Commuting Fun!

Yesterday, I was on my way down to the beach to do some renovation work. The road I take has quite a few twists and truns to it, so the 35 mph speed limit is no joke. Road was a bit wet too.

A white car comes around the blind curve in front of me doing I'd say about 55, and skids into my lane. I jump on the breaks, and brace myself, because if they can't correct, I'm going to eat it. Nothing but ditches and trees on either side of the road, so nowhere to go.

The car hauls ass back into their own lane, but still going way to fast, and I found myself in a sweet spot, because they arced into their lane, around my car, and ended up over-correcting which sent them skidding into a 180 and landing them in the ditch behind me and the only thing that kept the car from rolling was that the ditch was deep enough to wedge that sucker in. So I pull off into a driveway, and jump out because I'm not seeing anyone getting out of the car.

I hustle back to the car in the ditch, and there's a girl in there about college age. She can't get the door open, so I pull it open and give her a hand on out. She's half laughing, and I think that was pretty much her way of dealing with the moment, so I didn't chew her ass out for nearly taking me out with her horrible driving.

Right then a mob of bicycle riders come around the bend with their spandex and windbreakers. All the pieces come together. Those asshat bike riders are always blocking up traffic on that rode. This girl sped up to get around them, which she shouldn't have done, and lost control.

And then one of the moron bike riders says. "You're going to need a tow truck."

 I hate those people so hard. Last year a guy got arrested for puting tacks in the road to flatten their tires. I'd have totally paid his bail. They ride on groups of dozens, and if you're behind them on that road you are completely screwed.

Unfortunately, its the most direct route to where most of my work is.


Character find: Darla Deering

I've been far away from Marvel Comics for a quite a long time.  With time having proven me correct for my reasons to begin my boycott, and DC not wanting my money, I decided to give Marvel another chance, and it was obvious to me where I should start.  The Fantastic Four have always been special to me.  The first comic book I ever got was a Fantastic Four comic.  Marvel recently re-launched all of their titles in a bid to get those precious new readers, which I think is stupid but oh well, so I got on board with Matt Fraction's new run on boht FANTASTIC FOUR and its sister title FF.

Quick recap: the Fantastic Four are going off into space and it shouldn't be a long trip, but just in case they appointed a replacement team.

This brings us to Darla Deering.  She's a new character and was described as a celebritant like Katy Perry of Lindsey Lohan.  That induced quite as eyeroll, but the FF series was getting drawn by Mike Aldred, so I eagerly picked up the book.  That description of Darla does the character no justice at all.

She's on the team because Johnny forgot to pick a replacement for then they were on their trip and when he got reminded hey got ahold of the first person he could think of, which was the girl he was dating.  Shouldn't be a problem, after all they are only supposed to be gone for four minutes.  She is a pop star, and apparently a pretty famous one.  She has no powers at all.  Honestly, at first glance she has no place at all on the team.

Then we watch her a bit.

Reed takes Johnny at his word.  If he says that she is right for this, then that is good enough.  So there's Darla face-to-face with an in stasus Moon Boy who really needs to get back to his own time and she askes a very imporatant question: "Are we going to help him?"  There's this creature that looks barely human by our standards, but she empathetic to him.  So much so that she goes back in time with Johnny to help get him home.

She cares.  Great big heart-right-out-there-on-her-sleeve cares.

There she is in this whole new world that she's been asked to be a part of of surrounded by these amazing people.  She's awe-struck at times.  She's delightfully curious.  She's also quite scared.  More than anything that someone will get hurt because she does not think that she's cut out for the team.  Everything we've seen her do comes from one motivation: she cares.

From the adorable scene with Artie and Leech on the roof, to her crying her eyes out because she felt that she let people down.

She is delightfully and refreshingly human.  She's the character I want to follow through this great big weird adventure.

Gun control =/= answer

Gun control is in the news big time since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.  What is really unfortunate about the discussion that has risen up since that incident is the ideas being pushed will not solve anything.  I understand people being emotional and reactionary to the shooting.  I have two children in kindergarten, the same age as the majority of the victims.  I can barely fathom the grief the families are experiencing.

