Saturday, December 29, 2012

Benson, Robert Frost, Firefly, and Star Trek. Possibly the Best Year End Post, Ever.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”  -Neil Gaiman

So, here we all are, the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new year. It’s a time for resolutions, it’s a time for promises, it’s a time where we reflect on the past year, on past accomplishments and past... well we won’t really call them “failures” so much as “oopsie daisies.” 

I’ve always found it both odd and interesting that we take this time to reflect. On the one hand, nothing really changes. Today is Monday, tomorrow will be Tuesday no matter what the calendar says. Same bills are due. Rent is due. All that really happened is that when someone asks me the date I’m going to type 2012 instead of 2013 for a little while, much in the same way that sometimes I’ll accidentally type “February” when we reach January 31st. Really most of the Earth stays the same.

But on the other hand, it is another year, insofar as we understand time, gone. We do have a need to recognize time gone by, whether it be some kind of anniversary (That I swear I’ll remember this time) or birthday (until you reach 39) or some other significant event that you want to recognize (11 years since Firefly was taken off the air. We want your adventures back, Captain Mal.)

The other interesting concept is the idea of New Years Resolutions. I used to enjoy making these, back when the stakes were lower. I mean, “Hey I want to get in shape” means something different. But I don’t like making them now. Not that I think people should, (especially me) but because they’re so easy to break. Yes, I made a promise to myself I’d write more, but there’s this Firefly marathon on, and I don’t want to miss an episode that I’ve already seen twenty times. (Damn you, Joss Whedon!)

So, this year I have decided I’m not making any resolutions. I’m not making easily breakable promises that I’ll forget in a couple of months and chalk it up to “Not keeping my New Years Resolutions”. No, the Twenty Twelve Michael Bay Explosion Monster really did a number on me. And the only way that things are going to get better is if I make some changes. Real changes that will improve my life and ensure that there’s no Twenty Twelve Michael Bay Explosion Monster Part two. I’m at the point that I need 2013 to be better for my own general sanity. So I’m not making resolutions. I’m making actual promises that I must keep. There is no other option. So...

I promise to actually start do do more with my writing. Yes, I blog here at Bad Shakespeare, and I will continue to do so. And I love each and every one of my readers, thank you for following these adventures. But I need to do more. I need to finish my comedy novel that got mired in my own melancholy and was stalled. (That’s a good line. Remind me to do something with that.)

I promise to finish my degree and become a teacher. I’ve spent a good number of years learning what I’m not good at. I’m an ok editor. I’m a pretty good writer. I’m a so-so government acquistioner. I suck at working at Best Buy and as a Lifeguard. But I’m an excellent teacher. I love literature. Keeping me out of a classroom is bad for me. I have so many ideas, some original and some standing on top of desks like Robin Williams in that one movie.

I promise to do more that scares me and makes me uncomfortable. Like all of life’s big questions, I usually turn to the philosophy imparted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Two science fiction references in one post! Score!) In it, Constable Odo, who’s a shapeshifter, was a blob of goo that was found by a scientist. The Scientist “tortured” him until he finally showed him that he was a living, thinking creature that could shapeshift into the guy that played Clayton on Benson. The kicker was the scientist wasn’t torturing him. Odo loved being a blob of goo. That was comfortable to him. It was being uncomfortable and challenging himself that allowed him to eventually become humanoid, then help round out the cast of the best Star Trek series on television to date. We all need to be a little uncomfortable or scared. Taking the well-worn path is easy. Look at the Frost Poem “The Road Not Taken”. While people love to quote it and hold it up as an example of adventure! Of course once you read it you find out that the speaker has decided to just call the path he took as the one less travelled. Probably to impress the ladies. So rather than just saying I’m taking the scarier path, I’m going to actually take the scary path.

Star Trek, Benson, and Robert Frost in one paragraph. I’m on a roll today!

There are more, and I will update you all on them as they occur. From me, I hope you all have a healthy, happy, exciting, wonderful, unsafe, book reading, suprising, adventure filled, twitterpaited, gravity-defying, goal breaking, path not taken, Cow and Boy reading, Yippie Kai Yaying, Bad Shakespeare reading, Firefly-watching, Benson-referencing 2013. 

