Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of Year End-of-Yearings

Another year is coming to a close. Good-bye, 2009... you were, well, a little weird. If I haven't written about all your weirdness already, I'm sure I'll get to it next year. Other than that, I met a lot of cool people in 2009, including "re-meeting" some cool people. I also disconnected with some people, some on purpose (which is rather odd for me, as friends can attest to) and some on accident (which happens more than I care to admit).

2009 (Really) Quick Review:

The Padres sucked and the Chargers rocked. Here's hoping the Chargers make it to the Super Bowl...

The Battlestar Galactica finale was, er, garbage.

Um... did anything else happen in 2009? I forget...

Blog Notes:

Anyway, I decided to cease and desist the MySpace mirror for this blog (some might have noticed the "Subscribe via MySpace" widget disappearing on December 8th... then again, probably not). I was going to wait until New Year's before I stopped the mirror, but MySpace decided to go ahead and block Blogspot/Blogger links again, so I gave up on the 11th. Anybody who still gets notifications from MySpace needs to subscribe via one of the other methods. No, I'm not deleting my MySpace account, and if MySpace gets with the program and decides to offer some sort of automatic feed posting, then I'll take advantage of it. But, until such time, au revoir MySpace Blogs!

I'm also going to make the Irrewind column into a bi-weekly one. Or, rather, the first and third Saturdays of each month. Why? For no other reason than that I am kinda lazy... and that I did the math: my Irrewinds would outrun (so to speak) my posting frequency if I kept them up weekly.

In other news: One-Line Movie Reviews will henceforth be known as Irreview! What does "irreview" mean? Nothing!

In Conclusion:

I clearly have nothing profound to pass along, so enough of this.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Burning Bridge

It's time to pack up and go
while the bridge can still be traversed
before it turns into ash
and the water underneath no longer has reason to flow… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Battlestar Enterprise, Part VI

Well, I was going to take some time to explain what constitutes a decade and a century, given all the half-assed hoopla going around in some circles, but once again, a football game decided to last longer than it should have. So...

This is the final part of
Battlestar Enterprise that was written. I kinda got tired of it, as I'm sure most of you have. Which means the anti-fans can cheer up! You probably won't have to see one of these again!

Part VI originally posted April 28, 2009

***

"Man, fuck this shit 'n shit," He-Boomer said aloud, to no one in particular. He appreciated the fact he was back behind the stick very much, but he also couldn't stand being on a search mission for the old man's kid. David Adama was a moron, and everybody knew it. The guy would run around spouting fairness all day long, and even advocated civilization's return to the Stone Age. What a fucking idiot. What possible advantage could that have?

"What was that?" squawked the radio. It was StarHeBuck, still sore, no doubt, at being forced to have a sex-change. It was blind luck that Enterprise had found a ship-full of doctors in the middle of nowhere. One of those "deus ex machina" things that seemed to happen more often than not as of late.

"Nothing 'n shit," He-Boomer replied. "Keep your motherfucking attention on the sensors."

"I have a question," another voice declared over comms. This time it was Jolly, whom everyone referred to as the King of the Cameo. "Why the fuck didn't we take a Raptor on this mission? Vipers aren't exactly equipped for long-range surveillance, you know?"

He-Boomer grimaced. Jolly had always been the voice of reason, even after his decades-long disappearance. He had been captured by the Cylons during a Black Ops mission, then inexplicably let go. Sure, Jolly's fanboys tried to make fan-sense of the situation, but no matter how hard any of those idiots tried, the stories just didn't hold up under scrutiny. "Probably because someone forgot about them when writing up the OpOrder 'n shit. Shut the fuck up and fly 'n shit."

***

James T. Adama was biting his fingernails. He hadn't done that since he was in the cockpit of a fighter, and Saul Spock took notice. Spock raised that inquiring eyebrow like he always did, prompting Adama to put his hands in his pockets for a round of pocket polo.

"I heard radio chatter," Adama said pointedly to Duhura, mocha legs still oozing sex appeal in the dim light of the CIC.

"It's just He-Boomer, sir. He's just irritated as usual."

Adama turned to his CAG, Jackson "Ripper" Chakotay, an otherwise worthless character of man who Adama had thought was killed during the Cylon invasion. Chakotay knew what Adama was going to ask and preempted the question.

"You think I should send out more birds, Captain?"

Adama shook his head. Is it too much to ask to be referred to as Admiral around this fucking ship?

"I think so," Adama half-murmured, trying to hide his disdain for the apparent lack of recognition for his promotion. Fine, Roslin wasn't the "real" President, but she promoted him, so that counts for something, right? "What do you think?"

Chakotay nodded before even considering the question. He was nothing but a silly ethnic yes-man, after all. "Whatever you say, sir."

Adama shook he head again, almost in disbelief at the stupidity that runs around Enterprise. He was starting to worry that he was never going to find his son.

***

She-Boomer sat watching David's Viper as it just floated along in space. She could see David was talking to somebody, or maybe himself, but he didn't seem to acknowledge that she was there. She-Boomer turned to Crashdown and Helo.

"What do you make of this, guys?"

Helo got up from the ECMO seat and stuck his head between She-Boomer and Crashdown. He was so jealous of Crashdown, who got to sit close enough to She-Boomer and could smell her perfume. Silica, he thought it was.

"Don't know. Maybe he's got one of those STDs that fucks with the brain."

She-Boomer slapped Helo playfully. She wanted very much to rip his clothes off and eat him up alive, but with Crashdown there, such an action wasn't advised. She didn't know why she had such thoughts. She was very much in love with Montgomery Tyrol, but the Chief was packing on the pounds lately, and the last time they had sex he almost crushed her. That, and she could swear she smelled Cally's lipstick on him.

Suddenly, a bright flash of light.

She-Boomer, Helo, and Crashdown stared awestruck out the cockpit. Another Viper had just materialized out of thin air. And in the vacuum of deep space, no less.

***

Monday, December 28, 2009

Drained Musings

Being drained sucks, doesn't it? I'm not talking about being drained as a result of being proactive... that kind of drained is fine; it usually means you've accomplished or are accomplishing something. I'm talking about the other kind of drained... the kind that's the result of being reactive (usually to other people). THAT kind sucks. And the people who cause that kind of, er, drainage suck.

It's kinda ironic, too (or hypocritical, depending on how you look at it)... a buddy of mine, who after an extremely prolific November, suddenly seemed to "dry up" as far as creativity goes. I've been giving him a hard time about it, but to no avail. And now, I'm the one who's all blah. I can't think of a single thing to write, other than these meandering musings that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Then again, does anything I write mean anything in the grand scheme of things? Hmm... must consult Magic 8-ball.

Anyway... enough of that.

So, the San Diego Chargers clinched the #2 seed in the AFC after an ass-whooping they handed to the Tennessee Titans (42-17... ouch!). I actually would have written about this sooner, but I was DRAINED! Still drained, really, but...

Go Chargers!

I am fighting a nicotine addiction with every ounce of willpower that I have. In other words: I'm losing. I've also come to the realization that even though I don't like smoking, I don't like not smoking either. What the Hell am I supposed to do with an attitude like that?

You've probably noticed (especially if you're one of the few who will bother to read this far) that I'm messing with a nav-bar (and that it keeps disappearing and reappearing). I have no idea what I really want to do with it, but messing with it is forcing me to learn CSS. And, in this day and age, CSS isn't a bad thing to learn. What relevance that has towards anything you might be interested in is beyond me, but I felt like mentioning it. And if anyone has any advice or ideas concerning implementation and/or other features, feel free to drop me a line.

Anybody know any good jokes? I haven't heard any good jokes in a while. 

And that's all I really feel like writing at the moment. I'm lame, I know.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Irrewind, 20091226: Eulogy

Some might think it odd that I'm doing an Irrewind on pieces I've written about people who have died, especially on the day after Christmas, but I don't think it's odd at all. In fact, I'd have probably have done it earlier, but I didn't want to bum anybody out. That stated, I don't want anybody to forget these people, either.

Whenever somebody important to me dies, I usually write about them. Sometimes it's a celebrity or other public figure that I admire, and all too often it's someone I knew personally. Life sucks, and it always ends in death... and given how loquacious I tend to be, if I'm going to talk about something, I owe it to everybody to talk about them.

