Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Heels Pt. 1

July 3, 2017

Heels or “bad guys” are one essential half of any professional wrestling storyline. You cannot have the light without the dark. In the real world, perfectly morally acceptable athletes face each other all the time but in the fictional world, we want to see good go up against evil. The stakes are higher and things get a little more personal if you hate one of the characters in the fight. So, let us start to explore some of the types of heel in professional wrestling.

The Annoying Heel

This is the bad guy who will most likely get legitimate, blinding hate from the fans. He or she does everything they can to piss off the fans and their opponents. They ramp up their personality or a personality trait to make the fans salivate for them to be destroyed. Think of the annoying guy at the bar or at work who just will not shut up and everything out of their mouth is utter horribleness. That is what this heel usually is.

The first heel like this that caught on for me was actually a referee. In ECW in the nineties, rules were only used when they were convenient. Weapons were used liberally and referees whistled and looked the other way. It was a novel new direction for quasi-mainstream wrestling and bloodthirsty fans reveled in the violence and spectacle. Referee Bill Alfonso rejected that and had the audacity to do his job and enforce the rules, even citing them on the mic to rile the fans up. The combination of his stickler attitude with his grating voice drove people crazy.

Another great example is Vickie Guerrero. She was the wife of the dearly departed Eddie Guerrero who was a great heel in his own right. When Eddie died, she was given an opportunity to work for the company and she ran with it. Her voice was always a little high-pitched but she turned it up to eleven by yelling everything she said. She became an authority figure and used her power to stomp on babyfaces left and right while sunning herself in the spotlight. With an ear-splitting “EXCUSE ME!” and a truckload of smug smiles, she easily earned the hate of fans who wanted her evil plans wrecked at every opportunity.

Hands down, probably the best example I can think of off the top of my head is Michael Cole. Cole has been with the WWE for a long time now. He worked his way up the ranks until he became an announcer and a firmly entrenched voice of the product. Some liked him and some did not. I thought he was alright as a middle of the road, competent announcer more or less. Then he suddenly became the biggest heel in the WWE. He would not stop talking. Not only that but he became smug and taunted those who would oppose him. He always escaped bodily harm and every week I just wanted to see somebody obliterate him but laying a hand on an announcer was kind of a firing offense. Eventually, he became a good guy again due to backstage happenings but for a while there he was the biggest bad guy in the business and he did not even wrestle (much).

The Cool Heel

There will alway be that person who everybody likes but you cannot stand. Everybody knows he or she is trouble but you have to admit that they are so cool. Everything they do is just so well done and exactly what would make a good guy the most-loved person in the world. He says all the right things and does all the popular things but he still gets under your skin. You may even admit that you like them a bit.

The nineties gave rise to this but another big example that springs to mind is Edge when he became the Rated R Superstar. He was in great shape, said all the right things, wore cool trench coats and always seemed to be one step ahead of everybody he faced. More than that, he had stolen another man’s girlfriend and flaunted it every chance he got. He french kissed Lita every chance they got. How often do people get absolutely livid at a little PDA? Edge was good at being on top of the game, capitalizing on opportunities and just being a cool guy.

There are a lot more examples that I could pull out that everybody is familiar with but instead I will talk about Sasha Banks. In NXT, Banks was a talented performer who often came out on top. Not only that but she had poise and style and determination. She walked to the ring wearing sunglasses and not giving a crap if people loved her or hated her. There is a tremendous cool factor in that attitude, something a lot of us wish we could actually achieve. She eventually got rid of a lot of her allies as she decided that there was one and only one Legit Boss.

The ultimate example was probably Ric Flair. Starting near the beginning of his career, Ric was great at coming up with a gimmick that drove people crazy. He would drive around in limousines, wear tailored suits, hang out with beautiful women, party all night and then he would brag about it. He would brag about being the best and then he would cheat to win. He also had possibly the greatest silver tongue in the history of the business. He was often a champion and although fans wanted to see him lose, they had to admit that he had what a lot of people want. Money, fame, and talent.

