Archive for February, 2008

And Justice For All…

Contrary to what most people tend to believe, comic books have always existed on the periphery of the social and political fabric. It is a medium that is ideal for exploring subjects of all depths and magnitudes, being both literary and visual in nature. For decades comics has been willing and able to broach topics both taboo and politically unsavory, though often in the most of subtle of ways, under the guise of men in capes and bright colors. In many ways these characters were not just fighting goofy villains with borderline WWF gimmicks, they were fighting for what it both good and imaginative inside all of us. Sure, you don’t believe me. It’s kids stuff, right? The truth is, if you gave me fifty dollars of your money, I guarantee I could find a few graphic novels that would not only change your mind about the medium of comics ( CLICK HERE for a few suggestions), but perhaps even the way you see the world in general.

But you’re not going to do that. Tonight, though, I found something more palatable to society’s tastes. A movie. Something you could rent through Blockbuster Online or Netflix without any financial gamble. Sure, it’s a cartoon, but hear me out.

A few years ago, a bright new writer named Darwyn Cooke wrote a graphic novel called The New Frontier. The book was sort of a modern glimpse of Silver Age comics. The term silver age refers to a specific period in comic book history, revising it’s original form from the Golden Age, and paving the way for the Modern Age. The silver age is both the wellspring and the bane of modern comics. You see, most of the stigmas about comics that the average person has comes from the silver age. It was wierd time, and many of the ideas the were birthed in that period were odd and some were borderline psychotic. But a lot of these ideas cultivated the imaginative and mature world of the Modern Age. It was like the progression from childhood to adulthood.

So it was kind of curious that Cooke chose to write about this wierd, wonderful era. I’d heard great review of the New Frontier, but at the time, I was going off to college and I foolishly believed it was time to put away childish things. It took time, but I slowly found my way back to the medium that I loved. By then, Cooke had become something of an Indie Rockstar in the comics world, getting great press, but staying on the fringe. He preferred to work on the smaller books that he felt was more important, like a pulp fiction version of Catwoman and the creation of deceased comics legend Will Eisner, The Spirit.

So again, I thought it was curious that DC comics chose Cooke’s New Frontier as the subject of their second major animated movie in a line that they are currently producing. They didn’t know it at the time, but the first movie they put out, Superman/Doomsday (which adapted the Death of Superman storyline from the 90’s) bombed horribly. Seriously, it was crap. So if Justice League New Frontier bombed, it would not bode well for the other animated released which are already well into production. But I’m here to say: it’s brilliant.

You can describe it a number of ways. In some ways it is a somewhat liberal, yet patriotic allegory for modern American issues. I don’t think it’s a stretch to infer that Hal Jordan’s statements about the Korean War reflect the feeling of some for the war in Iraq. I also believe that this is very much a Silver Age love letter by the film’s creators. And yes, in the end, it is a big, Flash-y (sorry) action movie starring the World’s Finest heroes.

The movie presents iconic (though in some cases, harsh) takes on the heroes that make up this world. Some will be familiar to you, such as Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman. But here, they are not leather fetish, nipple armored dancers, super-powered deadbeat dads or… err, Dixie Carter with hooker bracelets. This is very much a comic book brought to life. And in this case, it is brought to life by people you know. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, David Boreanaz (Angel), Kyle Maclachlan, Brooke Shields, Jeremy Sisto and, as an inside joke, Lucy Lawless as the aforementioned amazon princess.

I won’t get into the plot exactly, since I don’t want to give away the movie. However I will say that the title of the movie is misleading, since the Justice League doesn’t technically appear as a team. That’s not what this is about. All of the characters do appear, and each, in true comic form, is given his or her moment to shine, giving the audience a clear understanding of the characters and their motivations and fears. Now, there are a number of characters that the audience will not know (Adam Strange, Green Arrow, the Blackhawks). And that is the movie’s one major flaw. Past the halfway mark, heroes begin appearing randomly without any introduction or foreshadowing (especially that last one). It is a noticeable error, but not distracting from the enjoyment of the film.

Make no mistake, this isn’t just some cartoon. In fact, I would hesitate before showing it to small children. The fact is, one of the main characters murders a soldier in an act of self preservation. And many other deaths are implied or shown to some degree or another. But if you enjoyed other comic book movies, I suggest you give this one a try. It is very much an example of some of the best elements of comics and science fiction. And it is also a good example for what great comic movie adaptations could be by simply involving the writer and creators who established these characters. Remember, these aren’t just funny book superheroes. They are the closest thing we have to modern mythology.

