Monthly Archives: October 2011

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Eight: Special Edition!

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Once again, GhostlyOtter and NekoShogun join me, EmotedLlama, to go through the entirety of chapter 12.

“We clear on plan B?” I asked, raising my voice so Fang and Nudge could hear me over the roar of the wind.

We were headed into the sun, south south-west. Leaving the Sangre De Cristo Mountains behind, streaking through the sky at a steady ninety miles per hour. If we hit a nice air current, we could add twenty miles per hour to our speed. The glory of flight.

EmotedLlama: How does Max know how fast they’re going? Also, going at 90 MPH would mean they’re traveling at the speed of the third fastest level flight bird. Add twenty miles, and they’re going faster than any bird. Somehow, I don’t think that’s possible.

GhostlyOtter: And how are they talking at that speed?

NekoShogun: At that speed, how long before they reach the sun? The sooner they burn up, the sooner I get to go home.

Fang nodded. God, is he ever the strong and silent type.

GhostlyOtter: I misread this as “God is ever the strong and silent type.”

NekoShogun: Me too!

“Uh-huh,” said Nudge. “If we get separated somehow–though I don’t see how we could, unless maybe one of us gets lost in a cloud or something–do you think that could happen? I haven’t ever been inside a cloud. I bet it’s creepy. Can you see anything inside a cloud–“

EmotedLlama: I’d like to go to a cloud.

I shot her a look.

NekoShogun: I saw “I shot her” and got excited for a moment.

EmotedLlama: BANG!

She paused, then quickly finished. “We meet up at the northmost point of Lake Mead.”

EmotedLlama: Funny, that. I looked up Lake Mead on Google Maps, and it would appear there is no north point. It turns into a river.

I nodded. “And where’s the School?”

“In Death Valley, eight miles due north from the Badwater Basin.”

EmotedLlama: …The secret facility is in a national park. Brilliant.

GhostlyOtter: They’re rich, they do what they want. Remember the chimpanzees?

Her mouth opened to add more, but I raised my eyebrows at her.

EmotedLlama: Because you can see that when traveling at 90 MPH.

I love Nudge, Nudge is a great kid, but that motormouth of hers could have turned Mother Teresa into an axe murderer.

GhostlyOtter: What? I kind of doubt that, you know.

NekoShogun: What’s a motormouth?

GhostlyOtter: A motormouth is someone who talks a lot. Everyone knows that.

EmotedLlama: Say, how does she know of Mother Teresa? I don’t know much about her, certainly not enough to make this remark. Maybe I don’t hang out in the right Internet places…

“You got it,” I said. “Good job.” Did you hear that address?

EmotedLlama: Yes we did.

Could the School be located in a more perfect place? Death Valley. Above the Badwater Basin. Like, when we get there, we’d see a road paved with good intentions and have to cross the river Styx to get in. Wouldn’t surprise me.

EmotedLlama: Oh, so that’s why the School is in Death Valley. So JPatterson could make a quick quip about it.

GhostlyOtter: I’m not sure what I’m reading here. That is so cheesy.

NekoShogun: Does anyone else think it would be interesting if it was in Hell, Michigan? Just saying. Google Earth it, kids.

The wind–

NekoShogun: “–blew the pages forward and suddenly the book was ending. Thank God, in all his silent strength.”

–was undoing my braid–

NekoShogun: That’s much more boring.

–and chunks–

GhostlyOtter: What? I look over your (EmotedLlama) shoulder and I see “chunks”. What is this?

(GhostlyOtter and NekoShogun literally ROFLed over this.)

–of long hair whipped–

NekoShogun: Oooh, chunks of hair!

GhostlyOtter: I whip my hair back and forth.

NekoShogun: I’m pretty sure you only get chunks of hair if a hot glue goes very, very wrong.

GhostlyOtter: It’s the bird genes. Her hair is falling out; that’s gonna be feathers soon.