The Story Pt. 4

July 1, 2017

The felt cold against my temple and let out a distinctive click. I had seen enough movies to imagine a bullet entering the chamber, ready to pierce my skull and end any more of my thoughts. Imagination is a hell of a thing. The woman was as still as a statue, confident and used to holding a gun. That meant she was unlikely to give me an opening to escape but she was also not likely to make any fatal mistakes. A true professional. I had never been in trouble before. I did not deal with that kind of professional.

“Freeze!” She ordered. “Don’t move a muscle.”

“I’m frozen,” I said. I was almost afraid to talk.

“On your feet,” She said. “Slowly. And keep your hands visible.”

“Any other instructions?” I asked.

“Watch what you say,” She said. There was a small smirk showing just at the corner of her mouth.

“Can I ask what I did? Or actually what you think I did?” I had a hunch who she might be but the library had been shot up and several cars had been detonated. Who knew what alphabet soup organization could have shown up.

“You know what you did,” She said. “You’re one of them now.” Her voice was calm but her voice was clearly accusatory.

“So, you must be an editor,” I said as gently as possible.

“A derogatory term,” She replied. “But yes, that’s why I need to take you in.”

“I said no,” I looked her in the eye, looking past the gun in her hand. I needed her to believe me. “I turned down Wonderland’s offer. I’m still a free agent. I’m still normal.”

“I don’t believe you,” She said. I let out a defeated breath. “Nobody ever turns down real magic.” There was disgust in her voice.

“It seemed like they were using it irresponsibly,” I said. “If you don’t believe me, please at least tell me your name and rank? I need to know how to address you since I have no choice but to go with you.”

“That’s not how we do things,” She said with a smile. I thought for a moment that she would just execute me but she brought out a pair of handcuffs. They were machine-etched with what looked like Nordic runes and other symbols that I did not recognize. These people probably know exactly what they were dealing with when it came to magic. “If you don’t mind.” She gave a little smile and held the cuffs out. I had a feeling that if those handcuffs went on, I would never see the sun or the moon again. I had no choice. I held my wrists out.

That was when the black horse rode onto the scene. On the horse’s back was a man who looked more like a shadow of a man if it crawled off the ground and escaped its owner. There were no pleasantries, the man was immediately yelling in a voice that sounded like death.

“Die!” Was the simple message and I jumped to get out of the way of his swinging sword as he rode directly toward my captor. She rolled out of the way while I dove face first into the grass. She even kept a firm hold of her gun

The horse circled around and the man jumped down from the horse. He advanced on me with his sword while the horse walked menacingly toward the editor. I watched as the horse started to change into a dragon-like creature, snapping its jaws at its target but not catching her yet.

Media Update 6/29/17

June 29, 2017


Moonlight

I can see now why people were so high on this movie around the time of the Academy Awards. However, it does not mean the movie was not painful to watch. It was a really good movie but ninety-five percent of the movie is very sad. This is not necessarily a bad thing but I did need to watch something happy right after. The movie is told in three chapters, following a boy/teen/man who lives in a bad part of Miami and he is dealing with surviving school and dealing with his drug addicted mother. On top of that, he is gay. We watch portions of his difficult life where even the people who are nice to him are problematic. All of the performances are fantastic and I really felt for the main character. I also felt for his friend and I even sympathized a bit with some of the ‘villains’. The writing and the acting were that good. Everybody was just so human, flawed but trying their best. The look of the movie is well-shot with most of it looking more like a work of art than just a movie. I can see why it won for Best Picture but like most Oscar movies, I never want to see it again. I do recommend it to you, though. Check it out.


