November 28, 2010

Antiheroes are for Pussies


The links:
http://noblasters.com/post/1650102322/my-tsa-encounter
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101122/ap_on_bi_ge/us_airport_security
http://imgur.com/QklHc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XhnZlmLGK8

November 24, 2010

Fuck You

Buh, balls, shit, piss, cocksucker, motherfucker, damn, tits. Oh, and cunt.
George Carlin makes me feel better, as does the link in the title, which'll take you to Cee-Lo Green's song of the same title.
Nanowrimo is about over. I said I intended to write one short story a week until the end of the year, and I have so far; I have five done, ready for a second draft, and a sixth on the way. It's the sixth I want to share (and I mean bitch about).
I don't know why it's so hard (did he say that?). It's a shorty about magic, real magic in the form of some flashy effects, and one big bastard of a cabinet. This cabinet makes people vanish. And then something comes along and takes them. I tried it once before and gave up. I am at 2000 words now, and depressed as hell over it. I loved magic as a kid, and though I was disappointed that it wasn't real, I liked the idea still. Pull the wool over an audiences eyes! Make the goddam Statue of Liberty invisible! Shoot fire from your fingertips!
My love of magic may have been influenced by the Lord of the Rings a little too much.
Because I hoped that these magicians - t.v. heavyweights and carnival card-tricksters alike - knew something. That magic was really an art, and with the proper talent, learnable. But it would have its dangerous side - lost artifacts, forbidden spells and tricks, blood magic! Good stuff!
And here I am with the story I want to tell, and it is like cutting my hair. A tangled mess that falls to the floor and piles up until the pile gains sentience and runs off.
That's my Nanowrimo story.

November 10, 2010

Fictioneering

Week two of Nanowrimo is okay. I am up to date on short stories (I have four done, including an extra for a contest). And I feel pretty good. This week's story was short (less than a thousand words) but that's probably for the best, as I am fixing my sleeping.
As I write, I notice things. And I thought, tonight I'll bring up two rules of fiction - specifically Sci-fi and Horror. Both are essentially the same rule, operating under different names, and the premise is the same: Keep an Open Mind.
The Sci-Fi rule (AKA the Jurassic Imperative)
Named for Crichton's Jurassic Park, it states: "If you own a multi-billion dollar dinosaur-themed park filled with deadly, extinct carnivores, DO. NOT. SCOFF. at the scientist who mentions the possibility of dinosaurs getting free and eating people. If you are inclined to immediately dismiss his claims as impossible, remember, cloning dinosaurs out of fossilized mosquitoes is also impossible."
The Horror rule (AKA Van Helsing's Law)
"If it looks, smells, and acts like a vampire, it's a vampire, no matter how many people declare vampires are impossible. Whittle stakes and stockpile crosses, and if someone calls you a crazy old man, take it as a compliment. At least you'll live to be an old man."
Both rules appear in their respective genres a lot, and both are violated almost instantly. It's become a cliche for someone to cry "Surely this cannot be!", as soon as they see a vampire/rampaging dinosaur/squid-shark hybrid. Forgiven, however, if Leslie Neilson shows up and says "It is! But don't call me Shirley."
Also, you should get "Superman: Earth One". It's good. I don't like Superman, but I like this. If you don't mind vague spoilers, it takes two assumptions about Superman and changes them. The assumptions are:
1) Superman wants to be Superman, and usually does. He came to Metropolis and started Supermanning  immediately, because it was the right thing to do.
2) Krypton's death was an accident.
The first part of the book is the best, showing off a Kent who uses his powers as most people probably would - playing football and solving complex equations for money. Thankfully, this Superman is as strong mentally as physically, so the musclebound hee-roh, while still present, takes a backseat often enough for you to care about the character.
The book is like a nerd conversation put into print. Remember Kill Bill Vol. 2? Bill compares The Bride to Superman, as the everyday persona she put on after disappearing was her mask. In Earth One, Kent is the mask and Superman the real identity. Other topics - why the hell Krypton blew up, why Superman never has any decent enemies, why no one notices Superman and Kent are the same goddam person - are addressed, and while a few answers are given, the rest, along with Superman's future, are only hinted at. The art is good, the writing is good, and you should pick up Superman: Earth One or risk absolute destruction.

November 9, 2010

Bring Enough For the Class

I remembered an old movie I loved as a kid today. It was called "Rock-A-Doodle", and sadly Netflix does not have it (I endorse awesome cartoons). So let me tell you a bit about it.
Chanticleer is the titular rooster. His crows bring up the sun. When the sun comes up one day without him, he is discouraged and leaves, becoming an Elvis-like rockstar (oddly complete with drugs, sex, and too much ham).
BUT THEN.
The sun stops coming up and the real world is threatened. A kid turns into a mouse for some goddam reason, and sets out to get Chanticleer off his booze-addled ass and back on top of a barn to crow. An owl tries to stop him. This owl is behind the "no more sunlight" evil plot, which is slowly killing the mouse-child's parents.
It has a great ending too. The kid is kind of irritating (even when I was a kid I thought this) but that's what kids are. The real point of this is, please, tell me your favorite childhood movies. They can be popular or obscure, wholesome or "All Dogs go to Heaven". Name one that you liked when you were small, and if you want describe it a bit. Let me know what made it special.