And as for you, Twenty Twelve Michael Bay Explosion Monster... you didn’t win.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Report: Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin


      Steve Clarke was just a typical teenage boy who happened to be doused with toxic chemicals and was turned into a superhero along with his best friend Greg in Paul Tobin’s Prepare to Die! Granted super-healing, super strength and punches that can take years off people’s lives (literally), he becomes the Reaver, a superhero. A superhero that is now in the middle of a sort of mid-life crisis, slowly giving up as he watches friends either die or turn to the dark side. After being beaten by the villainous group the Eleventh Hour, and their leader Octogon saying the famous words “prepare to die” Steve has been granted two weeks to put his life in order. This includes visiting his hometown, revealing his shocking secret (gasp!) and reconnecting with the love of his life.

Comics are a very visual medium. Sometimes, great literature, such as Maus, can come in comic book or graphic novel form. Moving comic book panels of superhero stories back to strictly prose can have it’s own series of problems, which is why I tend to be alternatively drawn (no pun intended) and put off by books about superheroes. Seeing Superman stop a bullet: awesome. Reading twelve paragraphs about how it makes him feel: not always as awesome. But I was pleasantly surprised by Prepare to Die!, which balanced comic action with a legitimate story about a man looking back to his past.

The Reaver/Steve Clarke is an interesting character. He already has a terrible burden: part of his powers take a year off people’s lives. So get into a bar fight? Yeah that guy loses a year of his life. This is added to the fact that many of his friends have disappeared, died, or turned to evil... he’s feeling alone. He’s directionless, facing that age-old question we all have to face from time to time: what happens next? Where do we go from here? So it’s believable when Octogon points a laser at his head and says, “Prepare to die!” Steve will only meekly reply, “give me some time to put my affairs in order.” You get the impression that he’s been dealing with a lot over the years.

Tobin also creates a vast superhero world while keeping it simple enough for anyone to understand, even non-superhero fans. This isn’t easy. Comic books have long complicated backstories and histories that can make things difficult for newcomers. (Ask someone why Marvel comics is set on Earth 616.) But Tobin just has a way of writing about it like it’s no big deal. Yeah, we find out about Siren or Mistress Mary or Octogon or Laserbeast without getting a long backstory, or at least a backstory that is worth reading an helps add to the idea that Reaver really has had enough.

However, there are a few places where the book falls short, and it’s extra disappointing because of the potential. One are the twists. There are three big twists in the book (Or at least I feel they are twists). One is awesome, it’s shocking and it sent me looking back through the book so I can see all of the places I missed the clues that are pretty obvious in hindsight. One twist is kinda hidden. It comes out of the blue, but it’s hinted at through the book, and while I hated how it came about, I loved that it was in there. It’s just a piece of superhero secret origins that you don’t think about. The third... the third uses my least favorite literary device on the planet. I don’t know there’s an official name for it. But I call it the Talkaround.

The Talkaround is pretty much any time there’s a secret or a twist that one or more character knows about, but they want to keep it secret from the audience. Not the other characters, they have this knowledge, but the audience. We know there’s a big twist, because they keep talking about SOME SECRET THING THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. And it never does. because by the time they get to it, you’ve stopped caring. When it got to the fourth or fifth reference, I actually started flipping ahead to see if I could find the big secret. I couldn’t find it because after all the well written, detailed flashbacks about Steve’s sex life with various superheroes and super villains, as well as his secret origins, this one was about a page, despite the fact that it ties everything together as part of the 1-2 punch where Steve has given up.

The other part that really started to get to me is all the sex that’s in the book. I’m no prude. I love me a good sex scene from time to time. (Especially if it can involve Megan Fox or Natalie Portman.) But it really felt like all of the characters were obsessed with sex. If it were just the one character, then sure, that’s the character. But it really seemed like all of them were. Steve goes into detail about the various superheroines and super villainesses that he gets into bed. Steve’s love Adel has a sister who’s a lesbian who likes walking around topless. And if you miss it the first twelve times she walks around topless or mentions she’s into girls, don’t worry, she’ll mention it again. I understand wanting to look at the sex lives of superheroes... but at some point we have to talk about something else, we have to focus on some other aspect of interaction. 