"Eulogy for O. Hawkins"
I met Omer Hawkins in 2000, when I had transferred from the C Company to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 37th Engineer Battalion. I didn't know what to make of him at first... a short guy, a chain smoker like the rest of us, with a grating voice... Read More

"The Angel George Carlin"
Although I grew up listening to snippets of Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Eddie Murphy, and the oft-overrated Andy Kaufman, it was George Carlin who was my first real introduction to stand-up comedy. Oddly, my first memory of Carlin was hearing a joke concerning an... Read More

"Michael Crichton: A World of Words"
Michael Crichton died on November 4. Perhaps you heard, but perhaps you didn't. Even though American history was made on that day, it's a bit sad to have a man as accomplished as Michael Crichton pass away with barely a blurb on the television news... Read More

"Master Sergeant David L. Hurt"
My first impression of Sergeant Hurt was, well, less than impressive. He came across as a little clumsy, a little irreverent, and more than a little egotistical. And, you know what? He was all of those things... Read More

"Staff Sergeant Glen H. Stivison, Jr."
I met Glen in South Korea around Christmas of 2000. Well, that's what we thought, anyway. There was a bit of recognition between us, but as he wasn't a paratrooper, the odds that our paths had crossed before then were a bit slimmer than usual. So, one day, we sat down... Read More

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Theme Thursdays, 2009

So, in mid-summer of 2009 I was turned on to a writing group called Theme Thursday. My buddy at Caffeinated Joe asked me to help him edit a piece concerned with the topic of "Funky" (check it out here). I was a bit confused at first because he was stressing out about a midnight deadline, so he explained the whole gist of the group to me.

Basically, a topic or theme is posted on a Sunday, and everyone participating needs to have their posts up the subsequent Thursday (a lot of people jump the gun, but whatever). I wasn't interested at first, even though the following week's topic was "Ghost" (which I could've done something fun with) but good ol' coffeed-up Joe convinced me to give it a shot the very next week. So I did and, with a few exceptions (mostly due to creative stagnation), I've been writing something for Theme Thursday every week. I did "cheat" one time and simply reposted an old piece rather than write a new one, and I've reposted old pieces along with new ones for particular topics, but I've marked those old pieces with asterisks (so don't whine about it).

Due to the holiday season, there's no Theme Thursday today, but if anyone is curious and has the time, check out the topics/themes along with my entries (some are fiction, some are poetry, a couple are vain attempts at defeating a lack of writer's mood). If not... eh... go back to your World of Warcraft.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Internet Writers - Quick Blog Reviews II

A while ago I wrote some cursory reviews of ramblings that I tend to read. Admittedly, as I tended to stay within familiar circles, most of what I reviewed is material from people who are personal friends of mine (only one was of a blog not written by someone I knew at the time). Recently, however, I've had nothing but time to write and to read the writings of others, both friend and stranger, and am going to pimp out some of what I like.

Now, as a disclaimer, I prefer to talk about people who don't already have fairly large followings, so if you're not on this list, think nothing of it (you're probably on my blog-roll, anyway).

The Alchemist's Pillow - a poet who likes to discuss art in all its forms, this is an interesting blog. There is an underlying intent to the writing found here, and that intent is to make everything seem like a dream. And, I must admit, it usually works. There are occasional forays into reviews and analysis, and those often provide as much insight into the author as they do into the subject being analyzed. Definitely worth a look.

Half-Moose with a Twist - think Dr. Suess and Shel Silverstein, but with an older target audience and a small dose of cocaine. Irreverently funny writing - sometimes poetry and sometimes prose - combined with at-first-glance cute, at-second-glance insane artwork makes for as enjoyable an experience as one can have perusing blogs. Why this place is one of the Internet's best-kept secrets rather than one of the Internet's most popular landing sites is beyond me. Perhaps people don't "get it," but I think that's the point. I don't get it, and I love it!

Heaven in Hell - if you like writing that concerns itself with frustration, as well as writing that is so obviously written in frustration, this is your place. Fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry are the usual fare, but there are occasional forays into commentary (via diary-esque pieces), and while the frustration sometimes overshadows the work itself, the work always remains intriguing.

The Id's Whisper - a bit rough around the edges, this is home to a deviant imagination unafraid to share unorthodox opinions and somewhat disturbing fiction. What the writer of The Id's Whisper lacks in skill, he makes up for in content. Unfortunately, it's easy to see a lack of patience and motivation in the work, but I'm guessing the blog was created to foster those things. Give it a whirl... you might be surprised. Also, as it is here, pointing out grammar and spelling errors, as well as offering constructive criticism, is welcomed and desired.

It Must Be the Vapors - there are "deep-thinkers" and then there are deep-thinkers. This place is the home of the latter. Offering both subtle and overt commentary, the author of It Must Be the Vapors can wax philosphic with the best of them. Clearly a student of observation, his work is poignant, often critical, and always introspective. And, oh yeah, be prepared to have to read his stuff more than once. Layers upon layers abound.

Check out the previous reviews here: Internet Writers - Quick Blog Reviews

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Exodus Lost

*This is another summary/excerpt piece like Gateway and A Dragon in Winter. It was written fairly quickly and is not really meant to be a criticism of any particular set of beliefs; it's just meant to be a rip-roaring tale. Hope you enjoy.

***

Talbot pauses to stare at the stained glass image of the Madonna over the oak doors. He's seen the image - similar ones, at least - many, many times, but for some reason this one appears to be brighter in color than they usually are. The crowns on Jesus and Mary's heads shimmer bright gold, an oddity given that the sun outside is well into setting. The blues of her dress scream their azure refraction and even the reddish-purple cedars behind her seem alive with the pulse of an imaginary wind. There are over 3000 cathedrals in the… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***

*Continued in The Man in the Fedora

Monday, December 21, 2009

Introducing the AFC West-Champion San Diego Chargers

Can a day be better for a football team? Well, sure, but not by much. Before the first quarter between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals was even finished, the Chargers had already clinched a playoff spot (thanks to losses by the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New York Jets). Once the Chargers defeated the Bengals (an extremely close 27-24), the Chargers had locked up the division. That the second place Denver Broncos lost to the Oakland Raiders in the final seconds of that game was just icing on the cake.

This marks the first time in team history that the Chargers have won the division four years in a row (they've won it three times in a row twice before: from 1963-1965 and from 1979-1981).

All that's left to do now is to lock up a first-round bye (homefield advantage has already been assumed by the Indianapolis Colts). Hopefully the Chargers can do that against the Tennessee Titans on Christmas Day.

I may not seem like it, but I'm ecstatic. Since becoming a true Chargers fan in 1987 (I was merely an "associated" Chargers fan prior to that), I've endured 13 .500-and-below seasons (not counting the 8-8 season in which they somehow won the division), including a dreadful 1-15 season in 2000. But, unlike some other fans I know (both of the Chargers and of other teams), I've never wavered in my loyalty to the lightning bolts. In fact, other than the Drew Brees-led New Orleans Saints, I don't think I've ever even rooted for another team.

Anyway, anyone who's interested can read about the game elsewhere... I'm just going to drop some kudos.

Charger Kudos

Quentin Jammer - that interception of Carson Palmer on a Cincinnati 1st-and-10 more than made up for that interception you should've had earlier in the game.

Vincent Jackson - five receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns? You rock. Also notable is that with those yards, you've given the Chargers their first tandem of 1000-yard receivers (along with Antonio Gates) in over two decades.

Philip Rivers - even though you threw two interceptions, you also three three touchdowns, and that made all the difference.

Kevin Ellison and Alfonso Boone - for sacking Carson Palmer. Extra kudos for Ellison, as it was his first sack ever.

Nate Kaeding - your first game-winning field goal ever (according to radio announcer... not sure if that's true, but will check on it) and a 52-yarder at that. I'm a fan, and I still find it odd that you're the most accurate field goal kicker in the history of the NFL.

Norv Turner - yes, I might be coming around.

Ron Rivera - keeping the defense together with a lot of pieces missing and/or injured.

That's all for now, though the entire team probably deserves kudos... Go Chargers!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Irrewind, 20091219: Sports

Though I haven't officially played a sport since I was young enough for Little League (unless you count some intramural stuff when I was in the Army), I am a vehement sports fan. Most people who know me know that I am a die-hard San Diego Chargers and San Diego Padres fan. I also follow hockey, but as San Diego doesn't have a team, I pull for the Anaheim Ducks (via proximity) and the Carolina Hurricanes (via being in North Carolina when the team moved from Hartford, Connecticut). Basketball, admittedly, is my least favorite of the big four American sports, but when I'm in the mood I back the Los Angeles Clippers (formerly the San Diego Clippers... noticing a pattern?).

At any rate, I sometimes write about sports... usually football... and I figured I'd (re)share some of my insane opinions here.

