Wednesday, December 27, 2006

#135. The Cloak of Shrouded Men, TV, Blue Boy in Blue, Wrestling, Movies, Music, Books

Okay, so it's been a month, more or less, and I haven't put a word here in all that time. The last one I did was an image and literally one word! In my defense, I wrote my afterNaNo speech, as it were, over at Paperback Reader, in my column the Quarter Bin. A bunch has happened since then. I decided on a new title for the collected Colinaude tale, The Cloak of Shrouded Men, and although Bart Gerardi, the head cheese at Paperback, has once already offered to publish this stuff, I'm still eying the indy route, and an attractive package available that would give me one free copy but a bounty in return. Help Me Help You, that sitcom people kept writing about here, ended up on the bubble. I don't know how much longer it'll be around, which sucks. I wrote a defense of it to a colleague at Paperback (that site again!), comparing it to Arrested Development, The Office, and My Name is Earl, which I really believe. It's an absolute gem I would love to stick around for years.

I've just responded to another comment left here by adapting a poem on another blog. I haven't done poetry here in years, which either means they've been doing their research or they're a really lucky and pleasant spammer. Here's something for the old school:

Blue Boy in Blue

Blue Boy is blue
is blue
is blue

Blue Boy is blue
because his secret is out
is out
is out

Blue Boy is blue
because those who
read his poem know
he's not a baby
but is a dog
is a dog
is a dog

Blue Boy is a poem
is a poem
is a poem
that I've thought about recently
and so it's not so hard to write about again

Blue Boy bubbled just beneath the surface

Blue Boy was a bit of nonsense
just a little bit of fun,
and now he's fun again,
or so I hope

I wish I had a monkey
had a monkey
had a monkey
had a monkey
which is a thought
that has nothing at all to do
with the rest of this piece!

that's just what you get
when you visit with
Blue Boy in Blue!

In WWE, Batista is champion again on Smackdown, which people are apparently watching and actually enjoying. The joke on them is that they've been ignoring everything they seem to be enjoying for years now. That's irony. One of the major thoughts from 2006, however, is the amount of interbrand action there's been, how often stars from one show would appear on another. And even though this was so evident, the remarkable thing was that each brand, be they Raw, Smackdown, or ECW, still remained distinctly their own. Their signature stars rarely crossed over, from DX to Ken Kennedy to C.M. Punk (though this is been fudged from time to time, too). I used to write a lot about wrestling here (I used to do a lot different stuff before that, too), and maybe next year, that will happen again. But for now, and because this may be my final post of the year, we're going to leave the ring behind and return to other thoughts.

By next Monday, I'll have seen roughly 40 movies in the theater and amassed god only knows how many DVDs in 2006 alone. That's a lot of movies. I'm writing about my favorite comics from the year at Paperback (there I go again!), but I have no specific place to talk movies, books, or music. Much of my favorite music from the year came from 2005, or earlier. I was still crazy over Oasis (Don't Believe the Truth), Coldplay (X&Y), and Hootie & the Blowfish (Looking for Lucky). My new job and old helped make John Mayer's Continuum perhaps the most memorable disc of this year. I grew addicted to Grey's Anatomy, and very nearly came into possession of the holy grail of Superman DVDs (a clue: it came in a silver tin). I read a few classics, and oggled perhaps a new one (Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day), and came closer than ever to Jeff Smith's Bone: One Volume Edition (I may have that by the end of next month!). It was a terrible year and a good year, a productive year and a frustrating year. It was probably something I'll need for whatever awaits me, because the future is going to be wide open very soon.

And that's all I'm going to write for now.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

#133. Help Me Help You Gains Me Comments, Cotton's War, A.J. Styles

Apparently, mentioning Help Me Help You is a hot ticket. I got three responses (nonspam! I think!) to the last entry because of it. Does that mean I have to stop using the term Theoretical Reader? Really? Anyway, yeah, the show is great. So, any fans of Becker while I'm at it?

And for the record, five days in I've made three entries for the 2006 NaNovel, Cotton's War, with 9,009 words in the bank (a few hundred ahead of pace), which means my new philosophy, developed last year out of necessity, is at the moment working. Write more than just 1,667 words a day? Crazy talk! works! For now. I still have time to get cocky. This works because I've had freakish amounts of me-time, on Friday and now today. Time will tell what it's like when I'm actually competing against my schedule, rather than working with it. Plus, I found out that there're Burlingtonians converging on the place I work at to work on this stuff. Wonky, I tell you, wonky.

Hey, how much carry-over do you think exists between Help Me Help You and wrestling fans?...Caught some TNA this Thursday, saw A.J. Styles in action again (capturing his Nth X title), after having given up a few weeks ago on a DVD bout between him and archrival Christopher Daniels. Just thought I'd mention...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

#132. Help Me Help You

Did I forget to mention Help Me Help You among the new shows I'm watching? Really? Because it's a sitcom worth watching on ABC. Remember the last time someone said that? Anyone?

NaNo starts today!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

#131. Books, TV, Kurt Angle, Cotton's War

Okay, so I went and skipped a month. So sue me. Unless there are actual legal grounds for doing that for such a thing. Then don't. Please. I'm back now anyway, right? The last month wasn't so interesting, only filled, really, with much angst concerning new jobs and such. I finally finished Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov, and have since read through Clifford Chase's Winkie, and although on the surface it's about a teddy bear being accused of terrorism, it's not really so different. I swear. The new TV season has me watching some old favorites (Lost, Prison Break, Survivor, Grey's Anatomy, The Office, My Name is Earl) as well as breaking in a few new ones (The Nine, 30 Rock, 20 Good Years, and much hope for Day Break). And next month is National Novel Writing Month.

