Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unused Pokemon: Rocegg

These egg shaped pokemon
will hatch on command
Pokemon trainers have been asked
not to gather Rocegg
as it doesn't seem ethical
to have a creature who's only power kills it
the real question though is what is laying
rocegg eggs?

Unused Pokemon: the Cellupup

A very bad pokemon
though powerful
it would run away after an attack
and you had to find it and catch it again
would evolve into Celluwof
if you could ever train it

"How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" by Charles Yu

Well I can't recommend this little novel enough. Let's just get that right off the bat. This is a great book and you should read it. It is witty. It has emotional content to borrow from one mister Bruce Lee. It rocks baby and rolls brothers.

Our protagnonist is just a blue collar type. He's got the job of repairing the time machines in minor universe number thirty one. It's not a bad job, and it gives him access to a time machine. That's good cause our guy has issues. Lots of issues, and he's alienated. So he basically strips the gear of his time machine so he's living in a timeless, tense less now except when called out to a service call. That way he can avoid thinking of how his father disappeared, or that his mom is in a permanent time loop living she same fantasy dinner over and over again. He doesn't need the universe anyway he'd say. He has his low self esteem artificial intelligence also known as TAMMY and he has a dog. What more can a man want?

At this point this book could have been quite a downer, it's to the point where sadness is an important operational perimeter of time machines. Luckily, for all the sadness there is some wicked funny writing to keep people from thinking they accidently bought a novelization of a Bergman novel. Bits like this:

"Thirty-one is a smallish universe, slightly below average in size.  On the cosmic scale, somewhat between shoe box and standard aquarium.  Not big enough for space opera and anyway not zoned for it."

Of course things don't stay in this time limbo the protagnonist wants.  Soon he's shooting at his future self and finds himself in a time loop.  The loop involves a book he gave himself called "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe."  To say what happens next would be crimingal.  Read the book!

100 tears

Well this is an independent horror feature that doesn't totally suck. Some faux journalists are seeking a killer who gets his kicks not only off route 66 but dressed as a clown with a big clever type weapon. It's fairly well shot, the characters aren't the types you automatically wish dead, and they use Voltaire for the sound track. Overall not too shabby.

Monster of day: beholder

Source:  Dungeons & Dragons
Location:  Dungeons
Threat Assessment:  7.  A beholder is nasty on a stick.  A big floating ball of eyes, each eye has a different magical power.  The worst is the central eye's anti magic ray.  Every moment of battle he's making you weaker as he fills the air with death beams and beams to turn you to stone.  Definitely consider running.
Limitations:  Nothing really significant.
Personal note:   in later versions of the game, beholders became a space faring race meaning there are places in the universe with whole cities of beholders.

Today's secret code:

"There is nothing funny about a clown in your room at midnight."  Again:  "There is nothing funny about a clown in your room at midnight."  Today's colours are spooked.  Today's author is considering mime as a career.  That is all, maho maho. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Unfortunate RadMan

Being a Super Hero sounded like so much fun
but after being bitten by radioactive
rats, hamsters, and an irate possum
the resulting mutations have proven more troublesome
Now RadMan would just like to give someone a hug
and not end up with goo on his suit

Someone Made the Hungry Ghosts Very Happy

.....and full

Cats... gotta love 'em


Not to be confused with the anime. This is a japanese vampire film that covers pretty much old ground. There's something of a triangle between a female vampire, a yakuza style vampire, and the newly created vampire detective. The action is fairly good and the colors are very rich. There's a nice look to the film over all. I also liked that in this version you have to have the right blood to be made into a vampire or else you end up as ash. Also if you do become a vampire you can't die. The best that can be done is you get reduced to ash and put into a box. Sort of makes you wish for the old stake in the heart doesn't it?

A Somewhat Gentleman

This is a post crime drama from Norway. Our man is just getting out of prison. You can see he's not really digging the idea of freedom, but what is someone going to do right? Once out, he meets his old boss and he gets a job and a room. It seems though like a prison without bars. He tries to connect with his son, and he tries to be a good man, but the pressure is for him to go back to crime. Even when he is being good he finds himself having to be violent like when he sees a girl he likes being beaten by her ex husband. What is an ex convict to do?

It's not a fast pace film, and that's good. It's thoughtful, and quiet, and lets the pressure build slowly. A bit of warning in that it has some of the ugliest sex on screen. Like having sex with "moma" from "Throw Moma from the Train." ugly. Other than that, it's a nifty little film about a man seemingly trapped.

Square Grouper

This is a totally fascinating documentary about dope smuggling in the late seventies and eighties in Florida. The term "Square grouper" refers to bails of marijuna that are dumped overboard by fleeing smugglers and later picked up by fishermen. It's made up of three stories. The first involves the Ethopian Zion Coptic church and their beliefs about smoking pot to get closer to God and their practice of smuggling it to everyone. The second story is about some kids who made it good in the business till the feds got them. The final story is about Everglade Town which for a brief while turned from fishing as an industry to dope smuggling. Very thought provoking and amusing it is a definite must see for folks who are interested in our laws and law enforcement.

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Normally I avoid TLC like the proverbial plague, heck like an ACTUAL plague. Once it was a channel along the lines of discovery but has since gone through a dark and horrid transformation into a weird baby machine freak show. With that being said, I had to see this as I've always been interested in Gypsies.

To be fair, this isn't about the Rom per se but Irish Travellers. So it's a bit of a different culture than I was hoping for. It was still a fascinating and sad two hours. The girls were so ingrained in their culture that they saw nothing wrong with being taken out of school at a 11 and married at 16. The weddings were the highlight of their entire life and they would willingly suffer bruises and bleeding in wearing the most gaudy of dresses. Even the little girls would wear dresses that would weigh TWICE their own weight. They looked like if tinkerbell was both a hooker and got hit with an electric shock.

This show is definite proof that there are somethings you just can't unsee. I might be a little wiser but I'm also a lot sadder.

Things I Want: The Looker Gun

"Looker" is a pretty bad film when all is said and done.  It is improbable and the actors don't do a thing to sell it so it lays there like a very fat lady in a very small bikini suffering from heat stroke on the beach.  On the other hand, it had one of coolest weapons I've ever seen.   The Looker gun will put its victim into an instant trance state.  To the victim no time will pass for as long as he's in the trance.  So you could for example trance him and then kick him good in the fork.  From the victim's point of view he is suddenly on the ground clutching his jewels wondering what in the sam hell just happened. 

The misuses of this weapon are legion.

Monster of the Day: Flagbots

Source:  Death!  War!  Live!
Location:  battlefield
Threat Assessment:  3.  Supposedly a non leathal application of robotics.  Flagbots are rather patriotically colored sheets of doped up carbon impregnated with faux muscular strands.  Dropped from a great height from bombers they glide down to the battlefield.  There they are programmed to find heat sources and wrap around them.  The theory is to immobilize troops without killing them.  In practice 20% die of suffication, and another 20% die of battlefield complications e.g. being wrapped up in a burning building.
Limitations:  Not very smart.  They aren't fast when they finally hit the ground.   Their system can be crashed with Tick Jigger.

