In other words, failing to work against type.

I’ve spent the last half hour staring at my screen, finding nothing but weak excuses not to write. I could’ve spent that half hour writing about weak excuses not to write and then I’d have the next half hour to do whatever I wanted. So for the next half hour, I’m gonna list weak excuses not to write:

  • I need to find things other than the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 villain that look like Cee Lo’s grammy outfit.
  • 11 minutes having passed since I last opened the fridge, looked around, was tempted by a swig of pineapple juice but instead closed the door and walked back to my computer. I mean, I could’ve at least picked up some water or something. I should probably go check again in case something has changed.
  • Combing through GP Pittsburgh’s top 32 to find at least one deck that wasn’t BG Constrictor, Mardu Vehicles or Copy Cat combo. Whoops, not gonna happen (though seeing Gonti get its time in the sun was some good time).
  • Ignoring the terrible dialogue and gratuitous CW style cheesecake to watch what’s quickly becoming a pretty well crafted teen drama; Riverdale. Oh wait, no new episode until next Friday.
  • Scrolling through Twitter to see people talk about The Grammys, so I can get worked up about an increasingly irrelevant award ceremony that may as well be called the Golden Lobes, vestigial as they are. Also I’m the asshole here. They’re not targeted towards me, why should I give a shit?
  • Meowing back at the cat, who keeps meowing loudly at me like I understand what she’s saying. C’mon cat, can’t you just speak human like the rest of us? Such an intolerant animal.
  • Reading Clickhole headlines out loud at my girlfriend, who’s trying to do her own mindless internet browsing. Then when she’s finally focused in on what she was reading before I so rudely interrupted with my emotional bid, read another one at her.
  • Checking on the pantry, in case it held something alluring that the fridge couldn’t match. Do I ever really need to have something to put marmite on? Or can spoons suffice?
  • Looking around at the many projects I said I’d start before getting distracted. Procrastinating through procrastinating about things I’ll inevitably procrastinate about again? Maybe later.
  • Buying Hindenburg Journalist recording software (tailor made for podcasting) for no good reason other than it’s absurdly cheap right now ($1.90 for World Radio Day instead of $80+). I have Pro Tools. Why would I ever need this?
  • Checking to see if any of my Facebook comments got more likes (even though I have the tab open and I can clearly see that they haven’t).
  • Trying to figure out a wittily worded Facebook post about Cee Lo’s GotG2 Grammy’s outfit.
  • Seeing others do it better.
  • Crying about it.
  • Cheering up once I realised half an hour had passed and so had my daily writing.
  • Finishing without so much as a snappy conclusion.

How many sites are running with a Legion-dary tag line right now? Oh shit, did I just become one of them?

Are you watching Legion? If you follow almost any media critic sites, I’m sure you know full well how critically lauded it’s been. FX, as it has a habit of doing, has handed this one off to a creative who knows better. I haven’t followed the career of Noah Hawley and shamelessly didn’t watch the Fargo TV series. That being said, I’ve only heard unanimous praise. Judging by the first episode of Legion, he knows full well what he’s doing.

Telling mature superhero stories is fraught with obstacles, yet seems to be all the rage in this current climate. It’s hard to escape from the first big hurdle: Superhero comics were for such a long time targeted towards a young audience. They were pulp stories rarely replete with nuance. Create a hero with some kind of extraordinary abilities and find scenarios/villains that help them showcase who they really are. Storytelling over time has changed and these characters tend to deal with more socially compelling issues. The DC formula tends to favour hugely powerful entities several tiers above humanity. This leads towards confrontations with situations on a grander scale. How is Superman supposed to relate to a world of people that to him seem like ants? Why does he care? How does he engage that disparity and still decide to be a hero. Marvel on the other hand often focuses on how its heroes’ flaws magnify their conflict. Not perfect people by any means, why do they choose to help a world that challenges them on their own levels? The X-Men tales have often been racism allegories. Why should mutants choose to protect a world that fears and hates them because they’re different?

