” on his way to the ring and had “Over 9000” written on his tights. Now he’s one-third of the mega-popular tag team The New Day and helps to come up with the geekiest ideas in sports entertainment today. However, back in the day, he was a real wrestler at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia. He was reportedly the best at his school and actually had a high school feud with the next guy on the list. Obviously, the conditioning and technical know-how have stayed with him into his career and helped him to the top.
I have spoken of Cody Rhodes before in this blog but it has been a while. Cody is the son of a son of a plumber as his father is the legendary Dusty Rhodes and he is also the brother of Goldust. Cody recently transformed his on-screen persona into Stardust, a creepy and insane version of himself that mixed his father’s legacy, his brother’s persona and a lot of additional creativity. He is one of the strongest workers in the business as he has done nothing but improve his skills over the years. Just this week, Cody decided to end his employment with the WWE and become probably the hottest free agent in the business in a long time. Whatever he decides to do, he will be excellent at it. I am sure of this because he has a strong work ethic and undying loyalty to whatever he is doing. Part of that comes from his history in real wrestling back in high school. He got up before dawn and started working out in order to be the best his high school had at the time. He has glowing words for the sport of Greco-roman wrestling and was appropriately a local hero of Marietta, Georgia. He also credits the sport with reuniting his family after a period of estrangement between his dad and his brother.
I first saw James Storm in the mid-2000s through the Total Nonstop Action (TNA) promotion which was still kind of in its infancy. He was part of the tag team America’s Most Wanted for a long while and was a mainstay on the roster. Storm gained even more popularity during a singles career and also in the awesome tag team Beer Money. He was a little bit of a high flyer but, as his career progressed, his became more of a brawler and more of a technician. He projected an aura of toughness that was both blue collar and roughneck. However, every move felt like it was perfectly timed and executed with a high level of skill. He had a lot of legendary (but poorly attended) matches that were long and brutal. We can owe a lot of this skill and conditioning with the same attitude that put him on his high school wrestling team. Those lessons stick with you for the rest of your life, especially if you are an athlete. Unfortunately, Storm decided to remain a star in the constantly ship called TNA rather than make the jump to the WWE. It’s a shame but he’ll continue to be a star wherever he is.
Alberto Del Rio
I never followed the early career of Alberto Del Rio who got his start in Asistencia Asesoría y Administración but it is hard to see Mexican promotion’s matches in this country. He is the son of Dos Caras and the nephew of Mil Mascaras. While I have heard a lot of criticism of Mil Mascaras, I do know that all three men are part of one of the most famous sports entertainment families in the world. Del Rio comes from the world of Lucha which is a pretty different style from traditional United States styles. Eventually, he made the move from Mexico to the United States when he debuted in the WWE where he has had a lot of success as both a heel and a face. Arguably, he’s a better heel than he is a face but it cannot be argued that he is a great technician in the ring. He took a break from the WWE and headed south once again and eventually found himself in Lucha Underground as Alberto Patron. From what I’ve read, he decided to take up real wrestling for a challenge as a kid and to prove that he could hang in that world. He was part of the Mexican national team and would have gone to the Olympics but Mexico could not afford to send him that year. Still, that training is clear in a lot of his movements, especially his vaunted cross arm breaker hold.
The man who plays Matanza Cueto (Jeffrey Cobb) on Lucha Underground is a monster of a man. He is not extremely tall but he is thick, muscular and explosively fast. I honestly do not know much about his career but I do know that it has not been a long one so far. He has really just started under the Matanza Cueto gimmick but he has made an immediate impact, taking their big championship by defeating several men in one match. He has also shelved or matched some of the best competitors in the company in a very believable fashion. He is extremely athletic and did I mention that he is deceptively fast for a big guy? His reflexes, strength and size do a lot to let him portray a monster who used to be a man. Cobb is actually the first person I have heard who is listed as Guamanian which means he is from the tiny nation of Guam. It was in Guam that he began his career as a real wrestler where he learned the skills needed to become an International competitor. He competed in international tournaments and eventually went to the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Unfortunately, he finished nineteenth out of twenty-two wrestlers but just to compete on a stage that huge shows that he was skilled as Hell. I look forward to seeing just what this guy can do with those skills and all of the new skills he is probably learning.
