Other stuff post – a third of an idea for nothing

There’s probably a way this story could be wedged into the Grace blog but I don’t think it would work best with the main character not being the focal point.  Which is kind of the flaw with the Grace blog overall, often when I think of an interesting (to me) magic premise it has her be more of an observer than an active participant.  I’ll probably do nothing with this idea.

There’s this lady you see and she’s just hanging out doing lady stuff.  Based on every sitcom ever that probably means she’s either putting lotion on her hands or folding laundry.  Sitcom ladies love putting on lotion and folding laundry.  Then her wedding ring starts thrumming.  As you might imagine she finds this disconcerting.  Actually yeah, let’s go with the lotion idea, she takes the ring off for the lotion and then said ring starts vibrating and hopping around on the nightstand.  That would be cool. 

WTFF she thinks (you know what the extra F is for) and she grabs the ring as it pops up into the air of its own accord.  Before she can get too freaked out about that though she suddenly knows “oh shit my husband is in trouble” and his exact location pops into her head.  She hops into the car and tears off down the street.  She has a little trouble with the wheel because he hands are slick from all that lotion but she manages.

As she’s driving the location in her mind is moving and she eventually realizes that she’s heading for the hospital.  Uh-oh, Spaghetti-Os she thinks.  She gets to the hospital and runs in and asks the lady at the counter (are those always nurses or do they have administrator people hanging around?) if her husband is there and when they’re trying to help her and/or blow her off she follows her mental homing beacon into the ER where her husband is all ripped up.

“You can’t be in here!” someone shouts and they push her out the door.  A doctor comes out and says her husband was in a car wreck and they did everything they could but he’s dead, deader than every dead dog that ever died.  She’s sad, funeral happens, sadness, etc.  She mostly forgets about the whole crazy wedding ring thing because it’s so sad.

But then one day she sighs and goes to do something with the big plastic bag of her husband’s stuff they gave her at the hospital and when she pulls out his wedding ring both rings go bonkers and start shining with a bright light and spinning around and flying around and what have you.  Which is pretty freaky but she’s still too sad to care much about it.

The very next day a dude shows up at the house and he’s all like “Your husband and I were old pals and he told me if he ever died suddenly that I needed to come tell you a secret”.  And she’s not into it because she’s like “I know all my husband’s friends and I never seen you before” and he says they hadn’t seen each other in a long time but he has something really important he has to tell her so she has to let him in right now.

She’s not buying it but she says “go ahead and tell me then if you have something to say” and he barges in and tries to rip the ring off her finger.  I’ll say she’s wearing both rings at this point, that seems like something a fictional person would do if their spouse died.  Maybe even a real person would do that.  If I want things to get really hardcore he has some tin snips and he tries to cut her finger off to get the rings.  Point is, they tussle and she gets her gun because she’s in the coast guard?  Do you get a sidearm in the coast guard?  Maybe she’s in the naval reserve. 

Anyway the guy goes ‘bleeeeeeeaghhhhhh!” and runs at her like dudes like to do in movies when ladies have guns and she plugs him.  And she’s all like WTFFF?

The cops turns up and she’s telling them about it and one of the uniformed officers is like “I need to take these rings for evidence” and she’s like “What?  Why?  How are the rings evidence?” and then she does some Sherlock Holmes stuff and realizes that this dude is not a real cop.  He notices her noticing his uniform and he’s like “I’m actually an auxiliary policeman so that’s why my buttons look weird” or whatever the thing is that she Sherlocks. 

She calls out to the lead detective and is like “What’s the deal with this guy trying to take my rings?” and the dude bolts and it’s a whole thing. 

That’s a decent first part of a story, but like most of my ideas it’s really a third of an idea.  Her husband was a magic man because magic is real and there’s secret magic people out there.  He enchanted their  wedding rings so he’d know if she ever got into trouble but without intending to it also worked the other way round – she was alerted when he was injured.  Now that he’s dead these other evil magic people want these rings because he was pretty dang magic and he put most of his magic into the rings and they’re a valuable commodity. 

So I have a first act and an antagonist and that’s about it.  What happens then?  That’s generally as far as I get with story ideas and I wonder, once again, if that’s because I’ve spent so much time running RPGs.  In an RPG a set-up and a bad guy is usually all you need.  The players don’t need much incentive to send them running off in every direction doing all kinds of stuff, much of it insane in the membrane. And by all kinds of stuff I mean mostly violence.  Spending time building out story beyond that can be an exercise in frustration because 77% of the time you’re never going to anticipate which way the PCs are going to jump.  It’s uncanny how good players are at unconsciously thwarting the GM. 

OOC – Happy cyberpunk day

70% of the thousands of hours I’ve spent playing TTRPGs has been on fantasy settings, mostly D&D.  15% has been on sci-fi settings, mostly Star Wars. 

But of the remainder, a good 5% has been spent playing cyberpunk games, mostly Shadowrun.  Superhero retains the #1 spot on my list of genres I wish I played more, but cyberpunk is a strong runner up. 

The first Cyberpunk game I played was called Cyberspace and I was just the right age for its glorious horrible awesomeness.  Up until that point I had mainly just played D&D and Palladium games so even though the system in retrospect was awful, I was enamored with its bonkers skill charts and amusing critical damage tables. 