Since the shooting the president received many letter from children which said they wanted him to get rid of the guns.  This is understandable because those are children.  That's a child's solution to a problem they are not really equiped to understand.  The problem is not the weapon, is the person holding the weapon.  Its tough to explain to a child that some people have something really wrong with them and will hurt and kill people.

So, we've gone on to blame inanimate objects and Second Amendment, and ignored the fact that the guy was mentally unbalanced.

Most of the push for new gun control laws have come from Democrats and Liberals, which is not surprising since often they feel they should have the rights to live as they please, but if they don't approve of something, rights should be taken away.  They don't like guns.  Fine.  They shouldn't have them.  No one is making them have one.  They should stop being a bunch of hypoctries and demanding other people live as they see fit.

There's puch for a ban on assault rifles.  The shooting that sparked this debate was done with handguns.  Most shootings are done with handguns.  Hell, most people, including many yelling the loudest in this, have no idea what an assault rife actually is.  But, assault rifles sounds scary.  An AR-15 looks scarier than a Glock 20.  Like I said, this is emotional, and fear is a pretty strong emotion.

Don't forget the morons who think they're oh so cute and say "well, the Founding Fathers only meant the Second Amendment to apply to the type of gun s that existed back then".  Idiots.  Its meant so they people could protect themselves from weapons that those who would harm us would use.

On to the folks that want to limit the number of bullets in clips and magazines, many of which do not know the difference between the two.  I think the big push is no more than ten bullets.  That's plenty, if real life was a movie and everyone always hit exactly what they were aiming for.  Some poor woman has three guys break into her home, then I hope she's a hell of a shot.

The gun control argument is stupid and does nothing to help anything aside from making foolish people feel better.  We need to understand why these people break.  Is it misdiagnosed mental disorders?  Are they unable to make the distinctions betwen fantasy and reality and have seen to much violence in entertainment?  Is this the result of our society being OK with prescribing mind altering pills to kids because they don't pay attention well enough in class?  These are hard questions, which probably means they're the one's we need to focus on.

I'm not saying we need to do away with violent video games and movies, because once we start that stopping it will be a pain.  Its all fine until someone says "we need to get rid of Star Wars because there's guns in it".  I'm also not bashing the medical industry as a whole.  Some poeple really do need to be on some form of medication.

It all comes down to people, and specifically us as parents.  The future rides on us and how we are raising out children.  No parent wants to think that there's something really wrong with their child.  Its tough.  If the government wanted to do something really useful, they'd be taking steps to help them, like Senator Greg Ball of New York said.


Taking away guns won't solve anything.  I can make an explosive device with stuff easily available at Home Depot.  If you have one one of these non-ideological suicide attackers go to hurt a bunch of people then they are going to attempt it with whatever they can get.  We can't depend of a governemnt who seems to barely understand the problem to be the answer.

"Have you ever been with a warrior woman?"

A while back I came across an article saying that Gina Torres will be guest starring on an upcoming episode of CASTLE, thus re-uniting her with Nathan Fillion and all the browncoats rejoiced.  Huzzah.  Well, except for one guy who did not much care for her role on FIREFLY.

I really appreciate Gina Torres as an actor... but I couldn't stand Zoe. She had no definition of her own; she was defined by Mal and Wash (and mostly Mal at that). Yes, if the series hadn't been cut off so soon she probably would have grown, but a bit more thinking about her beforehand could have made her a much better character.
Which baffled me to no end.  He continued.

 She had almost no personality beyond following Mal around and doing anything he told her to do. There were rare flashes in her relationship with Wash, but they were far too few, buried under her trailing Mal around like a lost dog. Again, I realize that if she'd had time to grow she would have most likely become a much more interesting character, but I would have prefered a bit more care taken with her from the get-go. Everyone else on the ship stood out in some way. Zoe stood out by not standing out at all.
I then asked him exactly which show he was referring to.  It was as if I had slipped into a parallel dimension where there was a show much like FIREFLY, and yet different in that Zoe was boring.  There was a brief exchange about opinions and can't we all just get along.

No.  No we can't.

Let's get one thing clear: that whole notion of 'everyone's opinion matters' is garbage.  Some things are not subjective.  Now, if he had stuck with he couldn't stand Zoe, then that's fine.  But saying she had no difinition of her own was just completely untrue.