And the problem is that some of this can take away from what is otherwise a great book. It goes into the psyche of not just a superhero, but the pressures that come along with being a superhero. It is told through first person perspective, so when someone says how much they look up to this superhero, Tobin can go into how that alternatively enjoys the attention but worries about the pressure. The real problem is when that’s interrupted by a topless lesbian. (words I never thought I’d type.)

Should you read it? Yes, despite it’s flaws, you should check it out, for all of the other words that I’ve mentioned. This is a unique book and that’s the best thing about it. It could use more focus on the introspection and a little more action, but overall I think reading it will have you thinking about some of the different aspects of superheroing that you may not have considered.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Acting! First You Must Make Your Voice High Like This, Then Go Low, Like This...

        Another semester down!

As I have mentioned, I took a class in Theatre. More specifically, how to be a Theatre Teacher. A little bit because when I started the class I had been a George Mason Employee and I wanted to take the class and it was free. A little bit because Theatre is really an overlooked art form for anyone who speaks in front of people, and that’s just about everyone except those scientists who work in basements creating some of the coolest things on the planet but then give it to other people who do the presenting. And who probably took theatre! FULL CIRCLE, BABY!

Moving on.

When I first started the class, I kind of felt a bit like an outsider. Everyone knew everyone else. In my zeal to sign up for the class, I’d neglected to see that it was actually the second part of a two part course, and pretty much everyone met and knew each other during that first class. (Also, theatre is notoriously close knit so... yeah. ) I was just sort of the oddball English guy that sat in the corner and went to the Professor after the first day of class and explained my situation. Her name is Mary Lechter, and I’ve never felt more included than when she let me know that I should stick around, and it would be fun. And boy, was it.

It was actually the more informative of classes I’ve taken over the past few semester. We’d get a unit, something that had to be taught, then we’d have to make an entire lesson plan around this unit, down to how much time we’d spend on each thing, then we’d pick one of those things and teach the class. It ended up being a lot of fun, we’d spend time annoying the other classes that were learning to math or something like that. (Take THAT, Mason Scheduling that won’t put us in a theatre classroom.)

I really enjoyed the time I spent in the class and the time I spent getting to know everyone. I’d like to think that not spending all that time not taking theatre classes let me think outside the box and do unique activities and things other people didn’t think of. I don’t know if it actually was, but I had a good time doing it. I can even remember the dark period, when things were falling apart, this was still a groovy class to come to, and a good time where I was able to cut loose, and the times I did have enough and I had to dread what came next... well it really helped me go through that.

It’s rare that a class ends, and I wish I were still taking it. Tuesday mornings were horrible... I was running around until 10 at night... but man... I’m going to miss having that class on Monday nights.

So, now it’s on to what’s next for my teaching adventure. Next up I’ll be chronicling my adventures in attempting the Praxis 2, then hopefully soon I will be chronicling my adventures in student teaching. That’s what’s next for me.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bad Shakespeare's Christmas Movie Marathon Guide

       Ladies and gentlemen, it is now December 24th. That can only really mean one thing: That it’s time for Christmas movie marathons! Everyone has their special movie that they watch over Christmas. Sometimes it’s an actual Christmas movie, sometimes it’s just something that means a lot to them. But I think it’s important that today of all days that we focus on those movies that impart to us the true meaning of the Holidays.

Some of you may be asking “Well, why just Christmas movies, when there are so many other Holidays this time of year?” Well, I respect all different holidays, no matter whatever you celebrate. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of people make Christmas movies. And the only non-Christmas Holiday movie I’m really familiar with is Eight Crazy Nights by Adam Sandler, and all due respect to the future Emperor of what was once Kentucky... no. I’m not going to recommend that. That is a stain on a brilliant career that does not include Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy. Plus, today is the day that’s actually before Christmas, so we’re going to focus on that.

So with no more gilding the mistletoe, here are the movies you should be watching for your Christmas movie marathon.