We didn’t play it much because then (and for a long time) I was the only GM in our group and I had a hard time coming up with cyberpunk adventure ideas.  Fantasy settings are so easy – some goblins are harassing farmers trying to cross a bridge, adventure done!  But it seemed so much harder to come up with cyberpunk ideas at the time.  I realize now it’s not, some cybered up gangers are harassing people trying to get on the train to work, done!  I think part of the problem (besides the fact that I was 12) was that D&D isn’t really presented as an immersive world, in fantasyland you go on adventures and who cares what you’re doing the rest of the time, whereas cyberpunk games have rules for finding an apartment and paying your rent.  It’s a lot to take in when you’re in 6th grade. 

Later one of my friends brought me Cyberpunk 2020 which I found to be wildly inferior to Cyberspace even though it was obviously much better.  Thus began the short lived Cyberspace VS Cyberpunk wars amongst my friends.  In the end, as with most wars, there was no winner – only casualties, as I don’t think (aside from one weekend trip to the lake) we ever played either of them again. 

It was either in HS or shortly afterwards where Shadowrun came into the mix.  I had maybe sort of played a few times before (probably sat around and made a character and never played) but the time I really remember as the “first” was a gonzo campaign where basically all we did was attack Yazuka strongholds and have huge fights.  I remember Age of Apocalypse had just come out so I guess it was ’95, and I was indeed in HS.  Seems like the right time to Shadowrun.

It seemed so much cooler and more interesting than D&D even though that campaign specifically was just a big combat-fest and had far less roleplaying than we usually did playing D&D.  Maybe I just thought it was cool to be playing an RPG with guns. 

Since those days I’ve played in many attempts at Shadowrun games afterwards and a couple that actually had some legs.  They’re some of my favorite gaming experiences, although some of that is less about Shadowrun and more a combination of liking systems where I don’t know everything and can’t metagame, the ruthlessness of the GM which is a nice break from storytelling games sometimes, and the people I was playing with. 

Outside of the RPG realm though I haven’t been nearly as impressed with cyberpunk as a genre.  One of my friends told me that Neuromancer was the best book ever and I found it dull and uninteresting.  It almost destroyed our friendship!  My issues with my friends trying to cram Blade Runner down my throat and my rejection of it are well documented.  I hate anime and everything it stands for so Akira and Ghost in the Shell were right out.  I feel like there’s other fundamentals of the cyberpunk literary world I’m forgetting but whatever they were, I didn’t like them. 

But I’ll always have Shadowrun. 

OOC – Rat-shack update

I just mowed the lawn and a rabbit just sat there in the grass staring at me. Even when I came at it with the mower it wouldn’t move. It did eventually run away but it was like it knew. Like it was saying “You can’t even handle a mouse. I’m a hundred times bigger than a mouse. You can’t do shit to me.”

I’ve lost the respect of the animal kingdom. Soon voles will be slapping me around and taking my lunch money. I need to break bad with the animals to get back some respect. Maybe I should move to Japan and join a whaling crew.

Remember that episode of the X-Files where the guy who speaks German for no reason and is giving women lobotomies with an ice pick screams at a captive Scully (actually the demons he thinks are controlling her) “I AM ON TO YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!” It was like that.

I rewatched the X-Files fairly recently I had forgotten how many episodes were Scully gets kidnapped and Mulder has to save her.

OOC – Letters from the rat-shack

Remember on the Simpsons when Art Spiegelman put on a mask to fight crime and boldly declared “Maus is in the house!”  I do. 

Remember the episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia where the gang (minus Charlie) is trying to catch a rat but instead they end up huffing gas and watching Tom and Jerry cartoons?  I do.  Sometimes in Tom and Jerry they would bring in a dog character to abuse Jerry as well.  I wonder what its name was. 

Last week when I was doing some yard work a mouse sneaked in the back door.  I put out some humane traps which appear to be useless.  Friday I built a bucket trap and twice now the mouse has triggered it without falling in the bucket.  Either it’s a very acrobatic mouse or I need a wider bucket. 

Friday morning I saw it peeking at me from behind the bookcase.  Which would have been cute if I didn’t hate it.  Which I do.

My old blog had about a thousand followers.  And a lot of them actually read it (sometimes).  If I asked them for mouse advice there would have been a lot of it and most of it would have been annoying.  Is it mansplaining when it’s two men or is that only man on woman action?  Must be the latter because otherwise that’s just being a jerkstore right? 

I suppose when you’re giving advice, you have to assume the person you’re talking to is an idiot.

Case and point I saw some reviews where people were giving 1-star ratings of a mousetrap and they’d post a video to show how crappy it was and instead they weren’t using it right – of course the mouse walked right out, you had the top open GGGyellow856!  How did you think it was going to do anything like that?  It was a good reminder that product reviews are largely pointless (like humane traps).

I’m not asking for advice now either but I shouldn’t say to myself that it’s because no one reads this blog because a couple people do read it.  Thanks couple people.   There’s a new episode of Heels tonight.  I’m excited about that.  Maybe the mouse and I can watch it together while it gives me the hanta virus. 

PS – It is a mouse and not rat, that’s just a “funny” title. If there was a rat in here I’d burn the house to the ground.

OOC – Bonus buffooneries

WordPress is 42% of the internet I hear.  Of that 42%, 80% is reviewing (mostly complaining) about Marvel movies.  Never let it be said that I don’t conform.  Since a couple new Marvel movies have come out lately, Longtail Turtle and I had to update our rankings.  I figured I’d compare and throw in the rankings from Rotten Tomatoes as well.

