Archive for May, 2016

Quick Lass Pt. 2

May 7, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Happy Free Comic Book Day!)

Media Update 5/5/2016

May 5, 2016

Battle Royale (Japan 2000)

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

Journey to the West (China 2011)

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

Wing Chun (Hong Kong 1994)

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

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

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

The A to Z Blog Challenge: Reflections 2016

May 2, 2016

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

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

This Year’s Posts:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Baltimore on Film
Comet Girl
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Felix Graham: Osaka Adventure 6
Gender Moments in Television
How to Train Your Dragon
Shield of the Ishim 7
The Key 11
Leon: The Professional
The Mystery Part 7
Oh Canada
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday
Quick Lass
Redcross Part 5
The Sword Part 5
Top 11 Romantic Comedies
An Uncooperative Subject
Victor Frankenstein
What I Love About Pro-Wrestling: Lucha Underground
The Real X-Files
Zoolander 2

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

Nilajana Rose of Madly-in-verse

Moondustwriter’s Blog

Michele of Angels Bark

Liz of Laws of Gravity

Ronel the Mythmaker

Tyler Charles Austen

Miss Andi of Music & Words

Hangry Fork

Liz Brownlee

Diary of an Internet Nobody

Star Lit Stories Blog

Silencing the Bell

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

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