Today's Secret Code

"If I was half the person my dog is, I would be twice the human that I am."  Again:  "If I was half the person my dog is, I would be  twice the human  that I am."  Today's colour is patriotic.  Today's Author values those who have paid the greatest price for the greatest nation.  That is all, maho maho.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Death of Rainbows

Rainbows are ever born
Ever a symbol of hope
but what is born must die
and there is a guady reaper
for every rainbow

There is Crying in the Dark

There is Crying in the Dark
In the dark and you thought you were alone
There is crying in the dark
in the very darkest corner of your empty room
There is crying in the dark
sounds like all the hearts that broke
will you comfort the mystery
will you seek the misery

Songs for the Dire Wolf

The Inheritence

Old Dark House movies are an early staple of film. Get a bunch of folks together in a big isolated house, put in some bad weather, and add murder. The results can range from farce to terror. Like a lot of early genres and sub genres it has played itself out in recent years. So it's nice when I saw "The Inheritence," going back to form with enough different to keep things interesting.

Set in the middle of a snowy woods the house is not spooky looking at all, I'd love to spend some time there. Our heroes are five young black people who are all related. They belong to five families that are very rich and are generally looked over by the "elders." They have all come to the house in hopes of coaxing some money from these elders. Unfortunately, the inheritence in question is much darker. People start dying as odd looking straw face things start popping up. The Elders are far from helpful and have a very dark plan for these five.

Horror films have rarely been accused of being PCs. If you see a black person in a horror film it is generally of the "token black man" cliche. If you see an entire cast that is black it is generally "urban" in orientation. So it's a nice change of pace to see a horror film about young, educated, rich black people.

Of course being a horror film, a lot of them are going to die. Still, a step in the right direction....

Fertile Ground

This is one of the better "after dark" films. As I've said before teh after dark tag is fairly genius. Take a bunch of independent horror films that would never see a theater and package them together as a traveling film festival and then release them on DVD. As a whole I find them of mixed quality, but there is always enough good for me to keep me interested in the series.

This one has a couple moving into a spooky old place. Soon we have ghosts, possessions and other bits of grand old spookery. It's a fairly standard haunted house film, but it is well done, well acted and has enough real thrills to keep any viewer interested.

Monster of the Day: Witchie Poo

Source:  H.R. Puffnstuff
Location:  Her dark castle
Threat Assessment:  -3.  Though commanding magic powers and minions, Witchie Poo is inept and prone to obsessing over minor things.
Limitations:  See above, plus she is a bad driver.
Personal Note:  Perhaps she doesn't count as a "Monster" but given her plainly non human features I would ask for DNA test before calling her truly human.

Today's Secret Code

"There is nothing colder, yet burns more, than ice within the heart." Again: "There is nothing colder, yet burns more, than ice within the heart." Today's colours are found behind the auroa borealis. Today's Author fears that the world might be bi-polar. That is all, maho maho.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Fractal Crystalization of the Shade of Edith Woumph

Quick Draw Okatsu

Ah, this is a sixties female samurai flick.  If you haven't seen one, they are certainly worth looking at once.  They tend to be pretty much along the same lines, but then so are westerns.  It's the variations of the theme and the personalities of the actors that make them what they are.

The story here is simple, Okatsu is the daughter of a sensei of a famous sword school.  As such she has learned her father's skills, but of course being a woman she's not going to take over the school from him.  Unfortunately, her brother who should take over the school just isn't into it.  In fact, he runs away with a girl.  Things get complicated when a corrupt magistrate decides to use the situation to his advantage.  He tries to take the school, and Okatsu's body.  Soon enough father and brother are dead and Okatsu who has been wronged now seeks vengeance on all who crossed her.

It's an exciting action packed story.  The sword play is fine and it thankfully doesn't get too kinky or anything.  Everyone has their acting knob turned to "11" which might not be the best dramatically but is certainly very fun.

Things I Want Before I Go Traveling In Time

  1. A steamer trunk with period clothes
  2. some gold
  3. A good almanac
  4. An address book with Einstein, Newton, and the Emperor Norton's Addresses
  5. A really good pocket watch
  6. An elephant gun
  7. A palm pistol
  8. Bowie Knife
  9. A well trained dog
  10. Good Lighter
  11. Sonic Screwdriver

Music to LIsten to as You Read "Game of Thrones."

Monster of the Day: anaconda

Source:  Anaconda
Location:  Hopefully the Amazon and not like in a later movie South East Asia
Threat Assessment:  5.  This is obviously not your average anaconda.  It's HUGE.  It's strong, and seems to carry a grudge.  It will eat you then throw you up so it can eat someone else. 
Limitation:   Lack of hands.  Still as smart as a snake. 

Today's Secret Code:

"Don't wake the devil, don't break the bank, and don't ever jump the shark."  Again:  "Don't wake the devil, don't break the bank, and don't ever jump the shark."  Today's Colour is gold.  Today's Author is keeping busy.  That is all maho maho.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Serena Mare Homemaker

Serena Mare
daughter of Diana
sister to Moon Maids of Madness
now is married
to Thomas Joan
and lives in
New Jersey

Lusterlings of Europa

Deep in the seas of Europa
the Lusterlings swim unaware of the universe beyond the ice
Some say they are sentient
Some say they can hypnotize
with their flashing eye lights
most say they taste wonderful
with just a little butter
and lemon

Martian Troll

Styles come and go
The viking look came into style again
on Mars in 3534
Given the green photosynthetic skin
of the native Martians
they took the name of Trolls
as they rolled our in the caravans
through the mossy deserts

Burning Palms

Well you really can't judge a book by its cover or a DVD by its slipcase. In this one, it was described as a "satire" of "Hollywood types." Oh joy, something like "The Player." I could do with a little satire.


Ok one tale "Buyer's remorse," might be considered satire. But even that had some images I wish I had mind bleach for. The rest are pretty much psychological horror stories. They are even joined together in the same comic book style as "Creepshow." In fact, if I was the netflix editors I would have described this as "Creepshow with no monsters and all creeps."

Some of the stories are darkly interesting. The one with the father and daughter who are WAAAAY too close has a fascinating ick factor. The story of the poor asian chick who just wants to please her boyfriend is pure Poe, if Poe had added kinky sex to his stories. The rest are just ick with not enough meat to make the shower afterwards worth it.

By the way the trailer is bit more accurate when it describes the film as "5 films that will mess you up for life." Not quite that bad, but better than "Satire" with "Hollywood types."