Iron Man

My rank – 13

LTT rank – 9

Tomato rank – 2

We’re pretty close to each other but off the norm.  It’s a good movie for sure but I’m shocked that it’s reckoned the second best Marvel movie.  It’s pretty good for the first two acts.  The ending is a strong “meh”.  There’s something about two robots punching each other that doesn’t do much for me.  And why introduce the 10 Rings and then not have them be the end villain? 

Incredible Hulk

My rank – 22

LTT rank – 22 (yay, the same!)

Tomato rank – 24

No one likes this one.  It’s not terrible, it’s just not good.  I’m not sure the Hulk is a good character for storytelling.  I loved the Hulk as a kid probably for the same reason a lot of kids go through a dinosaur phase – when you have no power of anything it’s fun to think about a giant beast that smashes everything.  What would a good Hulk movie be?  Two hours of Hulk smashing shit?  I’m not sure you can do anything with the Hulk.  When he’s Bruce Banner his whole thing is not turning into the Hulk, which is what we want.  And when he’s the Hulk, nothing is a threat to him. 

Iron man 2

My rank – 7

LTT rank – 5

Tomato rank – 23

Whoa.  I knew people didn’t love this movie but the general public says it’s almost as bad as Thor Dark World?  That’s bonkers to me.  There’s another robot fight at the end, which is lame, but other than that what’s so bad about this movie?  Hammer is entertaining and I like Vanko as an enemy.  Sidenote LTT hates the Pepper Potts character.  I guess she is only there to be Tony’s love interest but as far as love interest characters go, I think she’s good.

Thor

My rank – 24

LTT rank – 23

Tomato rank – 21

Alignment here, this movie is lame.  Another one without a real antagonist.  Seems like they were real coy with having villains in these early movies.  I wonder why.  But then Thor doesn’t really have any classic enemies other than Loki.  Although in my mind Enchantress is Thor’s archnemesis, maybe because I read the wrong comics.  I can see why they don’t do anything with her though since she’s a magic trickster just like Loki.  Samesies!

Captain American – The First Avenger

My rank – 21

LTT rank – 7

Tomato rank – 18

This movie is okay before Steve gets the Super-Soldier serum, and the scene right after it is great.  Then it’s weak.  Also, how long was that montage supposed to be?  It seemed like Captain America was in WW2 for like a week but was it supposed to be longer?  Is there even a montage?  Am I remembering that right?  Red Skull was disappointing. 

THE Avengers

My rank – 16

LTT rank – 6

Tomato rank – 8

The actual title of this movie is Marvel’s The Avengers, I wonder if that’s because of the Uma Thurman Avengers movie.  I guess I’m on the outside on this one.  This movie was just kind of blah for me.  The opening scene is pretty cool and then it’s you know, whatever.  The Chitari are lame, the “double-cross” of SHIELD making weapons is lame, Coulson dying to bring them together is lame. 

It’s not fair to judge like this but I will anyway, after the rest of the movies came out this one makes no sense.  Thanos gave Loki the Mind Stone so he could go to earth and get the Space Stone?  Why would he do that?  Were all his loyal minions busy?  Why would he trust Loki?  Also he just saw Captain Marvel blow up an entire Kree warfleet, what did he think some lame-os on hoverboards were going to accomplish?  The space whales were cool.

Iron Man 3

My rank – 11

LTT rank – 19

Tomato rank – 19

I think people were pretty mad about the Mandarin fake out.  That was probably one twist too many.  Also it was kind of a throwaway of AIM.  Maybe this would have been better if it was just “we’re AIM and we’re doing AIM shit” without the fake terrorist threat.  Also I can’t remember now, what was the point of that?  So they could sell Extremis?  I think you could have sold that just fine without a fake terror threat.  If it worked.  I guess this movie is kind of a mess, but I liked the Tony without a suit stuff and the kid was funny.

Thor The Dark World

My rank – 24

LTT rank – 25

Tomato rank – 25

Yeah, that’s right, I say there’s a Marvel movie worse than this one.  What I find interesting is that no one seems to remember what actually happened in this movie but they still hate it.  Several people have told me that have no memory of the plot.  I remember that some red stuff goes into Natalie Sportsman and that red stuff is one of the Infinity Stones.  And there are Dark Elfs. 

TV Loki told me that this movie is where Loki accidentally (?) kills his adopted momma.  Which seems important.  I wonder what a good Thor movie would be.  Something with Beta Ray Bill probably.

Captain America The Winter Soldier

My rank – 2

LTT rank – 8

Tomato rank – 9

I like that this is in the top 10 but I clearly enjoy it more than most.  I’ll admit that “oh, it turns out SHIELD was HYDRA all along” is kind of lame but otherwise it’s fantastic.  The only thing that would have made it better is if Nick Fury had really died.  But no one dies in comic book land.  Sidenote I was reading some old comics the other day and as always happens I was surprised to see a white Nick Fury.  Sam Jackson has become Nick Fury so hard that’s all I can think of.  Sorry David Hasselhoff.  I would have liked to have seen them sneak the Hoff into a SHIELD part somewhere.

