The move to the new site was slow and boring but things were going well. UNTIL one of my uploads got screwed up and now everything is a mess. As an IT man I know it’s probably user error but I’m going to blame the DUMB machine anyway.

I’ve been going through trying to clean it all up, and then I want to give up because one is going to read those old posts anyway, but then I remember what my grandma told me when I got my first job at 14 sorting microfiche for an insurance company so they could transfer that data to this new fangled thing called a COM-PU-TOR

“Don’t quit, give it another day. And if you still hate it after tomorrow, give it one more day . And you just keep going like that. Forever. That’s what working is.”

It’s not quite as inspirational as “never give up, never surrender” but people of that generation were more no-nonsense.

In other news two years ago I started the Grace blog.

In other other news one year ago I started the Ela-pocalypse story. I had no idea that was so long. That probably means it’s great.

If only I had started the whole shebang in September, then I could have a triple anniversary.

Thanks for reading, or for skimming, or for pretending to read, or for being a bot. I appreciate you all very much.

OOC – Questions are just friends you haven’t met

Yesterday when I was brushing my teeth I decided that my toothbrush was done and I would throw it away afterwards.  Then I realized that the toothpaste tube was as empty as it was going to get as well. 

I don’t know when parents start making their kids brush their teeth so I don’t know how long I’ve been brushing.  I’m going to guess to guess at least 40 years.  That has never happened before.  Brush and tube “running out” at the same time? 

Now I’ve seen it all. 

It bugs me how much toothpaste must be left in the tube no matter how much you squeeze it.  One time I tried ripping the tube open and scooping out the clinging paste but it didn’t work well.  I want there to be some way to get it all.

I follow a lot of blogs.  What I think is a lot.  One time another guy talked about all the blogs he follows and it was hundreds.  Sometimes the authors of those blogs ask for feedback.  Usually no one responds.  I feel bad about it.  But I also don’t respond. 

Some of these questions are related to my other blog.

It’s massively popular and will probably be a show on Freevee soon. 

When you enjoy fiction do you prefer for it to be fiction all the way down or do you like it when real life people pop in? 

Example, if Bessie Love the old timey actress was revealed to have been a magic monster hunter in her day would that be “cool” or “lame”? 

In that example does it matter one way or the other that Bessie Love is a fairly obscure reference?  Would you feel differently if it was say, Jennifer Lopez?

Does the inclusion of real people make things feel more real or hurt you suspension of disbelief?

Decades ago in the early times of the internet I was a writing site and I hated it when people had their characters interact with real people.  But I think that’s probably because they were shitty writers more than anything. 

If someone writes a story in a world that has well established canon do you like it if the major characters show up or would you prefer that they be absent? 

Example, if I write a Star Wars story would it be “dope” or “gross” if Darth Vader showed up? 

Scenario one – straight up murder.  Scenario two – the protagonist uses magic to unbind a spell that someone else was using to live beyond normal lifespan which makes them die of “old age”. 

Logically these two actions are the same.  The main character did something that resulted in someone else dying.  But they feel different to my feelings.  Do you have different reactions to these?

When a character doesn’t kill bad guys does it bum you out if it comes back to bite them in the ass?  Is it annoying when they talk about their conflicted feelings about it all the time?

When a storyline doesn’t have a solid conclusion does it make things feel more “real” or does it seem lazy and crummy?  Or something else?

Do you like pumpkin pie? 

OOC – How to be a better writer by becoming Big Time Wrestling world champion

I don’t read as much as I did when I was young and full of life – this full life evidenced by the fact that I spent a lot of time in my bed reading – but I still read books.  This makes me super smart and better than people that watch TV or play sports.  Book snobbery amuses me.  Most books are trash.   

I used to read when I took breaks at work back in the days when I went into an office for work.  People would often come up and take the book out of my hands to look at it.  Or they would ask me what I was reading and then 100% of the time follow up with “Never heard of it”.  It was super annoying.  Why would you start talking to someone who was reading? 

Even though I read a lot because I am super smart there aren’t many authors I like.  I have a bad habit that when I find an author I enjoy I read a bunch of their books in succession and then I don’t like them anymore because here’s a spoiler – most authors write the same book over and over with variations.   

One author I do like is Elmore Leonard.  I don’t remember where we are in the cycle of authors being hated and then loved and then hated again with him but a few years ago people liked him.  I think now he’s on his way to hate land.   

I saw a tweet the other day that told me about Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules for writing.  I thought I’d talk about that because I’m running out of steam for the current story and still want to write.   So this is it.   I’m not trying to give advice, these are just my thoughts about these rules.  In the words of Bender Bending Rodriguez “I never wanted to hurt anyone, or help anyone.” 

Never open a book with weather 

That does seem kind of hackey.  It was a dark and stormy night.  I wonder where that came from.  Apparently it’s from an old book called Paul Clifford.  I should read it, that would give me all kinds of snooty book cred. 

Avoid prologues. 

I can’t explain why exactly but I also find prologues annoying.  Probably for the same reason I don’t like the “three weeks earlier” storytelling device.   

Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. 

This probably relates to the secret eleventh rule, it makes you sound “writery”.  

Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely. 

This one I find interesting.  These rules are part of a whole book on how you should write stuff.  I wonder if there’s more explanation.  I’ve be curious to know more about this one.  I do it ALL the time in my super awesome writing.  

Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 


Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.” 

I’m interested in this one also.  I suppose the idea is that most things just happen, it’s not really sudden? “Suddenly” this thing happened.  Or did it just happen?  What made it sudden?  This one is amusing because people say this IRL not infrequently.  “There I was at the bank and suddenly all hell broke loose!”  I write reality sir.

Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. 

No problem here, I don’t really know any.  I wonder if this is because you don’t want to annoy people who don’t understand that dialect or for a more writery reason like it’s dumb.   

Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. 

Heck yeah buddy, I don’t describe shit!  I’m terrible at describing things.  

Don’t go into great detail describing places and things. 

Seems like this could have been combined with the one above  

Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. 

This one is funny because it’s actually necessary.  I would say only twice in my life have I actually tried to write something “for real”.  One was a movie script and the other was a novel.  In both of these experiences I found myself with really weak sections because I was writing stuff just to bridge from one thing to another.  I’d have plot thing A and plot thing C and then I’d try to fill in some crap for B and it was always terrible.  I think if you’re writing something just to write it and it has no value itself get rid of it.  Although I say that have never finished either of those works so its easier said than done eh? 

Then there’s a secret 11th rule –  

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.   If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. 

Here’s a story about this rule.  My first Ela story, the worst of the bunch, I re-wrote the opening scene three times and I never got it “right” because it always sounded “writery”.  I think that’s different from purple pose but it’s a real thing.  Maybe overwritten is what I mean.   

In wrestling there’s a term “overbooked”.  See matches are “booked”- who’s going to win, what the story is supposed to be, generally what’s going to happen.  “Overbooked” is when there’s just too much stuff thrown in.  It often happens when they’re trying to “protect” someone.  Wrestler X has been built up to lose the title in a big match but now Wrestler X is going to be in a new movie and the studio doesn’t want them to lose on TV but you promised Wrestler Y they were going over and it’s in their contract so . . . a bunch of stupid shit happens.   

But it’s wrestling, isn’t it all stupid?  Yes, but also no.  Wrestling is storytelling and good stories pay off.  Some people, you know the ones I mean, will tell you that the reason wrestling sucks now is that the very simple story of “bad guy is bad, eventually good guy triumphs” doesn’t happen anymore.  Bad guys don’t sell merch so instead you have a bunch of cosplayers who randomly win and lose based largely on non-wrestling things. 

And overbooked match is, in essence, one that doesn’t pay off the story.  Like the end of Lost.   

Example, SummerSlam 2009.  John Cena beats Randy Orton by DQ, which is already kind of bullshit because DQs are lame.  But then the match is re-started because of reasons?  A fake DQ is actually kind of okay, because now the good guy is going to win for real!  But no, Randy leaves and we get another DQ.  Super lame.  But then the match is restarted again for no reason!  This better be it.  Uh-uh!  Randy wins with bad guy trickery!  But then the match is re-started because another referee saw him cheat.  Because unlike every other match for 200 years this one has instant replay?  Now John is going to win, but instead a “fan” runs into the ring for another DQ.  But the match is started again and Randy wins quickly.   

This is overbooking.  John Cena was supposed to win by the “story” but instead that couldn’t happen for some reason so they tried to snow it under a bunch of stupid stuff.  I suppose in a way it works.  No one remembers that there was no payoff.  Everyone just remembers that the match sucked.   

I don’t know what overwriting is exactly, but it’s first cousins with overbooking.   

OOC – The spy who just liked me as a friend (content warning, lady boobs!!!)

Also god-butt.

This blog made me aware of this painting. 

It’s called “A Girl Defending Herself against Eros” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.  Eros is (was?) the Greek god of love who shoots people with love arrows to make them fall in love. 

I imagine in this scene that Eros has already tried to shoot the girl a few times and she ducked and dodged and/or kung-fu chopped the love arrows out of the air so now he’s coming at her stabby style.  She’s not into it, she doesn’t want to be in love, she has things to do. 

I’ve been showing this around and one person asked why Eros was trying to kill the girl and I explained that it was “just” a love arrow stab not attempted murder.  It made me realized how messed up the power to make people fall in love would be.  “Oh, you’re in a relationship, well WHAM now you love this other person!  How you like that?!”

My first thought was that it’s a violation of free will it is!  But that’s not right.  Because you don’t choose who you love.  Or maybe you do sort of but it’s still not cool to love-arrow people. 

I vaguely remember a guy in Marvel comics who had some kind of love power.  I think he was in the She-Hulk universe.  He just used the power to sexually assault ladies though.  Mainstream comics don’t normally touch on those sorts of things but they throw you a weird curveball every now and then like that whole Dr. Light thing.

