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First Time in the Files, 1-2 Deep Throat

Sorry about missing yesterday everyone! I was tired for the first time in like 2 months and I just let myself go to bed early and then sleep late. I was super groggy today, but sleep is good, right?

So epidode 2, the first proper episode, unless you follow Joss Whedon’s theory that the first six episodes are get to know you episodes and you can only start doing cool stuff after that. We’ll see if Chris Carter has the same theory, but either way we’re into the series now, including the title sequence, which I either ignored or wasn’t there last episode. I think I like it, it’s creepy in a good way.

Lemme see, lists are fun, I haven’t done a list in like, 20 hours or something. Let’s do one of them!

6 Very Cool Things About This Episode

  1. Scully has gotten very glam since the Pilot. Actually, both leads have much better hair and makeup in this episode. I noticed how nice their hair was at least once every five minutes. Nice hair is very important to me. David Duchovny was maybe as high as tier two hair (there are five tiers, one is the best and five is Cousin It) It’s a really close call. He was somewhere between Matt Murdock (top of tier three, except he’s blind so it doesn’t count against him) and Eric Matthews (low on tier two). For reference, tier one consists of Scott Summers and Dick Grayson.
  2. Scully has been upgraded to actual name status. When she leaned over Dr. Infodump and said “Sucker” I was like, “you have a million pounds of spunk and are not quite completely Babs, though I’d still believe it if your said you were a clone” and that was that, she gets to be Scully from here on out unless she really pisses me off.
  3. SETH GREEN. I actually screamed “OZ!” when Mr. Claire Grant showed up. It was nice to see him! Only a Mark Sheppard cameo would have been more reassuring. Also how oddly prophetic his lines about Desert Storm II were.
  4. It was impressive how relevant the whole conversation about the protection of national secrets felt, and also a little sad, considering how little the world seems to have changed in the nearly twenty years since this episode aired.
  5. The realization that I really want Babs, Hermione and Scully to form a club where they can all be super smart, always do their homework and use it to trap the guys around them, and look pretty fabulous after staying up all night.
  6. Scully talking to someone named Gail on the telephone. I’m assuming this was Gail Simone and it’s confirmation of my “Scully is a Babs clone” theory.

6 Weird Things About This Episode

  1. The Military guy who showed up at the beginning and end. Is he the same one from the pilot? he looked different, but I’m not so good with faces that I’m certain.(you can most certainly answer that. I can’t look it up, I have limited resistance to spoilers)
  2. The obnoxious reporter, but he’s actually a security guard guy. He was weird and a little bit Jimmy Olsen-esque. Also, I could totally hear his last line, “It is you who have acted inappropriately” being said by Actor Ozai. I laughed for like 5 minutes at that
  3. Calling everything UFO technology. It just sounded awkward and like maybe the writers forgot the word extraterrestrial.
  4. Why nobody asked for ID when the Men in Black showed up.
  5. How the formerly missing test pilot was wearing a Packers sweatshirt and I practically growled at him. I like to think I’m past all that football nonsense, but clearly I’m not so lucky.
  6. Scully taking Jimmy Olsen captive. She was nervous and jumpy to the point where I expected something to go terribly wrong. She did everything right, basically, as far as I understand these things, but the nerves were plain on her face (because Gillian Anderson is amazing) and it made me worry that something would go wrong before she could recover her shambling partner.

1 Crazy Theory

  1. I think Dr. Infodump has been replaced. Blame Bendis for this, but I really think something happened when he was in that holding facility. I know they gave him amnesia, but if I was running that kind of mysterious operation I would do everything I could to rein in the crazy FBI agent. So basically, Dr. Infodump, I am watching you and your convenient amnesia (convenient amnesia is the name of my next band).
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To everyone I’m missing

Dear Nora, Maddy, Mom and everyone else I no longer see on a daily basis,

I miss you a bunch, things are super boring around here without you, at least they were until today.  Apparently my Mac Gawain is even more awesome than I thought! In fact, Gawain’s been a TARDIS in disguise this whole time*! Of course, he was a little rusty from traveling in a linear fashion for so long, so he’d lose his grip and start to pull me back every time I tried to take a picture.

So I took my TARDIS and flew off to the first place any traveler in time and space would go, the Batcave!

I'm really proud of myself for not punching Damian in the face, or chasing after any other Robins.

I didn’t expect Batman to actually be there, so I got out double time, then headed out to take in the sights of Gotham.

Immediately after this, I put Gawain into stealth mode and took a tour of Arkham. Dropped a crowbar into Jason's old cell and poked joker in the eye.