Guardians of the Galaxy

My rank – 1

LTT rank – 2

Tomato rank – 5

This movie made me feel like when I saw Star Wars for the first time.  It was awesome and it made me feel awesome.  If you want to nitpick you can, some of Peter’s quips make no sense since he left earth when he was a kid, and the “we’re family now even though we’ve known each other for 2 days” thing isn’t super strong, but it’s great anyway.  I hate 3D but one of the many times I saw this in the theater I went to see it in 3D because I wanted glowing Groot spores all around me.  Wonderful.

Avengers Age of Ultron

My rank – 5

LTT rank – 20

Tomato rank – 22

Another big WHOA.  I didn’t think people disliked this movie this much.  It’s worse than Thor?  I know people didn’t like the opening scene which is weird to be because it’s the only time the Avengers are really doing Avengers stuff.  It made me feel like they went on all kinds of adventures we didn’t see in the movies.  I really liked Ultron as a villain. 

What didn’t people like about it?  I’ve heard that people don’t like it when heroes fight big hordes of robots because they want real people to get slaughtered by the hundreds by the good guys.  I will say that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are kind of pointless.  Would people like it more without them?  Maybe Iron Man 3 should have been Iron Man against AIM and the twins who are totally not Magneto’s kids because they don’t have the rights.  Except now they do?  So maybe they are?

Ant-Man

My rank – 20

LTT rank – 17

Tomato rank – 16

It takes me a minute to remember what happened in this movie.  Yellowjacket.  What did Pym want his technology to be used for it not military murder?  What are the practical applications of shrinking?  Fantastic Voyage surgery?  Exterminators that go into the walls with lasers instead of having to use poison?  Because of when I was into comics the Wasp and Ant-Man are founding members of the Avengers and the newfangled version where they’re just people hanging around is weird.  Paul Rudd is likeable of course but it’s all pretty mediocre. 

Captain America Civil War

My rank – 17

LTT rank – 21

Tomato rank – 10

Huh, I guess people at large liked this a lot more than we did.  I’m not sure why it wasn’t Avengers Civil War.  I guess Spider-Man showing up was a cool.  It’s hard for me not to think that Cap isn’t being unreasonable in this movie, which is not how I like to think of Captain American being.  The Avengers should be above the law and do whatever they want?  That doesn’t sound right.  And the whole thing with Bucky killing Howard Stark doesn’t do much for me.  For that matter the whole Baron Zemo thing doesn’t work for me. 

Doctor Strange

My rank – 10

LTT rank – 15

Tomato rank – 12

Dormammu I’ve come to bargain.  Is Mordo ever going to show up again?  I hope so.  One time in the comics Blade and Dr. Strange teamed up to cast a spell to kill all vampires.  But then the spell was reversed.  There’s a Dr. Strange action figure that comes with a big battle axe, you know because of all the times Dr. Strange attacks people with an axe.  This movie was good.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 

My rank – 25

LTT rank – 24

Tomato rank – 14

This movie is garbage and I hate it.  Rocket is a super asshole for no reason.  Drax is FUCKING ANNOYING the entire movie.  All the Ravager stuff is stupid.  All the dad stuff is literally groan inducing.  Ego the Living Planet is dumb.  They set up Adam Warlock, aka the guy who beats Thanos for the Infinity Stones, and then did nothing with him.  Mantis is okay. 

Do I judge this movie too harshly because I loved the first one and I was so excited for this one and I never get excited and then they threw this turd in my face?  Probably.  Still I cannot fathom that many people this this is a middle of the pack Marvel movie. 

Spider-Man Homecoming

My rank – 6

LTT rank – 13

Tomato rank – 6

Donald Glover has a funny bit in his stand-up special about when there was some talk about him being Spider-Man.  I’m not a huge Spider-Man fan in general but this movie is perfect for Spider-Man.  The only thing I don’t like about it is when Peter is all “school is for losers, I’m a superhero!”  That doesn’t seem very Peter Parkery to me.  I love that they didn’t waste our time with an origin story.  I love that Vulture is actually cool for once. 

Thor Ragnarok

My rank – 4

LTT rank – 3

Tomato rank – 4

Alignment, this movie will Ragnarok your face off.  I asked how you could make a good Thor movie before, and a good Hulk movie, I guess the answer is make Plane Hulk into a movie and then replace the Silver Surfer with Thor.  Although I am bummed that they didn’t do the bit from the comic where Iron Man and Dr. Strange shot Hulk into space because they were sick of his bullshit.  I suppose that would have been too cold for the MCU.  It would have been cool if they spent less time on Asgard and instead had another gladiator fight or two with some other Marvel characters but you can’t have everything.

Black Panther

My rank – 14

LTT rank – 12

Tomato rank – 1

Major WHOA.  The world at large says this is the best Marvel movie?  It was fine.  Killmonger was cool.  Throwing in Klaw and then killing him seemed kind of pointless.  The guy from Fargo seemed totally pointless.  All in all not a lot happened in this movie.  The last scene was cool where Killmonger choses to die. 

Avengers Infinity War

My rank – 3

LTT rank – 10

Tomato rank – 15

This is shocking to me.  The general populace says there are 14 Marvel movies better than Infinity War?  This movie kicks ass.  Stuff happens!  People die (temporarily)!  Am I supposed to believe that the lame original recipe Avengers was better than this?   And Civil War?  And Ant-Man + WASP?  This is crazy.  Infinity War is great.  I still watch it sometimes. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp

My rank – 18

LTT rank – 14

Tomato rank – 13

It’s better than Ant-Man.  There are some funny parts.  The guy from Justified is there and he’s basically playing Hammer from Iron Man 2 so that’s fun.  Ghost is there for some reason.  Do they cure her at the end?  Maybe.  They rescue the original Wasp from Quantumtown I remember that.  The best part is the point credit scene where Paul Rudd is in the Quantum Realm and everyone else gets dusted and you’re like “oh man, how is he gonna get out of this one?!”

