Archive for March, 2009

Vignettes

The gun feels heavy and righteous in my hand as I stare down my enemy.  Blood flushes my system like a bullet train, punching a steady thump thump in my chest.

This is what it feels like to be alive for the first time in a long time.  This is what it feels like to find justice. No… to take justice.  The system has failed the good and decent folk of the world.  It has been twisted into a labyrinth that only serves to protect the bad people.  They kill and rape and destroy all that is good and precious in us.  And they get away with it.

Not this time.  Not this guy.  You’re not going to walk away from what you did, you son of a bitch.

I see the cold, paleness of her face everytime I close my eyes.  The scent of her perfume haunts the house.  And the child wakes up screaming for her absent Mother four times a night.  I rock her back to sleep through teary rebuttals, searching for explanations that do not come.

The sound of your muffled, gagged screams is like music in my black heart.   I am tempted to taste your salty tears, to drink your fear delicious fear. 

But I just pull back the hammer instead. The scent of gunpowder fills my nostrils, satisfying a voracious hunger.  I walk across the blood splattered floor and spit on your corpse. 

Rot in hell motherfucker.

How to Fix the Economy in 50 Words or Less

The other day I was listening to Walton and Johnson on the radio as I usually do.  I turned it on just in time to hear one of the most brilliant solutions to the current recession I have ever heard.

Neither I nor Walton and Johnson came up with this.  In fact I didn’t catch who it was that did.  But apparently some guy wrote Barack Obama in response to the new stimulus package which will cost us trillions of dollars we don’t have, and is not going to fix anything.

His idea was this.  Dump the stimulus bill.  Instead, take part of that money and create a new program.   Find 40 million American citizens over the age of 50 who hold stable jobs in the workforce.  Give each of them 1 million dollars apiece.

They get this money under three conditions:

  1. They go into early (and permanent) retirement. 
  2. They pay off their mortgage or buy a house if they don’t have one.
  3. They buy at least one American car.

It’s so frakking simple that it’s pathetic no one has thought of it before.   It’s absolutley brilliant.  If you’re not getting it, let me lay out just a few of the major results of this plan.

  • Forty Million housing loans paid off.  End of housing crisis.
  • Forty Million American cars sold (and that is a LOW estimate, since many will buy more than one car). That’s more cars sold at one time than in the entire history of the automobile industry.  (I think.)  No need to bail out GM.
  • Forty Million jobs open up.  End of job shortage.  (Also, a listener pointed out some of those people will probably start businesses of their own, creating more jobs.)
  • Billions of dollars get put in the bank, creating revenue and interest.  But unlike bailouts, this plan puts money in the hands of the people.  HELL. YEAH.
  • Forty Million people retire with money to spend.  Tourism goes up.

That’ll stimlate your fuckin’ economy. The fact is, I’m not an economist.  I’m just an average guy with a slightly above average intellect.  But for the life of me, I can’t think of a single problem with this idea.  Sadly, it’ll never happen.   Wouldn’t help Obama or his friends.

Whoever the hell this guy is, why didn’t HE run for President?

Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Last night I found out someone I used to know murdered his parents.  As I moved past the natural sadness experienced from such revelations, I began to wonder what would drive such a nice guy to commit such attrocities.  And the more I thought about it, I began to think about the butterfly effect.

When most people hear the words ‘butterfly effect, they think of one of two things.  For some, it’s the Ashton Kutcher movie where Amy Smart tries to blow him for cash.  For those who aren’t impressed by Kuther’s chiseled, Adonis-like good looks…   they think of it as a conequence of time travel, best illustrated by that episode of the Simpsons where Homer uses his Toaster/ Time-Machine to accidentally crush a prehistoric mosquito and end up in a world where donuts don’t exist.  (It’s a well known fact that the existence of paleolithic insects is integral to the “glaze factor”.)

The term Buttefly Effect refers to the idea that the motion created from the flapping of a butterfly’s wings will eventually develop into a tsunami on the other side of the world.  Small events affect bigger events.   The butterfly effect isn’t about time travel, at least not in practice.  It’s about continuity and world community.

Everything you do has a consequence, both intended in singular, and unintended in countless multitdes.  You are part of an endless, invisible chain that shifts every time you scratch your ass.  