As for me… tomorrow is the day for new shipments at the local comic shop. I might just have to buy the New Frontier graphic novel.

see ya,

~ADAM

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How I’m Doing 2/22/8

You know how I know that I’m getting old?  Because I can’t go for a walk without tripping into some sort of medical problems lately.

A few weeks ago, I had gigantic blisters appearing on my feet.  Then I hurt my back… WHILE I WAS SLEEPING… somehow.  Then I got sick last week.  Now?  I’m pissing blood, which means my kidney stones are back.  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right.  So in the meantime, I have been unable to go to the gym for more than, say 4 days total, in the last month.  And I’ve put some weight back on.  FUCK.  I’m big.  Not disgustingly big, but big.  And you know what?  I don’t really feel like changing right now.  I’m not depressed.  At least not noticeably.   It’s hard to tell.   I’m usually passively depressed, and since it’s a regular state for me, it’s difficult to gauge.   I’ve been really scared I’m going to die ever since the beginning of the year.   Which does suggest depression.  But truthfully, any day that I don’t want to put a gun in my mouth is a pretty good day by me.  Which I think is a really excellent perspective… or a really bad one… depending on the way you look at things.

So I went to the hospital today to see my Urologist, because… you know, when blood comes out of your dick, it makes you want to do that.  The blood didn’t really worry me, as I’ve gone through it before.   What did worry me was that the last time I went there I was given 3 possibilities (not options).  If it was small enough, they would zap the stone with a laser, thereby breaking the stones up enough to pass safely (re: sssslllllliiiiiigghhhhhttlllly less painful).   If the stone is too big,  the laser won’t do anything.  In that case, they might put in a stent.  A stent is a rubber tube that runs to your kidney and drains your piss.  It requires surgery… and that I not only have a tube sticking out of me, but that I carry around a bag of piss all day and night.   Ummm…  no.  Not if I can avoid it.  (Although at that time, I’d had the stone for a month and wanted to swallow fireworks to make the pain stop.)   The last option required him to shove a rubber tube up my urethra.    I was very much against that because HE WANTED TO SHOVE A TUBE UP MY COCK.

say it with me

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fortunately I ended up passing it.  Although he did scare the piss out of me by  telling me that I had an unusually enlarged prostate.   Then he gave me that look that says “You might have cancer.  Or you might not.  Or you might have some shit no one has ever heard of.  Or not.”  Then he walked out and never mentioned it again; simultaneously forcing me to shit my pants and leaving me forever with the secret fear that one day my prostate is going to grow as big as a a skyscraper and attack Tokyo. (I’ll spare you the fake Japanese dialogue involving Rhodan and my asshole.)

So, you know, this time wasn’t as bad, but I was still praying he wouldn’t rape my cock with his big rubber straw.  (No means no!) This time Herr Doktor skipped the chapters on kidney stone Genesis and went straight for the Book of Revelations about Adam’s Genitalia.   “Okay, let’s get you in a stent.  Oh look, I have the very one I’m going to shove inside you sitting here in my desk drawer next to packets of strawberry jam and duck sauce!  Would you like a demonstration?”   I’m paraphrasing there.   I put the brakes on him there.  I need a little foreplay before you cut me open, you know?  It’s only been four days, so I would at least like to try squeezing it out before I do the death dance with Doctor Cut M. Up.    He assured me that I would be unconscious and that I wouldn’t feel a thing. As if that’s supposed to make me feel better.   Here are two things I’ve learned about anesthesiology.

~A very large number of deaths are attributed to the anesthesiologist giving the patient too much.  They never fucking wake up!

~Some patients are given too little and end up waking during the surgery.   Great.

So basically, the doctor has very little margin for error.  And frankly, I grew up in this state.  I know what the educational system that produced these fuckers was like. What if I get the one asshole who went to public school?   Or maybe this guy:   “Hey!  You’re my first! I’m so nervous! Hope I don’t accidentally kill you.  Shit.  I need a joint.” Or something.

Hell with that!

So I’m trying to get this damn thing out of me.   I’ve been drinking 100% Cranberry Juice (you’d be surprised how much of Ocean Spray is actually just sugar.).  Interesting note:  did you know that warm cranberry juice tastes exactly like someone vomiting in your mouth!  I didn’t!  But I do now.   I have to keep forcing the shit down my throat.  Which his hard, but then I remember the good doctor coming at me with that god damn tube.    You know what?  I think I’m going to drink some right now.  Mmmmmmm!  Vomit-y goodness!  (All that’s missing is the corn nibblets.)

So let’s get off my dick.  (…   …  nevermind)   I’ve been trying to fix my budget lately.  I’ve been spending too much money, and I want to start saving.  Australia is the goal, however likely that may be.   It’s been difficult trying to figure out ways to save money that won’t make my life more miserable than it already is, but I’m getting older and sacrifices need to be made.

