Monday, December 29, 2008

Motivation

Cold dark tendrils reach out
Grabbing and pulling at limbs
Limbs that flail about
In the cacophony of screams
While the body dragged slowly down
Flailing about enraged the beast
Tentacles of pain and sorrow squeezed
Against any effort
Slowly choking life from the body
Neurotoxin venom seeps through pores
Secreted from the giant beast’s suction cups
Visions of happiness and accomplishment flash
Delusions of a better time
Bring smiles to the body’s face
Welcoming the impending doom
As darkness swallows all
In the end
Only the body remains
Slowly rocking back and forth
Going mad
As the world passes it by

Friday, December 26, 2008

Indiscretionary Lament

From head to toe
You tease me so
But I do fear
It’ll get weird
So I think I’ll say thank you
But still I’ll say adieu
For friendship is a value
Not a taboo

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Attack of the Santas

'Twas the day before Christmas
we saw such a sight
it was a million Santas
robbing every store in sight

Their leader was obvious
he had all the might
while holding a Santa head
he commanded them to fight

They all ran straight at us
the Santa clones in mass
the red flood of fury came
to pummel us to grass

The leader laughed with a HO HO of glee
as he threw the head straight at me
I caught it by reaction, That was all I could do
I may never sleep again, how could you?

My friends were in need
I could not go to help
it was intriguing indeed
the words that they shout

Those are Santa clones
for they are not real
they are attacking drones
soon we won't feel

I finally found the rage
to attack the red in sight
they couldn't put me in a cage
oh no, not on that night

It was a loosing battle
we were to be fodder
the Santas came like cattle
not prepared for the slaughter

I looked up to the sky
and what could possibly go by
but Santa and his sleigh
with paratroopers on their way

They landed on the hill
and put up a fight
they shot to kill
and nailed every clone in sight

The clones' leader went away
but his note did stay
I am Satan Claws it did say
and I'll return one of these days

So that is how it happened
when I saved the day
Santa made me a Captain
And thanked me 'til mid May

Friday, December 19, 2008

R & D Inquiries - Part 1

Robert adjusted his glasses as he worked the jumble from the morning newspaper. Newspaper cryptography puzzles were not nearly as challenging as the posted difficulty ratings led him to believe. It was only a few moments of talking the letters out loud before the answers flowed from his pen onto the newspaper page.

“Can you be quiet over there?” Dan asked from his desk across the cramped office. “You know I can’t think while you ramble on.” Dan took a nail kit out of his desk drawer and went to work on his fingernails. A sudden lack of business had kept the pair low on funds and he had to cut back on his manicure appointments.

A sudden rap on the frosted glass office door startled the pair. It took them a moment to realize that someone was at their door, a prospective client perhaps. Coming to his senses, Robert shouted for the person to come into the office. Slowly the door opened and a long shapely leg stepped through, followed by the rest of the shapely body.

“What can we do for you, miss?” Dan said, smiling as he stood to greet the stranger. Robert’s interest in the woman dwindled as Dan greeted her, the jumble was far more interesting and his partner was always the best in securing their jobs.

The woman held a handkerchief to her nose as tears streamed down her cheek. Between sobs she was able to choke out a reply. “Annetta, my name is Annetta. Tilly has been kidnapped. My precious little Tilly. I can not live without her.”

“Please calm down Annetta,” Dan put his arm around the woman, trying to comfort her. “Who exactly is Tilly? Did you report this to the police?”

The woman’s sobbing slowed as Dan comforted her. “They said that Tilly was too low of a priority for them. They said that there were real crimes to solve, not just some stupid little dognapping.” Dan comforted her and coaxed the rest of the story from the woman. “Tilly is my prized corgi, a show dog of the highest caliber. She has won many dog shows, and she is my pride and joy. Now that she is gone, I don’t know what to do with myself.”

“Its ok, you came to the right place. We will find Tilly for you.”

“Thank you. I was afraid you would be like those dreadful police.” A small smile cracked across her face as the sobbing stopped.

“Can you work us up a contract?” Dan asked of his partner. Robert’s fingers clacked on the keyboard as Dan continued sooth the woman. “Why do you think Tilly was dognapped? She could have just run away.”

“Oh no, not my Tilly. She would never do that. Not just before a dog show. I think she loves them more than I do. If I were to guess, I would say that Aaron dognapped Tilly. It would be the only way his Ein would have a chance of winning the Annual dog show.” Conviction rang out in Annetta’s voice as she spoke about Aaron.

“This Aaron sound like a good place to start.” Dan said, a smile shot across his face. The only thing that could be possibly better than a beautiful woman in the office was the prospect for an easy job.

“I agree,” Robert said as he joined the pair across the office, a contract was in his hand. “Could you please sign here?”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'Quantum of Solace' Review

****/***** Casino Royale was the longest Bond film, Quantum of Solace was the shortest. That fact in and of itself should tell you something. I feel that the movie needed another 6 months of development, with that development it could have been as good as CR. The dialogue was not as good as it could have been and they could have done a lot more with the ideas and story that were present.

There were a lot of action sequences which were done with the "shaky camera" style combined with really quick edits. By the time you figured out what you were looking at (was that Bond's car or the bad guy’s car?) the movie had jumped on to the next shot. I can only fault the movie so much for this; they did have a director from the Jason Borne movies on the 2nd unit, the films that made shaky camera famous. Fortunately, this was mostly contained to the first half of the movie, the second half the cameramen seemed to calm down a bit.

Most people (Like Ebert) had complained about the plot, that it wasn't big enough. They want Bond to be out saving the world not messing around in a two bit country. If you read Ebert's review of CR you would know that Bond not saving the world was exactly why he loved CR. I think that this again goes to show that the movie was not as good as it could have been. CR was so good that people didn't care that Bond wasn't saving the world. (I also think it is more proof that Ebert is going senile.)

There were also complaints that the movie didn't have enough of the things that make up a bond movie, such as girls with stupid/sexy names and Bond having sex with everything that moves. Bond doesn't have that much sex because the woman he loved just killed herself only a short time before the movie started. QoS starts off about 10 minutes after CR ends. As for the girls with those names, they do have a character named Fields in the movie; if you watch the credits you see that her name is actually Strawberry Fields. There is an even better pun on her name in the movie.

All in all, the movie was a good time had by all. My friends really liked it and I enjoyed it. All of the faults that I have with the movie are because I'm too close; I'm too much of a Bond fan to be able to watch it as just a movie. Most of my complaints can be written off as those stupid little things that are said and done just because it is an action movie and not a film. The story has left me wanting more; I can’t wait to see what they are going to do next.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Unified Theory of Toast

Clink, Clink, Clink. Forks and knives tap against the side of half filled water glasses. Hoots and hollers rang out as the bride and groom did the two tongue tango. An over weight older gentleman in an ill fitting tuxedo with a bad comb-over stood, a champagne glass was held in his outstretched hand. The crowded dining area fell silent as words started to flow from his mouth.

The elder man’s words danced, flowed, and jabbed in the din light. Smiles, tears, and embarrassments struck the young bride all at once. The man that had hated all of her boyfriends, the man that was always so strict, the man that raised her, had a smile on his face as a tear rolled down his cheek. In one night he had become a sentimental old fool.

Almost as soon as it started, it was over. Glasses were raised to lips and the bubbly liquid poured into awaiting mouths. The old man sat back down as the best man stood with his glass raised. It was not long until the old man’s words were forgotten, but the pure emotion stayed in the bride’s heart. True love existed between the father and the daughter.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Absent Elucidation

Snow fell heavy upon my heart
As everything became dark and distant
In this cold harsh winter
Only hard drives provided a warming glow
As they crashed and burned in the distance
Killing all that thrived around them
Leaving a swath of scorched lifeless earth
Where not even snow was brave enough to tread
Eventually things changed
Damning fires exhausted themselves of their fury
Leaving rotting metal carcasses behind
Scavengers picked the bones clean
Fertilizing the land as they went
Turning the wasteland into fertile soil
Soon new life will be cultivated from the death
Bringing forth fruits that are ripe and juicy
Nectar dribbling down laughing smiling cheeks
As all becomes right with the world again

Monday, October 27, 2008

Making Love Work

Why is love so hard
Why does it seem like work
I should not have to change
I should be who I am
Every date that I go on
Every woman that I meet
It is always the same
Lies, cheating, and stealing
Marketing yourself
Trying to get laid
Trying to get loved
It should not be this hard
Love should not be a job

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'll Take You

Jack threw his cell phone against the dash of his car and swore. Why could his car not start? In frustration he grabbed his cell phone again, ready to slam it against the dash again. Out of vain hope he checked it again for a signal. Maybe the impact of the phone on the dash aligned the right wires, or some cosmic force was smiling, because Jack had service on his cell phone.

Quickly Jack grabbed his oil change receipt and called Quick Lube before his lost service again. “Quick Lube, how may I help you?” a voice rang out over the din of the shop.

“I was just in your place a couple…”

“Quick Lube, can I help you?” a second voice came over the phone.

“I was just in your place…” Jack hesitated, the level of shop noise that was coming over the phone was unbearable. “I was just in your place not to long ago for an oil change and now my car wont start.”

