Montag, 31. Mai 2010

Some Memorial Day reading

It’s Memorial Day in the United States, the day when we particularly pay respect to those who have given their lives in military service to our country. I’ve never served myself, but my grandfather was a medic and my uncle is also a vet, plus I’ve got several friends and acquaintances still in the military today. Like so many, I’m eternally grateful for what they do to preserve our safety and way of life and try to display my appreciation every chance I get.

Speaking of doing just that, a Memorial Day reading list of comics that honor or highlight military service is a pretty paltry offering in the grand scheme, but hey, you stick with what you know.

(Speaking of what I don’t know, I’ve never gone back and familiarized myself with the war comics of yore, but if anybody feels like recommending some in the comments section, I’d be curious to know which ones were the cream of the crop in your mind)

I tend to think of the origin of Steve Rogers, the original and iconic Captain America, as being the best and most quintessential story about what it means to serve your country and possess that drive to be a part of something more than yourself (and again, I myself have never been in the military, so please take statements I make like that one with your preferred helping of salt). It’s a tale of a young man possessing inadequate physical capabilities to be a hero, but a relentless heart and spirit that would not quit and propelled him all the way to being not only America’s greatest symbol for liberty, but the most inspirational hero within the Marvel Universe. Though it’s a story that has been told many times by many great creative teams over the past seven decades, I don’t believe any two folks captured the majesty of Cap’s humble beginnings better than the quintessential team of Roger Stern and John Byrne in this special 40th anniversary issue.

In 1999 as DC prepared to re-launch the Justice Society franchise with JSA, they tested the waters first with the “Justice Society Returns!” event, set in the Golden Age and showcasing the old school heroes in a series of one-shots bookended by two chapters. It was a pretty awesome and underrated little event that I need to get more in-depth into another time, but the gist was that a bunch of Nazis during World War II use Doctor Occult to summon a mystical baddie named Stalker who the JSA battles in Washington DC, but then he splits his power all over the globe, leading the team to pair off in classic fashion to go after the bad guys. Some of the one-shots were of a higher quality than others, of course, but I include it here because among my favorite chapters were those set in the theater of war with the military playing a strong supporting role, in particular National Comics #1 where Mark Waid and Aaron Lopresti place The Flash and Mister Terrific behind enemy lines as well as Smash Comics #1 where Doctor Mid-Nite tries to put up with Hourman against a similar backdrop in a story by Tom Peyer and Steve Sadowski.

Another oft-overlooked gem (yeah, I should get to this one too), it’s a mix of straight-up action with some spiritual overtones and pretty heavy metaphysical questions as a crew of WWII grunts end up with an angel in their ranks and get propelled into a quest to protect a heavenly artifact from falling into demonic hands who happen to have allied from the Nazis. On the one hand, it’s not exactly light reading from writer Peter Tomasi as I alluded to above, but on the other, the themes of brotherhood, commitment, and why soldiers do what they do are really the driving stuff behind this story; the angels and the flaming swords and the unkillable Nazis are just window dressing. This really is a story about the willpower of the human spirit, particularly in those who serve in the military, with jaw-dropping art by Peter Snejbjerg lighting the way.

A still-recent story that we’ll have to see whether or not it stands the test of time, but I was genuinely moved by Marc Guggenheim and Barry Kitson’s account of Peter Parker’s tormentor-turned-friend Flash Thompson’s time in Iraq and I don’t think there’s much question he’s perhaps a more interesting character now than he has been in years as a result of this story and the glimpses that have followed. In part it’s a story about how Spider-Man inspired Flash to try and be a hero, but really it’s more about how that heroic drive resides in normal people who can’t fly or lift cars, and how they exist in the real world. I’ve heard and seen praise of this issue by actual military folks and their families, which of course is a far greater stamp of approval than I could ever give it.

Happy Memorial Day and to those men and women serving my country, thank you so much for what you do.

Blake R. Sims covers 1963 3

Original cover by Rick Veitch; Image 1993. Blake R. Sims's website is here.

Samstag, 29. Mai 2010

Heroes Con

Next weekend I (with the lovely Georgene) will be at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. I understand that I will be sharing 2 tables with Sammy Harkham and John Pham. I'll be bringing some of my comics, original art, wood postcards, and a print of my Ducks cover (above). Fellow Mome artist Noah Van Sciver will also be there and Dustin Harbin is the organizer of Indie Island at the convention. Any other Covered artists going to be there? Any followers of the blog? Feel free to find my table and say hello.

*UPDATE* Since Rusty Shackles and Ryan Dunlavey mentioned in the comments section that they were bringing prints of a cover that they have done for the site, I posted them above. Anyone else bringing prints of covers that have been posted here?

Freitag, 28. Mai 2010

Linko! XLVI

* So Kevin joined the blog this week...or is joining I guess (post some shit, bro!). While Ben's introduction was lovely as usual, I thought I'd point out that K-Smooth has been a busy bee of late elsewhere including where he took over my old Tuesday Q&A gig and at CBR. To help acclimate you to the finer points of his style, here are three links from each site that you might want to check out:

On the Marvel side, we've got a really nice Jonathan Hickman Q&A about S.H.I.E.L.D. (by the by, it feels like I've been waiting forever for issue #2), a sufficiently goofy Q&A where Dan Slott dodges Kevin's most ardent attempts to pry info on Amazing Spider-Man #600 (it was Aunt May that got hitched!) and one of a series of profiles of the upcoming Young Allies team with Sean McKeever, this one on Firestar (who I always liked as a kid).

On the CBR side, don't miss Matt Sturges on JSA All-Stars, an engaging report on the C2E2 panel that for some reason paired Mark Waid with Jeff Smith and a Francis Manapul Flash interview that you'd never be able to tell was conducted by Kevin last minute on my couch with me standing over him going "Oh, and ask him about Geoff Johns' big plans" in crappy fake sign language.

* And this isn't a link, but with Kevin joining, it's really apparent that I'm the only dude on the blog who's not looking like a total goof in his photo on purpose. Best comment suggestion for what my photo should be instead wins one back issue I find in my apartment, free shipping included.

* The one link you should all TOTALLY click on this week: apparently some Sirius radio show did a tribute to Alex Chilton this week featuring the insanely satisfying Sondre Lerche and perhaps my favorite power pop frontman of the past 20 years, John Davis of Superdrag. It replays on the Sirius site Sunday evening and Monday evening. I know I'll be listening.

* It's Memorial Day this weekend. Fortunately for me at least, I don't have any close relatives who had to give their lives for this country, but I do have two vets that are very close to me: my brother and my grandfather. The former is blogging about the latter at One Pilot's War. It's mostly a transcription of grandpa's love letters to grandma during WW2 with some other info thrown in.

* Speaking of my family, I spent last weekend checking out Robots Need Love Too, a robot-themed art show featuring my homeboy for life Tony Purcell. I'm going to try and get some photos loaded up from that in the next few days, but in the meantime you should not hesitate to bookmark Tony's new art blog where he'll be posting works like the full pitbull painting you see at the right.

* OK, back to comic book nerd shit. All praise to Tom Spurgeon for pointing me in the direction of this post on forgotten Captain Marvel ripoffs both because it was awesome and because it introduced me to Charlton Vs. MLJ, which is a blog about exactly what it sounds like which for me is total nerd porn.

* Speaking of MLJ/Might Crusaders posts pointed out by Spurge, this post highlighting the original appearance of the Fox made me laugh out loud for real. I'd show you, but I don't want to take hits from Booksteve, so click through, huh?

* This bummed me out for some reason I can't explain because it's not like I ever watched him on TV, you know?

* Comic book homework Link: Reading the first issue of Secret Avengers this week, I realized I had no idea what the Serpent Crown actually was. Thanks, Wikipedia!

* Bryan Lee O'Malley Tweeted this pretty complete list of Scott Pilgrim video game references. It's thorough, for sure.