The Colonialism Double Feature: The Stranglers of Bombay and The Terror of the Tongs

I call this the colonialism double feature cause both films came on one disc and not only are they in the time of colonialism but deal directly with British perceptions of the "benighted" natives they ruled over.

"The Stranglers of Bombay," is for me the more interesting story.  It is a based on the real story of Thuggees and the man who helped bring them down.  It's been of course dramatized to become a thrilling adventure tale, but it is still very powerful.  The Thuggees were a religious sect that worshipped Kali.  One could look at them as the first terrorists as they killed thousands of travellers in India.  Not just kill by the way, but make disappear.  How's that for terror to just make people disappear.  They were broken because one British officer actually listened to the people of India and did some basic detective work.  He also managed to find people willing to give evidence on these thugs (which by the way is how we got the name "thug).

A good rousing film and if nothing else you can see where the second Indiana Jones film lifted some characters from.  I should note some modern historians believe that the Thuggee didn't really exist and were a colonial delusion based on "regular" highway men.  Now I would expect some tall tale telling from british officials in India, but when you get down to the brassiest tacks India was a business.  The ledgers don't lie (at least not with a good accountant) folks were certainly disappearing in India in a way not consistent with normal crime.  Maybe the Thuggees didn't kill millions as some have said, but I certainly do believe they existed and they were as evil as any Nazi or Al Queda thug.

"The Terror of the Tongs," is more of a problem for me.  Lots of white actors given chinese eyes and plot about a sea captain who's the only man to stand up to the evil Chinese Tongs.  It has thrilling bits, but it really dates as old.

Songs to Listen To While Reading "Fables"

Another Really Bad Idea

This idea is bad as in it would be a disaster to use, but I like the logic of it. The idea flows like this. We are in deep debt as a country. If we had to pay it off it would be something like fifty thousand for every man woman and children. So when one is in debt one looks for assets that can be sold. We must have assets because people still want to come to this country. People want to come to this country so bad they are willing to pay thousands of dollars to break the law to sneak into this country...

Wait a moment..

Ok, here's the deal. We'll split the difference. For a mere twenty five thousand dollars a head you will become an automatic citizen of this country. No questions asked, no tests given. Pay us and BOOM you are a citizen. Why if we only get ten million takers that would be an instant 250 billion dollars in the till. In no time, we could be in the black! Because we have a name brand and the monopoly over it.

Now, I know this idea can't work. But doesn't it get you thinking about things just a little different? Have you considered what it is worth to be an american?

Writers Are Evil

At least in our hearts. We might not often actually do crimes against our fellow men, but we often think about it. We have to, because we are under constant pressure to top ourselves. A simple murder is often not enough, it has to be something special. Even if we don't afflict humanity, our characters in our stories are often victims of a hurtful godling.

This thought came to me right after I had just a flash of inspiration of a story. One part of me was ashamed that I'd think of something so nasty, the other was saying "If I could write this up half as well as in my mind I'd give ol' James Patterson and company a run for their royalty checks."

The Idea is simple: The victim is a hard working young woman. The type who has to do 12 hour shifts to make by. She comes from a big family but she's determined to make it on her own. One day she comes home tired from work, too tired to notice her house has been broken into. She's taken from behind and viciously assaulted. The villain is careful and leaves no physical evidence and wears a mask and gloves. Ah, but as he leaves our poor victim notices he had dropped his wallet from his pocket. Our victim now has a chance for justice....or vengeance.

The horrible trick is our villain didn't drop the wallet by accident. On the day of his crimes he goes out finds a guy about the same size and build and picks his pocket. So there are two victims because the other guy is going to get screwed either way. Either the police are going to come by and his excuse will be a feeble "Well someone must have stolen my wallet, but didn't take any money or used the credit cards." On the other hand perhaps the victims brothers, cousins, and uncles will come visiting with baseball bats and ax handles. Either way it is bad news.

In the story in my head they do eventually catch the guy. As soon as the lead investigator tumbles into the trick with the wallet, he starts to make two maps. A map of the assaults and a map of the thefts. Though our villain might be careful when the two maps are put together a clear picture of where the villain lives comes clear. Then it is just a matter of time before he comes to justice.

Still it is a pretty wicked idea.

Question: How Can I Improve the Span Here?

I would dearly love to make this even better for you dear readers so if you have a suggestion please let me know. You will not offend my delicate sensibilities!

Monster of the Day: Zombie Baby

Source:  Dead Alive
Location:  New Zealand
Threat Assessment:  4.  For a baby it's pretty strong and fast.  Of course, the most dangerous thing is that it can pass on the zombie contagion to others.  It would be best not to breast feed.
Limitation:  Still a baby, light enough for a good drop kick.

Today's Secret Code:

"It might be all water under the bridge, but if you have a net then you can have lunch."  Again:  "It might be all water under the bridge, but if you have a net then you can have lunch."  Today's colours are watery.  Today's Author needs to dampen his kazoo.  That is all, maho maho.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Last Guardian

Beyond the burning guardian
is the last guardian
the elemental of silence
it waits
and silently prays
for the souls of the pilgrims
it devours

The Second Guardian

Fire and darkness block the way
embers of past pilgrims scattered on the floor
the key beyond is where none can say
and only a hotter fire can reveal the door

The First Guardian of the Last Gate

Stone blocks the way
living stone
If you have business beyond
bring friends
lots of them

"The Drive In 2"

Billed as a sequel to Lansdale's first book "The Drive In," it continues the tale of the survivors of the unfortunate Orbit Drive In. Though they killed the Popcorn King and escaped things are far from over. They aren't in Kansas, or even Oklahoma. Instead they are in a weird b movie world filled with dinosaurs. Worse than dinosaurs there is Popalong Cassidy, a walking murderous TV set/gunslinger. Can our heroes (?) get over getting crucified long enough to fight the B movie gods?

A crazy novel filled with dark humor. It reads fast and loose as a rabid rattlesnake forcefed exlax. Not as good as the original (but then whatever is?), it still kicks its share of butt while still remaining thoughtful. Certainly if you red the first book you have to pick this sucker up and give 'er go.

The Music I Will Be Playing as the Zombies Come for Me

Things I Want To Have Before The Inevitable Zombie Breakout

  1. Fortress of solitude
  2. Food, Water, and Twinkies for a year's supply
  3. Military Grade Auto Shotgun
  4. Samurai Sword
  5. ATV
  6. Bungee cords (cause sometimes its fun to mess with Zombie's so called minds)
  7. solar power system
  8. Hot tub (it's tough being a rugged survivor of the apocalypse)
  9. My True Love as my companion (don't worry dear I'll save the last two bullets)
  10. A copy of "Casablanca"
  11. A tux!  (got to be stylin' bros)
  12. Military Quality Drones (hey, it is a wish list.)