“Why don’t I transfer you to the service manager,” the second voice said. After a few seconds a new voice was asking Jack why he called. Jack explained that his car wouldn’t start.

“I don’t see how your car not starting could be due to our oil change.” The voice retorted.

“You guys were the last ones to touch my car. Everything was fine before my oil change.” Jack’s body temperature was rising with his fury.

“I still don’t see how your car not starting could be the fault of our oil change.” The voice reaffirmed its statement.

“You just lost yourself a loyal customer.” Jack said just before hanging up. He did not want to loose his cool in a pointless argument. The service manager wouldn’t take any blame.

Jack read through the receipt once more, picking apart every detail. It was obvious that they did not vacuum the car as the receipt indicated. Then, something caught the corner of his eye. His headlights were turned on. Jack never turned on his headlights because they automatically turned on when it got dark. Jack sighed as he realized that the oil change place must have turned on his headlights for a safety check and forgot to turn them off.

A car pulled up next to him as he looked at his cell phone and saw it didn’t have service once again. A cute young blond was behind the wheel. Jack explained what happened and that he thought he had a dead battery.

“I don’t have any jumper cables with me, but I’ll take you to a store,” she said. Jack nodded in agreement and hopped into her car.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crossroads

Jack left Quick Lube with a smile on his face. The service at the oil change store was at the superb levels that jack prefers. Everyone was full of smiles when he pulled up. The employees were friendly and gad to see him. Even though they were under staffed for the day, jack’s car hit a short lull in business. A short twenty minutes later and jack was already paying his bill and heading out the door.

After a long day in the city Jack headed for a drive in the country. In a matter of minutes the highways devolved into small county roads. He pulled up to a crossroads; Jack could head back into town or drive deeper into the country. Unable to make up his mind, Jack pulled over to the side of the road. A handful of apple trees flanked a small pong in a picturesque view.

Jack got out of his car, breathed in the country air and strolled down to the pond. His mind was wondering as he picked an apple from a tree. Laying down near the pond Jack’s thoughts were to simpler times. Not wanting to think about his days in the city. His eyes grew heavy after he finished his apple. The peaceful country surroundings lulled him to sleep.

After resting for a spell Jack dragged himself back to his car. He put his keys in the ignition and turned the key. Nothing happened. Jack pulled out his cell phone, to call for help, but could not get a signal.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Someone Else’s Eyes

Who am I
When I look at myself
Am I suave and sophisticated
Like the mirror lies to me
Or
Am I the scared little boy
That I know I am
Who am I
When I am looked at
With someone else’s eyes

Friday, October 17, 2008

All Alone

Wake up alone
Go to bed alone
Spend all day alone
No one knows me
The real me
It is all fake
No one can get close
I am all alone

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Everyone’s Waiting

Darkness crept across the sky and the first stars twinkled in the dimming light. Frank looked at his watch again as he sat on the couch. “Honey,” he hollered up the stairs behind him, “It’s getting dark out.”

“I’m just finishing up. I’ll be down in a moment.” She hollered back down to him.

Frank tossed the newspaper that he was reading aside. No matter how many times he read it things wouldn’t change. Box scores never change once you read them. The Yankees are out of the playoffs. Beat four to one by the Red Sox. A three run homer in the 8th sealed the deal. They should have put in the reliever sooner… Frank picked up the TV remote and started flipping channels.

“You better not be watching a game down there.” Frank’s wife hollered down at him. “We have to be there by eight. We don’t have time for you to get caught up in a game.”

“Yes dear,” Frank hollered back as he looked at his watch. As it stands now they will have to make the thirty minute trips in twenty minutes. With a sigh he turned down the volume and flipped to the Braves game. Maybe these guys were having a better night.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Terror Starts At Home

Eyes open wide
Can’t move a muscle
Alarm clock blaring in my ear
I do not want to start my day
I can not start my day
Traffic will be tight
Boss will be angry
Work will pile up on my desk
Over worked
Under paid
Over stressed
Under appreciated
The day ahead frightens me
It is full of the crap that I can’t put up with
That I won’t put up with
That I wouldn’t put up with
In a perfect world
Where I didn’t have to go to work
And take care of my responsibilities

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jack Chance Case Files - Part 5: H.F.F.

I had woken up to blinding light pouring in through the blinds. It was still early, too early, but work had to be done. Somewhere between a hot shower and an even hotter cup of coffee I grabbed the phonebook and started paging through it. Between the Humane Hunters Association and the Hummel Hut was Humboldt’s Freight Forwarding. I copied down the address and went to pay them a visit.

Humboldt’s Freight Forwarding was located in a nondescript warehouse down in what I refer to as the auto-mechanic district. Up and down the street were one man grease monkey shops. A domestic shop with a classic Chevy proudly displayed flanked the warehouse on the left and a foreign shop decorated with Volkswagen and BMW logos was on the right. Once inside I followed the signs and found the Humboldt’s warehouse space. A padlock was on the doors and no one was around.

I stuck my head in an open door that was down the hall and said, “I’m sorry, I’m lost, is there a restroom around here?” The blond behind the desk looked up from her paperwork, smiled, and said that there wasn’t a public restroom in the building. I mentioned that I had an appointment at Humboldt’s but no one had shown up yet. She told me that she almost never see’s anyone over there. That it was kind of spooky that a section of the warehouse was owned by a company but seemed to be never used.

It was very interesting that Robert went to work for a company that doesn’t seem to exist just before he ceased to exist. Very interesting indeed. This building is in a dire need of a stakeout. If anyone does work at Humboldt’s, it must be at night.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Everyone Leaves

A clap of thunder exploded across the bank and a patch of ceiling fell to the tiled floor below. “This is a holdup,” the bandit yelled from behind a bandana wrapped around his face. “Get on the floor.” The guard at the door hesitated. A second bandit bashed him in the face with the butt of his shotgun and the guard fell to the floor in a bloody mess. A third bandit was rushing to the registers and dumped the drawers into his sacks.

“Where’s the manager?” the first bandit demanded. Only whimpering answered his question. The bandit unloaded another slug into the ceiling and demanded again, this time adding that he would start shooting people if the manager didn’t appear. After a few more seconds a waif of a man with thinning hair and an even thinner mustache rose his hand and stammered that he was the manager.

The lead bandit grabbed the manager by his collar and dragged him to the bank vault. “Open it,” the bandit demanded.

“I… I can’t…” the manager said and quickly added, “the daily deposits are still at my desk—“ A gunshot exploded over his shoulder. The bandit cocked his gun and adjusted his aim. The manager set to work on the lock, with a click the door swung open.

“We’re in boys!” the bandit yelled. The third bandit abandoned the registers and dashed for the vault. Once there he filled his bags with railroad payroll money. After a few more seconds the second bandit hollered that it was time to go. The first bandit nodded and the three exited the bank.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Rain on the Bus Window

Rain on the bus window
Streaks across as the bus rolls down the highway
The flowing water reminds me of the ocean
Reminds me of home
Ripples from the waves created ridges and valleys in the sand
Hard compacted sand that feels good when walked upon
Like a masseuse rubbing my soles
I am reminded of happier times
Sunshine warming my body as I wade into the ocean
Looking back to shore, I see her laying there
Her body soaking in the rays
She catches my eye and waves
I smile and dive under the waves
The water cooling my sun warmed skin
A crack of thunder followed the jagged edge of lightning across the sky
My sleep heavy eyes slowly opened
Waves of water still ran across the bus window
But my smile did not wash away
I am going home again
Returning to her

Friday, October 03, 2008

Penumbral Gambit - Episode 7: Unexpected Guest




Disclaimer: Penumbral Gambit is a work of fan fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Several locations, items, and concepts belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. The picture is a combination of an image from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and an image from Wizards of the Coast’s “Star Wars Saga Edition” role playing game book. This story and image is purely meant for entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.


--------------------

“I feel coldness,” Re’ahn said as she wrapped her arms around herself. “There is an evil force user near here. What is in that direction?” She pointed towards the rear of the throne room.


“Um, just the hanger for our personal speeders. Why?” Princess Shaela said as she regained her composure. She was glad that her brother, her captor, was not killed. “Are you going to take us to our father now?”


“We will as soon as we check this out.” Tahnel replied. “It can not be a mere coincidence that an evil force user is near by. We must investigate before it is too late. Are you good to travel? We will protect you.”


A smirk ran across Jett’s face as his interpretation of protecting the beautiful princess flashed across his mind. “We got our bounty, why don’t we just get out of here,” he said.


“ Mesa don’t understand Jedi,” Dubja said to Jett while he finished securing the binder cuffs on the unconscious prince. “Itsa usually better to indulge them and just follow along.”


Tahnel sighed heavily as he picked up the prince and slung the limp body over his shoulder. Being the strongest meant that the tall green alien was the lucky one and got to carry the cargo. It was obvious that he did not agree with what Dubja had just said.


Re’ahn led the group through the halls following her senses on the location of the evil force user. Occasionally Shaela would say directions that would lead them to the hanger when dead ends blocked the direct rout. The young Jedi easily felt the dark force and let it lead her.


