Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#219 In which our hero discusses Heroes, heroes and Hiro's.

ince I owe the world a post and I owe the lovely Miss Kate an email reply, why not kill two birds with one stone?

Miss Kate is a Heroes nerd just like me, and she emailed me yesterday with comments about the premier. Her thoughts are presented in orange, which my disjointed ramblings follow.

BTW, this reminds me a great deal of how a friend and I used to discuss the X-Files after every episode. One of us would call and the other would answer, saying simply “discuss.” Glad to see that six years later my complete nerdity hasn’t wore off one bit.

So, didja watch it last night?? I did. If you didn't, read no further.

See? This is why I like Miss Kate. So considerate.

I'm a little miffed about the very obvious Nissan Rogue product placement - but I guess that's the price you pay when they sponsor your "less commercials than usual" premier.

Being in the advertising industry, I’m torn. I mean, I wasn’t surprised at all that a Nissan was featured prominently because you’re right… Nissan was paying top dollar for that sponsorship, and they had every right to get something in return.

That said, it was a little heavy-handed when HRG gave Claire the keys to the car and she said, “The Rouge?!” It feels obnoxious to me mostly because the scene didn’t work. Mostly because nobody knows what the Rouge is. It’s a new model, and doesn’t have much in the way of buzz yet. If it had been a known quantity like, say, a Mustang or a Mini Cooper, then it would have made sense. Instead, we’re left to wonder why this girl is so excited about a new mid-level car that no-one has ever heard of and that’s not especially sexy to look at.

But, this is product placement at it’s greatest. And before anyone bashes Nissan too much, you should really spot and take a look at your favorite show next time. It’s no coincidence that every can of soda has it’s label perfectly oriented so you can see the brand name.

In the product placement biz, there’s three levels:
  • Product appears in the background at some point in the show.
  • A character interacts with the product; picking it up, moving it, etc.
  • A character interacts with the product and mentions the brand by name.
Clearly, the premier hit big on all three. But honestly, I’m willing to deal with a little intrusive product placement for limited commercial interruption. We probably got 10 minutes more show because of Nissan’s sponsorship. And the Nissan was only really featured at that one point… be glad that the plot didn’t hinge on that car or something equally annoying.

Actually, what I found even more obnoxious was that when the show did go to commercial, Nissan only had ONE Rouge spot (with some subtle versioning) to show.

The new kid that's kind of stalking Claire from school is creeping me out. I don't like that he followed her home.

Agreed. And he has his own powers, huh? And it’s flight, too… just like Claire’s birth-father (Nathan). Hmm… maybe Nathan was fooling around with women other than just Claire’s birth-mother?

I like that her dad put his new manager in his place. I hope he broke his finger.

I guess. But how realistic is that, really? He wouldn’t just get fired? Come on… this feels like a lazy way for him to have a job as a cover story (but it’s still dealing with paper products, which I think is a nice touch).

I'm still wondering what Mama Petrelli and Hiro's Dad's powers are/were.

Me too. I’m still assuming that they do have powers… but they’ve only been shown as puppet masters/power brokers up until this point. Do they really have powers? And in the case of Hiro’s father we can assume his power isn’t/wasn’t flight.

I have no clue who killed Hiro's dad. Could have been Sylar (maybe). Could have been Nathan (maybe). Could be someone we've not met yet.

Sylar doesn’t really make sense, because his thing isn’t murder, per se, but rather the “collecting” of powers. Whatever he does (actually eat the brains or just fool around with them) seems to take a little time; so this doesn’t seem like his MO at all. Nathan? Could be, but I doubt it. I’m going with someone we haven’t seen yet.

I'm totally curious about who is stalking Molly in her nightmares.

Yeah, the new Big Bad! I’m guessing we won’t see him/her/it for a while. At least not until Sylar leaves the show to go film Star Trek XI.

I'm curious to know how Peter got cuffed inside a storage container, wearing that half-DNA symbol pendant, with apparent amnesia.

Amnesia! The ultimate panacea for what ails ya (or the plot) in the comic book world! I’m not bashing the writers, I think, again, it fits in well with the comic book feel of the series. And I am also, of course, curious as hell as to what happened.

