Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, I've got my new computer (thanks, Dad!) and I am ready to "surf" the "Information Superhighway." Woo and hoo.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

By some time tomorrow evening, I should have ye olde internet available in my room.

The girls, my roommates Lauren and Julie, seem to be into doing things as a group. For now, it's still charming. Today we, along with Neutral Man, got free ice cream at Ben & Jerry's. On moral grounds, I will not pay for anything there, but I'm happy to eat all the free ice cream I can get my hands on.

Neutral Man and I watched X-Men this afternoon. I can't wait until Friday, even if X2: X-Men United is a stupid title.

Skeeter's flying back to Michigan tomorrow. I wish she had the money to stay in New York over the summer. She'd be happier there.

I think I've figured out how to deal with the Borg on Star Trek: Odyssey. More later.

I'm a little bit tired, but mostly it's just dehydration.

When I think about 1213, what I think about are the times I spent there with Lindsay. Sweet merciful crap, I'm so far from being over her it isn't even funny.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

I no longer live at 1213. I'm gone.

In the end, there was nothing to say; no false words of friendship, no melodramatic words of enmity, not even goodbye. I just left.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

And now I quote the 285th Rule of Acquisition, "No good deed goes unpunished." Neutral Man is the slowest mover ever. I would have been done hours ago, but no, I had to help my friend. I mean, he is my friend; so, I don't mind helping him. This is just taking forever and he moves in a very different way than I do. I haven't unpacked a single thing in my apartment.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Moving still goes well, but steadily I am being overcome by a feeling that time is running out. I don't like it. I can stop it as soon as I make a concerted effort. This sensation was amplified because today was Wednesday. Lately, my Wednesdays have seemed dreadfully short; I no longer even have time to sit down and while away the afternoon reading this week's haul of comic books. I'm through the looking glass; somebody tell the White Rabbit to shut up, he's making me nervous. There's plenty of time, especially since I'm only moving a few blocks.
Each individual task I've performed towards moving out has gone more smoothly than I'd anticipated. I'm glad, but at the same time, that seems a little weird. Maybe it's just an extended case of Mike Wilson Luck, or maybe I'm being suckered into a false sense of security, or maybe it's that in three years I haven't actually put any roots down in this urine-soaked hellhole (or "pee pee-soaked heckhole"). Note: this place isn't actually urine-soaked, I'm just quoting.

RETROACTIVELY MAKING STAR TREK: VOYAGER GOOD, Interlude
Some readers, okay, a reader, has expressed general dissatisfaction with the last name Janeway. Fair enough. Nothing has been decided, but the leading potential candidates are: Cross and McKenna. "This is Captain Elisabeth Cross/ Elisabeth McKenna of the Federation Starship Ulysses." Also, I still favor Tricia O'Neil to portray the good captain, but suggestions are welcome. Man, Star Trek: Odyssey rules!
Moving out is going more smoothly than anticipated; so, now I'm waiting for the bottom to drop out. This afternoon, I checked out my room for the summer. Brother, it is huge. Score. Email and my journal are suffering this week, but I don't think it can really be helped.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

RETROACTIVELY MAKING STAR TREK: VOYAGER GOOD, Part II
Now that I've set the stage for Star Trek: Odyssey, it's time to let the crew kick some ass.

The Big Picture, Part II
"Shit! Even in the future nothing works!" Words of wisdom from Spaceballs that will unfortunately dominate the lives of the brave men and women of the Ulysses. On Voyager, the ship was tossed halfway across the galaxy, heavily damaging the ship and killing a large contingent of the crew. (At least, I hope it killed a large contingent of the crew, because if the only casualties were, conveniently, the Executive Officer, the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Engineer, and the Conn Officer, then the writing was even worse than I already thought.) After a few episodes, though, everything was fixed and worked perfectly for the rest of the series. Jesucristo, people, Starfleet ships are robust, but an experience like that requires some serious time in Spacedock, not just a few replacement welds and some duct tape! After her battles with the Borg in "The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II," the Enterprise-D had to put into Earth Station McKinley for weeks of refit; the Ulysses's passage to the Delta Quadrant was even more traumatic.

