I ended at 42,492… but that is by no means a failure.
It’s been all quiet on this particular front, as I’ve been busy doing the usual- working at the day job and lots and lots of typing. I’ve been trying to get back into what I call “desk fighting shape”, where I am in prime physical condition to sit at my desk and work on stuff for long periods of time without going crazy or wandering off only to stand idly in the kitchen. This involves honing my focus, eating lots of food before writing sessions, and a charged iPod. A good selection of movies always helps, as the worst background noise (i.e. if you lose the remote and the TV is stuck on BET or some crap like that) can derail the muse and make you want to dabble in self-lobotomization or some such.
You see, Nanowrimo is almost here again, and I plan on winning again.
I’ve been entering the contest since 2005, but last year was the first year that I actually won. I wrote the first draft of “Leroy Stacks: Book One” (no, it doesn’t have a title yet- I am a fickle bastard), and am not ashamed to admit that I tossed most of that bullshit out because it was, well, shit. It was horrible.
The second draft was easier, but still sucked. I am my own worst critic.
The third draft is when everyone came alive and things finally clicked. The world I created finally felt real and inhabited, and I’m giddy over what the future will bring with this story and these characters who now, finally, have lives on their own. Part of what I’ve realized over the past year (and even more so during the past few months) is that, when it comes down to it, I just want to create.
Concerning my writing, I’ve realized that I’m not competitive about it- I don’t see it as a race with other writers, it’s just simply something I need to do. It’s just natural to me- it’s as easy as breathing, and with the modern technology, I feel like I have a way to do what I want with my work and be happy. I can create my own universe and share it with others. The sole fact that it’s mine makes me feel more powerful than I could have ever imagined.
Because, no matter what?
It’s still fun to me.
Am I serious about it? Fuck yes, I am. Creating is what I do- that’s all there is to it. When I don’t create, I turn into more of an evil, surly bastard than I am when the Redskins play football. At the end of the day, I take my actual job very, very seriously… but, unlike the job that pays me, writing is fun for me, and always has been. How can doing what you love not be fun? It’s a gift! It should be fun!
In other words, I love what I consider my actual job even though it’s not my day job unconditionally.
Like I said, it’s a gift… and it’s awesome each and every day.
But enough with the schmaltz- back to what I was talking about!
Last year I hit the 50,000 mark with about ten days to spare- once I hit it, I just kept going due to the fact that the word count no longer mattered, and the story could just go nuts. Like I said, the bulk of it was shit, but it was a lot of fun. This year, I think I have a new goal.
I’d like to hit fifty thousand words by November 10th… while I’m working a full time job and trying to be a normal human being.
I know, I know- there’s no way in hell that’ll happen, right?
That, of course, means that I will do EVERYTHING IN MY DAMN POWER to make sure it does. It also means that I will need to come up with creative, quick dinner choices so I can scarf down some food and keep on typing away.
So, without further ado…
A NANOWRIMO DINNER RECIPIE FIT FOR A GRIFF
This Particular Meal: Amityville Primo Pasta
1. A can of Chef Boyardee- doesn’t matter what kind. Get your favorite. Simmer it. This means “cook it”, but I used a nice word. Just cook it, will you? Undercooked Chef Boyardee is NASTEEE. Chef Boyardee is nasty, but if you undercook it? NASTEE. COOK IT!
2. Chicken. Any kind. Just chop it up and cook it however you like. You don’t want salmonella poisoning, do you? COOK IT!
3. Rice. Make it. I own a rice cooker, which is the greatest invention since sleep. It cooks in the neato machine, you see. COOK THE RICE TOO, BUT NOT TOO MUCH AS YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SWIMMING THROUGH RICE IN THE KITCHEN IN ORDER TO GET TO THE FRIDGE.
Here’s what you do to “plate” the meal:
Step one: Combine everything. Season according to taste, because Chef Boyardee is bland as all hell. Personally, I like sriracha because it’s awesome and works with everything. Except dessert. Don’t fuck up dessert, y’all.
Step two: Eat. Refuel yourself, because you have more writing to do.
YES, I EAT HORRIBLY WHEN I’M MOTIVATED TO KICK ASS
Naturally, like the title of this blog post says, it is the Era of Clobberin’ Time around here. I will kick all asses that need to be kicked. I will succeed, damn it!
This calls for a STATUS UPDATE!
STATUS UPDATE THINGIE
Since Nanowrimo is coming up, all projects have been put on the metaphorical back burner… except for three:
Untitled Leroy Stacks Book 1: Soon! Soon, damn you! This will see the light of day sooner than you think!