Or when that guy hypnotized Superman and Barda into making a porno so he could blackmail them afterwards.  Which makes no sense because if you can hypnotize Superman and Barda why do you need to resort to blackmail?  Maybe the subtext is that his power was that he could only hypnotize people into making porn.  There’s definitely weirder powers in DC than that.

A person told me that the most unrealistic thing about my writing is that Martialla and Ela make jokes about porn.  No woman would ever do that, they said. 

Taylor Tomlinson has a funny bit about how proud men are of themselves when they fall in love.  She really got me with that one.  I do kind of feel proud of myself sometimes.  The other half of the joke is that in contrast, women congratulate themselves on not falling in love with a guy on the first date.  I don’t know if that’s true but it was funny also. 

Anyway, I’ve explained love to you all so now you know. 

OOC – Revenge of the transformers

I saw a headline about some people doing angry social media things because they were at Disneyland and they were cordoned into the lame areas of the park because Kim Kardashian was there and they were closing down the park for her as she wandered around. 

I feel that I must once again share my harrowing story. 

The year was 1988.  Someone was president.  A song was number one on the radio.  A movie was tops at the box office.  Mostly what I remember is that people were falling into wells constantly and we children had to be vigilant to the ever looming threats of Satanists, Dobermans, and quicksand.  Dungeons and Dragons was teaching a whole generation of kids to commit ritual abuse and set their houses on fire. 

Also my family took a trip to Disney World.  I used to think my family was poor when I was a kid, but as an adult I’ve been disabused of that notion.  We had a home and two cars and we went to Disney World once.  We weren’t poor.  It only seemed like we were poor to me because we were always the poorest family in the nice neighborhoods we moved to every few years. 

I was not terribly excited about this trip because even as a kid I wasn’t into trips and since I didn’t really like rides or Disney stuff, what was there to get excited about?  If there wasn’t GI Joe or Transformers involved I wasn’t that interested.  Or wrestling.  I was very excited about my GI Joe wrestling federation.  Stormshadow was a long reigning world champion but I realize as an adult that a guy that doesn’t talk isn’t a great choice for your #1 heel.  I should have given him a manager.  I know that now.

As I recall, the trip to Florida took approximately 8 million hours.  In the backseat of a blazing hot car.  Next to my sister who was blasting Poison at maximum decibels and who would stab me with a nail file if I made a noise or moved or just because she felt like it. 

I remember that outside the window of our hotel room there was a billboard with a naked lady on it.  And I mean naked naked not “you can’t actually see anything” naked.  What was it advertising?  I don’t know.  I never looked directly at it because I didn’t want to be caught looking.  Also it was a few years before I would be super interested in naked lady billboards.  Was having a naked lady billboard legal in Orlando in the 1980s?  I don’t know that either, but it was there.  I remember my mom calling the front desk to complain but what was the hotel supposed to do about it?  I also remember sleeping on a cot. 

We went to a beach covered with dead jellyfish and then it was time for Disney World.  At this point I did get excited because we had traveled millions of miles for this so surely it had to be great.  And maybe it is great, but I wouldn’t know because all I got to see was Main Street USA (no parade) and some gift shops. 


Because Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley were there.  I kept saying different things I wanted to check out and my parents kept saying that we couldn’t go there because it was closed.  Just a bunch of gift shops.  Gift shops that had no Transformers or GI Joes to buy.  I couldn’t understand what was happening at first because I was kind of a dumb kid (and adult) but eventually I figured it out.  Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel were important, whereas we were scum, ergo it was critical that they get access to the park while we stood there like fucking idiots. 

One image that’s really stuck with me is standing there on GD Main Street USA watching the tram go by that was empty except for Billy Joel, Christie Brinkley, some kids, and various hangers-on and bodyguards and functionaries.  The kids couldn’t have given two shits about what was going on.  Christie Brinkley looked like a stepmom trying her hardest and getting nothing back but shitty comments.  Billy Joel was staring at nothing like a zombie. 

I often say that that’s the day I learned that there is no justice in this world.  I’m only partially kidding.  It was a kind of important learning experience.  Some people are just better than you, societally speaking.  A few years later, in the naked lady billboard interest years, I swore to myself that if I ever saw Billy Joel I’d punch him in the face.  I’ve told any woman I felt might do it that they should do the same to Christie Brinkley on my behalf.  I was mostly kidding. 

Later on I found out that Billy Joel has had issues with depression his whole life and tried to kill himself at least once.  At which point I felt robbed again because now even if I did punch him in the face it wouldn’t be “okay”. 

I’ve told this tale a few times, and blogged about it before – possibly even on this blog – and on one blog 7 blogs ago I threw out this emo-gem about how I was giving up my quest for revenge on Billy Joel –

“Now here’s the funny thing about revenge.  There’s no such thing.  The scale never balances.  Why? Because there is no scale.  If my life is worthless (which it is) and I kill a guy whose life was valuable, how you gonna make the scales balance?  Forget it.  There’s no scale. So don’t trick yourself into thinking that there is.”

