I remember, quite some time ago, when a new show was being heavily promoted on the Sci-Fi Channel, about a quirky little town with a great big secret.
"Eureka" was its name. Good science fiction was its game.
The two hour long pilot episode was placed in heavy rotation on both Sci-Fi and one of its sister networks. I remember, finally, giving in to the vast opportunities to view this new program. I marked it on my To Do list on DirecTV, got ready, laid back and watched this average guy get sucked in to a world no one else knew existed.
I was instantly hooked. And, given that it was simply the pilot episode, that's an incredible statement to make.
The first two seasons were fairly consistent: Global Dynamics is a big enterprise, someone within its walls makes a (sometimes careless) mistake, the smart people are out of their league and the constantly befuddled Carter ends up saving the day with nothing more than common sense.
The first two seasons were, essentially, about discovering the town, the "artifact," Global Dynamics, the powers behind the scenes, and so on. The writing was strong throughout as some genius screws something up, intentionally or not, and Carter is left to clean up the mess.
But Season 3 seems to be a train that has jumped the tracks which leaves its creators likely uncertain what they should do next. It has, most likely, all too quickly become a victim of its own success.
We still have the geniuses run amok. We still have Carter getting totally get lost in the technical exposition spouted by those around him. We still have possibilities...but said possibilities may be becoming limited. Once you've pushed the boundaries of technology, where do you go from there?
Season 3 has brought us a hatchet woman called, appropriately enough, Thorn. I hated her from the start, and asked "why do we need her?" To shake things up, that's why. And she was more effective back then, with one major glitch and that was bringing in their "first sponsor."
We gained Carter's sister, lost Stark, found a reason to have three new babies, uncovered an ages old mystery and lost a bad guy that could've easily become much more intriguing if she'd grown much more malevolent in her intentions. What if, instead of removing the last remnants of her past, we had her bent on shutting down Global Dynamics once and for all? That in itself would've been far more creative.
Season 3 ends with Thorn being given a second chance, by means of Henry, as she escapes with a new life on a bus leaving Eureka. But what really made this mid season finale interesting was the sacking of Carter himself.
There may be hope for this show about a small town with a big secret. And there may not be. I, personally, hope there is because this is one of the best shows I mark on my To Do list. But, if this season is an indicator of future seasons, we may not make it to Season 5.
The best way of saving this show, before it truly needs to be saved, is to shake things up in a much bigger fashion. What if Eureka was discovered by foreign nationals? What if they faced a crisis much bigger than the ones they've had to resolve in simply one episode?
The series creators should look to the overreaching story arc structure greatly taken advantage of in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "The X-Files." Some may argue that Eureka already has that, and (to quote John Pinnette) I say "oh nay, nay!"
Season 7 of "Buffy" was the best. "X-Files" had a beautiful, complicated mythology in the middle of its television run. "Angel" was equally strong. Each of these shows pretty much had a guaranteed "To Be Continued..." at the end of their episodes, no matter what happened.
If "Eureka" followed that line of creative thought, we've have something truly special on our hands again. What they're doing now is, as they used to say in college, is "teaching towards the test." In other words, they're just dropping hints here and there about the final episode, which they then reveal and, though it has some surprises, it's not quite as shocking as it could've been.
And that's no way to build tension.
We need something that views itself, not as a series of single episodes, but as a mini-series that keeps growing, evolving, and devours all in its way, even itself if necessary. That's the only way we'll have a show that lasts beyond Season 4.
PS - As stated in an earlier posted, I would've put this in the "Reviews" section, but had problems with the form as I tried to upload a reduced photo. That's twice around. I'm gonna borrow one of Maelstrom's favorite declarations and say "fix it, bitches."
But I mean it in the nicest possible way.
Anyone at Mania Tech know what the hell the problem is?
It's often interesting to see what gets my mind spinning.
I own the complete first (and only) season of "The Dresden Files" on DVD. In the pilot episode "Storm Front," which is also based on the Jim Butcher novel of the same name by the way, Dresden is holding a talisman of sorts, spinning it around in front of the hockey stick he uses as one of his magic wands.