Things That Make My Dog Lose His S&&%

  1. Other Dogs
  2. Mail men (yes the cliche is true)
  3. Door to door sales men asking if we want to sell our gold
  4. Cats
  5. Something that might vaguely be a cat
  6. Food
  7. Food that I am eating
  8. The very air (that's my best guess)

Monster of the Day: Modified Frankendog

Source:  Man's Best Friend
Location:  Your Neighborhood
Threat Assessment:  4.  Super strong, resistant, and fast.  This Dog can take a bite out of crime and cars with equal ease.  Also for some reason has acidic pee (don't know what number 2 is like)
Limitation:  Bit confused about station in life, still animal intelligence (though high end), does not fetch or play with others well.

Today's Secret Code

"Neither cactus or grass likes to be sat on, but the cactus does something about it."  Again:  "Neither cactus or grass likes to be sat on, but the cactus does something about it."  Today's colour is a prickly green.  Today's Author is sickly green.  That is all, maho maho.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Flowers are in Bloom and the Fay are Hard at Work

The Burning Heart of the Strange Angel of North by North West

The Sad Girl Beyond the Last Forest

One of the Last of the Fay
The Sad Girl Beyond the Last Forest
Will only be seen when the last tree falls
and we will share her grief

Seconds Apart

Ah twins. Twins can either be cute (those doublemint twins always looked like they'd be fun at a picnic), or in many films just creepy. I think the ten on the scale of twin creepiness has to be the dead little girls in "The Shining." Yeah I see those two in my hall I'm crapping my pants and beating land speed records at the same time.

The twins from "Seconds Apart" rate a good solid 8 on this scale. Even if you didn't know that they had evil twin powers you would be spooked seeing these freaks in your class. They have the thousand mile stare, they are too touchy with each other, and they look like they've raided Harry Potter's closet. They would probably be bullied, but even most bully's wouldn't want to touch them for fear... well of something.

What folks don't know is that these two have massive psychic powers to control minds and perception. They are now putting that psychic power to psycho use as the force people to kill themselves as they watch. Only one lone cop is willing to believe the unbelievable and tries to figure out how these two are doing the killings and why.

The film is darkly interesting, and a general step above a lot of films in this category. Well filmed, a nice script with some nasty little surprises at the end, it's definitely worth a watch for horror fans.

Gnomeo and Juliet

James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Patrick Stewart, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Hulk Hogan, Ozzy Osbourne, Jason Stratham, and Dolly Parton.  Wow.  Just consider that cast for a moment.  Have you ever seen a bigger bucket of crazy in your life?  I mean seriously.... Ozzy and the Hulkster in the same film?  And it didn't destroy the space time continuum?  Amazing.

Of course it helps that a lot of these folks only have a line or two in the film.  No doubt it also saved the universe by being rather pedestrian in nature.  As the title says it steals "Romeo and Juliet," and applies it to the world of garden gnomes.  The garden gnomes gad about except when there are people then they stand still.  Hmmm, that sounds familiar..."Toy Story" comes to mind.  Could they be stealing from TWO sources?  Well the more the merrier I suppose.  Anyway, these gnomes live in two gneighboring gardens.  Because their ownes are fighting with each other, it carries down to everyone of that house.  So the red gnomes hate the blue ones and vice versa.  So of course it will be troble with the red gnome Gnomeo (ugh) falls in love with the blue gnomre Juliet.  From here it basically follows the classic play till the end when gnomeo says basically "Suck it tragedy," and they add the world's largerst lawn and gnome mower.

Critics have mostly savaged this film.  Is it deserved?  Well, it's not the most original thing as you can tell.  And it has a hard time keeping a consistent tone.  It shifts from following the play, to low brow humor, to a snide little injoke for adults, and so on.  It's like like the film is juggling chainsaws and babies and it's not really paying attention to the audience of obvious reasons.  As a kid's film it's mostly ok, though I doubt they'll get jokes like speaking in Japanese and such.  As a film for adults and kids, it's mostly painless but it will make parents wish they were watching "Toy Story."  For fans of animation I'd just say you probably have something better to do or watch.  For Elton John fans (who's songs fuel this thing like fizzy lifting pop in Willy Wonka) you'll either ignore the film and tap your toes or find yourself in despair asking, "Why oh why?"

But they did get a hell of a cast.

"A Clash of Kings" By George R. R. Martin

Well I've now gotten through the second book and I am glad I got to this series late.  I've got four more books to go, til I can bitch about the author not getting the next one out.  I know I'm probably going to cause so far books one and two end on incredible cliffhangers.  So I'm pretty sure that 4 books from now I'm going to be like, "I NEED the next book Mr. Martin... NOW!!!"

Until then, I'm enjoying the series immensely.  I know some folks consider them something of a downer.  I don't see it like that.  You can't have an immense story of war across nations without loss and drama, so what were you expecting folks?  Glittery vampire boys with pixie sticks?  No thank you, I appreciate that Martin keeps the warfare well grounded in blood and mud that was the historical truth and would be just as true here.

For those who haven't read the books I won't go into great detail.  Just that it begins with six different self styled kings making claims on the lands once ruled by King Robert.  Things get even more stressed as a bright red comet fills the sky and magic seems to be coming back into the land.  All our old players are trying to stay alive and get some advantage over the others, while new players add more plots, intrigues and armies to the mix.  The characters I like like the Imp just get more awesome and the ones I find annoying don't get any more annoying. 

One thing I like about the second book is that after all the place setting of the first, it now has the time to get a little more into the culture.  We are given a little more information, for example, on the different religions of the area.  The one I found interesting was the Drowned God of the Iron Islands.   A fairly dour religion based on the axiom of "What is dead cannot die."  Doesn't sound like the faith of happy campers to be sure.

We get some truly epic battles here.  We get some incredibly creepy magic.  We also get more dire wolves!  Yes dire wolves, suck it unicorns.  I want a pony sized wolf.  What can I say, I'm a man of simple tastes and I'll definitely be reading all the books in this series.

Monster of the Day: The Energy Monster in Jonny Quest

Source:  Jonny Quest
Location:  Isolated Island
Threat Assessment:  6.  Invisible (except when coated with paint), nearly indestructable, and capable of sucking energy from technology and living beings.
Limitations:  A complete addict, it will do anything for a light buzz.  Not too bright.

Personal Note:  The WEIRD thing is when it is invisible it clearly makes steps, but when it is visible it clearly is gliding sans legs in one long stream.  Weird.

Today's Secret Code

"We drink the sand not because we are thirsty, but because we don't know the difference."  Again:  "We drink the sand not because we are thirsty, but because we don't know the difference."  Today's colour is brighter for the understanding.  Today's Author is dimmer for the ignorance.  That is all, maho maho.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Verde Poltergeist Comes!

