Wednesday, March 4, 2015

When feeling insecure about how long it takes you to write just think of George R.R. Martin and rejoice

On those days when you feel like writing, but you also feel like doing this
And then morning becomes afternoon which then becomes evening, and the more you sit around the more you realize that maybe your idea was less like this
And really more like this
I would like to say (and perhaps give a reminder) that if you don't feel like writing anything, it's completely okay. No one should ever make you feel that you're obligated to do something. Once you drain all the fun out of something, then it becomes work. And as Jack Nicholson wrote in the screen adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining, "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy." If the author of a fictional story isn't having fun, then every reader in the world is going to be able to tell. Reader's aren't stupid. But hey, don't take my word for it. George R.R. Martin took eight years to write a sequel to A Feast For Crows and pretty much earned this praise from Neil Gaiman.
And by're not anyone's bitch either.

This post is brought to you by The Insecure Writer's Support Group. 
Carry on writers of the world!
--"your friendly neighborhood couch potato"

Monday, March 2, 2015

So many peeps die from March to April every year and these are some of the ways in which y'all commit murder

Death by man child gobbling them up five at a time.
Served up on a spatula. Run peeps!
Bodies splayed open on the edge of a glass. So cruel.
Entombed and impaled! Oh the horror!
Mired in molten chocolate frosting on top of cupcakes awaiting to be devoured whole like a shark consuming a seal.
Squished to death between two graham crackers so that nothing recognizable remains.
Boiled alive in hot chocolate. If only you could hear their screams...
Tell me, dear readers, how many peeps will die by your hands before April is gone?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fish Mooney scooped her own eye out with a spoon and in that one move made Gotham must watch television

I didn't see that coming, at all. Monday night, I perhaps like most of America sat before my television with my evening meal and was wondering how Fish Mooney was going to get out of the pickle she's landed in.

Fish Mooney (as you may already know) is played by the incomparable Jada Pinkett Smith. She's basically been given an opportunity to define and characterize a new villain for the Batman Rogues Gallery, and she's playing it to the hilt. I've got to hand it to her, because she manages to be the right kind of psychopath that seems perfectly at home in the city of the Dark Knight.

The situation that forced her to carve at her own eyeball with a spoon arose from being a prisoner in some kind of institution ruled by folks who are harvesting body parts from people to sell to the wealthy. There are literally hundreds of people all milling around in a basement complex, fearful, broken, and one by one they are led off only to return (sometimes) with a piece missing here or there. The horror of being unable to escape from a fate so horrible made me cringe. How on earth could you fight back against that? Well leave it to Fish to find a way.

She recognized immediately that the den of prisoners had a leader and took him out. Then she organized everyone so that she would call the shots when they came for someone to go along and get a part cut off for a buyer. Because the institution needs body parts that are alive and in good shape, she promised the guards that if they did not acquiesce to her demands, she would kill every name that the guards called. Of course they tested her and called out a name, and Fish ordered that unlucky person murdered to prove she means business.

Well she got taken to the man in charge, and he thought he had her in a corner. "You have two options. 1) We take both of your eyes. 2) We kill everyone in the basement and just start over. It'll be a high price to pay but that's how it's going to be."

Fish had a third option (of course) and since it was her eyes they wanted (presumably for someone willing to pay for them) she wrenched one out of the socket and squashed it with her foot. So much for having a matching pair.

It left me in shock, asking myself, "Did that just happen?" And realizing it was Fox (a mainstream channel) and not airing on AMC (home of The Walking Dead) gave me a double-take. Unfortunately, the story didn't return to Fish and went on to the other characters and what they were doing, which ended up being far less interesting in terms of content and shock factor. I have questions now, dammit! What happens to Fish as a result of her actions? How does this move gain her power among the crew of psychopaths harvesting organs from helpless people?

I think Gotham is finally turning into the nitty gritty drama it was meant to be.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Star Wars Rebels has turned in a pretty good first season making me ask if it is really possible for a Star Wars story NOT to succeed?

Sheena Kay Graham asked me if I could do a Star Wars Rebels post, so here it is :).