"San Diego: Sports Town? Or Not?"
San Diego is, among other things, one of the most beautiful places in the United States, and is easily arguably the most beautiful big city in the country. A beach culture, the Western Hemisphere's best weather, a foreign country right next door, Hollywood to the northwest... Read More

"The Los Angeles Chargers"
I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything, and I truly love my Chargers, but it does seem a little odd that the best season in San Diego history since A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR, AWAY... is happening right when the Chargers are trying to force their way into a... Read More

"Baseball Musings"
In honor of the first weekend of the baseball season, I've decided to bless you with my totally pointless thoughts concerning baseball, America's former favorite pastime.

162 regular season games is way too many. They should drop the season back to 154 games... Read More

"The Los Angeles Jets of the NFL"
Expansion, of course, is the obvious answer, but since the NFL is almost perfectly balanced and scheduled with a 32-team league, this doesn't seem likely. No, I don't think that adding a team or two (or four) would hurt the NFL by depleting the talent pool like so many people... Read More

"1140-Yard Benchmark"
Let's face it, the 1000-yard benchmark signifying a wide receiver or running back's quality is lame. Oh, sure, way back when the football season was only 14 games, it meant something. It meant even more when the season was only 12 games (before 1961). But today, the... Read More

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Lovers Spectra

Hues disperse as they run away from me. Vermilion, long abandoned, laughs in the distance. The brothers Crimson and Maroon stand together, forming an image of a bleeding heart, but the Blood soon runs out. Whoever made the mistake of attributing Red to love never understood what it meant to be angry. The Cardinal flies to catch its fleeting bird while Scarlet looks on as her lover flees Tara. Bloodshot eyes amid alcohol's Blush fail to numb Rosy cheeks. The sunset reveals brief Magenta as it fades, first into Lavender, then into the arms… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Film is Collaboration

So there was a conversation the other day. Well, of course there was. People talk, after all. However, this was a conversation concerning an aspiring filmmaker who, like many aspiring filmmakers, views himself as an "artist." In and of itself, there's nothing wrong with being an artist in the film world, but the connotation of the concept is what is a large problem in that particular industry.

You see, the "artists" tend to fancy themselves as not just artists, but as "the next big thing" (oh, if only they could get noticed... yeah, that old story). We're talking "the next Spielberg," "the next Scorsese," "the next Woody Allen," and the list goes on. Lofty goals, sure, and there's nothing wrong with lofty goals, but therein lies the rub: up-and-comers tend to think that Spielberg, Scorsese, and Woody Allen did everything by themselves. As a result, said up-and-comer (and I'm using that term very generously) tries to do everything by himself or herself. And, guess what? Film, unlike some other art forms, doesn't work that way.

Film. Is. Collaboration.

Film is not painting. It is not sculpture. It is not music. One person is not responsible for the idea, the production and creation, and the exhibition of the artwork. In all likelihood, the director is not the writer, the writer is not the cinematographer, the cinematographer is not the actor, and the actor is not the editor. Yes, there are notable exceptions involving multi-tasking, but NONE of those exceptions involved a filmmaker doing everything. Quite simply, that's next to impossible (unless we're talking some sort of auteur-driven avant garde film, but we're not... we're talking film as it pertains to the film industry). Even arguing the Bachs and Beethovens of the music world you have to account for the Yo-Yo Mas and the Itzhak Perlmans.

This all seems obvious, I'm sure, and I'm equally sure that if you're still reading this, you're wondering where the Hell I'm going with it. Here's where: the propensity of young "independent" filmmakers to attempt total control of a project has to stop. This propensity, as I've probably failed at alluding to, comes from the propensity to want to be "artists" above all else.

All too often you will find a young (and probably talented) aspiring filmmaker who wants to make "my project." In other words, that filmmaker wants to A) write the script, B) rewrite the script, C) lock the shooting script, D) produce the film, E) direct the film, F) shoot the film, G) star in the film, H) edit the film, and I) sell, distribute, and market the film.

Pardon my French, but: get. fucking. real.

Even George Lucas, that all-too banal overrated filmmaker (though an outstanding film businessman and innovator, if not the best), once said that writing, directing, and producing a film (the original Star Wars... oh, the irony) was one role too many. And, despite my disdain for admitting such, he was and remains right.

Now, opponents of this argument will no doubt point to Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, and countless others, but even those examples all freely admit to the collaborative nature of filmmaking. Look how much credit QT gives to Uma Thurman for the Kill Bill series. Find out how much credit Rodriguez gives to Tarantino on various film, never mind how much he gives to Frank Miller for Sin City.

The inconvenient truth here is that few of us are as good as any of the people mentioned above, and what aspiring filmmakers need to realize is that their talents probably lie in a specific aspect of filmmaking. Which means that they need to find other aspiring filmmakers whose talents lie in those aspects that they themselves are lacking.

In other words, the next time someone says "I've got my own project," let them know that a film - both before it's completed and after it's distributed - is never artistically owned by one person. It just doesn't happen. And it probably never will.

So... who wants to get a project going?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Irresponse, December 2009

Okay, so I've finally decided to start answering some questions and comments that have been presented to me. Maybe I'll do this monthly, and maybe I won't... who knows? I'm a bit erratic when it comes to being productive.

At any rate, I've gone back to when I came over to Blogger (unanswered questions asked prior to that will just have to wait... and probably forever) and picked out a few things to respond to:

From A Kiss by Extension:
  • Q: Dot-Com said... Wow, but I agree with others about the "kill" statement. I doubt it was on his mind :-) 
  • A: Oh, but it most certainly was. Possibly the result of seeing Famke Janssen in Goldeneye one too many times.
From Fearless:
  • Q: Alan Burnett said... Question 1 : "Lords and Kings fall because they are not their fathers. Fathers fail because they do not choose their daughters". Discuss with reference to British history in the period 1400 to 1750. 
  • A: Alan, the former part of that line is not a reference to British history; the latter part is a subtle and indirect nod to Elizabeth and Henry VIII.
From A River in Epirus:
  • Q: Geoff said... Your last two blogs seem to be rather dark, both addressing death. Something you want to tell us? :) 
  • A: Er... death makes for good storytelling? Not that it's good storytelling, just that it makes for good storytelling.
From Battlestar Enterprise, Part II:
  • Q: Yoork said...  I was feeling a Star Wars vibe too, with the incest part. I still have not seen Battle Star Gallactica. Everyone says I must watch. Somehow I can't imagine the plot lines being THIS scandalous?
  • A: Oh, they get pretty silly.
From Oft-Delayed Random Musings:
  • Q: Bill G. said... "Er... never mind... it's only for people drinking ONE glass of wine a day." ?? So what's the size of your glass, and how many per day? 
  • A: Glass? I drink from the bottle!
From Once a Time:
  • Q: willow said... Wow, these would make great lyrics. You should set them to music! Are you musical, as well? 
  • A: Willow, I am musical a tiny bit. Piano, trumpet, and learning guitar. I also scored a short film once, but it was pretty bad.
From Pet Musings: October 12, 2009:
  • Q: e said... I echo the sentiment re: your wandering dogs, and hope your cat stays put. What book are you providing analysis of, she asks curiously??? Also, I've a book recommendation since you've so many friends of the canine and feline variety: Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin. Cheers and good luck with the analysis. 
  • A: Actually wound up having to analyze three books: 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Last Picture Show, and Cold Mountain.
From Coldscapes:
  • Q: Ronda Laveen said... So, on occasion, I've read your stories that are similarly echoing Russian spy novels or Bond. Is this a genre you like? Past life? Current life? I'm from the Wonderland and I like to wonder. 
  • A: Pretty much just a genre fan, despite what some think. Ignore those people.
From Things I Did On Thanksgiving:
  • Q: Siobhan said... We don't celebrate thanksgiving in my neck of the woods! Plants vs Zombies, eh?.... What platform is it played on? PC? Xbox? 
  • A: PC. And now, apparently, on iPhone.
From A Dragon in Winter:
  • Q1: Brian Miller said... nice...i like this jeff...so will you be sharing more of it as you continue? 
  • Q2: Wings said... Great writing, and quite epic in scope, eh? How big is this novel? 
  • A: It's possible I'll share more... and, yes, it's intended to be "epic." If it does wind up a novel, it'll be rather large. The posted piece itself is a essentially a summary of the scenes depicted, rather than the full scenes themselves. I'm not a huge fan of long blog posts, so I tried to keep it as short as possible without losing the essence. Or some narcissistic intent such as that. Heh.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Battlestar Enterprise, Part V

Well, as the night game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles ran a bit late, I was remiss in my preparation to write something new (ironically, I was going with sports-related), so I'm resorting to posting another edition of Battlestar Enterprise. For those who hate these, don't fret; there's only one more after this one!
Part V originally posted April 14, 2009

***

David blinked his eyes. He couldn't see anything but bright, white light. He was still in his Viper, but She-Boomer's Raptor was nowhere to be found. Silly him... why did he get so close to the anomaly? After all, it's the Raptor that is equipped with the necessary sensors to properly analyze it. All the Viper can do is identify friend or foe and shoot at the damned thing. Eh, it was probably the scientist in him. Why, oh, why, didn't his dad let him be a Raptor flight officer? Probably because that would've made too much sense for such a muddled continuity.