That’s some prime childish nihilism right there.  That would have been a good quip to throw into one of the more revenge focused Ela stories.  Well, there’s always the next Ela story right? 

Mildly related final note.  We used to go to a local carnival every year also and I was never much into that either.  Even before a carny whipped out his dick at my cousin and me.  I remember one year asking if I could use my carnival money to buy a Transformer instead of for the dumb carnival.  The answer was no for reasons that I didn’t understand at all then but kinda do now. 

OOC – A low down wordy shame

A book I’m reading directed me to a research paper called “Explorations in Automated Language Classification” which I didn’t read because I’m not a nerd but I did skim/scan.  The book was talking about how language changes over time, which I knew because I’m so smart, but it also learned me that some words are more stable than others because I’m so dumb.  Some words lose or change meaning quickly, like the word computer, which meant “A woman who performs calculations” only for a few years before it meant “magic box that makes people angry”.

This was brought up in the context of the plays of Shakespeare.  If you read them now someone super smart like me can mostly figure out the meaning but there’s a lot of nuance that is lost and someone dumb like a dumb dummy can’t follow it at all.  And then it talked about Beowulf, which is technically written in English but is incomprehensible to even a super smart person like me.  But even in Beowulf there are words here and there that you recognize today. 

The gist of all this is that the more common a word is the more likely it is to “stick” and the less a word is used the more likely it is to be forgotten or changed.  In the paper they categorized the words that are the same now as they were a 1000 years ago (in English) which they assume have a good chance of staying the same for another 1000 years or longer –

Blood, bone, breasts, die, dog, drink, ear, eye, fire, fish, full, hand, hear, horn, knee, leaf, liver, louse, mountain, name, new, night, nose, one, path, person, see, skin, star, stone, sun, tongue, tooth, tree, two, water

There’s probably some kind of writing challenge that can be made out of this list but I’m too cool and lazy to care about it.  I just thought it was interesting. 

I’m surprised that liver is on the list.  I feel like I hardly ever say liver.  Maybe that was more important in the last 1000 years when people were butchering animals, although neither “save” nor “get” are on the list so maybe livers were so important you didn’t need to tell someone to get it. 

Breasts is on the list of course, but knee is a surprise.  Who knew people were so into knees?  I hate knees.  When summer rolls around and the young people put on their short shorts I hate it.  Cover up your knees people.  I bet most people in olden times had bad knees, but “hurt” or “pain” isn’t on the list so maybe they just said “knee die”.  Or again, maybe everyone knew their knees hurt so it didn’t need to be said. 

At first I thought that louse was another outlier but then I remember that until like 1980 everyone was swarming with lice and fleas and parasites so it makes sense. 

I find it interesting that people mostly only needed to count to two, and that “zero” or “none” or “nothing” isn’t on the list.  I suppose people just shrugged when they didn’t find any livers to eat. 

Anyway, I’m going to change my name to Sun-Tongue Tree-Tooth so people in a thousand years will understand.

OOC – Wandering Wednesday

(I’m still too lazy to continue the story so here’s yet another idea for another superhero run.  The deal here would be the person journaling from prison about their journey through supervillainy.  But then in a SHOCKING SURPRISE TWIST another supervillain busts them out and we go into real time stuff mode.  Why did they do it?  What’s the motivation?  You don’t break someone out of superjail just for a smash and grab, what’s going on?  We’ll probably never find out.)

The prison chaplain said that I should start a journal.  So I am.  It won’t help anything but what else am I going to do?  I have time.  When it became clear that I was going down, my lawyer told me that women’s prisons aren’t nightmare factories like men’s prisons.  She told me that in prison I could take classes and help train puppies and do crafts.  That might be true but I wouldn’t know because I’m not in a women’s prison. 

What I do know, now, is that there are only two super-being containment facilities in the world and both of them are for everyone.  There’s no money to be made in creating a separate facility for women super beings, there aren’t enough of us.  We’re not all mixed together, that would be a nightmare.  There’s a rule that there can be no “sight or sound contact that is not brief and inadvertent” between male and female inmates.  What this means is that the handful of women here are essentially in lockdown all the time.  Once a month they chase all the men out of the yard so we get an hour of exercise time.  Other than that we’re in our cells.

Sounds illegal right?  Well here’s something else I’ve learned, super-beings don’t have the same protections and civil liberties as everyone else.  They don’t advertise this fact but the law doesn’t treat us like human beings exactly, in the eyes of the law we’re more like circus animals or barrels of acid.  It’s not that we don’t have any rights, but the law is far more concerned with keeping us from hurting anyone than they are about us not being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. 

What sucks is that there’s an argument to be made that I shouldn’t even be here.  There’s one doctrine that says that anyone who’s “enhanced” counts as a super-being.  Which I probably am but it’s never been proven.  But there’s another legal theory that says that in order to be a categorized as a super-being you have to have abilities that exceed established baseline human thresholds.  Which I do not. 