I’m planning a camping trip with Chris.  We’re going to meet at Little River Canyon which is part of the Appalachians.   I’m not big on the camping, but it will be nice to get out of town.  Plus there’s cool shit to do, like canoeing and kayaking.   I’m hoping to do that next weekend.

The writing is going well.  That is to say, I’m actually getting shit done.

Lastly, I bought some basketball tickets.  So I’m looking for some lovely ladies to go see the Hornets with me.   Any takers?

~Adam

Drive

I am a nomad by my very nature.

I hear the call of the open road; feel it in my bones. Traveling is like breathing to me, second nature. Sometimes I sit behind my desk at work and the walls begin to close in on me. It isn’t a bad job; in fact, it’s far too easy if you ask me. Yet, it gets to be too much, most days. It feels like I can’t breathe.

Men like me weren’t meant to be put in a cage. We long to be free.

We need to explore. To see what needs seeing. Do what needs doing. That’s all I’ve ever really wanted, to see the world. I guess it’s just the cowboy in me.

So on the weekends, I try to remind myself to drive.

There’s a lot out there. All around you. Things you pass every day, yet in your rush to and fro, your eyes wander by without a glance. Every day there is rose to which you know no scent. These things are out there, to find them, you need only drive.

Times like these, I miss Arizona.

I hated living there. The people simply did not agree with me. But the place.

Oh the place… there is a grandness and depth of beauty which is nearly unmatched among out borders. So much to explore. So much to do. Arizona is a paradise for nomads like me.

At least, when we’re on the road. I truly hated living there. But my travels made up for it.

On the weekends, I set off to explore.

Natural wonders.

History.

And just the road in general.

I would just get in my van and drive, getting to know Arizona in that intimate way that only gasoline, dirty roads and greasy fast food can teach you. I saw some of their national parks, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam

I think mostly what I found was beauty.

But my goal was to find all that was secret and special about this place. I drove to every small town I could find. Winslow, Williams, Sedona

During this time, I had a friend.

Being a fellow outsider, Kristin occasionally came with me to explore this new world. It was on one such time that we set out to find Prescott, Arizona. (Pronounced press-cut by the locals.) The map seemed simple enough, so we took the scenic route through Sedona.

Sedona is this amazing little town that is in the heart of red rock country, and is dedicated to it’s Western roots. We pushed on further through town than we had previously gone, down desert roads and into the thick of the mountains. As we approached the entrance to the mountain passage, we found a little town named Jericho built into the first mountain. The entire town existed along the road on a 60 degree angle. As we began our ascent, my engine made sputtering sounds, unused to the altitude and angle. My van had never been pushed so far before. We barely made it to the top of the path. Jericho ended as the path renewed. The true entrance to out mountains pass sat between twin mountains, each with a letter marked in stones to label it. The letters were J and C. It did not help our morale to see that we were driving down a road marked be the initials of Jesus Christ.  Our trek took us down winding roads, up and down, left and right, back and forth.   Passing scenery so beautiful it defies description.  But after an hour and a half, we began to fear that we would never get off of the mountain.   It was another full hour before the path cleared and the range ended.   Like some bizarre Twilight Zone episode, at the base of the mountain we found a county fair.     We drove on, passing through Prescott Valley.

Later down the road, we finally arrived at our destination.    Prescott was a quaint little town in the middle of nowhere.  The kind of place where you get lost only to find yourself.     It had modern amenities.   Malls, video poker, Burger King.  But it retained it’s small town feel.   We found one of their historical landmarks and stopped to appreciate it’s history.

That’s the great thing about the road.  There’s so much to find and learn.   Every town has a secret history; crevices where they hide that which makes them special.   You need only drive to explore them.  Even in your own community.

I miss that.   If I had a million dollars, I would just drive and explore the world.

I want to be a nomad again.

Reading is Fucking Awesome

14 Comics You Should Be Reading

I love comics. It’s one of the defining aspects of my personality. In fact, as a child when I had no real role models, it was comic books that taught me most of what I know about how to be a man. Yeah, it sounds strange. But when you think about it, most kids grow up emulating a drugged out athlete or rapper. I grew up emulating Captain America. So if I might quote Gil Harris, “Who’s the bitch now?”