* Finally, Jim McCann introduced me to "Premakes" which I'm sure are pretty fun across the board, but the following "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Ghost Busters" ones stood out in particular:

Andrew Hahn covers Unknown Soldier 223

Original cover by Joe Kubert; DC 1979. Andrew Hahn's website is here.

a helix Intertwined: can't you hear?


There is always the darkness, and it co-exists with the rest. A torch song: it is not despite the pain it exists, it is due to the pain, awoken in suffering, that meaning is grasped.

I remember this moment, that night when among 400 million people one woman's torch passions for another woman rang out, first among all. She sang for me, for so many of us. Soon, time for me to sing again. Some candles are meant for burning.

Donnerstag, 27. Mai 2010

Lynn Phegley Watches "Lost" - "Dumb Ending"

My mom's name is Lynn Phegley. She teaches music to elementary school kids in Grand Blanc, Michigan. She likes classic Hollywood musicals, trashy romance novels and "Sex In The City."

And for some reason she's seen damn near every episode of "Lost."

This week, our ongoing "discussion" comes to an end, and as one of several texts mom sent me during the finale declared it simply "dumb ending" (another said "I think it's Atlantis"), I bet you can guess what she thought. Though in a way, mother was strangely vindicated with the whole parallel reality thing.

Thanks one last time to this site for the screencaps.

Let's begin.


"I don't know what to think about 'Lost.' They're just going to kill everyone off until they solve their story. That's not a very good ending. 'Let's kill everyone off so Jack can guard the light!' Whatever that is. And I told you there is no such thing as a parallel universe! That's the problem with it. This is just someone's dream or nightmare. I don't know what. The whole thing is a nightmare!

"There was nothing really shocking this week except those idiots going into the closet. That was stupid! I thought there was a tunnel in there they were getting to. And Ben is just goes 'I've been waiting for you...blah blah blah...they're in my closet.' He's like a zombie."

[Me: "Well, he's been through a lot."]

"[Laughs] You're making excuses! He has no motivation. He's just a follower. A zombie. He's devoid of emotion."

[Me: "What about in the parallel reality where the French woman told him he was the only father Alex ever had and then he teared up? What was that?"]

"That was a weirdo-ism. It wouldn't be anything if you didn't know about the island, so that was nothing-ness. There's no connection. That's just to throw you off course. This reality has nothing to do with the island. They're not really trying to tell a story. What they're really trying to sell a TV show and keep everyone hooked. If there was a real ending, they'd have lost their audience long ago.

[Me: "That's unfair. If they were just out for money, they'd have run it over eight years right into the ground."]

"No. I think when they decided to only do so many seasons, they said, 'Let's make it as twisted as possible so that we can throw everybody off.'"

"With Jack, it was like Indiana Jones. You drink out of the goblet and you're all-knowing. And what happened to those temple people? They all got scattered! That's another weird thing. Maybe they killed them all off, though. But where'd Locke's people go. He must've smoked 'em. He smoked 'em!"

"I don't think anyone's going to live happily ever after. Here's my thing: they kill the Smoke Monster, and then they fix up the yellow houses. Then they have to get rid of Ben.

"And with Kate, they might as well kill her off so she can rest in peace. Maybe on Hurley will have a happy ending. And you think Sawyer and Juliet will meet in the parallel reality? That would be stupid!"

[Me: "What if they get to the end and Desmond gets them all together and goes, 'You've got to realize that none of this is real'? Would that make you happy?"]



"Well, they were in Purgatory all along! Purgatory is limbo where you wait to get to heaven, and that's where they were. They didn't even know enough to wait."

"And I told you Jack didn't have a son! That was a stupid ending. And what was with that woman who was what's his name's mother? She knew where Desmond was going. Desmond was like that one character in...what's the movie about the angel in the body of the football player?"

[Me: "Warren Beatty. 'Heaven Can Wait.'"]

"Right! Desmond was like in 'Heaven Can Wait.' She wants to know if he'll take the son with him, and he says, 'Not tonight.' Do you think Ben knew they were in Purgatory? I don't think he knew. None of them were in the church. I think he's still living somewhere.

"They did have some snappy dialogue in there. There were like three lines that were unbelievably dumb. 'I've got a bad feeling about this.'"

"It was kind of predictable in a way. Even I predicted that Hurley was the all-knowing one. But Ben must have still been alive because he didn't go in. I think they all died and waited for Jack, and he died last. They just didn't age in heaven."

[Me: "I don't think so. I think the people on the plane made it out, and over the years the moment they each died was the moment before they woke up on that plane that landed."]

"I don't think so. In fact, I don't even know what you just said. Well, whatever. It was like a big love story at the end. All the couples got back together, which was weird too. They reached far for an ending. The whole thing was far-fetched! The good stories are about emotion."

[Me: "This story was brimming with emotion!"]

"That's what kept it from being dullsville."

[Me: "But that's the one thing you liked. And the fans online have been saying 'We want to know about Walt! We want answers!' But the creators said, 'People don't care about all that. They care about the characters.' So in the end, you were the winner, not the nerds."]

"Oh yeah, I feel like I'm a winner." [Sarcasm watch!]

"They dragged it out. It could have been two hours. And the worst commercial was the one for Target with the smoke detector. Did you see that? That was stupid."

"I feel disappointed. It was anti-climactic I guess I would say. When they were in that church, they should have had a ceremony or whatever. They should have walked through that door and came out on The Island in its restored splendor. That church should have been on The Island, and Hugo had built it. That's what was wrong with that. They should have said, 'Come on, Jack' and gone out the door to the little yellow houses where the water always runs. [Laughs]"

Julia Gfrörer covers Blade of the Immortal 18

Original cover by Hiroaki Samura; 1998 Dark Horse. Julia Gfrörer's website is here and you can purchase her original here.


In February of 2007, a ray of sunshine entered my, Kiel and Rickey's collective life (yes, even then we were sharing some bizarre amalgam existence like we do on Twitter) when Kevin Mahadeo began interning at Wizard.

Seriously, for us kinda-jaded comics industry "vets," Kevin was like a breath of fresh air; a person who genuinely loved comics and reminded us why we did too. The kid took to every task assigned to him with enthusiasm and vigor, going on seemingly non-stop about why Superman was so cool or how excited he was the new issue of Captain America.

Yeah, of course we had to put Kev through the school of hard knocks, nicknaming him "Tyler" and then calling him that whenever he screwed up (he can explain that one better) and I may have given him one or 30 tasks under the guise of "breaking him down to build him back up," but it must have worked, because he developed into a fine writer and a real credit to our biz. Kevin has been working with me over on at least a year or so now and continues to be both one of my favorite folks to work with and a guy who constantly works to up his game. Creators love him and so do we.

So it's with great pleasure that for the first time since we started this crazy gig, me, Rickey and Kiel welcome a new Cool Kid to the Table as Kevin Mahadeo joins our ranks. Can't wait to read his first post coming soon! Welcome aboard, Kev!

(Also, Kevin dressed up as Harry Potter one day back in '07. Not because it was Halloween or anything, just cos. Gotta love that. Here, he appears to be a cat.)

And then there was today. Little things to AB's, like speech.

Linda spent two days and I spent a day getting ready to put the air conditioner in. It is defective, in that it produces a headache splitting whine and when the cool kicks in, the concentrator has a low hum stronger than the bass from a car. It literally knocks me immobile. I had felt before the pain of thyroid from Bass but nothing like this. Linda sat down for the first time today to rest at 11:00 pm.

I had gone to the video store, which took two hours of prep, and with going and coming, I did not return for another two hours. They had taken the DVD’s I wanted to return and charged me them, cleaning out my account savings. One eyelid was shut and the face slid down from the TIA I had experienced on the way back. At home, the pharmacy had lost our prescription and so as quickly as I could in my condition, we tried to go to our walk in clinic to replace them, as they would only accept the prescriptions today.