David Haller, the central character in Legion is a character tangentially related to the X-Men stories we know. He’s Charles Xavier’s son (in the comics at least) and potentially one of the most powerful mutants in existence. He’s also mentally divergent, and his countless fractured personalities all possess different abilities. They’ve also given mental illness here pretty fair treatment. The show does its best to bring us into the fold, giving us the why, rather than just showing a character trying to deal with at times insurmountable issues. He’s a being of nigh infinite potential, but struggles with staying grounded in reality. The show runs with this, hard. Flowing in and out of reality, memory and hallucination makes David an unreliable narrator. In the first episode the chronology is all over the place, but carefully so. States of possibility are weaved together to tell the story, with the potential of unexpected twists lying behind every scene. In a series where anything could be a mislead or imaginary, how are we made to care about what does happen?

Simply because David is a human character. There’s an innocence to his character, who really seems to want to do right by the world, but is afraid of what is happening to him. Dan Stevens plays David with both a certain frailty and an assured confidence. He has moments of sweetness, doubt, anger and full blown malice. All of this aided by stunning cinematography and audio landscapes. The show looks gorgeous, cinematic. A diverse colour palette that freewheels between grim and joyous. There’s a Bollywood dance number thrown in for chrissakes. AND IT WORKS. The show sounds phenomenal, with errant whispers scattered around, mixed with realistic diegetic sound. There’s an intimate scene in a cell of a psychiatric hospital and while it’d be tempting to cut background noise (maybe focus on the dialogue in the scene) the show doesn’t. You can hear a patient in some far off room yelling at the top of his voice. It doesn’t interfere with the conversation, but it does ground it. It feels like we’ve been left in the hands of a capable director. It’s intense and dark, but with heapings of contrasted levity. Plus the musical score and visual effects are perfect. You can tell a lot of work has gone into nailing the exact mood of this show and I can tell you it pays off.

Are you watching Legion? If you aren’t, why not?

Jughead has always been somewhat of a role model. Who wouldn’t want the mutant power of infinite consumption?

I waste too much time on the internet not doing anything. Well don’t get me wrong, I’m only playing an hour or two of Cookie Clicker per day. More realistically, I’m lurking Reddit threads on r/magictcg and r/whowouldwin. It’s not productive and I forget 90% of what I’ve read ten minutes after I’ve read-dit (ged-dit?). Perhaps I’m just unused to having spare time, given the production schedule of the Air Bud Pawdcast last year. For the very limited time being, however, I’ve got time to kill. It’s time to sink some hours into entertainment across the board.

After years of hearing recommendations to do so, I grabbed a copy of the first Dresden Files book. I was expecting something pulpy, a kind of dumb, quippy, popcorn novel. In the first 20 or so pages, I got exactly what I expected. I’ve heard the series gets better as it goes on. That the world gets built out and is ultimately a bunch of fun. One of my old flatmates said the first book was a little shite, but Dresden Files was ultimately enjoyable despite the writer falling too in love with his central character.

So far it’s suffering from heavy-handed exposition [“Is this sign on the door for real? Frank Dresden, Magician for hire?” yeah that’s me, Frank Dresden, like he says, I’m a magician for hire] and that kind of shit. Also, I dunno, *male* writing. Seriously, it’s like the guy is drawing character outlines with his semi as the pencil. The first time we meet some hard nosed female detective (and likely love interest) its all [She was wearing a pantsuit, but she probably had shapely legs built up through years of cheerleading. Blonde haired, blue eyed, she’d be better looking if she smiled more] kind of shit. Tons of clunky ways of tossing in world-building and backstory. At the same time, it comes with enough endorsements that I’m going into it with zero expectations happy to at the very least be mildly entertained. At worst it has me reading again. Throwaway enjoyment, which is perfect for my use as a way to ignore the bane of my existence: The morning commute.

The other thing that’s caught my eye is this new Riverdale show. Growing up I read a metric shitton of Archie comics. I had a close friend and the double digests littered his house. In every room there’d be four or five of the things, they had hundreds. It was harmless fun, with short storylines based on simple characters who rarely strayed from their core definition. Riverdale on the other hand, sounds like it builds on those same characters to not only subvert its own tropes, but the wider tropes of teen entertainment. Ironically it’s on CW of all places. Billed as teen drama/Twin Peaks, this usually wouldn’t be anywhere in the same neighbourhood as my alley.