As he continues to do this, we learn he is "charging" it, sort of like a battery. We discover this simply because he experiences what can only be called a magical equivalent of a short circuit. The magic is broken, Dresden swears and complains about "over charging it" again.
Now I am somewhat familiar with magick. I've used it for defensive purposes against, shall we say, non corporeal entities that have no business on this plane of existence except to terrorize us. I use said magick for only such reasons.
But never before had I considered any uses for "magic wands," let alone charging them. I know there are peddlers online who offer their own versions of magic wands, and in a variety of styles and forms of construction, not to mention for various uses. I actually considered purchasing one, for reasons similar to the one I mentioned above: defensive purposes only.
Now magick (designated with the "k" at the end to distinguish it from stage magic) can be utilized by a few means, much in the same way reality is: by thought, emotion, or intention. But a wand seems to add something else to that mix: direction.
For instance, I've lit candles of particular colors in a friend's house which, shall we say, has an unpleasant and uninvited guest. Since my friend is more psychically attuned than I, she can see, hear, experience and be more easily abused psychologically by it. Lighting the candles was a form of magick: expulsion, which was the intention.
Curses work along the same way, except they need to be proclaimed to those upon which the curse is laid. That can be thought. It can also be intention. A person isn't likely to be cursed if they don't know they have been. Chain letters are a prime example of this. The superstition of breaking mirrors is another. You curse yourself by thinking you've done so. It's a self fulfilling curse, so to speak.
Emotion is another means of reaching out. There's a legend of cursed Burmese jewels taken by those of the Hapsburg dynasty in Europe centuries ago. The head of the temple saw his precious jewels taken, and went immediately into a week long trance where he gathered up his energy, and laid down a curse which, arguably, laid the foundation which tore down the mighty Hapsburgs.
Those said jewels made it from Europe to Mexico, and are now sitting at the bottom of the ocean of the eastern coast of America. They've been there since approximately the 1920's. Salvage operations have been undertaken to reclaim the precious booty, but every time the attempt is made, lives are lost and the mission is abandoned.
And the jewels remain on the ocean floor.
Emotion. Intention. Thought. Direction. They all combine in some fashion.
(Side note: poltergeists are expressed through emotions. I've seen this before. My friend, the more psychically attuned one, was under great stress several years ago, and whichever classroom she sat in at our college, the lights would always flicker and go out. No matter which building she went in, at home or on campus, the lights would always behave the same.)
I know energy, thought, and such can be placed into non animate objects. This is how the psychic practice of psychometry works. Psychometrics involve reading the energy absorbed from the person who owns them. Say a person with this ability wanted to know something about me, well then they'd need something I keep close to me which is in my energy field. My glasses, for example. They'd read the energy from them by holding them, not directing their attention to me, per say.
So, back to the dilemma of Dresden's Wand.
I don't necessarily feel the magick wands available for sale online are necessarily endowed with any special power, but I do wonder if they can be charged. I could utilize a ritual or two I'm aware of and, in theory, imbue them with a certain power, but I'm not certain how effective it would be. Especially in the field.
But I do know wands can be used to direct thoughts, energy, and intentions. The power comes from you and, via the wand, through you directed outwards to a particular point.
I don't expect to, say, buy one, wave it around, say some funny words and blast some big bad ghosty into the netherworld, but I do know there could be some use to them. I'm just not entirely sure what that would be as of now.
If you're interested in magick (or simply curious in all this I've been going on about,) check out these select titles:
The Complete Idiot's Guide To Natural Magick, Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, and of particular interest, Chapter 10 from Hans Holzer's book Witches entitled "Magick, Incantations, And Spells."
In this case, "C" stands for "Crazy."
Sometimes to get noticed, you've got to do something crazy.
Plus it helps if you've got nothing left to lose.
So Fox has handed over the film project "Fathom" to its Fox Atomic wing. They're attempting to get the project off the ground, by starting all over.