The walk in clinic, though not closed would not accept new patients. We tried another. After waiting, a doctor asked me about the medication. I had a great difficulty speaking, and to ‘How many pills?” it was “f…f…f..f…f..f.fffffffffoour!” Dosage? “Ffff..fff..f.f..fff..fff..ff….ffffff………….ffive milligrams.”

“What that four or five you want?” The doctor asked with a smile.

“Ffff.ff.f…f..f.f….f..f..f.f.four at ffff.f..fff..fff…f..f..f.f…f..f…f..ff.fffifvve

He didn’t even wait for me to finish, when with a slight chuckle, “How many was that, four a day or five?”

“Ffff….ffff…f..f..f…f.f.f..f..” My face was red and I felt like crying. He had seen me before, knows that I have a speech affected neurodegerative disease. Does he amuse himself this way? “ff…..f…four at ff……..f…f…f…f.f..f…f.ff.ive milligrams.” I said and he finally wrote it down.

Is this what Lene meant in that I did not learn how to be subservient enough? To be thankful, and meek. Or was turning speech or neurological disorders into the same game played by second to fifth grade bullies somehow acceptable if done by doctors? I was not thankful. I had humiliated myself because Linda was laid off and I could save money from a prescription lost by the pharmacy…only if I filled it today.

Linda laid me at home, angry, exhausted, nine hours into autonomic failure and difficulty speaking.

When I woke, I went to watch the overnight rental I had hired from Pic-a-Flic. It wasn’t there. Because they had incorrectly checked out movies onto my account, so goes the word of the guy on the phone from the person he was speaking to, ALL the films had to be returned and re-checked out. Linda was out doing some editing subcontract. She returned home at 11:00.

Tomorrow we start to re-replace the air conditioner. And hopefully take this one back. I did not sleep, or rest because the doctor’s records had one number, the pharmacy another, so hours lost there. The four hours, not to rent a disc, so much as exercise the one thing I do not have right now: consistency or control. The days of six hours emails and work, then sleep, blog, watch some DVD and rest Linda says haven’t happened for a week, to have two or three in a row, not for weeks and weeks. My body leaps awake in the night every two hours, three hours, not knowing if this is a nap or sleep. I cannot, with three meetings, emergencies, a day, ever rest. Linda, thinking we hit the finish line, and now we both start again plays maj-jong before bed.

The DVD is called the ‘Sleep Dealers’, it won many awards in Mexico about a future where connected by nano fibres, the US gets all the work it needs from Mexico but none of the people. The workers, like all commodities, and used and sold until dead. This is not a future for the living, as each shift steals the energy of another person, until they are used up. Four hours to get a DVD, not here to play when awake at 9:00 pm because I was told to return it….in order to have it again, but I could not return it today….if I wanted them to keep the money they admit taking incorrectly. “the computer” – yes, the computer can’t be altered, can’t be changed, and the people working proudly announce their drone status.

I used to ask people who pulled the ‘nothing I can do, though I screwed up, the computer you know….’, “Aren’t you kind of ashamed, openly admitting like that?”

They would look at me in puzzlement.

“You just announced to me and everyone that a machine built by humans with only 10 keys, is telling you, with billions of neural connections what you are mentally capable of. That would make me ashamed.” I would say that now, except a couple million of my neural connections related to speech seem damaged.

I have to go now, tomorrow I pack what I packed two days ago, to take apart the desk again. Then I will go boxing.

‘Whims’: DVD’s and manga. I think maybe people think that all I do is follow my whims and desires: DVD’s and Manga. And I want others to follow them too.

It is funny because most emails I got, “Bummer you tried to hang yourself, nothing much happening, watched some XXXXXXX”, indeed most/all communications which ever talk about a flu, or a cold or time off include sleep and watching something. Okay, you are ill, your body says sleep, and when awake it says ‘No, I can’t PLAY chess idiot or read Russian, I am SICK!’ and so people watch TV. Except I don’t have a TV. Or watch movies. Or read a book. Except I haven’t been able to get to the library (with Linda’s help) since whatever month (2/two) is like (2/14). Today was my first time out in 10 days not to a doctors.

So sit your ass down in bed, and put your books and magazines away (they are play, whims, idle), and shut off your TV, your computer for except for work, and have a flu, a real rampaging, head like a bowling ball cold full of sinus’. And then have people say ‘Oh, lucky you, able to play.’ If you have a book out, if you do rehab, if you work to keep your brain active.

How many books would you trade for your left eye? Mine stopped working in the last few months. I’ll trade you. How many DVD sets will you take for an eardrum?

I can’t feel my fingers, or the right side of my face. I found that out when I was trying to find my face to scratch it and my fingers came away with blood. Nice scar now. How much for each kiss on your cheek, I will give you two manga for each, and you can have my face, the one which doesn’t feel. How much ‘play’ or whimsy to feel your muscles in your arms die as mine have every night for the last several weeks. Or would you sometimes want, no matter what the energy cost, to do something, choose something?

There is no courage, or amazing way of dealing with things, not as a saint. There just is dealing. You might not feel anything much but pain, in fact, whatever good things you feel, or a nice smell, or DVD you watch will always, forever be overlaid with pain, because in keeping you constantly in pain, but with painkillers that kill first 90%, then 50%, then 35% of your pain, they are keeping the patches and fentynal for when things get really bad. And they know for sure you will die soon. Bad like AFTER you hang for what felt like minutes and minutes, probably two minutes and a bit more, it CAN seem an eternity when starting awake. I learned one thing, don’t put the buckle in front, it can allow a bit of blood to flow to the brain and just prolong how long it takes to pass out.

I had spent hours trying to clear an impacted intestine opening, colon and it hurt so bad. I kept thinking, “They say the body shits sometimes at death, I hope it does and then, it won’t hurt so damn much when I’m dead.”

Pain makes you a little crazy. Having no future, no stability, complete and utter dependency makes a person a little crazy. I worked and work, and worked to get that loop over the hook, at least twenty tries. Because I knew that I would never be able to take it off, not as exhausted as I was trying to put it on, my neck pulled tight to measure the distance.

These are my wishes, my idle pleasure: let me walk, let me use my hands again, let me walk out tomorrow and get a job, any job, and work it until I find another job and another. Let me work three jobs, and run from one to another. And on my days off, I’ll find another job until Linda is safe. And then, I will run to the end of the breakwater and back. Because it just feels so damn good! And I might roll down a hillside, for the same reason. Because it just feels good. When you are able in body it is easy in this country to enjoy things, even if you are in pain. I know. You can walk the town, you can hike the forests and the hills, the mountain tops, like I used to. Or walk from one end of the town to the other in 1 hour and a half, and turn around and do it again. I used to walk from one end of Victoria to another in LESS time than it takes me to get ready to leave, to prepare and rest and prepare and rest – and ‘the computer’ says, after four hours, and more hours sleeping that I need to do that all over again.

Got to go, pain pills starting to take the edge off, new ones in ‘f….f….f….f..f.f…f…f..four hours.”

How many hours was that again?

I wonder why I want to go out as much as I thought I did.

Mittwoch, 26. Mai 2010

This is not a holding pattern: this is life

This is not a holding pattern. I am not sure what day it is, but I will be posting part II as soon as the various disasters resolve (think how many tropical storms sometimes hit the same area over and over again in a matter of hours). I think I have been fevered for days. I haven’t eaten for similar. Also, with the end of extended health care Linda has been superbusy getting all that can be got since we don’t know what pain medications will be covered, much less heart, stroke or other medications. We found out the Sling for moving from bed to wheelchair, or floor to bed has been denied. Reasons behind this, when clients from MS to ALS use slings is beyond me (and it seems blue cross – the form was submitted some months ago by my hospital seating specialist and phsyiotherapist, not us). Also several things that were to be fixed on my wheelchair some months ago, weren’t. So I have a bed.