Scrooged. There have, at the time of this writing, been roughly a billion different variations on A Christmas Carol. So much so that the last person to attempt to write another variation was visited by the ghost of Charles Dickens and told that if he did try to write it, he’d be visited by three other ghosts who would personally smack him in the face if he tried to write another version of A Christmas Carol. There’s a patriotic themed one based around the fourth of July, people... we need to let it go. Regardless, Scrooged features Bill Murray at his Bill Murrayiest. It’s the classic Christmas Carol theme, but with the added bonus of Bill Murray and the dated 80’s references, but still holds up as one of the best movies ever made. It also proves my Bill Murray Theory that there is a Bill Murray movie for every occasion. Halloween? Check out some Ghostbusters. New Years? Ghostbusters 2. Summer’s here? Why you get to fight between Meatballs, Caddyshack, or What About Bob?. Found out from a long lost love that you might have a kid you never knew about? Broken Flowers or The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The combinations are literally endless.


Elf. Of course this is on the list. You see kids, in the midst of Will Ferrell movies slowly becoming “Will Ferrell playing (insert job here) during (insert time period here)” he played a human that grew up in the North Pole with Santa and the elves. As an added bonus, this features Zooey Deschanel back when she was still a little quirky actress who was in quirky little movies, but before hipsters and critics decided that it was ok to hate her. The only down side to the movie is that it forces Ed Asner to blow his cover as the real Santa, as we all know he is. But Bob Newhart is in it, too! Really it’s the only combination of Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart, and Ed Asner that makes kids say, “Hey... I want to check that out!”


The Star Wars Holiday Special. While not technically a movie, watch it. Watch it and remember that Jar Jar Binks is not the worst thing to happen to the franchise.


Love, Actually. This one is actually a pretty much the most balanced movie on the list. This has some great love stories while featuring actors that have appeared all over the types of movies that are not Love, Actually. What it’s about? Well, Professor Snape is worried about his marital troubles with Nanny McPhee while Rick Grimes is upset that Elizabeth Swann has married the Operative from Serenity while Laura Linney (I know she did some stuff... I don’t remember what) is interested in the Paulo half of Nikki and Paulo, Arthur Dent/Bilbo Baggins is filming a nudie scene with this chick he likes while the Minister of Magic writes the number one song in the UK for that year, and Liam Neeson pre-wolf punching family avenging days is the widowed father of Ferb from Phineas and Ferb and... you know what... I’m going to leave it to you. Just watch. Those of you who enjoy love stories can go, “awwww...” as someone stands out in the snow and declares his/her love, and those of you who don’t care can just go “Rick! Don’t stand outside so long, Rick, the Walkers will get you!”


Die Hard. This is perhaps one of my favorite Christmas movies. What do you get for the estranged wife who has everything and has been kidnapped by terrorists in a high-rise building during Christmas? You get her Bruce Willis. What do you get the terrorist that tries to attack Bruce Willis in a high-rise on Christmas? Body bags! It embodies the spirit of every other Christmas movie ever made. Enjoy the hijinks of Home Alone? This has hijinks and cool traps to stop even bigger stakes. Miserly old man doesn’t understand the true meaning of Christmas? Well, this terrorist didn’t understand Christmas, an paid for it by being Bruce Willised all over the place. Love story? We’ve got that too, husband and wife to boot!(that’ll help the prudes that get all up in arms when a non-married couple kisses.) Spirit of giving? All over the place. Redemption? That disgraced police officer saves the day. And while Bruce Willis doesn’t greet people with a “Ho-Ho-Ho” he does have his own jolly catchphrase that has become a staple with society.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Thank you to those of you who have liked the Bad Shakespeare page on Facebook, and thank you for those who have taken the time to comment. Whatever you celebrate, whatever you are doing, I wish you the happiest of Holidays, and I’m looking forward to another great year of blogging on Bad Shakespeare.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's the End of the World as We Know it!

It’s 12/21/12, and you know what that means. Happy End of The World, everyone! I hope you all are feeling fine, and you’ve all yelled “Leonard Bernstein” at the top of your lungs at least once today. In the event that this is the end of the world, I’m really happy that you decided to spend it with Bad Shakespeare, looking for my words of wisdom as we face what’s next. Now, the Mayans never really told us what to expect from the end of the world, just that the world itself was ending. That could mean a whole slew of things, from rivers of lava, to zombies, to meteors, space aliens. Thankfully, you can count on your good drinking buddy and blogger Bad Shakespeare to help guide you to the end of the world. Hopefully, these tips will help you.