The fact that Star Wars Rebels got renewed for a second season is more a testament to how intriguing the universe of Star Wars really is (and by extension, how much of a genius move it was for Walt Disney to scoop up the rights from George Lucas) than it is to solid animation, lightsaber mechanics, or any characters that we actually care about.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of Star Wars Rebels, but it's not because I think Ezra or Kanan are particularly awesome. It's not because I think Hera is the most badass pilot ever to fly the skies, nor am I particularly enamored by the Mandalorian Sabine. It's because I just like the universe, and the writers of the show obviously know this about its audience because the strongest episodes in the debut season all incorporate cameos from the best characters that have already appeared in everything outside of Star Wars Rebels.
The latest face to grace Star Wars Rebels is Grand Moff Tarkin, and I got to admit, he looks a lot like the character once played by Peter Cushing. And he remains someone that you really don't want to mess with (there's a reason that he actually outranked Vader--the only Imperial "non-force using" officer I know of with that kind of power). But knowing this, it begs the question: who else have we seen this season?

Obi-Wan Kenobi made a disembodied appearance in the pilot episode. And of course who can forget Lando Calrissian? I always liked that space rogue, and it's fun to think we might see how the character came to possess the Millennium Falcon. And Darth Vader's breathing over the season finale's trailer means that we're probably going to see the most famous Dark Lord of the Sith fairly soon. I won't go into questions on whether it will be through a hologram or through an actual encounter. But I'd think they'd stay away from an actual encounter simply because Vader is too powerful for this group to even be able to remotely handle. If they run into him, it'd be ridiculous if people didn't die. And finally we've heard Yoda's voice through the actual Frank Oz. That was a fun episode that resulted in Ezra getting a crystal from a hidden Jedi Temple that he could use to make into a lightsaber/pistol combo. It's actually kind of a brilliant design no doubt motivated by the fact that Ezra knows he sucks with a lightsaber and would like a gun until he gets better.
Who is Fulcrum?
However, the thing that's got me intrigued the most is Hera's contact, Fulcrum. In this week's episode, Fulcrum (who strikes me as a woman) tells Hera point blank that they need to abandon Kanan who is now in the hands of the Empire. I'm beginning to think that Fulcrum is Ahsoka Tano from smash hit The Clone Wars. If this is true, then she's probably the best Jedi outside of Yoda and Obi-Wan that's still alive. Remember, Ahsoka was Anakin's padawan and was officially awarded the title of Jedi Knight but refused it.  So technically, when Yoda tells Luke in Return of the Jedi, "When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be" remains true. Additionally, the exchange between Yoda and the spirit of Obi-Wan where it's indicated "there is another" if Luke fails is probably a direct reference to Ahsoka Tano and not Leia (as many have speculated without evidence).

Suffice it to say that I'm glad the series has been renewed. I hope that the big reveal of who Fulcrum really is happens soon. But now that I tabulate all of the things that I love about Star Wars Rebels and realize that they are all connected to the overall canon, it makes me wonder if it is really possible for a Star Wars story NOT to succeed? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

If Black Sails is to be believed then the book Treasure Island is full of fascinating gay characters and gay love stories.

Black Sails is a pirate show, and if you like pirates then you should watch it. And because it's Starz (the same network that brings us the powerful and compelling story of Jaime, Claire, and Frank in Outlander) it's of course rife with violence, gore when appropriate, and sex. In other words, it's my kind of show.
It's also set roughly two decades before the events of the book Treasure Island. Just to school you a little bit because some people actually haven't read Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson created the fictional character (first name not given), and he was the captain of a pirate ship called the Walrus. The crew of the Walrus accumulated an enormous amount of treasure, Flint and six members of his crew bury the plunder on an island in the Caribbean Sea, and then Flint murdered his six assistants leaving the corpse of one Allardyce with his arms outstretched in the direction of the buried treasure.

The location of the horde is marked by Flint on a map and William "Billy" Bones becomes the keeper of the map. Later, his former quartermaster called John Silver started calling his parrot "Captain Flint." John Silver was also the only man that ever made Frint "afraid."
The guy second from the left is Captain Flint. 
I've been watching Starz Black Sails and haven't felt like there was much to report until this week's episode which suddenly made so much of everything else make sense. You see, Captain Flint is gay and that just tickled me pink. I'd assumed that the two characters of Flint and Miranda had an affair as there's obvious sexual history between them. But peeling back the layers, we find out that they actually fled England because it got out that Flint was in love with her husband Thomas (of course she knew and kept the secret as she loved them both) and let's just mind was blown. Now I want to know if Thomas is still alive. He got committed to an asylum because of indecency charges (let's face it: times would not be safer for homosexuals for several hundred more years), and his chances of being alive are probably slim to none. All the characters on the show just talk about him like it's a foregone conclusion that he's dead.
I do like the liberties that the show is taking with the character of Captain Flint, and I also like how it's being meshed with actual pirate history. Charles Vane is an actual English pirate who has a major role in the show. Also, there's an artist that's essentially coming up with the "Jolly Roger" flag that's the famous logo of all things pirate. And we also have "Billy" Bones as a character too. He's fiercely loyal to Captain Flint, and it makes me think that they might be lovers. What a reveal that would be. It would so totally make sense with regard to Treasure Island because why would Flint murder the people that helped him bury the treasure he gets in a few years and then let Billy live unless he loved Billy?