A college girl dumps her boyfriend.  He gets drunk at a party and gets in his car, crashin headfirst into the car of a woman on her way to her mother’s house after fighting with her husband.  She and her unborn child are killed instantly.  The boy goes to jail for twenty years.   The woman’s husband never forgives himself and dies alone.  An entire family line is wiped out.

A man eats bacon everyday for thirty years.  He lives to see his grandson born.  The man dies of heart disease.  His life in surance funds the boy’s college.  He eventually makes great strides in the treatment of heart disease.   The grandson’s discoveries save the life of  a man who eventually builds a worldwide peace organization.

Two kids get bullied constantly for being different.  One day they bring assault rifles to school and murder a dozens people, many being innocents.

The structure of events that led to you brushing your teeth this morning is so complex that if you live to be a thousand, you could not hope to begin to fathom the equation.

Point is, we need each other.  We are a community.  We don’t realize it.  We don’t act like it.  But we are. And I’m not some tree-hugging hippie telling you all we need it love.

I’m just saying that we better start changing the way we do business.  Stop being so damn self-absorbed.  And teach our kids better than we have.  Because if we don’t, we’re not just doomed as a species.  We’re doomed as human beings.

Vignettes

I miss you sometimes.

Not often.  Mostly I don’t think about you, almost like I forgot.  But then I close my eyes and out of nowhere, there you are. Sometimes.  Or maybe I’ll think of a joke only you would get, and I’ll turn around to tell you… except you aren’t there.   And every girl I date.  Every woman I love.  Every lady I make love to… they all get compared to you.  And it’s the unkindest comparison.  Because as wrong as things were, they couldn’t have been much better.

I just don’t get it.  It’s not like I love you.  Not anymore.  Why is it the darkest addictions are the ones that we never really let go of?  You’re like fine cocaine, lingering in the back of my mind.

I try not to think about it.  About you.  But then I do.  And I wonder if you still think of me too?  And if you do, do you smile?  Do you reminisce?  Do you hunger?  Or do you roll your eyes and move on?

And I can’t seem to escape that.  That basic need to know.  To understand.   But I know it’s all a lie.  An excuse to pick up that phone after a few glasses of whiskey and dial that number.  The one I erased, but still lingers in the corners of my mind.  I want to make that connection.  To give it one last try, no matter how bad it ended, no matter how much I know it would just tear us apart again.

I know we shouldn’t be together, no matter how bad the addiction burns.  So I’m going to pour another glass out of this bottle. And another.  And another.  Gonna drink this whiskey like Daddy on Friday night.  And eventually, someday, maybe I’ll kill the part of me that holds on to you.

Why You’ll Love-Hate Watchmen

I don’t envy Zach Snyder.  No matter what he did, he was going to get it wrong in the eyes of one majority or another.

The problem is that there are three parties interested in a Watchmen film.  The comics fans want to see the beauty of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic brought to life frame for frame, syllable for syllable, a frakking giant squid and black freighter; because anything less would be sacrilege in the face of perhaps the most important comic in history.  The consumer audience wants to see another mindless, pretty, action-packed Superhero flick; the next Dark Knight if at all possible.  And the movie studio wants another Dark Knight cash cow as well, only cheaper, shorter and more efficient; and they don’t give a damn if Watchmen is anything like the book.

At least one of these groups will be disappointed, and as usual, it’s the fans.  Projects do not transfer from medium to medium organically.  Some comics just do not work in film form. Changes have to be made.  For the majority of these projects I judge them by their story-telling ability and their handling of the characters.  However with some books, such as Watchmen, that just isn’t enough.

The studio wants an action movie that will bring in millions of ticket sales.  And so does the public.  But Watchmen is not an action film.  Nor is it really about Superheroes.   It is for precisely that reason it is so beloved by it’s fans.  The essence of the story is about what makes us human, and what is the nature of good versus evil, and ultimately about whether power gives one the right to decide the fate of others.  And really, it’s about much more than that. It’s a very dense read with an incredible amount of subtext.  But honestly no one wants to see a movie about that. Movies are often a lazy medium, one where the audience doesn’t want to think.

Which leads us to writer Alan Moore’s opinion that Watchmen is unfilmable.  But honestly?  He’s wrong.  I went into the theatre having read and appreciated (though not loved) the book.  And what I saw met most of my expectations, and exceeded a few.