My effort will be found, as always, in a separate blog, this year with a URL something like this. It will indeed be entitled "Cotton's War," as I've been speculating all this time (though, and even though I've already created the page, I may remind the ever-faithful Theoretical Reader that the first attempt was made after a last-minute concept swtich). More on this as I progress.

Kurt Angle had already made the leap to TNA when last I wrote, and amazingly, he still has not competed in their six-sided ring. Maybe this is a better deal than everyone's fretting. It was WWE that had him wrestling so much, from Raw to Smackdown to ECW in just the last ten months alone, always in that span, despite a few months WWE itself had him take it easy, in high-profile, ongoing commitments. True, his first TNA match is set against Samoa Joe, surely no lightweight in the ring, but the regular schedule alone company competitors is already less than half as demanding as something Angle might have expected from his old company. And what's more, for the first time (sorry Rhyno, sorry Dudleys, sorry Christian, sorry, even, Sting and Scott Steiner), TNA has acquired someone that will make me actually want to tune in to see in his new environment. If all goes right, this one move is going to open the whole roster. Past Joe, I want to see Angle take on A.J. Styles, or Petey Williams (Petey, once a toast of the town, now is mostly an exhibitionist, and not in the Kelly Kelly sense, as are most of the young stars worth following, including Elix Skipper, Sonjay Dutt, and Ron Killings). If the company can start focusing more on good matches and not just crazy spots, which Kurt has always been known for, everything it already has might finally shine through, past some of the more lameduck promoting it's done over its existence. Abyss, sorry, dude, no matter how much they like you in the back, you're a prime example of what's wrong with the company. Your gimmick, as a monstrous Mankind, was over the day you started it. I don't care what you look like under that mask. Lose it. You're no Undertaker. You're not even Kane. And you want to dispel the myth of Jeff Jarrett, put him in a match with someone who can both wrestle and combat some of his more dubious impulses.

Well, that'll just about be it for now. Will talk more later. :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

#130. Hired by Borders, Star Trek 40th Anniversary, Dostoevsky, TV, Music, Movies, Business Cards

Okay, so I'm back for a rare double-whammy. Barnes & Noble has a wicked sale going on right now (at my local store, anyway, and I should add that I was just hired by the local-and-soon opening Borders, a direct competitor), 3 books for $9.99. I just couldn't resist. I should add that the three books in question are limited in scope and do not include every book in the store (they may be emptied, otherwise). They're in the entrance, and have big purple dots stickered on them. I came back for purchases after marking my targets and getting hired by Borders (terrible, ain't it?), making one change (a bio on historical monsters for a bio on St. big dif, right?). Among the rest are a T.C. Boyle read, a Freud/Einstein postulation, a treatise on the neuroses of writers, and a collection of Star Trek fiction (I pretty much gave up on that stuff years ago, but...I'm not aversed to return engagements). I got six books. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have cobbled together another trio. Fairly certain. Anyhoo...

I'm in the midst of writing my contribution to Star Trek's fortieth anniversary, to continue a line. Pertinent links can be found to the right, for those interested. Having found on the Internet (I never go there!) a copy of Gene Roddenberry's original proposition, I decided early in the year that I would riff on his initial concepts, adding what I could along the way but preserving the concepts that would become the stuff of modern myth. The story is called, as Gene began, "The Next Cage," and it will have to be wrapped in time for November. Where does the time go! Soon I'll be starting Colinaude's final adventure, "Cotton's War." Can you believe it? Are you ready? (Sorry, that last line's actually a wrestling reference. I thought I'd gotten most of that out earlier.)

I'm still dogging away at Dostoyevsky. More than a month ago, I quit my primary job, and have been adjusting to life at the movie theater (AMC! home of the new Clips Picks!) I started at a month after that job. This week it became obvious just how stupid delaying getting steadier employment was, and as luck had it, Borders obliged rather obligingly. If I'd been employed this quickly last year, who knows what I'd be doing right now? I certainly wouldn't be typing this right now. For a number of reasons. Anyway, The Brothers Karamazov is everything John Locke said it would be, in a roundabout way. Yeah, I'm a Losthead, right through last season, which I'm currently reviewing via DVD. I've got Prison Break on the same docket. This fall season seems destined to make another fan of my with one show or another, whether it be Heroes, Six Degrees, The Nine, or even Kidnapped, which is to say nothing of the lately-uncommonly strong slate of sitcoms coming round. I've also become quite a fan of Grey's Anatomy lately, thanks in part to a friend and coworker (and manager) at the theater. She's also trying to get me into Justin Timberlake. We'll see about that. She'll be off to Poland for six month come January. I wonder how she'll come back. There's another friend and coworker there I recently debated martyrs with. I haven't told her I named a character the Burka Martyr in a comic book concept, Blur, that I've been developing, after that discussion. (I told her martyrs were silly. She had a good laugh about it.) Another form coworker, supervisor, and current friend (of whom I've spoke here before, trust me) will be back in five weeks. I don't know where any of this is headed. I like that. Maybe they do, too. Who knows?