The Ulysses requires major systemic work, the kind of work that can only be done in Spacedock. The problem being that the nearest Spacedock is back in the Federation, 70,000 light years away. So, in the aftermath of "Caretaker," Captain Janeway finds her ship in deep trouble: half her senior staff is dead, a quarter of her general crew with them; approximately twenty Maquis wildcards now on her ship, their leader her new XO; the ghoulish Vidiians are on their tail; and her ship all but crippled. Things don't really improve much after that. Even after the Maquis are integrated into the crew, the Ulysses is dreadfully shorthanded. As the series evolves, so will the ship. Alien parts will have to be used to repair damaged systems and even conduct routine maintenance. Both the exterior and the interior of the ship will reflect these changes. Eventually, I'd like to see one entire warp nacelle replaced, a new main deflector dish, and some manner of bad ass alien rail gun fitted to the bottom of the saucer section. The Voyager was always well stocked with everything it needed; the Ulysses is not quite so fortunate. She is classified as a scoutship, not an explorer. Her operational range is months, not years. Besides, the mission to locate Sovok and Torres's missing ship was not supposed to take more than a few weeks; so, the Ulysses isn't even as well prepared as she could have been. The crew will have to beg, barter, and steal everything they need. Borrowing a page from Greek myth, sometimes in order to secure the materials they need, the ship will have to perform some service for their supplier, be it carrying passengers, locating certain rare items, or protecting a convoy from pirates. It's not that Captain Janeway wants to do these things, but finding herself a universe away from everything she's ever known and responsible for the well-being of her crew, she doesn't have much choice. The voyage of the Ulysses is one conducted on a shoe-strong budget, not the normal bloated expedition of a noble Federation starship.

Also, everybody's going to get laid. In the seven-year run of Voyager, only two babies were born, and one of the mothers had been pregnant when the ship left port. Under normal cicumstances, Starfleet officers are normally reluctant to marry, not wanting to subject spouses and children to the uncertainty of life on a starship. However, they do this knowing they are still in touch with their family and friends off-ship, as well as having access to all the paradise worlds of the Federation. The crew of the Ulysses are on their own. For all they know, it will take at least seventy years to get home (we the audience of course know that they must get home before the series ends, but - shhhh! - they don't know that). For no other reason then sheer isolation and boredom, not to mention providing a replacement crew, people will start hooking up. Sure, maybe you don't find anybody on the ship all that attractive, but given that those 130 people are the only chance you have for any kind of love life, I think they'd start to look a whole lot better. Then of course there is the issue of pon farr, the Vulcan mating lust that all males experience once every seven years. Sure, Sovok's married, but when pon farr hits, he'll need a woman, any woman, and methinks his old friend Elisabeth will begin to look quite tasty, no matter how Platonic their friendship. Elisabeth and Benicio? I cannot say, we'd have to see how the actors played off one another. "Benny, Captain, my friends call me Benny."

Over the course of the journey, the crew will become nothing less than a family, with Captain Janeway and Commander Torres as dysfunctional mother and father figures. The crew on TNG and especially DS9 bonded. Those characters loved each other as only people who have faced death together can. The crew on Voyager were as stiff as boards from the first episode to the last. If anything, they had negative interpersonal chemistry. With only each other for companionship, though, alone in a sea of the unknown, the crew of the Ulysses will be thicker than thieves. Not that there would be a complete breakdown of Starfleet protocol, but I have a hard time imagining that after seven years they would still be calling each other "Lieutenant" and "Crewman." Harry won't call the captain Elisabeth in the middle of a crisis on the bridge, but neither will people be addressed by the impersonality of rank and last name (for example, Crewman Putterman). Try "Hey, you know Dave? The guy who works down in Deflector Control?" "Oh, yeah, what about him?" "Well, I heard that he and Jenny broke up. Nick, this is your chance to score with one of the Delany sisters!"

The Heavies
In many ways, heroes are only as good as their villains.

Seska
Very little change here, I thought Seska was one of the few things done well on Voyager. She is a Cardassian, but had been surgically altered to look Bajoran and assigned to inflitrate the Maquis. In doing so, she found herself on Torres's ship when it was sucked into the Delta Quadrant. More on her later.

Hunter Cole
He is the major adversary of Odyssey. Torres's first officer aboard the Maquis ship, he feels betrayed when his friend and former commander makes a deal with a hated Starfleet captain. Cole joined the Maquis not because he believes that the Federation has abandoned the colonies in the Demilitarized Zone, but because he is a man out of sync with his times. Hunter Cole is a mercenary at heart, a brutal killer in a time when humans have left their bloody, greedy heritage behind; he gets not a small thrill from killing. Cole is a monster, made all the more dangerous because he knows he is a monster.

The Vidiians
Essentially unaltered, the entire Vidiian race is suffering from a plague known as the Phage. The Phage kills slowly, taking the body organ by organ, driving the Vidiians to seek donors, willing or not, wherever they can be found. They raid and capture ships, seeking not treasure, but the organs of their prisoners. Quite the macabre enterprise.

The Kazon
The Kazon sucked. However, there is one facet of them I find fascinating: their former masters, the Trabe. The Kazon were once crushed under the boot of the Trabe, who encouraged tribal rivalries in order to make them easier to control. In time, however, the Kazon rose up against the Trabe and broke their power. Now the two races are at each other's throats. From everything we've seen, the Kazon are savages. In Odyssey, they force Trabe engineers to maintain their stolen Trabe technology in working order; thus, they are subject to frequent sabotage. The Trabe are no angels, and would gladly do the same to the Kazon. Think the Israelis and the Palestinians, only both sides are wrong and there is no Rabin.

