Monday, April 24, 2017

Mushrooms and Vigilantism

Dear Graziano's of Capitol Street,

First, I love your pizza. It's quick, and painless, and good. But, that's not why I'm writing. I just want to express a concern that I've had since the last time I was in, it's been a few weeks now.

I've tried to talk myself down off my high horse (like I said, your pizza is good) but my concern comes from one of your staff having a handgun holstered to their hip. It really bothers me.

Yes, I'm aware of their right to have the weapon on their person. But, it is a weapon, and I bring my daughters in there. Your argument may be the line where you tell me I'd be singing a different tune if ever your establishment was held up while me and my daughters were in there, and maybe you're right. But I think having potentially two weapons engaged in conflict is going to up the chances that at least one of those weapons will be discharged. Also, I'm aware of the likelihood that there has always been a weapon close at hand in the establishment, and I can't tell you why I'm more comfortable with the thought of a shotgun "behind the bar" than someone in your employ deputizing himself in Pizza Town.

I find the presence of the weapon to be intimidating, which is counter to the feeling of welcome that I search for when going into an establishment to have a meal.

Also, I know that the employee makes regular deliveries in the course of their work, and there is certainly an argument to be made that Capitol Street has had its share of violent crime in the past. To this I say the weapon invites violence, and lends to the appearance that the employee is carrying a substantive sum of cash. Perhaps the employee has already experienced a violent encounter and that is the reason they feel the need to protect themselves with a visual deterrent, but I certainly hope not.

In any event, it's just something I felt I needed to bring up. I look forward to having your pizza again, as soon as you go back to just wielding pizza cutters.


Dorge Kas

Thursday, March 16, 2017

We Are Comics

I like the new Legion show but I have a hangup about Audrey Plaza being cast as Lenny. I mean, am I the only one that remembers her as Julie Powers in the comicbook movie Scott Pilgrim vs the World? What we're looking at here is just a muddying of the comic waters that's getting a little too...muddy for me. How can anyone even see past Julie Flowers in Legion? Her consummate eye roll and tilt of industrious unease? It's too big a leap for me, Reader.
But...what if it's still Julie Powers? What if the rumors I've been hearing are true and the bad guy is the Shadow King, and he's just controlling Julie Flowers??


Than's thin, I admit. After all it's looking like if the bad guy is indeed the Shadow King then Lenny is just a skin he wears. But man-oh-man I want it to be Shadow King. I've loved that guy ever since:

Takes you back, huh? Can't believe I forgot that guy. Cheers to you, comics, love ya.

Thursday, March 9, 2017


My baby turns ten in a few days. I'm not sure what that means. I'm having trouble processing it. You can start to see what she'll look like when she's older. I don't know about that, I think I'm just repeating something people say about kids. One of my first posts on here was instructions on how her crib should be made up. We still have all those Muppets, they're just in the younger daughter's room, she's three.
Today I was wondering what I should write concerning my daughter's decade status. I thought I might write about us having been on some mission together for the last ten years but I couldn't get any traction in my mind for that. She's running back and forth behind me. It's kind of annoying when you're trying to write. She brought home straight A's today on her report card, which usually means a trip to the Mexican restaurant down the road.
Last night I was thinking that I had gone in to check on her before I went to bed for ten years now. Straightening the blankets, pulling the one-too-many pillow out from under her head. Sometimes she likes to sleep in the floor. A cute quirk when she was thirty pounds, now I just leave her there most of the time.
She hides the 3DS from me when I check to make sure she's asleep. Closing the screen and ducking the power indicator light under the covers. This would work if she didn't shove herself under the covers as well. I know how you sleep, child, and that's not it. Go to bed or I take the 3DS.
She has dreams that she's walking on a dirt road and someone's talking to her but she can't turn her head. She has dreams that someone pushed her out of a window.
She doesn't like spaghetti. She doesn't like vegetables. She requests my macaroni and cheese for every family dinner event; a recipe I got from a Nintendo DS game. She likes Fanta in any flavor (except the blue, sometimes). She does not like cheese on her burgers.
When I'm in a tight spot in a video game I need her to sit beside me as my good luck charm. It's the only way I beat DOOM.
We make fun of other kids, because they're stupid. We say things like "They should go to hell" and "I just want to punch them in the face."
Her mother and I are trying to raise a good person. I'm a little too easy on her, I know. She can be lazy and it drives me crazy. When she's forced to clean her room she tells me she needs a break after making her bed. Also, she watches this really stupid show on Netflix called Some Assembly Required. I told her when she turned ten she could watch The Dark Knight with me. I really want to watch Predator with her, but I hesitate when I think of the people skinned-alive.
We ride bikes together. Her mother had to teach her how to ride because I was getting so frustrated and impatient. I would just yell. But she's got it now. I'm trying to show her how to stand up and get more power for hills but she's not really having it. She needs a bigger bike now.
We play punch bug in the car. It's annoying for the rest of the family.
She protests every shower, yet when she's in there you'd think she was auditioning for Water World. I didn't come up with that. "Are you auditioning for Water World?" was scribbled on my water bill last month. Good one, water company.
She keeps about forty different journals. She'll just write in them randomly. I don't relish the historian who has to put all that together.
At work I have a little note that she wrote me that says "Thank you for supporting me! I will support you too!"
She likes NERF guns. I put some hooks in her closet so she can put her guns on it like a little mini arsenal.
She'll be ten. She's kind've crazy. Everything's a debate.
Last night I went into her room and she was wearing a hairnet and disposable gloves and a dust mask performing surgery on a succession of stuffed animals like something out of the Civil War.
She leaves her bands form her braces on the table and it makes her parents insane.
I hope she loves her world. Her ten year old world.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Scurry Inside