Houdini & Doyle
I almost made the theme of this week Arthur Conan Doyle but there wasn’t anything else at hand that I had not seen. That is probably because I am a big Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle fan and I’ve pretty much seen everything else popular. Anyway, I wanted to tackle this new show since it has two of my favorite historical people in it. This show explores the dynamic between the two famous figures that was previously explored in Fairy Tale (I talked about it here). Doyle was a spiritualist and had an open mind when it came to the supernatural that sometimes fell into gullibility. This is strange seeing as how the supernatural threats in Sherlock Holmes stories were always some elaborate Scooby-Doo-esque ruse. Houdini, who was Doyle’s friend and one my personal heroes, spent much of his life debunking those who claimed special powers in order to prey on the grieving. The show is called Houdini and Doyle but it involves the interplay between Houdini, Doyle and a female constable. Houdini and Doyle act as special consultants to the police on murder cases and the show does a good job of including touches of their real history. The female constable, Adelaide Stratton, is based on Edith Smith, the first policewoman in British history which is interesting. Doyle is always running off chasing spooks while Houdini tries to prove there’s a rational explanation. Constable Stratton is caught in between and always stuck cleaning up the guys’ messes and being the muscle. It’s interesting to see a female hero during a time when suffragettes were paving the way for later civil rights battles with early victories. The show is still finding its feet but I think it has some potential and if it teaches one person to think like a skeptic then this show is worth its weight in gold.
After I watched the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film (which I found to be awesome), my interest in the old Sherlock Holmes stories was renewed. I had read a couple for school and a couple beyond that and I was interested in revisiting them. There was something so interesting about the characters figuring out what was behind all of the smoke and mirrors and just being smarter than everyone around them. The reason why I am talking about it now is twofold. First, I passed up the opportunity back in 2014 when I made a best of television list. Second, I recently watched the Monstrous Bride special episode and I was moved to talk about the show finally. The reason I hesitated to name it as a top 11 show originally was that each season has three episodes and each is about 90 minutes long. The show takes Holmes and Dr. Watson and puts them in current day London and has them solve crimes based on the original stories which were set in the 1800’s. Watson is a doctor freshly home from the war in Afghanistan and Sherlock is not a normal human being. The stories are great but the real strength is the great character work. The relationship between Watson and Sherlock is sometimes infuriating and sometimes amusing but always interesting. Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are brilliant actors but they’re also supported by a great cast who knock it out of the park every episode. It’s consistently good so go watch it.
I had heard about this show a while back and, like so many other things, I told myself I would look into it later. One of the great things about this feature is “forcing” myself to watch new stuff every week and writing about it. I did not know what to expect going into this movie but the promos were intense and intrigue looked like the main keyword. The show is a fictional account of the Culper Spy Ring which was a real life group who spied for the Continental army during the American War for Independence. In the show, the lynchpin of the spy ring is Abraham Woodhull, a farmer who used to be a law student. The show follows Abraham, his allies and enemies as they all try to work against each other to either liberate the colonies or crush the rebellion. Like any good spy story, the plot is full of twists and turns and close calls and a lot of strategy. It also involves characters manipulating each other’s motivations and emotions to achieve a goal. It ends up being pretty compelling stuff and I found myself drawn into the next episode to see what would happen next. I can’t sing the praises of the actors enough. Abe is played by Jamie Bell and you can see and hear so much emotion from him in the first season but he’s also good at acting as a man who is lying to everyone. Huge shout out to the rest of the cast who play their characters perfectly but especially Angus Macfayden’s Robert Rogers who is a cunning and charming character. As I watched the first season this past weekend, I did a little research on how much of it was true. It may not all be true and I have more research to do but a lot of the people in the story actually lived and functioned similarly to how they do on the show. I definitely recommend the show.
Links of the Week:
Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling
Son Volt – Drown
Consequence ft. Caiden – That Dude
Ty Segall Band – Wave Goodbye
DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
– I’m almost caught up on Lost Girl and it’s great
– I finished a superb second season of Daredevil
– Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2 is also awesome
– Seth Rollins is back! (Ignore this if you don’t get it)
– Probably gonna see X-Men: Apocalypse this weekend
– Watched Star Wars VII again and it was even better the second time
– I miss listening to podcasts while I drove to class
– Oh wait, I haven’t seen Elementary.