And, even though I have no agent and no street cred in Hollywood, I'll write the studio and throw my hat in the ring for scripting duties.
Why? I've got nothing left to lose. Besides, I'm not a believer in hype. I've seen the "X-Men, "Superman," and "Spiderman" movies. I can, as an outsider, see what works storywise and what just seems instantly forgettable.
No matter how fantastic the project, I feel, along with the more of a realistic center you can hold, the likelier it is to have a stronger resonance.
But that's just my opinion.
So why not? I can't screw it up any more. I won't lose anything in making the attempt. If they said 'no,' well oh well. Move on to the next crazy idea.
I sent Jarrod a message saying, "you know Big J, mania needs someone to review all the books that deal with ghosts, the supernatural, etc." (I should note here I did NOT refer to him as Big J.)
Either he got the message (and deleted it), or he didn't. Or he hasn't even read it. It's equally likely it was lost during a game of Pacman, in which Mr. Pac gobbled it up and then proceeded to chow down on certain ghost monsters of various colors.
I'll leave the idea on the table, you boys and girls at Mania HQ think it over. Hell if you need someone to actually read the books I'll again throw my hat in that ring. I'm not afraid to make an ass out of myself if it's necessary.
I still haven't decided on Igor yet, and I'd still accept any notion anyone can think of. I think the only crazy idea I can come up with that is me in a one man show performing ALL the roles, if it should come to that.
There's still the open notion of "Stargirl." I keep getting updates from Digital Playground's various starlets and Yahoo! Groups moderators that "Pirates 2" is about to come ashore (no pun intended).
I've written Joone at DP before, and hell I'm thinking of writing him a message, directing him to one of my earlier blogs and saying "there's an interest in this. Here's the ideas. I've got the means to write it. So what do you say?"
Again, they'll likely say no, but again I've got nothing else to lose in the attempt.
Woody Allen once proclaimed that seventy percent of life involves just showing up. That was a philosophy shared by my Technical Writing instructor in college. And here I stand...laugh if you wish, it doesn't matter to me.
To Be Continued...
From the time you were a child, insisting to your mother or father that there's a monster under the bed, you've been scared of the dark. I'm not ashamed to admit I, most certainly, was in the same league. I still am, from time to time.
The night, or should I say the absence of light, plays tricks on you, not to mention your mind and your brain as well. They get a good laugh out of ringing your mental doorbell and running away to let your heart decide if it should open the door or not.
When I was young, my upstairs bedroom didn't have the standard light fixtures and switches near the door, oh no. I had to walk up the stairs, through my brother's darkened room, turn right and to then enter my darkened room (with the spooky closet I might add) and stumble about in the dark until I found the small lamp that would chase all the night monsters away.
I'd also whistle nonchalantly as best as I could.
These days I know better.
But here I sit, in a very darkened room, with my windows leading out towards the dirt road that runs along my house. I saw two red lights start glowing, and had I'd been 25 years younger, I might've said it was demons. It was my neighbor, getting in his car and going somewhere.
But my neighbor is what started this madness.
I love ghost stories, strange happenings, etc. I also love debunking the fat and filler that clogs up the experiences.
So when my neighbor came to me a few days ago, with tales of a strange happening at his daughter's house, I was keen to listen. "If you go to her house," he told me "after dark and look into trunks of the oak trees, you'll see a face. It's only seen after dark, and everyone thinks its someone different."
Well there's your problem right there. Two, actually. One is the fact everyone sees something different. If it was a constant, shouldn't everyone see the exact same thing? The other problem is that this mysterious face (or faces) can only be seen after dark. The kicker is that there's an LED security lamp that shines right down in the area.
Security lamps are funny things, especially LED's. They light up the darkness here, quite well, but they also are equivalent to moonlight in the way they show you what you see, and what you think you see. And LED's are fairly recent technology, so we're not entirely used to them.
I told my neighbor the problems with his ghostly faces, and he understands that, but he also thinks it's still neat.
