Ben Who?

Before I start this post, I have a little confession to make. I’m a fan of the original Ben Affleck Daredevil movie. According to most people on the internet, this makes me the bipedal equivalent of a unicorn. Good thing I’ve never really given much weight to other people’s opinions. I liked the fact that they showed Matt Murdock popping vicodin, because of course he would; he’s just a normal guy with incredibly heightened senses. Colin Farrell as Bullseye? Nailed it. I enjoyed the hell out of it, warts and all. I’ve always been a fan of Daredevil. I’ve read ALL the comics, that’s not an exaggeration; I’m a nerd (or geek, or whichever one people are applying to comic book fans nowadays [cause that’s important, if I’m a nerd, I don’t want to be lumped in with those worthless geeks, and vice versa, right fellas?]), and that’s what nerds (or geeks) do.

As a lifelong fan of Daredevil, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the premiere of the new Netflix series, and pestered S. constantly about it. “Well, that weekends booked up, that’s what we’re doing. Let’s get all our outside stuff done by Thursday, because I’ll wait ’til Friday night, but that’s it. We doin’ Daredevil.” Below is a sampling of dialogue from our marathon viewing of Netflix’s and Marvel’s Daredevil:

(MAY BE SPOILERS)

Episode 1:

S: “Oh, it’s Jessica from True Blood. Who’s Karen Page? Is she important?

Me: “I guess you could say that, she’s Matt Murdock’s junkie ex-girlfriend who eventually sells his secret identity for dope…Wow, how much did those last few seasons of True Blood suck? They sucked A LOT. that black suit, the whole episode so far, has some real Frank Miller-y vibes.”

S: “Shut up, make me a sandwich*. Who’s Frank Miller?”

Me: Frank Miller wrote some of the best comic book story-lines ever; then, when he started being very vocal about certain political views he holds, he was shunned and treated as a pariah, very similar to the way Alan Moore was treated. They’re like comics “crazy uncles” that make everyone uncomfortable, and people say things like “He wasn’t THAT good anyway.”, or “To be honest, I never really liked his stuff.”, because that’s what the “cool” kids are saying. What disaster in New York are they talking about?”

(*We say this to each other A LOT. We think it’s funny. The same way we think that, when we’re out in public, if one of us makes a sudden movement and the other flinches, we think it’s funny. The best part is, we genuinely don’t care if you think it’s funny or not.)

Episode 2:

Me: “Is that Rosario Dawson, star of such films as Clerks 2: The Clerkening and Kids?” (yup, straight dork…)

S: “I can’t tell, who’s Claire Temple?”

Me: “Ha, she was Luke Cage’s girlfriend for a while. With that hoodie thing going on, I get a kind of Sin Eater vibe off her, maybe she’ll become Sin Eater; or maybe she’s going to be in the Netflix Luke Cage series.”

Episode 3:

Me: “I must have missed something, who are these guys? Ben? Ben Urich? Is that Ben Urich?”

S: “I don’t know who that is…”

Me: “It’s the dude Joey Pants played in the Affleck movie. Oh, it IS Ben Urich! That’s awesome, he’s a very important character; he’s a reporter, just a regular dude, but he’s always kind of involved in some major shit. He’s had run ins with The Punisher, worked at The Daily Bugle with Peter Parker, REALLY important in Daredevil comics. Look at those framed headlines behind him; that one is about The Incredible Hulk movie, that one is about The Avengers! This series is canonical, that’s amazing. I’m very excited.”

S: “Okay, calm down. dork.”


 

It goes on and on like this for the entire viewing, which was spread out over the weekend. I’m not going to bother doing a blow-by-blow for the rest. The only really pertinent bits are the arrival of Stick (to which I said, “Huh, I always figured him for Asian.”) and the conversation between S. and myself during the events of episode 11, which follows:

Episode 11:

S: “I hope they don’t kill off Karen or Ben, they’re awesome.”

Me: “No way, never happen. The show’s just starting, and they’re both major players in the comics; by which I mean DECADES (damned near 40 years) of history.”

Then comes episode 12…

Are you fucking kidding me?

Here’s the relevant post-credits dialogue from episode 12:

Me: “I can not believe they killed Ben.”

S: “It’s okay baby, he’s fictional*.”

Me: “Yeah, but he’s ‘super-important’ fictional.”

S: “It’s too late to watch the last episode, let’s watch it tomorrow.”

Me: “Whatever, I don’t even care.”

(*Yet another thing I constantly badger S. with. She gets attached to characters (as do I), and takes deaths/setbacks hard sometimes.)