Reader, have you ever found yourself rolling your eyes in history class after Brittany exclaims, "I would never do that!" referring to whatever past atrocity the teacher has unveiled for your educational enjoyment? Like when Mr. O'Connell lectures about the Holocaust and you find out that the French police collaborated with the German occupiers  to take the Jews from the cities just to keep Germany appeased? I mean, somebody opened the gates, right? But it wasn't Brittany, she'da done something different. Shed'a joined the Defiance folks out in the woods. Well, maybe she woulda, but my money's on not-so-much. I bet Brittany would have whistled like crazy to alert the dogs to a Jewish kid fleeting through an alley, just to curry favor with the soldiers, just to go home to bed that night, just to eat. A whole hell of a lot of us would, a whole hell of a lot of us did.
Ok, we're going to segue here, and really it's going to be a bit of a disconnect and I should probably just sit still for five minutes and think of a better example to use than the Holocaust (because) but the coffee's only so stout.
I work in a public facility that was pretty well accessible by anyone coming or going until for security reasons the powers that be decided to close most of the entrances and only offer two ways of egress to the public which are maintained by security details at all times. This is also in a state that adheres pretty closely to the tenants of southern hospitality, as well.
An employee that maintains working quarters at this facility would have been given a small plastic pass key that one would wave at censors sensors located at all of the entrances in the event the entrance was closed due to the hour. Before the security measures these keys were only used to get into the building before or after office hours and so were mostly not used and shuffled down to the bottoms of purses. After the security measures were put into place there was a mad scramble for these cards and many requests at ten dollars a piece to procure new ones. You can imagine the waiting list became rather lengthy.
So it became that the employees of the facility could still use the entrances they had always used, provided that they had their access card. With the caveat that if the employee were to hold the door open for someone behind them, their access card, which most have had prior to the security measures, would be revoked. Do you see why I mentioned southern hospitality earlier?
So to review: if an employee is seen holding the door open for anyone else, despite the fact if the person is a fellow employee, or even someone that the employee is subordinate to, the offending employee will have their access card revoked and will no longer be able to use the entrance of their choice. That is all that will happen. If this one rule is broken, then the access card is forfeit.
And yet, having to go into this facility daily, I have witnessed people totally losing their shit over these access cards and entrances. People that in the past have matched their gait to mine (I walk rather slow so I've been told) to share a few words before the day starts now zoom into full gear as to avoid any awkwardness if we were to reach the employee entrance at the same time. Reader, I know, my thought too was well, maybe they don't like me, which sometimes is true, but then to turn around and grin and do the head nod when they are satisfied that I wouldn't be able to catch up to them? And then scurry inside and let the door close just because they are afraid of losing their access card? It's laughable. I've seen people rush into the facility and then turn to forcibly shut the door to make it snatch shut when other employees were too close to them. These are the people that would have done something different when it came to sneaking food to a refugee or at the least show kindness to someone whom was different in some, maybe not even tangible way? Piss. These are the people that clamor onto the lifeboats first.
What would I do, reader? Hell, I don't know. What annoys me is the people that say they do know. But I'll tell you this much: I've held the door.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thornbelle Vacancy