The Great Zombie Rewrite: Expect it first! Expect it sooner than Leroy Stacks’ first adventure! I’m completely serious about this! Once it drops, you will be like “Uh, what? Griff just surprised the shit out of me!” BOOM!
Leeds Company: And this is the Nanowrimo project for 2011. A supernatural kung-fu western tale with loads of heroic bloodshed. Its’ origins date back to… 1998. IT IS A STORY YEARS IN THE MAKING AND I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER FIRST TO GO CRAZY WITH IT.
The following roller derby video is the team introductions for the DC Demoncats vs. the debuting Majority Whips. This was a fantastic bout that came down to the wire, and saw the Majority Whips win by ONE. FREAKING. POINT. 94-93. It was intense.
The voice doing the intros for the Demoncats (the team in the silver and red), as well as one half of the ensuing announcing… is mine.
Needless to say, the DC Rollergirls are awesome and I’m proud to be announcing for them during this sixth season of what will be fantastic derby action.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Follow Leroy Stacks on Twitter- he’s @LeroyStacks.
Also, be excellent to each other.
Summer’s almost over, I learned that the Big Push never ends, and I got my heart ripped out and stomped on. What a fabulous month and a half it’s been!
You’re probably wondering about the “heart ripped out and stomped on” part, which means I hooked you.
Long story short, I went for a promotion at work, did not get it, and have been enduring sheer hell ever since... and it’s funny what that particular professional setback did to me. For a while I was consumed with a feeling of self-hatred and worthlessness- why was it that I consistently busted my ass and couldn’t catch a break? Was I doing something wrong? Why won’t anyone give me a shot? Day in and day out, I asked myself these questions, and while I could assure myself each and every time that I had done the right things and that my time would come, I was still drowning in my own shame. Co-workers openly wondered why I didn’t get the position, and I just shrugged it off and did my best to stay professional; I still had a job to do, so I was a ranty, frothing, profane mess at home during my off hours.
As I waded through the days, trying to find some sort of reasoning for continuing to show up to a job that I’d hit the glass ceiling at, I remembered something very important. Something almost… prophetic. Something that says volumes towards what my goal is and how badly I want it.
It happened, ironically enough, during the interview for the promotion. I was talking about my approach towards how I would handle things in the position, I had a very distinct thought in the back of my head:
I don’t want to be here. I’d really, really rather be writing now instead of dealing with this.
Looking back on the whole spectacle (and trust me, it’s been quite the mess Professional Griff got himself involved in), that’s the one thing that sticks out to me. Amidst the possibility of getting a new job and moving up in the company, getting more pay and better hours, I knew what I really wanted to do.
I knew what I should be doing.
I knew what I can and ultimately will be doing.
I know what I am doing from here on in.
Sure, I still get angry about the whole ordeal- it opened up a can of worms that ain’t going back in the can, but at the end of it all, I got my purpose back.
PLEASE ALLOW ME TO RE-INTRODUCE MYSELF
Hi, I’m Griff.
While I get paid to do another job during the day, I’m a writer.
What do you do?
STATUS REPORT UPDATE ON UPCOMING PROJECTS STUFF BECAUSE I’VE BEEN WORKING DURING MY QUIET RAGE
Untitled Leroy Stacks Book One – Draft Five! It’s a comedic sci-fi romp! There might be a sex scene or two! Getting thrown at pre-readers when I want my heart ripped out again! You better ketchup the shit out of that shit!
Untitled Leroy Stacks Book Two – Notecards are fun! I got a plot! There’s fighting and the zaniest reality TV show known to man! Battle Royale meets The Jersey Shore! Gotta finish the first one first! Sauce it!
Untitled Leroy Stacks Book Three – This is now officially a saga! Not a trilogy! We are wrapping up a storyline and moving on to new adventures! If this book was a movie, its code name would be “THE NOOB SAIBOT STORY”! No one knows what that means but me! After one and two are done, then comes three! Put some pepper on it!
The Great Zombie Rewrite – I like zombies, yes I do, I like zombies, how ‘bout you? Draft Three! Coming to pre-readers when it’s done- they will then stab me in the heart! Nuke it ‘cuz it’s cold!
The Leeds Company Saga – Young Guns meets Scarface meets Eight Diagram Pole Fighter meets Batman… IF BATMAN WAS A DEMON! What the hell is wrong with my brain? I don’t know but I like it! Ongoing scribbling ‘cuz it ain’t done! It’s an epic! It’s gonna hurt when pre-readers tell me how much I suck! Throw it on the grill and BURN IT!