And that's fine. I've got no problem with that.
He also went on to tell me an older story of an older gentleman who, while he happened to be passing a graveyard one night, saw a ghost struggling to get out of its grave. He'd see it get to the edge, nearly make it, and get pulled back in. Over and over this happened, until the gentleman took a shot of courage from his (what else?) whiskey bottle, said "I ain't afraid of no damned ghosts," and tromped on into that graveyard.
He found the source of the white figure rising and falling from the grave: it was a sheep. It had fallen into an open grave, was trying to get out, and kept falling back in.
It must've been setting up with the dead, a la Ray Stevens.
But there are real ghosts in the area, and there are plenty of old cemeteries to go with them. I intend to start visiting them, and documenting them in one volume as soon as I can gather the funds and equipment.
But there's a problem, and it goes back to me all those years ago trying to be nonchalant while whistling a happy tune: I'm still highly suspicious of the dark.
October is coming, and a favorite tradition of mine is to retell ghost stories I've heard or read. So we'll see if I can maintain that tradition this year.
Phenomenon: Everything You Need To Know About The Paranormal
by Sylvia Browne and Lindsay Harrison
Published by Dutton, 2005. 332 pgs.
"Phenomenon" is, at the very least, a strong attempt to lay down definitions to the buzzwords you've likely heard passed around in various supernatural themed films and novels for the last untold amount of years.
"Incubus," for example, is more than just a group of musicians. If you were to scan the A - Z contents, and looked under the section marked "I," you'd find the appropriate page number and then thumb to that particular entry.
"...the incubus is an evil male spirit who terrorizes women by stealing into their beds at night and having sexual intercourse with them while they sleep." (pg 150.)
That is the general notion of this night terror, as Sylvia herself lays out, but if you were to read on she flat out proclaims "It's...a complete and total myth." That's the kind of upfront honesty you'd hope and expect for someone who has been endowed with Browne's unique psychic abilities, let alone her intellectual curiosity for research and more research.
Incubus is a term we're familiar with, as is its counterpart the succubus. Other famous terminology that are included in this volume as a means of explaining away, in one fashion or another, include vampires, reincarnation, possession, karma, ouija boards, ghosts, banshees, witches, and so on.
Sylvia touches on all these topics in her usual comforting, yet no nonsense style.
But it's the other topics that you likely haven't heard of (unless you're an avid fan of Browne's works) that may leave you scratching your head. Topics such as "the chart," "etheric substance," "exit points," "silver cord," "the Towers," and so on are unique topics that Sylvia touches on in her lectures, her published materials, and likely in the church she founded so many years ago.
Those new to Browne may also roll their eyes at the topics that, seemingly, are drawn from an overactive imagination, yet she treats the topics of gnomes, elves, fairies, and such with her usual proclaimed skepticism at first, then accepts them as if they were no more curious or fictional than potholes on the avenues and intersections stretched out across our fair country.
Although this book proclaims that is "everything you need to know," there are still topics I feel could be touched on, and I for a fact feel this isn't nearly as definitive as it truly could be.
But that's what Sylvia's other books are for.
This book features the occasional illustration or diagram, placed neatly next to the appropriate entry.
Whether you believe Sylvia (and her abilities) or not, this can still be an informative read, if only for the fun of it. For the believers amongst us, it's a light shining upon all the shadowy myths we've all enjoyed in popular entertainment and shows them for what they most likely truly are: bunk.
Personal note: So why am I doing this? This volume came out three years ago. Well the subjects never die, and it's interesting to see where we came from so I'm putting my review up here.
I can't find any evidence that anyone has mentioned similar texts here in the past, so I felt why not go ahead and do it.
In my experience, people are naturally curious about all these topics, and my friends have had their own paranormal experiences and I finally coaxed said experiences out of them. A fair amount of this stuff is real, has been seen or experienced, and if we can take some of the mystery out of these legends and folklore, maybe we'll have a better understanding of ourselves and the lives we lead.