Adver had been surprised that the building directory listed a number for security. He hadn't been looking for a number for security, but his finger paused on the listing and he pursed his lips. He had known this was going to take him in a direction he didn't want to go in, namely, away from his coffee.
But there he was, standing out in the hall opposite his office door, staring at the closed office of Weapon Mods, with some young kid wearing an ill-fitting polo with some eagle emblem on it. Security.
"Did you try knocking?" the kid asked, wrestling with a jungle of keys connected to his belt.
Reader, don't roll your eyes. Adver had not tried knocking. He just hadn't ignored the editor of Mods "Good mornings!" for the last several days, which may lead one to speculate that the editor, one Dorge Kas, was on vacation. Except Adver knew he wasn't on vacation because he had not been given a laminated itinerary detailing every fifteen minutes of adventure, as he had been given, as a courtesy, for every vacation Dorge had been on while occupying the office space directly opposite that of O.A.D.S. for the last several years.
"Jesus" Adver intoned under his breath, exactly as the security kid was turning to look at him, then blushed and looked away, clearing his throat.
Jesus, Adver thought, realizing that the security kid thought Adver was praying for Dorge.
Security Kid slipped a key into the tumbler and turned. Adver told him he might have to pull the door towards him while turning. That did it. Then Adver waited for Kid to push the door open and step in, crossing the threshold that would sever Adver's involvement. That is not what Kid did. Kid stepped aside and waited for Adver to push open the door. Adver bit his lip before anything else sounding like a prayer might slip by.
"Downstairs says the lease is paid to the end of next month, so I can't technically go in there, you know, uninvited," Security Kid Vampire said.
"Right," Adver said, feeling his chin tilt to his chest, and pushed the door open.
Stepping in, he thought he'd at least smell a corpse, or food, maybe. But it just smelled stale in there. It was afternoon so the sun was slanting in from the windows, milky white and diminished. There was Atta's desk, the only other employee of Weapon Mods Adver had ever seen. She seemed nice. Too bad she was dead. Adver sighed and took a few more steps in, ok,  he thought, she's probably not dead. Her computer was off, and there was nothing in the printer tray. There was a pair of running shoes under the desk, neatly placed.
Adver looked back at Security Kid, who was not entering the office, and pushed forward to Dorge's interior office. It was darker in there, the blinds drawn. The lights took a while to warm up and come on, but there was nothing seemingly amiss in there, either. Except the coffee. Coffee had been among the few things Adver and Dorge could talk about, when forced, and here was half a cup setting on the desk. That didn't seem like Dorge. Adver almost put his finger into the black tar to see if it was still warm but stopped. He wasn't a goddam detective. He walked back out of the room, his eyes leaving the abandoned coffee last, and stepped back into the hall.
"Anything?" Kid asked.
"No. But I'm sure he'll turn up," Adver lied.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Let's Make it Interesting

Danver had been quiet a long time. I couldn't decide whether it was because he was angry, or if he was just trying to wrap his head around what I'd just told him. So I just kept driving. I thought the car was the best place to do it, I didn't want him running around screaming and slamming doors, or whatever. I didn't think he would jump out of the car, but to tell you the truth I wasn't one hundred percent on that. So I waited until we were across the bridge.
I probably should have told him he was adopted a long time ago. I just didn't want to deal with it. It's not even something I think about every day. Maybe it will be for him, but I doubt it. He's got a lot going on. Actually, I'm pretty sure he's going to think about it every day, especially when I lay the next bit on him. Listen, I'm not enjoying this, I'm not a cruel person, this is just how things shook out.
I ask him if he's hungry and he nods, that's a good sign. The next thing I have to tell him is who his father really is, which would be easier if we didn't have a pretty close relationship with that person already. Then the last thing I have to tell him is the fact that I won him in a bet. I guess I don't have to tell him that part. But, really, I guess I do, right? How do you tell a human being that they were won in a bet?

Let's back up.

Weezer had a new album, Trump was running for president, IPAs were a thing, and Esquire got a new editor. Also that year: Batman v. Superman; Dawn of Justice.