– This week’s theme is Period Drama Television
Source: Stand By Me (1986)
GIF Source: jakegyllonhaal.tumblr.com
So, I mentioned briefly that there was a reason that I created the Media Update and Why I Love Pro-Wrestling features on this blog. I live and breathe pop culture almost as naturally as I breathe air and walk around. More than that, I absorb and release facts easily like an information sponge. My ADD allows me to watch a lot of stuff while I work on something else without suffering much productivity. So all of the stuff that I watch, read and listen to gets stored away and I slowly fill up like a cup in the rain. It doesn’t take much to fill that cup and soon I can feel myself overflowing.
I have people in this world that I love. When I spend time with these people, I tend to spew forth all of the recently collected pop culture stuff that I have collected. Stories are powerful to me. In fact, I draw a lot of strength from the stories that I read, see and hear every day. But I understand that not everybody needs to hear all of the minutiae I have gathered from these stories. I can often recount plots, characters and dialogue from things I haven’t seen in a long, long time. I don’t want to bother people with this info all of the time so I decided that I would put it into my blog.
I first created Why I Love Pro-Wrestling because I remember explaining the whole Montreal Screwjob to my brother and him nodding but not having time to really get it. I felt the passion of the story inside but I knew that not everybody cares about the same story. So I created Why I Love Pro-Wrestling later that week to try to explain where that passion comes from. I wanted to tell people the stories that had already been told but I realized that there are already biographies and Wikipedia for that. Instead, I started to explain how the stories of the squared circle connected to me. It was and is important for me to explain how the silliness of that artform wormed its way into my consciousness.
For Media Update, I remember discovering the Game Grumps on Youtube and just wanting to tell everybody I met about them. Except, the Game Grumps are kind of a unique show that occupies a certain niche the same way that it’s hard to push somebody into listening to your favorite podcast. I decided that instead of annoying the people in my life so much, I would instead start typing it all out. At first, I just threw things on the page and called it done. Media Update has continued to evolve and I don’t only use it to discuss the things I’m excited about. I use it to get excited about new things. I use it to both to explore and to reminisce. I put things out there in the hopes that one person might visit my site and check out what I’m interested in. I put things out there because I literally cannot stop myself from talking about media.
I will remain passionate about the things the media that I consume. Anyone who has visited my twitter knows I can’t help but live tweet WWE programming. I also constantly search for new music or short films to share on Media Update because it has become organic to do so. One thing I do want to change in the future is that I want to feature YouTube shows on the blog again. I watch a lot of YouTube and it seems a waste to just not talk about it or just explain it away. YouTube is becoming a great platform for new programming that does not work quite like the old stuff did. Twitch, as well, is becoming a viable market for entertainment. I will happily march into the future of movies, television, books, podcasts and music. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it.
Traci Harding’s mom was waiting for her when the bus pulled up at the stop a block from Traci’s stop. She saw her as the bus pulled up and she could feel heat creep up to her face as she blushed. She got off the bus as quick as she could and started walking toward the house. Besides being the mother to a would-be superhero, Nancy Harding was a former track star and had longer legs than Traci. Besides that, Traci was not able to use her powers in public and her mother knew it. There was no way that Traci was outrunning her mother without flying but that was not the intent. The point was to make the conversation private.
“Traci stop. I need to talk to you.” Her mom said, laying a hand on Traci’s shoulder gently. It would take an impact from a car to hurt Traci but the gentleness was always appreciated.
“I know, mom. I just thought the conversation should be private. Right?” Traci asked. She turned to face her mother in their front yard in the midst of all of her mother’s beautiful flowers. Her mother had maintained this house for all of the years since Traci’s father had disappeared. Traci had a lot of respect for her mother but it made her the only parent and a symbol of authority. It could be hard sometimes but in that moment, Traci took a deep breath and smelled the flowers.
“Ok, good point,” Her mother said. “However, when my daughter rescues a malfunctioning plane midair and does not call, I kind of lose my head.” Her mother gave her a hard look but was trying to take slow deep breaths herself.
“I was going to call but I had to get to homeroom . Then the school has a no cell phone policy,” Traci said.
They walked inside and Traci set her backpack down. It had roller wheels on it as was the fashion at school. Traci did not need them with her super strength but they were so popular and they helped Traci stay undercover. She was proud of the backpack. It was cute and she had paid for it with chore money which made it just about the only thing so far that was only hers. It was completely normal girl stuff and Traci embraced that.
“We’re supposed to debrief, Traci. I was worried about you especially when you didn’t call,” Nancy said, a look of concern in her eyes.