More to Come
Next time, the major story arcs of seasons one and two. I haven't really worked it out beyond then.

Monday, April 21, 2003

RETROACTIVELYMAKING STAR TREK: VOYAGER GOOD
The weakest of all Star Treks was Star Trek: Voyager. There can be no doubt of this. The show was pathetic, top to bottom, beginning to end. Airing from 1995-2001, Voyager chronicled the trials and tribulations of Captain Kathryn Janeway and the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656, a Starfleet vessel marooned in the Delta Quadrant, some 70,000 light years from the Federation. Fundamentally, this is not a terrible concept. While placing the ship far away from the Federation and the known history of the Star Trek universe (Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, et al.) is inherently limiting, it does open up new possibilities to blaze new trails and explore new frontiers (to literally go where no one has gone before). The basic problem of Voyager was the piss-poor writing, which resulted in static, one-dimensional characters. So, in addition to retroactively sacking Jeri Taylor (the brain behind of the show, who was fired after the fourth season anyway - ha ha!), I have revamped or replaced all the major characters, as well as determined the major story arcs of the first two seasons.

The Big Picture
What kind of name for a starship is Voyager? You might as well call it the Explorer or the Journey (no Steve Perry jokes, please). All starships are voyagers, you chodes! What more dramatic voyage home from a far away land is there than The Odyssey? Thus, my show would be called Star Trek: Odyssey, a name that evokes the powerful symbolism upon which the show will draw. The ship could be named either the Odyssey (which would require renaming the Galaxy-class starship destroyed by the Jem'Hadar in the DS9 second season finale, "The Jem'Hadar") or the Ulysses, a name which, in this context, I prefer over the Odysseus. So, our ship shall be the U.S.S. Ulysses NCC-74656, a Nova-class scoutship.