November 6, 2010

The Game

Inspired by this: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veNQwzW8ays&feature=related), which I suggest not watching, as it features the Westboro Baptist Church (and an overabundance of crazy) I have an idea.
BEHOLD.
"Waiting..." is a movie, and a funny one. It's what Ryan Reynolds did before he was murdered and replaced by an evil twin that does shitty romantic comedies. So it's kinda like Jared (the Subway guy); except the fat man never played a game in which you show your dick to someone, in a variety of positions, and then get to deride them for being meatgazers.
Someone needs to play this game with the Westboro douches. Nail 'em with the brain, or, if you are skilled (Josue) the Goat. Then get a running start and kick them right in the taint.

November 5, 2010

Hate Your Friends

Or don't.
The point is, there are people I hate. People I like. And people I love to hate.
I think everyone has some of the last. For many reasons, not the least of which is probably to feel superior to some fuckstick. Think Hitler. No one (sane) likes Hitler. He was a douche. Yet the movies and t.v. have a friends with benefits relationship with him. Because they know we love to hate him. Or, in a different way, Riddick, of Pitch Black and Chronicles. Not the monster Hitler was, he still acts in sociopath ways that we hate - but envy a little too. If you've ever been stuck behind a really bad driver, you know.
Literature is filled with characters we love to hate. Usually, my reaction is to dismiss these works as bad. That is only sometimes correct. Oldboy for instance, is a really fucked up movie. Like incest fucked up. We sympathize with the main character - until the end, where he pussies out. I get why he does. He wants to save his daughter. But he begs forgiveness from the villain for a slight he didn't even remember. Then cuts off his tongue.
To top it off, he asks the hypno-bitch who made him fall in love with his daughter to put the whammy on him again so he can live something resembling a happy life. And then doesn't stab her. Seldom has there been a more stab worthy person.
True Grit has another character. Mattie Ross sets out to avenge her father's death by hiring marshall Rooster Cogburn. I got interested after seeing the Coen bros. remake, starring the Dude. How could that not be awesome? I asked.
I don't know about their movie, but Mattie Ross of the book is a complete bitch. Self-righteous, an old maid banker type who sees no fault of her own throughout the book, and comes across less and less as human. The movie does better, but I still hate her in it. It's not hard to hate someone who gets abducted by bandits after insisting on accompanying the marshall, and asks "Why am I being treated like this?" of her captors.
It's also hard to not believe the character, which makes it a good book in my mind. Not one I want to read again - I have enough stress without fictional characters I don't like adding to it - but good and worth a read at least once. Same goes for Oldboy. Watch it if you can stomach it.
So go, ye folk, and read something or watch something with a character who pisses you off - but you believe in. And try to sympathize. Then, when someone you like pisses you off, maybe you'll find getting along easier.*


*Morals not meant to be taken seriously. This is the last place you should look to for guidance of any kind.
Late (maybe early?) Facts: Serenity/Firefly is the only show I know of in which all of the main characters (everyone on the ship) are sexy as hell. Possible exception to the Tams, as Simon is a twat, and River might rip your penis off (pre-Serenity).

November 1, 2010

The Downside of Dementia

Halloween is past, and the goblins, ghouls, and devils are back in their homes, resting their feet. But as we leave the holiday, there are a few things to keep in mind, particularly if you're a demented arch-villain, bent on exploiting a night of good times and candy for fear and conquest.
Do you regularly hatch mad schemes to bring the world to heel, only to be thwarted by ruggedly handsome secret agents? Do these secret agents escape your exploding island fortress on a boat, jetski, or black helicopter that slipped past your fiendish defenses? More importantly, are you left treading water, hoping your phone gets reception, and wondering if the petstore will cut you off after what is probably your 30th adoption of a fluffy white cat?
This is to help you.
It comes down to a simple phrase: DRAMATICS, not THEATRICS. We'll look at two examples to illustrate the idea.
First is Marv, from Sin City. Not a typical villain, but definitely on the wrong side of the crazy line. Marv has a good feel for the dramatic. When his special hooker is killed, he goes for revenge. And gets his ass kicked.
The important thing is he learns, without giving up his love of the dramatic (which, as an egomaniac, you have). So, when he goes back for seconds, he indulges his thirst for revenge and drama both, by cutting off the cannibal's legs and feeding him to his wolf. Dramatic, but sensible, especially as the cannibal's deadliest trait was his speed.
But villains aren't the only ones to mistake theatrics for drama. Take Mace Windu now, leader of the Jedi council, second only to Yoda. A sensible man, you would think, given his important position. Not one prone to flares of ego and bullshit theater. Yet, when the time comes to put down the Dark Lord of Super Evil, he argues with a junior member. Anakin presents no valid reasons for not putting the Emperor to the sword, but Windu indulges himself and argues. This is roughly the equivalent of arguing with your dog, or Glenn Beck.
This might still have turned out all right, however, but Windu gives in again. Consider the lightsaber, the hot knife to the galaxys butter. And by that, I mean the entire galaxy is butter. It can cut through anything with little effort. Now, when you get some butter for your toast, do you rear back to put some muscle behind the strike?
No. You move your hand and get some goddam butter. Windu could have literally stumbled forward and ended the greatest Sith threat to ever exist. Instead, he brings the blade up over his shoulder, just so everyone - all two of them, one about to die - knows he means business. And his hand is cut off shortly before the Emperor shazams him into hell.
Easy trap to fall into, eh? It could have been avoided, as could your inevitable defeat at the hands of a plucky band of ragtag heroes, if you remember:
Dramatics, not theatrics!