And I have to say that I’m surprised that they didn’t try to string out the mystery of the Petrelli brothers (are they alive? Are they dead?) for a longer time. But it’s cool… I find it really interesting that even though everyone came together at the end of season one, that now everyone is spread out again. They know of each other, and a few of them are actually working together (notably Mohinder and HRG) but they didn’t come together like the new Justice League or something. I mean, Niki, D.L. and Micah didn’t even appear in the episode! That’s pretty impressive, I think.

I really want to know how that symbol plays into everything - starting as the symbol for that Kensei guy, being tattooed on Nikki's shoulder, being the pendant around Peter's neck, and also the "sign" that "you're going to die" by the hand of a member of your little mutant clique.

Yeah, I really hope the writers can pay that off. I hope it doesn’t become their version of “The Trust is Out There” with the X-Files; where we finally learned the truth at the end, and it was that aliens really are real and the government is working with them to… do what again? Something with bees? Shit, ya lost me.

Anyway, it’s really intriguing.

And, last I checked, wasn't Mohinder *already* working for The Company when he was curing Molly last season???? What's with this guy following him around Egypt to ask him to join them... again.

I’m not real clear on this bit either. Are we talking about the same Company? Maybe these are different guys? I dunno.

Finally, I have to say that I think the writer’s are taking a bit of a chance. There’s probably a lot of people who never watched season one, but heard good things about the show, who are willing to give it a go now. But that premier wasn’t that easy of an entryway to the show… if you don’t already know what happened in season one, you would probably become lost really quickly. I mean, it’s good for us… we don’t have to slog through a bunch of backstory we already know; but I just hope it’s not bad for the show (because they still need to keep ratings up).

But all in all, I fun start to the season.

PS: My big hunch for this season? Kensei, the legendary hero that Hiro worships? Hiro is going to do all those heroic deeds of legend, effectively becoming Kensei himself. Meaning that in the future he never stole Kensei’s sword… it was his own sword all along.


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#218 In which our hero obsesses more than a little about unattainable rayguns.

Sooooo unmotivated.

I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve felt really lazy all week. I’ve been fortunate that work hasn’t been super busy (unlike last week, which kicked my ass six ways to Sunday) and my lack of focus hasn’t become an issue.

But I’ve also been neglecting this here website, to the disappointment of all three of you who read it on a regular basis. But the thing is, when I find myself with a little time, time in which I could write a post, I’m too lazy to actually do it. Or I don’t have anything to write about. Or… well, there is one other thing going on right now.

I’ve become a little obsessed.

Now, this isn’t uncommon for me. Some topic will float to the top of my conciseness and I’ll focus on it to the point of obsession. Over the years this obsession has taken many forms. Magic the Gathering. Warhammer 40K. Starcraft. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter on Mars series. Stephen King novels. My current obsession?


A friend of ours has a Halloween party every year, complete with costumes. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me in real life (or IRL, as the kids like to type) that I like to play dress-up. Now, I’ve never gotten into the weird world of "cosplay" (a word and concept I stumbled over just this year) but I do like dressing up at Halloween quite a bit.

This friend usually has a theme for his party, generally something that leads itself to perversion. Couple of years ago it was “things that go bump in the night” which generated no less than TWO people dressed as headboards.

But this year the theme is steampunk, which I thought was cool, if rather subdued. Now, I’m passingly familiar with steampunk as a literary genre; I’ve read The Difference Engine, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, At the Earth’s Core and a few other things, so I get the “Amazing Victorian era that never was” vibe of dirigibles and fantastic clockwork contraptions, and it’s cool.

I had some time on my hands so I poked around the Internet to see what else I could find about steampunk, especially in the sense of costume ideas.

Holy. Crap.

Apparently there’s an entire emerging community of steampunk enthusiasts… people who not only want to read about this stuff, but want to LIVE it. I came across not only fantastic costumes but crazy steampunk inventions, too.