On the other hand, Archie comics have been known to do weird, subversive, progressive shit for years. Over the years they’ve adopted positive representations of LGBT/differently abled characters without tokenism, blending them straight into the fabric of Riverdale. They’ve also not strayed from the utterly bizarre. Anyone remember the frenzy of 90s team up comics? What about Archie Meets the Punisher or Archie vs. Predator? Whatabout that storyline where Sabrina the Teenage Witch marries H.P. Lovecraft’s #1 ancient one, Cthulhu? Internalised prejudice against CW aside, I’ve got enough goodwill built up through those stacks of double digests to watch a couple of episodes and test the waters. It could end up being as much of a surprise breakout as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (also CW, now that I think of it).

Anyway, I’ve got more cookies to click. See you in Riverdale!

Yes, Ampersandman…

I’m a vivid, sometimes lucid dreamer. I’m hesitant to throw the term “lucid” around, because it’s something that ebbs and flows. I’ve deliberately tried to lucid dream before and done so effectively. It was great. Immediately I started flying and teleporting around the world. I went to Glastonbury festival and watched a bunch of bands. I flew around the streets in my neighbourhood just to see what it felt like a few metres in the air and at high speed. Lucid dreaming was A+. It was also more effort than I wanted to keep up. Lucid dreaming meant applying a lot of attentive thought to the idea right before I fell asleep. Reminding myself to try and look at the written word in my dream. A page from a book, signs, a clock. Telling myself that if I looked closely, glanced away, then looked back to see different or scribbled text, that I was in a dream. I could then guide the dream from that point onward. The hardest part was knowing that I was in a dream and not waking myself up. Even in that subconscious state there was the faint physical sensation of sheets against my resting body. There was an active push to stay in that fantasy world that so often I would lose.

Even when I don’t lucid dream, I’m super fortunate to often be in a position of dominance. Either I’ll possess some kind of powers, or this faint understanding that there’s nothing I can’t accomplish, for some reason. I remember a recent dream where I had to pass a series of tasks in order to win a woman’s hand in marriage. One of the tasks, for instance, was to work a bent cast iron pot back into shape with my bare hands (that’s dream logic for you). I looked at it and thought this is impossible, but no sooner had I taken hold of the pot that I realised oh wait, this is malleable. Everything is. I can’t remember the rest of the tasks, but they were a breeze after that. I also remember her family being a bit creepy, strangely enough. Her brother looked like Stephen Baldwin.

I’ve had flying dreams on the regular since I was a kid. The first one I remember had me as this little kid, no older than 7 or so. I was at my best friend’s house in their pool area. I tried to leave through the gate, but there was no handle. I looked and looked, but couldn’t find a way out. I realised there was a way up and levitated above it. Since I was already airborne, I stayed there. Why not, right? I have Spider-Man dreams a lot. Well, perhaps three times a month. I’ll be going about whatever narrative the dream casts me down, then I’ll realise things would be easier if I just walked up that building. I’ll “thwip” out a web or two and start swinging away. I’ll be strong, agile, bouncing about. Upon waking there’s always a beat of dismay, before realising I’ve got it pretty good, so there’s no point complaining.

The weirdest part is that I don’t even like sleeping. I do it out of necessity, but it’s hard to shake the notion that if I’m dreaming I can’t actually be doing anything. Like Gustav Graves, I’d rather be super productive and rule the world (or at least catch up on all my TV shows). All this power at my disposal and I waste it frivolously. I guess not everyone’s bent on total domination.

I guess Warner Bros isn’t about to sponsor us any time soon.

So what’s happening brothas? It’s a recording day, so I have to bide time after work before heading down to the waterfront to record. Why not take this excuse to ramble on about the everyday stuff going on in my world. I BET THAT’LL BE FASCINATING.

It probably won’t, but there’s an outsider chance, surely. Right place, right time? Perhaps I’ll say something that hits you at the perfect moment of planetary alignment and will forever bind you to my side. Maybe I’ll create a lifelong fan. Or enemy, even. How do we know unless we try?