A shape appeared. Another viper. This one seemed different somehow. It looked brand new. As it drifted closer to him, he could make out a pilot in its cockpit. Blond hair. Way out of her acting depth. StarSheBuck? Wasn't she still on Galactiprise?

***

StarSheBuck ran down the corridors of Galactica, er, Enterprise. Ah, fuck it, we'll just stick with Galactiprise and ret-con shit right now. Anyway, StarSheBuck ran down the corridors of Galactiprise, listening to the music in her intergalactic iPod. The beat of the music matched the beat of her cadence, and she was sublimely aware that the music was guiding her around the ship. Of course, she had no idea that she forgot her iPod in her room and was listening to a random paranormal signal being transmitted directly to her brain by the Imperious Leader of folk rock, Dylan Hendrix Baltar. He did, after all, want to fuck the shit out of her. What better way to do that than convince a woman that she's a messenger from Zeus?

"There must be some kind of way out here," she said, slowing to a quick walk.

A nearby marine was rummaging through an unattended backpack, probably trying to steal some cigarettes. He looked up at StarSheBuck, a slightly confused look on his face. "Pilot quarters are aft, two decks down."

"I know where the pilot quarters are, Jarhead. I fucking live there." StarSheBuck rarely had time for significant conversation, or even a thank you.

"What are you, some kind of joker?" The marine did not look amused.

StarSheBuck picked up her gait, suddenly aware what the marine was doing. "What are you, some kind of thief?"

This is all too confusing.

***

David keyed his radio, not entirely expecting an answer. "StarSheBuck? Kara, is that you?"

"Who the fuck do you think it is, you fucking pansy." It was not a question.

Satisfied that was really StarSheBuck, I mean, really, who else but the real StarSheBuck would talk like that, David waved at her. "What's all this white light?"

A strange voice cackled over the speaker. It was He-Boomer. "Oh, you gotta go there 'n shit. White light, my ass. Fuck you honkey bitches."

StarSheBuck and David looked at each other, wondered for a moment what the Hell, er, Hades, er, Underworld that communication was. They stared into each other's eyes. David noticed his groin was getting a bit tight. He was going to profess his undying love for StarSheBuck when she started laughing.

"What's funny? We're lost, She-Boomer's gone, and I have to pee."

StarSheBuck rolled her eyes. "You're an idiot."

David got defensive. "How is it my fault vipers don't have bathrooms? Fuck, Raptors have bathrooms."

"I've been to Earth, David. And I'm going to take us there."

What? Now David was really confused. What the fuck is Earth? And which one? And does it have pigeons?

***

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Irrewind, 20091212: Movies

I watch a ton of movies. Now, I was going to write something that was unknown about myself, but it didn't come out quite right. So... I watch a ton of movies. In addition to watching a ton of movies (literally... a ton... have you ever weighed a film reel?), I write about watching a ton of movies. Usually I'm a bit lazy about such things and the result is my illustrious (not) "One-Line Movie Reviews," but every now and then I do something a little different.

"Immigration, Terrorism, Hollywood"
Two hot topics in politics right now are proliferating on the big and small screens, as of late, so I figured I'd fuel whatever fire and review three movies I've seen recently, as well as the season 6 premiere of one of the best shows on television... Read More

"The Best World War II Films You Didn't Like"
In preparation for going to see Letters From Iwo Jima, I watched Flags of Our Fathers again. Back when it was released theatrically, I called it another Eastwood masterpiece, a subtle one, at that. However, even as I wrote those words, I hated the ending, didn't much... Read More

"Subtitles, Dubs, and the Subtle Stupidity of Dubtitles"
I watch a lot of movies. A lot. I try to go to a theater at least once every two weeks and will probably watch at least two at home every week. Admittedly, I haven't exactly been meeting that quota since I left North Carolina, but you get the idea: I watch a lot of movies... Read More

"10 Movies Everybody Loves... That I Hate"
I watched Curse of the Golden Flower for the first time last night and was thoroughly unimpressed. I had heard that the film was the box office record holder in China, so I figured it must be great. Not good. Great... Read More

"The Greatest Animated Movies of All Time"
Okay, so these aren't objectively the greatest animated movies of all time, but these are definitely my all-time favorites. An objective list would have to include Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, as that was the film that proved animated features were a viable genre, but... Read More

Friday, December 11, 2009

Long Overdue Useless Opinions

So, I'm having a grand old time in limbo... no, really, I actually am. No responsibilities (save the pets), fewer bills (along with less income, but who cares), and a general sense of "chill." I like "chill," particularly when it's in quotation marks. But I hate the cold... oh, do I hate the cold. Is that irony? I'm not entirely sure, but I'm of the opinion that it is not.

Ah, well.

I'm also having a grand old time redesigning this place, as some can tell. On December 7th (Pearl Harbor day here in the United States) I finally implemented that long-elusive 3-column format here. I could've cheated and simply uploaded a 3-column template from some website, but I like to do things myself. Of course, I had a bit of help finding the right html coding from my friend, Kate W., but I shall forever after fail to attribute any credit to her. In other words: forget what you just read and pretend I did it all myself.

Anyway, I've noticed that this place has evolved from a forum in which I ranted or raved about particular issues (as well as my life) into a exhibition of early drafts of some of my creative work. I'm not sure if it's going to stay that way, but it might, as I find myself almost completely bereft of interest in news and politics as of late. US budget crisis? Who cares? I've been in a budget crisis since 2003, and I'm still around. Universal Health Care? Who cares? I'm a veteran who receives disability from the government (although I do admit that I sorely need to visit a dentist). Um... what else is happening in the world? What? We have a black President???

Ahem... since I have "evolved" (love quotations... LOVE 'em), I'm going to go back to my roots and be superficially opinionated for the day. Without further amusement... whatever...

Onions
Hate 'em. But I eat 'em. And I actually kinda like 'em, so forget I said anything.

Football
American football, mind you; not that overrated European/South American phenomenon that moves way too slowly to be considered a sport. I was going somewhere with this, but I'm lost now...

Democrats
I have come to realize that the term is a contradiction. Democracy is defined as "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly..." But here in the US, at least, Democrats are people who want the government to tell them what to do, how to do it, and then provide for it on top of that. Isn't that oligarchy? Ah, well, I don't really care.

Republicans
There used to be a John Wayne-influenced phenomenon among the right in the United States that "America is a Republic, not a democracy." Yeah, well, look up the definitions of the two... a democracy is, by definition, a Republic. Again, I don't really care, but I just had to point that out.

Daily Cartoons
The sole reason that Saturdays are no longer worshiped by young children anymore. Nickelodeon, you are the Devil!

The Devil
Not real. Enough said. Moving on.

Garlic
I do hate garlic, but I like using garlic powder in the rare instances that involve me cooking something. And I like garlic when prepared by someone who knows what they're doing. So I just contradicted myself again. Big whoop, I do it all the time.

Xhe
I find it odd when I see people using this word. And, yes, there are people using this word. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, read this: He and She Presents: Xhe!

Ninjas
Ninjas are cool. One on one, there is no pirate who can defeat a ninja. However, there are few (if any) ninjas who know how to sail and assault other ships. So, at sea, pirates ARE the ninjas. Anyway, it's a sad state of Japanese cultural affairs when one visits a "ninja school" in Japan and sees nothing but nerdy white guys who essentially make up their own rules of what constitutes ninjitsu and call themselves ninja.

No, that is not a joke. This is what has really happened. It's very disturbing.

Soccer
Or, "association football," is not as cool as American football. So there.

Hockey
Remains the coolest sport to watch.

Sleep
An excellent activity. And it might be calling...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Dragon in Winter

*This piece, like Gateway, is less a complete story and more a summary/excerpt of larger stories that I'm working on. It's primarily an exercise, but I think it's developed enough to share and be read and criticized.