To Wong Foo, Thank You for Everything, Julie Newmar

This was actually the most enjoyable movie I watched this week partly because it was also the only light-hearted movie of the bunch. When I was looking for movies to honor Pride Month this week, I saw both straight people and gay people praising it. The movie is about three drag queens who decide to drive across the country to compete in a beauty pageant but their car breaks down in a small town along the way. That sounds kind of like the plot of a horror movie but this was a quirky comedy about empowerment and gender issues. Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguiziamo play the lead roles. They pretty much disappear into their characters. They embrace the hyper-femininity as most drag queens do and each is a funny yet complete character. The movie ends up being a kind of touching portrayal of drag queens leading a rebellion in a small town, trying to get the women to feel better about themselves while making the men treat the women better. Homophobes are the villains as is anybody who would use a power dynamic to mistreat a woman. I definitely recommend it.


Bound (1996)

When I was younger, I did not want to hear what other people thought. I would make my own decisions on what to watch. Now, I love to hear recommendations on what to watch. I heard that this movie was pretty good even though it looked like something I might have just walked right by. There are a couple interesting things about this movie. First, it was written and directed by Lana and Lily Wachowski back when they were known as the Wachowski brothers. They made it before The Matrix but it is sans CGI special effects and sci-fi/fantasy elements. The story does have twists and turns but at its core, it is simple. A woman tries to escape the mob with the help of a newly released ex-con who is renovating the apartment next door. Jennifer Tilly is the main character and she is under the thumb of a mobster played by Joe Pantoliano. Gina Gershon plays Tilly’s new lover who concocts a plan to get away clean with a lot of money. The movie is part drama, part thriller and there is some great acting even if at times it is melodramatic. If you like tense action where characters are trying to outwit each other, then I recommend this one.

Music of the Week:

Sandra de SáBye Bye Tristeza

Panic! At The DiscoI Write Sins Not Tragedies

Dusty Springfield – I Only Want To Be With You

Wild FlagRomance

Alan CummingShine

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Pride”
– Happy Pride Month! You know, for the two days left of it…
– All three movies have been screened at Pride festivals
– I watched some Agents of Shield Season 4
– I watched more of Season 1 of House of Cards
– I watched more of Season 3 of The Flash
– I watched more of Season 2 of Supergirl
– I watched more of Season 5 of Arrow
– I watched more Glitter Force
– I watched more Fairy Tail

Bron Music Video

June 26, 2017

Not much writing today, I thought I would share something I have spent quite a bit of time on while I learn some new video editing software.  I missed this kind of thing.  I used to do a lot of audio editing back in college but I have been out of practice.  I had the idea for this video after humming the song (after hearing it in Sing!) and thinking about the character.  It was really fun so I expect I may be doing a little more editing in the future.  Anyway, it is not the finest video in the land but it is a rough idea of what I wanted to do.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

See You On the Other Side

June 24, 2017

I stood on the threshold of the portal. The surface of it was shiny like a mirror dusted with glitter. I could see strange neon-bright circuitry creeping over the walls next to the portal. Pretty soon, the invading technology would be advanced enough to grow a defense of the portal from that strange circuitry moss. Laser grids, grenade launchers, machine guns, sonic pulse emitters and anything else the stuff could think of. It was only a matter of when not if. We had to hurry.

I touched the communications button under my ear gingerly. I was a little wary of being watched in that hallway. “Marianne,” I said into the implanted microphone. “Timing is crucial. Are you going to get here in time?” There was a three-second pause that lasted an eternity.

“Yeah,” Marianne said as she rounded the corner a few feet away. “Hold your horses. It took a bit longer to get through security. This is getting even crazier than I thought.” She spotted the portal and her eyes went wide. “Much crazier.”

Marianne had been my client for the past month. She was the Chief Operating Officer of DOT Industries when the company started to act strangely. Strange orders started coming in and paperwork was getting fudged. When Marianne started to look into it, she had been reprimanded. When she persisted in investigating, she had been removed from her position with a healthy severance payment. She had used part of that severance to hire me. We had been digging for a month and now we had snuck into one of the buildings belonging to her former employers.

“That’s why you hired me,” I said. “I was right, by the way. We have an invasion in progress or at least that’s what it looks like.”

“So do I owe you twenty bucks?” She asked.

“I’m not really happy about it but yes,” I said. I gestured toward the portal. “Shall we?”