Comic Books are kind of a funny subject these days. They are sort of being embraced by mass-media, yet simultaneously looked down upon. For instance, when interviewed about her role as Betty Ross in The Hulk, Jennifer Connelly initially had this to say:


It’s a comic book but I asked him (Lee) why he wanted to make “The Hulk.” He said, “It’s really a Greek Tragedy.” It’s actually a psychodrama. It talks about the rage inside all of us. It talks about fathers and sons, and Lee’s talking about using a kind of heightened format to get at something really profound that is otherwise more difficult to access. It’s really interesting and ambitious. He’s not talking about “I want to see a guy running around in green tights and I want to make a really glossy, fun-filled movie for kids.” He’s talking along these lines of tragedy and psychodrama. I find it really interesting. The green monster of rage and greed and jealousy and fear in all of us. (interview from about.com)

To be fair, Connelly has a point. Most successful comics are about more that just green skinned guys hitting orange rock faced guys. There is subtext and depth. Though I wouldn’t by any means define the Hulk as a Greek Tragedy. And if you read through what she says, it’s very much a back handed compliment anyway. She’s saying, “yeah, it’s based on a comic, but we’re not going to make it anything like a childish comic book.” That’s pretty much the way most comic adaptations are handled, which is why most of them suck. (NOTE: The Hulk is widely considered one of the worst comic films of the last ten years. That’s why Ang Lee switched to movies about saddles and anal sex) The movies that are successful, tend to be the ones that stay faithful to the source material. (X-Men 2, Spider-man, Batman Begins, 300, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm) But that’s the way the media handles comics; very hands off, ten dollar hooker, “we’ll take what we want from you and leave you unsatisfied and broke.”

Anyway, today, I thought I would share some of my favorite comics/ graphic novels from recent years. Some are funny. Some are intellectual. Some are straight sci-fi. One is about as over the top, guns and tits as you’re going to get. But ultimately, they are just another form of expression. No less adult than you perceive them to be. All of these should be available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

In no particular order:

1. Scalped: Vol 1 Indian Country

Native American Mafia. Check. Drugs and guns. Check. Double crossing FBI agents. Check. Sex and violence. Double check. One bad ass Injun with a black belt and something to prove. Check check check. What’s not to love about Scalped? It’s most often compared to the Sopranos. Fair comparison, except Tony Soprano never fought twenty guys in a bar with nothing but a pair of nunchucks. And that’s exactly what happens in the first issue.

2. The Ultimates II Vol 1 Gods And Monster, Vol 2 Grand Theft America

What if the Avengers were formed in a more realistic setting? That’s the premise that starts out the Ultimates, but that’s just the beginning. Fast paced action, betrayal, sex, dead terrorists and Captain America beating the holy hell out of Giant Man. That’s what the Ultimates is all about. I chose the Ultimates 2 as opposed to the first series because it’s the better of the two, but they’re both good. Ultimates 2 also holds the distinction of being the only comic with a political allegory expressing doubt about the choices America has been making, while not being anti-American. It’s ambiguous, letting us draw our own conclusions. And that’s what good writing should do.

3 . Fables Vol 3 Storybook Love; Vol 4 March of the Wooden Soldiers

Fables is like Shrek combined with Moonlighting and … Star Wars? But more adult. These are the rules. All fictional character from legend or folklore are real and exist on other world known only as The Homelands. The Homelands have been conquered by an evil Fable they call The Adversary, forcing the few lucky Fables able, to escape to our world, where they have set up shop in a part of Manhattan they named Fabletown. Fables is about the private lives and relationships of characters such as Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, Little Boy Blue, Prince Charming, Cinderella (she’s a freaking SPY!) and Beauty and the Beast. But it’s also about their fight against the Adversary. Much has been made about the recently ended Y the Last Man (and it’s all true), but Fables is better.

4. Spider-man Vol 1 Coming Home; Vol 2 Revelations

Obviously I don’t have to sell you on Spider-man. But J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr helped revitalize this character, giving new life to the series. It’s funny, romantic and action filled. Also, Volume 2 features the September 11th issue. There are no words for how beautiful it is.

5. Preacher Vol 1 Gone to Texas, Vol 3 Proud Americans

This book is an abomination. An exercise in ridiculous sacreligious monstrosity that bypasses depravity and goes straight for hellfire and damnation. And I love it. It’s John Wayne hunting down God and killing assholes. HBO is making it into a series. I can only hope Matt Stone and Trey Parker are providing the theme. America, FUCK YEAH!

6. Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol 5 Crossover; Vol 6 Frightful

A revision of The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine. Mark Millar brings the fantastic, alongside painter Greg Land. Giant scientist whores, fish people, or zombie superheroes… take your pick. If you loved the FF movies… hell, even if you hated the movies, but still felt that they were sort of fun, this is the comic for you.

7. Planetary: Vol 1 All Over the World; Vol 2 The Fourth Man

Warren Ellis deconstructs the Superhero genre, while putting a fresh spin on it. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s awesome. John Cassaday’s art will blow your mind. Oh, and the Fantastic Four have conquered the Earth.