 

So, Ben’s dead; like, really real, fictionally dead. In the current Marvel cinematic universe; all the movies, all the TV shows; there’s no more Ben Urich. We have an 8-year-old character, specifically created for the cinematic universe, whose death served as the catalyst for uniting The Avengers, resurrected and made front-runner on a canonical TV series, retconned into the actual 616 comics universe, beloved by millions of fans (me included, even if I think the show has turned for the worse); meanwhile, an “average joe” character, with nearly 40 years of history in the actual comic books, is written off and thrown away in the very first season of a new series. Yup, that’s about the state of the “big two” comic book publishers nowadays.

I’m honestly still disturbed by this, it’s the whole point of this “uh, I know they’re your toys and all, but…” blog post, it’s why it’s taken me a few days to sit down and write it. I didn’t care that most of the series was just an amalgamation/rehash of story-lines in the comics, it was still solid. I’m a fucking fan, I live for this shit. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that people finally appreciate something that I’ve found pleasure in my whole life.

The more I think about it, the more firmly I believe it’s indicative of the mediocre (trying really hard to be polite here) writing that’s now deemed “acceptable” by the creators, the industry, and the fans. They knew who they were writing this series for, and it wasn’t for people who’ve read and loved the comics for years, through the good times and the bad, no matter what. This was written for the people who were attracted to the medium because of the newer films. They’re aware that most of those people (I will not call them “nufans”, I support anyone liking awesome things, and I don’t/have never bought into the whole “fake geek/nerd drama bullshit) don’t have a clue who Ben Urich actually is, so they make him a solid character; they make sure to portray his personal struggles, they make him real and solid and sympathetic; and then they throw him away in a desperate attempt at tragedy. He becomes the sacrificial lamb, the one who has to die so everyone can see that “the stakes are high”. That’s not tragic, that’s shitty storytelling. That’s a hackneyed plot device that’s just as overused as a villain threatening/committing sexual violence. It’s bush league.

I didn’t complain when Black Widow outran The Hulk on the helicarrier, I didn’t complain when she “tricked” the Asgardian god of mischief (although, being Loki, maybe that was the plan all along). Hawkeye, a normal guy who happens to be really good with a bow and arrow, making completely impossible shots? Sure, why not. Iron Man standing toe-to-toe with Thor? I might grit my teeth, but sure, if you say so.

Even though we all know how that really goes down…(link to the readable size, for the curious!)

 

I try my best not to complain when more and more often, year after year, the comics continue to sink further and further into a mire of overused, rewritten, tripe and company spanning cross-overs that JUST AREN’T THAT GOOD. I didn’t seriously complain about any of the X-Men movies (but oh boy could I!). This is just a little too much.

 

 

 

 

About Time

I find it frustrating when bloggers I follow post funny spam comments or search terms; mostly because I don’t get many. To be fair though, the other night while I was at the laundromat my phone informed me that my “stats were booming”, and my reaction was something along the lines of “Why? Who are they?! What do they want??”

why

just…why?

Anyway, I finally got a few (what I consider) funny search terms to share:

That's me!

That’s me!

The “18 teacher hot” thing tickles me, because I imagine some very frustrated man, junk in hand, scrolling through my blog searching desperately for porn. (Tip: There isn’t any. I’m as indifferent to porn as I am to everything else, except STRANGERS reading my blog)

The second one, which in whole says “recovering addicts hard-headed, rude, never shuts up”, I appreciate that one.

Last one:

wtffff

As you can probably tell, I don’t much bother with search engine optimization. I would like to take a second and ask all the horny men (and/or women, you never know) to at least stick around for a second and read, maybe recommend my blog to your horny friends?

Here’s the “horny teacher” post, if anyone wants to read it. No porn, just another rant.

Back to writing!

 

Deliverables (Part 1)

It had been a rough couple of weeks. The entire project was at a standstill, all because Kirk wouldn’t, or couldn’t, do his job.  Sadie shook her head as she left her cubicle and headed towards the conference room. Another useless meeting, nothing will be accomplished; maybe I’ll be yelled at again. She was so consumed by these and similar thoughts, and the accompanying knot in her stomach, that she nearly collided with Kirk –the man himself—in the hallway leading to the conference room.

“Oops, sorry, I didn’t see you there.” Her inner voice immediately began to chide her. Damn it, you should’ve said ‘excuse me’. Don’t apologize to him, never apologize to HIM. He’ll think he smells weakness, and that will just lead to another wasted discussion, more derision…

“Sadie, just the woman I wanted to see.” An unnatural smile, wide and twitchy, was spread across his smug little mouth. “I was hoping we could clear the air before the meeting starts.” As he was speaking, his right hand went behind his back. After a momentary fumble, his smile was replaced with an expression of wide-eyed shock, and his face went pale as the pistol he’d concealed fell to the floor with a dull, barely audible thud.