Dramatis Personae
Captain Elisabeth Janeway, Commanding Officer - before the awful Kate Mulgrew was cast, the character had been named Elizabeth, not Kathryn, Janeway; thus, the name shall be restored. The single largest problem with Captain Janeway was Mulgrew's perfomance. Every single word that came out of her mouth was painful to hear and offensive to the mind. She was horrible beyond words. My nominee to play Captain E. Janeway is Tricia O'Neil, known to Star Trek: The Next Generation fans as Captain Rachel Garrett of the Enterprise-C. In many ways a Star Trek show is only as good as it's captain; so, this is the single most essential change.
Commander Benicio Torres, Executive Officer - Chakotay was a disaster, beginning to end; the only way to move forward to is to forget him completely. Benicio Torres had a sister in Starfleet who was killed in the Cardassian border wars and joined the Maquis as much to avenge her death as to defend the colonists in the Demilitarized Zone. He was the commander of the Maquis ship the Ulysses was pursuing when both were pulled out of the Badlands into the Delta Quadrant by the mysterious Caretaker. His ship irreparably damaged by the crossgalactic voyage, he accepted Captain Janeway's offer to merge his crew with hers and become her Executive Officer. Torres is an everyman who regrets allowing his life to become engulfed by thoughts of vengeance and violence; he doesn't particularly like the man he's become.
Lieutenant Commander Sovok, Chief of Security and Tactical Officer - the biggest problem with Lieutenant Tuvok is that he did not have an s-name. Tim Russ could be kept on, or another actor hired, it doesn't really matter. The problem with Tuvok is that he was underwritten, not underacted. As the crew resorts to begging, bartering, or stealing to survive, Sovok serves as the ship's conscience, both reminding his captain of the virtue of Federation ethics and the pragmatism of violating them when the situation demands. Like Tuvok, Sovok had served aboard Torres's Maquis ship as a mole.
Lieutenant K'rena Singh, Chief Engineer - B'Elanna Torres was as worthless as Chakotay; forget her. However, because the average Trekkie creams his shorts at the mere mention of the Klingons, here I will pander to my audience. (Personally, I find them simplistic as adversaries and not just a little boring.) Singh is a hapa, half-human/half-Klingon. Whereas B'Elanna was one-dimensional, her Klingon temper standing in for any actual character development, K'rena is a thoughtful, introspective young woman who has spent her whole life trying to be comfortable in her own skin. A Stafleet Academy dropout, K'rena joined the Maquis as a way to "stick it" to those who she hadn't liked at the Academy. The Benicio-K'rena relationship is an inversion of the Chakotay-B'Elanna dymanic; this time around, he's the hot-head and she's the consensus builder.
Lieutenant (j.g.) Nick Locarno, Conn Officer - I don't get Tom Paris, the helmsman on Voyager; he was a gifted pilot, like Locarno, a fuck-up, like Locarno, and was even played by Robert Duncan McNeill, the actor who also played Nick Locarno in "The First Duty" (TNG). So, basically, Tom Paris was a clone of Nick Locarno, played by the same actor as Nick Locarno. Why not just use Nick Locarno? After his expulsion from Starfleet Academy over the death of fellow cadet Joshua Albert, the former leader of Nova Squadron became a pilot-for-hire all over the Federation, eventually joining the Maquis in search of a life of high adventure. On his first mission, Locarno was captured by Starfleet and sentenced to a penal colony in New Zealand. Captain Janeway had him paroled to serve as a guide through the Badlands when she went in search of her friend Sovok, missing along with Torres's Maquis ship. Aboard the Ulysses, Nick finds himself after years of drifting and begins to live the life he would have had were it not for one botched Kolvoord Starburst....
Ensign Harry Kim, Operations Officer - same character, same actor, Kim is the newly minted, by-the-book ensign assigned to the ill-fated Ulysses right out of Starfleet Academy. Unlike the Harry of Voyager, the Harry of Odyssey will actually be more than just a stereotypical Asian obsessed with his grades and the opinions of his superiors. Harry is a stickler for procedure and is shocked by Captain Janeway's less-than-pure methods, but eventually he stops being such a narc and learns that sometimes the rules have to be bent in the name of survival. Whereas Sovok is a consumate pragmatist, Harry is a naive idealist, yet the two of them become close as champions of the moral high road. At the same time, Harry finds his best friend in the rogue Nick Locarno. In the end, Harry is a young man on the adventure of a lifetime.
Emergency Medical Hologram, Chief Medical Officer - the Ulysses's surgeon was killed in the passage to the Delta Quadrant; so, the crew has to fall back on the stopgap solution, the EMH. Unlike his counterpart, "the Doctor" will not embark upon a holographic civil rights movement; instead, he is an aloof and even antagonistic observer of human behavior. No too-convenient-plot-device mobile emitter for the Doctor, he will remain happily confined to Sickbay and the Holodeck. He is at all times grumpy and sarcastic, but with the Hippocratic Oath written into his basic programming, he is a dedicated healer. A gruff exterior, but a heart of gold. However, like DS9's Vic Fontaine, he knows he is a hologram and does not aspire to be regarded as a sentient lifeform.
"Captain" Neelix, Sacagawea - for all their explorers' spirit, the fine Federation folks of the Ulysses don't know jack about the Delta Quadrant. Ethan Phillips is a true thespian; so, he returns as the more aggressive, devil may care Neelix. The region of the Caretaker's array is remote and lawless, the Old West in deep space. Voyager's Neelix didn't seem like he would survive five minutes without his Federation friends; Odyssey's Neelix is a pirate, a man doing whatever it takes to get by in a very rough neighborhood. He knows the score: who to piss off, who to flatter, who's got what you need. He's not a bad guy, but he knows bad guys and he knows how to get by without getting killed. Ship's cook? Morale officer? Nuts to that. Neelix is a scrounger who gets things done. By the third or fourth season, though, the ship will be beyond the edge of his world and Neelix will become more a conventional part of the crew.
Kes, Neelix's Girlfriend - the most pointless character on Voyager, they got rid of her just when she was starting to get interesting. Kes, looking to make herself useful, will be the Doctor's eyes and ears outside of Sickbay, the ship's corpsman. Also, partially as a result of some horrific and unorthodox experimentation by the Vidiians (more later) and partially as an awakening of her people's latent abilities, she will pick up some pretty bitchin' mental powers. Due to her short lifespan, Kes has an intense thirst for life, a desire to do everything she can now now now! She's feisty.
Seven of Nine, Giant Lie - while the Ulysses will inevitably come into contact with the Borg, there won't be any of this deassimilated Borg crap. Fuck no. And, according to precedent set in "I, Borg" (TNG), her name should have been Seventh of Nine. Hugh was Third of Five, not Three of Five. Dumbasses.

More to Come
Man, this took for-fucking-ever. Coming up, "The Big Picture, Part II," "The Heavies" (including a unifying nemesis for Janeway and Torres) and synopses of the major arcs of seasons one and two. Star Trek: Odyssey, coming never to a TV near you.
My walls are bare. I look around and ask myself, Who the hell lives here? It's a very weird time. I'm going home tomorrow at get my new computer and borrow the van for next weekend. I've lived here for three full years, longer than I've lived anywhere else, except my home in Grand Blanc. Not for love or money will I move back in with my parents, but it is still my home; until I have a space which I share with the girl of my dreams, it will always be my home. 1213 was an important place in my life, but never home.

I taped Helen of Troy last night and tried to watch it this afternoon; however, I had to turn it off after an hour due to it's horrendous inaccuracy. The story of the Trojan War, primarily related to us through The Iliad, is perhaps the greatest story in human history. It does not need to be twisted and altered by a hack writer in the employ of USA Networks.