8. Nextwave: Vol 1 This Is What They Want; Vol 2 I Kick Your Face

The equal and opposite of Planetary. Ellis made Planetary straight intellectual scifi. For Nextwave, he decided to skip the smarty- pants routine and blow shit up. Nextwave is without a doubt one of the funniest comics of all time. It takes every cliche about comics and takes it up to 11 (yes, I really am one of those assholes who uses Spinal Tap jokes) Also, I’m getting Dirk Anger tattooed on my ass.

9. Starman: Vol 1 Sins of the Father

James Robinson created something of an anomaly in superhero comics. Starman is about Jack Knight, the son of one of the first superheroes, Ted Knight. Ted retires and needs Jack to take over. But Jack would rather sell cultural antiquities and listen to Sinatra albums in his store, Knight’s Past. Nevertheless, Jack gets taken in by the legacy of Starman. So will you. It’s about legacy, honor, and the relationship between fathers and sons.

10. Astonishing X-Men: Vol 1 Gifted; Vol 2 Dangerous

In the last two and a half years, Joss Whedon has created one of the most iconic takes on the X-Men ever. If you want to know what X-Men 3 was supposed be like, look no further. Volume 1 was the inspiration. And it only gets better from there. I’ll be crushed when the current arc “Unstoppable” is over and Whedon and Cassaday leave.

11. The Immortal Iron Fist: Vol 1 The Last Iron Fist Story

Matt Fraction, the writer, describes it as Kung Fu billionaire. FUCK. YEAH. Once you start reading, you won’t think you’re in a comic, you’ll think you’re watching a Jet Li film. It’s that good. And David Aja’s gritty noir-style art is fan-freaking-tastic.

12. Daredevil: Vol 1 Hell To Pay (2006)

Think Oz combined with a Jackie Chan movie and Tango and Cash. For this volume, Daredevil’s real identity has been outed to the press. He has to prove that he isn’t DD, while trying to stay alive in prison with hundreds of men that he put there, including the Kingpin and Bullseye. And just when you think it’s so awesome your head will explode, the Punisher shows up. You feel that? That’s your mind blowing, sugar-pants.

13. Invincible: Vol 1 Family Matters; Vol 3 Perfect Strangers

Mark Grayson was born the son of Omni Man, the greatest super hero this world has ever known, sent to protect Earth by his race the Viltrumites. When Mark turned 18 he developed powers of his own, and begins his journey to follow in his father’s foot steps… until he finds out that Omni Man is actually a murderous sociopath sent to conquer humanity. What’s a boy to do?
14. Identity Crisis

Author Brad Meltzer (The Book of Fate) combined his love of mysteries with his love of comics. What follows is part-human drama/ part-murder mystery starring the Justice League of America. It’s detective story, starring the greatest heroes on Earth. You may not know who half the characters are, but 20 pages in, you will care about each and every one of them. And just wait until you see what they do to Batman…

Those are just a few of my favorite comics. I hope you’ll give them a try. Believe me, each one is worth every penny.

The TV Shows Strike Back

Well the Writer’s Strike is finally over. I’m sad that they didn’t get as much as they deserve, but it is a start. Also, I think we can all agree that a longer strike would just hurt more people than was necessary. As has been mentioned many times, the people that really got hurt in this were the crews that manned the productions. The majority of the writers were middle class at best, but at least they had a few royalties coming in. The crews had to figure out how to pay in rent in Los Angeles. Anyway. I supported the strike. I wanted to buy one of those WGA t-shirts, but never got around to it.

The best part about the resuming productions means that at least some of the reality shows will be taken off the air. Not many. But some. Is there anything that is destroying the minds of our country more than Reality television? … oh yeah… rap music.

But I digress. I’m excited that some of my shows will be back on the air. I don’t get to watch much television through the season because I’m constantly on the go, but I do try to watch at the beginning of the season. Usually around November I lose track and just wait until the summer when it all comes out on DVD. I loooooooooovveee Season DVDs. It is the perfect format for serialized storytelling. None of the To Be Continued bullshit. Instant gratification! Right up until that cliffhanger at the end of the last episode. Then I’m pissed. Like Cookie Monster at the end of a three day binge at the Keebler factory when he starts eating the fucking elves to get his fix. I find myself at Best Buy trying to find the cheapest DVD set so that I can continue my high. I’m sick, I know. I have a decent collection. The entire 5 seasons of Alias. All 4 sets of One Tree Hill. All 3 of the (tragically short-lived) phenomenal Veronica Mars. All 3 Roswell sets. Angel seasons 3 & 4. Newsradio season 1-4. Heroes season 1. Grey’s Anatomy Seasons 2 and 3. Justice League Unlimited seasons 1 and 2. Naruto sets 4 and 5 (6 comes out tomorrow. Moonlighting season 1. Aaaaannnnnndddd a few more. What can I say?