The pain in her stomach was replaced with a feeling of primal rage. Before he could react, she swung her bag, containing her company-issued, 9 lb. laptop, and struck him squarely on the temple. Kirk; pushing 60, going to flab, wearer of stupid, large glasses and ugly shoes; said something like “whydah” as he collapsed to the floor of the long, deserted hallway. She struggled to control her breathing, and instinct took over.

Pick up the gun.

Glancing down the hall to make sure no one was nearby, she squatted and picked up the small, black pistol, holding it with an air of reverence. He was going to kill me, or at least threaten me. Thank God they didn’t get around to approving my laptop upgrade. Those thoughts were shoved aside, replaced by the same cool, clinical voice that had her retrieve the weapon.

He was going to kill you. This petty little man was going to end your life over mundane work disagreements. Everything you do, everything you say, all the arguments you put forth, the compromises you attempted to make; they only reminded him of how small he actually is. If you had hesitated, the situation would be reversed, and you’d be the one bleeding into the carpet right now. Who knows how many lives you’ve just saved? He probably wouldn’t have stopped with just you. There are four people on the other side of that door who may have been next.

The meeting! She nearly dropped the gun as she stood. She gingerly placed it on the ground next to her bag, making sure it was pointed away from her. She straightened her clothing and stepped over the unconscious man as she reached for the door. She was just about to grasp the knob when the voice in her head spoke up again.

Stop.

Wait.

Let’s think about this for a second.

She paused, considering the thoughts –her thoughts– and whispered to herself, “Stop for what? I need to tell them what happened, and then call the cops…maybe an ambulance. Since when do I talk to myself?”

Since when do co-workers pull guns on you for insisting they do their jobs? The soft, lilting voice, so different from her own, had a sardonic tone. I’m no doctor, but I’d guess it’s shell shock. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and let’s consider the situation. Quickly, they’re expecting us soon.

“There’s nothing to consider,” she hissed. Stepping away from the door, she again scanned the hallway to make sure she wouldn’t be discovered. She stared at the crumpled form at her feet until she was sure Kirk was still breathing, then closed her eyes and breathed deeply.

The way I see it, this is too good an opportunity to pass up. We need to take advantage of the situation.

“The only advantage is that Kirk is definitely going to be off the project now. He’ll be lucky if he’s just fired, I’ll definitely be testifying.”

Hear me out; this is about the project. He’s already caused endless delays; the budget is shot to hell; imagine the inconvenience this incident will cause. His one subordinate won’t be able to keep up, let alone catch up. There’s a better way to deal with this matter.

“This is nuts, my brain has broken.” A small giggle escaped from her pursed lips. “This is it; I’m having a nervous breakdown, so much for work/life balance. I’d better tell them to ask for two ambulances.”

That’s nonsense, and you know it. You’re a strong, professional woman, and you’ve dealt with much worse things than this mess. If you can’t pull yourself together and evaluate the scenario, ride the pine and let me handle it. Trust me, I’m you.

“Ride the pine? I don’t even know what that means. Handle it? Yes, please do, how do we do this?”

It’s sports, never mind; it just means ‘take a break, sit this one out’. As for how, just take another deep breath, relax, and open your eyes…

Inhale.

Exhale.

The inner dialogue had taken less than a minute. Sadie opened her eyes and brushed the hair from her face. Her eyes were clear and calm; there was no sign of worry anywhere on her face. Reaching down, she retrieved her bag, then the pistol. Once it was safely stowed next to her laptop, she turned and opened the door.

“Excuse me. Kevin, James, there’s a problem out here. Could you guys give me a hand real quick.”


TBC

I Can Type Too

This is a daily prompt I can appreciate, since these things are exactly what I did to earn a living for so many years. Lots of people like to talk about the “armchair quarterback”, but nobody ever mentions the “armchair handyman”. Sure, most small home repairs or projects can be easily picked up and understood, especially with access to the internet; but, do you know what to do when your sewer line breaks? I do. Suppose you decide you’re sick of the outdated track lighting in your living room, but that means a full re-wire and maybe a new breaker; or you’d really like to rearrange your kitchen, but doing so would require rehanging cabinets and/or relocating your entire sink; what if your wife decides that you need a half or full bathroom added because the kids are getting older and require more privacy?

You could absolutely fumble your way through such projects by following online instructions, with practice you could even become “good” at it. Yeah, I did all that; poured foundations, laid brick and block, ran new plumbing and electrical systems; I’m really good at it. I did all that drunk, and high, and sober, for decades. There’s a reason they’re called “skilled trades”. I play violin too, but you’d never see me telling Josh Bell he needs to “tighten up on the neck a little” or some other nonsense.