The crew across the road is behind schedule so now they work 12 hours straight and with more people (though oddly just one person on Friday), and they will finish framing and stuff in two animals, so they say to Linda. How I will survive, since I have major autonomic failure after 8 hours without sleep will be…interesting. It is raining heavily right now and they are putting up walls for the $750,000-$1,200,000 split level condos with vigor – no steel or concrete – now that just seems poor value, but I guess it is ‘load bearing’ wood. With the end of any coverage, all extra money has been spent on medication and other medical items putting me in the ‘Anchor dragging Linda’s Life down’ mood daily. So between that and asking her to help kill me, it is pretty festive. Thank you BC government for causing a 5-10% unemployment increase in this one town, but go Olympics!

I guess any anger I have is to cover the crying. I still am not on disability of any kind due to this provinces strange regulations, and due to the VIHA’s manager of Victoria saying a couple months ago that SHE is definitely discriminating against me due to my disability (that was after she made Linda cry). So, no assistance from our ‘manager’, or sight of them for the last many months (maybe they got laid off too). Also, we were informed that Monday (holiday) we would get no care instead of the mid-day and evening care just because. I write now as there is construction inside our apartment to put in the one new air conditioner we could afford for this year (since all tend to be on 24/7), which Linda borrowed money from me to get, which is fair only now no money for that, or indeed for going out for ‘birthday’ meal. Damn, nothing like being disabled, helpless and have to think about money and how much I cost people every (bleeping) day. So I hung myself. This has produced some interesting bruising but was not entirely successful.

The irony being that I spent what money I had this month getting gifts, for my non-parents (they don’t acknowledge really being my parents since they deal with disability this year by a) going on a LOT of vacations out of town, b) buying a new van and c) deciding they are ‘dead to me’ – so pretty much like other years) because just because they don’t love me doesn’t mean I can’t love them, so Birthday and Mother Day presents. Then, this weekend, it was sending out 14 packages of gifts, which is higher than some weeks, as well as gifts to all those kind people I have never met who show love is action, and gifts to those who send me/Linda/Cheryl postcards and gifts to those who just have similar interests to me. Also giving away some precious things preparing for my death, so Linda doesn’t have to do that.

Health: Linda and I did a list of every body system and found that every single one, including skin (the largest organ!) was compromised significantly. At the end I asked, “Are you SURE I’m not a zombie?” This week, which was to be a rest week has appointments every day, indeed, we are so busy doing things to ensure the survival of ‘ill Elizabeth’ that I, the actually Elizabeth have no reserves, or ability to rest, even with a fever because there is no day, no way to rest.

Linda is still unemployed, she is still applying. We are both now uninsured. I know others have been and are in this position – terrifying ain’t it? A NEW infection has arisen in the local hospital. The pain last night was severe, severe, severe, like unable to move, just able to have tears run down into my ears, and wondering what that noise is and finding it is me moaning painful. That’s a fun way to spend the middle of a sleep period.

Nick White covers Tarzan 25

Original cover by Rich Buckler and Bob McLeod; Marvel 1979. Nick White's website is here.

Dienstag, 25. Mai 2010

My Five Favorite Avengers

Ok, so the Lost fervor has died down a bit and it’s time to cash a check I wrote over a week ago.

Yes, you can say goodbye to those sleepless nights, because I’m finally set to reveal…

…my five favorite Avengers.

In last week’s Avengers #1, after Kang gets blasted across several roofs via a blast of mystic lightning from Mjolnir, Hawkeye says, “And that’s what it’s like to be on the Avengers with Thor” (or something similar enough for me to get away with it)—and that right there pretty much sums up why I love Thor as an Avenger: He’s the ultimate powerhouse bruiser in the Marvel Universe (excepting The Hulk, who is more a force of nature) and thus it’s number one team is just cooler when he’s on it. Thor makes both the best cavalry as well as the best way for a villain to score a quick belt notch and thus make whoever takes them down seem like more of a badass. It’s also always rad to see Thor with his Shakespearean speak dealing with reporters or standing eight feet tall with a smile or sneer over the rookie Avengers or enjoying mead and mutton feasts provided by Jarvis. Thor is such a crazy, unique character that everything about him and a group of mortal heroes just gets better when the two get mixed.

For my money, the best addition to the Avengers in the last decade and Brian Bendis’ greatest triumph as godfather of the franchise. Luke Cage was a character who had been around for decades before he got roped into New Avengers, and during at least half that time I’d say no way he qualified as A-list material, but it was like the hometown boy making good and getting into the majors or something, so we dug it at first. But Bendis was bound and determined to show that Luke belonged, and I’d say he succeeded. The nice thing was, though, that Bendis didn’t have Cage become some out of nowhere world-beater dispatching cosmic level threats in a feverish attempt to prove he wasn’t wasting a roster slot, he just slowly but surely became the quiet conscience of the team, the guy who steered everybody else in the right direction, and yes, was still one bad sonuvagun. When Luke became de facto team leader with no official proclamation post-Secret Invasion, it felt totally natural and totally earned because his maturation process had been a joy to experience—well done, Mr. Bendis.

Janet Van Dyne grew up in the Avengers, entering as a flighty young woman and ultimately becoming perhaps the gutsiest heroes male or female to ever serve. The thing is, I liked The Wasp in all her incarnations, and her versatility was one of her best assets. She was ridiculously Silver Age as the original Avengers’ flirtatious airhead, but unlike a lot of other female characters of the time, she kinda seemed in on the joke, whether Stan Lee and others wrote her that way intentionally or not, and that made her cooler than The Invisible Woman or Wonder Woman. But no doubt Janet Van Dyne’s finest moments came after in the fallout of her messy domestic dispute with and divorce from Hank Pym, rather than curl up in a ball somewhere, she marched into Avengers Mansion and told no less than Captain America and Iron Man in no uncertain terms that she was the team’s new chairperson and they’d better just deal with it. I dug that Jan was a damn effective team leader and held the group together during the darkest days of “Under Siege,” yet didn’t suddenly become so uptight she wouldn’t come on to Paladin shamelessly—this balance of bold and bubbly made her a great character for the remainder of her days.

The Avengers weren’t really the Avengers until Captain America came along; they were just a loose-knit group of bickering demigods trying their best to work together until they thawed Steve Rogers out of this iceberg and he decided the team was a good idea and threw his considerable talents towards making it work. The heart and purity of Captain America was what inspired the bulk of the Avengers to be Earth’s Mightiest Heroes over the years, and placed them several notches above the Defenders, Champions, etc. Only Superman can boast the same symbolic value as Captain America in terms of his effect on his several heroes, but Cap trumps the Man of Steel by also being one of the best team leaders in comic book history and certainly the finest the Avengers have ever seen. To continue the DC shorthand, Captain America has the strategic genius and quick-thinking of Batman, but with Superman’s charm and winning personality. I don’t think anybody believes in the Avengers quite like Cap does—they gave him a reason to continue on in a world that had left him behind, after all—and nobody works as hard towards keeping them in fighting shape. A good ol’ fashioned “Avengers Assemble!” charge doesn’t give you nearly the chill if Steve Rogers isn’t racing at the fore.

So you’ve got gods, super-soldiers, billionaire geniuses and uber-powerful mutants making up the Avengers, and then you’ve got Clint Barton: the guy with the bow, the arrow and the attitude. That to me was always one of the coolest thing about the Avengers: that a dude like Hawkeye could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest and not seem out of place in the least. He’s the guy who questioned whether Captain America was leadership material; the guy who managed to found an Avengers team in California. You can say there was already a precedent for an archer fitting in amongst the powerhouses with Green Arrow in the Justice League, but as much as I am a GA fan, it always seemed like he either was just another square-chinned cipher in the JLA’s fledgling days, and then later more the rabble-rousing square peg than anything else; Hawkeye would mouth off, sure, but at the end of the day he was integral to what the Avengers were all about and very much the heart of the team in a way his DC counterpart never quite was. Despite starting out as a questionable Iron Man villain, Hawkeye was a true blue good guy with a romantic streak who was made to be one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I absolutely love when the rest of the team has been taken out and it’s Hawkeye who has to beat the odds and make the impossible shot against a rampaging She-Hulk or omnipotent Collector to win the day—and that’s why he’s my favorite Avenger.