“Sorry, Mom. There was a lot of stuff going on. I didn’t mean to make you worry,” Traci said.
“We have rules for a reason. We need to keep the two of us safe both physically and mentally. We’re a team, ok?” Mom asked.
“I remember, mom,” Traci said. “There wasn’t a lot of time but I’ll make time for the next one. I don’t want you to have to worry about me.”
“Besides, my earring fell under the fridge this morning. If you hadn’t run off I would have had you lift it so I could get it back. I had to change earrings and I was nearly late to work.” Mom said with a playful smirk.
“Oh Mom, I can’t always move furniture for you when the world needs saving,” Traci said with a laugh.
“You know, I have said it before and I will say it again but you do not need to be the one saving the day.” Mom said. She smiled easily, making sure that Traci knew that there was no pressure.
Traci wondered how her mother had reacted to her father being a superhero. He had been very public and had not only prevented disasters but had also fought a lot of high-profile battles against criminals. He had very few colleagues to save the day alongside so all of the danger was on him. Her mother was a tough woman but she still would have been sitting at home and watching Comet Man’s exploits on the news. Did she worry this much when it was him and not her daughter? What was it like for his costume to run through the washing machine while the two of them relaxed on the couch?
“Mom, there was nobody around for miles. If I hadn’t caught that plane, I shudder to think what would have happened to all those people. Not to mention all the people they might have hit on the ground. If I can be there, I’m going to be there,” Traci said.
“I know. Just like your father. Just make sure that if you’re going to be there, you’re also going to be there after. I can’t lose anyone else, Traci,” Mom said.
“I know, Mom. I can’t promise anything but I’ll always do my best to come back to you.”
I decided to work on a few questions that the blog Half a 1000 Miles asked in a post from a while ago. There are 100 questions (duh) so it will take me a while to get through it but I will post questions a little bit at a time. Enjoy!
1. Name something that sounds like it should be fun, but it’s really not.
Performing. There was a brief moment where I thought I would be an actor or a rock star but I have horrible stage fright. If I have to do something like that in front of people, I can but I wouldn’t want to choose that life. Still, slipping into the skin of a character or rocking out on stage still sounds like a lot of fun but it’s not for me.
2. Name something that people complain about regarding the opposite sex that doesn’t bother you at all.
Well, the easy thing to pick is feminism. I see a lot of guys complaining online about feminism and Tumblr feminists and I don’t see what the problem is. The equality of women (and all people) does not threaten me the way it threatens other people. I love girl power as I grew up with a lot of reminders of how awesome it is.
3. Do you grant more favors OR do you ask for more favors?
I tend not to ask for favors. People do me favors all the time but I try my best not to ask for them. I am trying to get better at not expecting anything of anybody. I don’t want to be a burden to those around me. In the past, I have not been good about granting favors as I can get a bit psycho about scheduling ahead of time. Trying to change my schedule at the last minute often drives me crazy. I am trying to get better at rolling with the punches for the good of my friends and family.
4. Do you think you are smarter than your boss?
Smarter than my boss? Currently, I don’t really have a boss besides my family. Do I think I am smarter than my family? No, I do not. I am younger and less experienced than my folks. However, there are many different kinds of intelligence and my technological abilities are way higher than most people I have worked with. I also usually figure that there’s a reason that they are the boss and I am the employee and such comparisons are usually counterproductive.
5. Do you find watching strangers perform karaoke entertaining OR boring?
I really enjoy watching people perform karaoke. A lot of people are really into it and I always appreciate somebody who puts heart into what they’re doing on stage. Ability is not as important to me in karaoke as whether or not the performer is having fun. In fact, I usually don’t like watching somebody try to be technically proficient up there.
6. Would you take prescription medicine if it had been expired for 5 years, but you were really in pain?
Probably not. I have suffered from migraines and tension headaches for a large part of my life so I am used to managing pain. It sucks but I would hope I could keep myself from doing something potentially dangerous for possible short term benefits. Over the counter stuff can help a little if you need to stay conscious but a Tylenol PM helps to temporarily escape the pain until you can get help.
7. If you found a $100 bill on the sidewalk today, would it be the best thing that happened to you in a week? If not, what was better?