Recent albums I absolutely adore include Coldplay's X&Y, Oasis' Don't Believe the Truth, Hootie & the Blowfish's Looking for Lucky (and their even more recent Live from Charleston, in part because I saw them live for the first time a month before its release, the same day I quit that job), U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and a bunch others. But the first two I've particularly obsessed over. I also love the All-American Rejects. WWE coopted "Move Along" for its Diva Search this year (dang! another wresling reference!), but that does little to diminish my love for that video. I also love OK Go's treadmill video (it's actually another recent example of something I didn't like, really didn't like first sight, but ended up loving afterward, including U2's "Beautiful Day video, in fact). I'm always trying to broaden my horizons. Hooking up with a Tower Records benefits membership netted me a subscription to Paste magazine, and that led me to Beirut. The music artist, not the city.

This summer some of my favorite films were The Da Vinci Code, The Break Up, Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and, wait for it, Stick It. The last is now out on DVD. It's spunk is its hook. Don't dismiss a hidden treasure, folks. And don't dismiss films like United 93 and World Trade Center, either. They're pain worth living through (but I've written quite a bit about that recently at Paperback Reader in the Quarter Bin). And don't dismiss M:I:III just because you, personally, think Tom Cruise is a nutjob.

Speaking of Paperback Reader, the proprietor Bart Gerardi recently shipped me some marketing material which included business cards. I have business cards now. Yeah, I don't make any money off of my work there, but, business cards!!! Somehow, that makes it seem all the more official. Darn reader reaction!!! But reader reaction is good, too.

I'm waiting to hear back from Visionary Comics. I think I've written about that here, right? Anyway, Theoretical Reader, know that if I hear good word from them, that the aforementioned Blur is joining an already extensive list of material I'd be more than happy to start actually working on for a publisher. Oy, as if creative energy could be a curse...That'll be all I pretend burden on you today, I swear...

#129. PWI 500 2006

I finally got a copy of the eagerly-awaited PWI 500, the annual ranking from Pro Wrestling Illustrated of, roughly speaking, the top 500 wrestlers in the last grading period (in this case, August 2005 to July 2006). As far as I'm concerned, it's easily their best ranking in years (though not without controversy, as their own editorial about a sudden explosion of foreign market - i.e. Mexican and Japanese - stars details; how these competitors suddenly rate isn't properly justified, though the actual write-up has never been a key selling point of the list). Gone are such questionable #1 choices as Dean Malenko (1997) and Rob Van Dam (2002), or suspect judgment calls (Batista over John Cena last year, Chris Benoit over Eddie Guerrero in 2004). There was only one choice this year, even though the editors for months had been trying to build a case for another star they thankfully didn't go with, and didn't even rank second.

Ladies and gentlemen? This year was John Cena's. And right behind him, rightfully, is Kurt Angle in what might be his last-ever appearance (if he actually takes this retirement of his seriously so he doesn't end up crippled in old age, although as an update on Monday, it was announced at TNA's No Surrender last night that he'd joined that promotion). Jeff Jarrett (for the first time making an appearance in it for his TNA efforts) rounds out a top ten that also includes familiar faces in Edge (#3, Cena's chief rival after Angle in the year analyzed), Rey Mysterio (#6), Shawn Michaels (#9, who probably takes the place of a worthier, in terms of actual accomplishments, star, though his work still merits this surprise entry), Brock Lesnar (#7, another surprise, for an IWGP title reign that was mostly unremarkable even by PWI's estimation) and Samoa Joe (#4, hailed by PWI as the first TNA wrestler to appear solo on the cover of...PWI). In addition, there's Mistico (#5) and Kenta Kobashi (#8) from the international scene, and unlike years past, their write-ups actually justify their positioning as something other than PWI attempting to make nice with non-US-soil based promotions.

Some of the same problems plague the ranking. The first half of the grading period (which would have bore out the cases for Guerrero and Cena in the personally contested rankings already noted) still seems conveniently overlooked when spotting certain stars (even Cena, though his first half was nothing to sneeze at), and write-ups, even from nationally exposed stars, seem only dimly informed at best, like they've been typed from notes alone (and this is nothing about the elipses: Theatoretical Readers will note how I often use them myself). In addition, as always, there are mistakes a simple proofreader would have noticed, to add to the professional read of a compiling seeking journalistic pedigree. They want to be known as an authority, they should act like one.

That being said, I found this year's 500 to be the best in years. The choices were made without bias (Cena is not known as an unquestioned favorite, after all), and the decision to widen the perspective, even if not executed properly, was a good one. The long wait was definitely rewarded, and in truth, I'm only in the early three-hundreds as I read through (yes, faithful editors, I'm one of the readers who actually read through, as they've lamented about in the past, though this year, aside from the Stu Saks note that opens every issue, not a single column was devoted to the 500, an omission that's particularly glaring, as if everyone really was foused on other things this year, like last issue's dubious grading cards, and that's how it was done right for a change).