Jesse Graber covers Amazing Spider-man 425

Original cover by Steve Skroce and Bud LaRosa; Marvel 1997. Jesse Graber's website is here.

Montag, 24. Mai 2010

Lost: Figuring Out the Others

This isn’t going to be “Lost Week” or anything on The CKT (or at least I don’t intend it to be, though like the rest of you I am eagerly awaiting Lynn Phegley uncut and uncensored in the blog post six years in the making), but I must say I’m finding the after-finale dialogue with fellow fans and observers (particularly over on Sean’s blog) to be in many ways just as enjoyable as watching the show. In this regard, I think we owe thanks to the program’s creators not just for bringing to life something so discussion-provoking and layered, but also—and part of me can’t believe I’m saying this—for indeed leaving so much open-ended so these chats and debates can continue with such gusto.

So if you’ll indulge me, while some of my peers are choosing to veer clear of online chatter and just let the series sink in, I’m really enjoying picking stuff apart and trying to connect the dots that were left somewhat free-floating. I am certainly an amateur when it comes to theorizing what meant what and that whole bag and I’ve got far-less than encyclopedic/photographic recall on six seasons worth o’ mythology, but I have started piecing together in my head some of the nagging mysteries of Lost—and now that the show’s done, I can’t really be “wrong,” so why not put it out there?

To begin with: the Others.

I’ve seen more than one place where a major dangler that bothered folks is why exactly the Others—specifically Ben—did some of the stuff they did in the early seasons, like kidnapping kids or holding Jack, Kate and Sawyer hostage. Particularly, why were they such dicks if they were working for Jacob, ostensibly the ultimate “good guy”? And was Charles Widmore a hero, a villain or what?

I don’t have answers—or really theories rather—for all of that, but I have worked out some thoughts on at least some of it, because yeah, it was bugging me too.

So we know that in the beginning (well, after their Mother went goodbye), there was Jacob and his brother, the dude in black he inadvertently transformed into the Smoke Monster. It’s an important piece of the puzzle to remember that Jacob was hardly infallible—the Smoke Monster being unleashed was ultimately his fault—and had a pretty poor role model—Mother killed a village full of people to prevent her other “son” from leaving the island—as his being kind of a prick, albeit generally well-meaning, has bearing on the later behavior of the Others.

Richard Alpert comes to the island, and after briefly flirting with joining up with Smokey, he becomes Jacob’s right-hand man, with the latter realizing he could better achieve his goals of protecting the island and thwarting his brother if he had followers. Richard becomes Jacob’s indirect pipeline to other people who turn up on the island; their interactions wax and wane depending on what other stuff Jacob is up to.

At some point and for some reason, enough folks now populate the island for the Others to be formed with Richard as their constant guide and a leader picked from within. I’m not sure if the initial Others ended up on the island by chance like (I believe) Richard did or if Jacob guided them there—possibly via Richard, who we know travelled off-island to test people like John Locke—because he needed troops, but that’s not all that important anyhow.

The Dharma Initiative sets up on the island; at this point, Jacob is still taking a relatively strong hand in leading the Others from afar through Richard, so his fear of people he can’t control being on the island inherited from Mother kicks in and he has his people position themselves as “hostiles,” a policy that ends up becoming ingrained in the Others right up through when the castaways show up. They don’t trust outsiders because Jacob doesn’t trust outsiders because Mother didn’t trust outsiders, although Jacob doesn’t clue them in that there are outsiders they should trust…but we’ll get there.

Around this time, Charles Widmore becomes leader of the Others. I don’t believe that Widmore is a fundamentally evil guy, more just a weak man. As a young man, he kills a fellow Other rather than allow the group to be compromised by taking Locke, Juliet and Sawyer to Richard; his fear of being booted from his “family” trumps any loyalty to a single member. Later, Widmore tries to get Ben to kill Rousseau and Alex; I’m not really too sure on the why of this one, but I feel like he may have just been trying to break Ben with a task he knew would weigh heavy on him because he felt threatened (again, Widmore is extremely insecure about his much-valued power). Finally, Widmore is ultimately expelled from the Others and exiled from the island by Ben in large part because he has been leaving frequently and during one excursion fathered Penny with an outsider (who, remember, the Others don’t trust).

Interestingly there were elements of both Ben and the Man in Black in Widmore: he was extremely paranoid about losing his power and place and was ruthless in his attempts to secure them, but at the same time felt somewhat restless on the island and sought to exist outside of it. I also don’t think Jacob ever communicated directly to Widmore, using Richard as a proxy, which contributed to his inferiority complex.

Still, under Widmore the Others were relatively tame and didn’t do much more than rattle the cages of folks like the Dharma gang, keeping true to Jacob’s isolationist doctrine but not crossing the line into mass murder. They had a truce and everything.

Then Ben became the leader.

We know that when Ben Linus was young, a time-travelling Sayid shot him and Richard took him to the temple to be “reborn.” Prior to that, Richard had already approached Ben, which says to me Jacob saw some sort of potential in him. Also at some point, Ben’s deceased mother appeared to him; this was likely the Smoke Monster in disguise, meaning both brothers took an interest in the boy. When Ben was healed by the temple, I think Jacob was asleep at the wheel—he may have been off-island scouting candidates—allowing Smokey to slip in and corrupt Ben at least in part as he would years later with Sayid in the same fashion.

This is a tipping point as Jacob has amassed a group of followers, but because he is imperfect and by all indications a bit flighty, he took them for granted and turned his focus to his candidates, allowing Smokey to slip in and begin manipulating them to his own ends, using Ben as his entry points to gain the pawns he has waited centuries for.

We know Ben never spoke to Jacob until he eventually killed him, but I think Smokey was influencing him from the moment he was healed in those waters. I think Smokey pushed Ben to oust Widmore recognizing him as a potential thread back to Jacob; with Ben in charge and bluffing that he could speak to Jacob; Richard stopped asking questions and accepted that the orders being given by Ben were Jacob’s orders.

This is when the Others start really becoming nasty folks because they are being led by Ben, who in turn is being played by Smokey (I think Ben knew in his heart the guy in the cabin wasn’t ever Jacob, but didn’t realize it was the Smoke Monster; as he says in the second-to-last ep, the Smoke Monster was “summoning him” or something like that). They wipe out the Dharma Initiative—because that’s an x-factor Smokey doesn’t need—and move into their digs.

Jacob doesn’t really notice any of this is going on because he is completely occupied by moving the people he needs into place to crash on the Oceanic flight. Jacob does not strike me as a multi-tasker—he’s quite childlike and probably in a bit of an arrested development state—so it’s not hard to believe he got outmaneuvered by his brother here.

The Others start tormenting the castaways pretty immediately because Smokey knows that these are the people who his brother has earmarked as the island’s protectors and also that he needs them eliminated in order to get away from the place, still his ultimate goal.

We found out in the finale and the build to it that Desmond had abilities that would enable him to either destroy or liberate Smokey. I believe Walt had these same capabilities, which is why Smokey wanted him either under his control or gone, hence why he initially has him abducted by the Others and then later sent away. Heck, this could be why they wanted Aaron as well.

In season two, we learn that the Others have a list of names—much is made of it, but we never really learn what it is. I think it’s safe to say now, knowing what we know, that this was the list of Jacob’s candidates and again, Smokey wanted them under his control, thus he had the Others on retrieval duty. I don’t think, however, Smokey fully understood what role the candidates had to play at that point, he just knew that his brother wanted them, thus so did he. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Hurley are the four people abducted by Ben and the Others at the end of season two as well as the final four candidates later on—Smokey was catching on, he just lacked some final bit of intel.