So I found all this crazy stuff and it was keen. But then. Oh my. I found this link:

Holy crap. Here, if you’re too lazy to click the link, you still have to see these:

Simply amazing. These are real metal rayguns, festooned with working switches and buttons and glass bits full of odd fluids. These are being produced by Weta Workshop, the special effects guys who did Lord of the Rings, among many other things, so it’s no surprise that they could make something so super-neat. As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to have one.

Then I saw the price.

At $690 (plus tax) they’re more than a little out of my price range. But, holy shit, do you see how cool they are?!

So my brain immediately latched on to these things and I had to--HAD TO--figure out how to make me my own raygun. I mean, yeah, a cool-ass raygun would enhance my costume for the steampunk party… but it’s way past that now. I want a raygun. I want rayguns, plural.

So, last weekend I took a made dash through the local $1 Store and the Home Depot, and found a surprising amount of cool stuff that if you looked at it just right could maybe, just maybe, pass for raygun parts.

So that’s what I’ve been doing in the basement for the past several days. Tinkering around with junk, trying to bash it all together so it looks like this:

Of course, there’s no way in hell that it will ever look that good… but I’d still make an effort.

And then my thinking went a little further. I mean, if I desperately wanted one of these awesome rayguns, but couldn’t afford one, there were probably lots of other people in the same boat, right? What if I could figure out a way to make something similar to this in coolness, but at a much lower price? I could make a bunch and sell them for big profit on eBay!

So I started pounding away at the keyboard, researching resin casting, metal sand casting, small run CNC machine shops, carvable air-dry clays, woodworking, used handgun parts dealers… and so on.

See? A little obsessive. This is what happens.

Most likely, the feeling will go away. It usually does. But I can’t completely silence the tiny voice it the back of my head saying Dude! You could make some serious money doing this! Go for it! That voice is most likely full of shit… but still.

Anyway, for the time being, I’m making one raygun in the basement. And just today I had a little bottle of juice and, looking at the empty bottle, said to myself, Hey, that’s a really cool shape. You could totally put a handle on that thing and turn it into a great looking raygun.

Rayguns. Rayguns on the brain.






Say you’re three years old. And you’re playing nicely with your friends when, suddenly, one of your little buddies takes the game in a direction you do not care for. Like, say, they want to be the red truck, but you don’t want them to be the red truck. How would you tackle that challenge?

If you were my oldest daughter, you would spit on them.

This is the information we got from one of Lily’s teachers last week. That Lily had had a bad day and was put in time out for spitting on a schoolmate.

When we got home I sat Lily down and had a talk. It went something like this:
ME: Lily, did you spit on someone today?
LILY: Yeah.
ME: Why did you do that?
LILY: Brendan was playing a scary game and I didn’t like it.
ME: So you spit on him?
LILY: Yeah.
ME: You know spitting is not nice, don’t you?
LILY: But Brendan was the ‘ronnosaurus and it was scaring me and I got up to sit on a different part of the carpet but he came over and was bothering me so I spit on him.
ME: …
I’m split between what the fuck and that’s right, you don’t fuck with my daughter or you’re going to get a face-full but mostly I’m wondering how in the world she decided that spitting was the answer? Hitting I can understand (if not condone) but good Lord, spitting?

Anyway, we had the big talk and she agreed to not spit at her friends if they were bothering her, and that it would be better to just get up and sit somewhere else or tell a teacher.

Then the next day she spit on someone else.

So then we had to have a bigger talk complete with threats (“if you spit on someone again, we’re going to take away your pacifier that night”--a pretty serious threat for our little girl) and more assurances that she wouldn’t do it again.

And the next day she didn’t. Macey did.

Which isn’t surprising at all, since Macey wants to do everything Lily does. But I’m not sure if Macey instigated it, since we were told that the entire toddler class had to have a time out because they were all spitting.

My little darlings. Spitting on their classmates.

And to think that I used to worry about hitting.


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CAPE SHAPE part the last

I know, I know, I’ve really be remiss on my Who Wants to be a Super Hero? updates. But, in truth, I really lost interest by the end. I missed one episode because I was out of town, then only caught the tale end of the following week… and by that time, I found myself no longer really giving a crap.