Gotham’s nice and all, but a little crime-ridden for my tastes. So I thought I’d head to somewhere a little brighter and cleaner, Metropolis.

This is me doing my best Lois Lane imitation. I tried to get ahold of Lois, because she is my spirit animal and how could I not, but she was out and Clark answered the phone, and I can’t lie to Superman, so I just said something about needing to go and left.

I thought a good way to wrap up my travels would be to just pop in on the Earth King, but there was something about Bosco and handstands and a fractured bone, so I just did a little Batsui in front of the palace and headed home.

It was a great trip! I wish you could have come!

Yours,

~EEK

PS: Gawain said I visit too many fictional places and that he’d need a break before he took me anyplace else.

*Or I may have discovered the part of photobooth where I can post myself in front of any picture I can dig up with my internet connection and a little Google Fu.

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52 Thoughts

I accidentally reread a bunch of 52 today, so let’t see if I can come up with 52 thoughts about that in 30 minutes.

  1. This is all Evan Shaner’s fault, first he posts a beautiful cover for his dream Captain Marvel/Shazam series on Comic Twart and then he links to the first cover in the series with an extended commentary.
  2. Then he won’t say who the girl on the Magic of Shazam cover is, but after a little work I look her up and decide to take a look at her appearance in 52 (which no one mentions, but I remembered)
  3. So I grab my trades off the shelf, I’m working on collecting the floppies (I’ll get to why) but right now the trades are easier.
  4. Now here’s the amazing thing about 52, for me at least, it’s a new and revelatory experience every time.
  5. Seriously. I had next to no idea what the DCU was when I finally gave in to Mookie’s emphatic recommendations and burned through the ENTIRE series in one sitting, but I loved it.
  6. This was before the trades came out so I was reading the floppies, which is important, because the floppies starting doing these amazing little two page summaries of everyone
  7. Between those summaries and the intense and emotional experience that happens whenever you read 52 the DCU managed to get its hooks embedded in me pretty deeply.
  8. So much so that I’m starting to think 52, for all that it seems to be a continuity heavy behemoth is actually a perfect comic to hand to newbies.
  9. I mean anyone is gonna know who Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are, so the premise is a really easy sell,
  10. What happens when all three of the heroes are gone for a year?
  11. It works because none of the people in the comic know who anyone is either.
  12. The writing is superb and they hand you everything you need to know while those with a deeper knowledge of the DCU will get a richer, but not substantially different experience.
  13. I should not have chosen a list for this but I’m gonna continue along my disjointed way.
  14. Seriously, I just caught the Birds of Prey cameo this time around, but I would have understood what was going on with no help.
  15. Also the cameos are a humungous help
  16. You’re always wondering who’s gonna show up next, you think, “isn’t it time for Diana to show up?” or why can’t Nightwing be a main character (I know, that one’s just me)
  17. The other amazing thing about 52 is how serialized it is (I lover serialization, get used to it)
  18. Seriously, I think they knew that it would only work if you had to stop between bits of stories before plunging on to the next one.
  19. That’s why the little summaries are in the floppies
  20. it’s also why commentary happens at the end of every issue, instead of at the end of the trade like DC usually does
  21. The commentary in the trades is worth the price of admission, really
  22. They do a nice job of covering everyone’s angle really nicely, which is vital for such a huge and well run team
  23. Massive kudos to Steve Wacker, editor extraodinaire for this and then following it up with his huge success on the thrice or twice monthly Amazing Spider-Man
  24. Either way, the writers/artists/trade designers manage to make you turn a few pages at minimum to get to the next bit of story, causing an artificial break that simulates to some extent the week people had to wait the first time around
  25. I hate that I had not yet realized how important it is to read serialized fiction with breaks the first time I read this.
  26. Still, the fact that I read the series in less-than-optimal conditions and it’s still one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever read in comics is an amazing tribute to the skill of the whole team.
  27. That being said, I totally want to finish my collection of the floppies before I try to make anyone else read 52.
  28. I think that 52 works as a conversion book that way, with the origin stories included.
  29. the commentariy sections of the trades (much as I love them) are a bit inside baseball for new readers
  30. whereas individual issues are not, somehow.
  31. Running low on time, some quick character squeeing then I’m hitting post
  32. out
  33. of
  34. time
  35. out
  36. Holy hell Cassie! I had no idea who you were before this read. I knew what you were, but not who. Aw sweetie.
  37. out
  38. of
  39. time
  40. out
  41. Tim, timmy, timmy, tim, tim, tim, tim you really made Bruce wait a long time before adopting you. I had to rejigger my mental timeline a bit for you.
  42. Also, Tim, your last appearance in 52 will always kill me. Endless tears, bro.
  43. out
  44. of
  45. time
  46. out
  47. Yeah, I gotta read more Captain Marvel.
  48. time
  49. out
  50. of
  51. time
  52. In conclusion, I love 52 and it’s something I can always revisit and find something new, without invalidating my original experience. It’s incredible

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First Time in the Files, 1-1 Pilot

Here we go!