One more gripe: the conspicuous taboo of the late Eddie Guerrero. He should have warranted significant mentions in the write-ups for two prominent stars, Rey Mysterio and Batista, and yet all he got was the kind of shout-out in Rey's that's had so many fans rankled this year. Eddie wrestled for three months of the grading period. He finished an epic feud with Rey (winning the final match, but losing a pivotal one before that, which of course did not factor into Rey's Top Five Moments of the Year, on a basis in what I've already noted, a feud that launched Rey to the position where he could achieve a rank of #6), and was Batista's first opponent after two extended feuds and in fact last true challenger before Dave surrendered the World title in January (and the story that surrounded this card easily ranks in Batista's top three most memorable cards, along with his exit from Evolution and the hibernating grudge with Mark Henry). To have done this was even more egregious of PWI than denying Eddie the number one spot in 2004. It did nothing to respect a recently departed and much loved star. It actually disrespected Eddie. If he hadn't died, there's every reason to believe that he was, at the very least, poised for the kind of year Kurt Angle enjoyed. Understand what I mean? So, bad on you, PWI.

Maybe I should also stress that, whatever problems I inevitably have with these things, the PWI 500 has been a ranking I've eagerly anticipated for years. I think my first encounter with it in 1995, Kevin Nash's year, and I've devoured nearly every one of them since 1998 (I particularly lament missing 2000 and 2001, when Triple H and Kurt Angle, respectively, topped the ranks, deservedly). I always appreciate the effort. It can't be easy to do this when there's no such coverage of the whole scene, as there is for nearly every other sport, and certainly not the respect wrestlers earn every single night. PWI does its part (and maybe it's time to drop the kayfabe, guys), and this year made strides to correct past errors, making it that much easier for the day wrestling finally does get its due. It's not a fad, not a silly game of men in tights. I believe that this is the era we're going to discover this. The fans will wait for another "boom period." I hope we finally get over the need for such things.

I'll be back for nonwrestling thoughts, too, I swear.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

#128. Poetry, Shelton Benjamin

Since the last entry, I've compiled another poetry collection, Waking the Sandman, which is somewhat slimmer than Ex Patriot yet no less a vision unto itself, which, as yet, is what I seem to be going for. Bear in mind, both collections are from material written in the last year and a half, meaning I've got a backlog of poetry that could fill collections of considerably larger proportions, if I were to come into such a position. Two poems at least can be found right here at the Monk, for those of you Theoretical Readers with a bit of ambition in you. Sandman includes poems written within a span of months, which roughly corresponds to the development of the keynote (but not eponymous) poem from E P. I've never felt as much excitement about my own work, seeing it collected like that. Now if I could only see it published, too...

In the wrestling vein, I was recently thinking how beneficial it would be to move Shelton Benjamin back to Smackdown. He's seemingly run his course on Raw, and the blue brand could always use a fresh infusion of talent, what with all the injuries, (not that new talent like Kennedy, Lashley, Birchall, and possibly MVP aren't proving some valuable worth), a continuing drain on headliners (JBL retiring, Rey Misterio taking a possible six month break), and suspect ongoing worth of others (Undertaker and his part-time schedule, the question mark of Batista, whose continued worth suddenly seems up in the air). No, Shelton ain't a razzle-dazzle star, but he knows how to get it done in the ring, and can pull off the highlight moves (two Money in the Bank showstoppers, for instance) with the best of them. Put him on a show where he won't be lost in the pack. And if you really want to, add Charlie Haas and reunit the World's Greatest Tag Team.

Really? Haas should have made a bigger splash on his return than he did, if not in his card against Benjamin, which went nowhere quickly, then in his card against Viscera (somehow, he ended up with him). That's not going to go anywhere, and it seems less than likely that he's going to find much luck otherwise, so why not bring the band back together, at least in the shortrun? Can you imagine the kind of match you could have been TWGTT and London & Kendrick? And when that's played it's course, Haas-Benjamin could have another go of it, and then you could have both competing as singles again. Only, instead of trying to have them on separate brands (it just didn't work last time), see what they're like on the same one. They could compete, right? Give them heat together, but apart from each other. You don't always have to wrestle to have a feud going. It'd be a game of oneupsmanship.

Well, a guy can dream, anyway...Meanwhile, Carlito is rewarded with a card against Randy Orton. They're both winners.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

#127. Quarter Bin, Visionary Comics, Poetry, Yaris

I've only just noticed a problem I had on this blog, which was the link for Paperback Reader on the right. I don't really know what caused it (clicking previously, suffice to say, would have been useless), but it's fixed now. Which is good, because my column, The Quarter Bin (with some apologies due the Newsarama column similarly entitled, It Came From the Quarter Bin, which I've only just become aware of) there is only heating up eight weeks in (eight already!). I haven't written something that regularly since college, and then not even on such a consistent basis (consistency not being a primary feature of the Monk in some obvious regards). And I've got the nex several weeks planned. Inspiration can be found within several of the other columns at the site, including Dan Head's Comics You Should Be Reading, which I've only recently started reading regularly. I've even been motivated enough to respond with a few e-mails. I never do that. I probably should.

I've got an undiscovered frontier ahead of me, so to speak. I'm waiting to hear back from Visionary Comics concerning a script submission in another Breaking Into Comics contest. They said it'd take about two weeks for one. It's been about four. At least I know some of the editors like my work, having responded (yes!) favorably to a different submission package outside of the contest. It included an excerpt from my Astrals script. Similarly, I await word on my first submission of Ex Patriot. Heady times. Speaking of which, I quit my full-time job, in part because of the girl I've alluded to in the past, though we've since made least more square than that particular night. I'm living on what used to be my part-time job now (that and my sister, without whom I don't know where I'd be), with a few more hours thrown in. And once again I get to enjoy the crudity (if there's a proper spelling for such a word, I don't want to know) of the job market. Barnes and Noble had a recent chance to shoot me down. They took it.