Honestly, I think my joy for the program left me when Mindset was booted. Mindset! He had the geek cred, took the comic book superhero behavior totally to heart… then was kicked off the show for no good reason. Feh! Feh on you, Stan Lee!

But, I dunno. Maybe the thrill of seeing real people dressed up as superheroes has faded; maybe I got my fill last season. Or, maybe it just doesn’t have the same excitement level when you can turn on another show, namely Heroes on NBC, and see people acting like superheroes who can actually, you know, act. And the story line is a tad more engaging than who stole Stan Lee’s pencil.

But anyway, to wrap this up in the most half-ass way possible:
  • The final three where The Defuser, Hyper-Strike and Hygena. This trio is incredibly similar to the final three from last year (i.e., Major Victory, Feedback and Fat Momma).
  • There were some final challenges, I guess, and… well, honestly, I turned on the finale and was only about 10 minutes into it when The Scientist came into the room naked and, well, you can guess the rest.
  • I did manage to catch the last 15 minutes or so, just as Stan was interviewing the final three one-on-one. And here’s why I can never be on that show: I don’t have a good sob-story revolving around comics. The Defuser spilled his guts and revealed how his sister got into drugs as a young woman, and how he wanted to “pull a superhero off the pages of my comics to help her!” Hygena declared that the show had given her the strength to try to get pregnant again after a horrible late-term miscarriage. I missed Hyper Strike’s interview, but I’m sure it involved a horrible traffic accident in which his parents were killed and he had to wrap their bloody bodies in the pages of Action Comics #52 or some such shit.
  • In the end, it was The Defuser. And the twelve people still watching simultaneously said, oh yeah, the cop. Sure, that makes sense. Once this guy said, “I’ve dedicated my life to fighting crime as a police officer” I don’t think even Stan The Man could come up with a reason not to have him win it all. He’s a real hero, putting his life on the line--in a very real sense--to help the public. Even crazy ole’ Stan couldn’t ignore that.

So, it’s done. I’m sure casting for season three will be happening soon (if it’s not already happening). But I don’t think I’ll be auditioning.

Then again, I do have this cool idea about an intergalactic police force…




#217 In which our hero finally wraps up his story about a hectic week.

Finally, Mom’s birthday party.

My sisters and I started talking about this thing late last year. Mom is 75 this year, and if that isn’t a milestone, I don’t know what is. Three-quarters of a century. Holy shit.

We originally wanted to do a surprise party, a real surprise party, but it was quickly decided that it just wouldn’t work out. Not considering that we wanted to invite a ton of people. So we told Mom that we were going to have a family party, her, my sisters and I (plus our assorted spouses, children, and boyfriends). We told her we’d have it at the city party, at one of the picnic tables available for rent.

Meanwhile, we started the real planning. I rented the community center at the park (completely enclosed, air conditioned, attached kitchen) for the entire day… for a cost of $200. Which, compared to renting a hall at any medium to large city is laughable. But I didn’t exactly grow up in a booming metropolis. Matter of fact, my home town was downgraded from “city” to “village” with the last census.

Then I engaged into a secret alliance with a friend of Mom’s, and a former teacher of mine. I made a flyer with all the details (including the fact that it was a SURPRISE party, more on that in a moment) for her to distribute to… well, lots of people. Mom may be 75, but she hasn’t slowed down a bit. So we invited her garden club, and her golf league, and her bowling team; as well as everyone from the neighborhood and a few odds and ends of people that were just friendly with Mom.

Then my middle sister and I started thinking about food. Our initial thought was to have it catered. I asked my hometown spy for a recommendation, and she gave me the name and number of a woman in town who did a lot of catering. “She’s really, really good,” I was told.

I let my sister handle the details, since she’s done party planning stuff before and, honestly, I didn’t want to bother. I mean, the party would have been fine if it was hotdogs and potato salad (which was a serious consideration for a time) so I didn’t care. My kids will eat damn near anything, so I knew I didn’t have to worry about that. But, since the caterer was “really really good” I was hoping that we could put on an elegant, exciting meal for Mom.