–annoyingly across my face. Note to self: get hair cut.

EmotedLlama: Should’ve done that before they left.

The Gasman and Iggy had been none-too-happy campers when we’d left, but I thought I’d made the right decision. That was the problem with this leader stuff. It didn’t come with an instruction manual. Given what Angel was facing, their being unhappy was the least of my concerns.

EmotedLlama: Say, just what is Angel facing, anyway? We haven’t heard much about the School or what horrors go on there.

I glanced over at Fang and saw that his face looked serene, almost–well, not exactly happy.

EmotedLlama: Serene doesn’t mean happy.

Fang’s never happy–but just really calm. I edged closer to him.

EmotedLlama: I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that “but” should not be there.

“On the plus side, flying is just really, really, cool,” I said, and he looked at me with a half smile–

GhostlyOtter: He’s just all serene and calm, going at 90 miles per hour.

NekoShogun: It’s the wind; it’s making it look like he’s smiling by pushing his face back. And what about how they’re talking? They sound like stereotypical teenagers, despite the reminders that they grew up in a lab every paragraph.

–of understanding.

EmotedLlama: Beware the HALF SMILE OF UNDERSTANDING!

His dark wings moved powerfully, glinting faintly purple in the sunlight.

GhostlyOtter: That is so stupid sounding!

The wind was whistling–

EmotedLlama: Really? Whistling, to describe the sound of WIND AT NINETY MILES PER HOUR?

–in our ears; we could see everything for miles. It was like being God. I imagine.

NekoShogun: No, God doesn’t talk that much. He’s strong and silent, remember?

Oh, yeah. “On the minus side,–

EmotedLlama: Who says “minus side”?

–we’re mutant freaks who will never live a normal life.”

NekoShogun: Living a normal life is overrated.

Fang shrugged.

GhostlyOtter: At ninety miles per hour.

NekoShogun: And so the air flow around his body was disturbed and he fell to his death, and we all learned a valuable lesson: don’t shrug in the air.

(At this point, we decided to stop and have cupcakes. I, EmotedLlama, continued alone in the normal spork fashion.)

Max angsts about how the School will have had Angel for seven hours (even though they’d have to get Angel there first, which would take a few hours) and Nudge talks about how she found files about them on Jeb’s computer including names of what Nudge believes to be her parents, who supposedly live near where they are, but Max says no to going and finding them. And so the chapter ends–expect a foray into the third person when I get back in December!

Oh, but before I go, I have to give you a quote, courtesy of GhostlyOtter on the subject of the bird kids’ (you know what, the book eventually starts calling them the flock or something, so I’m just going to use that from now on) wings, that somehow manage to fold up and extend under shirts:

“They’re special edition wings.”

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Thievery: Part 2

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Lora stood up and did a double-take.

The house–her house, though she hadn’t told Dean and Roger that–was covered in dust! Dust, everywhere, from the side table to the lamp to the couch. How could a couch get dusty‽ And the fireplace! It was a mess, charred logs still resting inside… and more dust! On the mantle, on the pokers, on the logs.

Lora couldn’t comprehend this atrocity. Her mind was panicked, her body dizzy, and she nearly fell over, saved by the fact that she fell into the wall and was able to stop herself. What could she do? There was nothing. Nothing, right? It was dust, it was a mess… messes could be cleaned, right…?

Softly, she moaned in despair, trying to think of a course of action; Dean and Roger couldn’t come in the house, not when it was like this. But they were waiting on her…

“Get a grip. You can do this. You can do this. Focus. Focus…” Okay. She knew what to do. The dust rags would be… in the closet. Yes. She could do this.

Shaking slightly, Lora steadied herself as best as she could and called through the window, “I’ll just be a moment.”

Hoping this would buy her enough time, she raced to the closet under the stairs and shuffled around in the dark–of course they turned off the electricity–for her dust rags. It took her only a moment to find them, and she closed the door, a triumphant smile on her face. She would do this.