But this is where Jacob comes back in the picture.

Ben develops a tumor on his spine and needs Jack’s help in order to survive. This ultimately ends up being how Jack, Sawyer and Kate are able to escape the Others with their lives.

I think Jacob had something to do with that tumor; I think he finally caught on to what his brother was up to and needed to save his candidates without directly intervening. Yeah, it’s a bit of a stretch, but for whatever reason, it makes total sense to me.

You also notice it was around this time that Richard started being more of an active presence in the Others again after being absent the first two seasons; I don’t think Jacob spoke to him directly or at least not at length—not sure why not—but I think he gave him enough indication that things were spiraling and he needed to reel Ben in.

Not long after this is when Widmore re-enters the picture, searching for the island. His first gambit is Desmond, a strategy I’d wager he was fed by his far more attuned former lover Eloise, who definitely knew the score to a greater degree than he did. Eventually, he does find the island again. I think Widmore’s initial Ahab-esque pursuit was fueled by those old feelings of inadequacy as well as a deep down realization that he bobbled the ball during his time leading the Others, and of course a healthy desire for revenge on Ben.

However, I think after Widmore’s initial freighter plan failed and after Ben visited him and threatened Penny, he was indeed approached by Jacob, either for the first time or at least the first time in awhile; I believe Widmore was on the level when he said right before his death that Jacob had guided him back to the island. I think when Widmore was helping Locke try to get back he was indeed on the side of angels and working on Jacob’s behalf. I also think he brought Desmond back to the island at Jacob’s behest when the end game was approaching and he knew he needed a failsafe. I think in the end Charles Widmore was indeed one of the good guys; a deeply flawed and broken man who embraced his chance to make good after a lifetime of screwing up not totally unlike Jack did in the finale.

So I think that pretty much covers the Others, their leaders, and why their motivation was all over the place: they started out as Jacob’s enforcers, but when he was focused elsewhere, Smokey took over via Ben and made them his hit squad to take out his brother’s chess pieces.

Oh, and why was Dogen special? Because he was the only one Jacob was actually communicating to in the years leading up to the castaways’ arrival; not Richard, not Widmore, not Ben, not even Locke—Dogen, like Ilana, was one of the few people Jacob trusted with setting up what he needed in order to ultimately defeat his brother.

Make sense? I know, probably not, but it was fun to try and puzzle out. Tell me if I’m a moron or not in the comments if you wish and I may give this another go in the future.

Thomas Hope covers Hellboy: Box Full of Evil 1

Original cover by Mike Mignola; Dark Horse 1999. Thomas Hope's website is here.

Sonntag, 23. Mai 2010

A Dozen Thoughts on Lost

Comments courtesy of Sean's blog, image courtesy of TJ's.

1-From just a standpoint of emotional impact, it was an impressive and well-done finale for my money. Scenes are still repeating in my head now and haunting me a bit, so that tells me they accomplished something. Those final two scenes, both the gathering of the extended cast and the inevitable Jack eye-closing close-up, those will stick with me.

2-I resigned myself a few episodes ago that we simply weren't going to get that many answers tonight (as I think you and many others did as well, Sean), so that wasn't crushing for me...but I do feel for the people who held out until the end and are pissed. I don't think they're necessarily wrong, we're just coming at it from different angles.

3-Shannon was the great love of Sayid's life? The thing that snapped him out of the haze? Really? They couldn't figure out any other way to work Maggie Grace into the finale?

4-For some reason Jimmy Kimmel's "The show was Jack's journey" theory that he threw at Matthew Fox during the post-show really both made sense for me and helped me appreciate the episode a lot more.

5-Do we really buy that when all that stuff with the castaways vs the others and the kids being stolen and women not having children and so on and so on was going down, the writers/producers *never* had any notion that the show would end any other way than how it did? It doesn't really matter, I'm just curious.

6-The big unanswered question for me that I don't actually think needed to be answered but I'm looking forward to seeing people's theories on is how Desmond accessed the sideways dimension if it really was purgatory or whatever when Widmore zapped him there. I mean, he did access it, right? Also, did Juliet get a glimpse of it too when she died and that's why she said her line? Did everybody peep the sideways when they died? And what event in the real world triggered it being time for folks in the sideways to "wake up"? Did the last Lostie die?

7-Kimmel also nailed a good one, I thought, with pinpointing the moment in the season premiere where the turbulence on the plane stopped and Rose told Jack "You can let go" as being the moment Jack died.

8-Why did some folks who weren't on the original flight (Desmond, Penny and even Ben seemingly had the opportunity) get to "move on" while Miles, Charlotte and Faraday did not? Why wasn't Ana Lucia ready? Is there any reason Eko didn't show up aside from the actor not wanting to appear? And how exactly did sideways Eloise know what was up? Again, questions I just want to see theories from other people on.

9-How did Hurley get Boone to "wake up"? For some reason, and I can't tell you why, that's the one that stands out for me. The only person he seemed in love with was Shannon, and obviously she was meant for Sayid, so what would have gotten Boone to snap out of it?

10-I don't think Ben got enough play this episode. I thought his story deserved more closure and that was one of the legit fumbles.

11-For somebody who was consistently "eh" on Jack and Kate, I gotta say, this episode did a tremendous job of convincing me in retrospect why these two were ultimately the focus of the show for six years. Well done there, both writers and actors.

12-After writing all this out, I do realize that there is some level of frustration for me out of not getting a lot of stuff I wanted spelled out for me spelled out, but also in writing this I realize that I'm kinda grateful for the open-ended nature of things as a springboard for theorizing and discussion that's going to outlive the show itself for years to come.

New release: Grizzly Baby Headband

New release at [MAGIC NOOK]! The Snow Baby Headband was so popular, that I figured you might want another colour, and so I made the Grizzly Baby Headband, yay!

[MAGIC NOOK] Grizzly Baby Headband

Since it's time for a new collection at The Dressing Room, for two weeks the headband will be available only at TDR for promotional price 50L$, then it will move to my store with regular price of 95L$ - so get it cheaper while you can!

TAXI to the Dressing Room (click here)

While you're there, take a look at other items by fantastic designers participating in TDR. Everything is priced 40-70L$!

Birthday Wish, Bucket List, ‘To Do’ Plans, secret wishes and Secret shames named (part 1)

Well, this WAS my going out weekend except: the Korean BBQ place has gone out of business. Plus I have been working on my blog for the last two days straight, missed the art exhibit, missed the highland games, no postcards or packages done. I did ending up buying something for myself off the wishlist because, well, Saturn Apartments was put on sale.

I also bought ‘The Maze runners’ about a bunch of teen guys who try to escape the maze but can’t and the only safe space is the 1 acre center, but they are all mind wiped of the past. At night, a dome covers the acre and when the wake up the maze has been altered. No one has gotten out. When suddenly a girl arrives and things change. Okay, I love mazes and spent many years drawing 3-D mazes, and I also had a 3-D chess set which I played, um, with myself. This was 42% off, and not at our library, so I bought it, or borrowed from a friend the money to buy it. Also because the cover looks exactly like several drawings I made in 7th grade, when we had ‘art’ for the first time in our school (taught by an ‘outlander’, an ‘outsider’, ‘the unchosen’). I loved mazes Only not only did I have the labyrinth drawn from the floor perspective but my spikes had people who had failed the maze impaled on the spikes (and bleeding into pools on the ground). This lead to much discussion and a parent/school conference and I didn’t have to take art anymore (which is too bad because I sat next to the kid who started out drawing then by the end, had covered his entire sheet of art paper black. After several months, that starts to be a pretty impressive/scary portfolio, totally blacked out paper after totally blacked out paper. Anyway, I hope to be able to read this book and not have authorities watch me a lot.

This was going to be the ‘what I wish for..’ and ‘Secret Shames….’ Only doing that has 72 pictures. 72!!!! That is one giant blog. So today I am doing my birthday clothes, and then like four of my birthday wishes and four of my secret shames.