“We’re not going in there are we?” She asked. She had obviously been a tough executive but there was a difference between that and jumping into a strange portal. Adventuring took a different kind of guts and maybe a little stupidity.

“We have to know what is on the other side,” I said. “What did you think we were going to do?”

She pulled out a camera. “Well, take some pictures and get the word out.” She aimed the camera at the portal.

“No flash,” I said. “You might startle the moss.”

“Of course not,” Marianne replied. She snapped the picture and then two more to be safe.

“That thing doesn’t have any scanning technology, does it?” I asked. I was no scientist. I could pretty much tell the portal was stable but beyond that, I was out of my element. I would have loved a little more data.

“No,” She said. “However, it did upload to three different servers and it was sent to a friend of mine.”

I had to admire her drive and attention detail. “Well, if you’re done with the photography, we may never get another chance to see the other side of this thing.”

“How do we know we can get back?” She asked.

“I have a transponder on me that I can activate,” I said. “It will provide coordinates for our own portal. I have friends on standby too.”

“You think that will work?” She asked.

“It hasn’t failed me yet,” I said. “By the way, if that techno-organic moss is what I think it is, we should try and keep electronics close. They might be able to absorb our tech.”

“What about you?” She asked.

“What about me?” I asked, watching her watching me.

“Well, I don’t want to pry,” She said. “But don’t you have a lot of cybernetic parts?” I must have shown surprise on my face because she added. “I do my research before hiring anybody.”

“And you still hired me,” I said softly. Cybernetics and old school surgical corrections had fallen out of favor when genetic recombination and nanotechnology had advanced.

“I don’t judge,” She said. “You’re not less human to me. Just somebody who got broken and repaired the best way they knew how.”

I was surprised by the acceptance. “Um, thank you,” I said. “We really should be going, though. Anything could set off the alarms at any minute.”

“Um, can we breathe on the other side?” She asked.

“If it was dangerous over there, we would have already passed out,” I said.

“Comforting,” She said.

I nodded and drew my pistol from where it was shielded from scans, hidden in a cavity in my right hip. I ran through the portal. It felt like stepping through a curtain of falling mercury except for that right afterward you feel like you are falling. Except, you are still stepping forward in the same moment. It is incredibly disorienting which is probably why portal travel never caught on commercially. After a swirl of light and color, I came out on the other side. I stepped aside so that Marianne would not bump into me when she came through. Then I turned to look at what we had stumbled onto.

The place was absolutely covered in eye-searingly neon circuitry. The stuff had formed itself into structures either for purposes of form or function or both. It was hard to take in but it strikingly beautiful. I heard a soft rippling noise from the left of me. Then Marianne let out a soft and breathy ‘Wow’. I nodded, that was the word for it.

Media Update 6/22/2017

June 22, 2017


House of Cards

I have heard over and over how good this show was but the longer I did not watch it, the more there was to watch and I felt overwhelmed. I always said ‘I’ll watch it next week’. This is the week that I finally decided to watch it, disregarding that there are multiple seasons out and just focusing on watching it from the beginning. Kevin Spacey is a great actor and he pours everything into every performance I have seen from him. This may be his greatest role yet. This show is exactly how I imagine politics normally operates. People have goals to accomplish but they also want to amass power to accomplish those goals. They do horrible things to amass that power and to achieve those goals. Frank Underwood is a very charismatic character and is a lot of fun to watch. He is also a lot of fun to hate. In fact, I have yet to see a “good guy” character on the show and I think I never will. This show is about living by the laws of the jungle and who cares who gets run over. I definitely recommend it. It is also partially filmed in my hometown.