There’s no mystique involved in any of these things. Anyone can learn them. The reason I did is because it’s what my dad did, and we were so fucking poor that college wasn’t an option for me. It’s kind of like how being a waitress was THE job available to un/under-educated women (thank you Reservoir Dogs!). Also, for anyone who’s unaware and/or looking at blue-collar through rose-colored glasses, you don’t (maybe now you do, but back in the day you didn’t [Christ I’m old]) just stroll onto a site and say, “I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos, stand aside!” You labor. You tear shit down, you load and unload shit. You sweat, you ache, sometimes you get hurt. You do this FOR YEARS, learning along the way. It’s a lot like I imagine college used to be, but without a lot of the bullshit and with a paycheck instead of a debt.

S. and I have talks about this sort of thing quite often. She works in a corporate environment, and I’m constantly amazed at the amount of bureaucracy involved. For me, it’s always been about “does this work?” If you screw up the plumbing, some family may just wind up wading through shit, if you screw up the wiring, a building could burn down. Walls can fall, pipes can bang, doors can stick (ever try to hang a door? A brand new door, framing and all? It’s kind of a bitch). There’s an event coming up that her corporate overlords invited everyone to attend that comes with a “plus one”. She mentioned this morning that she’s looking for a way out, and I know the main reason is because she doesn’t want to hang out with a lot of the people she works with outside of the office. Part of me also likes to think she’s mortified at the thought of me having to sit and socialize with a large group of very vocally religious, very right-wing (FLORIDA!) corporate drones who constantly hem and haw about how hard their jobs are. I think that sounds awesome…

 

Sad Puppies, Dead Horses…What’s The Difference?

George R.R. Martin, father of the world of Westeros, the man who breathed life into characters both reviled and beloved, has a sad. For anyone who’s still unaware of the temper tantrums that have been flying around the SF/F community the last few days, he offers a summation:

And for those who do not have the appetite to wage through thousands of posts, well, the basics are simple. A group of writers and fans, many of them of a conservative political and/or literary bent, felt that they were not being adequately represented in the Hugo Awards, and put together their own slate of stories and writers they wanted on the ballot. They blogged, they organized, they got out their voters, and they were wildly successful… to the extent that this year’s Hugo ballot is dominated by their choices.

Yes, indeed they did; and yes, it is indeed. A “group of writers and fans, many of them of a conservative political and/or literary bent” (the “press” went a little further than Mr. Martin, describing the Sad Puppies slate as a “group of angry, racist, old, white, conservative men who fear diversity”, or some similar complete and utter nonsense) proved that democracy sometimes works. That’s LITERALLY ALL THAT HAPPENED. A few writers said, “None of the people we feel deserves to be considered ever gets so much as nominated, so if people would like to help change that, here’s a list.” The people have spoken.

Some people are mad, some people are gloating. Me? I don’t do politics, but I do love SF/F, so I’ve got a few opinions (and regular readers know exactly how I feel about those, so feel free to do with them as you will). I haven’t read everything on the ballot, but there are a few.

Jim Butcher and Katherine Addison going head-to-head in the Best Novel category kind of tears me up. The Goblin Emperor is amazing, but I’ve got a special place in my heart for The Dresden Files. I literally threw my hands up in disgust when Changes wasn’t nominated back when it was eligible. I’ve never met Jim Butcher, but I follow him on Twitter, and I’ve seen a lot of videos on YouTube of him, and he seems like a pretty decent guy. I’ve never seen him spout any crazy political rhetoric online, so this was kind of confusing:

 

Never read it, don’t plan to, but I’d bet my sweet ass (it is sweet, you’ll just have to take my word for it) he has no problem voting against his work. That’s legit; fuck that hard-working, well-respected author! Suppressive persons goe him the nomination! Actually, I don’t even know why, I’m guessing it’s because the author of that tweet is a dick.

John C. Wright definitely doesn’t seem like one of the best people on the planet. According to things I’ve read online (which I haven’t bothered to research, because people are SO MUCH MORE than just their politics), he’s a religious conservative with horrible opinions about homosexuals. IF that’s true, it sucks. I didn’t know that when I purchased The Book Of Feasts And Seasons. As an atheist, I thought the idea of someone writing a book of stories inspired by/alluding to the Catholic liturgical calendar was an intriguing premise. The entire book blew my mind, and I didn’t pick up a whiff of homophobia anywhere in it. One thing I can say is Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus, his work that’s been nominated for Best Novelette, made me cry like a baby. The man CAN WRITE, his way with words is artistry.