Wow. Admittedly none of these revelations come from Robert Louis Stevenson so some fans of the man's work might take offense to liberties that Starz is taking with the story. But I for one LOVE IT because it makes the whole story come together in a way that it never did before and that's just fascinating. If you too are intrigued, watch this interview with Toby Stephens who talks about how this character being "gay" actually drives him to do everything that he does.

Friday, February 20, 2015

An incredibly geeky text conversation done by phone regarding the events and speculation on this season's Arrow and The Flash

I've been having epic nerd conversations lately with my friend Adam, all via text message by phone, and I thought I'd clean them up some and post them here for you guys to see how either stupid, weird, or just plain nerdy texting me can be.

Me: "I predict Malcolm Merlin will take over for Ra's Al Ghul and rule the League of Shadows and take Thea with him."

Adam: "Huh? That's a bold proposal. So you think Oliver is unwittingly letting himself be used by Malcolm in his plots, or do you think Malcolm is being straightforward in that they simply need each other to beat Ra's al Ghul?"

Me: "I think they need each other to beat Ra's, but it's an alliance of convenience only. Malcolm is evil and manipulative and will want Ra's out of the way so that he alone can become immortal. He's duping Oliver and Thea is under his control to make the lie more convincing. I think Thea is completely on her dad's side. In other words, she is 'pretending' to hate her father. Just wait...the ultimate betrayal is coming. I can already see Oliver's tears when Thea says that she's joining the League of Shadows and to stay out of her and Merlin's way or else!"

Adam: "I agree. It will be a massive blow to Ollie."

Me: "So I also had this weird thought about 'The Flash.' We know that Barry and Reverse Flash go back in time and that Barry fails to save his mom. If he goes in the current timeline and succeeds, it could cascade forward changing his present and the present we know from Arrow."

Adam: "So the Flash could reasonably make the first season...not have happened? Then where would the CW be?"

Me: "I don't know. I've never seen a show do this, so it would be uncharted territory. Maybe Sara wouldn't have died for example.

Adam: "Hmm, and Oliver never has to face Ra's on Malcolm Merlin's behalf."

Me: "Exactly. If you change one major event that happened seventeen years in the past, all kinds of shit could change. It would be fascinating to see if the writers go that way. Barry obviously needs to stay The Flash or there's paradox. That would be the only constant that I can see. Also, I just read that Caitlyn Snow is turning into a villain on The Flash. Dammit, I love Dr. Snow. She's going to become Killer Frost according to io9! I'm not happy 'bout this!"

Adam: "LOL, so Dr. Snow is a late blooming metahuman? Also it makes sense...her boyfriend turned into flame guy (Firestorm) so she is the juxtaposed counterpart obviously. Think her ice to his flame. Also her last name is 'Snow' for Pete's sake. How did we not see this coming?"

Me: "Definitely surprised, but I'm not up on all of Firestorm's rogues gallery. However, your 'voice of reason' regarding the whole counterpart thing does nothing to provide me comfort. There's no way Barry Allen will be able to hurt Caitlyn. She'll be an Achilles' heel. So after Dr. Wells is exposed for his villainy and Dr. Snow goes evil, Barry will have only Cisco to turn to."

Adam: "It's crappy to give him two villains from his team, that is like if Felicity and Diggle went dark on Oliver...that's a dick move for a writing team to pull."

Me: "Agreed. Barry will need more support. Want to bet that Felicity from Arrow switches to The Flash? She's fed up with Ollie at this point. just occurred to me that the reason Barry couldn't save his mom might be tied to a choice between her and Iris! That's so phucked up..."

Adam: "Why do you think Iris would be at risk? Was she somehow at the scene of the crime in the pilot episode?"

Me: "Because it sounds like a super dick move. Imagine this, 'You can save one of your loves, Barry. Who will it be? Iris or your mom? You can't save both....' It would be chilling to hear Dr. Wells say that. Also, what if it's Barry that kills his own mother. We haven't thought of that possibility and just assumed it was always the Man in Yellow. Or another possibility: Gorilla Grodd (who has incredible mind-control powers) forces Barry to do so to make sure that the accident happens in the future that gives Gorilla Grodd his powers. Or even crazier...what if Dr. Wells is ACTUALLY under mind-control of Gorilla Grodd right now?"