A Van Helsing Project – The existence of Stephen Sommers’ Van Helsing has pissed me off so much that my brain screamed “WHAT WOULD JOO DO?!” at three o’clock in the morning. I came up with this. It’s got a Van Helsing in it. And a Dracula. And I re-read a lot of my books on Draculas, played a lot of Darkstalkers over the years, watched “The Warriors” a lot as “research”… and it’s not what you think. SPOOKY! INTRIGUING! Ongoing! Cook my brain because it’s fried!
AND THOSE ARE ALL MY PROJECTS
Too many ideas! Too many things to do! I will succeed because there is no other option!
Yeah! *fist pump*
Thanks for reading!
This past week has been fraught with mental peril and sleep deprivation. If I believed in word counts- something that I officially stopped believing in this past week- then’d I’d be all like, “THIS IS HOW MANY WORDS I’VE WRITTEN!” but I don’t anymore.
I’m much more interested in the story this time out. The numbers involved in telling it can go to hell.
LEROY STACKS has turned into a bit more of a mercurial character than he was in the first and second drafts- in the first draft, he was a wet blanket of a man, always reacting and never really taking the offensive until HAHA NO SPOILERS HERE. Draft #3 has turned him into a bit more of a social force to be reckoned with- he takes control and handles things his own way… sometimes with his fists (someone’s put on some muscle since their last outing), and other times just by saying whatever he feels. I wrote a bit this morning that involved him at an open mic night after an interesting encounter at a local carnival that left him a bit romantically shaken up, and I found it funny, touching and a bit absurd that he let loose with a crazy story from his past in order to cope with the new, mysterious element in his life, but fun all the same.
I think “fun” is the keyword here.
I like this first story of his now because it’s become fun again. I know how it ends, and I can’t wait to get to that moment. I’m enjoying letting it play out the way it is in my head- something full fledged and real; the previous hundred thousand words or so spread over countless files have created an amalgam of a completed product in my head- I’m not cutting and pasting old stuff into a new files- situations and ideas that I merely sketched out before are being put back on the page completely whole as well as brand new, and I’m having a blast. I used to hate this thing because I couldn’t get it out of my head, and I had so much that ABSOLUTELY HAD TO HAPPEN, and now?
Now, I’m okay with it. I’m giddy at what the future holds for this particular venture. As wacky as this tale is going to end up being, as long as I can tell it naturally, then I’ll be more than happy with the end result.
I think that’s my ultimate goal with this project, to be honest. It’s not about success or failure at this point in the game; it’s just about me being happy with what I’m doing.
I’m perfectly allowed to be selfish in that regard, right?
This is Griff, from June 30th, 2011, writing to you because tomorrow, you start on The Big Push!
I’d like to remind you, Future Griff, that when you decided on this plan, you knew that it was going to be a great idea. I mean, I’m the rational, past part of your brain that you will destroy over the course of the next thirty one days, so I think it’s up to me to make a list as to why you’re doing this.
Because, I know what Future Griff is all about.
I know that you’re gonna get pissed about everything, hit a wall, get even angrier, yell at people at work, toss boxes around, and do all the stuff you usually do when you get surly. When you start eating frozen Snickers at 5:45 in the morning before downing a glass full of Zipfizz, don’t say I didn’t know what I was talking about.
Anyway, what you have to do is this- once you get mad, read this list. It’s part inspiration and part reaffirmation. Don’t forget to tell your friends on the Internetscope to shove this in your face when you start bitching!
It’s going to remind you why you’re doing this.
CUE THE BULLET POINTS
To begin, I’m a fan of audio commentary tracks on DVDs and Blu-Rays. They’re such a treat, and I’m always fascinated by the insight to a movie or TV show’s creative process.
Unfortunately, just like everyone else, I have opinions about what I watch.
Sometimes they make sense, and sometimes they don’t.
Sometimes… I like to share them no matter what.
On Twitter, my screen name is “Griffmoy”. Whenever I’m inspired to rant like a half baked lunatic (which is a lot, actually), I fire up a hashtag known as “#Griffmentary” and tweet whatever I see on screen. It could be a TV show, it could be a movie, it could be a video game… if it ends up with mental lightning striking my brain, #Griffmentary is on like neckbone.
In a nutshell, that’s what “Griffmentary” is- I trot out the digital soapbox and express my opinions on my own personal format.
It’s fun and enjoyable for me and hopefully for everyone else that follows along.