Ms. Sloane

This movie kind of had its box office killed by the gun lobby which is actually a pretty good illustration of why this movie needed to be made. The movie covers how corrupt the political lobbying industry is in America. The issue that they choose to use to illustrate this is a gun control law heading towards a vote in the Senate. The movie actually tackles the gun control issue from multiple sides, providing a pretty balanced argument for both sides. However, it is a useful tool in the main drive of the film in covering the lobbying industry. Jessica Chastain plays a hired gun lobbyist who decides to back the gun control bill instead of following the money and fighting for the NRA. Her performance as a workaholic Machiavellian strategist is fascinating to watch. The twists and turns in the story were at first predictable and then the movie started to surprise me. The movie gets more and more powerful as it goes on. It goes from scrappy political movie to thriller to courtroom drama. It is a shame that this one did not get the attention it deserved because it really should have gotten a bigger audience. It still can so I definitely recommend it.


In the Loop

This movie is insane. It is about the communication between the English and American governments during the events leading up to the Second American War in Iraq. Obviously, the main consensus now is that launching that war was a titanic mistake caused by ineptitude, outright conniving malice, and greed. That is what this movie is about. We follow a minor British PM who is a weak-willed politician who gets caught up in everything because he makes a gaffe in an interview. He and his staff stumble through relations with their own government and the American government. Meanwhile, the Americans are pushing hard to start a war. There is a lot of political jockeying and bullying as the people involved are more interested in ending up in a dominant position rather than doing what is right. The two main stars I recognized were James Gandolfini and Peter Capaldi but the whole cast is awesome. Capaldi, in particular, might set a record for f-bombs dropped by a single character but somebody might need to check that. This movie is a spiritual successor to Dr. Strangelove as it is driven by a lot of absurdity and chains of events that rational thought should have stopped. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Junior – ‘A House That’s Not Quite Home’

Electric Six – Synthesizer

Of Mice & Men – Never Giving Up

NF – Real

Alyson Stoner – Dragon

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Politics as Usual”
– I finished Supernatural Season 12
– I watched more Arrow Season 5
– I watched more The Flash Season 3
– I watched more Supergirl Season 2
– I watched an episode of Bones I had not seen
– I still have not seen Wonder Woman and now I want to
– Happy Birthday, Mom!

Interview Questions 9

June 19, 2017


If you could live in any TV home, what would it be?

This is a hard question because is it asking about a house or a household? I guess I will approach both questions to cover my bases. Which television house is easily answered since I have just been binging a certain show about a pair of brothers who kill monsters. I am talking, of course, about The Bunker from the later seasons of Supernatural. The Bunker is a protected underground lair created by the United States chapter of the Men of Letters, a group of people who researched monsters and magic for centuries. With the American chapter all dead, the Bunker just sits idle. I would love to have an underground lair hidden away from people with Internet access and a library of books about magic and monsters to read into to. Household means that I would be sharing a house with the fictional characters that usually live there. That question is a lot more difficult because those fictional characters already have an established organization. I would probably love to rent a room at the Dietz home after the end of Beetlejuice. Lydia is pretty cool, there are cool ghosts, and the Dietz parents are starting to mellow out. Magic and mystery without the danger.


What fictional character do you wish you could meet?

This one is also difficult. Most of the really cool fictional characters are often surrounded by danger. I would love to meet The Doctor or The Winchesters but they are constantly surrounded by world-ending danger. I do not need that in my life, I have enough drama. Likewise, I would love to meet Deadpool but he is himself dangerously erratic and I would not want to even be in the same city as him. The same goes for a lot of other unstable yet interesting people such as the Gorillaz, Fergus Crowley, and Frank Underwood. I do not want to go into such an unstable situation that my life or well-being might be at risk. I think I would most like to meet somebody nice, interesting, and who has done and seen amazing things. That would be Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl. Sure she’s surrounded by crazy things all the time but she tends to unfailingly protect those around her and she has an enormously positive attitude. She has met (and beaten) Galactus and Dr. Doom (twice). She knows the Avengers. She hangs out with heroes and normal people. She has a habit of turning villains into heroes (or normal people). That would be my choice hands down.


Which Disney universe would you most like to live in?