Neither one of these are written into law, they’re just guidelines that people use and no one has ever decided that one or the other is “right”.  If I could contact my lawyer I would tell her this and she could make a case for getting me transferring to a normal correction facility, but here’s the double suck to the suck, since I’ve already been labeled a super-being and convicted and sentenced I’m not allowed any contact with the outside world, not even for legal stuff.

Being falsely labeled a super-being is a real catch-22 because part of the super-being label is that you lose much of your ability to appeal that label. 

Anyway, I should start at the beginning.  When I was younger I liked telling people that my mom was a supervillain.  You know, to get attention.  It is true that she was a villain but there was nothing super about her. 

She worked for AIM, those goofy people that run around in stupid yellow suits with the big helmets.  You know, the organization whose leader is a giant Mardi Gras head with no body and proportionally tiny arms and legs that can’t support it or do anything.  My mom was one of them.  She always told me that AIM was different from HYDRA because AIM aren’t Nazis but they brought back Red Skull like three times and he’s the king Nazi. 

Her big contribution to AIM was that she reversed engineered Calvin Zabo’s formula for hormonal transformation and made a pill that temporarily increases strength, stamina, durability, and resistance to physical injury.  Like a professor with tenure, I think she pretty much coasted after that and just made super-pills for low-level criminal assholes. 

She made this break-through by experimenting on sex workers without their consent.  Some of them died, which is why when I turned her notes over to the police, she went to prison and I went to live with my grandma.  It’s also why you might bump into a super-powered sex worker if you’re into that sort of thing.  It’s not likely but they’re out there.  A few of them.

I wish that I had been able to speak to my mom without her trying to kill me because I’d really like to know the story of how she ended up working for AIM.  How does someone go from biochemistry and pharmaceutical master’s programs at prestigious universities to wearing a skin-tight giant yellow suit with a Minecraft box head?  

If that’s my mom, who’s my dad?  Good question, I’m glad you asked.  I have no dad in the sense of a dude that helped raise me.  My mom says that biologically my father is Steve Rogers.  Captain America Steve Rogers.  My mom lied to me a lot but I think this is true because I can bench press 700 pounds, I run a 4.2 40, and I am unbeatable at Frisbee golf.  I think it’s reasonable to believe that my physical abilities, which are all within normal human ranges I would like to remind you for the record, come from whatever crazy 1940’s “vita-rays” are bouncing around in my DNA from old Steve Rogers. 

To be clear, my mom didn’t say that she bounced around with Cap.  In fact she claims that Steve Rogers is a virgin but I don’t believe that.  I’ve seen old pictures of that Sidewinder woman he used to hang out with.  I know women aren’t supposed to say this about other women but based on her appearance, there’s no way she wasn’t getting some action from Captain GD America.  Or maybe that is okay to say?  Is that sex positivity?  I get confused with that stuff. 

As she tells it she was on the scene when Cap and Falcon and maybe Mockingbird broke up one of her super-pill sales and while Cap was fighting with her business partner Cyberiad Captain Steve got cyber-walloped right in the smacker.  Busted up America’s most kissable man-lips.  While the fight was going on, my mom slipped in and grabbed some of Steve Roger’s blood.  Which she then extracted the DNA from to synthesize whatever you use for IVF and used that to fertilize one of her eggs.  Which she did not implant in her womb of course, she made a big tube full of goo to grow me in.  Maybe that means the tube is my real mom.    

My mom was pretty good at science.  I wonder what she could have accomplished if she didn’t focus her science-ing on evil super-pills and making Steve Rogers’ babies on a lark.  But even more I wonder what mental disorder made her do those things. 

I guess that’s a good enough introduction to start off with.  I have a wall I need to stare at for six to ten hours now. 

OOC – Martialla Monday

As you all know this blog started off as “real play” solo RPG that I turned into narrative form.  Each successive story has leaned less on RPG structure but I still use a character sheet and rules set because I find it helpful in resolving things/injecting randomness and I also still use some RPG random “create an X” charts because what am I going to do, come up with my own ideas? 

Point being that I’m kind of in a low energy mood for the Ela-pocalypse story.  The dice aren’t giving me anything that I find interesting right now and I can’t really think of anything on my own at the moment.  But it’s clearly very important for me to stick to my schedule because . . . . of a reason.  So let’s talk about the Martialla character. 

Back in the bad old days of the D&D Ela story I decided I wanted to write more dialog so I needed a sidekick for Ela to talk to.  I don’t remember my childhood teachers generally, but I do remember two of them – my gym teacher and my creative writing teacher.  I remember my gym teacher because she hated me and made my life miserable because my sister was a few years ahead of me and she was a nightmare.  I believe they call that misplaced revenge.  

I remember my creative writing teacher because she would give me helpful feedback like “your dialog is terrible” and then I would say something to her like “oh that’s bad, how could it be better?” and she’d sneer at me at tell me to figure it out.  I mean what was she going to do?  Teach me something?  As if.  In fairness to her my dialog was terrible.  I mean I was in HS. 