Captain Marvel

My rank – 9

LTT rank – 16

Tomato rank – 20

I throw out LTT’s score for this one because she thinks Alison Brie runs like a mutant and it’s all she can see.  I remember when this movie came out lots of people were real mad because a girl was a superhero and girls are gross.  I really liked it.  The Skrull being not the bad guys was a fun twist.  Not sure about it in the long run.  I would have liked a little something in the dialog to explain why there are pink and blue Kree.  For that matter I would have liked to see more super Kree.  I listened to a podcast where some non-woman haters really tore this movie apart so I guess lots of people didn’t like it.

Avengers Endgame

My rank – 15

LTT rank – 1

Tomato rank – 3

The fact that most people say this is one of the best Marvel movies freaks my funk.  I understand that there’s no stakes in any of the Marvel movies, but this is the one where I can’t even pretend anything is on the line.  Of course they’re going to defeat Thanos and of course they’re going to bring everyone back to life.  Not only that but they already have the ultimate plot cheating device in the infinity gauntlet and then they throw in TIME TRAVEL on top?  Why not just have Superman show up and make the world spin backwards while you’re at it? 

The one scene where Steve is all messed up and then everyone shows up to help him is cool, but then it’s followed by a 40 minute CGI barf-fest.  And then Thanos is all like “I’ll just destroy all life this time” because of reasons?  Two Nebulas is cool, but that’s about it.  And that Ronin stuff with Clint?  Utterly pointless.

Spider-Man Far From Home

My rank – 19

LTT rank – 18

Tomato rank – 11

It’s fine.  Since “everyone” knows that Mysterio is a bad guy it would have been cool if he actually was a hero from another dimension.  Also it would have been cool if they illusions he made to defeat and look like a hero weren’t lame elementals.  Meh.

Black Widow

My rank – 8

LTT rank – 4

Tomato rank – 17

People were mad about this one because not only was the main character a gross girl but there were other girls in it!  And Taskmaster was a girl!  They were real upset about that.  I guess the good news for them is that Scar-Jo has been excommunicated from the MCU so Black Widow may really be dead for real.  J/K, they’ll recast her.  Do you think they added in the first part just because of the Americans?  I kind of do. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

My rank – 12

LTT rank – 11

Tomato rank – 7

Pretty good.  For me it didn’t really do anything to resolve the fake Mandarin 10 Rings thing.  Also the rings themselves weren’t like I remember from the comic.  I remember really thinking the Mandarin was cool as a kid but apparently he’s a hugely racist caricature so I guess I’m a monster.  Tag-along Awkwafina character comedy relief didn’t do much for me, I would have ditched her and given more time to the sister and her criminal shenanigans.  Much like with Thor arena I would have liked to have seen a couple other Marvel character fights.  Maybe I just want to see Enter the Dragon with super people? 

The Dream Police

That song is by Cheap Trick, I never would have remembered that.

I’ve updated the character sheet and made some site changes if anyone is interested. I remember in the D&D Ela phase people asked me for a character sheet ALL the time (because it was so popular you see) and then when I finally put one up I don’t think anyone ever looked at it.

I’ll probably start posting some stuff for Ela story #3 this week.

Here’s some stuff that was left on my comic book Ela idea pad when she died –

Liberator pistol, not sure what I wanted to do here other than I found out about it and thought it was neat

Shark people, I forgot exactly what the idea was here, I think Martialla was going to hate them but they were actually allies

Malibu Al – a shady used car salesman guy from back home who was in Madripoor running from trouble back in the states

Red Viper – A retired supervillianess who robbed banks for the commies, to bring down capitalism you see, I think I stole this idea from Icons

Australia’s first combat cyborg – I’m not sure why I started picking on Australia, but I was going to continue with that

The shapeshifter guy was going to turn up again, somehow?

Saving Maggie was going to involve a Bullseye rip-off called Pinpoint, two people who are really good at throwing shit fighting? Thrilling!

Ela narration about how much she misses sugar, basically the same thing as I did with Coke. Why do it again? Shrug.

Ela bumps into a supervillian during some kind of wild melee and it turns out to be her estranged sister! Why is she a supervillian now? And how did she get powers? We’ll never know now I guess.

When Ela and friends stormed the prison where the Duke was supposed to be they were going to kill him and then find out he was a clone and the real Duke was alive and well! Comic books!

Some people really hate when other people talk about dreams. It’s generally not the best conversation fodder I admit. One of my friends loves talking about dreams the most, and my other friend hates it the most – what a hilariously mismatched pair!

The other night I had a dream that I was talking to an old lady who was a covid researcher. We were talking about covid research and then out of nowhere she tried to stab me in the groin with a syringe. I moved and she hit me in the thigh. The police came and it was a whole thing.

The next night I had a dream that she was standing in my driveway with her syringe waiting to stab me so I called the police. They showed up but she put on a “I’m just a confused old lady act” and the police left. She was still out there saying she was going to get me and air-stabbing with her syringe.