She spent the next few minutes fervently cleaning, wiping the dust rags over every surface and cleaning, cleaning, until the dust was gone. No dust on the couch! None on the mantelpiece, none on the logs–there were no logs, not after she took them outside. She had done it; she had cleaned up the mess. Her house was hers once more, free of the trappings of age.

Lora afforded herself only a moment on the couch to rest before going to the door and unlocking, then opening it.

“What took so long?” asked Dean, a quizzical look on his face, as he entered the house.

“Nothing.” Lora waited for Roger to enter as well, then lead them to the living room.

“Now. What’s our next course of action?” she asked once they had all taken a seat. “Well, first of all, you two need to tell me exactly what happened. Right? I mean, we can’t really do anything if I don’t know the full story.”

“Oh. Um. Well. Yes. See, I work at a bank–” Roger began.

“Dean told me that.”

“My story, please.

“Anyway, I work at a bank, right? Dean lost his job recently, so he was actually there for an interview. I was keeping him company on my break, when this man just came up to us and handed me a bag. And then he took off running! Moments later, really just a second or two, the alarm went off–someone had stolen a bunch of diamonds! Well, it was easy to decipher that we had the diamonds, so what were we to do? We chased after the man, but he was gone and so we… well, I don’t remember exactly what happened. But next thing I knew we were racing down the road, a bunch of police cars in pursuit!”

Lora sat there for a moment, slightly stunned. Then, realizing Roger was done, she spoke:

“Then I reckon we should look for the man. Right? Maybe he’ll help.”

“Wouldn’t he want the diamonds back?” Dean said.

“Maybe… That’s really quite a story. I have nothing.” Lora collapsed back into her chair, looking defeated.

“We have to do something!” Roger exclaimed quite suddenly.

“I know, I know… We have to keep the diamonds, we can’t go to the police or they’ll arrest us, we can’t leave or we’ll be caught, we can’t stay or we’ll starve…” Lora groaned. “I should’ve just kicked you guys out of my car when I had the chance!”

“They don’t know we have your car, though, right?” Dean said.

“No, they don’t… and they don’t know you’re with us, either!” Roger smiled. “You can be our eyes and ears. But for now, we should probably find food; it’s getting towards lunch time, isn’t it?”

Lora glared. “Great. I’m the one that has to do everything, of course. Okay. I have a bit of money, I can get us some food. But it won’t last long; we’ll need to sell some of these diamonds or…” Lora trailed off as she noticed a patch of dust on a side table.

“Stupid house,” she muttered.

“What was that?” said Roger.

“Nothing, nothing… I’ll go now. Don’t go making a ruckus while I’m gone!”

Adventures in Netflix! Episode 3: Galactica 1980

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I… I don’t… What the frak did I just watch?

Hello, and welcome to Adventures in Netflix. I’m NekoShogun, and I think I’ve just witnessed one of the worst television shows of history. I’m talking of course about the 1980 Television show Galactica 1980, a really awful attempt at continuing the 1978 show Battlestar Galactica.

Galactica 1980: The Complete "Epic" Series

First, let me start by trying to convey how confused I was by this show. Now, I’m a big fan of the Sci Fi, oops, I’m sorry, SyFy channel remake of BSG, and I’ve even gone back and watched some of the original and kind of liked it. So I thought I’d be able to figure out what was going on here. I was wrong.

The episode opened with a series of scenes, presented somewhat out of order and completely out of context, then they played the theme song, and then  a bearded commander Adama was talking to a weird blond kid about Earth and Cylons and a lot of stuff that made me feel like I was missing something.

The focus then shifted to two colonial pilots talking to a room full of kids about Earth and what it’s going to be like to live there. Again, I got the feeling that I was missing something. The show seemed to expect me to know who these pilots were, but I had no idea they hadn’t been properly introduced, and I was pretty sure they hadn’t been in the original show.