The Girl With Eyes Like the Sky

Her hair was Autumn
Her eyes were Spring Skies
She dances on lawns
and after weddings
and in dreams
in dreams

A scene

EVE:  Is it true?
BOB:  It is true.
EVE:  Then that means...
BOB:  Yes it means that...
EVE:  Oh Bob!
BOB:  Eve!!
(They kiss and explode.  The End)

LOL Turtle Not Happy

"The Drive In" by Joe R. Lansdale

Joe, if I may be so familiar, is a national treasure by way of Texas.  He writes westerns, mysteries, pulp action, horror, comic books and sometimes he writes them all in one big ol' stew of a thing.  His writing is sharp, concise, and often as not darkly funny.  His stories do move boy, and he knows how to rock and roll.  So if you have not read one of his books I would say, "What are you waiting for?"

Only Joe would have been able to write "The Drive In," which is a tribute to the vanishing Drive In culture, an examination of what it means to be human, and a damn fine weird story of horror and popcorn.  It's about four boys becoming men who are on their weekly all night pilgrimage to the Orbit Drive In where every Friday is horror night.  People are running around in monster suits, girls in bikinis, there is drinking and grilling and all sorts of making out.  Generally a mighty fine night to be young and in Texas.  That is, until a strange comet comes and surrounds the drive in with a thick black ...THING... that dissolves what ever touches it. 

Ok, things are bad but not so bad.  We still got movies.  We still got popcorn.  We can be civil about all this.  Who knows how many weeks that thought lasted.  Eventually, though people start becoming savage.  As Leatherface runs around on the eternal screens people between the cars begin taking lessons.  Also, popcorn only satisfies so much, some folks start thinking of grillin' up some people burgers.  Our boys have to try to survive this and survive it with humanity intact.

Our narrator takes this very hard because he is as his friend Bob said "A bleeding heart" who truly wants to believe people are not just animals.  Bob says folks aren't just animals but sonovabitches as well.  The other two spiral way out of control and end up tattoo'd armed and one on top of the other's shoulders wearing a popcorn tub as a hat.  Definitely not normal behavior and it only gets worse from there.

It's a slim book but that's just cause Joe slimmed it down to fighting weight.  It bobs, it weaves and it lands surprising punches among funny little quips.  Some images like the little girl with the dog are not going to go away soon.  When the monster of the piece the Popcorn King appears it is electricfying.  Why this hasn't been made into a film I will never know.  So far as I know the only thing they've touched of his work for film was the incredible "Bubba Ho Tep." 

Definitely, Hollywood needs to get on board!

Stuff My Dad And I Both Liked

My Dad was an incredible man. Both a thinker and a rugged individualist he was a sheriff and teacher at various times in his life. A biker and a cowboy. A hell raiser and a gentleman. We didn't have much in common as far as our taste in movies or books was concerned. He'd watch a film with me if there was a promise of gun play or a car chase, but that was about the size of it. That's why the few things we did share are still special to me.


  1.   Marx Brother Movies.
  2.   John Wayne movies, specially "The Shootist"
  3.   Raymond Chandler
  4.   "King Solomon's Mines"
  5.   Stephen King's "The Stand"
  6.   Hunter S. Thompson specially "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
  7.   "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."
  8.   Kinky Friedman
  9.   "Little Fuzzy"
  10.  Early Heinlein
  11.   "Easy Rider"
  12.  "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man."
  13. Elvis
  14. Cheech and Chong films
  15. Waylon Jennings
Miss you Dad.

Monster of the Day: Giant Ants

Source:  Them
Location:  South West USA
Threat Assessment:  7.  Ants the size of trucks.  They have stingers and pinchers and some are capable of flight.  Resistant to small arms fire.  Capable of working together and making burrows.
Limitations:  Animal intelligence, fire.

Personal Note: Not to be confused with the French film "Them."

Today's Secret Code

"Is a single molecule of water still a liquid?"  Again:  "Is a single molecule of water still a liquid?"  Today's colour is aqua marine.  Today's Author still likes Aquaman no matter what you think.  That is all, maho maho.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Vesper Witch

The Vesper Witch
whispers venom
where needed

The Princess of Gola

Gola is one of THOSE kingdoms
you know that you have to find the secret door to enter
or answer the riddle of upset cat
Once there it is a fairyland
of great beauty
as long as don't make the Princess
any more blue
than she is

Even in Gehenna There is Time to go the the Beach

A rare poster from the Esoterrorist band "Eye of the Kraken."

found in a storage locker
along with pickled tentacles,
A Ted Heally Bass,
and three bronzed baseball bats

I Saw the Devil

This Korean thriller starts strong. A woman is stranded on a snowy road then assaulted by a stranger. The stranger then brutally kills her even though she pleads that she is pregnant. Her husband, who is in the Korean version of the Secret Service, of course doesn't take this well. So he decides the world need some hot vengeance.

Now he starts off pretty right if you are going to go the crazed vigilante route.  He doesn't know who killed her, so he gets a list of likely suspects and then gives them hell as he crosses them off.  Since these suspects are all sleezoids the audience isn't too upset that he goes all Bronson on them.  Though certainly any male had an uncomfortable feeling when he took a wrench to a fellow's jewels. 

It's when he finds the guy finally that his plan goes off the rails.  In one of the most epically stupid ideas I've beheld in film, he tortures the guy and then LET'S HIM GO.  Why?  So he can capture him and torture him again.  I think we can all see the problem with this plan.  This is just thoughtlessly stupid and crazy.  Admittedly, it leads to some intense action like one scene where the stranger carjacks a taxi by repeatedly stabbing the driver as he is barrelling along an icy road (he's not all that rational either, but then he is the psycho killer here).  Still I just can't buy this.  It's good in places, too bloody in others, and just a thick slice of dumb all over. 

The Adjustment Bureau

Matt Damon is a very likeable guy. That's his stock in trade. He plays guys that feel like the sons of the blue collar communities. Even when he's playing a super spy like Jason Bourne you always have the feeling he'd be much more comfortable in a neighborhood bar nursing a cold one and playing pool.

This quality is well used in "The Adjustment Bureau." While his character, David Norris, is a politician seeking high office, he's also the type of politician to get into a bar room brawl after winning, or have video of an embarrassing college prank released. Damon easily stradles these two sides of the character with confidence. His character though prone to rash decisions and errors is obviously going places.

Till he meets this girl. This girl, Elise played very well by Emily Blunt, is like his other half. In their brief meeting they obviously feel that chemistry for each other and if not for the untimely arrival of some cops they would have probably become a couple. But that's not their fate.

Or is it?

Later, by accident they meet again. And this time he makes sure to get her name and number. Now there's nothing to get in the way of them getting to know each other better. Well, except fate. When we say fate, we mean the Adjustment Bureau. See, when folks deviate from THE PLAN, the the bureau comes in to adjust things. Generally, they do this subtly. A little mishap here, some spilled coffee there and generally folks get back on the plan. In extreme cases they can even get in your brain and change your mind just enough to make it all work out.