This season I was denied my precious Veronica Mars. But I have been watching. A few old shows. A few new. Here’s some of the shows I have been addicted to from 07 and jonesing for these past few months.

HEROES Initially I wasn’t into Heroes. Then one day I was looking for my fix… bought the goddamn set. Became obsessed. Being a comic book fanatic, this show makes perfect sense for me to like it. Hiro Nakamura is my… err, hero. (Sorry.) I actually managed to stay with every episode of Heroes this season. Didn’t miss a single episode. Unfortunately this season will be one of the casualties of the strike. The producers said they will not finish the rest of season 2 (ominously titled “Villains”) until next fall. Nor will they be producing the anthology-styled spin-off, Heroes Origins. SHITE! I was looking forward to that. Bring on the DVD! I need a hold over.

ONE TREE HILL I am a huuuuge OTH fan. Partly because I’m in love with Sophia Bush. But mostly because I believe that it stands out from other teen dramas. The writing is better. The “villains” of the series are complex. (How FUCKING GOOD is Paul Johannson??) In fact, all the characters are complex. Each has a depth and range to them that most teen dramas do not contain. One of the benefits of the strike being over is that they may be able to finish out the season on OTH. This show is constantly on the bubble, and is usually saved at the last second by it’s rabid fan base. But with the show’s recent change in structure, this could be the last nail, and I don’t want this show to end without a proper finale.

GREY’S ANATOMY Yeah, I know, it’s a chick show. But it’s good. I started watching b/c Katherine Heigl (ROSWELL) was in it. But I stayed. It’s quirky. It’s funny. It’s heartfelt. It’s good. Haven’t kept up with Grey’s, as usual. I’ll wait til DVD to watch. I would just be lost, if I tried to pick it up.

LIFE A new show that I picked up on, and instantly became addicted to. This may be my favorite show this season… which is unfortunate, because I’m pretty sure it’ll get canceled by the second year. It’s about a cop who is falsely accused of murder, put in prison for 12 years and subsequently abandoned by everyone he cared for. When he is finally acquitted, he goes back to work for a police department that simultaneously distrusts him and is afraid of him and the mistakes that he represents. All the while, he goes looking for the men that framed him. KICK ASS! I stayed with this show the entire time. More episodes have been promised this year. Can’t wait!

CHUCK It’s official. The 2000’s are the decade of the geek. Average Joe gets a super computer uploaded to his brain, and has to help two badass secret agents stop terrorists. What about that sense DOESN’T kick ass? Nothing! The cast is fan-fucking-tastic, the writing is top notch. Adam Baldwin (Firefly) is in this! Again, stayed with the show through 07. I heard they aired the last two eps of the season without any fanfare. So I missed it. Have to go online and watch.

That’s pretty much all I watch, except for the Colbert Report and Naruto. Hopefully everything will be back on track soon.

WRITERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

~aDAM!

10 Writers That Have Influenced Me

I started back to work on a writing project that I haven’t been able to touch for months. The project, called Earning My Ears, is an auto-biographical account of my time working and living in Walt Disney World. While it is written very much in the vein of my comedic voice, the style of writing is very unusual for me. truthfully, I don’t really have a particular style. I’m sort of all over the place. And that got me to thinking about the writers who have influenced me. So I thought I would make a list. These are all my influences, from various different genres. Bare in mind that these people influenced my writing.

10. S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders was the first novel I ever read. It’s probably the only book from those school summer reading lists that I actually liked. It was amazing. A whole universe became real to me through the written word. I could see them in my head, feel their actions, empathize with their plights. I loved it so much that I read the sequel, That Was Then, This Is Now.

read: The Outsiders; That Was Then, This Is Now (duh!)