This week? I am of an economic class where $100 means a hell of a lot and I would not look that gift horse in the mouth. Yet, I value experiences more than money because I can’t carry the memory of money further into my life. It’s not memories of money that make me smile to myself just before I drift off to sleep. This past week, I finished a lot of final papers and exams and I am very proud of that. I wouldn’t sneeze at $100 but it would not be the best thing this week.
8. When you receive a Christmas card from someone unexpected, do you turn around and send them one?
Not usually. I don’t usually engage in snail mail these days. If I get something in the mail from somebody, I tend to text, phone, e-mail or contact them electronically. Words mean a lot to me and they mean a lot more when they are timely and not written in my indecipherable chicken-scratch.
9. If you, your child, and a group of 10 were stranded in the snow after 2 days and you secretly had 2 granola bars, would you share with your child only OR with everyone?
I would share with everybody. If I ever had a real child instead of a hypothetical one, I would hope it would teach them a lesson about helping other people. I was actually thinking about this sort of problem lately after watching a Game Theory episode. I vowed to put the needs of the all above the needs of the one or the few. Thanks, Spock.
10. If you didn’t answer your cell phone for 3 days in a row when your friend called, would you feel you owe them an explanation?
Yeah. That would be the first thing I told them and I hope I could be honest. Actually, I would hope that I would have already called them back or texted them a reason. Three days is a long time to leave somebody in the lurch. Some of my friends don’t actually ever physically see me so they might think something bad happened to me.
11. If you went to a party where half the guests were bikers and half the groups were doctors, who do you think you would talk to most?
I would probably end up talking to the bikers. I have met all of two bikers but they were nice and they gave me the impression that a lot of bikers were ok people. Bikers have a lot of different world experience that is different from my own. The closest I have come to that lifestyle was when I briefly worked for the circus so I would be intrigued. If I talked to the doctors it would probably be about books, movies or television and I can do that anytime. Of course, the real answer is whoever wasn’t an asshole.
12. Do you think forgiving your partner for doing something you two had previously agreed was unforgivable raises OR lowers their opinion of you?
In the end, if you really love somebody (whether romantically or otherwise) you have to forgive them or move on. However, if I was dating somebody and they crossed that line and I forgave them, I’d hope it would raise their opinion of me. I wouldn’t want to date somebody who felt that my forgiveness was a sign of weakness when it feels like it would be a sign of strength.
13. When you tell someone to make themselves at home, what do you actually mean?
Mostly sit down and feel free to use the bathroom if they need to. I don’t think anybody ever actually meant it literally when they told somebody to make themselves feel at home. You are not home and becoming that forward with the space feels really rude.
14. If a man publicly asked a woman to marry him and she said no, would you feel more sorry for him OR for her?
I would feel really bad for her. Asking somebody to marry you is like a lawyer asking a question in court. You never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. You’re really just making the words real by asking and having her answer even though you were over ninety percent sure she would say yes.
15. If you won the big lottery and the Lottery Commission said you would not get the money if anyone found out you won in the upcoming month, are there people you would still tell?
Not a chance. I would not risk the good I could do with lottery winnings by breaking the rules ahead of time. I firmly believe that my family and friends would understand if I kept that big of a secret and did not tell them. The payoff is way too big to not just wait to tell people. A month can be a long time to keep a secret but the benefit far outweighs the hardship.
16. Do you think there is a big difference in Coke and Pepsi? Do you think a restaurant should have to ask you if Pepsi is OK if you ask for a Coke?
No. I don’t really think there’s that big of a difference between Coke and Pepsi. I buy both for different reasons. Part of my family comes from Georgia and so I am loyal to Coca-Cola for that reason and also that’s what I grew up with. On the other hand, there’s a Pepsi plant very near where I live in Baltimore so I am kind of loyal to that for my hometown. I think the restaurants can save time by not asking the question because the content of both drinks is very similar.
17. If you and your partner were lying in bed with the window open and you both decided it was cold, would the same person always be the one that got up and shut the window? Would the person that got to stay in bed appreciate that OR take that for granted?
If I had a girlfriend or wife, I wouldn’t mind always being the one to get up and close the window. I would hope that she would appreciate the effort but I would not mind if she also took it for granted. I mean, I’ll always do it so she could depend on that. Of course, I run hot so unless she asked I would not get up and close it myself. I like it cold at night.