I've finished Where Is Joe Merchant? and am now taking a brief detour through the Bald Mountain's copy of Bruce Campbell's If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. Then, I hope to finish A Clockwork Orange, on loan from The Guy, and finally move on to Something Happened, Lindsay's recommendation. I hope I enjoy it more than the last book she gave me to read, Kissing in Manhatten. I greatly enjoyed one of the stories, "The Smoker," but could have largely done without the rest. More Watergirl flotsom from Joe Merchant: some more make-up packaging, several brightly colored feathers, and an unused ticket to see Barenaked Ladies at the Palace. Shame that.

Friday, April 18, 2003

The Flying Dutchman is gone. He left for home with the last of his stuff yesterday. He'll be back in town at the beginning of next week (both he and Neutral Man are working U of M orientation this summer), but I'm probably never going to live with him again. Much harder, though, will be when Neutral Man moves out next weekend.
I am an American sports fan. In many ways, I like to think of myself as unique and different, sometimes even strange, but in this area I am quite happy to be like most other people: I love sports. Sports is fantastic in all sorts of ways that real life just isn't. I cheer my team when they are winning and call into question the legitimacy of their parentage when they lose. I lose my temper and feel giddy with excitement and all sorts of other wonderful things. With the Red Wings sent home with their tails between their legs, I've got nothing left to cheer for. I retain an interest in who wins the Stanley Cup, but as long as it isn't Colorado I don't really have any emotional investment either way. I love sports, but there aren't any sports for me until late August, when college football season (the best four months of the year) kicks off. Son of a bitch. Regarding the Red Wings, I really truly do not know what happened, I don't even have any theories. All I know is, there's always next year.

What's Eating The Last Angry Man?
People who aren't blonde but think they are. Until puberty, I had blonde hair, and a part of me wishes I still did; so, I understand blonde envy. At the same time, I am well aware that I am not blonde. I hate people who think they're blonde when they aren't. The most recent example: last Saturday, moving equipment to the Animania screening, Q-Girl made a comment about blondes and understanding the blonde point of view, since she is one. It took every ounce of my self-control to not scream at the top of my lungs, "You aren't fucking blonde, you insidious moron! You are not blonde! Are you fucking delusional?!" My anger was not directed at Q-Girl because she is Q-Girl, but because of her claim of blondeness. For the record, by no conceivable trick of lighting could Q-Girl's brown hair be misconstrued as blonde. If you aren't blonde, please feel free to whine about it and wish you were, but don't claim to be something you aren't.

Yesterday, I began the process of removing the posters and decorations that line the walls of my room. This being a fairly melancholy process, I thought it very appropriate to listen to the melancholy ballads of Can't Stop the Love Sled, The Watergirl's album. The hardest part of yesterday's work was taking down my rock show and hockey tickets. So many unbelievably great memories....

In more Watergirl-related news, reading Where is Joe Merchant? is teaching me a lot about my friend. There are any number of Post-It notes, receipts, and remnants of make-up packaging stuffed throughout the book. Among them, a Post-It note with a name, address, and telephone number in Watertown, NY. (With my keen detective skills, I think I've got an inkling of who this might be.) DS9 once again hit the nail on the head when it called it's farewell episode "What You Leave Behind."

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Poo, A Mighty Wind isn't opening in Ann Arbor tomorrow. Nuts.

There is predicted to be a forty-five degree difference between today's (Tuesday) high temperature and Thursday's high. Man oh man, I love this state.

This is me, confidently predicting that the Red Wings will lose tomorrow, thus getting swept in the first round of the playoffs. Nonetheless, I will still be wearing my Yzerman jersey (complete with "Believe" patch) tomorrow. If being a life-long Lions fan has taught me one thing, it is how to stay loyal to a loser. Make no mistake, I sincerely want the Wings to pull off a victory and become only the third team to ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, but I do not believe it will happen. However, I really truly hope I'm wrong. Believe.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

To The Guy: keep your shirt on, or more appropriately for you, keep your pants on, I'll resume terrorizing the Forums soon.

Lindsay and some of her friends went to see The Ataris last night. From what I know of them, I can only imagine she dragged them to the show. Nevertheless, how come she gets to see The Ataris? She likes Matchbox 20, by Jove! I've never seen The Ataris live, damn it, and my musical taste is superior to everyone's. (I mean, I love Lindsay, but before she met me she only listened to truly crappy music: Matchbox 20, Aerosmith, Limp Bizkit, Bon Jovi, et al.)
Dead Wings
This is not defeatism on my part, friends, this is simple reality. The Red Wings are going to get knocked out of the marathon NHL playoffs in the very first round. And I don't think anybody, not even they themselves, know what is wrong. Cujo looks fine in net. Is it that Dave Lewis is like Bo Schembechler, he chokes in the post-season? They're playing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, for Pete's sake! The Mighty Ducks! The Disney team! They should be no match for the merciless, if geriatric, Detroit juggernaut! Yet the proud champions of Hockeytown are down three games to none following last night's defeat.