Recently I was thinking, if I could have a new car, it might be the Yaris. The latest cute car.

If you want to know what else I may be up to, you should check in with Waterloo at Lower Decks, another link on the right. I've been watching a lot of movies, and there's a bunch of music I've been listening to that I may devote an entry to at some point. I'm working on another Star Trek story, gearing up for NaNoWriMo, prepping more poetry, getting my Lost groove on, and of course watching wrestling. The new PWI 500 is coming up soon. Expect word on that, too. So, that's all for now, Theoretical Reader!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

#126. Mr. Kennedy!

Wouldn't you know it, the Chavo-Rey feud actually happened, maybe not as I'd liked (and hey, even I admitted it wouldn't). The match is set for this Sunday's SummerSlam, along with a number of other notable matches, including DX taking on the McMahons (the criticism about DX's return is that they're watered down, but...really? if anything, it'd be that the so-called power struggle...hasn't involved the WWE title...but it doesn't have to...this has been, has ever been, about egos), an Edge-John Cena rematch (this may be Cena's defining feud as a champion, at this point in his career), Batista reclaiming the world title, from King Booker (which takes nothing away from Booker), and Randy Orton taking on Hulk Hogan (does it really look like they're...setting Orton up to win?). Orton, meanwhile, may not be preparing to take on DX, as I speculated, but he does seem, if rumors are to be believed, on target to feud with Triple H once the DX angle does conclude, which puts me on the board anyway...

Two future stars of the company have been getting some good exposure lately. Ken Kennedy actually got to step into Batista's returning program when Mark Henry had to bow out with injury. Wow! Mr. Kennedy couldn't have asked for a greater gift, and hopefully he'll be capitalizing on that soon. Carlito, meanwhile, may have just had a career-making match on Raw last night against Edge, now that he's gotten a subtle push upon hooking up, onscreen, with Trish Stratus (who, along with new women's champion Lita, is actually scheduled to depart WWE in upcoming months). I'm also pretty excited about the new tag team the Highlanders, who appear poised to be the final nail in the coffin of the soon-to-be split up Spirit Squad. And as another follow-up, Orlando Jordan's last act on Smackdown, effectively christening the Vito-Wears-A-Dress angle, couldn't have been a better hindset Best Move He Ever Made (aside from, y'know, the whole Chief of Staff thing, or being trained by Rocky Johnson), since Vito has become one of the most entertaining wrestlers around, certainly the wrestler in my experience to make the most of wearing a dress (sorry Perry Saturn). He genuinely seems pleased about the exposure, and is more than game to make the most of the gimmick in his ring style. This is one of the better stories of the year, but don't expect anyone else to be saying that...

WWE saw failure in its Saturday Night's Main Event programming, recently failing again in its second outting. It couldn't have been more oblivious about the way to turn it around. Carlito they at least had on the card, but somewhat more prominent booking may have allowed new audiences to explore some of the more exciting aspects of the current product (DX is for nostalgics, folks, in the end of it, and Hogan's recent peak was...2002? with all due apologies to VH-1, of course). And the company (and Vince, specially, apparently, who never understood what it was supposed to be about) really dropped the ball with Paul Birchall, who could've made an appearance on the show. Pirates are hot right now, y'see. Paul had the gimmick in the works months ago, and then he was myseriously put on the shelf months ago, onscreen as part of Mark henry's rampage. But how stupid, stupid, was WWE not to try and capitalize on the recently released blockbuster (in the truest sense of the word) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? Not to even mention that Birchall's a marvel in the ring, too? And having Kennedy on the program, even if UPN made it difficult to poise Smackdown for the card, would have been another brilliant move. Seriously. Let the audience know that there are new superstars in the making. It's what the casual fan wants, right?

I'll get back with some nonwrestling thoughts next time, I promise...

Friday, July 07, 2006

#125. Wrestling

You know what would be totally fantastic? If Randy orton and Chris Masters, say, teamed up to oppose the reformed DX. This is getting back to wrestling talk, you understand, so the pretend readers who are interested in other things I write can step aside and the pretend readers who are interested in my wrestling thoughts can tune back in. So yeah, thoughts on the future. Orton, rumor has it, is due for another feud with Triple H, and I can imagine no greater segue than for the posturing poster/golden boy (you understand, I like the guy, probably more than most people, and believe more than ever that he's the next franchise star) to take on Vinnie Mac's grudge for him (because Vinnie and Shane-o-Mac haven't exactly done a stellar job of it themselves...and speaking of Triple H God?), and since he can hardly be expected to carry that by himself (after all...the Spirit Squad...uh, can't do it...), bring in Masters when he returns from whatever exile he's on (rumors also have it that he's another victim of the drug-busting that's gotten RVD, Sabu, and Kurt Angle). It'd be great. Masters already has a history with Shawn Michaels, after all. Anyway, I think it'd be a nice program, an excellent way to make DX relevant as more than pranksters and cheerleader-bashers.