18. Is it fair to get mad at someone for something they almost did?
It depends on what the something is. If they were about to do something negligent like they almost hit somebody with their car then I think it would be fair to be angry with them. They should pay attention and there are few excuses for that sort of behavior. However, if they stopped themselves from doing something malicious I don’t think it’s fair to be mad at them unless they were stopped by an outside force. If somebody stops themselves from doing something bad then they should be rewarded because we all get mad and it takes strength to control that.
19. Do you think buying stocks is gambling?
Yes, I think it is gambling. I don’t really understand the stock market other than buy low and sell high. It is gambling in the same sense that poker is gambling. If you’re good at it, there’s less risk and it’s a more acceptable practice. If you have no idea what you’re doing then you need to stay away.
20. Have you ever made a cake and not tasted the batter?
No. Such a thing is not possible.
It was about dinnertime when Sarah got back to her office. She had to search around for more signs of those ugly rag men who had blown the mine. She wished she had tied the unconscious one up when she had the chance. Her nerves had been a little frayed after the explosion and the gunfight. She had allowed her curiosity and Roy Simmons to distract her. It made her mad as Hell. She was mad at the murderer, mad at the men at the mines and mad at Roy Simmons too. Most of all, she was mad at herself for not handling things right.
Of course, she had never dealt with an actual murder mystery before. She had also never seen anybody like those things at the mine before. She had also never seen anything like the carvings at the mine or that type of stone either. It had certainly been a red letter day and Sarah was frustrated and dog-tired as she hung up her hat. She unbuckled her gun belt and hung it up as well. She took out her pistol and carried it over to her desk. It was time to do a little maintenance and cleaning to make sure she was ready for another firefight. To say that another firefight was an unwelcome phrase was a bit of an understatement.
“Sheriff Redcross? Are you here?” A tiny voice asked as the door opened with a jingle of the bell. It was only the fact that her gun was half taken apart that saved Holly Dawson from getting shot. Sarah thought she had locked that door but she realized she was tired and distracted enough to have forgotten.
“Oh! There you are. Sorry for intruding,” Holly said. She glanced at the lamps around the room. Most of them were off. There was a little desert finch on Holly’s shoulder and it looked almost as curious as young Holly.
“Oh sorry, Holly. I haven’t turned the lights on yet. I just got in,” Sarah said. She checked her pocket watch. “Oh, I guess it was already twenty minutes ago. It’s been a long day, Holly.”
“I can imagine, Sheriff. You do so much for Essex,” Holly said. Her voice was soft and if you did not know her, you might think she was shy.
“Can I help you, Holly?” Sarah asked.
“Oh! I was just wondering if you were hungry.” Holly said with a sweet smile. The bird hopped back and forth on her shoulder, strangely silent this whole time. Sarah’s stomach grumbled and she hoped it was not loud enough to hear. Holly was carrying a dish.
“I wouldn’t turn down food kindly given, Holly. You didn’t have to bring that over, though. You know that, right?” Sarah asked with a smile. She pushed her gun forward on her desk so that Holly could set the dish down.
“Oh yes, ma’am but I remember that you used to bring your father dinner from our house,” Holly said as she set the dish down. Holly Dawson’s family had indeed helped feed Sarah and her father not too long ago. They were friends with everybody in town and Holly’s dad ran the general store. Holly herself was a quiet girl with an affinity for birds and she had always been eager to please.
“Angling for a deputy job, Holly?” Sarah asked with a sly smirk on her face. She was teasing, there was little chance of that. This was confirmed by the blush and flustered look on Holly’s face.
“No, of course not, Sheriff. I really just want to cook someplace someday,” Holly said. She was still blushing furiously and the finch was starting to get excited. Sarah decided to give her a break.
“But seriously, Holly, I’d like to thank you and your family for the help you’ve given my family. You’re always welcome here as long as long as I don’t have somebody in lock up.” Sarah said.
“I suppose that’s a deal, Sheriff,” Holly said with a satisfied little smile.
“I won’t even hold you to it. I won’t expect you.” Sarah said. She needed to make that clear.
“Understood, Sheriff. I’ll be here when I can. I need the cooking practice,” Holly said.
“What’s for dinner tonight then?” Sarah asked.
“Rabbit stew,” Holly said.
Sarah dug in and was quiet for a long time while Holly watched her eat. Sarah truly felt at peace after a few moments. She really loved the food but she also made a conscious effort to make little happy noises. Holly was standing right there and it seemed only right. Halfway through she pulled out a bottle of sasparilla. She was done way quicker than she thought she would be.