So, if you follow me on Twitter and wonder just what the hell “#Griffmentary” means, now you know.
And knowing is half the blah blah bliddy blah.
I went looking for Leroy Stacks during my lunch hour last Saturday. I headed downtown because there were places there that looked like places he’d been. Where he worked. Where he had fights with his girlfriend. Where he found trouble. Where his life changed. I didn’t expect to find him- if I do, I know I’ll truly have gone crazy- but I knew that we live in similar worlds and hang out in similar places, although his world is a lot more scary than mine.
Or maybe it isn’t.
Only time will tell.
We’re the somewhat the same, but very different. I grew up an only child with two loving and caring parents, while he grew up in phases- at the beginning, he had both parents and an older brother… and then a parent and an older brother… and finally just a parent who didn’t know exactly what to do with a kid who’d lost half his world. What to teach him, how to make sure he’d be able to get by life. I’ve had more than enough of a foundation- Leroy? Well, he had to make due with what he had. Family leaving, bad luck at every turn, social stupidity around every corner. Leroy might joke about it when he can, but I think he hates that. I think he hates me for knowing about it. Some days I can’t tell.
Leroy and I dealt with some of the same things growing up, but in different ways. An icy, snowy day that led to a sophomore high school me wanting to make it on my school bus in one piece as kids from various neighborhoods decided to fight in the senior parking lot- I was alone, confused, just trying to find bus 765 or whatever the hell number it was without getting punched in the face turned into some weird, nightmarish scene from “The Warriors” for Leroy, as he was surrounded by snow and ice and just trying to survive.
He kept seeing Imps.
He doesn’t like talking about that a whole lot, but I’ll get the full story out of him.
I’ve been sitting on telling Leroy’s story for a long time now- too long, in fact. It’s been so long that I think he’s starting to get antsy. I can see it perfectly- him pacing back and forth, rolling his shoulders, getting anxious, wondering when the “stupid fucking writer” is going to pull the trigger. Everyone’s starting to lean on me too- “Is the book done?”, “How’s the book?”, “Is there sex in your book?” (my mom asked me that one, which means she cares)… a lot of conversation surrounds “the book”, and you know what?
It’s time to finish “the book”. Once and for all.
With that said...
I’m referring to July as The Big Push.
If I can hold down a full time job and write fifty thousand words in ten days (NaNoWriMo, I miss you), I can finish this goddamn thing in a month. Like John Locke said, don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.
I can get this done, I can get this out of my head once and for all, and I can move onto the next project rattling around in my brain.
I have to.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, will be my July.
I can honestly say that it is going to be an absolute blast.. and the end result will be worth it in spades.
I have a grin on my face already…
I consider myself a creative person. I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I’m nowhere near being athletic, but I like words, so writing’s it for me as far as self-expression goes.
Unfortunately, my brain is… off the rails.
I have no control as to what sets the wheels in motion- random things happen, and I get consumed by the need to create. It’s like having tunnel vision with a myriad of pictures and scenes flashing, and all I can do is try to flesh each and every one out as best I can.
Here’s where the “problem” begins.
Each little scene brings with it a whole host of new scenes.
Repeat to infinity until I start typing like crazy, and have to blast loud music in order to stop the cavalcade of ideas in order to focus on just one.
Here’s an example:
One day, I was sitting down watching the Discovery Channel. I wanted to watch something mindless, so I decided to settle for “A Haunting”. The show is one of those deals where families get haunted by a ghost or there’s a possession or something wacky like that. It usually makes me laugh and the best part?
I don’t have to think a whole lot. I can just watch and let time pass.
As this family in particular was lamenting the fact that they didn’t know who to go to for help, something in my brain clicked.
“What if they got the wrong guy?”
Not the fact that they might have stumbled onto hiring a serial killer or something like that, but someone who was truly going to help them… and completely be an asshole in the process.
The bullet points represent my thoughts:
You kinda get the idea… especially if all of those ideas hit in just a few minutes. Time slows down and I get in the zone. I like it. I feel comfortable there.
And then something else happens, I get inspired, and the madness starts all over again. It feels like an infinite army of Griffs are working on an infinite number of ideas. Some people might see it as it being madness, and I can see that.
Here’s a secret, though: if this is madness, then I’m perfectly happy being crazy. I like it when I feel like lightning strikes, the stimuli align perfectly, and I set off on a creative tear that ends up involving 14 hour writing benders and Earl Grey Tea.
And even when it doesn’t, even when there are the dark moments where the words don’t look right on the page, it doesn’t matter.