And boy, was I ever wrong. My sister shared the menu options that the caterer sent her, and it was everything you’d expect at a free, all-you-can-eat buffet at a Motel 6. Baked ham. Roasted chicken. Potato salad. Jell-O salad. Chips. Soda. I mean, Jell-O salad? Come on!

I guess I was expecting something like the buffet we catered for my wedding. We had cucumber-armored smoked salmon, roasted fingering potatoes, hand-carved roast beef, petitfours in three flavors… it was very elegant and really tasty.

But, I tried to consider the environment… small town Ohio is vastly different from Cleveland (not that Cleveland is New York City or New Orleans, but you get my drift). We hoped Mom would be pleased.

And while middle sister was finalizing the details with the caterer (do you provide silverware, or do we have to bring that? How about flowers for the tables? Linens? Will you be there for clean-up? Etc, etc.) I had to buy Mom’s birthday present from all of us kids.

This is something that was discussed at length, too. What to get Mom? Seventy-five is a big deal, we need to get her something more than a gift certificate for Red Lobster. It was decided that we would get her a new washer and dryer.

Mom has a perfectly fine washer and dryer already… but they’re in the basement. And at 75, we’re thinking that Mom doesn’t need to go up and down those steps. Plus, it’s a big ‘ole set from when we kids (well, at least me) were still in the house, so it’s a lot bigger than what she needs now. So we decided to get her a stand-up stacked thingie. Y’know, like this:

There’s a little-used second bathroom upstairs, so we could stick it in there. Plus, there’s already plumbing.

I was going to compare costs and see what was available the week before Mom’s party. Then, I found out I was going to NYC for two days. This accelerated the process, so I basically did a little online browsing, then bought the cheapest one I could fine at h.h. greggs. Now that I wanted Mom to have a crappy appliance, but my surfing revealed that there’s not a lot of difference in stand-up models. Most places even had similar pricing. So I bought the thing, had it delivered on Thursday, and we presented it to Mom on Friday when everyone was up. She was very surprised, and liked it a great deal.

Anyway, back to the party.

So my sister starts getting RSVPs from people (again, she had experience with party planning and I couldn’t be bothered) and it looks like the party is going to be fairly big; about 50 people in the end. So that’s cool. Mom deserves a big to-do.

She also got a fair number of “sorry, can’t come, wish I could” sort of calls, including one from our uncle. Which would have been fine, except that our dumbass uncle also called Mom to say he couldn’t come.

Remember the “surprise” part of the party? Apparently our uncle did not.

I get a call from Mom, and she says that she just got a strange call from her brother. He called to say that he couldn’t make the party--he’s in Florida, so no real surprise there. Apparently the rest of the conversation went something like this:
DUMBASS UNCLE: I really felt moved to call to make sure you knew I wasn’t coming. Because when I get a formal invite to a party, I feel like I have to call if I’m not going to be there.
MOM: Oh, there were invitations?
DAU: Oh yeah! You kids did up these great invitations and mailed them out!
Sigh. Jesus, guy, didn’t I put “SHHH! It’s a SURPRISE party!” in a freakin’ starburst on the flyer? What’s unclear about that?

Mom tells me that not only did she hear this from her brother, but that she had also heard another person, someone who she would never expect to be invited, that “your invitation is on my refrigerator right now.” So Mom says that she thinks she “smells a rat.” I tell her that she shouldn’t look any further into it, and let it go.

Finally, Sunday comes and The Scientist, the girls and I drive down for the party. We go straight to the party center to help set up. Which is no big deal… a few balloons, a cake (which I got in Cleveland and brought with me), flowers for the table, the catered spread on a buffet table.

Finally I drive up to fetch Mom. We’ve really been downplaying things, telling Mom that we’re just grilling out at a picnic table, nothing fancy. For the most part, Mom seems to buy it. When I drive her down to the park I tell her that I left The Scientist and the girls at the playground, which is conveniently right next to the community center. “We’ll pick them up right quick then head over to the picnic tables,” I lie.

Once there, I ask Mom if it would be okay to stick my head into the community center, since I’ve never seen the inside since they renovated it (which was true up until the moment I arrived to start hanging balloons that morning). She says okay, we walk into the room and, ironically, as soon as she sees the caterer she knows what’s what.