Once the group exited the palace they spread out in a defensive formation. The early dawn light crept across the palace grounds. As they approached the hanger Dubja’s large ears picked up, there was a shuffling behind the bushes on either side of them. There were rebels on either side of them ready to spring an ambush. “It’s a trap!” The Gungan yelled as he threw a grenade at the rebels on the left and drew his pistol.


Re’ahn dashed into the open hanger while the rest of the group fought off the ambushers. The large hanger door slammed down behind the girl, draping her in darkness. Her eyeless sight saw into the dark confines of the hanger, the dark force energy was present in the hanger.


“I’m glad you were able to find your way to me,” said a female form as she moved from behind a starship. Her lightsaber dimly illuminated her sickly purple skin and dark robes in a dull red light. Her Twi’lek head tails were wrapped around her neck. “Hunting you down on this backwards planet was not top on my list of things I’m looking forward to.”


“What are you doing here?” Re’ahn demanded as she lit her own lightsaber. The clash outside echoed inside the hanger. She knew that her friends were good, but she thought that they may need her help. “Your presence here must not be a coincidence, are you pulling the puppet strings on this planet?”


“We are behind so much more than you will ever be able to comprehend,” the Twi’lek said with a laugh. “Now I must finish my master’s bidding and rid this planet of your presence.”


As the Twi’lek leapt forward to attack the hanger was rocked with large explosion after large explosion. Both of the women were knocked to the ground as sections of the roof fell around and on them. Outside of the hanger, the combatants could see flashes of light fall from the heavens, destroying the hanger. The mercenary starships in orbit must have opened fire on the hanger.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Perfect Circles

“Have you ever met someone that can draw a perfect circle? It’s amazing really. A thing of beauty. I hate those people.” Mike said to his therapist as he slumped back into his chair.

“Why is that?’ Laura asked as she jotted down notes.

“Something that difficult shouldn’t come easy to anyone. You shouldn’t be able to just whip out a pencil and draw out a perfect circle. There is no such thing as a perfect circle. It just doesn’t happen. People should not be able to draw one by freehand.”

“What about Coke bottles? Or bubbles that children blow? Those look like circles to me,” she retorted.

“They are circles, but not perfect circles. The Coke bottle has some flashing sticking out of it. There are weak spots in bubbles that lead to deformities resulting in a circle that is most defiantly not a circle. There is no such thing as a perfect circle in nature. They just don’t exist. People should not be able to draw one. Nothing is perfect.”

“Is that what this is about? Perfection?” Mike hung his head and nodded. “You have to let her go Mike.”

“I can’t,” Mike sobbed. “I’m not good enough. I’m not perfect. She will never love me again.”

“You have to be strong Mike. It’s time to move on. There is no such thing as a perfect circle, you said so yourself. Free yourself from her. Be a deformed circle.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dragon

Perched atop the couch
She surveys all that lies before her
If approached
The statuesque being bolts in a torrent of energy
Dashing this way and that
To avoid capture
Being held is so constricting
Being petted is so agitating
Except…
Except when she is on my shoulder
The green scaled body is so calm
Almost purring
If she could
As my finger rubs up and down her body
We sense a connection
She and I
We are one
If only for a moment

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jack Chance Case Files - Part 4: On The Lake

I gave Beth a call to see what she could shake loose about Robert Wallic but there was no answer at the office. The girl must still have been out on her errands. Thoughts from the morning rolled through my mind as I ate my eggs and sipped my coffee at the diner down on third. There wasn’t much to go on so far, but that was to be expected this early in the game. If it was any easier then any schmuck could do this job.

The afternoon was spent combing the streets of the neighborhood asking around if anyone had seen poor Robert. Every pawn shop and dive bar gave me the same response, they didn’t know no nothing much less recognize the face in the picture I swiped from his place. Leg work is the long boring part but it passes the time. It also gave me a chance to re-familiarize myself with the lay of the land. By dusk I had done my fair share of busy work and made my way to Mike’s on the Lake.

It was late enough that the dinner crowd was starting to thin but early enough that the regulars had yet to show. By passing the dining room I sat at the bar, ordered the fish fry, and listened in to the conversations that welled up around me. By the time I finished my meal I gathered that Julie was the usual weeknight bartender and that the billiards league was in the toilet.

Julie was a good bartender. She paid attention to the regulars, pouring heavy, and kept her eyes on the lowlife scum that wandered in. Chatting her up and tipping well got me an in or two. She remembered Robert, quite fondly actually. He usually sat at the bar with a notebook and wrote poetry all night. Every night that he was in he would buy her a drink and slipped her a poem with the tip. She saw their petty banter as a little game, a little back and fourth to pass the time until closing. He had stopped showing up a while back and she missed the entertainment.

“You asking about Robert?” A tall skinny guy asked me as Julie finished her story. I nodded and Julie went back to her business. “Robert’s a good kid. Doesn’t talk much, but he’s a good kid. It’s funny how he sits here night after night pretending to be a writer but you talk to him and he can’t tell a good story to save his life.”

I bought my new found friend a round and inquired as to what he meant. “Well,” he continued between sips, “take the last time I saw him for instance. We got to talking about my last trips to Vegas and New York. Clients were tripping over themselves to take me out to bars and strip clubs, trying to butter me up for their next purchase. Robert tried to compete. I’ll never forget the conversation. He tried to tell me that some smoking hot blonde was all over him and got him a new job. It was funny how he kept tripping over his words. He kept leaving out details and interrupting himself to try to put those details back in. it was a mess. I told him that if he wanted to snag that blonde he was talking about that he should work on his storytelling more than his poetry.”

I asked my new friend if he knew what the new job was, he said that it was Humboldt’s something or other. It was at least something to go on. I bought another round and listened in to his tales from Vegas and New York. Any further work would have to wait until morning.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In The Game

“Run! Run! Run!” The woman shouted as the six year old cleared the bases. Two other kids rushed for the ground ball at the same time, racing each other to be the first to grab the errant ball. The catcher ripped off his mask and shouted for the ball to be thrown home. The parents, sitting in lawn chairs around the field, were cheering the kids on. It didn’t matter to any of them that the rules were not enforced in this game. No matter what happened, the little boy will be safe, he will make it home.

“Our man,” a man said as he leaned over in his lawn chair to talk into her ear as quietly as he dared. “Our man is held in their custody. Intel suggests that a 12 man team should be able to extract him.”

“Should? I can’t make decisions that go against policy based upon shoulds and coulds!” She still watched the game but her whispered tones towards the man had become harsh.

“Look, we need to get him out. The team is ready to go, they are on stand by. Just give the word and we will get him out.”

She turned to look directly at him and hissed, “I need to know that your team can do this.”

“They are the best, ma’am.”

“You better not fail or else there will be dire consequences from the top. Get him out and keep us in the game.”

“Yes ma’am!”

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dancing For Me

A storm raged outside my home and inside my heart
Sheets of rain slammed against the plate glass windows
Darkening the night such that I could barely see
The street light at the end of the block dimly illuminated
She was gone and there was nothing I could do about it

I opened up her jewelry box
The last remnant of her that I had
As the lid flipped up twinkling music started
A tiny ballerina started to twirl
She was dancing for me