Now, if you have no idea what I'm talking about because you haven't seen the show, FIREFLY was a TV show that ran for 14 episodes and then for reasons beyond anyone's understanding was cancelled, only to have a movie made of it years later.  All the episodes and the movie, SERENITY, are available for instant viewing on Netflix.  Have at it.  Its really a brilliant show.

Now, onto the matter of Zoe.  Saying she has no definition is false, but how could someone come to the conclusion that she doesn't?  This brings us to a lot of interesting points to consider.  Zoe does not have any character development on the show.  She's a constant.  She's the rock.  The Zoe we meet in the beginning of the series is the same one we have the entire time.  And its easy to miss her character at times.  She doesn't have funny lines like Wash and Jayne.  There's no budding romance for her like with Simon and Kaylee.  There's no sexual tension with her as with Mal and Inara.  There's no mystery to her as with Book.  She's the opposite of River in that River is completely unpredictable as we can barely fathom what's going on in her head , but Zoe is always rock solid.

So you have to look to see what she's all about.  That can be hard with a rather large and diverse cast.  So let's look.

1. SERENITY: We meet the cast and get our first look at Zoe.  We know she's a vetern soldier.  We see she's very loyal to Mal.  She's deeply in love with her husband, Wash.  We also see her act as the counterpoint to Mal.  She does not follow blindly, but offers valuable insight into plans.  If there's something that could possibly go wrong, she's the one who brings it up.  We also see that she has a sense of humor as she sahres a good hard laugh due to the prank on Simon.

2. THE TRAIN JOB: Here we get Zoe and Mal on a job and she gives him a bit of grief, teasing him that if he gets caught she wants his share of the loot.  You see this with people who have worked together for a long time.  She places along quite well during their little escpare from the local authorities.  We also see her morality in that there's no question that the loot needs to be returned once its discovered what it is.

3. BUSHWACKED: The interrogation scene stands out here.  She doesn't want to say squat to the Alliance officer.  The war may be over, but she's not happy with the outcome.

4. SHINDIG: When Mal gets out of line, Zoe lets him know.  "See you back on the ship, Captain."  Seems a bland enough line, but not the way she said it.

5. SAFE: We see Zoe in the sick bay tending to an injured Book.  Another glance at her protective nature.

6. OUR MRS. REYNOLDS: When someone trails behind another person 'like a lost dog', they don't go giving that person the grief she gives Mal here.  Mal's the butt of the joke, and she's quite eager to let the entire crew in on it.  We also see a slight jealous streak possibly, as she not a fan of Saffron after the scene in the kitchen.

7. JAYNESTOWN: Zoe's pretty much part of the gag about Book's hair here, but she's great.  Not to mention having a laugh at Jayne's fame.

8. OUT OF GAS: Now here's the neat thing in regards to this topic.  We know pretty much everything we need to in regards to Zoe.  This is about all the other characters and how they came onboard.  We do see her questioning Mal's dicision to buy the ship.  We also see they she doesn't like moustaches.

9. ARIEL: There's actually nothing here that doesn't just show us more of what we already know.  The story is pretty tight around Simon, River, and Jayne.

10. WAR STORIES: Here we go.  Zoe's allegiance to Mal and her love for Wash are dead center here.  The thing is, the story is more about Wash coming to grips with his wife's loyalty to the captain and him understanding her better.  Zoe is, as always, decisive.  What would seem to be a difficult choice as to who to save is made before she even walks through the door.

11. TRASH: Ah, playing the part.  No insights here as what seems like a big moment is likely part of a cunning plot.

12. THE MESSAGE: This was a really heavy episode.  There was a lot for the characters to deal with emotionally.  How does Zoe deal with the death of a former compatriot?  She she's what she has to as to what to do the the body and honoring his final wishes.  Then she has a good hard drink and laughs about the great memories she had with him.  We also see which way her loyalties lay if between old war buddies and her current crew.  She sticks by her crew without question.

13. HEART OF GOLD: A seemingly losing battle with horrible odds?  When the cause is right she doesn't hesitate to jump right in with defending the Heart of Gold.  We also get the revelation that she wants to have a child with Wash.  With her protective nature he'd make one hell of a mother.