You are encouraged in comments to a) Tell me how hot and sexy I am – this applies for just about any post, except ones on pain, death, and bits of my flesh rotting. b) share your own goals, since they don’t have to be something that you are going to do tomorrow, but can be something like a life goal. Since my life is counted in months (see, I am up from weeks, and some people don’t call me an optimist!), I HAVE taken, ‘Global Domination’ and ‘Learn to read 9 languages’ off of my list (or changed that to ‘learn to read six languages’). c) share your secret shames, hopefully reading mine will help you remember yours. Tomorrow is all about new and different ones and the following post as well.

Secret Shames: Okay, last time there was a misunderstanding about Secret Shames. They have to be something you kinda want to be a secret in most company. For example a lesbian saying they watched Charlies Angels….not a secret shame, a butch lesbian saying they had ‘my little pony’ collection….and they still play with them – that might be something they don’t want to tell someone right off. Or like when they tied their sibling to the hitch on the back of the car. Or when they set fire to the couch at Xmas! Secret shames. You’ll see.

So far on the birthday present front: two (I didn’t even get one from Linda!). SUCKS!

I had planned a birthday with me ala Birthday Suit but alas, I got ill again and b, not so good with trunk control these days (the plan was to be in my intimates and have my panties in my teeth as a SUBTLE sign).
Problem is if I can’t sit up to do that. And the care workers? Well, when asking care workers if they would assist in positioning me and toys for good masturbation/intimacy, hysterical laughter is one of the better replies (long stare and then walking out of the room murmuring a prayer one of the not so good).

“What?” I say, “I get horny too, just like you!” (more prayers/laughter) “We just put this under ‘Shower prep’ or ‘Sleep Prep’ know female masturbation has been shown to be very effective for insomnia!”


Linda did braid my hair for me (she find braids erotic, and so do I – mmmmmm, Gretchen!)

I just want to mention in passing that I am horny. I was expecting birthday sex, and I was planning a culmination of many days of birthday masturbation and neither happened. I am deeply undersexed right now. I need energy, an erotic story and a bit of friction...without a careworker or Linda popping in to check my temperature (actually right now I am so low on reserves an orgasm might make me pass out..but that could be fun too!). I deeply need bed days but the most I get is the ‘Pass out – end up in bed an hour – get back to work’ circle. But as you can see, even when I am working, I

Oddly, while the massive amount of drug dulls my sensate, and my nerves are kinda dead, my mind longs for the tingle in the nerves (maybe now dead), the tingle in the brain, as the ohhhhhhhh and ahhhhhhh, rise in the mind. Hey, I am not JUST about sex (just about it right now!).

On my list, wish and goal number 20 on my ‘wish list of things to do before I die’, right after ‘Get a medical degree’ is ‘Epee Fencing as Foreplay’. I have the epee gear, I have my good blade Val, from my last tournament, and now those tight leather wheelchair gloves. I only need the whole three piece lingerie kit (and body to match). I could use one of those. Most of my stuff is WAY too practical. What kind of tragedy does that say about a woman when most of her lingerie is PRACTICAL. Sigh. Anyway, red hair, check, red scarf (can do, might have skulls), little boots, well how about kicking kinky 5 inch high heels on PVC boots. See, standing up isn’t a problem, I just need a few people to prop me up against a wall somewhere. Then I can make erotic circles with my epee tip, or come ‘en guard’ and do the opening salute.

Hey, I never said the wish list needed to make rational sense. We live in altogether a far too rational world! Fantasy and fun seem secondary and that is kind of scary (what is point of being a ‘free world’ if you can’t get some epee fantasy sexy going?).

Of course Linda is no slouch on the blade herself, doing very well in the foil for a couple years and significantly progressing in tournaments on the epee. And NOW she has a Pirate Queen outfit, complete with corset. Whee! Oh, I know this one from the books. She is the dread Pirate and she takes over the ship where I have been sent off by my rather evil step-father into an arranged marriage wishing in my heart that I had not spent a life as a flower kept from life, sent off like a merchants’ goods but rather, finally seeing life for myself. And along comes my Pirate! Now at first, a few maidenly shrieks, then of course the ‘stow her in my cabin’ (which ends up with some other kind of shrieks later – hey, I’ve read my, I know how this goes!). That would be a fun fantasy.

‘Oh no’, I shrink before the Dread Pirate Linda, ‘What happens now?’ I ask as she slowly and gently strips my gauzy layers off me.

“I show you the world” Dread Pirate Queen Linda replies.


Oh, by the way, this would be a REALLY good time for your boss to walk by.

Hmm……the other birthday sex fantasy is Linda coming in and ‘rescuing me’ from my work and books. You know, the striding in and telling me to ‘put down that book’ before carrying me off to bed in her arms. (Yeah, okay, I can fantasize a bit of domination sex). Of course, the problem is that I am several inches taller than Linda and she isn’t currently working out for Ms. Canada Weightlifting. I mean if I was 5’2” (which by the way ALL the romance girls are, or they are 5’7” or 5’8” and 100-115 lbs – HAHAHAHA! I mean, of course they are. This actually bothered me SO MUCH that I asked every 5’7” and 5’8” female I met if they were within those weights and found ONE – and she was a professional ballet dancer.) then sure but not at 6’3.5”. I have been DRAGGED by a limb by Linda. But I don’t think huffing and puffing and ‘Oh GOD, I hope I don’t hurt my back’ counts as talking sexy and dirty to me. She has rolled me over onto a towel or sliding sheet but again, being hauled like a toboggan with grunting from Linda and being carried in one’s loves arms and placed on the bed with rose petals is rather different.
I just need to go on a diet. However, the last time I was severely anorexic Linda wouldn’t get intimate with me after bruising herself on my pelvic bone sticking out. Plus when I get super anorexic and she says, “No, stick insects don’t arouse me, and seeing ALL of your bones through your skin doesn’t either.” Sort of leaves me in a dilemma. See, I could lose weight if I stopped being able to leg brace but that would affect….

Wish #17 of things ‘to do’ – Be wild, tempestuous and learn the Tango! Yes, I have decided that I want to be WILDER, more, I am not sure what, just MORE. Maybe go around in red and black goth wear and give little skeleton candies to children or something. Or Tango with people in the center of city hall outdoor square (since that is right near the red light district, I might risk ‘solicitation’. “Want to Tango?” I ask. The police officer says, “Oh is that what they call it now? Put your arms out for the cuffs.” I bite back the thought of saying, “Okay officer but that will cost extra!” – did I mention I was HORNY!).

Okay, next is a secret shame unrelated to sex. Well sort of unrelated.
Secret shame #21: In high school, I wanted to be a..oh, I can hardly say it...a cheerleader. I even got to the point where I started to talk about wanting to apply. Friends intervened and I was talked down. (Let’s face it, it is hard to play varsity basketball and cheer for the guys team AND girls at the same time. Also, I seem to be born ‘cartwheel hindered’, which is beyond the arm pump and hip swivel a basic cheerleader move.

Secret Shame #8: Okay, and this is a secret shame that I don’t really talk about to anyone except Linda. I am afraid of underwater. Seriously. Even as a child, I totally freaked when they tried to teach me water-skiing because of the sharks. I was 8, and on a lake but I couldn’t SEE below, ergo, sharks. I mean, at our Olympic pool, the bad vision and HEAVY chorine made a giant whale shape down at the deep end. Yes, that’s right, I honestly was afraid of swimming the length of the pool due to Moby Dick living in it. And if you think it is better if I go underwater, no it gets WAY worse, because there are things everywhere – I have underwater agoraphobia….severely. I can’t watch a lot of films where they go down in the ocean – the descent is just TOO much to watch. Now, that doesn’t stop me from swimming or going to see Imax on the Titanic, it is just…I am terrified and Linda holds my hands a lot and I close my eyes a LOT.