Friday, September 19, 2008

Penumbral Gambit - Episode 6: Showdown

Disclaimer: Penumbral Gambit is a work of fan fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Several locations, items, and concepts belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. The picture is a combination of an image from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and an image from Wizards of the Coast’s “Star Wars Saga Edition” role playing game book. This story and image is purely meant for entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.
--------------------
“What’s going on out there?!” the voice demanded again over the comm unit. The four looked at each other as a shard of glass fell from a blown out window behind them.
Dubja snatched the comm unit out of Tahnel’s hand and while holding back his accent he said, “Nothing. Nothing is going on. Just a weapons malfunction. These Petersen brand grenades are very temperamental. When the grenade went off it spooked some of our men, thinking we were under attack, and they fired their weapons. Everything is fine out here. How are you?” The group grimaced at the question, and the people inside the throne room must have too. A click of the door’s locking device was audible as the comm unit clicked off.
“I can get that door open,” Jett said as he reached in his pack and pulled out some explosives.
“Not that way,” Tahnel said, “we can’t just blow the door off its hinges. We are trying to save the princess, and she might get hurt in the chaos. Not to mention that the king wants his son back alive.”
“Fine.” Jett grumbled as he put away the explosives and pulled out a tool kit. While worked on manually unlocking the door he muttered under his breath mocking the Jedi. “Can’t use explosives. Might hurt someone. Boo Hoo. I can control my explosions better than that. If I wanted to I could just knock that door over and no one would get hurt… much.”
Within a few seconds the door slid open and the group rushed into the throne room. Prince Perin stood in the middle of the room, clutching his sister Shaela in front of him with a blaster pistol to her head. A guard stood in each corner of the room, blasters at the ready, waiting for the Prince’s order to attack.
“Let the girl go and no one will get hurt,” Tahnel said in a soft soothing voice.
“No! I will not let Dorreth be subjugated by the will of the Republic. We are a free people and we will continue to live a free existence. The Republic only aims to bring death and destruction to my people. I will not let Shaela go until my demands are met and the induction into the Republic is stopped.”
“The Republic only seeks to bring peace to the galaxy.” Tahnel responded. “Was it not the Mandalorians that attacked the unaligned worlds in the Mandalorian war? It was their goal to gain strength by wiping out those planets. The ones under the protection of the Republic did not see that destruction.”
“Peace? HA! That is a joke.” Perin spat the words out. “Taris, a Republic planet I might remind you, was nearly wiped out in the Jedi Civil War a few years later. The Republic was not there to protect Taris and it will not be there to protect Dorreth. There are many enemies of the Republic that would jump at the chance to attack a peaceful planet like Dorreth. We would be left to die because the mighty Republic would not want to send troops to a backwater world to protect it. The mighty Republic has better things to do.”
Tahnel said with a sigh, “You are trying my patience. Your father has asked that you be returned to him unharmed and that this rebellion be ended. Senator Aklarr Tennet has paid us to end this rebellion and to end you. I’m sure my compatriots here will be more than willing to do as the Senator asks, but I would like to finish this without any more bloodshed.” Dubja and Jett grinned at this comment while Re’ahn simply lit her lightsaber.
“The Senator sent you to kill me? I don’t believe you! You lying Republic scum!”
“Believe or not, that is your decision. Just understand one thing, between the two of us only one will walk out of this room. Make your decision.”
As Perin’s mouth opened to yell for his guards to open fire Tahnel’s mind reached out to the captive Shaela. With the power of the force he pulled her from her brothers grasp and caught her in his grasp. As the guards opened fire the group leapt into action. Dubja tossed a stun grenade towards the prince while diving for cover and drawing his pistol. Jett’s blaster rifle came to life as it sent shot after shot towards a far guard, the wall erupted in a haze of plaster as each shot slammed into it. Re’ahn charged the closest guard, wildly swinging her lightsaber.
The prince ducked behind the throne, dodging most of the of the concussion blast from the grenade. He fired with his blaster pistol, but his shaking hand did not improve his aim. Jett and Re’ahn quickly dispatched of the guards while Tahnel protected the princess. Dubja flanked Perin, he paused only long enough switch his pistol to stun mode before plugging the rebel leader with a couple shots, knocking him unconscious. Shaela screamed and attempted to rush to her brother, but Tahnel held her back.
“Hesa just knocked out,” Dubja said as he prodded the body with his pistol. The bounty hunter put a set of binder cuffs to ensure that the captive could not escape if he did become conscious.
“Do you feel that?” Re’ahn asked with a tone of urgency in her voice. “There is evil near by.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Twilight

The sun fell and the stars rose behind the buick as it charged down the highway. “Are they following?” she asked as she clutched my arm.

“Shhhh,” I whispered. “It will all be ok.”

We had not been out of the city long. The excitement of the day had drawn out into the pre-night twilight. “I’m scared,” she said as she pulled tight on my arm. I told her that everything will be fine, that she will be safe as long as I am protecting her.

The girl fell asleep while holding my arm while I drove. It didn’t bother me that I couldn’t move my arm while she slept. I was almost comforted by her reliance upon me. I had been a washed-out bumb for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to be needed.

Truth be told, I’m scared. Twenty years and thirty pounds ago I could have handled this, but now— I’m old, I’m washed-out, I’m a nothing. Everyone that I have ever tried to protect before has met a grizzly end. I had always tried so hard, but even the fate of my charges sealed the end with my long carrier with the force.

I can protect myself just fine, whether it be a bar fight or a shootout, I always seem to come out on top. It is something different when you are in charge of someone else. God only knows how much I hate an escort mission.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Inebriated Pleading

When I make an ass of myself
Which seems to be quite often
It is not intentional
Never has been
Never will be
I did not mean it
All that I now do
Is ask for your forgiveness
It is all that I can do
When I am in this state
Please listen to me
You are the only one
Please listen to me
Only you can
I love you
For ever and always

Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Imperial Grand Strategy' Review



****/***** Yes, this is a couple of lectures and an interview in which production values leave something to be desired. I have read reviews of people writing they had a hard time staying awake or paying attention (is it really that hard to pay attention to someone simply speaking for awhile??), but the production is easily tolerable. Moreover, the content within is exceptionally informative (although sometimes a little dated) and supersedes the aforementioned faults. I heard everything just fine and was so entranced by Chomsky's substance (and occaisional sarcasm) time went quickly and I was justly rewarded. This should be required viewing for every American as intellectual Chomsky challenges/questions modern media and written history with compelling examples (see one of his books to see just how believable and thorough his footnotes are). It is not a matter of bipartisanship or the right or the left, but a matter of imperialist (almost feudalistic) corporate and governmental enterprises pulling the strings of countries all over the world, sometimes creating oppressive dictatorships. Topics include Monroe Doctrine philosophy, currency control, Neo-Reaganites within the current administration, Geneva Convention violations and much much more. Watch this!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jack Chance Case Files - Part 3: First Impressions

I spent a few moments piecing together the few details that Joanne had given me. She had given me a lot of good information about who this Robert Wallic was but there was nothing that jumped out at me. I’ll have to start at the bottom and figure out the basics first. Before I headed out the door I left a note for Beth, my assistant, detailing the outline of the case and asking her to dig up the usual background check on Robert. She had taken advantage of business being slow and had the morning off to run a few errands.

The drive over to the north side of town was uneventful. Traffic only gets to be a pain heading out of town in the afternoons when the downtown business let out and the white collar workers flood out of the down town as fast as kids on the last day of school. I parked the jalopy around the corner and walked a block to Wallic’s place, a drab little bungalow. It could have been real cute with a fresh coat of paint, some landscaping, and a transplant to a neighborhood that wasn’t under the shadow of the surrounding factories.

A quick knock on the door confirmed that no one was home so I started to look for a spare key, unfortunately a key was no where to be found. I made my way around the house and used my lock picks at the rear door. It was only a few moments before I heard a click and the door creaked open.

From the kitchen alone it was obvious that a bachelor lived in the house. There were dirty dishes soaking in the sink and the only contents in the fridge was a case of beer and left over pizza. By the looks of the dishes and pizza it was a safe bet that Joanna was right and no one had been here in quite some time.

My search of the house was slow and deliberate, going through each drawer and closet with care. I made a mental catalog of each item that I found and put the seemingly unimportant pieces back while making a pile of interesting pieces in each room. Although thorough, my initial search of the house was fairly quick. The kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and basement each gave up their own small pile of secrets.

Most of what I found added to the details of what Joanne had told me about Robert Wallic. Books and papers were piled everywhere. Robert fancied himself as some sort of a writer. Notes were scribbled on every piece of scratch paper and a few unfinished manuscripts lay about. A box of receipts showed that he spent a large portion of his evenings at Mike’s on the Lake. I knew the place, it was a tavern a few blocks away that was usually full of factory men no matter what time of day it was. The factories run around the clock and the guys are always looking for an after work brew and sometimes a brawl. It can be a rough place but the Friday night fish fry is decent enough to keep the common folk coming back.

I pocketed the spare key that I had found and left through the front door. The receipts that I had found were all time stamped in the evening. That would give me a few hours before I had to head out to Mike’s on the Lake to ask a few questions of the regulars. There were a few things that I wanted to check up on first so the delay would work out fine.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

'Stealing Home' Review



***/***** I remember watching this movie circa 1990 when I was about 12. Back then I thought this movie was great, so I rented it to see how my frame-of-reference would match up. However, I didn't like it near as much, but it is still a pretty decent movie for what it is. The "tell you how to feel" score is way too much, and if ever a film had too much sentimentality to it, this is that film. Nonetheless, there is something to be said of some of the themes and the way the coming-of-age story is executed. Mark Harmon stars as Billy Wyatt, a washed-up minor league baseball player who receives news that his childhood babysitter and friend Katie, has committed suicide. What follows is his journey home, complete with reflections on his past and his duty of respectively laying her ashes to rest. A lot of the story is in flashbacks, and we see how Billy has come to be--and what his relationship was like with Katie and others. One thing that bothered me, though, is that we were shown this background and story on Foster's character Katie, but we're never told why she killed herself? Overall, a mediocre 100 minutes of entertainment.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hold My Hand

“Hold my hand!” Frank shouted over the din. Wind whipped by as the pair stood precariously over the deep gorge. Jenny reached out for Frank, her fingers mere inches away from his outstretched hand. “Come on baby, you can do it.”

“I can’t!” she shouted as her hands grabbed a hold of the rock face in front of her. Tears started to roll down her cheeks. “I just can’t do it.”

“You can do it, I know you can.”

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

'Reservation Road' Review




***/***** This film had the potential to be truly excellent. The performances by Phoenix and Ruffalo are Phenomenal, and you can almost feel all the guilt, melancholy, loss and suffering vicariously through them as they are besieged by these feelings. However, the screenplay had some very contrived occurrences and coincidences, that kind of took me out of the film and at times left me wondering if I had accidentally stumbled upon the Lifetime Network. Ruffalo's character accidentally hits a young child, then decides to flee the scene. For him and all involved, tumultuous times seem to say, "I have a surprise for you today." Definitely worth the time if you are a fan of either of the aforementioned actors. Added to this, the cinematography is tiptop, with drowned-out color schemes and the like personifying moods and such. In closing, I would have a little reservation recommending this, but overall, it is probably a road worth taking on a rainy hum-drum night.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Turning Gears

With a click and a clack
The cog of life spins for us all
It turns with no end
Taking us along for a ride
With any luck
You won’t be flatten between the gears
As they turn on their endless voyage
How can one make any progress
If it is all so cyclical
The world was as it was
Before you were born
And it will remain as it was
After you die
What is the point of it all
If it all is just a circle
As you spin on the gears
That we call life

Friday, September 05, 2008

Penumbral Gambit - Episode 5: Palace Assault



Disclaimer: Penumbral Gambit is a work of fan fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Several locations, items, and concepts belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. The picture is a combination of an image from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and an image from Wizards of the Coast’s “Star Wars Saga Edition” role playing game book. This story and image is purely meant for entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.