***

A day that was ending unusually had begun unusually, in retrospect. Áfastr had never been hunting with a woman, but for some reason - probably the knee-shaking nervousness that comes with courting someone for the first time - he invited Kolfrosta with him. The intention was to hunt for food, as his family's meat stores were getting low, but when Kolfrosta agreed to accompany him, Áfastr modified what was to have been a deer hunt into a hunt for wolves. What better way to show his masculinity to a hopeful bride than to hunt another of… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***

*Followed by The Storms of Dust, Part I

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One-Line Movie Reviews IX

Alice (2009)(miniseries) - another attempt by Syfy (formerly SciFi... which was a much better moniker, I must add) to "modernize" a literary classic. They did a piss-poor job with The Wizard of Oz (the absolutely dreadful Tin Man) and they've done a much worse job with Alice in Wonderland. At least Tin Man made you watch it for a while before you decided that it was crap. Alice's opening scene let you know it's garbage. Bad acting, bad directing, bad script, bad interpretation... the list goes on. Verdict: SKIP it.

Gamer (2009) - as a film that attempts to be social commentary disguised as an action movie, it fails in that regard. It is, however, a fairly decent action movie with some superficial social commentary lacquered on its face. Fittingly, the cinematography is as slick as its superficiality. Featuring a surprising cast (Gerard Butler, Kyra Sedgwick, Ludacris, Michael C. Hall, Milo Ventimiglia, John Leguizamo), the acting was enough to carry such an over-the-top story. Not bad, but nothing really good, either... save the "video game" look that was rather impressive. Verdict: SEE it... might as well, especially if you're into video games.

Inglourious Basterds (2009) - Some people in Hollywood think Quentin Tarantino is overrated. Hell, a lot of people think Quentin Tarantino is overrated. I am not one of them (although, I admit, I used to be). Inglourious Basterds, a film set in an alternate-reality's World War II, is fucking awesome. While there is an underlying plot, QT pretty much concentrates on making a film that makes no bones about what it's really concerned with: quirky caricatures in really fucked-up situations. Nowhere near as phenomenal as the Kill Bill series, but still excellent. Verdict: SEE it.

Jennifer's Body (2009) - Diablo Cody's much-anticipated follow-up to the excellent Juno is... a trashy horror film? I don't mean to sound sexist, but this film was clearly written for the XX chromosomes. That's not a bad thing, but this film certainly hurt itself which such intent... particularly with the presence of Y-chromosome attraction Megan Fox. Verdict: SKIP it and rent Juno instead. Or if you're in mood for an estrogen-ladened horror, rent The Descent (which is brilliant).

Law Abiding Citizen (2009) - starts out an excellent movie, a seeming commentary on the hilarity that sometimes is the American justice system. Then it becomes a pretty good Hollywood movie, despite being replete with cliché and a devolution into action/suspense. And then... ugh... it decides to jump some serious logic and gives us an ending that is less than satisfying and ridiculous, to boot. F. Gary Gray is a solid director, yes (he did The Negotiator), and the acting is well above average for this type of film (Jamie Foxx is adequate and Gerard Butler is very good). Still, given the ending, it's hard to recommend it. Verdict: SKIP it (unless you just really like Gerard Butler... even Jamie Foxx fans won't miss anything by skipping this one).

Pandorum (2009) - an intriguing science fiction/horror film that was ultimately, well, hugely disappointing. The setup is excellent (if a bit run-of-the-mill): Earth is dying, but an Earth-like planet is found among the stars and a colonizing mission is sent. Something, naturally, goes wrong, and the colony ship becomes infested with strange creatures that feed on the human passengers. Believe it or not, this film could have been a pillar of science fiction if it would have bothered to ask and answer the questions it almost presented. Instead we get a fairly lame action film that uses cheap plot gimmicks and tricks to move things along. Verdict: I don't really care.

Sunshine (2007) - Danny Boyle makes good movies. That Danny Boyle makes good zombie horror (28 Days Later) and good science fiction (this film) is what's a surprise. I saw this film for the first time in 2007 and given my recent viewing of Pandorum and the fact that a friend of mine hadn't seen it, I watched it again. This movie, despite its left turn in the third act, is entirely underrated as both a film and as an example of exemplary science fiction. Basically, our Sun is dying, and an international group of astronauts fly a really, really big bomb into it in order to jump start it. Sounds lame, I know, but this movie pulls it off with flying colors. Verdict: SEE it.

Turistas (2006) - one of the many torture-porn films, this one was surprisingly... not crap. To its credit, there is only one scene involving the dissection of a hapless character, while most of the other deaths are the results of more traditional survivalist fare. In fact, the film is less torture-porn and more, well, survivalist. As far as the characters, they don't act as stupidly as most characters of this genre do (no one went off alone, for instance). Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, and Olivia Wilde star. Verdict: SEE it (if you're a genre fan or otherwise inclined).

The Unborn (2009) - David S. Goyer, the director of this piece of movie (I refuse to use "cinema"), is a bit of a conundrum. In the comic book world, he is one of the better, more consistent writers. Hell, he's even decent as a screenwriter. But as a director? Oh, man... The Unborn, purportedly a "scary film" regarding a dead fraternal twin whose spirit has been possessed by a Jewish demon that was unleashed during the Holocaust goes on to... ah, forget it. This movie is crap. I couldn't even finish it. And yet, somehow, Gary Oldman agreed to star in it. What the Hell? No pun intended. Verdict: SKIP it.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) - the third installment in the great-concepts/bad-movies Underworld franchise. This one isn't entirely unenjoyable, and it's a boon for the film that resident "I belong on Felicity" actor Scott Speedman is absent for this sequel. All this movie does is flesh out the details of expository history from the first film... so, if you're a fan of the series, you'll be okay with it. It doesn't stand up well on its on, though. Rhona Mitra is always lovely, and Bill Nighy is always a delight. Other than that: a bit by-the-numbers with less than stellar dialogue. Verdict: SKIP it, unless you like the franchise or are just really into vampires and werewolves.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Irrewind, 20091205: Humor

Despite the theory that, in person, I'm somewhat of a funny person, I rarely write anything humorous. Occasionally, however, I give it a shot... whether I'm successful or not is not for me to decide. I think everything I write is humorous, even the depressing stuff. But the question remains: can I do funny in print?

"Things You Should Remember When..."
... Waking Up in the Morning After a Night of Drinking

The name of the person you're sleeping next to.

To put on slippers, in case you overslept and the dog couldn't hold it... Read More

"Movie Sequels We All Want to See"
I was talking to a friend the other day and, as usual, the topic of conversation shifted to comic books (we're both comic dorks) and to movies (also both movie geeks). Given the current slate of movies out there, sequels and trilogies came up. And while we agree that... Read More

"Trojan Condoms"
And there I was... staring at the emblem of "America's Most Trusted Condom." And it hit me.

Why name a condom after the Trojans?

As someone who likes to study Classical Greece, I was always under the impression that the... Read More

"Dying Happy, Inc."
Everyone wants to die happy, right? Sure, by "dying happy," people usually mean they want to die having lived a full life, with a strong family and/or most of the goals they set for themselves accomplished... Read More

"Adventures in Alwaysland"
Wake up. Possibly to an alarm clock, or maybe you're one of those assholes who can just get up when you need to via some sort of natural ability inherited from the Swiss. Get out of bed. Possibly slipping on, well, slippers, if you're one of those poor saps living in a cheap studio... Read More

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gateway

The smell of cedar is out of place. Israel is not to the south and there are no trees. He doesn't know what death smells like - perhaps it does smell like wood - but he is resolutely certain that fear should smell like something else. The nitrocellulose in the air does little to staunch the odor. Cedar among blood. It's an interesting scent and its strange pleasantness makes it nearly intolerable. He's not sure how much more of it he can stand, for it reminds him of a Lebanese woman he was once in love with. She's a wonderful image that he… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***

*Followed by Surface

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Through Subsequent Lives

"Where's your family?" he asks, wondering why he's the only person present. It's a bit of a rhetorical question, as he knows her well enough to already know. Family, to her, is little more than a convenient excuse of forcing friends. And she didn't like forced friends. Friends were earned through experience, not given by blood. That's not to say that family couldn't be or aren't friends - her brother was one of her best friends before he died - it's just to say that she views family as somewhat of a cheat when it pertains to friendship… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Battlestar Enterprise, Part IV

Still somewhat in the creative doldrums, so here's BSE:IV in all its glory.