I figured if she showed up in my dreams again that she most likely had to be some kind of Freddie Kruger style dream infiltrator.

Thinking more about it I think she might be the ghost of the old lady that haunts my attic. I guess she has dream powers now? Which is nice for her.

Where do comic book characters go when they die? (Update)

That’s a trick question, comic book characters never die.  I’ve never understood the lyrics to Lake of Fire, what does the 4th of July have to do with souls condemned to the fires of Hell?  Did they pick that just because it rhymes?  Lazy. 

I feel weird and pompous when I give updates – queue Roman from Party Down “People respect my opinion, I have a prestigious blog sir”- but if I don’t post something, surely the few readers I do have would lose their minds and rise up against the government. 

Now that comic book Ela has joined D&D Ela on the fields of Ela-sium (wordplay!), I’m going to take a break before kicking up again with a new Ela.  Maybe I’ll try and do some website updates this weekend and maybe start posting Ela story 3 after that? 

If you can’t live without my awesome stories check out my other blog.  https://agtheshine.com/2021/08/10/bright-lights-bug-city-part-1/ Some people like it. 

My routine is all out of whack.  After crushing my work out because I am such a beast, I thought what do I do now that I don’t have a highly successful blog to curate?  What did I do before I spent a good amount of my free time creating a crummy world of plot holes and spelling errors?  I think I watched TV.  Before streaming came and killed TV. 

Sometimes my girlfriend and I wonder what we did before the lockdown.  Did we go places?  Where did we go?  What did we do?  How did we have time to do that?  Did we like it? 

I’ve started slowly watching World Championship Wrestling from 1987 one episode at a time, I could ratchet that up a notch.  Kick it up to two episodes a night. 

I could watch all the Pitch Meetings, those are pretty funny.  Surely watching hundreds of them in a row wouldn’t get tiresome and turn something I enjoy into something I hate.

I googled “What should I do” and it said to me “Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much.” I have been to ALL the suburbs of the mighty Des Moines Metro but pretty much all of them would count as somewhere I haven’t explored much.  But I’m probably not going to do that.

When I was in college and I had no friends nearby, when I got tired of writing and reading I would drive around sometimes.  This was before entertainment had been invented.  I never much liked it, I was literally just killing time.  They say youth is wasted on the young.  When I think how much of my childhood I spent being bored, that sounds right. 

In a meeting today at work someone said “We’re cooking on the front burner today!”  Is that an expression? 

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me.  How are you? 

Worldbuilding Wednesday – Alamo 400k

Setting the bar tour aside for a while because it’s basically the same thing as the job interview thread in the main story. I should have realized that a while ago. Oh well. Back to normal worldbuilding.

If you asked the average North American what Alamo 400k is, most would say they’re terrorists (although some people would think ‘heroes’ in the head while they said it) but beyond that, answers would vary.  Some would say they’re anti-globalists.  Some would say they’re anarchists.  Some would say they’re white nationalists.  Some would say they’re anti-NBHs.  Some would say they’re nothing more than a drug cartel.  The stated goal of the Alamo 400k group would surprise many –  

“To provide overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in an effort to counteract pro-communist movements in Africa, Asia, and South America.” 

The origins of the group would be even more confounding to the “man on the street”.  In the late 1860s, a former Texas Ranger was discovered to be funding and organizing an extralegal secret police force designed to keep the Pecos Republic free of “undesirables” such as labor organizers, anti-capitalists, pacifists, anarchists and the like.  It took until 1870 for the for the legitimate Pecos authorities to uncover the full extent of this network and their operations.   

While a few ringleaders (or scapegoats depending on who you ask) were imprisoned, this organization was incorporated almost wholly into the Pecos government structure in 1871 with the founding of Branch 4, an ill-defined and shadowy organization that has at various times acted as investigative law enforcement, intelligence service, and expeditionary military force.  For the majority of the 19th century, Branch 4 focused on infiltration and intelligence gathering of anarcho-communist organizations and other social anarchists.   

No later than 1920 (but possibly much earlier) Branch 4 began focusing the bulk of its assets on communist groups, most critical including those based outside the Pecos Republic.  Branch 4 was dissolved in 1943 after numerous incidents of unwarranted appropriation of government funds and military matériel, political corruption, and illegal activity on foreign soil.  The core of Branch 4 true believers continued to operate in secret using funds and equipment stashed away in hidden depots for just such an occurrence.   

The former operatives of Branch 4 became associated with the name Alamo 400k after the 1947 San Antonio bombing by South American extremists (retaliating for the Pecos-US air strike on Sao Paulo) which they claim killed 400,000 people (the official number of dead and missing from that attack is closer to 20,000).  It is also variously claimed that 400k refers to the number of members in the group, but no reasonable intelligence agency believes they have even a hundredth that size of organization.    

The decentralized and highly secretive nature of the organization makes it difficult to gather concrete information on.  The widely varied actions it undertakes are evidence of several key members with unaligned personal agendas.  Each of these key leaders seeks to increase their own authority and resources while weakening those of their ideological or personal enemies within the group.

Each claims to have the true vision of what Alamo 400k is and does their best to prove it by games of one-upsmanship and occasionally outright conflict.  Individual agents follow their leader’s example and often compete for power, profits, and prestige.  A successful, high-earning agent gains more influence within the organization than a weaker, less profitable one, and some try to improve their own track records by stealing from or hindering other agents, usually covertly but sometimes openly.