Adver and I were having pizza as per usual on Friday evenings. Me: Beer. Him: Water.
Let's just drop into the middle of it.
"But, I'm never having children." His line.
"Right, so this shouldn't be a hard bet, I mean, it's not even a bet you think you'll lose in the first place, so, I'm not sure what the hold up is - it's just us being silly."
I really didn't think he would waffle so much on this. I had assumed he'd already had a vasectomy (morbid curiosity being what it is, this confirmed that he hadn't).
I laid it out one more time, "This is the bet. When it turns out that Batman versus Superman is just pure shit, pure shit, and you admit as such because it's so bad, you have to give me your first-born child. Done. That's all there is to it. And you're never even having children, so it doesn't matter. Plus! Plus, you think the movie's going to be good, so you are completely insulated here. Shake my hand!"
The audio of this is a little hard to understand, remember "Me: Beer." but I promise I was saying "insulated" there in that last bit. I was also wagering that becoming excited would get Adver to shake my hand just to get me to shut.the.fuck.up.

That night ended, as they tend to do, and was forgotten. Even to me it was just a silly bet, but, rules are rules. We shook.

And then a few weeks later the movie came out and it was bad. I didn't have a lot of faith in it, clearly, but it was worse than I could have suspected. All I keep seeing is Batman crawling around on that ceiling super fast dodging shotgun blasts. All I keep seeing is Jesse Eisenberg pushing a Jolly Rancher into a man's mouth. All I keep seeing is child Bruce Wayne being carried aloft by a swirling vortex of bats. These scenes make a hate film in my mouth.
I type "Why does Bruce Wayne get to drive a Jeep with sirens on top of it around Metropolis?" into Google and my monitor just shuts off. START WINDOWS NORMALLY?
Here's the root of the problem, the problem Snyder has with every movie he directs: he makes the characters ultra violent, which changes them into unfamiliar characters, nearly unrecognizable. There is no real reason to have Superman killing anyone in a Superman movie. Yes, it makes one wonder the moral dilemma and yada yada, but Snyder made the destination of Superman's story a justification for killing the bad guy. Then we have wholesale slaughter from Batman in the second go around. The one scene that everyone seems to be in favor of is Batman taking out forty thugs in some warehouse, which, I'll admit is fun to watch, and probably is the best scene of the movie, but it was still stale. Squint your eyes and you're just watching a scene from the Arkham games. I'm really not trying to pick this thing to death, everyone here knows I've never liked Snyder. The best thing about 300 was the preview with NIN laced over top. Sorry, focusing.
A Superman movie should make you feel good, and powerful. It should make you want to help people or just realize your own strength and that you can affect others in a positive way.
A Batman movie should make you feel like hard work and focus and determination is everything you need to lock down your goals.
This movie just makes you feel bad and bitter. Snyder can shove all the Stigmata in he wants, this movie won't be Saved.

Now. Let's discuss the good parts.
The opening credits gives Bill Finger his due. Sure, legal made them say Bob Kane with Bill Finger, but I'll take it.
The score is great, really fun to listen to. Henry Jackman, you let me down with that Civil War score, come on, man.
Kevin Costner.
Wonder Woman, ya dig?
And the best part? Being fucking right.

"Are you serious? Adver Blythe is my fucking dad? We eat pizza with him every Friday and no one's ever like, hey-you-guys-look-alike what the hell, Dad? Do I call you that now? A bet, really? I think I'm your kid because you won me in a -"

Reader, it goes on like that for a while, it doesn't get any prettier or interesting. You can probably fill in the rest as it is. We're seeking counseling but we'll make it through together, just like we did with Batman versus Superman.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


She turned over and switched the alarm off before it could go off and wake her husband. It would be the nicest thing she would do for him all day, even considering yesterday's diagnosis. She spread her toes against the carpet then dropped her heels onto the floor and pushed herself into wakefulness. She had never in her life worked for the public, so did not understand people who needed coffee first thing in the morning. She would say that last part to people, and had, on many occasions. Not the part about not working with the public, the part about not understanding people. The responses were smiles and nods and rarely a crinkled nose, but not warmth. It was no surprise to anyone that this woman did not understand people.

But, she would at least go into the kitchen and turn the coffee pot on for her husband. Which, one might think would be a contender for the nicest thing she would do for him that day, except it should be taken into consideration she would only pour enough water into the reservoir for a single cup to remind him that she saw his drinking coffee in the morning as an affliction of character, and that she would make it very, very weak. Like Tea, were the words he used to describe it to no one but himself.

On her way to the kitchen she passed a low table littered with Happy Birthday cards. "Littered" is her word for it, no one else's- there were only two. Her stride skipped like a missing piece of movie and she frowned because she couldn't remember if it was her birthday or his. She kept walking.