There’s plenty of people, and more arrive as the day wears on. Mom is blissfully in her element: surrounded by people, all listening to her tell stories.

All in all, a good day. Everyone seemed to have fun, the food was… well, honestly, even more boring in person than it sounded on paper, but there’s plenty of it and everyone seems to agree that the caterer “always puts on a great spread.” People bring presents, which really surprised me. I didn’t mention anything about presents on the flyer, but at 75, I guess I just assumed people would know that Mom has pretty much all the stuff she’s ever going to need. But still, free loot, so that’s cool. My girls ate a ton of chips and cake, but it’s a party so I don’t care.

We discussed going back to the house to hang out a bit, but Mom dissuades us from this. “Eh, there’s so many damn people in my house already,” she says, “You’re better off avoiding at the ruckus. Just go home.”

So we do.

The girls sleep through most of the trip--including the part where we stopped to get ice cream. Are we bad parents because we were very careful not to wake them, so they wouldn’t ask for some? Yes, probably.

I was really glad we could do this for Mom. She seemed to have a great time.

And I told her that for her 90th birthday, we were going to do something really special.




#216 In which our hero continues his tale.

My madcap week, continued.


I returned from New York, then had guests on Friday. Here’s the thing… my sisters and I planned on throwing a surprise birthday party for Mom (more on that in a later post). We wanted it to be a real surprise, but that quickly proved unworkable because we kids live all over the place (I’m the nearest in Cleveland, my oldest sister is the farthest, living in Austria) and had to at least let Mom know that we were going to be there on a specific weekend so she wouldn’t plan anything else.

So, Mom’s house quickly filled up with my sisters and their husbands and their kids. About 20 people, all told. Now, Mom doesn’t have a big house, and there’s no way it was meant to hold that many people, especially when six of them are rambunctious kids. Anyway, my youngest sister (who’s still five years older than me--I’m the baby) wanted to drive up to see my house being that she hadn’t been here since we moved. There was talk about her driving up on her way back to Wisconsin, but I said, “Hey! Why doesn’t everyone just come up on Friday before the party?” I was thinking that it would give Mom a break, and all those kids could spend some time tearing up my house, instead of Mom’s.

Of course, what I hadn’t expected was that I would be in a different state for the preceding two days.

Anyway, The Scientist was a real champ and cleaned the house beforehand. Thanks, honey. Everyone descended on the house, I grilled a bunch of hotdogs and brats, and actually got to spend a little bit of time talking with my sisters. I was afraid that it would rain and we wouldn’t be able to get outside… but what actually happened was that it was 90 degrees and humid, so no-one went outside anyway. But, other than a few cupcake crumbs in the carpet, a good time was had by all.

Also, my in-laws were in town. They were actually there to attend Mom’s party (which was very nice of them, I thought) but while there, my father-in-law planned some yard work in the back; things that would hopefully help the flooding problem we have.

So, I have no problem with that. Matter of fact, he brought some tools that made my life a lot easier. In fact, there was only one problem with that Saturday morning, and it’s name was sangria.

The Scientist was discussing Friday’s party with a co-worker when this friendly co-worker says, “Hey, I have an extra box of wine. Would you like it for your party?” Naturally, The Scientist accepted because, y’know, free booze. But, friendly co-worker doesn’t just bring a box of wine, she makes it into sangria, so “it’ll stretch further.”

Wow. That’s a friendly co-worker.

Anyway, long story short, this fucking sangria kicks my ass. It tastes like Kool-Aid and goes down way too easy. Flash forward to 7 am the next day, when I hear my father-in-law running power tools in the back yard. Ugh.

I get dressed and stumble out there. The easier part of the work is already done by the time I get out there, all that’s left is digging the ditch.

Now, in all fairness, this wasn’t a huge job. And shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, except for the fact that my mouth is full of cotton and evil elves are trying to chisel their way out of my skull. But, I dug a ditch, shoveled dirt, moved dirt, and planted grass… all under the watchful eye of my father-in-law. Here’s hoping it helps with the drainage issues.

NEXT: More family! And lies I told to my mother!


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