Alamo 400k’s own culture and rules exacerbate this behavior — the best way to find an opportunity for advancement is to create a vacancy yourself. 

The Royal Ramble (that’s a wrestling pun)

I love wrestling.  I don’t know why exactly because it’s objectively bad for everyone involved.  I stopped watching for a while after a lot of women started speaking out about sexual abuse and general assholery in the business.  But eventually I started watching again because I guess I hate women.  Then I stopped watching for a while again just because I had no way to watch because I gave up on cable and I don’t like streaming services. 

But I finally broke down and got Peacock and now I’m watching wrestling again.  The other day I watched Walter against Zach Sabre Jr at Progress 77 and was like “oh right, I love this”. 

Which is a heartbreaking indictment of how much time I am wasting in my fleeting, ephemeral life watching grown men and women pretend to fight.  I often wonder what kind of bizarre personal defect makes me a wrestling fan.  What kind of a sociopath would watch this for fun?  Answer: me, apparently.

The best I can come up with is that wrestling is a sad demonstration of the tribalistic bloodlust that permeates the baser elements of the human emotional spectrum.

Anyway, this is a preamble to me talking about the new extended trailer for the program Heels.  There’s this guy call Stephen Amell.  He was in the Green Arrow as the titular Green Arrow. Like me, he loves wrestling.  He loves it so much he used all the clout that comes from being on the CW to be on wrestling shows sometimes – as a wrestler I mean, he wasn’t just hanging out like Jon Stewart.  And now that Green Arrow is over, he’s used that clout to make a new show about wrestling called Heels.  Also, I now think that show was maybe just called Arrow, not Green Arrow.  But he played the Green Arrow as a kid or something. 

Sidenote: one of my friends stood in line for hours to get Stephen Amell’s autograph for his daughter because he’s dreamy.  I don’t know if he’ll ever stop being mad about that.

The Heels trailer looks pretty good but there’s one bit that really annoyed me.  The show is about two wrestling brothers and they’re outside a bar and some dudes are like “wrestling is fake, we’re going to beat you up!” and so Stephen Amell and his brother are ready to throw down because you can’t let anyone call your fake sport fake. But before they can throw down, Stephen Amell’s brother’s girlfriend takes out one of the dudes in one move because she’s also a wrestler. 

Nothing wrong with that conceptually, except the move she does is to jump on the guy, wrap her legs around his head, and backflip him to the ground – AKA the lady move that lady actioners do in every lady action thing ever.  Because how else would a lady fight other than wrapping her legs around a guy’s head?

“But Jeremy that’s a wrestling move, it’s called a hurricanrana.”

Yes I know that.  It’s one of the wrestling moves that is clearly two people working together and has nothing to do with real fighting.  But that’s not really the point.  It annoys me that in all action things, this is the lady action move.  Flying genitals to the face. 

Sidenote, does hurricanrana mean hurricane frog in Spanish? 

Six blogs back, I ranted extensively about how much I hate the lady flying head scissors maneuver in movies and TV (I don’t love it in wrestling either, for the record) but I’m too lazy to go back and grab that and repost it here.  Which is good news. 

Remember when that lady on Heroes with the Taskmaster power to copy anything she sees does a Tiger Feint Kick to stop a robbery because she saw her son watching WrestleMania 22?  Did she ever show up again?  I give Lost a lot of crap for having a strong start and then seeming to be written with no plan at all, but Heroes was probably worse.

I feel like after the first couple of episodes, a writer would say “What if we had a character with this power?” and everyone would think it was cool and they’d show up for one episode and then the writers would be like “What’s the plot of this show again?” and everyone would shrug and go back to thinking up new characters. 

Hey, that’s kind of like the comic book Ela blog that I’m writing.  Oh no, I’ve been hoisted by my own petard!

A petard of course being a special outfit like a leotard, with a lot of fancy buckles and loops on it, that rich people would wear when they were feeling especially smug, but then poor people would tie a rope through one of the loops, and hoist them up a pole and then let them dangle there as punishment for being cocky.

One time there was a wrestler named Lita.  She did the hurricanrana because she was one of the first women in the WWE that could do much of anything and they weren’t not going to have a lady throwing her stuff in people’s faces.  That’s not fair actually, she was trained in Mexico and that’s just a standard move in Lucha Libre. 

Anyway, one time she broke her neck and was out of action for a year and a half.  I always assumed this was from wrestling, because that’s a thing that happens, but I just found out that instead, she was on that show Jessica Alba Wears Leather and Rides A Motorcycle, and she broke her neck doing that because a stunt woman dropped her on her head.  Is wrestling safer than Hollywood stunts?  I suppose if you count each move a wrestler does as a separate stunt, it probably is per capita.  Huh. 

I read a couple wrestling blogs on here and sometimes I go to leave a comment and they have the comments turned off.  And I wonder why that is.  Then I remember that most people that like wrestling and will go to the trouble of making a comment are going to say something mean or insulting.

Ela’s dead, the final Ela-mare

One time there was this movie called Adventures in Babysitting, the 1987 one I mean, I think they did a remake and I don’t mean that one.  In the movie Adventures in Babysitting, Brenda, played by esteemed character actress Penelope Anne Miller, tries to buy a hot dog from a hot dog cart guy by signing over a third-party check to him.  It is the greatest scene in movie history.   