Wish #1, to do: Ug, enough of that, so lets go back to the positive, which is the wish number one. I want to go outside, and just watch the clouds and find shapes (more – more than zero). Like the art above, I see an Elephant and Linda sees Britain. I can only reconcile that in she must be looking at one cloud and I am looking at the spaces between the clouds. Or just what our minds are on, that is what finding stuff in clouds is about.

Secret Shame #12/To do #22: Yes, it is both a secret shame AND a ‘To do’ and it involves a trombone. And no, it doesn’t involves 76 of them. My secret shame is that I have never been able to put the phrase ‘spit valve’ into a normal sentence. I have twice been able to use ‘defenistrate’ when it made perfect sense, “Um, I think the main character is this film is about to defenistrate the villian”. There are other words, Gargoyle, Wyrd, Geuss (yeah, influenced by Clarke Ashton Smith and the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica – for those who don’t know, the 11th edition is the edition where Britannica got all the BEST experts of the field in Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbone, and other top experts to write these 20-60 page entries. After that, the Britannica went to using paid researchers, so you get the ‘Cambells’ soup answer or explanation instead of the ‘exclusive French Chef’s’ cuisine). But no, never been able to use the phrase ‘spit valve’ in a sentence.

BUT, I am also fascinated by the slide bar and have always, even before playing in an orchestra thought the slide bar would have wonderful potential for playing someone a solo and using it as erotic foreplay. The teasing sliding with a seductive look and wink seems potent for sexual foreplay, doesn’t it? So I guess I will need to learn the trombone.

Wish #8 to do: Write another great novel. I have been gearing up to do this now for a while (not being able to tell time, I can’t say) by doing what I do, reading as much and as vast a variety of literature as possible. Thanks to a good friend from Ergo, and a book swap, I have read a book this week I wouldn’t normally, ideas which still bounces in my head. I am reading Name of the Flower 4 (which is great, and the series finish, the manga follows the seasons of the flowers, through 4 seasons/volumes, finishing with can one person who has no way to share herself and only smiles and is quiet to stop being thrown out break out to be herself with a man who has been convinced by his past and family that he is only deserving of contempt?) Also reading The Stories of Ibis (amazing writing, and as a writer, a slap in the face to do MORE!), as well as a dozen other books. I read about 10-12 books a week minimum. Due to some intestinal problems that has gone up over 20 manga and 8 or 9 novels, so I am VERY thankful, since I am too ill to get out to the library, to those who have gifted me a novel or manga through the gift list.

I read east and west, old and new, so that I am a wheeling Meta-novel, the references to Buddha, to the Torah, to Christianity and the literature coming from them all turn in me. I have started putting up the slogans to writing, “10 words to get them to read 200: 200 words and they will read the chapter” – to remind me that we live in a jaded world, and need to write to make an impact, fast. Last time, with Zed, I had plot and the pain and humor was written in through rewrites. Right now, I have too much intensity, that I need a story which allows that to come through, or seeth, controlled beneath the surface. I write 1,000 words a day easy and that means if I live 60 days, it is a youth novel, if I live 100, a regular novel. I will likely have to write ‘This is my day’ blogs for a while and 1 or 2 ‘big theme’ blogs a week while I write. But I am getting ready. This is the first third, writing is the second third, and editing is the final third. Once I need a readers group, I will make an announcement.

Secret Shame #21: back in the bad old days before personal internet, I was living in different basement and only had access through university computers. And so I started going to university computers and reading erotic fiction at various member submitted sites. I was there, getting um, moist on campus, signed in for research and reading erotic (stuff that to 19-20 year old me seemed very, very DIRTY to me, but gosh and golly did it ever make me tingle!). Well, one day a member of my CHURCH comes out (I switch screens) and lets me know that they work at this university library and how am I? And then they say, “I just want you to KNOW that the university computer administrators can see EVERYTHING that you see on your screen and if you aren’t using the computers for research, they can go so far as take your computer pass away.” And then they wandered away.

The sweat popped out on me. And the screens that were immediately closed. And I stood up and walked out a normally as a horny jittery person could. Oh Great! Already internally tortured for being aroused but now guilty for being TOTALLY busted. Yup, that’s my secret shame, I was caught using research university computers to read dirty stories. True.

Wish #14 and #15 of to do: #14 is to have ‘more sex but not be caught by the caregivers’ and number #15 is ‘have more sex again!’ Look, I have strawberries and cherries in chocolate AND whipped cream! All of Linda's favorites - eat me, eat me! Okay, it is not like I have one But I have been cared for, I have been working morning till sleep for as long as I know, and on vacations I do even more then spend 4 hours blogging about it before the next day. I just haven’t had the time to prioritize intimacy. And now I am, I am prioritizing it. And Linda just ‘proofed’ under my bed (The ‘five year old’ me when scared crawls under the bed and last time I passed out with my head stuck between two bars, according to Linda). Linda and I have talked about the type and kind of intimacy that is appropriate or comfortable for the ages and dementia levels. Basically a five year old you hug, a tween you play with, a late teen you fool around with, and a young adult is more than ready to go, but a little insecure, while me, um….I dunno, I’m just not sure that sex interests me. HAHAHAHA! I mean, yeah, tie me up, tie me down!
Okay, one last of each and the rest will come over the next couple posts. But I would like some feedback from this posts and maybe a secret shame (and a wish to do) from YOU in the comments.

Wish to do #11: (Yes, they really are numbered), LEARN TO THROW KNIVES. I guess I always thought that only odd psycho guys did this, that and movie heroines. But these days, I am pretty helpless. I might have ‘heart’ according to the boxing coach but I don’t want to live in fear. And throwing knives is something I have secretly wanted to do for about 15 years. I even tried to get a holder for the middle of my back for a throwing knife (based on a description from a Louis L’amour western book – that holder doesn’t exist). Now I would have leg holders and upper arm holders. And since I can’t touch my own nose and drop things about 15 times a day including: toothbrush, toothpaste, my pill container, my drink bottle (3 times), my book, and more, the hand eye coordination on a macro level could work with the hand-eye coordination on a micro level that I am starting to do with the PS2000 (largest hand controls), as prescribed by my doctor – the PS3000/2000, not the knife throwing. Any knife throwers out there?

Secret Shame #16: I have, SHAMELESSLY, overplayed my ignorance and clumsy aspects over the years in order to get guys/butchs to fix from cars to toasters for me. Like when the lesbian network newsletter came with a plumbing course offered and Linda and I looked at each other: “Isn’t that why men and landlords were invented?” I asked and she nodded and that was about it. Oh, I know all the components names, so that I can get them JUST wrong enough to have the person explain them to me as they are fixing it for free. Yeah, when it comes to a garage, I usually have a good idea what the problem is, and play the ‘dumb girl’ who says, ‘It makes a noise!” and if they start saying stuff all over the place then I go elsewhere. EXCEPT when it comes to my computer. Don’t mess with my computer! I don’t build it from the board up but I do determine what goes on it, and usually figure out what is wrong. I used to, it is one thing being so exhausted and mentally fogged that frustrates me, that this ‘smart’ part of me is going.

But yes, I have even gone so far as to go, “I don’t know, the handle goes up and down but nothing happens” when a guy/butch was over so THEY would remove the top and drop the rubber stopper down so I wouldn’t have to wash my hands of the old rubber smudges on them. Besides, the people who seem to like to make stuff or put it together or fix stuff seem so darn HAPPY to fix it, how can I deny them this pleasure by actually learning enough to fix it in front of them (then they just get sad).

I think I may not be the only one who has, at times, acted too dim to be able to fix a tire (because changing rusted lug nuts=hard and boring) when there are lots of guys around. But I am, somewhat ashamed as an independent woman to still have to ‘pretend’ (of course a lot of the ‘fix it type’ you could say exactly what the problem is and they wouldn’t believe you unless THEY look).

So, your secret shame?
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