Of course, things will not be easy to sort out the case between David and Elise. He believes it is true love, the Bureau believes in THE PLAN. Who's right? Will the Chairman have to get involved?

This film is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. It should be noted that Philip K. Dick strongly believed at one point he met something like God so it should be no surprise that he ponders questions of Free Will versus a divine plan. Can you have just a little free will? What of the Bureau itself? Do they have free will? These are heady questions wrapped around a film that is half romance and half action. The actors do an excellent job of it. I love the 50's look of the Bureau and their retro gadgets like teleportational hats and books with maps that continually update on where people are and what they are doing.

The end is a little abrupt, but I'd be hard press to think of how else to end this that wouldn't be a downer. That would be wrong because really this film has a sweet feel. This is the "little" people (and when compared to angels and God aren't we all "little?") fighting for their heart's desire. I would definitely recommend this film.

Things I Want: The balls from Phantasm

The only thing that would be better for a villain's lair than sharks with frickin' laser beams on their head is a ball flying through the air with a drill. Now I'm not a bad guy, but I can appreciate a really killer security system. I'm sure they would come in handy when the zombies rise up. I'm sure the CDC would agree.

Another "Game of Thrones" moment that makes me wish I had HBO

Oh, I've been waiting for this. Even though I haven't seen the intact series the clip below was good bad goodness. For those who haven't read the book or seen the show yet Viserys is a complete jerk who readers were wishing dead from page one. Finally, the author gave us one of the best death scenes since the witch's melting in "The Wizard of Oz." Warning, it is a bit intense and probably not safe for the work place.

Monster of the Day: Giant Mantis

Source:   The Deadly Mantis
Location:  From Antartic Ice sheets to a neighborhood near you
Threat Assessment:  7.  Not Godzilla level, but certainly a real threat.  Super strong, tough, and capable of flight.  Also, armed with very sharp, pointy claws.
Limitation:  Insect intelligence.

Personal Note:  I have seen real mantises catch humming birds.  I have no idea why there hasn't been more done with these creepy crawlies.

Today's Secret Code

"In the beginning....there was an ending."  Again:  "In the beginning....there was an ending."  Today's Colours are at the ends of the rainbow.  Today's Author is considering the Alpha and the Omega Man.  That is all bros, maho maho.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Does An Oracle Know When It Is Wrong?

Latra Brillman's Coming Out Party

The Queen of Hearts and Mirrors

The Queen of Hearts
Is also
The Queen of Mirrors
and she loves none more
than her reflection

Sinbad and the Minotaur

I loved the original Sinbad films.  Great works of fantasy brought to life with Harryhausen special effects.  They were not only exciting but fun and light and full of swashes a buckling.  The closest we have to them today are the Disney Pirate movies, but they are bloated in comparison to the light touch of the Sinbad films.

Well SyFy gave it a try and of course it was a whiff and a miss.  That this is so par for course doesn't upset me anymore.  To expect anything more would be madness.  So let's just brush on the highlights and the lowlights, and be on with it.

Right off, we have a slow scroll up of "IMPORTANT THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW," and right off I'm a little confused.  I look at the title again, aha it does say "Sinbad."  Why then oh scribes of story telling are you telling me a bunch of hooey about greek myth?  I mean true the originals didn't stay strictly with arabian fantasies, but they would always first ground us into the world of Sinbad before going to Mu or Atlantis.  I have the feeling that as much as they want the name Sinbad, they want to distance themselves from anything arabic.  Afterall, I'm sure they don't want to be accused of making "Sinbad the Terrorist."

This suspicion becomes much more firm when we get our first look at Sinbad.  Again, the originals didn't play straight for arabic looking actors, I mean one of the Sinbads was John Wayne's son.  But at least they got the beard and such to at least suggest an arabian origin.  Not so here, this fellow looks straight out Jersey.  He looks like the Sitch.  He acts probably as good.

So in no time we meet our evil magician for the show.  He's obviously seen the first Sinbad film and tries to act accordingly.  Unfortunately he as well cannot act.  We also meet Sinbad's girl who is feisty, Sinbad's pal who is black, and the rest of the crew who are forgettable.  On the bad guy's side there's a real ugly guy who's called the "Undying," and seems to live up to that. 

In no time at all both sides are sailing to an island looking for some lost treasure of Minos.  The folks there are surly and given to fits of growing horns and homocide.  The lair of the Minotaur is done in early D&D with canvas based cave walls and traps.  The plot at this point is not important.  What is important is that the Minotaur, traditionally half man and half bull is here... well looks like half bull, half legos?  Maybe Half bull, half cactus?  Seriously, what is half man here in this design?  Is it the small wee wee? 

Anyway, the film is basically 2 hours of your life missing in action.  It doesn't rise to good badness and it's light years from any definition of good.  So there you have it.  As they say in the original films... "trust in Allah, but tie up your camel."


One of the vexing things about H. P. Lovecraft is when you get down to it, he wasn't that good of a writer. If he was enrolled in say writing 101 he would be the type of student that would have the teacher's eyes rolling in no time. Lovecraft is certainly a case where the end result is inexplicably more than the sum of the parts. It does make one wonder what a "better" writer would have done with Lovecraft's theme.

Meet Thomas Ligotti. He takes on Lovecraft's theme of unnameable horror with delicacy and with the ear of a poet.  "Grimescribe" is a collection of his short works and each one is a dark note that together forms a very disturbing sonata.  There is very little horror at work in these tales.  There is rarely a monster popping out of the dark.  Rather, the narrator of each story sees and experiences things that he can barely conceive of much less put to paper.  Sometimes the narrator falls to despair, and sometimes falls to darker forces being changed utterly, but in the end there is no going back to the bright sunlit reality we take for granted. 

Definitely worth reading for those who like darker readings. 

Things I Want: Log

Monster of the Day: Monsters of Party Beach

Source:  Horror At Party Beach
Location:  Um.. Party Beach?
Threat Assessment:  4.  Seemingly unkillable mutant zombie fish men.  They have claws, and can breath water. 
Limitation:  Pure Sodium is bad for them, as if it was good for anyone.  Mouth is too filled with sausage like organs to be much good except as the butt of jokes.

Today's Secret Code

"Life is best enjoyed between the ticks and tocks."  Again:  "Life is best enjoyed between the ticks and tocks."  Today's Colour is a stable sable.  Today's Author is looking for a soft meadow to lie down in and look up at the clouds.  That is all, maho maho.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who are you?


found on the plant Albe's Folly
the Grook thrives on a chlorine atmosphere
It is both curious and skittish
and its cry of Grook seems both
a warning
and a question

Always Beware A Doll With A Gun

Monster of the Day: Eye Creatures

Source:  Attack of the Eye Creatures
Location:  In the woods.  In the dark and scary woods.
Threat Assessment:  3.  Ok, there are a goodly number of them, and supposedly they are technologically superior.  Also they look strong.
Limitations:  Boy are they dumb.   They blow up real good in bright light.  They got eyes all over them.  I mean throw a punch anywhere and you'd probably hit an eye.