Firstly, I can’t stop eating. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but I feel like it’s kicked into high gear lately. Because of the perfect confluence of pokémon and Tough Mudder training, I jogged to and from work yesterday, then went out for another jog at 11pm. I think I did around 15km in total. This morning I was a bit achy, but I jogged to work once more. I did gym stuff both days too. What this means (aside from shameless and frankly unbecoming gloating about my level of physical activity (which nobody else should give a shit about)), is that my body needs more food to burn. It’s getting absurd. Today’s tally so far has involved two bananas, an apple, an orange, a bowl of porridge, a handful of almonds, half a large sausage, my usual $5 chicken and three salads lunch combo and a yoghurt/fruit cup. I always crave food (I spend most of each meal thinking about what to eat for my next meal), but my body right now is indiscriminate. FEED ME SEYMOUR it howls. So I comply. My only fear is that this quest for protein escalates to cannibalism. It could happen. I’ll do my best not to season my food with bath salts.

I realise how dumb this is, but I’ve been irrationally excited about the stream of early reviews for Suicide Squad. Ever since the first trailer rolled out, I saw an oncoming steaming pile of shit. Something has bothered me about it since day one, whether it was The Joker’s “damaged” tattoo or the intentional #soedgy vibe running like a current throughout the marketing campaign. The idea that snazzy editing on a few trailers could disguise a clumsy turd nugget of the silver screen desperately apeing after Marvel’s grasp of the cinematic landscape. I wanted it to be bad. I wanted it to contribute to DC’s Mount Olympus of filmic shame alongside The Green Lantern and Batman Five Superman. It looks like I got my wish.

Delving deeper into this, however, reveals that it’s little more than pre-existing bias coming to the fore. I grew up in the 90s when everything was adversarial. You were a Sega kid or a Nintendo kid. You loved Marvel or DC. These pop culture juggernauts were pitted in an endless war waged by their fanbases. I got sucked into this bizarre tribal affiliation and firmly staked my flag into Marvel soil. Now seeing the dominance of Marvel over DC fills me with a petty and (in many ways sad) glee. You know what? I hold Jared Leto in disdain for no reason I can fathom. There’s something about that guy that seems smarmy and charmless and I can’t put my finger on it. I haven’t had any particularly negative experiences with his film and I haven’t followed his professional spotlight enough to form an informed opinion. Still, I don’t like that dude. It makes no sense.

I can’t even say that there’s any great result out of the movie being an apparent crapfest. Do I get to say “I told you so” in any meaningful form? Is that it? Is this me sticking my middle finger up in regards to Big Blockbuster, DC and its pervasive, ham-fisted marketing campaign? Where does that get me? How does that advance my situation whatsoever? Arbitrary hatred is dumb and I’m an idiot for letting it get the better of me. We all know it’s gonna kill at the box office anyway, so what does it matter?

Anyway, it’s about time I have dinner. Because I haven’t eaten enough today, clearly. I’ve got another episode of the Pawdcast to record.

(Oh, and a shameless plug for episode four of The Air Bud Pawdcast, released today)

The quick and the dead and the punished and the dared and the devils in the details.

I’m gonna keep this brief (as brief as 30 minutes of writing can be) because I want to get back to Netflix’s Daredevil season two. It’s been a sort of average season so far, but episode three contained both the return of Rosario Dawson (one of the show’s MVPs) and a lovely tribute to a particular Oscar winning film from last year that had me gripping my blanket/ersatz shawl in an adorably giddy glee. I’m not gonna qualify those as spoilers, surely The Internet is smart enough to assume the above two things would happen? They were smart enough to come up with the name Boaty McBoatface, after all.

Daredevil was never a favourite super hero of mine growing up. To be honest, I tended to veer towards anything X-Men or Venom aligned. The Marvel universe being what it was, endless team ups and altercations meant the cast of characters I grew to enjoy seeing in its pages multiplied as the years went on. Daredevil was never one of them. Most of The Avengers felt boring to me as a kid, barring perhaps Iron Man. All credit to the 90s Saturday morning cartoon and its immaculately animated transformation sequences. Captain America was way too righteous, Thor seemed uninspiring and his costume was dumb. Perhaps I just hated characters with wings on their head. The Flying Nun inhabited a strange grey area. Daredevil was a character I never knew too much about. He showed up in a Spider Man storyline every once in a while and felt like he was born from similar putty as the webcrawler, but with fewer wisecracks. The Affleck film did the franchise no favours. Hell, even Colin Farrell failed to sufficiently lighten up the film. Why would I be pulled in after that?