I think I’ll like this show quite a bit. I’m reminded in the first few minutes of a lot of the things I enjoy about Bones, which I’ve watched most of and enjoyed, mostly.  There’s a nice juxtaposition between someone who feels and someone who thinks and in both cases this plays against stereotype. It’s also a procedural and I’m finding I like procedurals (we didn’t really watch them in my house as a kid, so I’m exploring now), especially when you have something like House, Castle or (I hope) X-Files where the writing is crisp and smart.

My major feeling for the first half of the epidsode? HOLY COW IS SCULLY BARBARA GORDON OR WHAT? If you told me that Barbara Gordon regained the use of her legs, got a medical degree, joined the FBI and changed her name to Dana Scully I would believe you 100%. I would also believe that one Mr. Timothy Jackson Drake-Wayne had been at the cloning tanks again. It might be the gigantic pile of B-List Bat-books I read this past spring (mostly Robin, Nightwing and Birds of Prey), but Scully reminds me of how Oracle appeared in the 90’s and early 2000’s, especially when she’s writing at her computer, which had the feel of a routine in the making to me. She’s also got a lot of Bab’s spunk, which is good because I’m not liking Mulder much yet.

Seriously. I may just start calling Scully Barbara Gordon all the time.

So. Babs.

This is where the comparison breaks down for me. Though my feelings about Nightwing are well known, I don’t find David Duchovny all that attractive, which means the Nightwing comparison falls down a bit. There might be some similarities in an optimistic spirit or something, I just don’t know how I feel about Dr. Infodump yet. That was some trip to the department of backstory, dude. It’s nice to know about your sister, but I’m not sure it was handled elegantly enough to suit me. I’ll wait to see if that’s a personality quirk or just awkward writing in a pilot where they have to set up everything.

I do quite like the team though. They play off each other well and if Mulder shutting Scully down when she was ready to jump off a theoretical cliff with him over the dirt on the comatose guy’s foot, he knows how much he needs her.  I was slightly bothered by how quickly their partnership coalesced and how well they worked together right away, but I have a feeling that they’ll either find an in-world explanation for it or it’ll cease to be an issue after a few episodes.

As for the plot itself? It felt pretty standard, though I totally dug that we got no answers one way or the other about whether the murders were because of aliens or something more mundane. I think that’ll be important for this show and I really dig the difference when I was expecting a Scooby Doo ending.

In summary: Scully is Babs and I’m withholding judgment on Mulder until he stops being a total plot device and starts being a character.

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Tutorial: Oreo Brownies

Earlier this evening I was browsing Twitter, like you do when I spotted a tweet from Marvel writer extraordinare Brian Reed:

I still freak out whenever a writer I really like @replies at me. Brian was the very first one do do it, way back in 2008

Well, now those brownies happen to be a favorite of my darling baby sister, whose birthday happens to be tomorrow, so I ducked into the grocery store, grabbed a pack of Oreos and set to work.  Thanks to the wonder of the iPhone I documented my process for anyone who wants to follow me into the pit of sugary death.

Marvel at my wonderful popcorn machine in the background! It's amazing and I love it and it's the best birthday present ever!

Ingredients

I cheat a bit and use a mix (it’s Funfetti! and I love Funfetti anything like, well, like 5-year-old me loved her funfetti cake with DINOSAUR sprinkles, Dinosaurs guys) so I just followed the directions on the box. I’m fairly confident these would work from scratch. If you’re a “no high fructose corn syrup ever” person like a co-worker of mine, the Trader Joe’s mix and “oreos” are a safe option.

This is the best part. Any recipe that involves smashing things is the best.

Smashing!

This is the best part. I take one third to one half of the cookies and put them into a plastic zip bag and then I put that plastic zip bag into another plastic zip bag and then I smash it with a hammer! Or I throw it onto the ground as hard as I can about 10 times.  Whatever smashes the cookies well, and the double bagging is really important. One bag or the other always pops open.

You’ll want to put aside the rest of those cookies, don’t eat them all just yet.

Don't eat it all. Really, don't do it.  You and your salmonella will regret it.

Batter Up!