Personal Note:  Check out the MST3K version, you can find it on You Tubes.

Today's Secret Code

"You plant a tree and it grows.  There is no better miracle than life."  Again:  "You plant a tree and it grows.  There is no better miracle than life."  Today's colour is a vibrant green.  Today's Author has a virulent grin.  That is all, maho maho excelsior!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Elemental C-354

Rising from Bikini Atoll
A new form of Elemental
Stalks the Earth

This Mental Image Was Brought To You By Ego Unlimited

You knew it was only a matter of time
till they broadcast in your head
and then the jingles
truly never get out of your head

Witch with Wand Chucks

Street Fighter

Roger Ebert might argue that video games can never be art.  Fans may argue which adaption from a video game came the closest to capturing what made the game so compelling (for my money that would be "Silent Hill"), but for my money the one adaption that was the most fun is "Street Fighter."  It gleefully doesn't make a lick of sense.  It shambles, rambles, runs a full tilt boogie from one silly situation to another trying to shoe horn in every character from the game. 

It's great.

Does Jean-Claude Van Damme successfully play an american soldier?  Not even.  Does it matter?  Not at all.  Even Mr. Dour here can't stop the fun as Colonel Guile.  The good Colonel is leading a UN style force into the asian nation of Shadalo.  The reason is to stop the mad, mad, mad M. Bison played with zest by Raul Julia.  In between this rock and a hard body is everyone else from black marketeers, con men, and cute journalists seeking revenge. 

The actual kung fu is of only middling quality.  The mix of actors really couldn't allow for Jackie Chan style craziness.  But the characters square off nicely and there's a nice balance and flow.  What really anchors the film is Julia who brings a sort of crazed dignity to a character who thinks its sound fiscal strategy to plan to kidnap the Queen of England.  Definitely a guilty pleasure I don't feel a shred of guilt in watching. 

We sorely miss you Mr. Julia.

Monster of the Day: Sharks with Frickin' Laser Beams On Their Head

Source:  Austin Powers
Location:  Secret Lair
Threat Assessment:  6.  Clearly the top of the line in evil ways to kill the good guys.  Don't accept sea bass as a substitute.
Limitation;  Hard to find.

Today's Secret Code

"Itway isway otnay ethay olutionsay, utbay ethay uzzlepay."  Again:  "Itway isway otnay ethay olutionsay, utbay ethay uzzlepay."  Today's colour is fusion fusia.  Today's Author is thinking about Amway.  That is all, ahomay ahomay.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do You Really NEED a Reason to Fear Clowns?

The Digitization of the Dead

That which is stored with enough RAM
can never really die

The Qyn

If there are "cosmic hippies"
they would be the Qyn
Living is substainable
space stations
they seek to cause no
added harm
to the cosmos

Thor: Tales of Asgard

This is a nice animated version of Thor.  More specifically it is a young teenage Thor learning some tough life lessons.  First lesson:  If you are the bosses son, the guys are going to let you win even when you shouldn't.  When he's clued in on that, it bums him mightily and he decides to go a quest to prove himself.

His dad Odin says no, but he sneaks aboard an asgardian ship with his brother Loki.   Their quest?  To seek the fabled flaming sword of Surtur.  Along with the warriors three they have a nice bar fight before getting serious.  But finding the sword is just the start of things.  Frost Giants are not happy and threaten a war, and there is a schemer behind everything.  Can Thor learn some important lessons BEFORE he's killed? 

It's all very nice animation with a good story.  It's not ground breaking or anything but kids will like it and adults won't feel the need to scratch their eyes out.

Monster of the Day: speed zombies

source:  Dawn of the Dead
Location:  unfortunately everywhere
Threat Assessment:  8.  Just like your old fashion zombie except waiting to run a marathon.  You wouldn't think that would be that big a difference, but whoa nelly it is.  They can rush as a mass and you are still trying to reload as to eat your brains and sweetmeats.
Limitations:  Still not bright, and still a bullet to the head.  Shame you don't have enough time or bullets.

Today's Secret Code

"When given the timeline of the universe as a whole: everybody is dead, and there's no reason to hate anyone."  Again:  "When given the timeline of the universe as a whole:  Everybody is dead, and there's no reason to hate anyone."  Today's colour is unimportant.  Today's Author will be everywhere eventually.  That is all, maho maho.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our Lady of Sighs

Our Lady
Our Lady of Sighs
Once courted Mayan Princes
and took skulls covered in flowers
with a sad sigh
Now she haunts churches
and dreams
and sighs

Young Wight About Town

It is never easy
being young
and dead
but Jonny manages it
with style


The Dethbird of Antara 34
is a well adapted scavenger
the upper eyes actually see 24 hours
into the future
So it knows where to find
a cooling meal

The Vanishing on 7th Street

Right, up front I'll say there is some scary stuff happening here. Why it's happening you will never be told. Deal with that right now. There is no explanations, no resolutions, there is just the situation. The situation is this, suddenly the lights go out. When the lights go back on. Everyone else is GONE. Well, not totally gone, their clothes are there. Little place markers of mortality. The only reason you aren't gone too is that you had a light source with you. Oh, that light source, it's getting dimmer.

And the shadows are coming.

That's the situation our characters are in. A boy, a girl, and two men. They find themselves in a bar with a back up generator. They argue about what is happening. They argue about why its happening. They argue about what to do next. The lights are growing dim, and even the days are disappearing. They have to do something, but can they do anything?

This is a taunt scary little beast. The first 15 minutes are very powerful and sets up just what a no win scenario this is. The acting is good, I'd watch John Leguizamo red the phone book backwards in latin. The film falters abit in the third act since really there's no where to go once it becomes clear that the film will refuse to explain anything. Still, a very nice little chiller!

Spider Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D.

Spider Woman was always a super hero I liked that I thought was very under used. Not really associated at all with Spiderman, she had an interesting range of powers. Super strength, speed, and durability. The ability to stick to walls, glide, and fire energy bolts from her hands, and finally the ability to release pheremones to cause feelings of either love or fear. Originally something of a private detective, she had a couple of years of her own book and cartoon. One problem was her villains were never too interesting, about the best was Gypsy Moth who liked to telekinetically control "Soft" things like clothing and flesh. The other was that she was basically created to secure for Marvel the trademark to the name "Spiderwoman," and with that being done they didn't seem to have too much interest in her.