I was so confused by the show in fact that I did a little research, what I discovered surprised and, just a little, embarrassed me: I wasn’t watching the first episode! Yep, turns out the first three episodes are only available on disc at Netflix, and I was watching it on streaming.  Oops!

So having cleared up that mystery I’ll stick to criticizing things that are actually the show’s fault, and there are a lot of them.

Everything I’ve read about this show says that it takes place 30 years after the events of the original series, but every character I saw from the original looked pretty much the same. Sure Adama had a beard, and Boomer had a handful of grey hairs, but they hardly looked 30 years older.

Funny thing is, I actually think Adama looks younger with a beard.

Moving on, once the show moved down to Earth things went from confusing and boring to confusing and gods–awful. First, a quick  little explanation of events. The afore mentioned colonial pilots and roomful of kids are attacked by cylons, they escape on a shuttle but are to far from the fleet to get back, so they go to earth, which is the worst decision the writers could have made. Not five minutes after landing in a field on Earth the kids are revealed to have, for some reason, super powers. I don’t know how to explain it, but the moment I saw that kid jump thirty feet into the air I felt all of the show’s remaining potential evaporate.

And with that leap, all my hopes and dreams died...

Things only get worse from there. A short while after the jumping fiasco things shift to the two pilots racing down the highway on the world’s most goofy looking space motorcycles ever. They pass a pair of cops, played by two people who truly couldn’t act, who of course give chase. The pilots end up using some kind of invisibility field to get away.

Later on there was a terrible scene in which one of the pilots, trying to enter a department store to buy supplies, gets caught in a revolving door. Shortly after, the other pilot (I never really caught their names and I didn’t care enough to look them up) tried to exchange a bunch of colonial gold for Earth money at a bank; a few misunderstandings later and he winds up accidentally robbing the place! Just in case that sounded even mildly interesting… it wasn’t; it was awful.

As the two pilots make their escape on their motorcycles, they pass the two cops from earlier. This time, instead of using the invisibility field, the motorcycles extend a set of dinky little wings and simply take off.

I don't know what's goofier, the flying motorcycles, or those ridiculous helmets.

The rest of the episode is largely a blur of anger and disappointment, but I’ll do my best to summarize.  The pilots and kids disguised themselves as a troop of boy scouts, the air-force is looking for them after reports of a UFO, some of the kids get sick from toxic water, the pilots, being from a better civilization and stuff, fix them up at a doctors office, and then they track down the CEO of the chemical company that polluted the water and lecture him on humanity and morals and stuff.

Behold, the worst thing about this awful, awful show, the most terrible child "actors" in all of history, the "Super Scouts!"

The episode, being part one of a two-part arc, ended with a cliffhanger. But try as I might I can’t remember what the cliffhanger actually was, that’s how bored I was by the show.

Well, I think that’s gonna do it for this episode of Adventures in Netflix.

Quick note: I’m going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, so there may not be as many new episodes in November.

NaNo is but a week away! Also, things on hiatus for NaNo!

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Wow! It’s hard to believe in less than seven days, it will be time for the crazy experience that is NaNoWriMo! But, something more important–the schedule of my postings! (Ha ha that’s not more important.)

Since NaNoWriMo will be taking up most of my time during November, I’m putting my normal postings–original work and the Maximum Ride Spork–on hold. Instead, I plan on writing some NaNo-related posts, as well as some reviews–also, expect something about The Tale of Genji, the book largely credited as the first ever novel. I have a translated version on hold at the library!

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Seven

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Everyone is all scared from the news that Angel is in the School (why they didn’t know that already, I’ll never guess), and there’s a good Iggy quote:

Iggy’s spine tightened, his face like ice. When he’d been at the School, they’d tried to surgically enhance his night vision. Now he was blind forever. Oops.

“Oops” is a rather informal word for Iggy’s BLINDNESS, but I guess it’s apt if he can still take nice 100 yard runs through forests.