  1. No matter what the type of the end of the world, you probably won’t be expected to go into work on Monday. But remember, in the off chance that the Mayans were wrong, you probably don’t want to burn too many bridges on Friday afternoon. Finish what you can, clock out like regular, and remember sometimes the best revenge is preparation while your jerk co-workers suffer in a lake of fire or rabid squirrel attack
  2. Stock up on non-technological supplies like can openers and stuff, just in case the apocalypse is technology based. You don’t want to be “that guy.” You know that one. All of your kitchen appliances are trying to kill you, and just when you’ve escaped there’s that one guy who brought an electric can opener, or ipod, or some other technology based doohickey that seems innocent but rises up and tries to strangle you. No one invites “that guy” to roast the bird they caught on one of the cars that has suddenly caught fire.
  3. As cool as you may think it is, black leather is not the best thing to move in. I know that all the post-apocalyptic movies or TV shows always have everyone putting on the coolest black leather jacket. You can look cool, or you can escape the mutants. It’s up to you.
  4. f it turns out the Mayans were talking about robots coming back from the future and enslaving humanity, that might actually be kind of cool.
  5. Kind of the contrast to the technology, but there’s a slight chance that nature itself might rise up and take back the planet that day. If that happens, well, then I hope you made friends with nature. Personally I’m going to take a few plants hostage and use them to negotiate my way to power in the new world order. It’s ok, I’ll send for you once your weed whackers are deemed useless against the growing Rose Hoards that are coming to enslave you and work in the Squirrels’ underground acorn mines.
  6. Zombies and vampires are kind of played out. I don’t think the Mayans are so unoriginal that they would end the world that way. If that happens, remember your training: Zombies can be killed with a shot or blow to the head, don’t split up, if you hear something go in pairs, and if your young daughter falls in love with a vampire it will result in five mediocre movies and someone stealing the characters to write a semi-pornographic novel. 
  7. here’s a really good chance that no matter what, you will find yourself stuck in a bad Syfy Channel movie. It’s important to remember that we listen to our scientists that tell us about the giant Gatorsharktapusrana that is causing a radioactive tornadotidalwaveicestorm, we take them seriously, and that we stick close to the aging actor or actress clinging to fame by starring in those movies. Remember, they may be stuck with bad dialogue, but they are usually the survivors, or at least the last to go.
  8. I haven’t even addressed natural disasters yet, like meteors, comets, earthquakes, or tidal waves. In those cases, we’d better hope Superman is real and has just been hiding all these years. Because if dinosaurs, some of the most badass creatures God ever put on this Earth couldn’t survive a meteor, there is no WAY humans will. Cats will probably be ok, because they’re survivors, and they’ probably feast on our charred corpses. 

But there’s also the chance that none of this will happen, in which case it’s an excuse to put on one of the most epic parties that you have ever seen. I mean, finals should be over, a lot of people are starting their holidays... it’s really the perfect time to party down.

Of course, if the world does end, Natalie Portman, give me a call.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twenty Twelve Michael Bay Explosion Monster vs. Cow and Boy

Twenty Twelve has not been the greatest year for me. I supposed I could have written it as 2012, but it looks better when it’s like that. It looks more like the enemy, which right now I kind of consider it. Amongst the bigger setbacks that I’ll eventually talk about one day (including the one that was the REAL secret origin of this blog) there have been a few, smaller incidents that really get under my craw. Despite the fact that I’ve really no idea what a “craw” is and this is just an expression I’m going to steal. And I’ve decided that I can let Twenty Twelve defeat me like it’s some kind of Michael Bay-eqsue explosion monster, or I can buck up and do something about it. So today, I’m going to use my blog as a forum to talk about one of the smaller things, and see what I can do about it: The cancellation of one of my favorite comic strips.

Remember, I said, “Smaller.” When things aren’t going well you look to the little things to make you laugh. When things aren’t going well, you look to the little things to make you laugh, and then you find out said little thing is going away, well... it really takes the wind out of your sails. It’s comforting. Then, the Twenty Twelve Michael Bay-esque Explosion Monster takes that away that last sliver of comfort. It’s not good.