“That was delicious, Holly. Boy, you are an amazing cook. Best in town but don’t tell your mother. How do you do it?” Sarah asked.
“The proper seasoning is really the key to a good meal. At least, that’s what I think.” Holly explained.
“Wait, did you say ‘key’?” Sarah asked.
“I think so. Did I? Why do you ask, Sheriff?” Holly asked. The little finch on her shoulder cocked its head.
“Nevermind, Holly. One day I’ll tell you the whole thing but for now, I have to play it close to my vest.”
“I understand, Sheriff. I’ll try to keep my curiosity in check.”
“At least you’ve given me the whisper of an idea. If it works out, maybe you’ll earn that tin star yet.” Sarah said and winked at the girl.
Captain America: Civil War
I woke up last Friday with the knowledge that a lot of my friends were going to see this movie on Saturday and since I was attending my high school reunion, I could not join them. I felt bad about that but I knew that I wanted to go out and catch it before any of it was spoiled any further. I had seen a few trailers but I had taken to muting my television during later trailers and looking away. If I was forced to rank my favorite comic book movies, the Captain America movies are still in the top five if not the top three. I remember reading the original comic book storyline and I have rated it five stars on Goodreads.com. I occasionally like a well-written story where both opposing forces are both right and both wrong. This is one of those stories and the sides are even more even than in the original comic book and therefore, I thought it was even better. This one raised a lot of the same type of philosophical questions that the previous Disney’s Captain America movies posed. Is it just to follow an unjust order? What are we willing to sacrifice in order to be safe? What value is there in vengeance? How far do we go for a friend? The movie is also Avengers 2.5 and has a really strong ensemble backing up the brilliant Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. I absolutely recommend this movie as it is really awesome, touching and a lot of fun.
This was a strange experience. I remember being really interested when the original Kick-Ass movie came out because it was a franchise that I was unfamiliar with. The movie ended up being pretty good. It was colorful and shot really well like most comic book movies but the plot and characters were given a different twist. More or less Kick-Ass is kind of a depiction of what would really happen if somebody decided to become a superhero. There’s a reason that Bruce Wayne traveled the world to learn the skills to be Batman. You need those skills. The world of Kick-Ass is a world where the heroes are not always smart and skilled and neither are the villains. I then read the original comic book and I was disappointed. Mark Millar is kind of a horrible writer when it comes to his own properties. He writes to intentionally shock the reader with violence, sexuality and language and it feels like a ten-year-old trying to write superheroes. He is also one of the writers most well known for fridging female characters. Kick Ass was not a good comic and I only read a synopsis of its sequel. This movie was equally disappointing and it made me question whether the first one was even worth liking. Every character curses like a ten-year-old whose mother is out of earshot and the jokes are about as mature. The fights are interesting but they are worth little when the script keeps changing the character’s motivations every five minutes. Just pass this movie on your way to something better.
Batman: Bad Blood
I wanted to round out this week with a third comic book company and DC animation is just as great as their television. While television is kind of going for its own story, the animated features tend to more or less adapt established comic book storylines. I have no interest in the Frank Miller animated features and also no interest in the upcoming Killing Joke as I’m not a fan. I am a huge fan of Batman and, of the recent writers, I am very fond of Grant Morrison’s run. Before the reboot, he established Damien Wayne as the new Robin and did a great run with Dick Grayson as Batman. This animated feature adapts Batman RIP which was a good little story. The animation is really interesting and is kind of on par with the recent Suicide Squad: Assault on Arkham art style. As the title suggests, this movie does not follow Batman as much as it follows the Batman Family. Alfred, Damien, Grayson and Batwing were all great but the real stand out for me was Batwoman. Katie Kane was a great character for DC to bring back into the comics. Not only does it allow them to include a well-written lesbian character but she’s just a good character in my view. The movie also brings out a few lesser known villains along with a lot of memorable returning villains. Some of them are merely obstacles and some of them are nuanced, fleshed-out characters. All in all, I really liked watching this adaptation and I hope it leads to more features following Morrison or Scott Snyder’s runs. Check it out, Batman fans.
Links of the Week:
Foster the People – Houdini
Justin Timberlake – TKO (Black Friday Remix)
Utada – You Make Me Want To Be A Man
Gatas Parlament – Hokus Pokus
– This week’s theme is comic book superheroes
– Next week is the one year anniversary of this feature. Wow.