Anyone irreverent enough can read the previous parts here:

Part IV originally posted April 11, 2009

***

James T. Adama paced impatiently as he waited for news of his son. Suddenly, the radio screamed to life. On it, David Adama was screaming, too, like a little bitch.

"Dad? Dad? You there dad? Hello? Does this thing even fucking work?"

"David, what's going on?" Adama asked his son over the wireless. "Are you getting a good visual?"

"Yes, dad," came the reply.

Adama rolled his eyes. Will no one call him Admiral? He earned it, after all. Fuck, he was the only surviving command officer in the entire universe as far as he knew. That's worth a promotion, right?

"Is it what we thought it was?"

"I think so. It's very coherent, lots of continuity."

Adama turned to his XO, Spock. "What do you think, Saul?"

"I'm not sure. We should contact Gaeta and have Baltar transferred over here to run some diagnostics."

"Make it so."

Adama was about to hang up his transmitter when the squelch broke.

"Oh, shit," came his son's voice.

"What is it, David?"

Silence. Spock and Adama exchanged concerned glances, then Adama keyed the mike again. "David? Come in. What is it?"

The only response was more silence.

***

"This is He-Boomer in the slot, trying to sound all military 'n shit. Ready to launch." He-Boomer flexed his hands as he placed them on the HOTAS. He'd been grounded far too long. For him, it was about fucking time. He knew why he'd been grounded, too, because despite all that bullshit about this new Galactica, er, Enterprise being all politically correct, he was the only black pilot they had, and these white fucks running the show didn't want He-Boomer to whoop up on some pale ass. Fuck 'em.

"This is Kelly. You're a go."

"Hey, Kelly, can we do that go-no-go shit they sometimes do to sound cool 'n shit?"

"No, you fucking idiot."

"Why you gotta be all racist 'n shit?"

"Good-bye."

He-Boomer felt the jolt of the catapult as his Viper shot down the launch tube. There he was, flying into the deep unknowns of space in order to save Adama's stupid-ass kid. He-Boomer checked his perimeter and spotted his wingmen joining up with him. StarHeBuck, Hot Dog, and Jolly were forming up on schedule.

"Everyone good 'n shit?"

Three affirmatives echoed in his earpiece, and He-Boomer flexed his hands again.

"Then let's go find the old man's punk-ass kid 'n shit."

***

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Today

remember when the conversation
turned from orange to violet
an end to ends, all over again
until then… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Irrewind, 20091128: Metaphor

So, being somewhat of an archivist (and a little vain), I've decided to post weekly "indexes" in order to highlight some older material. As one can tell, I'm calling these indexes "Irrewind." Get it? Do you? Huh? Huh?

Anyway, back in June I hit a bit of inspiration. Life was, as it always is for all of us, moving right along earlier this summer and there were more than one fairly significant reality-altering events for me. I wasn't sure of it at the time, but a long-lost friend I had reconnected with on June 4th and 5th (whom I've since re-disconnected with) lit a fire under my ass... the result: I got a little prolific. Initially, most of the writing involved rather convoluted life metaphor, but it's since settled down into banal fiction and really bad poetry.

Without further adieu, presenting a handful of "metaphor" pieces (some of which are very weird): the first Irrewind!

"A Simple Dance Through an Otherwise Complicated Day"
Posture's up, hand's outstretched. There's a sudden thrill, a subtle thrill, as another takes your grasp and lets you spin around the room. Following you, maybe leading you, you don't know. The confusion from peripheral imagery flying by, constantly changing but always... Read More

"Abandon"
Somebody's counting on you, you know. Somebody needs you to stand up and walk through that open door. Who? Maybe you don't know. Why? Maybe you don't care. But somebody needs you. Do you stay in your seat, safely wedged in between a woman who won't shut up... Read More

"Falling Through Life Like Sky Through Rainbow"
You remember what it feels like. The moment of realization that made all the preceding moments of frustration worth it. It works, and now you know why. You now have the choice to stand on your own two feet and make your own decisions. The person holding your hand... Read More

"Motion"
Tell me one more time and I might believe it. I might, maybe, perhaps, except that I already know it's a lie. I've always known it was a lie, and until recently, I didn't care. Some part of me hoped that you'd stretch the truth so far, the truth itself would snap out of it. Belief is a... Read More

"A Weight the Wind Will Not Carry"
In the waning days of Autumn there's a bridge to nowhere that two will cross anyway. Falling leaves dance a last dance before hitting the ground, waiting for a wind to carry them back across. Hued skin embraces the White of Snow, and for an instant, hearts beat in... Read More

Friday, November 27, 2009

Things I Did On Thanksgiving

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone and, as usual, I didn't do a whole lot. I haven't had dinner with the family since 2006 (which was the first time I had Thanksgiving dinner with the family since 1995). Hell, I didn't even have dinner this year. I don't know why, but such things don't bother me. I get berated for my blasé attitude a lot by many people, but I just don't change. Okay, maybe I change a little, as I did actually have plans this year, but my change is slow (unlike Obama's version of it... oh, wait a sec).

Anyway... what did I do this year?

I slept in until very late... like, a few hours after noon late. I did wake up to let the dogs out this morning, but other than that I stayed on the couch.

I argued with the person I had plans with, since xhe (a ha!) summarily canceled on me on the account of being depressed. I was supposed to go to her sister's for dinner and I'm fairly certain she told her sister that I pulled out, rather than what really happened. I even turned down two other Thanksgiving invitations in order to go, so I'm a tad annoyed about this.

The following happened on the 25th: I learned how to juggle three balls! Finally! Yes, I'm way too happy about this.

I played a video game called Plants vs. Zombies (really... but it's awesome... you should check it out) until I collected one of every plant for my Zen Garden (play the game to find out what that is... or Google it).

I had one cigarette and a limited amount of nicotine. And I had two pots of coffee (and broke a coffee cup, to boot).

I listened to every song on my Sprint phone at least three times. I love Sprint Music. I only download the free songs, but they tend to be really good and from obscure artists I would have otherwise never heard of.

I wrote this.

'Til next year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Battlestar Enterprise, Part III

Yep, it's back... primarily because I'm having trouble finding inspiration, but partially because the television movie, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan , is making waves among science fiction fandom. If initial reports are to be believed, the "movie" makes a disappointing show even worse. Ah, well...

Keep in mind as you read this that it was written as sort of an "angry response" to how the series declined in quality. It's all meant to be satire, as bad and vulgar as it is.


Battlestar Enterprise, Part I
Battlestar Enterprise, Part II


Part III originally posted on January 12, 2009

***

"David, do you have a visual on the anomaly?" James Adama's voice was unusually tense. He didn't mind unidentified contacts; he just hated anomalies. They were always so anomalous.

The signal broke squelch and David's voice piped through the speaker. "Yes, dad."

"What is it?" And it's Admiral, asshole. Or sir, at the very least.

"Not too sure. It appears to be a tight plot, well-written characters, and..."

The signal went dead. James turned to his communications officer, Duhura.

"What happened?"

Duhura swiveled in her chair, showing off her smooth, mocha-hued legs. Adama had to force himself not to kneel to get a better look up Duhura's combat fatigue-patterned miniskirt.

"I'm not sure, Admiral, but it appears that a scientifically accurate overriding signal is interrupting our story."

James was confused. This made no sense... no sense at all. Someone had actually called him "Admiral."

"Spock, what do you make of this?" he asked, not entirely expecting a coherent answer.

"Tight plot? Well-written characters? Such a logical thing to strive for," Spock started. "Anomalous, indeed."

***

Montgomery Tyrol stared out the porthole with his binoculars, scanning space in a futile attempt to try to see the anomaly. He always worried when She-Boomer went out on patrols, particularly with that moron, David Adama. Sure, David was the old man's son, but that apple fell so far from the tree that had Eve found it, she would have finished it before ever making it back to Adam, and mankind (well, men at least) would still be living in paradise.

Tyrol was the ship's chief engineer, damage control officer, AIMD chief, command master chief, and ship's laundryman, but he always felt as though he was kept outside the loop. For whatever reason, it was always hard for him to come by information. On the other hand, it was very easy for him to come by doughnuts, and his rapidly expanding waistline served as a constant reminder of this ability.

"Chief?" a sad, quiet little voice asked behind him.

Tyrol turned and found his shadow, Cally. He found her superbly annoying, but she gave good head, and when She-Boomer was out on patrols, well... he had to do something about his sex addiction. It was like he was some sort of machine, or robot. But, never mind, these are foreshadows that are coming way too early. Wouldn't want to give any well-placed hints too early in a story now, would we?