I know that all it takes is one little thing and I’ll be back where I belong.
This time, things feel a little different.
I’m referring to the recent announcement that this fall, DC Comics will be rebooting their entire line- the currently available details are at the previous link for those that want to know the skinny.
As a long time (and currently apathetic & burned out) comic book fan… I understand the decision, and since the "universe rebooting” event hasn’t ended yet, I find myself throwing my hands up in disgust at the blatancy of it all. Things like this have happened before, but this particular event (due to the various news stories) seems to be sweeping everything under the rug with no ties to currently established continuity whatsoever… until DC says otherwise, that is. All things considered, due to the language used in the story above (save for a mention about current Green Lantern events carrying over somehow), this is the end of current shindig as comic fans know it.
We’ve been here before.
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS was the first big DC event to throw the baby out with the bathwater and completely retool everything in order to start anew- in the span of twelve issues, it took care of all of the continuity woes (separate Earths! Different versions of characters! The Flash! Supergirl! ALL GONE!) and gave creators the chance to remake the DC Universe into something that wasn’t bogged down with decades of continuity.
Unfortunately, a new continuity gives birth to even more problems… and with that, there was another attempt to clean things up, kill off some characters, make some new ones, and head in a new direction.
NINE YEARS after the first CRISIS, ZERO HOUR happened. Things had been all wimbly nimbly character wise- Hal Jordan, the former Green Lantern, had gone crazy and wiped out the Green Lantern Corps, becoming a villain known as Parallax in the process, and he was now using his great power to destroy the DC Universe. In the course of these events, more things were retconned out of existence (Hey, Batman? Guess what? You never caught your parents’ killer! Ooooh, I bet you’re gonna be a dick later on this decade!), titles were outright cancelled (goodbye, L.E.G.I.O.N. and Justice League International), and some characters were even more screwed up than before (OH HAI HAWKMAN). And, of course, in order to take care of Hal Jordan’s little problem, it was time for another event to send him on his way. You can’t have a former hero running around as a villain forever, can you?
In FINAL NIGHT, an alien crashes to Earth and warns of the coming of the Sun-Eater. Shock of all shocks, it was coming to consume the Sun (yes, the planet), and everyone banded together (or attempted to… hi, Lex Luthor!) to stop the menace. In the end, it was Hal Jordan who saved the planet at the cost of his life, redeeming himself in the process… and the characters moved on. Kyle Rayner, the current Green Lantern of the time, really began to come into his own, and in time the Justice League reformed with the big heroes taking full charge.
Things seemed okay, all things considered… until years later.
Someone said the ‘C’ word again.
IDENTITY CRISIS planted the first seeds that some more change was afoot. Written by Brad Meltzer, it was a somewhat controversial storyline in which Sue Dibny, the Elongated Man’s wife, is murdered... and things only get even more cloudy from there. While the story itself is a murder mystery, it becomes a nice little character piece that shows just how far heroes will go to keep their loved ones safe, and just how far their loved ones will go to keep them close. Uncharacteristically dark for DC at the time, it was a definite shift in the brand’s storytelling (i.e. DARK AS FUCK), and set the stage for CRISIS PART TWO: THIS TIME, WE’LL CALL IT INFINITE CRISIS.
Enter INFINITE CRISIS. Everything and its’ brother’s sister’s mother’s grandfather started coming to a head after IDENTITY CRISIS- Batman became even more of a dick, Wonder Woman ended up killing Maxwell Lord (longtime Justice League International fixture turned villain because of… something.), and Superman was… Superman. This event was considered the official sequel to CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, and involved the survivors of that event (including the original Superman that debuted in 1938) interacting with the current superheroes during the time period…
And it was a fan’s dream. INFINITE CRISIS was an acknowledgement to the past of the DC Universe as well as a culmination of said universe’s present. Everything had been building to these events of these seven issues- callbacks to even more continuity issues (i.e. Power Girl’s origins) were taken care of. I mean, even the unthinkable happened- the original Superman DIED.
And that was it. No more CRISIS..ES. After the Big Three (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman) collected themselves, the DC Universe was set to-
OH COME ON!
FINAL CRISIS was touted as being the end of the”modernly-conceptualized” CRISIS trilogy- and for some, it was a haphazard mess that was buoyed by too many ancillary series’- while there were moments in the main series’ seven issues that more than delivered, fans didn’t seem to take to the events as much as they were expected to. In short, it all built to this moment:
As far as the characters of the DC Universe were concerned, he did. Meanwhile, storywise- Batman was alive and well, shunting through time in order to make his way back to the floating present time that is (or was) the DC Universe.