I don’t remember how I came up with the name Martialla but I like it.  Is it a real name?  Maybe.  I bet I only misspell it about 14% of the time.  Partialla the Martialla character was meant to balance the ticket, D&D Ela couldn’t fight for shit so Martialla was a melee combatant.  D&D Ela had all the social skills maxed out so Martialla was rough and tumble.  D&D Ela was a leader so Martialla was a follower.  D&D Ela hated magic so Martialla was a spellcaster.  And so on.  What they had in common was ruthlessness, a hard-scrabble background, a penchant for nonchalant quips, and a lust for revenge. 

Over time D&D Martialla also became something of a morality pet/voice of reason, not that D&D Ela listened to that kind of thing much, but she (Ela) did soften somewhat over time.  None of my friends read my blogs anymore but a couple of them did try and support me in those early days – their main feedback was that they couldn’t handle Ela constantly scamming everyone and stabbing them in the back.  I doubt it came across but the idea was that Martialla would pull Ela back from being a totally immoral monster. 

A recent comment made me think it would be funny if the “twist” at the end of this is that really Martialla was the protagonist all along, there is no Ela and Martialla is in Hell eternally being reincarnated in different scenarios and living horrible “lives” as imaginary construct Ela’s minion because in the real world she murdered the man who killed her loved one. 

One concern I have with the Martialla character is making her too much of the “hyper-competent sidekick” trope.  Across genres I like to keep that Martialla is Ela’s “muscle” but sometimes I think I go too far in having Martialla fill in knowledge gaps for Ela.  On the other hand I have to remind myself that just because something is an archetype that doesn’t make it bad – it’s pretty hard to come up with something completely original.  I used to work with a guy that had been writing a novel going on 17 years and part of his process was he wanted to make sure that everything in it was something that had never been done before.  Which is insane in the membrane.  Still, I make an effort to reign in it sometimes and not have Martialla know about a topic either, or have her have ideas that don’t work out just as much as Ela. 

Recently I had Apocalypse Martialla get tore up from the floor up because I wanted a way to establish finally for real and true that they’re full of nanorobots.  But then after I hit the reset button and made sure there was no chance of any kind of real emotional impact there I mildly regretted it.  It would have been “better” writing if Martialla had died for real but then who would Ela talk to for me to practice my crappy dialog?  A new character?  Gasp.

I try (and mostly don’t) take my writing too seriously, but the other day I was having a laugh at an article that was talking about how male writers writing female characters make them models or actresses or hookers a ridiculous amount of the time and feeling superior and judgey, but then I realized that some of Ela’s baseline traits across all universes are being pretty and vain and catty, and a singer which is actress-adjacent and kind of “girly” occupation.  So in that context, if I wanted to defend myself (against whom?) Martialla serves another purpose as well, she’s the one that can get laid, and she’s “normal” so it’s okay. 

In conclusion one time I had had someone do some art for superhero Martialla and it’s great so here it is again. 

It’s hard to draw feet

OOC – We’re back baby!

A while ago it was announced that Futurama was coming back on Hulu.  I resisted the urge to blog about this because people don’t come here for my personal life rambling, they come to watch me create crummy worlds of plot holes and run-on sentences.  Plus I figured that a lot of other wordpressarians would be freaking out about it.  I found little to no freaking out despite the fact that 43% of the web is built on WordPress!  Maybe people were bummed out by the Bendergate Controversy before they could get excited about it. 

Anyway, Futurama is coming back and I’m excited and hope that it is good.  Now, my girlfriend has mounted yet another expedition to try and watch the Eternals.  On this attempt she’s gotten as far as the part where it’s implied that the Deviants were the true force behind Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.  At first blush this seems to contradict what we all know from Futurama, that the Big Brain of the Brainspawn was behind said extinction.  However, what are the Deviants?  And I quote “unstable creatures that were born in new and more horrifying forms each generation”.  Ergo I submit to you that the Brainspawn are Deviants.  Which makes the Nibblonians Eternals I guess.  And Frye is Kit Harrington?  That sounds right.

Futurama is a silly comedy of course, but the Brainspawn are actually a villain I like for real and true.  They’re jerks, but they’re not actually evil, sentient thought of other creatures is unbearably painful to them.  My head canon is they tried to isolate themselves as far away from everyone as they could but races kept expanding into their telepathy-pain range and some faction of them finally decided there was no way to stop that other than to wreck everyone else.   Eternal quiet. 

What does this have to do with Shang-Chi?  Nothing, but I watched the first part of it again the other day and I noticed that in one of the fight zone pods (sponsored by Mountain Dew Spark) there was a Window fighting against an Extremis guy.  Since everything in the MCU is an Easter egg I looked up what minor characters these were that had appeared in dozens of comics since the late 90s.  Imagine my surprise when I found out they were no one, just background extras for the movie.  Blasphemy.  There’s approximately 9871 trillion D-level Marvel characters.  You telling me they couldn’t have thrown in a 15 second fight scene between Harpoon and Speedball? 

If I wasn’t so lazy I’d write some backstory for those two.  But I am. 