When I was a kid I loved that movie for a variety of reasons, chief among them because one of the kids being babysat was a girl that liked the Mighty Thor and I didn’t know until then that girls could like comic books.  It was a revelation it was.  I found out later that not many girls like comic books but some of them do. 

It’s the first movie Elizabeth Shue was in, and the first PG-13 rated Disney movie.  There’s a lot of history there.  I know what you’re thinking “wasn’t esteemed character actress Penelope Anne Miller briefly married to Will Arnett?”  Yes, yes she was.  And you’re probably also wondering why Will Arnett and Amy Poehler got divorced.  Sometimes people just fall out of love.  Yes, Canadians are allowed to get divorced, I was surprised too.   

“Jeremy was esteemed character actress Penelope Anne Miller the lead in the movie the Relic?  You know, the lead character that got licked up and down by the titular Relic, which was a cabinet monkey lizard monster?” 

Yes she was, it wasn’t one of her more esteemed character roles.  But she got paid 1.5 million dollars for doing it.  Invested at a 7 percent rate of return, which is generous I admit, that’s 7.6 million dollars today.  A lizard licked me once and I didn’t get a red cent. 

“Jeremy why do you keeping spelling Ann with an E, isn’t that incorrect?” 

Yes it is.   

“Jeremy why wasn’t the Relic a better movie?” 

Well, it’s not like the source material was super strong you know?  And even if it was, the underlying message about museums and their negative role in society and the scientific community isn’t going to be easy to communicate in a movie.  Plus, 1997 was smack dab in the middle of the wonky CGI era so the creature didn’t look great.  I wonder if they used a practical effect tongue for the licking scene.  I wonder further what esteemed character actress Penelope Anne Miller would say about how you drop in to a scene where you’re getting licked by a cabinet lizard monkey monster.  I’ll ask her at the next family reunion. 

Dropping-in is a technique Tina and Kristin Linklater developed in the early 1970s as a method to create a spontaneous emotional connection to your role. 

https://wordsdeferred.com/2021/07/12/filling-plot-holes/

I thought this post about plot holes was pretty good, check it out if you want.  One time I “promoted” a post I thought was neat and the guy that wrote it took the time to message me and tell me that he has 20,000 followers and he doesn’t need me to help him.  I cried for three weeks.  Not because of that, because of the shark hormones I take.  And to be clear, no sharks are being killed to harvest these hormones, they’re taken from humans with shark DNA spliced in.  Which is fine. 

There are probably lots of plot holes in Ela’s narrative because the spine of it is random RPG tables and I don’t have an outline or anything guiding the tale.  There are probably even more unresolved plots.  My other blog is even worse and I don’t even have the excuse of RPG nonsense on that one.  The other day someone said to me “Why don’t you stop this solo campaign bullshit and do some real writing?” and I says to them I says “I don’t have the creativity for that” and then they reminded me of that other blog and that shut me up.  I had forgotten about it.  How did I forget a blog that I post on three times a week and write for almost every day?  Dunno.  But I did.   

For D&D Ela I was content to let the dice dictate everything, hence her sudden and unceremonious death.  For comic book Ela I’ve been more flexible, but I’m at a real crossroads now.  Not to give anything away but decisions need to be made.  Dice or free will? 

I can’t remember if I blogged about this, possibly blogged about it twice, or if I just thought about it and blogged about it no times, but now that I’m back in the swing of TTRPGs I’ve been thinking about running a campaign again.  And what I’ve been thinking is that I don’t know if I will.  I have a lot of desire but more and more I find it a stumbling block that my game friends all like games but they don’t really like the same thing.   

I’ll start planning a modern investigative spooky campaign and then remember that no one likes that but me.  Then I’ll start working on a cyberpunk intrigue-based campaign and then I’ll remember that no one likes that but me.  So then I’ll think about the kind of campaigns they like and I groan because it’s all stuff I don’t like.  My gaming circle is hilariously mismatched like sitcom roommates.   

And I know that it doesn’t really matter, we’ll all get together and have a fun time no matter what, but it’s hard to want to spend a lot of time on shit when you’re the only one who’s really into it.   

There’s a scene in Adventures in Babysitting where Brenda, played by esteemed character actress Penelope Anne Miller, loses her glasses and thinks that a giant rat is a fluffy kitty and tries to pet it.  When I was younger, one time when I didn’t have my glasses on, I thought a baseball cap was our cat TJ.  I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t come to me because she was super friendly.  It was because she was a baseball cap in that scenario.  And they’re not known for being overly personable.   

Now my eyes are great because I had the laser eyeball surgery.  Also, not for nothing, but I have fantastic knees.  Maybe the best knees in the world.  There’s no way to know for sure.   

The movie Adventures in Babysitting was released with the title A Night On The Town in other countries.  Does that mean babysitting isn’t a thing in other countries?  Or do they call it something else?  Must be the first thing otherwise they would have called it Adventures in BLANK right?   I wonder what that says about American child rearing.  I know the movie Date Night was called Crazy Night in many other countries because date night is an American concept.  I wonder what that means about Americans and our relationships.   

Writing tip of the day – When writing a female character, make sure that in the middle of a scene apropos of nothing you have her start thinking about when she first started “developing”.  That’s totally cool.  Remember that scene in Die Hard when in the middle of a firefight, Bruce Willis starts talking about how he got hair on his balls?  You need to apply that same level of care to female characters.