It’s no secret that I quite enjoy comic books. If it is, then go back and read this closer. I not only enjoy comic books, but one of those things that really gets me started in the day are the morning comics. You know, the cheesy ones like Garfield, or the zombie ones that won’t go away despite the fact that the original creator and then the creator’s successor both died centuries ago and for some reason they still need to keep publishing them and take up space for new comics. I don’t really read zombie comics, I tend to stick to things like Garfield, Get Fuzzy, Pearls Before Swine, or one comic that consistently made me laugh, Cow and Boy. Unfortunately, Cow and Boy is being cancelled.

Cow and Boy is a comic that is about... well, a boy named Billy and his best friend, a Cow. Her name is Cow. It has been compared to Calvin and Hobbes in the way Billy and Cow interact, often talking about deep social issues (In fact, one of the funnier jokes involved one of the characters commenting that they liked the comic more when Cow was a tiger.) Then it will take a huge left turn and someone will get smacked down with a cat-copter, or Johnny Depp will get blackmailed into writing a check, or they’ll get attacked by gnomes. Yeah. It’s that kind of strip. The kind of clever strip that comes along every once in a while, the art and the theme make it look inviting... the kind of inviting that draws in those regular readers of the zombie strips, or the long-term strips. Then it hits you with a man dressed as a bear wrestling Billy’s stunt double. That’s the kind of strip that scares people with it’s mad-cap madcapness. People are scared by things that are this brilliant, insane, and clever. 

Now, Bad Shakespeare is no shill. That’s not by some moral choice. No, if someone wants to pay me to endorse something, I’m all for it. And I have no affiliation with Mark Leiknes, the writer and creator of Cow and Boy, and to the best of my knowledge the original writer and creator and not the third in line recycling jokes from the 1960’s. (Garfield sure does hate his Mondays.) I’ve never contacted Mr. Leiknes, either to let him know how much his strip did brighten up my day, or that I’m saddened his comic is ending on the original site, but I’m happy to hear he’s working to try to keep it going in some form. (He has a donation page at I’m a poor graduate student, so I’ve not had a chance to contribute, but check it out, because everything on the site is funny.)

So what’s the point of all this? Basically what I’ve already talked about, just to draw attention to a writer in need. I’m hoping in a few decades (oh the cars they’ll fly) when I’m a struggling writer, I’m someone’s favorite thing enough for them to write their futuristic space blog that will be beamed into the minds of their readers instantly about how much they love my work. Karma, people, karma. In the meantime, which hosts Cow and Boy (and I guess needs  to cancel it so it can have more digital space for Peanuts reruns) still has it up until the end of the year. Make sure you check it out.

I’m going back to battling the Twenty Twelve Michael Bay-esque Explosion Monster for a little bit. But here's a little sampling of why this comic is so freaking brilliant. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Don't Ever Want To Write Anything Like This Again

     Up until recently, the most-read post on this blog was my reaction to the shooting at the Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora. I wrote that because I could empathize with the dreamers and the Batman fans in the audience. While I was proud of that post, I also never wanted to write anything like that again. Partly because I didn’t want anything like that to happen again. Partly because emotionally, it took a lot out of me. Also partly because this is a blog about teaching, school, Shakespeare, and most of all, my comedy. I want to write comedy, not constantly be updating on the latest shooting or crime. (Although any crime involving Mall Santas being arrested for trying one last big heist is hilarious, as Billy Bob Thorton has show us.)

Then, some sick waste of a human life decided to shoot up an elementary school in Connecticut. I don’t apologize if that seems harsh. This waste targeted children. This waste heavily armed himself to shoot some of the most vulnerable section of society. Don’t give me the “Well, if someone had been armed...” crap this time. This was an elementary school. If there is one place that people should feel safe, that they don’t have to worry, it’s a place that still has Dr. Seuss books in the library and everyone was wondering why their mommies and daddies were so excited that Corey and Topanga were coming back to television. This coward targeted people who were born a year before the first iPhone came out.

That last paragraph was a little more emotional than I really wanted it to be. I’m actually happy with that.

I’m affected by this because I just can’t wrap my head around it. I really can’t. Some guy wants to bust into a movie theater showing a superhero movie and be the bad guy... in some way I can wrap my head around that. I can say, “That’s why he did it.” It doesn’t make me feel better. But I can’t wrap my head around a waste of life that says, “Today I’m going to heavily arm myself and go into an elementary school and shoot up people that still carry lunchboxes with cartoon characters on them.”