I say this every December about my beloved Lions, but I'm just not used to saying it about the Red Wings: there's always next year....

Monday, April 14, 2003

I started reading Warriors Don't Cry before bed last night and I'm more than halfway through it. With frequent breaks to goof around, it's all I've done today. My one true prejudice is against the South. I hate the people that live there and I am very suspicious of their claims to have put their racist past behind them. I have had almost no interaction with any southerners, yet my opinion persists. I just hate them. In my mind, the Confederate flag is the same as the swastika.

By the way, the full title is Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High.

To those who IMed me today: I'm sorry I forgot to log off or put up an away message. Oops. Sorry.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

I wore shorts and sandals today, specifically because it was just a little too cold to wear shorts and sandals. There's no sensation in the world I love the same way as feeling just a little bit cold. I single shiver fills my heart with joy. Work was virtually empty; so, I've almost finished my book, still The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern War. After that, I have to read Where is Joe Merchant?, on loan from The Watergirl, and Warriors Don't Cry, on loan from the Flying Dutchman; I don't know which I'll read first.

At the screening yesterday, a group of my fellow staffers, along with several of the regulars, were talking about books. My God, all these people read is genre fiction. And which genre, you ask? Fantasy. Crappy crap fantasy. Those poor bastards.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Another Animania Saturday, another Saturday given over to nothing else but the club. It's worse than normal, though. We just had elections and this is the first screening under the new officers. As a consequence, even fewer people are doing all the work than used to. El Presidente and his roomie Snarky are both leaving. Hey, fine, I'm leaving the club, too, so I can respect that, but while you're still a club member you should do your share of the work. I'm actively avoiding Q-Girl as best as I can; Bachelorette No. 3 is around, putting off a weird vibe. (She called me last Saturday. Why the fuck did she call me?) Gah, we've also got the worst crowd ever, a bigger collection of freaks and degenerates than I've ever seen, and I've been attending screenings for five years. It's just a very frustrating day. Only three or four more to go, though, ever.

I've successfully called Lindsay the past two Thursdays and has two lovely conversations. However, something's up. I can't at all put my finger on it, but something's definitely up.

I've decided on this year's Halloween costume: the Golden Age Sandman. Also, Neutral Man and I figured out a maxim to live by: "If you go for Halloween as either the Golden Age Sandman or Jack Knight Starman and a girl knows who you're dressed as, marry her." (This is a modification of a BBC America ad for Monty Python's Flying Circus. "If your girlfriend laughs at this, marry her.")

Friday, April 11, 2003

Fat Squirrels There's a new series of car commercials, I believe for Volkswagon, about people having random conversations since their VWs are so easy to drive they no longer have to think about it. In one, two girls are talking about how they've never seen a fat squirrel. Come to Ann Arbor, baby! We've got some squirrles so fat they can barely walk and certainly couldn't scurry up a tree even if their lived depended on it. We need to put up a sign on M14 by the Main Street exit: "Ann Arbor - Home of the Obese Squirrel!"

Sorry I've been blogging so infrequently, but we've been having problems with the house's cable modem. And instead of walking up to campus just to blog, I've been sitting on the porch reading.

Two weeks until I have to move. Wild.

Yesterday was a bad day in hockey. Michigan was knocked out of the NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament by Minnesota, 3-2 in overtime, and the Red Wings lost game 1 of their series against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, 2-1 in triple overtime. Fudgenits!

It's a lucky thing for me that Lent is almost over, because I'm really jonesing for a pizza. And meat on Fridays. Meatless Fridays are hands down the worst part of Lent. If that doesn't get me into Heaven, man, I'm going to feel jipped.

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Under penalty of death, I have decided to forego trying to grow a mustache. "If you go to a mustache, I'm going to go into your room while you are sleeping and kill you."

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

On War "We come not with Caesar's legions, but with the arsenal of freedom." - me, yesterday. I said it off the cuff while we were watching ABC's Nightline Special last night, but the Flying Dutchman really liked it. "Where's that from?" "Uh, nowhere, I just said it."

M I K E is back, baby. Plus, I'm thinking about growing a mustache. I know it would look like shit; in fact, I think that's why I want to grow it.