9. Peter David

Comic books are probably the biggest influence on my life. So much of who I am and what I know is based entirely on them. As such, the writers are ultimately my fathers in many ways. Peter David is one of the prolific writers I ever heard of. There were many times when he was writing 6 books every month, in addition to his history of writing and producing television series. But what he gave me most was the understanding that books and life can be funny. His sense of humor permeates everything he writes, but it isn’t heavy handed like a sitcom, nor introduced as a comedy bit.

read: anything from his fifteen years writing The Incredible Hulk (especially the Pantheon years); current reads: X-Factor, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

8. Eddie Murphy

Ever wonder where I got my filthy fucking mouth from? Like many kids I wanted to be Eddie Murphy growing up. He was THE comedian of my youth. And my blue sense of humor is totally his fault.

see: Raw; Beverly Hills Cop 2; Coming to America; old episodes of Saturday Night Live

7. Allen Ginsberg

He was in my 10 Corpses blog last week. What is there left to say about him? My poetry became more ephemeral after reading his work. It didn’t all have to be organized or clear. Writing could be hazy, colorful and chaotic.

read: Howl

6. Chris Claremont

Like all legends, Claremont is still working and has overstayed his welcome. I shudder to think of some little kid reading him on Exiles and thinking “This guy sucks!” He does… now. But at one point he was the greatest writer in the history of comics. (That may be an exaggeration.) Stan Lee created the X-Men. Claremont defined them. Nearly every writer since has done some sort of riff on his work. And not just in comics! The Days of Future Past story has been done to death in every major medium. The season 1 episode of Heroes, Five Years Gone? Claremont homage, baby!

read: anything X-Men from the 1980’s- 1993(?) , particularly Days of Future Past

5. Joss Whedon

This guy is the Elvis Presley of writers. I looooooooved Buffy the Vampire Slayer! (The show, anyway.) Joss should be worshiped as a God if only for the act of getting Eliza Dushku in leather pants during fight scenes. But it was Firefly, his short lived space show turned cult favorite, turned film (Serenity) that changed my world. You see, I have this idea for a series of books that started when I was ten years old as a Claremont/ X-Men rip off. It evolved from that slowly. But it was Firefly that changed my whole vision of it. Firefly is one of the greatest television shows ever.

see: Firefly, Buffy, Angel read: Astonishing X-Men tpb. vol 1-4; Buffy Season 8

4. Stephen Wright

One of the unsung heroes of comedy. This guy is either a certifiable genius or a certifiable nut case. It is possible he is both. His comedy showed me that jokes can be free form and random. Like Ginsberg’s poetry, it lacks any structure or organization, but is genius in every way. Someone once told me out of the blue that my sense of humor reminded him of Wright. I damn near cried.

3. Dylan Thomas

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Nuff said.

2. Kevin Smith

His stories are both personal, mature, and yet wholly child-like and vulgar. he showed me that the kind of writing I like to do can work, and guys like us can succeed against all odds.

1. J. Michael Straczynski.

I’ve been watching the shows he writes since I was 8 years old, even without knowing it. He-Man. The Real Ghost Busters. Other things I can’t remember. But Babylon 5, his seminal work, changed my world. It is the most complex, character driven story ever put on television. Each and every character has an arc across the 5 seasons that the show was produced. They were portrayed as real people, whose experiences and hardships fundamentally change them as they go through life. Some for the better, some for the worse.

I still want to be Anla’Shok.

see: Babylon 5 read: Amazing Spider-man recent trade paperbacks (recommend John Romita Jr issues.)

Honorable mention: Robert Plant, Tori Amos, George Lucas, Alfred Tennyson, Fabian Niceiza, Willie Nelson

Guitars, Cadillacs and Hillbilly Music

Last night I was really excited because I had a ticket to see Miranda Lambert. Some of you have read my thoughts on the woman. It’s fair to say I gush about her. And it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that I would like her to have my babies… 12 of them… living in hand built cabin in the hills of Tennessee… sitting in a rocking chair on the porch with a shotgun wearing overalls while one of the kids is chewing bark and I slap her on the ass screaming “Make me some goddamn pancakes woman!”

Yeah, I’ve given it some thought.

So anyway, after work I got some food and fought through the traffic, cold and rain-slicked streets to the House of Blues down in the Quarter (French Quarter). The ticket said 8, so I want to be there by 7:30 since there is no seating in the HoB and it’s pretty much a free-for-all amongst savages. Unfortunately I hadn’t noticed that the ticket actually says the “doors open at 8pm”. The show doesn’t start until 9:15… for her opening act. Miranda was not scheduled until 10. To make matters worse, it started raining while I was waiting in line.

They let us in at 8. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to get a drink. Alcohol is a funny subject with me. In spite of my relative inexperience with booze, I’m not a lightweight. The one time I have seriously tried to get drunk, I couldn’t even get a buzz. Despite this, I have no taste for licour. So I always get the girly drinks. The first bartender was a real twat who walked right by me and ignored me. The second gave me an amaretto sour and a bottled water. I found a spot just off of the stage on the far left. I intended to nurse the drink for a while, since I had approximately 2 hours until Miranda rocked my cock off. Unfortunately the sour tasted like piss, so I just sucked it down in one gulp.