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A speeder truck pulled over to the side of the road and four figures darted from the hatchway into the darkness. They had quickly memorized the route to the royal palace while they traveled from the hotel downtown to the drop-off point. The green holographic images were fresh in their minds. Their minds traced the path as they ran; down the street, left at the third ally, right at the bank, and right at the restaurant. It did not take long before they were cutting through the fence and sprinting the open distance to the side of the three story building.

In silence they withdrew grappling hook launchers and fired at the roofline three stories above. The anchors held tight to the concrete above and the powered winches on their belts pulled them up. Once on the third story ledge, the one clad in armor set about opening the window. Like wraths in the night the group silently entered the secured royal palace.

In the pre-dawn light the group could make out the forms of cabinets, counters, and cooking appliances. They had inserted themselves in the kitchen, exactly where they planed. The Gungan placed his large ears against the door and listened. Footsteps could be heard in the hallway on the other side of the thin door. He stepped back from the door and waited.

With a shenk the door slid open and an armed guard on patrol stepped into the kitchen. Dubja drew his heavy blaster pistol, fired, and returned it to the holster before the guard’s lifeless body hit the ground. At the sound of the gunshot a second guard came running down the hallway from behind a corner. Jett stepped into the hallway and unloaded a five round burst into the guard, felling him in the volley.

The bodies were hastily dragged to an out of the way place in the kitchen. The group had hit its first spot of bad luck since their ship exited hyperspace on the far side of the star system’s gas giant. King Andon’s report had said that the third floor of the palace was thinly guarded and a patrolling guard had stumbled upon them as soon as they had infiltrated the building. Even though the plan was to run fast and hard though the palace, they had hoped to make it down to the second floor before running into any opposition. Tahnel removed a comm unit from one of the guards and listened. The airwaves were silent, their luck was holding.

Silently the infiltrators moved through the palace to the elevator on the right side of the building. The lift would only take them down to the second floor; from there they would have to make their way to the center of the palace where a grand lift would take them down to the atrium. Without a sound the elevator doors opened and the group entered.

Soon the doors slid open again and the group stepped onto the second floor. A guard sat slumped over in a chair in front of them. Dubja drew a switchblade from his boot and crept up to the sleeping guard. With a quick flick of his wrist he ensured that the guard would not wake from his rest.

The group made their way down the hallway towards the lobby in the center of the royal palace. All of a sudden a voice rang out behind the party. It called for them to halt and throw down their weapons. They turned to see a pair of guards behind them, both with their blaster rifles drawn and one was fumbling with a comm unit.

Re’ahn leapt into action, outstretched her hand and a wave of force shot out, knocking over the guards and flinging the comm unit away. Tahnel lit his green lightsaber and charged the prone targets. Re’ahn flicked on her blue lightsaber and was not far behind. The guards rose and fired their weapons but the pair made quick work of them.

It was not long before the group had made it to the second floor lift lobby. The grand entrance lift was a ten by ten meter platform that had ornate metal handrails with glass filling in the open areas. As the lift lowered the group could see into the well lit atrium. Fountains flanked the lift with a pool full of fish which ran under the lift connecting the water works and there were also crystal chandlers that seemed to hover just below the ceiling. Guards were stationed in front of the double doors to the royal chamber as well as on the other side of the main entrance glass doors and wall.

Dubja fired at a guard stationed at the royal chamber doors and dove for cover behind a fountain. Instantly the room erupted in a vortex of violence. The guards opened fire while the force users dove towards them with their lightsabers lit. Jett raked across the guards with covering fire.

The guards on the other side of the glass entry stared at the battle in abject terror. Tales of Jedi knight prowess in combat had reached even the backwater world of Dorreth. Dubja took advantage of their hesitation to fight; he flipped the front of his poncho over his shoulder, grabbed a fragmentation grenade, and tossed it towards the glass wall. The explosion showered the exterior guards with shrapnel and shards of glass, killing two of them instantly. The rest dropped their weapons and fled from the palace.

More guards rushed in from doors on the side of the atrium. The map had indicated that a small barracks was connected to the royal palace and the sudden rush of bodies confirmed the fact. Jett turned on his jetpack and leapt across the room, tossing a grenade at the open doorway before taking cover behind the stone fountain and pool walls with Dubja. The explosion rocked the room and took several of the guards out of the fight. The pair continued to fire into the remains of the crowd while the stone chipped away around them from the return fire. Grazes seared the pair’s flesh, but they kept up their attack.

Tahnel’s muscles rippled under his robes while the hacked away at guards with his lightsaber. Each hit was more devastating than the last as he made his way from guard to guard, killing each one in turn. A blaster bolt was about to hit the force user, but he held out his hand and used the force to absorb the shot.

Re’ahn danced around each guard as she slashed with her lightsaber. Seeing their movements in her mind through use of the force she could dodge their attacks with ease. However, her attacks had trouble finding their mark as she was seemingly playing with her opponents.

It was not long before the cacophony of destruction was over and the room was washed over in a wave of silence. The four warriors took a moment to catch their breath. All that lay before them was the large set of durasteel double doors that had protected the throne room from the battle.

A voice from Tahnel’s captured comm unit broke the silence. “What is going on out there?” the voice demanded.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

'The Dog Who Stopped the War' Review




***1/2 Out of ***** While I am not concerned with the fact that this is an english dubbed version as some reviewers have mentioned, it should be noted, as it seems to reside in many Quebecois native hearts. However, this was a movie as a child that I was a fervent admirer of; keeping in mind now that it was made for children, I rate it on a relative basis. The story is of children on winter break building an awesome snow fort, and jostling back-'n-forth for control with weapons such as snowballs and other unique concoctions, as idle hands and free time equal winter break lessons. If I had children, this definitely is a film I would try and get them interested in, as the snow fort wowed me when I was young, and I think even children today would agree, albeit with Pixar and all the computer animation, maybe I am out of date and just don't realize it. In addition, the movie's message is wonderfully allegorical and a positive one at that, for children (and adults alike).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Singing For Our Lives

“Where are we off to now,” Mike slurred as he stumbled onto the sidewalk from the bar’s doorway.

“Man, that’s up to you,” Frank replied as he followed his friend into the night air. After thinking for a bit he added, “It’s your birthday after all.”

The pair walked half a block in silence, the gears in their heads slowly turning. “How about I.S. Surley’s?” Mike asked.

“Eh, their pool table has a lean to it,” Frank retorted then added, “how about O’Leary’s?”

“Drank to much whiskey last night. Red Satin?”

“Last time we were there I was hit on by a dude. Donald’s?”

“They don’t serve food. Red Roundabout?”

It’s shitty band for ten bucks night. Magma Mark’s?”

The conversation continued in this fashion for a block and a half before, in a flash of genius, Mike stopped in his tracks. His eyes widened as his lips stumbled while trying to form the words that his brain was trying to generate. “Me… You… Now… Karaoke!” Frank agreed and the pair rushed the two blocks to the Karaoke Klub.

That is how the pair arrived at the karaoke bar, on the stage with a microphone in their hands. A wild birthday night that left them singing for their lives.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

'Nietzsche and the Nazis' Review




***/***** This is a documentary in which the camera barely pans or zooms and consists of Professor Stephen Hicks lecturing directly to the lens with varying backdrops and is intermittently spliced with historical photographs or art works from the time of the Renaissance. It's best broken down and seen in its three parts, as it's very dense and comprehensive, they include: 1) National Socialism (and Collectivism vs. individualism) philosophy and how the Nazis took over democratic Germany in early '33, 2) Nietzsche's background and works such as 'Beyond Good and Evil' and 'The Will to Power', and 3) arguments for and against how/if he influenced Nazism. The first part is an excellent and thorough explanation of how a country slowly fell into a horrendous situation. Moreover, a lot of the info on Nietzsche and his philosophy is good too, however, Hicks fails to mention how Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche manipulated some of his last unpublished work, 'The Will to Power', changing lines, adding text and rearranging the chronology to appease members of the Nazi party. In the '60's, Mazzino Montinari and Giorgio Colli reaarranged and put back chronologically what was Nietzsche's final work, seemingly, and maybe Hick's argument is from this reference edition, however, the fact he fails to even mention this relationship with his sister to the Nazis renders his argument philosophically weak. He argues in philosophical terms, so it is legitimate to henceforth critique it so; it is the Informal Fallacy of False Cause. I will be generous on this one with six stars just 'cause the first two hours are very interesting. The third could be called highly questionable.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Random Bar Poems