What makes me madder still has been the reaction. Of course the NRA pops out as soon as this happens and says, “We can’t ban guns!” Then the other side pops up and says, “Hey’ let’s ban guns!” Then invariably someone says, “well, banning guns only really stops people who listen to the law!” Then we get the asshat (and in this case, you are an asshat if you say this) that if someone just HAD another gun, well, then all the violence would have been stopped! That’s the equivalent of the drunk guy who’s friend is hassled at the bar who, after the danger has safely passed says, “I wish he had tried that with me” but was only safe because he hid the whole time. Then twelve other people come out with bogus statistics about utopias in other countries that either ban guns, or lets everyone have them. Everyone shouting back and forth looking to blame someone other than the sick waste of a human life who picked up several guns, then went and killed children. 

While your’e shouting about your precious feelings on the cold piece of metal, a medical examiner is doing an autopsy on someone that should be watching Spongebob.

While you’re shouting, there’s a mother and a father who have a Christmas present hidden in a closet somewhere that their kid will never open. They don’t care about your feelings on gun laws. 

While you’re shouting, the police still haven’t picked up all the bullets used in the massacre.

I have too much to say on this. It’s all a jumble in my head right now, struggling to get out.  I want to talk about the fact that these kids were at a school. Most of them were probably looking at the clock, wondering what they were going to do as soon as that bell hit, and they were off for the weekend. They should have felt safe. I want to talk about the fact that everyone who says, “well, if someone had a gun it could have been stopped” forgetting that it was an elementary school, and no, no one should have had a gun. You’re a miserable human being if those words even remotely cross your lips right now. Also, having a gun doesn’t make you an action hero. I want to talk about those now saying, “we have to ban all guns” and showing pictures of kids crying, because you’re horrible people if you do this right now. There’s just so much to this it really makes me mad.

You know, I don’t have the answer. I’m a blogger. And not a very good one at that. I post about squirrels taking over the world, comic books, movies, and why I think the world will be better when I’m teaching because I’m just crazy enough to make it work. I wish I had some kind of answer or some intelligent thing to say. But I don’t. I only have a pure visceral reaction. Because there’s no excuse for this. And you know what, shouting about it is only making it worse.

So what do we do? We let these families mourn. We hug our families just a little tighter for the next few days. We turn off the constant news coverage, and we turn on the Redskins game. (or team of lesser value.) We let some time pass.

I’ve spent a good portion of this calling out people who are starting to debate. I want you to know that this is something that we need to debate. We need to debate not only the gun laws in this country, but how someone can get so messed up that this would happen. We need to discuss why were are letting anyone have access to weapons that the US Army doesn’t distribute. These are all important things to discuss. Make no mistake. We are on our 7th mass shooting this year. I’m just saying let those families bury their children... the kids that will have “2005” on the start to their tombstones... before we start making things worse by finger pointing and assigning blame.

I really hope this is the last one of these I feel compelled to write.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chapter 1 of the Novel Project!

Ashley sighed and put on her comically oversized earrings. It was hands down the stupidest thing for a DJ to be wearing, but ever since they installed the cameras to show the behind the scenes of the Able Abel Drivetime Morning Radio Showgram, she was expected to dress the way she did in her cast photo. When she took her cast photo, she didn’t think that someone would be stupid enough to decide to put damn cameras so everyone could see every little thing she was doing. No more rolling out of bed and coming to work, which had been the previous perk of working for a morning radio show.

She was certain that it it was Abel who did it. His real name was Leslie Abelington, but referred to himself as Abel to fit the program and the slogan that made him laugh so hard his 300 pound frame shook every time he said it: “Abel was always ready and able!” then he’d make a crude gesture with his fingers. But he was constantly looking for brand new ways to be cutting edge and make himself appear like he got what kids today wanted, forgetting completely for a fact that he was a 40 year old man. He shaved, dressed in too tight clothes, even had a model that played his girlfriend on the air and in the clubs while pretending to always have fun sharing way too much about his sex life. On Tuesday she was scheduled to call in about the alleged affair he was having with a local singer to help boost her career a little bit. Ashley shook her head, and went over her copy for the day, trying to figure out what Abel was going to cut and what he wasn’t. 
She was answered when he didn’t so much sit as collapse into his chair. Everything about him was carefully constructed to make him appear hung over this morning, he was supposed to be out rocking to a local concert until just before he came in, rather than taking a bath and turning in early after drunk dialing Ashley and begging her to come over for a booty call.