By and large, that was it for the big-
Okay, zombies? Nice- I can- WAIT, WHAT?! Okay, that happened while Batman was dead and everyone was still coming to grips with that, and it linked with INFINITE CRISIS, and everyone faced their pasts, and… wait, a follow-up to a zombie story?!
Okay, so that’s fallout from everything that’s happened since INFINITE CRISIS- okay, okay, I can dig thi-
And this is it. FLASHPOINT. This is the event that leads to the reboot of the DC Universe. Since we don’t know how it ends (but we know that all the current series end with the end of this particular miniseries), it’s unknown if the current versions of the DC characters will get a sendoff like…
…and I don’t think they will. If it’s a total sweep under the rug for the current incarnations of the DC Universe, then that’s what it is. If it’s not (i.e. in a year to 18 months, one of the “current” incarnations of a hero shows up in this rebooted universe to kickstart things going back to “normal”), then it’s a pretty shitty thing to do to consumers, and it leaves me asking one question:
Whatever happened to the Men and Women of Tomorrow?
Where did the modern approach to comic-book storytelling fall by the wayside so badly that it was decided to reboot this whole universe and focus on “younger” versions of these iconic characters? Was it because of the constant “big” events? Was it a kneejerk reaction to the world around us? The beautiful thing about comic books is the fact that it all exists in “floating present” time if you want to- for instance, you can still use old, established events that took place the 1970s right here in the 2010s just as long as the story benefits from it.
Did modern creators lose faith in what they could accomplish with the current roster of DC Universe characters?
I am a firm believer that when it comes to fiction, there are no bad characters- there are only bad stories told about them. For every horrible character in existence, there is one person that can get a good story out of them and make that character stand out. I’ve never felt that there’s a need to throw established fictional history under a bus in order to tell a story- that story will come around with that character regardless, so just let it happen. There are ways to get to that point- and I’m not saying that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman all need to fall into a Lazarus Pit and get younger in order to make everything that’s coming up make sense, but you get the idea… that is, if you know what Lazarus Pits are.
Needless to say, I can understand this changeover from a “relevancy” aspect, but I don’t like it. I dig DC’s focus on digital publishing, but I don’t like being told that there will be a focus on diversity- I don’t need to be told that there is a documented and shoehorned effort to be “diverse”- just let it happen naturally through the storytelling. Let the “African-American adventurer Cyborg” and the “lesbian superheroine Batwoman” and the “Hispanic hero Blue Beetle” (I’m not making that up, read the link above- this is the perception that USA Today has from this reboot) grow into these apparently spotlighted positions naturally via good storytelling rather than saying “THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO WITH THESE CHARACTERS”. I can understand that there’s a need to relate to younger readers as well as other demographics, but as alluded to earlier, you can tell the same “grounded in the real world” stories with this current crop of characters just fine.
As someone that just wants to tell a story regardless of the medium, this sucks… but the story isn’t over.
The story never ends- it might be put on hold for a while, but the stories that we all want?
They’ll see the light of day somehow.
No matter what happens, whether we like it or not, there’s one thing to keep in mind: the versions of the characters we love will still exist after this reboot.
And they’ve all been through a lot.
We’ve all been through it before… and they always came back, right?
Here’s to the new class in the fall.
*Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? is the perfect “ending” for Batman. Period.
I like to listen to how people talk. Diction, pronunciation, enunciation, accents, all these things make me giddy- I especially get a kick out of when things are pronounced wrong or words are horribly misused. This quirk of mine is so bad that I will randomly break out into fits of laughter at constant use of lowercase words on a page (or chat program, or Twitter post, or what have you). I don’t know why, it just does. Unfortunately, this makes me a bit of an ass during some conversations, as I will purposely steer some social encounters down horrible social roads so I can visualize my own perceived bits of hilarity and laugh on the inside.
Case in point! One day I was in the break room at lunch when the conversation steered to how much a co-worker’s food cost for the day- she paid somewhere along the line of $10 for some carryout food, and with me being… uh, “me”, I randomly offered this nugget of wisdom:
“You know, we’re going to have to start saving money around here since this place can’t pay any bills . They might fire us any day now. Time to stock up on Rice-A-Roni!”
“What’s that,” the coworker asked. I waited for her to give me some sign that she was joking. She didn’t. I dove on in anyway.
“It’s the San Francisco Treat! You don’t know what Rice-A-Roni is?”
“No, what is it?”