It’s not clear when Shang-Chi takes place other than after Iron Man 3, but I’m going to assume that it’s after Black Window also.  Plenty of reasons that a Widow could be pit fighting, but the Extremis dude is more of a puzzler.  As in why he is he alive?  I’ve been forced to admit that Iron Man 3 is kind of a mess, but the implication was that without a cure all the Extremis people would blow up sooner rather than later.  But having said that a couple of Killian’s minions seemed to be just fine Extremising it up all across the land.  Pepper seemed like she was going to blow up within minutes.  I don’t know man, point is somehow that guy was alive and full of Extremis and fighting in a pod.  Seems interesting.  Probably there’s some kind of Lost-style twist in the story where the Widow was there specifically after that guy because or something in the past. 

Speaking of being lazy, one idea I’ve had for a long time is from the Next Gen episode Cause and Effect.  It would be a timeline where the Enterprise really did blow up and two of the very few people that managed to abandon ship in an escape pod land on a nearby Tatooine and have to try an survive and signal Starfleet to come get them. 

Freaky Friday – The Unreturn of Super Ela

I’ll pick back up with the Elapocalypse next week for anyone paying attention. The Super Ela storyline has been my favorite to write so far, it’s too bad she suddenly died. One of the 8-17 ideas I have for the future, assuming I don’t get bored of this blog, is doing another version of that. I had the urge to write a possible preview of what that might be.

When I got home, Mythandria was stretched out on my couch on her side idly playing some game on my tablet.  Like she always is.  She was wearing her magic metal monokini thing.  Like she always is.  As far as I know, she only ever took it off to shower and she doesn’t even do that anymore.  She’s a gorgeous being, truly and indisputably she is, but I’ve come to loathe the sight of her body.  You see all that skin every day, day after day, and it starts to wear on you.  I wonder if the same thing happens to security guards in a museum.  After you’ve looked at Michelangelo’s David hanging dong in your face for two hundred days in the row, can you still appreciate it or do you wish you had a sledgehammer?  She would be a little more gorgeous if not for the trail of Flamin’ Hot Cheeto dust on her smooth hairless belly and the smear of chocolate on her cheek (or maybe BBQ sauce) but that’s par for the course these days. 

Zamphour Santraginean was sitting in my chair watching my TV.  Like he often is.  His current appearance was that of Brad Pitt.  Like it often is.  I hate when he does that.  You know how weird it is to come home to find Brad Pitt sitting in your crappy apartment watching the news?  The worst part is his posture.  I don’t know if Skrulls are natural slouchers or what his issue is, but seeing Brad Pitt slumped over like a round-shouldered loser really ruins the mystique.  Same goes for a shirtless Tom Hardy struggling to open a pickle jar in a full body dry heave.  When you first start living with a shape-shifting alien you think “this will be fun” but after you’ve seen Kevin James come out of the bathroom after a shower with no towel, you change your mind in a hurry. 

At least Zamphour means well, he works a part time job at Sub Shack.  When he remembers what day he works and what day it is.  He has a real problem with earth dates.  Notwithstanding telling time, he pitches in whatever money he makes.  I could point out that he could make a lot more money as a celebrity impersonator or a model but I won’t, because at least he contributes.  Mythandria doesn’t do jack shit but lay around in her Mithril Return of the Jedi Princess Leia outfit and play Candy Crush.  She doesn’t pay rent, she doesn’t cook, she doesn’t clean, she doesn’t do anything.  She might as well be a house plant.  Actually no, at least a plant makes oxygen, she takes my oxygen so she’s worse than a plant.  I will point out that she could make a fortune as a model or an “actress” that can’t act because she doesn’t contribute anything.   

“Ghoram steel.” Mithandria’s voice is so luminous and melodic that sometimes it takes a moment to realize that it’s a person talking and not angels singing. 

“What?” I said confusedly in my tiny bit-too-low voice.  Sometimes on the phone people think I’m a dude. 

She tapped on one of her tit-plates, which was struggling to contain her bounty in a way that looked like some kind of bondage porn you’d see online “It’s made out of Ghoram steel, not Mithril.  Mithril isn’t real.” 

“Stay out of my mind!” 

“You were projecting, I couldn’t help it.” 

“Well at least put on some fucking pants.” 

She raised a naturally perfectly framed eyebrow that she never has to pluck or maintain at me “Language Ela, there’s no need for profanity.” 

I snorted “How many times have you been cited for public indecency?  Seventeen?  Who are you to lecture me?” 

“You can’t legislate the beauty of living creatures.” 

“They can legislate your ass cheeks jiggling in some six-year old’s face.” 

She hadn’t looked up from my tablet during this entire exchange but she gave Zamphour a look as if to say “this bitch right?”  I dropped my bag and keys on the table with a sigh.  What do I do?  I perform standardized lab tests on colors, flavors, and fragrances used mostly in pharmaceuticals but also for food and beverage, cosmetics, home and personal care products, and specialty printing ink.  For example, orange juice is stored in these giant tanks where they put so much gunk in it to keep it from going bad that it ends up having no flavor or scent.  So before they sell it to you, they buy orange juice taste and smell chemicals from us and dump it in the vat so you can drink it and pretend like it’s not a glassful of organo-nitrates.  It’s even more boring than it sounds.  But it pays the bills.  Like eighty percent of the time.  