Adam: "Wait...does Grodd's power allow him to give commands that last or does he have to be actively controlling the person?"

Me: "Grodd's mind control is fantastically powerful, kinda like Professor X."

Adam: "Would he have to travel with Barry to keep him under mind-control?"

Me: "Unknown. This version of Grodd might be able to give lasting commands. That would be uber powerful, like mass hypnosis. It's possible imo that Grodd could be the mastermind behind it all. This is how it goes down: 1) we know that there are red skies in the future possibly related to some catastrophic ecological event (something Gorilla's would be concerned about), 2) Wells is from the future and a future Grodd mind-controls him to engineer the accident at STAR Labs in the past to "create" him, 3) Barry disappears from that future to travel to his own past to a self-identified point that started everything and Grodd sends Wells to stop him, 4) in order to succeed, Wells must threaten Iris. Barry chooses Iris over his mom. Mom dies thereby ensuring the future happens as intended. It's basically a fate that Barry can't alter. Also Greg Berlanti is on record saying he isn't afraid to go full on crazy like The Flash comics and has said he will not tone down one bit of the insanity that are the aspects of this character."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Eight reasons why you should drop what you are doing and go see Kingsman: The Secret Service

I (like most of America) went and saw Fifty Shades of Grey. But I don't want to talk about Fifty Shades. I want to talk about Kingsman: The Secret Service, because I saw it twice this weekend and really want to go again soon. WARNING: SPOILERS ARE AHEAD.

Some of you probably know that Kingsman: The Secret Service is a comic book by Mark Millar. But if you didn't, or if for some reason you are not a fan of comic books, you should put all your prejudice aside and go see this extremely fun movie. Why? Let me count the ways in which it is awesome:

  • The violence is gratuitous, hypnotic, crazy and wonderful. People's heads explode like fireworks done to the British anthem. With Vaughn at the helm, the action is pure gun-kata, which is basically Batman + guns divided by karate--a formula that creates pure win.
  • The nods to Bond are crazy good. The villain is Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp. Think about that for a moment at the awesome that is Samuel L. Jackson when he says, "Shoot that mother f*cker now!" with a lisp? There is no one that can drop "mother f*cker like Samuel L. Jackson. He can't stand the sight of blood, but he's a mass murderering insane billionaire, and his assistant in true Bond style is an athletic woman with prosthetic legs capable of amputating limbs and lopping off heads with a single blow. Odd Job and Jaws got nothing on Valentine's assistant.
  • The great gadgets are full frontal! A bulletproof umbrella that is also a gun with many different effects, a watch that can render someone unconscious and give them amnesia, a cigarette lighter that's also a grenade, a H.A.L.O. balloon rig that can shoot down a satellite, a pair of oxford shoes that have knives in them coated with lethal neurotoxin, a fountain pen that can dispense poison that remains dormant in the system unless a switch is activated, a SIM card that makes people crazy so that they beat each other to death, and on and on and on. WOW! I was breathless.
  • Taron Egerton. Hands down the best eye-candy in the world. He's replaced Chris Evans at the top of my list (sorry Chris). Colin Firth is very handsome too. Even aside from the eye candy aspect of Eggsy, he's a really good person. For example, he won't shoot his puppy like the other candidate did. Seriously, if that doesn't make you love the character nothing will. What put Taron on top though is his accent...which leads me to...
  • British accents. They are everywhere and they are glorious. When Harry (Colin Firth) turns to a crazy church goer in this movie's homage to the Westboro Baptists and responds to "where are you going?" in thick British (and wearing a proper suit), "Madame, I'm a Catholic going to visit my black Jewish Boyfriend whom I have sexual congress with outside of wedlock who works in an abortion clinic. Hail Satan." It's delivered with the bravado that only the British can muster. And of course it precedes the most incredible display of psychotic violence I've seen outside a Tarantino film.
  • It breaks the fourth wall. Kingsman is a carefully constructed film that walks the fine line between absurdity and seriousness by having a complete blast with all of its tropes. It's literally a rollercoaster ride, even when consuming McDonald's cheeseburgers at a billionaire sit down dinner.
  • Knights of the Round Table! All of the Kingsman are knights of the round table. There's Lancelot, Arthur, Percivale, Galahad, and on and on. They even have a Merlin. Arthurian knights as British spies just convince me that all of the best spies in fiction are British.
So those are eight reasons why you should drop what you are doing and go see Kingsman: The Secret Service. However, if you need more, maybe you should watch the clip below.