14. OBJECTS IN SPACE: The finale of the series centers much on River Tam.  We do see Zoe and Wash making out on the bridge and River's reaction to their passion shakes her a bit.

Then we have the movie.  We do see her reaction to what happens to Wash and it seemed that so much joy went right out of her.  There's a part of me that hopes that her and Wash had a passionate night somewhere in there and product of that night brings her the joy that she'd been hoping to meet.

So what do we have in Zoe as a character?  A fierce soldier with a very protective nature.  She loves her husband with passion.  She very loyal, not just to her captain, but the whole crew.  Her intelligence has pulled the team out of stuff spots, and she's a firm counter to Mal's occasional recklessness with her calm rationality.  She's also funny as hell.

Yes.  I'd say she's a pretty defined character.

Adam and Eve: Bizarre Love Triangle in the Zombie Apocalypse

Dating has become a really weird thing.  Used to be you'd meet a nice girl in a bar, a coffee shop or church.  You'd chat a bit, and hopefully get her phone number.  Then there's that period of agonizing if its too soon to call so you don't come off as desparate as you actually are.  Then you meet and do the whole first date thing in which you try your damnedest not to come off like a complete shmuck and hopefully get her to want to possibly go out with you again.

Nowadays, you meet someone on Facebook.  You chat while browsing their carefully selected pictures, that might not really be them, but gives you the impression that there's someone attractive on the other end typing.  You chat and flirt with texts.  Maybe get your Skype on.  Then you finally sack up and decide its time for that real life meet-up.  That's the state of things, and its a whole horrible ordeal.

It gets much hairier when the real life meet up involves trekking across miles of zombie infested terrain.

Yep, Dan Nokes has been at it again, and this here is a review of ADAM AND EVE: BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE IN THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE Vol 1: "Post Armageddon Underground Bunker Blues".  Dan is, above all, a storyteller and he's always been damn good at pulling me right into his tales.  This is no exception.  Of course there's going to be the obvious comparison with Image's THE WALKING DEAD, because this deals with very much the same notion: "OK, I've survived the zombie apocalypse.  Now what?"

We come in about seven years after the shambling undead nommed their way to world domination.  We meet one Adam Jenkins of what's left of the U.S.A.F. and it quickly becomes apparent that this fella is no Rick Grimes.  I completely buy this guy.  He's not some big stud.  He's a guy who hunkered down and managed to duck the worst of things when everyone around him was getting munched.  So for five years, it was just him, his dog, the A.I. the bunker has installed, and his girlfriend.  Well, ex-girlfriend.  OK, she's dead.  Sort of.  So in dealing with the fact that the only person he has to talk to really only wants him for his brains (literally), the guy buries himself in his routine.  He goes on doing his job and maintaining the bunker.  At first I wanted to think he was nuts, but ultimately how is Adam supposed to cope?

We do get the backstory of how it all went down, and where everything went horrible.  We see how things went with Adam and his dead ex.  What's great is that while expostion is typically pain to get through Dan keeps it interesting and really uses it to paint and fascinating picture of who this character is.  Adam Jenkins is  a completely believable character in an unbelievable situation.  We don't see exactly how the zombie outbreak got started, but we do witness how the bunker got overrun.

Fast forward to our guy Adam, along with Schafer the dog and Groucho the A.I., getting set to go on their big adventure to find love.  Riding their hi-tech segway off to adventure in the wild's of post apocalypse Maryland.  Here's where the real weirdness sets in.  There's such an oddball absurdity to the entire thing and yet it stays just shy of going completely screwball.  This really is fine-line writing because this story could go ff the rails at anymoment and devolve into a goofy comedy or a cliché horror tale.  But it doesn't.

There's a couple of bits here and there that we have get around like there still being power in some areas and food not being a major issue.  We get around this because this isn't the point.  We've done that story a thousand times.  This is about one guy who is all alone in the world and goes out to risk himself to make a meaningful connection with someone else.  There's this vibe that Adam is kinda that guy who lives in his parents basement and doesn't want to go out, but finally finds something worth the risk.

It is a damn interesting take on the genre that's been beaten straight to undeath.

So read it.

And apologies to Dan for being incredibly tardy in reviewing his book.  I suck, but he doesn't.  So go read his stuff.