Monday, April 7, 2003

New Idea! My new working theory is that the Democratic Party has six communal brain cells. Every politician, campaign strategist, spin doctor, worker bee, and voter has to share these six overtaxed brain cells. I mean, it's really quite impressive that the Democrats can do the things they do with such scarce resources. This theory was spawned by the realization that the Grand Old Party controls the White House and both houses of Congress. How in the Sam Hill does that happen? Make no mistake, I call myself a Republican, but I just can't understand how we have a monopoly on the elected branches of the national government. Folks, we are not the majority party. We have not been the majority party for quite some time, especially since the conservative coup d'etat spearheaded by President Reagan. So, how do we keep winning elections? (Regardless of your feelings about President Bush's election in 2000, we hold Capitol Hill fair and square.) My current theory: Democratic ineptitude and disorganization, symptoms of outright stupidity. If the Democrats can figure out where they misplaced their brains, man, we are in trouble. Until then, though, I leave you with the following. We may be lead by the Shrub, but which is worse: to be the guys lead by the Shrub or the guys who lose to the guys lead by the Shrub?
Empire City Notes Dr. Phantom has been successfully renamed Dr. Infernal. My inspiration was the "Infernal Devices" storyline from Starman. Now the stage is clear for the birth of The Phantom, though I'm currently bereft of ideas. In Astropolis, Leo Rex has been given a new nom de guerre, The Leopard. Meanwhile, the original Leopard has been renamed The Puma; The Nightwatchman has been renamed The Nighthawk (a highly overused name, I agree, but it appeals to the character's penchant for melodrama); Achilles, last survivor of the teenaged trio the Comets, has been renamed The Meteor; and I may rename The Futurist's superteam the Pantheon, rather than the current name, the Hyperion Guard. (One has a good deal of time to oneself during a four hour Sunday afternoon lifeguarding shift.)

On War Wow, sarin gas. That's nasty. If the initial reports are confirmed, President Chirac, Chancellor Schroeder, and Dr. Blix may wish to reconsider their faith in the righteousnes of America's and Britain's convictions. (That's the nice version.) Honestly, to this point I've been very impressed with Secretary-General Annan; I would have thought he'd protest more vigorously. I guess it's true, though, you don't tug on Superman's cape.

Young Heroes in Love This weekend, I reread the few issues I own of The Star-Spangled Kid's short-lived series, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Plus, I (again) flipped through Virtue and Vice. More than ever, I want Courtney Whitmore (The Star-Spangled Kid) and Billy Batson (Captain Marvel) to not just end up together, but to get together soon. Sure, Marvel may look like an adult, but inside he's still 16 year-old Billy "goody-two-shoes orphan/boy reporter from Fawcett City" Batson. And Courtney? Well, I'll quote Jack Knight (Starman), "You... you're 24 karats, baby. As bright as the sun." To JSA writers David Goyer and Geoff Johns, come on, guys, let true love win out just this once.

The Weekenders I did nothing this weekend and it was everything I knew it could be. The Mountain and I went to see Phone Booth, and afterward we dined at Big Boy. Our waitress teased me about my tattoo. "What are you going to tell your grandkids?" Honestly, I don't understand this question. The underlying assumption seems to be that I will be just like the questioner's grandparents. But, I won't. It would be one thing if a skull-and-crossbones tattoo were to suddenly appear on one of my grandmothers, or, while they were alive, on one of my grandfathers, but that won't be the case here. My grandkids will never have known me when I didn't have a skull-and-crossbones on my left forearm; so, why should it seem out of place to them? It will be as natural a part of me to them as Grandpa Little's, may he rest in peace, baldness was to me.

Friday, April 4, 2003

Chicks rock! The last two days, I've listening to nothing but Dance Hall Crashers and The Eyeliners. Fuck The Donnas, The Eyeliners are America's best all-girl punk band (three sisters from Albuquerque: Laura on drums and vocals, Gel on guitar, and Lisa on bass. Hmmm, Lisa...).

No Gilbert and Sullivan for me. The Pirates of Penzance is sold out for the whole freakin' weekend. Neutral Man and the Flying Dutchman are both home for the weekend, the Mountain's busy, and *pout* now no Pirate King for me. What the hell am I going to do tonight?
Do you think the parents of supervillains are proud of their children? I mean, even if he's a murderer and madman, he's still your kid. A possible exerpt from The Empire Times:

"When asked about his son's recent attempt to blow up City Hall and subsequent skirmish with the mystery man 'The Cloak', Mr. Van der Zwaag said, 'Proud? Of course I'm proud of my boy. He does battle with superpowered mystery men and yet eludes capture every time! And just who do these square-jawed Adonises think they are, anyway? They aren't the police, yet they feel free to pass judgment on all of us mere mortals. If you ask me, somebody should take these vigilante so-and-sos down a peg and I reckon my boy Kermit is just the man for the job!' When asked about the civilians killed in the foiling of his son's attack, he said, "Omelets are made from eggs, sonny, they don't happen out of thin air.' Kermit Van der Zwaag, alias 'The Anarchist', is still loose and police say he is considered armed and extremely dangerous. Residents are urged to call 9-1-1 immediately if they spot The Anarchist."