While the main characters in Disney worlds are often put in danger and life-altering situations, the background characters are usually pretty safe. Of course, there are always exceptions like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and Finding Nemo/Dory. It is not like I wanted to live in those universes anyway since they are low-technology with the denizens just trying to survive under political systems that are mostly gone now. Aladdin is one of my favorite movies but there is still poverty, disease, and danger from corrupt politicians or overzealous guards. That leaves out potentially fun places like Atlantica, Motunui, Corona, and Arendelle. Of course, I am trading away one of my dreams of magic being real which is hard to give up but all of the worlds with magic tend to be pretty unpredictable. I am including The World Without Magic (which later gets magic) from Once Upon a Time (an ABC/Disney joint so it counts) because bad things happen every five minutes there. My choice would have to be San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6. A city where American and Asian cultures have fused and technology has advanced to awesome but mostly stable levels. The higher technology would feel a lot like magic (thanks, Mr. Clarke) and I would not have to answer to a feudal system, just the usual stupid American politics.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 5

June 17, 2017

The Star and the Shadow

Daff was so hyped to be heading to auditions for the Spring Musical. She had been in every school show since she was old enough to try out. However, this was the first year that she felt that she could actually get the lead. She enjoyed being in the ensemble. She enjoyed the costumes, the energy, and the camaraderie. However, she felt like she had paid her dues and it was her time to shine. She really wanted to shine.

She had wanted to be a star since she was old enough to walk. She wanted to be the one out in front in the lights and maybe even that white hot spotlight. She wanted people to look up to her like she had looked up to the stars before her. It was the cycle that show business was built on. She wanted to be part of that business for real so badly. Experience here might serve her well in the future or she might even get seen by the right people and secure her future. The possibilities were thrilling and they fed her excitement and confidence that she would pour into her audition.

Suddenly, she tripped over something. She recovered her balance at the last moment and looked around. A thing that was not a cat had been in her path.

“Hey!” Daff yelled. “You almost made me fall! I could have been hurt, you need to watch where you’re going. Oh God, I’m yelling at a cat.”

The thing looked up at her. “Daffney Sinclair, there is little time but I do apologize. We need to meet with the others. Time is short.”

“What?” Daff said. “You have to explain.”

“There is no time, Daffney. Take this charm and follow me!” The thing yelled. A charm flew through the air toward Daffney. She caught the charm in midair. It was some sort of metal with an orange crystal in the center of it. She tried to argue but it was pretty and the cat thing was gone. She needed to find it and fast.

* * *

Maya ran as fast as she could through the city streets. She knew her appearance startled all of the people she passed. Runes from various cultures decorated much of her skin in inky black. However, it was not ink. It was concentrated dark energy. It had been the only way to hide and protect herself from the strange invaders that were chasing her. It was the only way to fight back. The use of dark magic had turned her hair oily black and her skin chalky white. She looked like something out of a Japanese horror movie. She had been on the run for so long but now they were finally catching up.

She had only a little idea who they were. She knew they were called the Dark Covenant and that they controlled terrible magicks but that was about it. They had killed Maya’s parents right before her eyes. An old witch had come from nowhere and rescued Maya and took her on as an apprentice. She learned spells and runes but Maya fled when she learned of the dark nature of the spells she was learning. She did not want to fall into the darkness, even if it meant saving her life and avenging her parents.

She was on her own for the first time in her life. She drifted from place to place. When there was danger, she ran. A few days ago, she had felt the pull to come here to Drake City. She had gone immediately. She had never been there before and it was a long way from her homeland but something about it felt right. Maybe her journey could finally be over. Somehow, the creatures had made it there first and that dream was in danger again.

Maya rounded the corner and ran right into a girl her age. As they both fell to the ground, Maya saw a glittering orange charm clatter to the pavement. All around them, the brick walls and blacktop formed humanoid shapes. These newly formed monsters surrounded the two young girls. Maya was instantly back on her feet, her runes pulsing with power.

“Get behind me!” Maya yelled out.

Before the other girl could move, one of the brick monsters held up its hand. What could only be described as pink flame shot out and hit the other girl. With an unearthly shriek, the girl fell back to the pavement. She was not moving but she was still burning with those strange pink flames.