"What is it, Cally?"

"Do you see anything?"

He watched as her chubby pouty face seemed to get more chubby and pouty. It almost made him sick.

"Other than a couple-hundred lonely ships filled with the survivors of a devastating attack on their homeworlds?"

"Oh?" Cally's face lit up with excitement.

Tyrol rolled his eyes. "That's us, you idiot."

Chubby pout returned, Cally sniffled and looked as though she was about to cry.

"Oh, no, don't. I'm sorry." Tyrol grabbed her in a mock hug, pressing her head lightly against his chest. Still, his gaze never left the porthole, though a smile did creep its way across his face. Slowly, subtly, he pressed Cally's head lower, to his stomach, then still lower, and lower.

***

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Mighty Wind

Wind of change, unwanted
With her gale in the wrong direction
Wildflowers, once gently caressed
Wilt away slowly in her soiled hand… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Monday, November 23, 2009

Introducing the AFC West-Leading Chargers

In the absence of my beloved DirecTV NFL package, I was forced to listen to the Chargers-Broncos game on my Sprint phone (thank Buddha for NFL Mobile!). So, in other words: I didn't get to see the Chargers take first place in the AFC West from the evil Denver team, but I did get to hear it. And, I must admit, I rather like radio play-by-play. I like it even better when the Chargers win by a score of 32 to 3.

Oh, yeah... 32 to 3. Hey, Broncos fans! You suck!

I actually expected this game to be a bit closer than it was, given that the Broncos defeated the Chargers earlier in the year, but it was pretty much a one-sided affair from the opening kickoff to the closing second. So, with this victory, the Chargers (who were 2-3 after the last time they played the Broncos) kicked the Broncos (who were 6-0 after the last time they played the Chargers) out of the top spot. Result: Chargers in 1st at 7-3; Broncos in 2nd at 6-4. The other two teams in the division are so far behind, there's no point in mentioning their respective records.

Game Notes

After scoring a field goal in the 3rd quarter to close the gap from 13-0 to 13-3, the Denver Broncos attempted an ill-advised onside kick... recovered by the Chargers (Legedu Naanee). A few plays later, LaDainian Tomlinson ran in a touchdown to make the score 20-3. Nice one, Coach McDaniels.

The two Chargers fullbacks both rushed for over 45 yards with more than 6.5 yards per carry (Jacob Hester: 7 attempts for 46 yards; 6.6 yards per carry - and Mike Tolbert: 7 attempts for 58 yards; 8.3 yards per carry). Tolbert even added a rushing touchdown. And to think... they were going to cut Tolbert before the season started.

Antonio Cromartie added an interception, his third of the year.

Steve Gregory recovered two fumbles (one each forced by Sean Phillips and Jacques Cesaire). It was the first time a Charger had recovered two fumbles in one game in a very, very long time.

Kevin Burnett had two sacks, and Eric Weddle had one.

Some bad news: Nate Kaeding, despite having an otherwise excellent game (four field goals) had an extra point blocked. Whoops!

I love blowouts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Men and Trees

Talbot was a huge college basketball fan, having attended USC when George Raveling was the coach there. Because of Raveling, Talbot referred to his men on the ground as "The Football Team." They were the doers, the go-getters, the men who would do what they were told when they were told whether they liked it or not. Nothing happened without the Football Team, Talbot knew, and he meant no disrespect by it… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Better Than Never

*a sequel to Coldscapes

***

He hates seduction. Despises it, in fact. It always makes him feel dirty. But, someone somewhere sometime, as the old saying goes, decided that he was too attractive not to be assigned to details that somehow always involve women. He loves his country, to be sure, but he is married to his college sweetheart, and the "national defense" excuse is wearing thin.

If all had gone according to plan, he would've been done with the human intelligence portion of the operation, having already mined the… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Really Strange Dream

A while back (November 1st or so) I had this really, really weird dream. Like, really weird. It was one of those dreams that feels like it's been dreamed before... and, who knows? Maybe it was. I asked a friend to look up some of the "symbols" in the dream to see what some think they dream might mean, but it was all very confusing.

So, what was the dream?

I was traveling across the country, from the East Coast to the West Coast (probably to California),  when I arrived at an abandoned restaurant somewhere in Tornado Alley (Kansas comes to mind, but I can't be sure... maybe Oklahoma; maybe Nebraska). Somehow I encounted a bunch of "friends" of mine (friends is in quotes because, unlike most of my other dreams, I don't actually know any of the people in this one) and decided to reopen the restaurant. This part of the dream is a little hazy, but I remember scolding one of the waitresses (apparently I was the floor manager and the host) for taking an order from a table without turning in a previous order to the kitchen. It should be noted that the waitress couldn't have been more than 12 years old.

Aside from that, the Grand Opening was going well, but for some reason I went outside (I think to find a chef or something) and saw a really tall silo-like building that was apparently the subject of some town controversy.

There was a tall ladder up the left side. The silo itself reminded me of a really, really tall log cabin. The bottom of it disappeared into a "shell" of a pine tree - imagine a pine tree teepee. What the silo contained was rather surprising... it was a very elaborate waterslide. The townsfolk, for whatever reason, wanted to close it down and there was some "lifeguard" assigned by the city. His job seemed to be to watch for violations so the slide could shut be down. Anyway, I climbed to the top and some guy up there was complaining about how people like to write wishlists and shopping lists on the waterslide walls (I guess someone used purple lipstick or something once, which left the dude complaining covered in purple stuff).

The very top of the waterslide portion was a corkscrew, which it appeared to be all the way down. I took off my pants (I heard someone yell that in order to get back into the restaurant, you had to have "three sets of underwear, a pack of cigarettes, and a beer" - like, what???) and went in. I thought it was going to be fast and furious, so I was a little disconcerted when I wound up almost having to push myself down the slide. The watersprays in the slide came from jury-rigged garden hoses. About 1/3rd of the way down, the corkscrew stopped at a hole in the floor, which revealed a straight drop (in the dark) the rest of the way down. Somehow there was enough light to see hand holds, which I used to climb down to the bottom.

Once I got to the bottom, I realized that my pants (and shirt, apparently) were still at the top. I was going to yell for someone up top to throw them down, but everyone was disappearing. So, I went up the ladder again... only this time, the ladder was cut in half and was actually two ladders joined together.

As I got to the top, the entry way was blocked by a black and red snake. I looked around and saw several more snakes. I couldn't get my clothes. I think I was going to give up and climb back down, but then I heard a cat meow. The black and red snake had a little orange-ish kitten trapped in a constrictor grip. I tried to help it, but when I yelled down to find out what kind of snake it might be, I saw its rattle (which is really when I saw the other snakes... there was some confusion as to which snake the rattle belonged to). Then, while I was mulling over grabbing and pulling on the cat (who seemed to be sleeping, as was the snake, in some weird lovers pose), the bottom of the ladder started spreading wider and wider, and I struggled to keep the top of the ladder together.

That's all I can remember. I have no idea if I fell or not.

What the Hell does that mean?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Organized Musings Revisited

A while back I wrote some "organized random musings," and since I've nothing better to muse about, well, I'm doing it again.

Television

I've previously mentioned that Jay Leno will kill NBC. Sure, so did many other people, but since I said it irrespective of them, I'm going to go ahead and claim that I was right.

AMC's remake of The Prisoner is, so far, quite a bit better than their absolutely crap remake of The Andromeda Strain.

Speaking of Leno... thanks for killing Southland prematurely. Here's hoping TNT (who picked it up) does the show some justice.

Sports

The Chargers are now tied for first in the AFC West after a bad start... they had to catch up to the Broncos (who had a great start), who they play next week. Go Bolts! And congrats to LaDainian Tomlinson for passing for passing Marcus Allen on the all-time touchdown list (Tomlinson is now in 3rd on that list) and Franco Harris on the all-time rushing yardage list.

Nice, Bill Belichick. Your supreme arrogance caused you to go for it on 4th down and 2 yards to go... against a streaking Colts team. You were winning 34 to 28 with two minutes left in the game. And you lost. I laugh in your general direction.

Speaking of LaDainian Tomlinson... New York Giants fans seem to take offense that Tomlinson is called "LT," which, as we all know, is the moniker of Giants great Lawrence Taylor. I don't really see what the big deal is, but I guess I tend to agree. Why not use "LDT" for Tomlinson?

Music

Tulsa's song, "Mass," is one of the best rock n' roll songs of all time.