I was at a loss because I didn’t know how to exactly explain what Rice-A-Roni was. It just is, you know?
I tried anyway.
“It’s that rice in a box that you get in the store and you cook it and-“
The look on her face was one of disgust.
“Nuh uh, that’s poor people’s food, I’d never eat that.”
The break room instantly chimed in with “HUH?!”s and “WHAT?!”’s and “UH UH!” and all other sorts of monosyllabic expressions of shock and discontent. My brain did the usual thing does when I hear something I don’t quite understand- it cursed about the situation as I analyzed it due to the one part of it that wasn’t going nuts.
IF YOU SLOW THE WORLD DOWN, THIS IS HOW MY BRAIN WORKS… ALLEGEDLY.
QUESTION #1: In the confines of this conversation, what is classified as “poor people’s food”?
ANSWER: Food you can buy for cheap, i.e. Rice-A-Roni.
LAME CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN EFFECT: In that regard, there’s lots of “poor people’s food” out there according to this person’s reasoning- the Dollar Menu at your favorite fast food restaurant (which this person also goes to and complains about the diced onions on their McDouble), economically awesome sales at your local grocer (A sale on frozen burritos?! Yes please! That’s dinner, a late night snack, and for those crazy Sunday mornings… breakfast!), etc, etc. In short, “poor people’s food” covers a lot of stuff in this case. Food is food, right? Food in your stomach is a plus, and being able to obtain that food without destroying your funds is a double plus.
Maybe this means that we’re all poor, and my coworker is rich!
IN CONCLUSION: I find myself in the middle of odd conversations a lot.
AND THAT’S HOW I GRADUATED COLLEGE IN FOUR YEARS… LAME CRITICAL THINKING AT ITS FINEST
I started thinking about all the cheap food I like that other people probably wouldn’t touch (Oh hi, ramen noodles!) and I came to another (lame) conclusion- who cares about what we eat as long as we’re happy with it?
Maybe there weren’t any yetis, but it was still a crazy time.
I work downtown but live a hell of a lot more north than most of my co-workers, so when the snow started coming down around 4 PM yesterday, I knew I was in for a bit of adventure on my way home. They turned me loose a little bit before 5, and I made it to my main Metro station around a quarter to 6. Easy peasy, right?
That’s when the warning signs started to creep up on me, cackling and giggling with devious intent.
“Ooooh, you’re in for it now,” one said.
“I’ve been through worse,” the rational part of my brain offered. I’ve survived hurricanes, lightning strikes (granted, I was in a car at the time), and high school… what’s a snowstorm going to do to me?
It turns out that it’s not what the snowstorm can do to me, it’s what it can do to things out of my control… like buses. And people on the bus. And power lines. I’m getting ahead of myself, but I think you’re starting to get the idea as to what the hell to me happened last night…
HEY MAN, WE STUCK!
A bus finally pulled up sometime around 6:30, and after some hemming and hawing with the driver about what route she was going to take (she didn’t seem to have any clue as to what route she was on next, even though it was eventually the one we needed to take… physical foreshadowing at its finest), we were on our way. Slowly. Moving very slowly. I didn’t mind- I just sat back, Twittered a bit, and waited. I was going to get home somehow, and that was that.
Then the bus didn’t move for a while.
It turned out that there were a few cars stuck on the small incline in front of us, so the rest of the bus started hollering for the driver to drive around the stuck cars and continue on our merry way. She tried that, and we got stuck in a ditch. Cue more hollering. A woman’s three-year-old began to parrot his mom’s wonderful statements of “Sumbitch bus ain’t moving”, and my personal favorite after a while, “fucking bus ain’t moving”, so he fit in with the masses just fine. Besides, I find cursing toddlers hilarious.
As for the assorted people on the bus, well…
EVERY APOCALYPTIC SCENARIO NEEDS A COMEDIAN THAT IS SWALLOWED UP BY THE DARK FORCES AT THE END OF IT ALL
This situation’s comedian is best described an eighth-generation Tracy Morgan analogue, a man who would yell for non-existent weed, take a swig out of his conveniently stashed bottle of wine every so often, leave the bus to smoke a cigarette, and randomly shout how he “GOT A BULLET LODGED IN HIS SPINE SO WE NEED TO GET THE BUS MOVIN” or that he was “PREGNANT SO CALL 911”- in short, it was just the amount of levity people needed in order to almost laugh the situation off.
Except for the toddler.