Netflix’s Daredevil hit the right notes, that’s how. The choreography was exciting and stunningly executed. The flashy fanfare of the large scale Marvel films was scaled back to a grittier crime story with a captivating and loveable villain. The series itself wasn’t perfect. Some of the plots were predictable and silly. The dialogue skewed a tad hammy and “comic booky” at times but it did what it wanted well enough to be engaging. Characters outside Matt Murdock actually had a point. They accomplished things and helped the show progress outside of the realm of vigilante justice. It was great to see a hero with a certain human fragility. Episode after episode he got the ever-loving shit beaten out of him. Rarely ever did he emerge from a fight with a casual scratch or two. He took the beatings and progressed as the series continued. It felt rewarding, earned.

Season two adds The Punisher to the mix and from what I’ve seen they cast the exact right guy. Jon Bernthal strides straight into the show and doesn’t pull his punches. He’s unwavering in his conviction and plays the part note for note. I’m a huge fan of Punisher War Zone (ignore the Rotten Tomatoes ratings, it’s a gory, silly, masterpiece of action comedy). The film is nuts with insane action and impeccable comic timing. It casts The Punisher as a complete psychopath and its madness is all too enthralling. I stand by that film and its splendid skewering of parkour culture. War Zone is a completely different energy to Daredevil, however, and Ray Stevenson’s Punisher just wouldn’t fly. From what I’ve seen so far, Bernthal is killing it and I’m happy to announce that 30 minutes is up, so I can get back to the show.

As long as I don’t become Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal. He’s basically a Mad Max version of Carrot Top.

I bet you were all looking forward to some well planned, thoughtful prose here. Wait, why would you ever expect that? Do you think I’m here to inform, educate and entertain you like some Reithian figure? Of course not. I’m far too busy complaining about how many sweet and delicious things are in the office. Creating problems out of nice gestures, that’s me. Within a 5 metre radius I could easily get my hands on shortbread, iced sugar cookies, Whittaker’s Rum and Raisin chocolate (Canadians don’t seem to appreciate good chocolate), white chocolate peppermint bark, crushed peppermint chocolate chip cookies or tins of soft drink. If I went into the kitchen there are marble seashell chocolates and several type of Swiss chocolate biscuits that would stare back at me like sweet sirens. “I want to be inside you” they’d whisper in a sultry, perhaps husky voice and I’d be too busy battling my feelings of tummy lust to parse whether or not their come hither statement was actually appealing. I’m thinking ahead to family dinner tonight and the inevitable desserts I’ll fail to exercise moderation towards. If you’d tasted my cousin’s baking you’d understand. He could make a diabetic willingly jump head first into a chocolate coma.

So I’m compensating by drinking water. Too much. My urine has lost those delicate straw notes and now resembles something Nestlé would pump from a third world country while denying said country access to its own supply. Don’t think this means I’ve been abstaining from all the baked goods. On the contrary, I’ve had so much that they’ve lost their appeal. Do you know how large my sweet tooth is? If the metaphor extended physically I’d resemble a saber-toothed tiger. Or maybe Sabretooth. I do have the onesie. By the way, is he wearing a costume? I’ve never been able to work out if that’s just his skin/fur. Does he have a natural fur lining? Being able to essentially be naked all the time would be a pretty cool mutant power. Does anyone make a Sabretooth onesie? I’d be mega keen.

I’m ready for the impending Christmas holiday. Things have been apeshit at work (despite the other department currently playing ten pin down the hallway) but we’ve finally had a break in our workload that suffices for a Christmas gift. It’s meant I’m not spending late nights here and I’ll actually be able to flee on time tonight in order to expedite the doomed dessert refusal process. I’m trying to orchestrate a Christmas potluck dinner for friends without family in town. The rogue’s Christmas or friends as family mentality that’s basically just an excuse to eat heaps, get drunk and play parlour games around awesome people. More reason why I should pace myself now and not overindulge. I should be responsible and stop gorging on delicious treats constantly. Perhaps I should even hold up on gulping back excess litres of water before my pee turns invisible.

Buuut we all know that “should” is conditional and discipline isn’t my strong point. If it was, wouldn’t this have been well planned thoughtful prose? Maybe.

I likely never would’ve thought of a Sabretooth onesie though.