There was a sour smell and a rustling from the kitchen and she immediately thought about her cats, the mind taking the most logical leap to bridge the next five steps that would carry her into the kitchen, never-you-mind the cats having been dead and gone three years past. She remembered what happened to the first one, but couldn't for the life of her place what had happened to the second. She would remember what happened to the second cat before long, well before noon, even.

She still hadn't thought about the cats being gone before she stepped into the kitchen and saw a man reading the (her) paper at the table. A young journalist would later write that it appeared the man had been reading the Lifestyles section.

Remarkably, the coffee was already on. This was surely a man she would not understand.

She stood there numbly, despite herself, still not wanting to wake her husband, and was surprised when the man raised his finger to his lips, and not her. All she could do was nod once, twice.

He leaned back into the chair and set the paper down as if he meant to go back to reading it once he was finished with whatever reason he was here in her kitchen, in her house. He nodded for her to take the seat opposite him which she did, he then pulled a legal pad and then a hammer out of his coat and set them on top of the paper in front of him. He patted his pockets until he found a pen and then leaned back over the table, jotting the pen against the pad. The sour smell was overwhelming.

"What-" she got out, only for him to put up his hand in the One Sec gesture. She looked down at the hammer. A rival journalist would correctly identify it as a ball peen hammer.

Finally satisfied with the legal pad, the man looked up and said, "You yelled at my employer because his dog pooped in your yard?"

She didn't know what he was talking about, truthfully.

He shrugged, "Well, it's been a while now, like a few months. And I saw your yard, tell ya, I'd yell at somebody if I had a yard like that and their dog was pooping in it."

"What do you want?" she was finally able to get out.

He seemed apologetic. "It's a nice yard. It's not going to win any society or...what's the word, horticulture awards, but anybody can tell you work hard on it. And normally my employer? He'd let something like that slide, except he was with his daughter and you embarrassed him."

She looked away from him to the hammer laying on the table. "I don't remember..."

"Honestly, who would? It's just he's sensitive to...ah..interaction? You know he always wears a ball cap when he's out running around? It's so he can hide his eyes from people, so if he doesn't see them they won't try to, you know, say 'hi' to him or anything. He just wants to be left alone."

She leaned back, cross. "Well, if his dog was shitting in my yard then I'm sure I did yell at him, whoever he is."

He winced, "That's the thing, his dog was definitely taking a dump on your green, but it was pretty plain to see that he was in the middle of picking it up when you came out 'running your trap' it says. Or, what did you think he was doing with that grocery bag?"

"Oh, please! They all carry those little bags just to make it look like they're hauling shit all over Kingdom Come, but the instant, the instant, they don't think anyone's watching they just leave it lay!" now she was leaning over the table toward him, "What in the hell is that smell?"

At this he flinched and sat up a little straighter, "It's me, ma'am."

She curled her nose, "What? It's you?"

He nodded once, "That smell is bad things. I'm bad things," and looked down at the hammer.

The offensive that she had won in her very own kitchen was waning, "What...are you, why are you here?"

"Listen, I don't think you're a bad person, lady. Your house is nice, you get the paper, no one does that anymore, you keep good coffee, I bet you're even kind've funny, right?" he tilts his chin to a magnet on the refrigerator: GET YOUR ETHOS OUT OF MY PATHOS BEFORE YOU'RE A MYTHOS "I mean, I don't really get it but, it's cute, funny. But, at the end of the day, I'm here to beat you to death with this hammer. I think you know that, you've always known that."

"Get out of my kitchen. Get out. I'll scream, I swear, just go, I'll scream, you can't, I'll scream-"

"Sometimes you scream, sometimes you just take it, sometimes you fight, it doesn't matter. I just keep coming back and I smell worse every time, just worse and worse, it's awful. I usually start reading the paper, I've read it front-to-back so many times, it's not getting any better, I'll tell you that. I've only recently started making myself a cup of coffee for after. The birthday cards in the hall, that's new. Some mornings there's a lot- well, more than two anyways. One time you came in here and called me 'Denver' did you know that? Who's Denver?"

Her mouth was dry and her throat hurt but she choked out "my cat. run over." That's what had happened to the second cat, run over. Stretching his broken body crawling back into the yard, a bloody sack of broken things, now she remembered.

She blinked and swallowed, "What do you mean 'sometimes' why do you act like this has happened before, you've never been here before."

He looked at her a long time, studying her, before he answered "I think you know that's wrong, don't you? Somewhere in there you know." Then he stood and picked up the hammer, "Lady, I've come here a thousand times."