Still parrotting his mom’s “fucking sumbitch” vocabulary, the little reality TV show star in training was hopping up and down on the bus, wondering why it wasn’t moving, yelling for his mom even though she was right there, and being a nuisance to everyone even though he didn’t know any better… until his mom made him stop all that nonsense via a Motherly Face Grab, some Shaking, and the “Sit Yo’ Ass Down” technique.
Small emergency situations involving a large group of people are microcosms of life… which is why when dominance started being established via alcohol, I wasn’t surprised.
DRINKING BEER AND WAITING FOR THE END SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD PLAN
The guy next to me had some Coronas in his bag, and proceeded to try and sell them off at $3 a bottle- “Better than the bar”, he proclaimed. Some folks were shocked, others took him up on the offer, and I just waited to see who was going to break the seal and venture out into the snow to pee.
Some poor girl did, but not because of beer. Everyone clapped. It’s odd as to what people will clap for and when, but I digress- things were getting out of control in a hurry. The bus driver had turned into a mute, deciding not to communicate with us directly over the bus speakers, as another passenger would shout out whatever she had to say to us.
AND THIS IS HOW IT WENT DOWNHILL- NOT THE BUS, BUT THE SITUATION
According to the bus driver (and relayed to us via the world’s worst game of Telephone), the next bus available to pick us up was forty-five minutes away. This was around 9 PM, and the bus driver wouldn’t say when she called her dispatch in order to attempt to get us some help. A few plows showed up but wouldn’t attempt to help us get out of the ditch, and people started to get antsy.
And then, It happened.
What is It, you ask? It is that moment when one comment turns a situation on its head, ups the stakes dramatically, and causes a panic that isn’t good for the situation whatsoever.
It went down like this: one passenger, a young lady who had been fairly quiet throughout the ordeal, suddenly stood up and shouted:
“Y’ALL! THERE IS A MCDONALDS TWENTY MINUTES AWAY, AND WE ARE SITTING UNDER TREES AND POWER LINES! THE POWER LINES ARE ABOUT TO SNAP! WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE!”
I had more than a few issues with her statement- number one, how in the hell did she know about the situation with the power lines when she hadn’t been outside? Number two, yes there was a McDonalds’ twenty minutes away… on a good day, not in the middle of a crazy ass snowstorm. We were stuck on backroads, and what lanes were available were hideously compromised via snow and ice and stuck cars, not to mention that there was traffic still going in both directions when it could… so, uh, I found this little exclamation to be almost farcical… until I looked out the window and saw an electrical blue flash.
STAMPEDE, BUT NOT THE GOOD KIND.
Half the bus fled into the night- the Comedian was gone, the booze was gone, and it was like the end of The Mist. The movie, not the short story. Yes, it was getting that bad. The bus driver was still mum, almost catatonic, not saying a word, probably thinking she was way underpaid to deal with this shit and wondering who the hell had been drinking on the bus and why it smelled like cigarettes. Grouping up and pushing us out of the ditch wasn’t happening, so all we could do was wait.
At 9:45, the local Department of Transportation showed up with a plan- get on another bus, head back to the station, and they would get us home. Hooray! We were saved!
By 10, we’re back at the station. By 10:06, the bus driver is nowhere to be found. By 10:10, we are shit out of luck because there is no plan in place, no cabs running, and nothing to get the Stranded out of that station.
I was ready to walk at this point- all I had to do was navigate a major highway, make it to a side street a mile away, walk another mile and a half, and I was home free.
That’s when a few of us saw another bus. It wasn’t going anywhere near my neighborhood, but after asking the bus driver, he “confirmed” that he would be headed to a street near my apartment, which would have been a closer trek on foot.
SAVED! WAIT, NO… NOT AT ALL
Turns out, the bus driver had a talent for Lying Like The Dickens. He went the wrong way and almost skidded off the road, flipping the bus OFF A BRIDGE in the process. One stop later, and I was off the bus, determined not to get crushed in a bus and to get home via my own two feet. My phone had skipped out on the last fifteen percent of battery life, so it was me, my feet, two and a half miles of snow and ice, and a couple dozen plows and cars to dodge.
NUMBER OF NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES THAT NIGHT: FOUR
1) Power lines
2) Possible bus flippage and careening off a bridge
3) Death via plow and car – had to run out of the way into oncoming traffic
4) Death via skidding car on residential side street
If you can dodge a plow, you can dodge anything.
AND WHAT DID WE LEARN, CLASS?
The next time there’s a forecast for major snow in this area, I’m not going to work. Last night was a “karmically” funny thing that I will never, e-e-e-e-ever do again…