And then I stood there. Staring at people.

Within a half hour, my legs were killing me. I had no one to talk to, so I was bored. Instead I got a look at the people around me. A lot of old people. Some really hot girls (Country concerts bring hot women in droves, and if for nothing else, that’s a goooooooood reason to show up).

Some inbred couples. There was a really hot girl there with her not- nearly- in- her- league boyfriend, who spent the entire time pretty much getting ready to fuck right there on the floor. At one point he shoved his fingers in the crotch of her jeans. Nothing was moving. He couldn’t possibly have fingered her. I guess he was just bored and said “hey, let me feel your pubes!”

Eventually the lights dimmed and the crowd went nuts. Being the crotchety old man that I am, I felt the need to announce “It ain’t Miranda fuckwits!” But my voice was drowned out by the beer soaked chants of “WOOOOOOOOO!!! FUCK YEAH!!!!!” Which may have been for the best.

I didn’t really want to hear her opening act. That’s not who I paid to see. And I would normally have been interested in hearing new music, except I was tired. It was late. My legs hurt from standing in place for an hour and a half. So I was pissy. But I figured, hell, at least it would pass the time.

My friend Chris once said that the rule of country is that there’s hat guys and… err… not a hat guys. Mark Adam Miller came out in a long sleeve t-shirt covered with a short sleeve skater punk t-shirt. He was clearly a… not a hat guy.

And he says hello, then he starts to play. And… he was good. His voice sounded a bit like George Thorogood. (Bad to the Bone). The thing was, he wasn’t country at all. Not a trace. He would be very at home opening for John Mayer or The Plain White T’s… but Miranda Lambert? Not so much. After the first two songs, the subsequent ones were much more Country… but he wasn’t. And in between each song he would announce to the crowd how “I’m a big ol redneck.” Which was weird. Because he wasn’t saying it casually. He was trying to convince us. It would be like me walking up to a bunch of G Dawgs and saying “How y’all doin? I see y’all are a bunch of gangstas. Guess what? I’m a gangsta too!!!” Very odd. And then occasionally during his songs he would throw in “AIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!” I cannot fully explain to you what that sound is in words. Suffice it to say that the sound is normally used by cajuns. Bayou people. Of which there are very few in the central New Orleans area. And clearly this man was not one of them. So being the snobby elitist prick that I am, I was getting really aggravated with this guy’s bull shit.

Finally he got off stage at 9:45. By this time I was thoroughly annoyed. Just ready to leave.

Unfortunately, by 10:08, I realized Miranda was running late.

My thoughts were as follows:

What the FUCK???? I spent forty dollars, had to stand here for two and a half hours, drink a really shitty amaretto sour, watch romeo play with juliet’s rug, then listen to Avril Lavigne’s boyfriend try to establish street cred, and this bitch can’t show up on time??? FUCK THIS, FUCK HER AND FUCK THE HOUSE OF BLUES. Never again. My legs feel like I’ve been in Boston Marathon hopping on one leg. Nobody is worth this! Bitch get your ASS out here or I swear to god I am going back stage to reenact Deliverance!

And then the lights came up. And she walked out. And my thoughts were as follows:

you’re prrrretttttttttttttyyy. you look like an angel… but with jeans and no bra. i love you. will you marry me?

Yeah, I shut my mouth pretty quickly. I have talked about how hot I thinks she is. I thought she was at least a 9. But we’re past that now. To be another cheap hack ripping off Spinal Tap, “this one goes up to eleven.” I am a twenty eight year old man, and I stand here telling you that I am about as in love as you can be with someone you’ve never actually met. She isn’t just beautiful, she’s luminous.


And good God can she perform! I saw her…. fiance`… Blake Shelton a few days back. He was good. Sounded awesome. But she is soooooooo much better on stage than he is. Blake Shelton is a good ol boy with a guitar trying to show people a good time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I dig that. But Miranda is a Rockstar. I was with her for every moment, regardless of whether I knew the song or not. I swayed when she swayed. I rocked when she rocked. It flet like she was singing just for me. And there were times when she looked right at me.

Dead in my eyes. And I melted.

And she didn’t do just one thing.

She played slow and intimate.

She rocked the dingiest grunge fan and never left her Country family.

She screamed angry, sexy fem rock.

She sat in with us to let us know she was there.

She broke out hearts.

And shook her butt.

And you didn’t want it to end.

When it was done, I was satisfied, but still hungry. The thing is, after seeing a really great Country musician… I am overwhelmed with emotions. I want to fall in love, and drive to Nashville and have kids and make it as a singer. I want to fight and make love. I want to change the world.

And she was great.

I’m still feeling it.

~Adam