That's something for Raw. For Smackdown, Rey Misterio, before he loses the World title to Batista (c'mon, who doubts that, right?), needs one more program after dealing with King Booker. And that program is with Chavo Guerrero. Think about it. It's the one program Eddie never got to finish, the program that launched a half-year war between two of the greatest Latino wrestlers of the modern era, the one we saw in WCW but never got to finish in WWE. The closest we came was a match at the 2004 Royal Rumble, as well as a half-hearted encore during Eddie's championship reign. Chavo's current angle is that he's retired. They've teased him coming back out of anger against Mark Henry. But make him come back against Rey Misterio. make it for all the marbles. He doesn't have to win. But he deserves it. He's always been a class act. He's not Eddie, but he's a great wrestler in his own right. He'd make Randy Orton's program right. And it wouldn't be about excorcising demons, but moving on, which conceivably would make fans happy. It'd be a beautiful thing. But it probably doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of happening. Unless they make Batista feud with Henry through SummerSlam. Then it could.

But it probably won't. Anyway, I've been thinking a lot lately about fitting in, the pretense of fitting in, whether fitting in can ever really happen or whether yoy make do, or make yourself fit in by compromising. What does it take? Why is it so easy for some people, yet so hard for others? Why can't it always be easy? And why is it so easy to almost fit in, but not to an extent where you actually believe you do, or so you can least screw yourself up and say you definitely don't when you sorta do? Is it just meant to make you crazy? Because I think I've got that done pat pretty well. Is it easier to run away from problems? Even when you aren't running away, right away? That's you've given every indication fo your intentions, think it's for the best, even if it definitely seems like it isn't sometimes, definitely seems like it is at others? How do you really deal with such things? Is that also in part why he feel excluded, because of the varying ways people handle such questions? Oh, why can't there be more easy, good answers?...

Sorry, I could give details to explain a lot of that, and in some ways, I have already in the past, and I'm not talking writing frustration. That I've got plenty of. Just a few minutes ago I nearly decided to quit reviewing at Paperback, because it would be easy, and give me more free time, which I've been getting less and less of. And I actually started a column there, too. I tell myself it's all useful. Maybe it is. There's just so much shit to worry about...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

#124. WrestleMania 22, Paperback Reader, The Escapades of the Eidolon

Okay, so I'll get back to thoughts on Wrestlemania 22 later (and other wrestling thoughts, too, prolly), but for now I'll just chat about current developments in my life. My association with Paperback Reader is only becoming more fruitful. I've written over thirty reviews since signing on in April, and starting next Monday will be working on a column called The Quarter Bin as well. All this ensures that I'm at least writing something on a regular basis, whether I'm paid or not, so it helps when I wondering if I've blown my degree or something (which is easy when you're doing what I'm currently doing for a living).

Other things to write about keep springing up, whether it be poetry (still mustering publishing details on Ex Patriot, Dedicated Reader), stories (one about Elvis II just broke through with further inspiration), or Star Trek (my humble 40th anniversary offering is scheduled for 9.8.06), as well as the ever-present threat of an interest in breaking into comics (I wrote a script at Digital Webbing that totally confused the one confirmed reader, and it may be either side's fault, and was certainly the first script I've written in months). Visionary Comics seemed like a target prospect, but its portfolio requirements seemed a bit counterintuitive to me, so I've stalled weeks in putting one together. Across the Pond is offering a contest next month I'm eager to learn more about. In the meantime, my high school English teacher is no doubt still anticipating a transcript and a letter of approach from when I visited inquiring about a recommendation. I'd been thinking of going to South Dakota without an actual teaching degree. She shouldn't have made me reconsider, because now I am. I tell ya, and Tug is the only thing that pays for this.

I've definitely decided to put off The Escapades of the Eidolon, Cotton Colinaude until at least December, when the final chapter will have been written, meanwhile. I think I had the final blow-up with Ms. Opposite, too, while I also won the "respect" of another girl, and met again a high school girl whose basketball team kept winning. Who's to say where the wind will take you? I may get my license by the end of the year. That might be neat. Yes, so, um...

Speaking of Paperback Reader, Drew Melbourne, My Unknown Nemesis, recently asked me to review an advanced copy of ArchEnemies...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

#123. Orlando Jordan

And so ends the tenure of Oz, Orlando Jordan, in WWE. Released last week due to lack of potential, his last act was to jumpstart a story arc between Nunzio and Vito. The promise of last year's US championship reign, the feud with Chris Benoit, and the few things that had been in the cards this year are now gone, and whatever he may have contributed are now a thing of the past. Like Test and Luther Reigns before him, Orlando Jordan is a Monk favorite who went before his time. There may be a better ending at some point, but for now, best of luck in the future, buddy. At least Test has come back and figures to have a prominant role in the new ECW...

I'll be reporting back with thoughts on WrestleMania 23, as well as a review of past years, plus the usual crummy updates about my progress in other matters, but for now, this'll do it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

#122. Reviewing Comics, Poetry, Self-publishing, Jerks

...skip a few, ninety-nine, etc. So here we are again, on to another pathetic, let's-see-what's-actually-going-on-in-the-Monk's-life stretch. Well, one bit of good news is that I'm reviewing comics over at Papaerback Reader, and seem to be getting rather along with it. Started that gig in the same month as my last entry here, missed a few weeks last month when Internet connection was temporarily severed, and with my usual gusto, proceeded to suggest to myself in particular that the sky was falling. I'm quite good at that. But reviewing comics is good, and so far I've been able to be quite deceptive as to my reading habits, which almost invariably lead, as long-term readers here (if such a concept exists) would know, to DC, being that I've also done words for Marvel (for the very first!), Image, Dark Horse, IDW, and...I think that covers it. Funny thing about Dark Horse. The material I've been covering there is ArchEnemies, the book by unsuspecting rival Drew Melbourne, who by my own accounts has now set me back about two and a half years thanks to his smiting of me, among other maggots, in Image's contest of early 2004, already noted on here. Lovely chap, though. Good sense of humor. He's a real comic. I'm won't go much further in that wordplay...