That’s ALL that matters to me. As so-called “fans”, as far as these awards go, that should be all that matters to anyone else. SHOW ME THE WRITING. I feel sorry for people who can’t separate the art from the artist, because that’s ALL I GIVE A FUCK ABOUT. Show me the work, I’ll judge the work. I can appreciate good (great) work even if I condemn the artist as a person.

I don’t care about Jim Butcher, or John C. Wright, I don’t care about Katherine Addison, I care about the things they’ve created. I don’t care about GRRM either, but I do care about A Song of Ice and Fire, and I really hope he finishes the tale before he or I die. If he doesn’t, I’ll be alright (don’t worry, I’m not worried). I love Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series, and I love Charles Stross’ Laundry Files series. I personally don’t care about whether or not they’re “decent” people. Oh yeah, even Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Arthurian fiction (although I noticed a few cracks in some peoples’ “believe the victim” narrative when those accusations came to light).

I even prefer N.W.A. and post-N.W.A. era Ice Cube (you know, the one who always rapped about killing whitey?) to the sanitized, cuddly (dare I say “white-washed”) Disney Ice Cube. I know, it’s horrible, me enjoying things written by people who may or may not be monsters. It’s a good thing I learned about the 3 F’s early in life, otherwise I’d feel just awful.

Damn, I almost forgot H.P. Lovecraft! I love that racist old bastards writing.

To all the people exclaiming “The Hugos are ruined! Vote No Award! We’ll take our ball and our votes and go home!”, fuck ya, go home. I have no respect for fair-weather fans, or people who want to shove politics down my throat and tell me it’s “award-winning literature”. Whenever I see someone crying online about how “the wrong people” are nominated, all I see is:


One last bit before I go; to everyone who’s been screaming “Gamergate rigged the awards!” I wholeheartedly agree. I mean, just the thought that people who enjoy science fiction and fantasy might also enjoy video games (and comic books, let’s not forget about comic books) is patently ridiculous. I’m not a statistician, but I’d bet the odds of a large, diverse group of people all enjoying the same awesome things are practically insignificant. (YOU FUCKING IDIOTS)

 

 

The Beautiful Person

Apparently, some guy at a Denny’s in Canada punched Marilyn Manson in the head. There are conflicting reports; some people saying the poor man’s Alice Cooper called a patrons girlfriend a bitch, while others say the attack was entirely unprovoked.

Unprovoked? I’ve felt provoked by Brian Warner ever since he opened his mouth about the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

“Someone asked my opinion about that, and I said, “I can’t say they didn’t ask for it. It’s kind of a dumb idea to do something like that.”

Well, thank the Good Lord that you live in an imperialist, capitalist country where everyone (including me) defends your right to shit all over whatever you consider an “acceptable target”. It’d be a damn shame if you lived somewhere else, like Bangladesh (I guess those guys “asked for it” too).

I remember when this guy was an up-and-comer, and even back then I cringed whenever I saw him. I’d be hard-pressed to name someone else who fits the definition of “try-hard” quite so well.

Just click the link and read the interview, if it doesn’t at least make you grin you might just be dead inside. Then, if you need to cleanse your brain, read this piece about Mr. “Edgy as Fuck” and his online spat with Greg Gutfeld (Yeah, I know, another idiot. Even idiots are right sometimes. I recently read Mr. Gutfeld’s Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War On You; not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I wanted to balance out the stupid after reading Chris Kluwe’s Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies. I honestly do not recommend either one.).

I’m as disappointed in this unidentified stranger as I was in Orlando Bloom when he got his hands on Justin Bieber. Seriously, only one hit?! It would take a team of wild horses to drag me off of this fucking idiot. If that sounds like “internet tough guy” bullshit to you I implore you, read the AV Club article, so you can see with your own eyes what that phrase really means. I may not know much, but I know if it came down to brass tacks, I wouldn’t be the person being force-fed a “gold switchblade”. Try harder you aging, irrelevant cunt.

 

Cross The Street

There’s something about “bros” that sets my nerves on edge. It’s probably due to the fact that every encounter I’ve ever had with them (excluding the ones that involved buying/selling drugs/alcohol) ended poorly. I know I’m using broad strokes here, but that’s the facts. They just set off my fight or flight response, and I’m not a bird. Anyone who knows me will tell you, “If you see Wade running don’t ask questions, just run as fast as you can in the same direction, because whatever’s behind him is probably fucking horrifying.” I will literally cross the street to avoid a wicked sickness of bros (I don’t know the scientific classification for a group of bros, so that’s what I’m going with).