“No!” Maya cried out. The brick monster turned to her but she poured will into a collection of runes on her wrist and she teleported before the pink flame could touch her. Unfortunately, the spell did not work for long distance so she was only just outside the circle of monsters. A thing that was not a cat came running from the alley. It stopped cold when it saw the burning body.

“Daffney! No, I was too late,” The thing said with a yowl. Maya reached down and picked up the charm that Daffney had dropped. She held it in her hand and watched the crystal turn black. The cat thing yowled again. “No! That’s not for you! Drop it!”

“What the hell are you?” Maya yelled. Everything was happening so fast. It was hard to concentrate on the danger when confronted with a talking animal.

“It’s too late! Bring the charm with us! Run!” The thing yelled. Maya chased after it, out of the alleyway. She needed answers. For the first time since this whole thing had begun, there was somebody besides that awful witch who might know about these monsters. The two of them sprinted down the street. Thankfully, the monsters seemed to be as slow as you would expect brick and blacktop monsters would be. Pink flame shot out of the alleyway behind them but it came just short, missing them both. Maya heard the screams of bystanders on the street. She started to turn back.

“No!” The cat thing yelled. “We can’t help them like this. I want to help them too but we need assistance first.”

“Like this? Like what?” Maya yelled back. Everything made less sense than usual.

“Run!” The cat thing commanded and Maya shut up and ran harder, feeling her own darkness pushing her forward faster. She scooped up the cat thing and kept running. “Turn right ahead!” It yelled out.

Maya hung a right and nearly ran into four startled girls, one of them in a wheelchair. The thing called something out into the gathering twilight that Maya did not hear clearly. There was a flash of light and then all of them were gone from the streets of Drake City.

Media Update 6/15/17

June 15, 2017


John Wick 2

One of my favorite parts of John Wick was the occasional glimpse at the life John had left behind. There was this whole soldier of fortune/assassin culture that was brutal but also dignified on its surface. There were rules and there was structure in a mysterious world just beyond our own. I wanted more. I got it in the sequel. In John Wick 2, John is forced to go back into that world he retired from and he must go deep. The fight scenes are just a good as the first movie and just as relentlessly pulse-pounding. Keanu Reeves’ quiet intensity is so much fun to watch. The world building was everything I wanted it to be. Even after all the new information is revealed, there are so much more mysteries and corners of that world to explore. I hope there will be a third movie in the series. I definitely recommend this.


Hercules (2014)

Live-action, hard-hitting Greek legend adaptations have been a big thing lately probably since Zack Snyder put out the pretty OK movie 300. This movie is also action-packed but I felt that it is a more nuanced take on the legends than the testosterone-driven 300 or the Clash of Titans remake. Greek legends are not just about what the characters did but also the personalities involved. I have been a huge fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for almost twenty years now so I will pretty much see anything that he is in. This was a neat adaptation of Greek legends. It feels much more down to Earth mostly because not a single god shows up in the story. Instead, we get Hercules (who is unsure of his parentage) leading a squad of mercenaries in the years after the Trojan War. The combat is excellent with great combat strategy and beautifully filmed. Where the movie really shines is the charisma of The Rock mixed with the awesome supporting cast. It is exciting, funny, and a great popcorn flick. I recommend it.


Manhunter

I have read Red Dragon (and all of the Hannibal Lecter books) and I watched all of the movies with Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. I have also watched the first season of Hannibal, the deeply disturbing television show. This was really the only part of the franchise that I had not seen. When I learned about it, I dismissed it because I was afraid that Lecter without Hopkins would not be any good. This week, I was suddenly curious what the movie was like. I was right, the movie is very different without Anthony Hopkins’ magnetic performance. That is not actually a bad thing. By the time Red Dragon rolled around, Lecter was drawing too much attention in a story that is not really about him. This version is allowed to focus more on Will Graham, the deeply troubled hero. I loved William Petersen’s performance and the muted but powerful way he interacted with the world. Graham as the deeply troubled detective who is just barely keeping on the rails is so interesting to watch. Cox as Lecter is more driven and direct. It’s not better or worse, just different. Dino De Laurentiss shot the movie beautifully but I can definitely see the effect that David Lynch left behind when he quit the project. I recommend it if you can sit through a slow-paced murder mystery/thriller.