At any rate, that's been a chief source of keeping-me-busy material, which has also been not getting Ex Patriot published, though I've finally read Jude the Obscure and so now can write the response to one of the poems therein contained. Also a bit muddled is the publication of Cotton Colinaude, by means of faultering on the indie publisher (so much more dignified a term than "self-publishing"!), a struggle also remarked on previously. Loss of the Internet facilitated this waffling, as much as generous tax returns would have at last funded the enterprise. Now as I reconsider, I've also got packages to choose from. Happily, I solved one dilemma and chose, assuming the actual feasibility, to put in print both extant stories in one volume, to be entitled Two of Three Escapades, with perhaps a main title as well (come November, all three "escapades" will be known, collectively, as The Heroic Ideal).

As for my efforts at "Breaking Into Comics," those seem to have stalled once again, both because I continue to have no luck at Digital Webbing, in a variety of forms, and because I lose faith fairly easily in my own abilities. That's set me back in the job market already, and as if I don't have issues enough, my current situation only becomes more and more complicated, and frustrating/maddening/apalling/frenetic by the day, both in efforts to remove myself from it and in romantic concerns, which have only continued to blow up in my face. Some jerk recently suggested, right out of the blue, Neil Strauss's The Game as a cure for my perceived ailments, but a little research only proved what a jerky jerk he really was. But he was all friendly, all confidential about it. Must have been Mystery in the flesh. Imagine my honor...

I guess that's all I'll write for now...

Friday, March 24, 2006

#121. The Astrals, The Conformists

I've managed to do it again. With all the excitement I'd generated for myself early in the year over The Astrals, and then the almost utter lack of interest from those who were exposed to the script (I've gotten nothing but experience from being a reliable contributor in the exercises at Digital Webbing, least of all any kind of workable reputation) got me right back on the exercises there, which meant another 22 page script, the fourth I've written now. This time it was based on characters I'd created for an earlier exercise, one someone had decided to base around Dinos, Bots, Capes, & Babes (or, a random collection of generic comic book types). I'd fallen in love with the characters then, and now I got to reimagine them, recast some flaws and rename them, so that they became the Conformists. And so I became so worked up about them...Suddenly I have a new interest in the ongoing plans to launch my way into comics. I have more plans, more strategies, than actual attempts. I still hide behind DW's Talent Search pool for that. All I get with that is wet, but I have no money to speak of, so I can't exactly go the Drew Melbourne route of actually paying someone to work with me. Instead, I shuffle along pathetically.

...But the Conformists would approve. They're a wacky lot. Did I mention one of them has cosmic dandruff?

Friday, March 10, 2006

#120. Writing, Music, TV Shows

The sorry saga of "my homepage" only continues. The current version feeds my Star Trek stories, and now has the latest one, "Often Wrong." Having finally gotten that story out of the way (my computer problems, which began last fall, necessitated the delay, as well as other events chronicled and/or hinted at here), I'm now free to work on other writing projects, including the short story "Speed of Gravity," the Astrals project, and the poetry collection project, Ex Patriot. And that's not even it. There's another challenge at Digital Webbing, another 22 pages, but it means I get to revisit characters from other challenges, so it's not really that bad. Ryan Ottney also sent along the contract for the FANthology, which I've got to get in the mail. "Speed of Gravity," by the way, is intended as an entry into yet another contest, and among other reasons, might be another delay for the self-publishing of Colinaude, the Angry Avenger. One non-literary concern would be the girl of my dreams, whom I of course did not see coming, probably doomed to stay right there. What is it about opposites attracting, anyway? Can it ever really work? If only life weren't so complicated...

...However, if one thing's not in question, it's that Boston's own Dresden Dolls are a band worth checking out. I picked up a sampler of their upcoming album at Newbury Comics the other day, and found out on the ride home with LondonPortCode bandmember (and co-worker/manager) James just how much they rocked. They really do. He also says they sound more produced than they used to. But what the hey.

Are you watching Scrubs, Lost, My Name is Earl, and The Office? You certainly should be, and Prison Break, when it returns, as well. Also, 60 Minute Man is the next great TV series. Mark it down.

Friday, March 03, 2006

#119. Self-publishing, Lost, Jude the Obscure

Another entry, another month. Technically, I now have another blog, attached to my new myspace area, which I created after reconnecting with an old friend from a bygone era. You can read that shit here. But this will always be my first, true love. As far as blogs go.

My current dilemma is self-publishing, which technically (the word of the day, apparently), has been a dilemma since last year, when I was trying to find a job, any job. This one self-publishing house was the first place to favorably contact me in that period, and I was all excited. This is concerning our dear friend Colinaude, you understand. Except I didn't have the funds then, and I told them so, and they decided to keep in contact. This meant a lot of phone calls, relatively speaking, in the ensuing time. Different contact man, same calls, same e-mails, etc. (The first guy I even set up with g-mail.) But same problem lack of funds, even when I found employment. Last month I thought I was finally going to do it, and then then it didn't look so favorable. I should also mention that in between the initial contact point and now, I came across a different self-publisher, which actually looked like a better deal. So I've had that to contend with. When it finally happens, and it still looks to be "soon," I have to contend with the lyalty issue. Do I go with the house that's been so eager, so willing to add incentives, or do I switch?