Darkest night
Brightest light
Why can’t it just end?
Or at least just mend

The bar is still
But I am not
I am a restless sprit
I want to roam
I need to roam
I need excitement
Some where other then here
Somewhere else then here
I am gone
I vanish
Into the night
Away from the drunken revelry
Into the night
I disappear

When I make an ass of myself
Which is quite often
It is not intentional
I did not mean it
All that I do,
is ask for your forgiveness
It is all that I can do,
when I am in this state
Please listen to me
You are the only one
Please listen to me
Only you can
I love you
For ever
And always

Saturday, August 30, 2008

'Conspiracy Theory' Review



**/***** Wow! The same guy that wrote the screenplay for 'Mystic River', 'L.A. Confidential,' and 'Payback' wrote this too? The fact that this trite, obnoxious, ludicrous movie ever got made is a conspiracy theory in and of itself. Scientists engineering earthquakes? There might be an easier way to kill the president. Gibson stars as a conspiracy nut cabbie, who publishes a newsletter with seemingly crazy theories, but whoops!! He got one right, and they were watching!! And a Goverment Attorney (Roberts) is along for this lame ride. The stultifying ending was
obviously tacked on by a studio executive to appease the masses, and the love story is completely inane. Oh yeah, it is tooooo long at 135 minutes. That is the problem with the studio Hollywood system, sometimes, or a lot of times, they like to tinker and add implausibilities; Brian Hegeland's script had to better than this, didn't it?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Jack Chance Case Files - Part 2: Open For Business

I gave the lazy-susan one more spin, but came up with the same results again. Cornflakes. “Cornflakes and beer,” I say to the fridge as I pull it open for a cold one. “Breakfast of champions, once again.” After pouring myself a bowl I flopped down behind my desk, put my feet up, and ate. It doesn’t taste the best but it’ll do in a pinch, and in a pinch was where I was. Between a rock and the proverbial hard place. It had been at least a month since I had a job where my income didn’t all go to bills.

A shadow moved across my office’s smoked glass door followed by a soft rapping. “Come in,” I said looking up from my bowl.

My spoon never made it back to my mouth, but my jaw decided to meet it half way. She was stunning, absolutely stunning. An image that any G.I. would kill for to grace the side of his aircraft. Big brown eyes peered out into the room, darting about with uncertainty. Mouse brown hair hanged below her shoulders, resting on a low cut beige short sleeve shirt. Black slacks ran the distance down her mile long legs. Her body was strong and athletic but with the curves and softness a good woman should have. She would have given Rosie the riveter a run for her money.

“I don’t know if I’m in the right place. My name is Joanne Stanley.” I smiled, introduced myself, motioned for her to sit, and reassured her that she was in the right place. She continued speaking but never once stopped glancing nervously around the office. “I usually can take care of my self, one has to when they live alone and work in a factory with nothing but men, but I need some help. A friend of mine has gone missing. It has been a few weeks now and I have not heard from him.”

“What is his name?” I asked.

“Robert Wallic.”

“What do you think happened? Could he just be on vacation?”

“I don’t think he would go on vacation without telling me about it. I usually watch his place when ever he leaves town, even for a weekend.”

“Do you think something bad happened to him? Was he involved with any illegal activities? Could there have been foul play?”

“I don’t know. I’m just so worried about him and I don’t know where to start looking. I don’t think he was wrapped up in any crime or drugs.”

I nodded and said that I would take the case. After going through my contract and payment arrangements I pulled out a note pad and asked her to tell me everything she knew about Robert. She talked about a wide variety of topics from how they met and became friends to what their plans were for the coming year. I interjected occasionally to brighten up some dark areas of the stories she told. By the time we were done I felt like I had already known Robert for ten years and had some decent leads to follow up. When she left I told her that I would keep in touch with any findings that would come up.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

'Another 9 1/2 Weeks' Review



1/2 Out of ***** This is for any viewer that may go against their better judgement and watch this, 1: 'cause the first one is pretty decent for what it is, or 2: 'cause Angie Everhart is really, really hot. I am a member of the latter category (and the first one too actually). Heed my warning, even if the hottest woman in the world was in this movie (check that-the 5 hottest women), it has no redeeming value whatsoever. I can't give a plot synopsis, as I don't think anything really happened. Wait! Mickey Rourke acted really 'cool' as always. It is an incoherent mess of seemingly random scenes shot, and then edited together blindly in a attempt to make a story of it. Children could make a better film than this. It doesn't even deserve the half star I gave it, it deserves a negative 5. Do yourself a favor and tour the stop signs or traffic lights on foot in your local area rather than watching this abysmal turd of a movie.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bomb Shelter

“Honey, we need to talk,” was the phrase I walked into when I came home last night. After a long day at the office I was not ready for that bombshell. All day long it is nothing but problems and complaints, customers calling to complain or employees stepping into my office to complain. Nothing but. “I can get cheaper prices elsewhere,” or, “the printer is out of toner and I don’t know how to change it,” every day.

When I come home all that I want to do is sit back, have a beer, watch some TV, and go to sleep. The last thing that I want to deal with is the little woman saying, “Honey, we need to talk.”

Times like these I envy my friends at work. They avoid these hard hitting questions by going out with the guys every night. Sure, it may get expensive over time, but the security it provides is worth it. If I had just gone out with them tonight then I wouldn’t be looking around for a bomb shelter to hide in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Light Sleeper' Review




***1/2 Out of ***** Written and directed by Paul Schrader, the screenwriter of 'Taxi Driver', there are similiar themes in 'Light sleeper' that echo its predecessor in its urban isolation of the protagonist and the city as a sewer environment. Willem Dafoe is wonderful as a coke dealer on the verge of chartering new territory; he's trying to make sense of his past, as exemplified by his chance encounters with a former flame (Dana Delany) in which he so badly wants to cling, and plans for his future as his boss is moving on from the business. This is a character driven story, and the characters are well-drawn. Willem Dafoe's John Le Tour is a more mature Travis Bickle, past-his-prime, darkly contemplative and endlessly writing in journals trying to find meaning or direction. After beating his cocaine addiction 2 years before and adjusting, can he readjust again, finding semblance? However, as others have mentioned, the film should've ended with him harmoniously? between two Chinese paintings, leaning back on the bed. After that, studio meddling had to have ensued, as the sugary conclusion does not fit. Separate Note: Would some company already release 'Blue Collar' on DVD by Paul Schrader with Richard Pryor already? If a Schrader fan, find it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Encounter

Carefully I placed each step
Silently creeping up the path
There he is
I see him
He doesn’t know that I’m here
Cautiously I approach
SNAP
His head whipped around
Our eyes meet
Minds cross, we become one
What is he thinking
A glint of fear enters his eye
What is he afraid of
Is it that I may charge
Or that I could go away
No
It is not that
It is something deeper
Fear of his own mortality
It will be best to leave him alone
I dashed into the forest
Into nothingness

Saturday, August 23, 2008

'The Visitor' Review



****1/2 Out of ***** (possible spoilers)'The Visitor' is the very well-crafted, slowly and subtly but surely powerful follow-up film to Thomas McCarthy's wonderfully moving, 'The Station Agent', and it is just as much a success, if not more so. Richard Jenkins is a revelation; It is good to see this character actor finally get a leading role in such a soon to be revered film. He plays a recent widower, set in his ways and the rut of his life, mired in malaise and unable to find his beat. Due to his job, he is sent to New York to attend some meetings/conferences and finds some illegal immigrants living in his apartment as a result of a real estate scam. What follows is an elegantly understated, unlikely friendship between he and three others, that if not for the scam, would've never occurred. Tarek and Walter become friends and share a bond as the foreigner teaches Walter the African drum. Troubling, however, is what Walter sees through Tarek and Zainab's eyes, they being Muslims in the post-9/11 New York, Tarek ends up becoming unfairly confined in literal xenophobia. What McCarthy is doing is using the Jenkins character as a microcosm of the state of this country now, like Walter, the country loses its way when it shuts itself off from other people (and world opinion of America's geopolitics). On another note, I really liked the romance between Tarek's mother and Walter, pitch-perfect and truly heartbreaking. I definitely recommend!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Penumbral Gambit - Episode 4: King's Corner


Disclaimer: Penumbral Gambit is a work of fan fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Several locations, items, and concepts belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. The picture is a combination of an image from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and an image from Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars Saga Edition role playing game book. This story and image is purely meant for entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.

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The plan was simple enough. A small fleet of ships dropped out of hyperspace a far distance away from the planet Dorreth. The Republic frigate and three corvettes flew towards the small mercenary blockade from behind the system’s gas giant. Once the mercenary ships were engaged a small Dynamic class freighter emerged from behind the gas planet and darted towards Dorreth.

The half saucer freighter entered atmosphere half a continent away from Ferros and approached the capital city from a low altitude to ensure ground based sensors would not be able to detect the spaceship. Under the cover of darkness the ship landed carefully in a field approximately five miles from the outskirts of the city. Large trees from a forested area covered the ship’s landing from the city. Almost as soon as the landing gear touched the ground four figures hopped out of the ship by the descending cargo ramp.