It isn’t the book.  But it is a decent adaptation that meets the majority of needs for all three groups, as long as you don’t go in with any expectations.   I think the majority of consumers will be disappointed in it without ever giving it a chance.  The film has been mis-marketed from the start.  Watchmen is much closer to The Usual Suspects than X-Men in content and subject matter.  There is sex and violence in it, but not nearly as much as the trailers imply.  And yes, for you purists, the ending was changed slightly.  No giant squid.  But honestly, it works.  In fact, it makes more sense than the giant squid does.  Yeah, I know I just lost loads of nerd-cred, but it’s true.  A film-maker’s job is to simplify and fully realize (emphasis on the first two syllables of the last word) any adaptation.  Snyder did just that.  And what’s more, he did a damn good job of it.

The only complaints I have are minimal.  Some of the music is atrocious.  As much as I love Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, the use of Leonard Cohen’s cover of it in the sex scene is so ridiculous that I went from sexual arousal to gut-busting laughter in the span of a second.   Likewise, the use of 99 Left Balloons at a key scene took me out of the film and made me feel like I was watching a romantic comedy.   Beyond that, the only problem areas occur because of the cinematography.  Watchmen’s style is meant to bring the comic to life.  It worked tremendously in 300, but here, there are a few scenes which feel cartoonish, particularly scenes with the Golden Age super-team, The Minutemen.  Not a huge problem, but it is a little distracting.

The bottom line is that Watchmen gets more right than it does wrong.  And like the book, it will merit multiple viewings to fully digest the menagerie of beauty and philosophy thrown at you, however precisely, like cogs in clockwork.  The bar previously set by The Dark Knight will probably not be exceeded here, in terms of revenue, style or fan response.  But honestly, I’m happier that way.  Watchmen couldn’t have been made any better by anyone else.  It is a tight, lean movie that moves at a decent pace despite it’s long run time and heavy psychological thoroughbred.  It works.

It’s not only filmable, it’s watchable.

Vignettes

She can feel his labored breath on her skin.

It wakes her from dreams in a cold sweat.  The feeling of disgust fills her and the smell of vodka, cheap cologne and sex fills her nostrils.  With held breath, she snakes out from under Jamie’s arm until she is free of his terrible, comforting grip, held only by the familiar memory of her situation.  De ja vu is a bitch.

Erica sits upright, naked save for the dirty velvet sheets, listening to his snores.  How many times?  How many times has she been in this situation?  How many more times will she do this to herself?   ‘Never again’ she said, so many times before.   Each time with sincerity.

But then its another endless, pointless day at work.  Another phone call from home about her baby sister’s wonderful new husband.  Another bad date. Another unpaid bill. Another this, another that.  And it’s a few martini’s and a phone call. 

Jamie is familiar.  He’s good in bed and he’s there.  And for a moment… just for a moment… he’s what she needs.  She fucks him and it doesn’t feel so bad.  Even if this isn’t going anywhere, she’s greatful for the distraction.

She slips on her panties and pulls her dress over her arms and walks out the door.  Jamie never stirs. 

She’ll be back.

MegaCon 2009

I’ve wanted to go to a comic book convention since I was all of 12 years old.  It took me 19 years to make it, but this weekend I attended Orlando’s own MEGA-CON.  

Having gone to my first, it has only whetted my appetite for bigger shows like Wizard World Los Angeles and the big daddy, San Diego Comic Con.  I had an awesome time.  

Admittedly Mega Con is a smaller show.  All the media attention was focused on WonderCon in San Francisco.  Even so, we had some serious action in Orlando.

img_0570I went Friday with the intention of getting a lot of signatures out of the way before everyone showed up over the next two days.  From the second I arrived at the Orlando Convention Center I felt at home.  People of every shape and size  were there in all manner of costume.  Final Fantasy finatics.  Comic book characters.  Even some idiot dressed like Beetlejuice.  (Good impression but I hate Beetlejuice.) There was a DeVry Institute Graduation next door to the convention.  I had to laugh as proud parents watched their babies withimg_0581 diplomas and tried to take pictures as Mega Man and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers walked by.

As I said, there were less people Friday, which allowed me to get some decent time in at the Con.   One of my favorite writers, Mark Waid, had a panel which I got to attend.   He made a lot of jokes and debuted material from his new company, Boom Studios.  He’ll be writing two new series:

  •  The Unknown is a new miniseries about the world’s greatest detective.  She’s dying, but refuses to shuffle off until she finds 0ur what happens when you die.
  •  Irredeemable is the story of the world’s greatest hero— who slowly becomes the world’s greatest villain.