When you’re mixing up your batter add the crushed cookies to your dry ingredients.  I have no idea why, but I’ve never had a problem with the batter being too dry, but your milage may vary here.

Put the batter into whatever kind of pan you like to use. I recommend a bigger one, but if you really like thick brownies feel free to use a smaller one.

This is really tough, actually. I break a lot of the cookies.Cut Your Darlings

Remember those cookies we put aside earlier? It’s time to use them!  Depending on how small you plan to cut the brownies cut 8-12 cookies in half.

Yes, I forgot the candy. hopefully Nora will forgive me

Arrange the cookies on top of the batter in the pan. I always give the first couple of rows too much space, but you don’t have to make my mistakes.

If, for some reason, you want to copy my mistakes, this is where you forget to sprinkle the candy coated chocolate chips on top of the brownies. Yes, there’s even more chocolate and sugar in these things, isn’t Funfetti wonderful?

Then bake according to your recipe, you’ll probably skew towards the longer end of the baking time.

That’s it! Enjoy!

I really don't like these too much. Because like I bakers, I like to make the stuff, but not eat it. I know, I know, I'm gonna make somebody make very happy someday.

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Short Story: Lavender

We all know that I’m a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, well he issued a little challenge to write something, a scene, a snippet, a short story using only untagged dialog. Here is my effort, “Lavender”

 

 

“Do you smell like lavender?”

“No. First off, perfume doesn’t work on inpenitrible skin, second using perfume when you might have to sneak into a criminal’s hideout is suicide. It’s worse than forgetting your mask. Everyone knows that.”

“I smell lavender. It’s coming from you.”

“I told you. I don’t–Oh F— I use lavender detergent on my bed sheets.”

“Starting recently?”

“Always. I did a load yesterday.”

“And then rolled around in them before coming on stakeout?”

“I slept in my uniform last night.”

“On purpose?”

“Watkins does it.”

“Watkins arrested a pumpkin last week.”

“Oh yeah, well he also… made pies out of it.”

“Exactly. Someday soon we’ll be packing him off to an asylum with the rest of the crazies.”

“The pies were delicious.”

“Baking doesn’t require sanity.”

“Do you know why Watkins started sleeping in his uniform?”

“Because he’s a few tacos short of a combo platter.”

“Maybe, but he says he sleeps better when he can be the Onyx Falcon for a few more hours before he has to spend the day as Gerald Watkins.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being who you are.”

“Even when it gets in the way of who you’d rather be?”

“It’s the only way to do this thing.”

“Not if you join O.M.A.”

“O.M.A. can’t do stuff like this.”

“I’ve seen O.M.A. Soldiers on stakeouts and so have you.”

“Not on guys like Tiger Claw.”

“So, O.M.A. has bigger fish to fry.”

“No, O.M.A. has PR to worry about.”

“So they handle higher profile crime, they still get out there and do good works.”

“It’s doing good with an agenda, not because it’s the right thing to do.”

“Good is good.”

“We could take down as many drug dealers in a night as an entire OMA squad, but instead we’re here, where we’re actually needed, tracking down guys like Tiger Claw, guys only we can handle.”

“Does that mean we’re actually going in tonight?”

“There’s always a chance. Listen, if we have to sneak up on anyone you let me go first.”

“Like Hell I will. I’m invulnerable. I go first.”

“Less chance of them smelling you that way.”

“You are probably the only one who could smell me.”

“It’s raining, that makes you smell stronger and we’ve seen two new guys go into Tiger Claw’s hideout tonight. They could be capable of anything.”

“If they even have powers! This is not that type of gang. I don’t think Tiger Claw has anything besides the weird eye and the claws. No heightened senses, unlike someone I could mention.”

“He’s got a mean streak a mile wide and no compunctions about using those claws on this whole neighborhood. That’s enough to take him down before he gets established, so you stay behind me unless someone pulls a gun. Then you get in front and block those bullets.”

“You’re wearing kevlar.”

“Not on my face.”

“Fine.”

“Only you could smell a trace of lavender laundry detergent while sitting in a pile of trash.”

“You’d better hope so.”

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Look at that sidebar!

It may not look like much, but that little shift represents almost 4,000 new words on project Rizzo Allen! I’m on writers’ retreat right now and it is very exciting! We’ve been here since Sunday night and we go home tomorrow, but I hope that it was what I needed to kick this project back into motion!

I also added percentages for those who, like me, are not really good at gauging small changes in pictures. I’ll admit to stealing this idea outright from Brandon Sanderson’s blog, which I like quite a bit, except for the color scheme.

Gotta sleep now! Saving 3 lives tomorrow!

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