It was just over an hour before the group reached the outskirts of the city. Jett’s pace slowed and his hand came up signifying the small party to stop. He pointed to a three man armed patrol that was loitering under a streetlight in front of them. The patrol was not wearing uniforms or any insignias that Jett could use to identify the patrol as friendly peacekeepers or rebel mercenaries. As a peaceful planet Dorreth did not have a regular military and law enforcement was undertaken by civilian volunteers. Dubja took to the brush and stealthily moved to a flanking position while the remaining three approached the patrol with weapons drawn but held in relaxed positions.

“Got a light?” Jett asked the patrol as he and the force users approached the illuminated circle under the streetlight.

“Who goes there?” one of the patrol members shouted as the three wheeled around with blaster rifles aimed at the group approaching out of the darkness.

“We’re here to alleviate this planet of its problem. And you are?”

“You must be from the Republic. King Andon Temere sent us, he is expecting you. We’ll take you to him. Although, it was reported that there were four of you”

Dubja stepped from the shadows and made his presence known. Startled, the patrol turned towards the new arrival with weapons ready to fire. Chuckling, the Gungan said, “Letsa go.” After a moment the patrol regained composure enough to take the group through the city.

After a short ride in a speeder truck the group arrived at a hotel. They were led through the building to the penthouse suite. An older man stood from behind a desk to greet the group as they entered the extravagant room. He retied the belt of his red silk dressing gown as he approached. The smile upon his face was betrayed by the weariness in his eyes. “I’m glad to see you,” he chimed as he directed the four towards a pair of couches. A servant brought a tray of coffee and left it on the short wood table between the couches.

“Your defenses look a bit thin,” Jett commented as he had only seen a handful of guards since entering the hotel.”

“I am in no danger here,” King Andon Temere replied then continued, “it is good that you could come so quickly. I don’t know what we would do without Senator Arklarr Tennet. Now, to the matter that plagues Dorreth. It has been about a week since the rebels took the royal palace, and with it my daughter Shaela. The rebels have been insistent that they do not want Dorreth to join the Republic. The night is still young and I believe you should be able to resolve this matter before morning. I fear that any delay would compromise your surprise assault, my people are trustworthy but words travel fast on this planet. If we do not act fast then the rebels may plunge Dorreth into civil war to prevent the joining of the Republic. It wouldn’t be too difficult for the rebels to grow in strength. My son is a great leader and a great man.”

A look of shock shot across the faces of the four in front of the king. “Your son?” Tahnel was the first to get out what they all were thinking. “Your son is leading the rebels against you?”

Concern washed over the King’s face. “Yes, my son Perin is leading the forces against me and took his sister prisoner. Did Senator Tennet not tell you of this?”

“Hesa did not,” Dubja said. “All we were supplied with was just a picture and some descriptions of him as well as a mission objective to remove the rebel leader from the picture, to kill him.”

“Oh!” Shock now shot across the King’s face. “That is very surprising. Aklarr knows who he is, he was my son’s mentor for his entire life. Now you have added more worries to my old bones. The plan was for you to return my son to me so I can put him in his place, but now I see that there may be a plot bigger than what we see now. He now needs to be returned to me so he can be questioned.”

The talk soon turned to the plan of attack. A datapad with information about the royal palace and likely positions of guards as well as the prince and princess was supplied to the group. After a short discussion Jett and Dubja agreed upon how to best assault the royal palace. Within minuets the group was back in the speeder truck and headed towards the palace.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Errol Morris and his 'First Person' Series






****1/2 out of ***** Errol Morris is the best documentary filmmaker of all time. Superior editing, Phillip Glass' and Caleb Sampson's scores (and others), and seemingly mundane things brought to light profoundly (not to mention film composition and uniqueness in subjects, manner and succinctness). This is a filmmaker who has traversed the ultimate objective in filmmaking, documentary or not, that would ever hope to ascertain by crossing the chasm of ideas, themes, enlightenment and entertainment by bringing McNamara to talk (via his pioneered 'Interrotron'), and a condemned man from death row, soliciting a basic confession from a guilty party ('The Thin Blue Line'). 'First Person' is similiar to 'Fast, Cheap and Out of Control' wherein a multitude of very different people are interviewed with varying results: all being philosophical, poetic, and informative in nature. However, the episode with Pilot Dennis Fitch entitled, 'One in a Million Trillion' was unlike anything I have ever seen, extremely inspirational and terrifying at the same time, this is not to miss! In closing, I wonder what it would be like if all the subjects were together in the same room from 'First Person' at the same time?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That's My Dog

I was walking down the street, leash in hand, taking my dog out for a walk. It was a sunny day and the few birds in the sky were chirping their hearts out. A puffy white cloud or two floated by, one of which looked surprisingly a lot like a ’57 Chevy.

A cute blonde was roller-skating towards me. Well, cute is more an understatement. Her skates were filled with long tan legs that reached all the way up to black spandex running shorts. Her taught stomach glistened with sweat which dripped from a crimson sports bra. A smile arose on her lips as she approached and her eyes scanned me from top to bottom. “Aww, what a cute puppy you have,” she said with a giggle as she approached.

I mumbled a thanks and smiled. We started talking about puppies and the weather, you know, that kind of stuff you talk about when you don’t know someone well enough to strike up a real conversation. There the moment that I was dreading came to a head. A “hurk, hurk, hurk,” came from below us. As we both looked down, horrified, my dog barfed all over her skates. “Yep,” I said as he started to lick the vomit up, “that’s my dog.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

'The Trials of Darryl Hunt' Review




****1/2 Out of ***** This film is a sweeping, comprehensive and harrowing account of one man's nightmarish journey through a biased, racist and inept justice system. If you liked "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" or "The Thin Blue Line," this is a movie for you, but much of the injustice here, conversely, is racially motivated in nature, and like the aforementioned, heaping with negligence and corruption perpetrated by "the man." Not to be taken lightly at all, dear Darryl spent 20 years of his life in prison on the basis of an erroneous conviction. A 1994 DNA test exonerated him 1o years into his sentence, clearing him of rape and murder, yet, North Carolina's courts didn't want to hear it, and Hunt served another 10 years before finally being released in 2004. Truly horrifying. Why aren't some of these corrupt D.A.'s and policemen behind bars? For they took a life, or the better part of one. Overall, this film is fairly presented, executed exceptionally well and profoundly powerful. Which begs the question: how many more Darryl Hunts are really out there?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Forest List

Fallen log, freshly growing pine, bed of leaves, roar of a cool breeze, falling rain, pitter-patter pitter-patter, moss covered stones, cut down stumps, young trees sprouting, birch tree, pine tree, oak tree, cawing bird, chirping birds, brown and green, brown and green, carpet of dead leaves, new growth sprouting, lichen covered trunks, brown and green, white of the birch, grey of the sky, rolling hill, light valley, rotting log, stick, twig, acorn, pine cone, bark

Saturday, August 16, 2008

'eXistenZ' Review




***1/2 Out of ***** 'eXistenZ' was released about the same time as 'The Matrix' and comparatively, would best be described as the more indie, strange and surreal. In addition, it is prototypal sci-fi, sure not to disappoint as it raises questions about the nature of reality and technology in such a way that you will most likely leave the film with a somewhat profound idea(s) or thought(s) you didn't have before, and well, that is an admirable goal for a film. Allegra Geller (JJL) is a monumentally successfull game designer, and her latest smears boundaries of escapism and reality. Her only ally is Ted Pikul (Law) as they experience the game together, dodging assassination attempts real/fake and possible other misadventures. Did I say this film was strange (And that is fine with me.)? Indeed, as players of the organic game system leave existence and enter 'eXistenZ' through a port in their backs, connecting to their CNS, via a cord/wire that connects to what looks like a deflated sheep's stomach, the gaming module. Finding a Chinese restaurant in the middle of the woods and ordering a dish of lizards, reptiles and other assorted boney oddities and then fashioning a gun and utilizing it from the dish, is standard fare for this game. Of course, at times the viewer doesn't know if they're in the game or not in the game. Or as Ted says, “Are we playing the game right now?” Well, are we? Or are we playing the game within the game? And on and on...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jack Chance Case Files - Part 1: Eye Inside

A couple sat down on the edge of the bed. He was older; his silver hair glistened in the light. She was younger; her long blonde hair flowed past her shoulders. They held each other’s hands and gazed into each other’s eyes.

It seemed like eternity before one of them spoke, although it was only a few moments. As she spoke her left hand moved to pet the red comforter that was spread across the bed, it slid back and fourth. When he spoke her hand instantly stopped moving. A tear ran down her cheek and she rubbed it away.

She stood up and yelled at the man. Her hands clutched her chest, covering the cleavage that her slinky black dress had left exposed. He stood and approached her with his arms out stretched, as if to comfort her.

As he came near her she reached out and slapped him across the face. He staggered back in shock and rubbed his jaw, then he lunged forward and wrapped her up in his arms. She struggled but could not wiggle out of his grasp. His words calmed her and the struggling subsided. His grasp of her turned into an embrace as their lips met in a passionate kiss.

Together they made their way back to the bed. Their lips locked together as she struggled to remove his suit and he her dress. Soon they were lying entwined on the bed in a naked embrace.