Well, decades later they picked her up again, dusted her off and preceeded to totally screw with her life. The person doing this is a fellow named "Bendis" who writes for the Avengers and seems to have quite the anti fan following. As far as I understand it, the basic complaint is that Bendis screws with characters left and right and he thinks he's a big hot writer when he's not. Oh well, we now have "Spider Woman Agent of S.W.O.R.D." and it wasn't too bad at all.

Called a "Motion Comic Book," it really lacks um motion. It's basically a series of still art manipulated before the camera with a sound track. For all that, it's actually pretty good. The art work is dark and moody and would have been a bear to really animate. The story picks up after some big alien invasion. Apparently Spider Woman got really screwed up because of it and she's at loose ends. A shadowy organization called "S.W.O.R.D," hires her and sends her to an exotic location to kill or capture the few renegade aliens left on Earth. Nothing is ever that simple though, and she has to deal with her wicked "stepmother" who happens to run a huge terrorist organization, and posse of second string heroes who are bringing her in.. um just cause. Done in ten minute episodes it really does work.

Great (?) Moments in Power Gaming

Power gaming is something that occurs in roleplaying games. It is a use of rules that makes your character just sick. It also makes everyone else sick of you, and you better hope you are invulnerable.

But it can be so fun sometimes.

The game is Champions. A superhero game. The basic principle is you buy the effects of the power then you decide on the details. So for example you buy an energy beam and then later declare it to be flamethrower. Now one nice feature is "No Normal Defense," a feature built for power gaming. Basically you fit a power with the NND and it doesn't matter if its Ironman, he's going to feel it.

The limitation of the NND is that it generally doesn't kill, and that you must set a common thing that would negate the NND. For example, electricity's limitation would be insulation.

So, my character, the Mad Scientist Dr. Roy Wong, is whizzing all over Destructo with my NND that I can my DNA Scrambler Special. Finally, the fellow playing Destructo complains and demands to know what the defense against the NND is. I tell him the defense is not being Destructo. He hits the wall, but I point out that it is very common not to be Destructo. I also point out that it is has good comic book backing. Afterall, krptonite is a NND that the defense is "Not being kryptonian."

The person running the game made me change it, but I think it should still stand. What say you? Did I go to far?

Things I Want: The Black Beauty

You'd think I'd be happy with a time travelling DeLorean. Well sue me for being fickle but I also think the Green Hornet's ride is pretty sweet. It has missiles, it has guns, it has a working lighter (though I don't smoke); this baby has everything but a baby! The only drawbacks is that it doesn't come with Kato, and it probably gets one mile to the gallon. But it does look sweet.

I Am Number Four

One of the big things in publishing today, is the young adult novels.  Harry Potter, and the Twilight series are examples of the young adult novel which should give you some idea of the range.  "I am Number Four," falls straight down the middle between the two.  Basically, those that read the books will like it, and those that didn't should be amused enough to not feel cheated.

It's the story of a young teen growing into manhood.  Being an alien, manhood means having flashlight fingers.  But it is not all cool, see he's near the last of his race and the aliens responsible are hunting him and the others with special powers.  Protected by an old warrior and a puppy, they are constantly on the run and changing identities. In his new school he actually finds a friend and a girl, and so he doesn't want to keep running.  So it eventually becomes a showdown between him and evil aliens.  Everyone helps out with and there's a mysterious girl who shows up who also has powers.

I like the bad guys.  They aren't deep or anything but they are mean and at the same time goofy.  They have tattoos and funky noses and sound like steroid cases with a bad cold.  They have no redeeming features and so it's great fun to see them get schooled.  The teens act about as well as can be expected.   The plot keeps moving.  The special effects are ok.  Like I said, fairly painless. 

How Far Can the Cartoon Network Fall?

Over at the The Mary Sue they did a good job charting the rise and fall of the Cartoon Network.  It's something I've been interested in along with the crash of the SyFy network.  Both share two common traits; mission creep and lack of quality control. 

Mission creep is the easiest to see.  When I turn on the Cartoon Network on Saturday morning (SATURDAY MORNING!!  Once the holy grail time for cartoons) I should not see a basketball game.  You would think this would be an easy error to avoid.  I mean name "cartoon network" should be all the clue you need as to your mission statement.  Sadly, the temptation to go beyond is nearly unavoidable to the office suits.  The reason is simply that most business models are based on the concept that if you aren't growing you are dying.  So, someone starts a network with the intention of capturing a small core audience.  Eventually, said network will capture nearly all of that audience so then how can it continue to grow?  Of course, by branching out.  So suddenly Syfy gets wrestling and a cooking show and cartoon network gets a live action game show.  Everybody loses, as far as quality and brand identity is concerned, but as long as there is any bump up in ratings the damage would continue.

The second problem would also seem to be an easy one to avoid.  Pick good, quality shows and there shouldn't be a problem.  The trouble comes when the suits change places.  The people who started and ran the cartoon network are not there and the next generation just isn't cutting it.  Weirdly, in this situation good shows from the previous administration face an uphill battle.  That's because the new suits always want to make sure everyone knows that THEY are the geniuses at work here, so anything left over from before is nothing but an embarrassment.  Projects in planning are cancelled and shows on the air are minimized.  Meanwhile, the suits look for things that are "Different," unfortunately different and good often do not meet.

It's not all doom and gloom, there have been some good shows in this late period of the Cartoon Network.  "The Venture Brothers," "Chowder," and "Adventure Time" are good examples.  The Trouble is that they are being crowded out by shows like "Problem Solverz" which is 15 minutes I will never get back.  Honestly, without another shakeup at the top I don't see this getting better.  The best we can do as the audience is support passionately those shows that deserve it. 

Monster of the Day: The graboid

Source:  Tremors
Location:  You aren't going to like this... it's under you.
Threat Assessment:  5.  A big gigantic worm with a beaked mouth filled with snapping tentacles.  The main problem is the graboid can sneak up on you since it travels by burrowing at high speeds.  Also, the ground provides it a defense against most weapons.  While not intelligent it certainly has a learning curve.
Limitations:  Doesn't like loud noises.  Animal intelligence.  Stinks.  The last is probably only a limitation to being invited to the better parties.
Personal Note:  One of my favorite beasties.  Great movie!

Today's Secret Code

"Bitter fruit can be candied, and sad memories can be made into song."  Again:  "Bitter fruit can be candied, and sad memories can be made into song."  Today's colour is singing the blues.  Today's Author has a spoonful.  That is all, maho maho.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lalanni Maul: The Spirit of Passionate Vengeance

The Shrine of Lions

Few see the Shrine of Lions
Fewer still are allowed to leave
But if you are so lucky
they you will see
many wonders

I Dreamed Twinned In Red

I dreamed twinned in red
soft touches
of breathing
perfumed of roses
and eyes
that might
or might not
any time