Gazzy asks why they’d take Angel back to the school and Nudge seconds the question, saying she’d thought they’d have forgotten after four years.

Why would scientists forget about the secret, escaped experiments they created…? I mean… I–I just… It makes no sense.

Fang says that they want them (Max and her family) back, which raises the question of why only Angel would have been taken when everyone was taken out. But that’s, you know, logic, and I believe I just learned logic no longer exists in this world. Maybe the scientists did that, too?

A bit of weird rational for not going to TV stations later, Fang leaves and comes back with a bunch of Jeb’s old files and opens up a manilla envelope–a map of the School, as well as a chapter break. Funnily, this mini-cliffhanger is practically an exact copy of the last one, ending with a School related note and beginning again with everyone all scared. 11 chapters in and JPatterson has already run out of dramatic moments.

There’s another weird bit with Nudge talking a lot, but it feels unnatural–it sounds kind of like when I try to speak really fast and say a lot, but don’t actually have anything to say… not like someone actually rambling. Anyway, Fang says that the School is 600 miles away, which is a seven hour flight (not including breaks).

A bit of math here. For it to be a seven hour flight for 600 miles, they’d be going about 85 miles per hour. The fastest recorded level flight speed in a bird is 106 MPH, but that, of course, is at the very high end–the low end of the top ten fasted level flight speed in birds is 65 MPH. So in order for Max and her family to achieve that as a seven hour flight, they’d have to be going at really good speeds, for a bird–only problem is, they’re not birds, they’re mostly human, and their human bodies would not be able to achieve such speeds.

Note that I spent about ten minutes doing that research, and yet I still spent more time on it that JPatterson. Splendid.

Anyway, Max decides that she, Fang, and Nudge will be going to the School to rescue Angel, while Gazzy and Iggy will stay behind as Iggy is blind and Gazzy is apparently too young. Iggy protests, saying Jeb would never have made them stay, but Max says Jeb is dead. Where that comes from, I don’t know, as she said he was missing, but regardless here ends the chapter, as well as the first part of the book (I forgot to say that this book has parts–since this one was 35 pages long, I wonder how many parts there will be).

What’s happened so far? The reader was introduced to a bunch of magical bird kids who somehow live in comfort despite having been on their own in a remote area for two years, some crazy animal creatures that, when logic is applied, seem to have no point to existing, and one of the magical bird kids got kidnapped. The unfortunate thing about this is that since Angel existed for all of maybe 20 pages and got maybe five lines, the reader has had no time to care about her, which makes it hard to care about this plot. But whatever, ACTION! BIRD KIDS! AMAZING!

Avery Trudge and Murder: Episode 2

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((Just to clarify, this was intended to be posted on Thursday or Friday, but I planned badly and didn’t start writing till Friday and wasn’t able to finish it till today–and even then it’s not quite as good as I wanted it to be because, like I said, I planned badly and didn’t have enough time. Sorry! UPDATE: As of today, October 23rd, this has been edited to improve quality.))

“What? No, that can’t be right,” Felicia said as she walked through the doorway. “Oh… Yes, there are. The larger one wasn’t there before. I don’t assume this will change matters?”

Avery stared at the two bodies laying on the floor of Felicia’s living room. One was smaller, lying face up–an Asian man wearing a suit, quite young, and quite dead–apparently from a bullet hole in his chest. The other body was normal sized, face down and wearing a trench coat, black gloves and tall boots. A mane of black hair blocked any other details from view.

“Hmmm…” Avery looked up from the bodies and examined the room itself. It oozed the same dangerous, mysterious aura as Felicia: the walls and floor were painted in dark colors with deep colored wood furnishings.

“Avery?” Felicia repeated.

“This room is ugly,” Avery said. “And expensive-looking. How do you afford this, anyway?”

“Never mind that, Avery–it isn’t your business. I repeat: I don’t assume the additional body will change things?”