 Both sound pretty amazing.  Afterwards I was able to get Mr. Waid’s signature on my copy of Kingdom Come #1.  I told him how much I loved his work over the years.  He thanked me and said “That’s great to hear.  At the end of the say I’m just a guy who got lucky enough to write comics for a living.”  And when I asked him about a career in editing, he even gave me his e-mail address and said if I ever move to LA he might be able to get me an internship.  That’s pretty amazing for how big a guy he is in the industry.

img_0579

I got a bunch of great signatures, including Jimmy Cheungimg_0577,

Chuck Dixon, Greg Land and Tony Bedard (with whom I also had a great conversation).   I think the best thing about all this is that these guys were so great about it.  Very few of them had egos (although there were a couple assholes).

Unfortunately my experiences with the “celebrities” wasn’t as great.  Don’t get me wrong, they were nice.   Al Snow (WWE Superstar and Tough Enough host) is apparently a comics fan as well, and walked up behind me while I was bent over a comic stand.   And I had a decent conversation with Christy Hemme.  The problem is they wanted money for everything from a signature to a picture with them.   20 bucks!!  No offense, but if I pay twenty bucks to take a picture with  you, the picture will be of you on your knees sucking my cock. Tricia Helfer of BSGI don’t begrudge them making a living, but 20 dollars is way over the top.  Consequently I didn’t get pictures with any of them, including BattleStar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer.

 

 

 

 

DC UniverseI hadn’t intended to go on Saturday, but I found out DC and Marvel were doing panels.   I just made it to DC’s.  Even got to ask a question.  Dan Didio’s answer was a major Announcement.

  • Bruce Wayne’s situation will be addressed in Blackest Night #0

He also gave a little spoiler on the first issue of Flash Rebirth.

  • In the first issue a Runner dies.

Marvel’s panel later in the day wasn’t nearly as exciting.  Whereas EIC Dan Didio showed up and was flanked by some big names of DC, Marvel tossed a few artists at us, none of whom knew anything about what was going on, even in their own respective books.  After a while I got sick of being jerked around and walked out.

But it was on Saturday that I got my biggest surprise.  I waited in line for over an hour to get the signature of superstar artist Ethan Van Sciverimg_1658 (Green Lantern, Flash Rebirth).  As we got closer and closer to the front of the line, I realized he was doing free sketches for fans.

I can’t tell you how big a deal that is.  These sketches could be sold for a hundred dollars on ebay.  He is a big time artist in the business.

So when it came my turn, I asked if he could do Superboy Prime for me (let’s just say he’s an evil Superman).  He went straight to it without a word.img_0002  When all was said and done he’d given me this beautiful sketch as well as a signed poster and comic.  I was blown away by the man’s generosity.  I even felt a little guilty for not paying him something. 

Make no mistake though, I will not be selling this sketch.  I love it.  Iy’s going up on my wall.

Which brings me to Sunday when I went with my friend Alexandra.Alex It was her first time at a con as well.  Can you tell?  She went a litttttttle nuts what with all the Final Fantasy schwag around.  Yeppers, it was geek’s bonanza. She took pictures with all the pretty freaks, broke the heart of a poor little geek.  And informed me matter-of-factly that she could have well over a dozen boys like him, there, if she so wanted.

Good times.

Anywho.

I got my signature from comics legend George Perez and we moved on down to Marvel Cover Artist Brandon Peterson.  I just happened to have a 30th Anniversary issue of Uncanny X-Men which Peterson had worked on.  Not nearly as big a deal as I’m making it sound.  When I asked him to sign it, he accidently spilled Vitamin water all over it.  He apologized profusely, to which I said it was no big deal.img_0004  But he insisted on making up for it and asked us to come back in ten minutes.  When we did, he presented me with a copy of his sketchbook, including a sketch on the inside of Wolverine saying “Sorry Bub”.  And of course he signed it.

I carried the thing around for the next hour, despite the fact that I had a backpack on.  I just love it so much.  Again.  Not for sale!!!  

Alexandra and I left not more than an hour later for fear she would break her bank on Final Fantasy soundtracks.l_acdc3aed34b7445fbeab44bd315fedac

Over all it was a great experience, though I hadn’t realized how expensive these things are.  Next time I go, I’ll need to have cash to spend.

Fortunately, the FX show is in  two months!  Can’t wait.