– Fun fact: I went to college with Sebastian Stan
– Fun Fact: My middle school’s library promoted Free Comic Book Day
– I finished reading Squirrel Girl Vol. 2 and it was awesome!
– So is the new Hawkeye series so far
– I really want to see Keanu soon. It looks great.
So every year there is an event that I look forward to almost as much as Halloween and it’s Free Comic Book Day. Of course, this year Free Comic Book Day was on a day that was also scheduled for my Friends School class reunion. This was year fifteen so you know I was going to be there. In fact, since I attended the 10-year reunion, I promised myself that I would do whatever I could to keep attending reunions. A lot of these people were people I spent twelve years studying alongside and we grew to know each other whether we wanted to or not. Friends School is also an important place in my life as it was where I spent a lot of my most formative years. I knew I was in for a packed Saturday so sadly I had to skip out on tabletop gaming and going to see Captain America: Civil War with my friends.
I saddled up in the morning and somehow climbed out of bed even though excitement and nervousness had made it a little hard to sleep the night before. Also, I had very little sleep the day before but more on that Thursday. I hopped in my car and drove over to the school and I was surprised to find all of the parking in the world open to me. For some reason, I thought that everybody would be attending events all day like I was. I got my name tag and headed to the Math/Science building to meet up with my first event. I had signed up to go on a short birding trip mostly because of my relatives (Jack and Sandy). Everybody in the group was at least twenty years older than I was but it was still a lot of fun. The teacher and alumni who led it are bird experts and their interest was contagious. The coolest thing we saw was a Red-Tailed Hawk having a dogfight with an American Bald Eagle. I talked with another relative by marriage who (surprise!) is also a graduate of Friends. I also talked with a few other alumni who were very nice.
After that, it was time for a break from the school which was great because I was getting hungry too. I took off toward the Senator Theater and parked. I walked past Batman who was hanging outside of The Amazing Spiral and headed inside. The Amazing Spiral is my comic book shop when I’m in Baltimore because the staff is always knowledgeable and extremely courteous and welcoming. They always have a great selection of trade paperbacks and graphic novels which are usually what I spring for. I walked around and took the place in. There were people dressed as animals, superheroes and Disney characters and everybody had a smile on their face. Free Comic Book Day happens the first Saturday of May and is a nationwide holiday for geeks like me. I picked up my five comics and the second trade of Squirrel Girl. I also picked up Hawkeye #1 and an issue of Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat. I then drove north and grabbed a Qdoba burrito and headed back to the school to eat and listen to Chris Hardwick interview Bruce Campbell. After, I read a little bit of my haul as I relaxed.
Having observed the holiday the best I could without seeing Captain America again, I shut my eyes for a little to conserve my energy. I got bored of that after a while and I decided to walk around the campus for a little while to check things out. The campus had changed a lot since I went to school there and I wanted to walk around the place to see the new stuff and drink in the nostalgia of the old stuff. I ended up doing a lot of walking since it is a huge campus. Eventually, it was time for my schedule tour and I really enjoyed seeing all of the new stuff inside of the buildings. The school is a really good one and it seems that it is even better than when I went there. It made me sad that Baltimore public schools did not get the same advantages and awoke my liberal/progressive spirit at the unfairness. Seeing all of the stuff that was the same as when I went to school there was like a boxer getting hit with body blow after body blow. I felt swept up in memories every step I took and it was a really powerful tour to take.
Finally, we got to the cocktail party and I was excited and nervous since I had yet to run into anybody from my graduating class. I walked around the party and ran into Mr. Watt but time ticked by and I still had not seen anybody from my class. I thought for a moment that they had all blown off the event in favor of starting our private party earlier. Finally, I ran into one classmate and slowly that became four and then we were all together. Talking to them was like no time had passed but also felt like a million miles away from high school. High School really sucked and by the end of twelve years of being together, I never wanted to see my classmates again. However, as time has gone by it’s easier to remember all of the good times and forgive all of the stupid mistakes we each made. These people are all pretty good people and it was really a joy to have great conversations with them. We ended the night at Cosima’s at Mill No. 1 which was a little fancier than the places I like but it was a nice atmosphere to share with the handful of classmates who decided to show. I had a great time and I can’t wait until next time. It’s going to be a long five years.