Six more months, she reminded her self. Six more months and she was going to get her own show in the Boston Area. Able knew nothing about it, which was the sweetest part of the deal.

“So, what do we have on the agenda for this morning, Ass-leigh?” Abel said, shuffling through his papers.

“There was another report of strange lights coming from the Globotex Corporation,” she said, “They had to shut down the street so we’re going to lead off with that.” 

Washington, DC drivers cared about traffic on a Monday morning first, everything else second. If Dragons started hoarding gold in the White House and declared themselves the new dominant species in DC, the first question would be exactly how it affected traffic. Their target demographic cared second if starlet A was still hooking up with major A-list Star B, so she was prepared to bring out the story as Abel slammed down his papers.

“Snore. Snore snore snore, snore snore.”

“But I was going to cut into this story about ... “

“I’m still snoring, snore snore snore, snore snore,” Abel leered over to a young intern who was rehearsing her lines. She was about to call in pretending to have some problem she read in an advice column over the weekend. Ashley glanced over too. She was able to check out the female interns a little more subtly. 

“You do know it’s Monday morning, the first full day of college, Les,” she said, which earned her a sideways glare. “Traffic is going to suck.  A major company in the heart of DC with strange lights coming out of it, shutting down traffic... that’s only going to cause problems. You know we have to lead with it.”

Abel opened his mouth, then shut it because she was right. His mouth, incapable of forming the words, simply went to a half smile as he looked her up and down. “Why are you so fascinated with this Globotechnica--”

“Globotex Corporation,” She corrected him.

“Globo-whatever company. You’ve pitched like nine stories on this in the past week.”

She wanted to go into the fact that Globotex Corporation popped up overnight and was suddenly in the big league of other Defense Consultants in the area. She wanted to go into the fact that this was the third night in a row that strange lights were seen coming from the top floor, and this was the third night that the cops were called. Something strange was going on there. Ashley wasn’t always going to be reading the news, then later hosting, a morning radio show. She knew that something was going on. She didn’t know what, but it was something big. Just had driven past it four times over the weekend, seeing who went in, and who went out, she never saw anything. Once she had even gotten the courage to try to come in, but was greeted by an attractive but unhelpful receptionist. 

However, all of this was going to go over Abel’s -- who was currently trying to get the attention of one of the male interns so the could check out the cleavage of the aforementioned rehearsing intern --head. So she smiled, and let it go.

“Anyway,” Abel snapped back and forgot the conversation, “I meant to tell you that you are going to have to work this weekend. You, Tiffany and Aaron are going to host some charity event.”

Aaron was their producer who popped up to be berated by Abel from time to time. He was a nice enough guy but really ran nothing. Tiffany was Abel’s pretend girlfriend. It was an odd combination to be hosting.

“Tiff is going to go on about catching me with that singing slut during the event.”

Ashley was sure that the singing slut had a name, but it didn’t really matter right now.

“And you want us to play it up for the audience,” she said with a sigh. “How much longer is this going on?”

Abel let out his creepiest smile, which was saying something, “Just until this chick gets some more exposure. Her manager is paying a lot to get us talking about her.” Ashley also knew that he was getting paid handsomely under the table. “But I thought you’d be interested because your Globotechy place is sponsoring it.”

Now Ashley was interested. “Wait, I’m going to get to go inside the Globotex Corporation headquarters?”

“I don’t know about that, but you’ll at least get to meet people that work there... Jamie! Jammin’ Jamie, that’s her name!! That’s a stupid name,” Abel looked generally depressed for a minute, then went back to his papers. He started talking about some other show prep, but that didn’t matter at this point. Ashley was already making plans for finding out exactly what these people did. Then maybe she wouldn’t need to steal his spot...

Ashley stopped practicing her various award acceptance speeches in her head as the “On Air” sign started to flash.