Obvious in the passage above is my preference for the term "mystery men" over the more popular "superheroes." Also, I prefer "madmen" over "supervillains." Mystery men and madmen, oh what a world it would be.

I've been trying to rename an archvillain, currently called Dr. Phantom, but so far without success. His name doesn't mean anything, the man doesn't possess any phasing or illusionary superpowers, he's just a run-of-the-mill mad scientist. I very much like the sound of "Dr. Phantom," but I think the world of Empire City would be better severed were he renamed, thus enabling me to create The Phantom, though be he madman or saint I do not yet know.

Do take care to make sure Kermit Van der Zwaag of Empire City, a.k.a. The Anarchist, is not to be confused with Tobias Van Der Haas of Aero City, a.k.a. Doktor Fantazmo.

Thursday, April 3, 2003

"I am First Omet'iklan and I am dead. From this moment on, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This we do gladly, for we are Jem'Hadar. Remember, victory is life."

"Victory is life."
The French Connection, Part II
Now that I've defended the French, it is time to belittle those cheese-eating surrender monkeys (thank you, Groundskeeper Willy). The Constitution of the United States has endured uninterrupted since 1788. Since 1789, France has been governed by five separate Republics, two Empires, two Communes, the collaborative Vichy government, and the briefly restored Bourbon autocracy. The longest lasting, most stable government they're had in the last two hundred fourteen years was the Third Republic (1871-1940), which was founded in the ashes of the defeat of Napoleon III's Second Empire in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and the anarchy of the Paris Commune of 1871 and met its demise at the hands of the Nazi blitzkrieg in June 1940. (Anyone noticing a pattern?) In short, the French are only slightly better at self-government than the Russians, and there is hardly a greater insult.

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

I got up at five this morning to go guard the ROTC kids as they tried to swim in their BDUs while carrying rubber mock-M-16s. As always, it was an exercise in absurdity, but fun nevertheless. For at least a couple hours at a time, the Army kids are a hoot. Also, I've discovered that I like Army girls, at least the kind who are trying to become officers. Now all I have to do is figure out how to bag me one.

The French Connection
Before I begin, it should be noted that I have been a vehement French-taunter for years. Long before the current animosity began, I took particular glee in mocking the sons and daughters of Gaul. (For confirmation, just ask the Bald Mountain.) That said, let me add this: hey, jerks, let's give the French a break! There are many, many things not to like about France (it's full of Frenchmen, it's not part of NATO*, Vichy... lousy collaborators), but at the end of the day France and America always have been and always will be friends. After the United States and Great Britain, France is the world's third oldest democracy. France has produced some of the world's greatest artists. How best to explain this? France is a lot like me; France and Mike Wilson are frighteningly similar. As all my friends can attest, I'm capable of being a real bastard. I can be moody and condescending. Sometimes I purposefully pick fights. Why? Because I like to fight. Often, I am needlessly insulting. The French are the same way. Yet despite my flaws, I still have friends who really care about me, even if they can't articulate why exactly. The same thing with France. The French can infuriating friends, but they are still our friends.

*There are two halves to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), civil and military. NATO has always been a primarily military alliance, what with the threat of Soviet hegemonic intentions and all, but the civil half is still important. (Then-Secretary General Javier Solana [of Spain] was instrumental in NATO's intervention in Kosovo. The current Secretary General is Britain's Lord Robertson.) In the mid-1960s, French President and living caricature Charles de Gaulle withdrew the French Republic from the military half of NATO, though to this day the country continues to participate in the parallel civil administration.

Also, if you order "freedom fries" in my presence, I will not guarantee the continued safety of your person. I love my country with all my heart, but there are times I really wish we could act with just a tiny bit of class.

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Nothing personal, Watergirl, but Levi's ads suck. The only association badgers have with courderoy is eating the kind of bottomfeeders who wear that crap. The only cool courderoy was Jon Britton's courderoy suit at the Homecoming Dance junior year. Man, that thing ruled! That suit was badgerrific. (See, I can use it in a sentence!)

Most people are idiots. In fact, according to the first, second, and fifth Basic Rules of Life, "Most people are fucking morons." This includes, sadly, most members of the blogging community. The blogs I read are the generally non-moronic exceptions, with occasional flashes of reverse brilliance. Sadly, though, all I have to do is follow the links from my favorite blogs to find the real depths of human idiocy (I mean human idiocy beyond the election of Jimmy Carter). The lesson here is that the friends of my friends are fucking stupid. The basic premise of six degress of Kevin Bacon is that everyone on Earth can be connected to everyone else through, at most, six acquaintances. I've got a new game: two degress of John Travolta. Each of us is only two people away from someone as fucking stupid as John Travolta.

Man, without the badgers I'd lose all hope. Nar nar nar nar.