Some recommendations for you adult rockers: Tea Leaf Green, Carlon (whose song, "Cantaloupe," is fucking phenomenal), Bert Susanka, and Au Revoir Simone.

Dance/techno/trance/whatever listeners: Radioactive Sandwich kicks ass. Magnum .38 isn't too bad, either.

Animals

If you have a dog that won't stop digging holes in your yard, fill the holes with his shit. He'll stop, trust me.

Conclusion

That's all I got... I'm sleepy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Phone Withdrawals

Oh, shit. The phone is gone. How is anybody going to get a hold of me? Where did I put it? I was on it this morning... or was that last night? I can't go to work without my phone... all of my damned music is on that thing and I haven't had a Walkman or a discman for years. MP3 player? Yeah, right... what century is this? No, I don't have an iPod. I don't have an iAnything... too much money for not enough quality. Then again, anyone believes commercials these days. I suppose I better get a hold of what's-her-name. I can't even remember her name! She just shows up as "hot girl" on my contact list! I'm so screwed, my whole life is falling apart.

What about my email? Why, oh, why did I get rid of my computers? Blackberry lied to me! I never lost my desktop, even though all my "hip" and "cool" friends made fun of me for having it. I need my email! Worse, I pay my bills on my phone. I suppose I could just opt in for paper bills again... nope, can't do that... I need the Internet to turn on the option, but my web browser is my phone! Maybe I can call customer service... oh, snap. Never mind.

I suppose I'll just watch TV. Wait, can I? Wasn't my phone my remote control?

No, there's my remote. Good thing there's not an app for that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Staff Sergeant Glen H. Stivison, Jr.

I met Glen in South Korea around Christmas of 2000. Well, that's what we thought, anyway. There was a bit of recognition between us, but as he wasn't a paratrooper, the odds that our paths had crossed before then were a bit slimmer than usual. So, one day, we sat down together and shot off the names of people we knew, where we knew them from, and everywhere we had deployed to. A mutual friend of ours came up... a Staff Sergeant Fussell (pardon me if I misspelled that... it's been a while). Somehow, between our trips down memory lane and our propensity to talk alot (well, mine... Glen tended to be a tad laconic unless he had a beer in his hand), we discerned that we had indeed met before in a Burger King at Fort Irwin, California, during a rotation at the National Training Center in 1997.

Of course, memories being unreliable by nature, we never confirmed it happened, but in becoming friends over the early part of 2001, we just sort of bought into our own theory and claimed it as the truth.

Glen was, and this is no exaggeration, a typical "jolly giant." He wasn't altogether tall, but he had what some could call a weight problem. The Army, you see, shuns upon weight, but usually grants exceptions to those soldiers who are worth keeping in. And, well, Glen was worth keeping in.

He had been in mechanized units prior to his arrival in Korea, and as 2001 seemed to be a year in which the Army mysteriously decided to transfer a bunch of light soldiers to the Asian peninsula, Glen's expertise was far more valuable than it would have even normally been. He knew his shit, regardless, but with the plethora of light fighters (many of whom, like myself, had never even been in an Armored Personnel Carrier), his knowledge of what needed to get done and how it needed to get done trumped the best of us.

I can't say we hung out often, though we did have plenty of talks, usually in his barracks room or behind the motor pool. And, despite what I mentioned above, I never really saw him drink all that much. He was usually in his room waiting for his wife to call, or waiting for the time difference between South Korea and wherever she was living to provide a window for him to call her. Glen Stivison (we called him Stivy) didn't give a shit about much of anything... as long as nothing interfered with his spousal phone calls.

He was a calm man, and entirely genuine. He always knew when bullshit was bullshit, and knew enough to know that most confrontations with idiots and assholes led nowhere. Come to think of it, that was probably why he didn't talk a whole lot at work, save to jump in on a joke or to calm somebody down.

I lost touch with him when I left Korea just before Christmas of 2001. Still, given my nature and the fact that he was one of the few people in Korea that I actually liked, I often attempted to track him down. MySpace finally reunited us just over a year ago... right before a deployment. I'm not certain if that deployment is the same one that took his life, but it bothers me just the same.

The Army lost a good man this past October, and a family lost a good patriarch.

Love you, brother.

Friday, November 6, 2009

One-Line Movie Reviews VIII

A Bug's Life (1998) - No, I've never seen A Bug's Life until now (although I did see its Dreamworks competitor, Antz). Yes, it was a great oversight on my part. The only Pixar feature film I've missed, I am now at peace with myself now that I've watched it. Pixar's early magic holds up well... what else is there to say? Verdict: SEE it. Of course, you've already seen it, so the verdict is futile.

Moon (2009) - Want excellent science fiction? No? Well, want an excellent movie subdued in its aspirations, subtle in its presentation, and overachieving as a result? Then watch this film. Sam Rockwell is fantastic as pretty much the only (human) character in this independent film, and Kevin Spacey does a wonderful job of evoking HAL and avoiding HAL at the same time. Superb. To give anything away would be sacrilege. Verdict: SEE it.

Ong-Bak (2003) - So, Muay Thai fighters have been feeling left out of the wave of martial arts movies, eh? Well, if this is the best they can do, it's their own fault. The lead actor is a phenomenal martial artist, yes, but the rest of the film is derivative boredom. We have a director who not only thinks he's the next John Woo, he copies John Woo verbatim. We have yet another script from the meat-grinder that is martial arts movie scripts. Nothing exciting here. Verdict: SKIP it.

Paranormal Activity (2007) - This is the film that, like its Blair Witch predecessor, garnered alot of under-the-radar buzz and took advantage of an extremely creative marketing campaign. Also like The Blair Witch Project, this film has many good moments, using its documentary style to full effect. However, don't believe the hype... it's not that scary, and the theatrical ending does the movie no justice (find the original ending for a better conclusion to the story). Still, a budget of $11k? Kudos to the filmmakers. Verdict: SEE it, but don't expect too much.

A Perfect Getaway (2009) - Who says Steve Zahn isn't creepy? Who says Milla Jovovich isn't in any good movies? Yeah, this movie is a pleasant surprise. As with most movies of this type, the twist is all too contrived, but it does work (unlike most movies of this type). Timothy Olyphant plays one of the best characters of his career. Follow newlyweds through their jaunt through the Hawaiian wilderness while they try to figure out which pair of lovers is killing everyone else. Verdict: SEE it.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - I missed this one in theaters, and do I feel stupid. Danny Boyle hits a grand slam with this unusual tale of love. There are no names in this film (unless you happen to follow Bollywood, which I don't usually follow), and everything about Slumdog Millionaire is a breath of fresh air. Rags to riches, indeed. I probably don't have to say too much about this, since everyone with a brain has certainly already seen it. Verdict: SEE it. Oh, yes... SEE it.

The Spirit (2008) - A comic book adaptation from that uber-great of comic-dom, Frank Miller. Taking one of his childhood favorites, The Spirit (created by the uber-uber-great Will Eisner), and copying the revolutionary technique that director Robert Rodriguez gave us with Sin City, Miller gives us complete and utter crap. Yet another garbage movie I couldn't be bothered to finish. Even the beautiful Eva Mendes couldn't save this one (then again, she couldn't save Ghost Rider, so what was I expecting?). Verdict: SKIP it.

Surrogates (2009) - A graphic novel adaptation starring Bruce Willis as an FBI agent living in a world in which people only go out in public as robot fascimiles of themselves. Crime, disease, and all the other bad shit humans do to each other apparently disappears as a result of these robot puppets, but so does everything that makes us human. A great concept that suffers due to the film's failure to do anything but scratch the surface of all the wonderful questions such a concept asks. Not bad, but not overly good, either. Still, it was entertaining. Verdict: SEE it. Or SKIP it. Not really going to push this one either way.

Up (2009) - Pixar's latest entry in the world of computer animated cinema. And, boy, is it brilliant. I'm hesitant to claim that it's better than Wall*E, but it's damn close. Funny, sad, hysterical, and depressing, Up is populated by likeable curmudgeons, talking dogs, insane exotic birds, and a fat oriental kid. If that don't make a good movie, who knows what does? Verdict: SEE it. And SEE it again.

Zombieland (2009) - A zombie farce about a nerdy kid, a crazy zombie killer hell-bent on finding a Twinkie (Woody Harrelson), and two sisters out for themselves. Consistently funny, which is a bit of a disappointment because the set up lends itself to gut-busting laughs, of which there were fewer than expected. Still, it's an enjoyable movie and definitely a must for zombie and comedy fans. And Bill Murray's cameo is brilliant. Verdict: SEE it.