Anyway, watching Lost this week John Locke happened to bring up Dostoyevsky, famous author of Crime & Punishment and such, and reading about him (because I've never actually read him, but that will change now) made me eager to become more familiar. He's yet another kindred literary figure I'll have discovered recently, along with Charles Bukowski and the book Jude the Obscure. And it's only made me more eager to see Cotton in print.

Call it hubris, but I call it motivation. There really is a market for the kind of stuff that interests me. Chat more later...

Friday, February 10, 2006

#118. Legend of Isis FANthology, Drew Melbourne, Poetry, The Patron Saints, Wrestling, Alias, The Flash

What I've been up since since I haven't been posting here:

Getting into trouble at Scryptic Studios with The Legend of Isis writer Ryan Scott Ottney over a script (or is it spelled with a y in context for that site? or perhaps an X&Y, in honor of Coldplay's 2005 masterpiece?) for a three-page contest in which I skewered Kong (as the public did) and used a character from my current comics project The Astrals, conceived in April of last year, fleshed out in June, and then finally realized in January-February 2006 (the first 22-page script, anyway, and full concept, finally), roughly paralleling my comics odyssey itself in that time. Yeah, I'm trying to break into comics. Ryan's a good guy. He didn't strike me with omega beams. He's actually since gotten me into my first published gig, for a four page script from another contest concerning his Isis property, for a FANthology. More details as they come.

Speaking of details, my comics odyssey actually began in 2004, with Top Cow's Common Grounds (named for what appears to be a defunct series), in which prospective creators submitted eight page scripts and descriptions for a chance at a publishing deal for a whole series. The guy that won that? Someone named Drew Melbourne. I came across Drew's name again. At Scryptic. His book from that win, Future Heroes, will be released later this year. In the meantime, he's also gotten ArchEnemies at Dark Horse to look forward to, and sooner. That's comics logic, folks. And he had to struggle and wait for his opportunities, too, and work on his stuff. That's what writers do (heck, what anyone does). That's what I've been doing, and what I'll be keeping you appraised of, both with updates on this FANthology, Astrals, and other efforts.

I'm also a published poet (under real name Tony Laplume), thanks to, which I think I'm happy about. One volume down, another (Best of 2005, they say) to go, plus an audio recording, and another publisher, much the same kind, has contacted me, too. Plus I'm compiling a collection of my own, from thoughts recorded in a notebook over the past year (I also lost poetry in a computer fiasco I may have mentioned here before, so this will be new work rather than a collection of prior work, stuff that might have already been published, because that's how it's turned out, okay?). I'll be seeing what I can do with that, as well as what I might be able to do with Colinaude, my Angry Avenger, and/or assorted shorter works. Timothy Wells, a pal of mine via Lower Decks, is celebrating his indy book The Patron Saints, which I was around to consult on. You can find out more about that at his site, Patronage Pending, where he has an advertisement (among other things) for a book signing Feb. 13 at Mama Buzz Café, 2318 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, if anyone's around those parts who reads things in these parts. It's a good story, seriously. I compel you to check it out!

So I've been talking wrestling elsewhere, which is part of the reason I haven't been around here that much lately, because this had become such a depot for those insane thoughts. The WrestleMania Anthology I mentioned as having gotten, yeah, I've been watching from that, as well as from Alias Season One and The Flash Complete Series collections. It was fun to rediscover WrestleMania 2000, which is the first one (and thus far only) WrestleMania I've seen on premiere night. The Vinnie Mac chair shot still works. Chyna in this era was a find. I'd forgotten that for a brief period she really was worth her hype. It was also weird to see Tazz in action as a wrestler again, weird to think he never went anywhere, and weirder to think how casual it is to have him as ring commentator with Michael Cole.

Watching the very first one, I finally got a taste of Bruno Sammartino, the legend from the 70's, via his appearance at his son David's side and his brief appearance in action at the end. This guy really did have the magaic. So I had to see him ina ction. The only way I could think to do that was to purchase Superstar Billy Graham's DVD. Maybe not the best showcase, but it was still worth it, to experience wrestling history. I've made comments in the past about Bruno's attitude, how he's wrong to turn his back, that he's making an issue out of nothing, that what he doesn't like has always been there. Except maybe it hasn't. Maybe he simply objects to the inclusion of so much nonwrestling into a wrestling program. He would not be alone in that opinion. I guess I can respect that. I can also respect the fact that this is a guy who should have been just a little more prominent in that first WrestleMania, and not just an afterthought. He even wrestles in a battle royal in a later year. But the focus is always on Hogan. Ironically, the angle used to promote Graham's DVD (and book) is that he came twenty years too soon. I'll bet Bruno would argue twenty years to never. I can admire his focus. I just wish he noticed that wrestlers still do wrestle, and that wrestling itself is possibly better now than even he knew it, when you let the wrestlers get around to it. Bret Hart came around. I hope Bruno can, too.

And that'll be it for now. Also, for those keeping score at home, another new image for the Monk!


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