“It’ll double the price, that’s for sure.”

Felicia stared at Avery; he stared back.

“Fine. Get on it right away, though.”

“Of course. I’ll need someone to examine the bodies…”

—–

Avery returned to the apartment an hour later, a dark-haired woman in tow.

Just as they reached Felicia’s door, Avery spoke. “There are two bodies in here and I need you to perform a basic autopsy or whatever it is you do.” He rapped on the door.

“You want me to do what‽ I have no tools! What do you expect me to be able to tell you?” the woman exclaimed.

Avery began to reply, but was interrupted by the door opening.

“Who’s this?” Felicia demanded, staring down the woman.

“Kelly Kramer, city morgue. Avery–“, she jerked her head at Avery, “–here decided to use the… favor he won from me to have me perform an autopsy with no tools or proper environment.”

“Really.” Felicia smiled coolly and gestured for Avery and Kelly to enter.

Avery scowled at Felicia as he entered behind Kelly.

“Were the bodies originally in these positions?” Kelly said, peering down at the bodies.

“No, the big Caucasian was lying face down before,” said Avery. Before his departure, he and Felicia had turned over the body to do a basic examination, finding that the man’s face had been bashed in, obscuring most other details. “There are Polaroids on the coffee table, though.”

“Yes, I can see them.”

“Then why did you ask…?” Kelly ignored him, however, as she crouched down by the bodies.

Felicia tutted. “This is all quite distasteful. If you don’t mind, I’ll be in the kitchen. Avery, care to join me?”

“Of course.” Avery followed Felicia past Kelly and through a swivel door into the kitchen. In stark contrast to the living room, the kitchen was airily colored, with white, marble-like counter tops and cool blue furnishings.

“You’re sure she can be trusted?” Felicia said as she filled a kettle with water.

“She doesn’t owe me a favor–I have evidence that she’s been taking bribes. Tea, is it?”

“Blackmail… smooth. A clever move, for once.” Felicia put the kettle on her cook top. “Yes, tea. You may have some.”

“Tha–“

“I’m done,” came the voice of Kelly from the living room.

“Already?” Avery looked quizzically at Felicia for a moment before leaving the kitchen. “What’s your verdict?”

“He,” Kelly jerked her thumb at the Asian man, “appears to have been strangled in some fashion, though I can’t tell if it was the cause of death or not. He was definitely shot, from what I believe to be close range. He appears to have been dead for two or three days.

“He,” she pointed at the large man, “was bashed in the face with a thin object–no other physical trauma or signs of a struggle. Slightly later time of death, if I’m not mistaken.”

“That’s all?” Avery said.

“That’s all.”

Avery frowned. “I expected better of you.”

“Goodbye, Kelly,” said Felicia, walking into the room and interrupting Kelly’s burgeoning response.

“Oh, yes. I’ll… I’ll be going now. Bye, Avery.” Kelly left the apartment, looking slightly confused.

Very intimidating, Felicia,” Avery said sarcastically once Kelly was out of earshot. “I wonder what’s up with her?”

“Who knows? Or cares, for that matter–she was no help. What’s your next move?”

“Police station.”

“Of course.”

—–

Half an hour later, Avery stood outside of the police station. As always, the dark stone walls emitted a sense of foreboding, as if they might at any second animate and eat the passersby alive. Avery ignored this sensation, however, and entered. Walking quickly, he briefly nodded to detective Krill, who was jumping up and down trying to snatch a set of keys from a tall detective who was swinging them in the air, laughing.

“Oh, Avery! How are you?”

Avery ignored Krill and quickened his pace, slipping through the entrance hall just before the tall detective looked around, confused.

Now in the area where all the detective’s desks resided that Avery could never remember the name of, Avery continued along at his brisk pace –until he glanced down and noticed a sheaf of papers, right on detective Krill’s desk. Stopping suddenly, he picked up the papers and read them intently.

“Ah ha.”