In the next hotel room over I took a drag on my cigarette and gave a long exhale as the scene unfold before me on the TV screen. Some dame had wanted me to track down her husband and his nightly affairs. It wasn’t hard to track down where he went at night; it was always the same hotel every Wednesday night. All I had to do was pay off the desk clerk to give the guy the room next to the one I had rented. The rest was just setting up the camera in the ductwork and waiting. Come morning I’ll be handing the tape off to his wife along with a card for a divorce attorney buddy of mine.

To the untrained watcher, my job seems like a grizzly business. I get paid to snoop around in other people’s garbage and root out their darkest secrets. Tailing a husband that had been suspected by his wife to be an adulterer is pretty standard fair around these parts. The big cases that turn up in the movies are always a work of fiction. A drop-dead gorgeous dame that falls into a detective’s lap with a case full of murder and intrigue never happens.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

'After Hours' Review




****/***** 'After hours' is classic Scorsese. Young word-processing specialist Paul Hackett, bored of his job, meets a beautiful young lady and gets her number. Later he calls her and treks across town from his posh Eastside NYC apartment to SoHo, in a wry comedic, often nightmarish journey that seemingly won't end, with encounters from a bevy of odd and disenfranchised characters. 'After Hours' is a Kafkaesque nightmare, slightly noirish, and is embodied with Scorsese's signature flares with the camera. These include a P.O.V. shot for a set of falling keys from the keys' perspective and many others, better seen than explained. The direction tight, you may become exhausted with the plight of Paul in just this night. It is said that Scorsese took on this project after the studio shut down his production of "The Last Temptation of Christ" just a few days before cameras were to roll. Well, Paul Hackett, possibly, was akin to Martin Scorsese at that point: ineffectual in changing his circumstances. Through Hackett, Scorsese could seek to expel his disdain.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Last Time

“What the fuck!” Mike shouted in desperation. “How could you do this to me? After all we have been through together. After all that you meant to me.”

“Mike, I’m sorry—“ she tried to interject.

“I promised myself no more. No more of your shit. I’m done with you. I’m done with us.” Mike gathered his belongings as he ranted. “You have hurt me enough. More than enough. I can’t handle it anymore.”

“Mike, please no,” she grabbed his arm while pleading. Hoping her actions would calm him down. He pushed her away and continued removing every last detail of his existence from the apartment.

“I’m done. I’m out of here.”

“Please Mike, I need you, I love you.” She reached for him again. His hand came up, slapping her across the face.

“You never meant it. Not now, not ever.”

“I love you,” she sobbed as she reached for him again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

'Snow Angels' Review



***1/2 Out of ***** Green's films always kinda reminded me of Altman's films, in some ways, like the naturalistic dialogue and the meandering of it all. "Snow Angels" follows in that tradition, but in the least (as say compared to "George Washington"), whereas this is most encapsulated within conventional genre. I'd say it is about the 'slips' in life(each or most of the main characters at some point 'slip' and fall in the snow literally and at one point the Beckinsale character says in anguish that "life's a slip!") and their collisions with relationships. The title (besides the obvious irony), maybe referring to the frustration of these characters, as when you make a snow angel, you put your hands above your head in a repetitive motion, as if to say "I don't know" (how to figure it all out).

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Coat of White Primer

White primer etched itself upon the bare concrete wall. “You sure your mom doesn’t mind,” Joe asked as he reached for the can of red spray paint.

“Naw, she’s cool,” Chuck replied. She’d rather have me tagging down here then out on the streets. She said that she wouldn’t bail me out again anyway.”

“That sucks man. How did you get nabbed the last time?”

“I was down at the train yards. I’ve heard that they don’t car as long as you don’t cover any identifying marks on the rail cars. Well, the watchman must not have gotten that memo. He must have called the cops before chasing after me. Before I knew it I was down a dead-end ally with the cops plugging up the end.”

“That’s harsh dude.”

“Yeah, it was. I won’t make the mistake of getting caught again. Although, those couple of hours in the cooler got me to thinking. I actually sent in the application to art school. In a few years I’ll graduate with a graphic design degree.”

“Cool, way cool.”

The pair stood back and admired their handiwork. The basement wall never looked so good.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

'Fool's Gold' Review




*/*****Dear Powers That Be, Thank you for aptly naming this drivel 'Fool's Gold' as only a fool could find shine or worth in such. I had low expectations and they were met; thank you for making my movie going experience predictable, as life sure is full of surprises; as circumstance crisscrossed coincidence a friend stopped by with varying taste in tow and this abominable turd fell into my lap. My lament, I kept inside, as I am a cordial host sometimes found serving lemonade on hot days, but now I must pontificate. Why Powers That Be do you make movies that you (we) know the outcome of, and everything about, before watching? Maybe with rising gas costs this is meant to be more efficient, so we can half-watch while we find ways to work more to make up the difference or find alternative means. No, that can't be; I guess this abysmal fare is economically sustainable in our market, and that is sad. No chemistry, bad dialogue, predictable cliched script, stilted performances make this sure folly. Thank you Powers That Be. Do you have the real gold?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Penumbral Gambit - Episode 3: Contract Negotiations

Disclaimer: Penumbral Gambit is a work of fan fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Several locations, items, and concepts belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. The picture is a combination of an image from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and an image from Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars Saga Edition role playing game book. This story and image is purely meant for entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.

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“I am Senator Aklarr Tennet from the planet Dorreth,” the tall well dressed human said after he entered the office and was standing next to the Supreme Chancellor. He placed his durasteel briefcase on the desk in front of him. “I want to thank you Chancellor for introducing me to this band of bounty hunters.”

“If you have been paying attention to the news, which I doubt you have,” the Senator continued, “you would know that Dorreth has recently joined the Republic. We are a peaceful people with noble traditions; however these traditions have kept some from wanting our home to join the Republic. A band of rebels have successfully assaulted the King Andon Temere’s palace in Ferros and have taken the princess Shaela hostage.”

With a few clicks of the latches, the Senator opened his briefcase. He pulled a datapad from his briefcase and handed it to Jett. “On this datapad, “the Senator said,” is a map of the capitol city, palace grounds, and information about the princess.” Jett grunted in confirmation as he paged through the contents of the datapad and gave a low whistle. When he passed on the datapad Dubja could see that the Mandalorian had stopped at the princess’s information and picture.

Dubja quickly paged through the information before handing the datapad on to Tahnel. “What dosa we know about the rebels?” he asked.

“The reports from Dorreth are not complete, but from what I can gather they are just normal citizens that have been wooed by the rebel leader. Dorreth is a peaceful planet; we have no need for weapons or armies.”

“Heh, that was your first mistake,” Jett chuckled.

“The rebel leader must be very charismatic to be able to pull people to his cause,” the Senator said while shooting Jett an evil glair. “The people of Dorreth do not take the thought of war lightly. It would take a skilled statesman to convince them to take up arms, especially against their own king.”

“What exactly dosa you want us to accomplish?” the bounty hunter asked.

“I have put a bounty of 12,000 credits on the rebel leaders head. With him out of the way the rebellion will fail and Dorreth will be able to freely join the Republic. Oh, and please be careful, I’m sure King Andon would be most grateful if Shaela was returned to him unharmed.”

“If your planet is as weak as you say it is, than this will unfortunately be a cakewalk,” the thought of glorious combat flitted away out of Jett’s mind.

“I do not believe this to be a simple task, if it were then I would not be asking Chancellor Joran'bek for assistance in finding a competent group of bounty hunters. The rebels have been able to hire mercenaries, their ships form a blockade around the planet and I am sure they are guarding the palace as well.”

“What would you have us do with the rebel leader once we catch up with him?” the quiet Ithorian asked.

“It would be best if the rebellion was crushed. The head must be cut off the snake before its poison infects the entire population, which is why the bounty for the rebel leader has him wanted dead. Everything would be better for Dorreth with him gone.”

Dubja asked, “Do we have any information about the rebel leader?”

“There is not much known about him. All I have is a picture and some basic information.” The Senator retrieved a datapad from his briefcase, fiddled with it for a few moments, and handed it over to the Gungan. Dubja scrolled through the information. Only a picture and some basic information, such as height and eye color, were available, although most of the fields were blank.

The Senator stated that he would notify King Andon of the bounty hunter’s impending arrival. Once all of the questions were asked and answered the Senator thanked the Chancellor and the group before leaving. The Chancellor advised that the group leave for Dorreth immediately, before the situation escalated. The hyperspace travel would take a few days before they reached Dorreth.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

'The Incredible Hulk' Review




***/***** You've probably read that the movie in some people's opinion is a glorified chase scene for two hours with not much substance and overblown CGI effects. Or you've read that it delivers and The Hulk (franchise?) has been redeemed and that the action scenes are awesome, the pacing good, and The Hulk's roar loud. I would say that the truth, or my opinion, lies somewhere in between. While the CGI is at times egregious and fakely applied, so much so it could possibly take you out of the movie, so is the whole premise of the thing. But it is a comic book movie, and if you can suspend your disbelief for that, it is not much further a stretch to just take the CGI for what it is: that is, a part of a nicely paced, entertaining chase film, with moderate character development and substance, that happens to be incorporated with comic book characters. The good guys most likely win--barely; and in the sequel we'll find out if the proverbial 'beast' or 'mutant' will be reunited with his 'girl-next-door'. All the while a new villian is making devious and disastrous plans, for what else would a comic hero do if not?