Zamphour pointed his Pitt chin at the kitchen in a very awkward ugly un-Pittlike way “There’s sausage balls on the stove.” 

I walked into the kitchen “What the fuck is a sausage ball?” 

“Cream cheese, ground turkey sausage, flour, shortening, shredded cheese, bake at three hundred and fifty earth degrees.” 

I poked at the saucepan on the stove with a wooden spoon “You don’t have to say earth degrees, I know we’re on earth.  How old was that cream cheese?” 

He looked up, which is not a real gesture he does when thinking but something he does to try and mimic what humans look like when they think “Uh . . . three years.” 

“A year is how long it takes the planet to make a full orbit around the sun, try again.” 

He frowned in concentration, another affectation – Skrulls mostly emote with their ears I’ve come to know “Three minutes?” 

 I shook my head “Jesus dude, learn time.” 

The sausage balls didn’t smell too bad so I dumped some in a bowl and put them in the microwave.  While I was waiting, I leaned on the doorjamb and saw what Zamphour was so engrossed by on the TV.  There was a big commotion downtown with tons of cop cars and reporters and choppers and barricades and the usual rigmarole.   

“What’s going on?” 

“Duke Eaglevane took the city council hostage.  He’s got them wired up with bombs.” 

I halfway laughed “The city council?  Why would he take them hostage?  Most people don’t even know who’s on the city council.  He should have strapped a bomb to Kylie Jenner if he wanted people to pay him any attention.” 

Mythandria piped in helpfully “Kylie Jenner is in Curacao, I saw it on Instagram.” 

“Metroman hasn’t showed up yet?” 

Zamphour shook Brad Pitt’s head, which is a real thing he does, that seems to be a universal gesture even with aliens, human-like aliens anyway “No, Galactic Contest of Champions.” 

I thought about it for a moment “Oh shit, you’re right, I totally forgot that was coming up.  Have they given any updates on the Five?” 

“They’re across town helping the police deal with the Scorpion, bank robbery.” 

I shook my head “Fucking Duke does that every time, get some chump to rob a bank across town as a distraction, he needs some new material.” 

Mythandria chimed in again “Why would he change his tactics when it always works?” 

“Shut up Mythandria.  Have they said anything about his demands?” 

Zamphour clenched his hands together nervously as he does when I bicker with Mythandria “A thousand bitcoin.” 

“How much is that in actual money?” 

He pointed “They have a counter in the corner, it keeps going up.  The price of bitcoin has more than doubled since they started reporting on the hostage situation.” 

I shook my head again “Fucking savages.  Those people driving up the price are the real villains.  Have they said if anyone is on the way?  I feel like the Shadow Vigilantes would be next on the depth chart.” 

Mythandria finally looked away from her stupid tablet game “They’re out of town.” 

“How do you know that?” 

“Instagram.” She held up a picture of Dr. Midnight on a beach somewhere.  I don’t know who started the trend of superhero bikini pics with your mask on but I hate it, it creeps me out.   

“What about Amazonia and Shan-Ra?” 

Zamphour did a pretty poor job of making his Pitt-face imitate human bewilderment “Shan-ra?  She’s dead.” 

The microwave dinged just them “What?!  Shan-ra the She-Devil is dead?!  When did that happen?” 

Mythandria went back to her game “Week before last.  Talisman sawed her head off and left it on the steps of city hall.” 

I gawked at the callousness she was displaying “You remember how good and nice and kind you were when we first met?  What happened to you?” 

“Earth” she said sourly.  I can’t really disagree with her there.   

I grabbed the bowl of now way too hot sausage balls out of the microwave and came back into the living room “Jesus Christ, that crazy bastard finally did it huh?  He killed her.  What about Amazonia, where’s she?” 

Zamphour dipped his head with the proper respect “No one has seen her since the murder.  Probably she went back to her secret island in the Amazon to mourn.” 

I poked at the sausage balls with a fork, starving but not wanting to annihilate my mouth with hot meat (phrasing) “I’m surprised she didn’t tear Talisman limb from limb before she went.  Shit, it’s probably up to us then huh?  Maybe we should get geared up.” 

Mythandria settled deeper into the couch “You’re the only one who needs gear.” 

Before I could tell her to shut up, Zamphour stepped between us with an enthusiastic grin that did not fit Brad Pitt’s face at all “I’ll check the bus schedule.”     

Mythandria sighed theatrically “We wouldn’t have to take the bus to fight crime if someone could fly.” 

Before I could unleash a blistering retort, Zamphour jumped in again desperately “You go get ready Ela, I’ll call and see if anyone else can join us.  Cosmic Girl, Star Slayer, maybe that guy with the big axe, I forget his name but I have his number in your phone.” 

I went into the bedroom and started shrugging on my armor vest “Don’t call Star Slayer, that idiot almost blew my head off with his damn laser rifle last time we teamed up.”