Music of the Week:
Katy Perry – Bon Appétit

The Afghan Whigs – Oriole

Anthrax & Public Enemy – Bring The Noise

Knower – Time Traveler

Teamheadkick – Deadpool Rap

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “A Name With Instant Recognition”
– I continued Season 3 of The Flash
– I continued Season 5 of The Arrow
– I continued Season 12 of Supernatural
– I continued Season 2 of Supergirl
– Lucha Underground is back
– I might see Wonder Woman this weekend. Maybe.

Only 18

June 12, 2017

At the end of last week, I journeyed with my family up to Boston. My youngest brother was receiving his hood from MIT. I think I might have mentioned it before but my brother just received his Ph.D. in Computer Science. We are all really proud of him. I cannot fathom the passion and dedication that my brother has poured into over two decades of school. He has an amazing intellect which is paired with a creative soul. We watched him actually get his hood on Thursday and then we watched him walk on Friday before rushing off to catch our plane. It is super impressive and our whole family is delighted that he has achieved this titanic milestone.


I would have walked right this place if I had not heard of the legend of the 18.

We were not in Cambridge long but we did get to hang out a bit and do some cool stuff. The main thing we did was we went to a weird little restaurant called Craigie on Main. On Wednesday, my mother told me that she had made reservations for 5:30 to get hamburgers at this place. Now, I usually eat dinner at six but I was thrown because the rest of my family does not eat until eight at least. Then my mother lets me know that my little brother really wanted a burger from this place. The catch was that the place only serves eighteen burgers a night and if you are number nineteen, you are out of luck. If you do not get a burger, the cheapest item costs about fifty bucks. So my mother and I traveled to stand in line outside of the restaurant before it opened at 5:30.


Did I mention there was really good rap music playing in the bar?

We ended up being numbers 3, 4, 5 and 6. One of our party opted out of one of the coveted hamburgers which astonished and amused the rest of us. The place probably had the most attentive service I have ever witnessed, especially since we were sitting in the bar area and not the restaurant area. En route to getting my burger, I had raw oysters for the first time. Except the things were doused in some sort of lemon juice which I did not like. Most people are turned off by the texture but I did not mind it. I minded the stinging fruitiness of that particular dish. Still, it was nice to cross that off of my list.


I want another one.

Finally, the burgers arrived and I could not be more pleased. They looked amazing. They had big fluffy buns, dark greens, and thoroughly melted cheese. Best of all, when I bit into it, I realized that the burger was cooked rare. I was blown away. It is a struggle to get places to cook things actually rare these days so I was glad to taste that burger. It was delicious. I am 99 percent sure that it is the best burger I ever tasted. The burger offered no resistance, each bite was as delicious as the first. There was no need for ketchup or any other condiments, the blood and grease of the burger was already soaking the top half of the bun. It was so good.


The Funky Bunch would be proud, I guess.

The weird addendum to this story is that as we walked through the airport around lunch time, I saw something I should have expected but I did not. It was a Wahlburgers restaurant. As my stomach grumbled, I knew I had to try one of their infamous burgers. It seemed almost profane to seek out a burger indirectly made by Mark and Donnie’s brother. But I had to. I had to check it out because if I ate at some faceless sandwich place instead, I would always wonder. As it is, I am still wondering what “Wahl sauce” is. This was the kind of burger that needs to be doused in condiments and the mysterious Wahl sauce did a great job of that. The burger was somewhere between medium and well done but I was so tired after getting through the endless names of a college commencement that I did not care. Besides, the burger scale goes from OK to excellent. There is no such thing as a bad burger.


susanne matthews

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