Tuesday, March 01, 2005

#99. The Angry Avenger, Leopold's Concentration, Wrestling, Simon Cowell, Smallville, Lost, Alias

Having completed Colinaude, the Angry Avenger last November and seen how only a little pain was involved, I decided I could do it again. This time, it's a personal challenge. Leopold's Concentration is my next 50,000 word story, and the idea is to write it, like the last novel, within the span of a month. March has one more day than the one I wrote in the last time, but that's not really that huge a difference. The daily word count needed shaves off sixty words, and the first entry exceeds that anyway. That's the context. The content is actually a reworking of a story I wrote in high school, which the creative writing teacher seemed to enjoy well enough (and in fact, the three entries were probably the most well-received of my efforts that semester), and the elements are basically the same, but also radically different. There'll be nods to the original draft dropped along the way, and the first happens to be the protagonist's name. Here it's Gerald Leopold, whereas originally his name was simply Gerry, a nickname Leopold has had in the past, but no longer goes by.

At any rate, it should be reasonably amusing, and possibly thought-provoking as well.

A few things have gone on in wrestling since I last wrote, but Triple H and JBL are still the respective champions of Raw and Smackdown. Randy Orton is no longer in pursuit of Hunter; rather, now it's the 2005 Royal Rumble winner, Batista, who achieved his turn by cleverly nodding to the way Orton was booted from Evolution. He's poised to become WWE's own Goldberg, as most of his matches have been of the patented squashings Da Man was so famous for in his WCW heyday. It's a funny development, considering Goldberg floundered when he tried to make it on Raw a few years ago, and his feud with Hunter was wasted. Maybe things have changed. Maybe Batista is the worthy successor Triple H has been, uh, waiting for. We'll see.

JBL, meanwhile, is headed toward WrestleMania XXI with a bullseye in the middle of his pompous forehead. John Cena, in the grand tradition of wrestling's granddaddy of PPVs, is finally going to dethrone a longstanding, unpopular champion, and start his bold new era, which might lead to the Smackdown revitalization the Internet insiders have been clamoring for. JBL has been great, and Orlando "Oz" Jordan" has been seeing steadier action than ever before, but this ride's just about finished. Hopefully it gives Oz the chance to really shine, and not just act as the Designated Jobber (the win against Rene Dupree last fall notwithstanding). He deserves better. He deserves a JBL-like push. He's even got his vocals ironed out, as he demonstrated when ushering the WWE champion to his post-No Way Out celebration this past Thursday. Come on, give Oz his shot. Is that too much to ask?

And while you're at it, consider giving Paul London and Charlie Haas the pushes they deserve. They're making Velocity worth watching, but the one hour shows are not exactly the companion shows they could be. Hardly anyone sees this stuff. Give London his WM match against Chavo Guerrero. And let Haas wrestle then, too, even if he has to do it with Hardcore Holly. And Dupree, too, he's a superstar in the making, if only he's allowed to register some solo wins. The continuing matches against Cena are good, but let's move beyond that and get him on track to win the US championship. He deserves it.

Whatever's in the works for Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and Big Show for WM, let's get on that, too. Surely you can't waste them, after the year each has had, even if they have had to wrestle in JBL's imposed shadow. The same goes for Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit on Raw. What're they gonna do? Even if Benoit fights Mohammed Hassan, as it's looking now, that still leaves Jericho. Does he get Edge? It'd be nice if Raw and Smackdown didn't leave so much fine talent so directionless, or embroiled in feuds that are sidetracks for the other guy, as Edge's with Shawn Michaels' is. If HBK is gonna face Kurt Angle at WM, tha leaves Edge wasting his time building up one feud when he could be spending it with his actual opponent. And if Randy Orton is to face Undertaker at WM, as is rumored, you've got a mere month to establish that, too. And what about Shelton Benjamin? Is Snitsky going to be his opponent? What about Kane? Does he get Simon Dean?

It's all very interesting, but the waiting sucks. I guess tha's called "anticipation." Right now it seems like it could be better than last year's, but there's so much uncertainty it's hard to really say.

I've been watching American Idol, and as usual Simon Cowell is the only judge worth listening to. I'm glad he made amends last night for some of last week's obvious mistakes, but it's already too late for the audience to salvage two huge mistakes of their own, that being the ouster of the first two males from this stage of the competition. Too bad, but this year has already lost some good ones to self-sabotage ("Here I go, here I go, here I go again..." straight to poor subsequent song decisions). This is the first year I'm consistently watching, mostly because of my sister, so I get to see a little more of the pain, beyond even more rotten audience decisions in later rounds of the competition, and unexpected pleasures. But then, more pain comes to me as my sister insists on the time-wasting Wednesday results show as well as Smallville (sucking story arcs faster than a speeding bullet) immediately before it, which costs me Lost and Alias. The former is okay, since I've resolved to purchasing the eventual DVD release, and the latter is somewhat, too, since the retooling this season has dulled my interest in it.

Still expecting, two months in, for 2005 to be a good year for me...

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