SIDE NOTE: I tried several times posting this in the Reviews section, complete with a photo taken of a mysterious white blur on a trip to Versailles back in 2001.
This book review would appear there if not for the constant failure for the photo to be saved, no matter how much I reduced it. That would be a wonderful thing for Mania Tech to look in on. I had this same problem some time back when I was trying to load my avatar into my photos section.
Okay so I stated in my previous blog that the agents up in Oregon, for whatever reason, sent my comic script for "Life and Times of Igor" back.
I'm going to send out query letters to whatever agents that are left I can find, only with hopefully a difference.
Before I totally abandon the comic book version and move onto some other format (mini-series, for example) I'll put out this call:
Can anyone out there draw?
I can't worth a flip. There's no one here (that I can find) that's interested in making a comic.
And I guess it's pretty much a requirement you have sample illustrations to go along with the story. (Remember kids, this is only my first attempt at this.)
If anyone is brave enough (or crazy enough) to stick their hand in the air and say "You know, I'm interested in this" or something similar, drop a line.
There's plenty examples of the script on here if you need to see what's going on.
Also, my visual idea is one that reflects the comic madness of "Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle," but if you've got a better idea, don't be afraid to say it.
It's back to the scripting software, boys and girls.
Today I received my script for "The Life and Times of Igor" in the mail. That and a form letter from the agents up in Oregon.
Well I'd still like to thank monkeyfoot for giving me the idea to make "Igor" up as a comic, though I'm not entirely sure what the next step should be.
Thanks also to notafan, wiseguy, maelstrom, and all the others who silently enjoyed the excerpts of "Igor."
The sad thing is was that the agent said she liked it. I heard her say it.
I'm still considering the story's potential in the comic format, or a mini-series, or hell maelstrom thought I had enough for a television show.
But I don't know which step to take.
I'll promote what I've got to another comic agent or two, and we'll see what happens.
PS: If anyone's got a suggestion, I'll gladly entertain it.
PPS: For those wondering about Stargirl, she's on hold for now while I try to gather up the bits and pieces and attempt to reanimate Igor...again.
Just dig up his grave and rape the corpse, why don't you?
Some bastard out in England is going to write a sixth book to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.
Douglas Adams, the creator of Hitchhiker, died several years ago. His last work, "Salmon of Doubt," should've been the proverbial nail in the coffin,.
Now this guy has come along and has been given permission to further screw up the lasting legacy of Douglas Adams.
We oughta protest.
Someone go to Britain, and hurl flaming ducks through this guy's picture windows.
Hell I modeled myself after Douglas Adams in my earlier days (back in 1999, then found my own way of doing things) and even I wouldn't dare try to pick up where Adams sadly left off.
The offending news can be found here:
Hey Jarrod, how far can you hurl a duck that's on fire?
So tomorrow debuts the CGI animated Igor movie.
I'm not going to complain...I've done enough of that already.
I'm still deciding on if I should go see it or not.
But, to those loyal to my incarnation of Igor, I'm not going to say DON'T GO SEE IT! PLEASE! I BEG YOU! or anything like that. If you see it, fine, if you don't well that's fine too.
(Although I'll make this request: if you do go see it, and you've been reading my many excerpts, you'll be able to decide if anything is too similar or not. Feel free to post any claims here if it's so necessary.)
So the super heroine adult flick comments continue to (slowly) come in. I'm still hoping Maelstrom will log in and offer a really wacky villain for what could easily become a trilogy. (Heaven help us all.) I've officially decided to call it "Stargirl - Legend of the Solar Crystals."
If there are those that missed out on this and have no clue what I'm talking about, go
If you want to add an idea or suggest something (and you're 18 ) then just add a comment or call me a dumbass. It's up to you.
When it's finished (whenever that will be) it'll be suitable for framing or wrapping fish. Or making a movie. Let's hope the latter.
*Oh, and to prove the adult genre HAS evolved, here's a link to a new movie called Hearts And Minds II. The site is, of course, NSFW, and features a trailer I can't watch cause, damnit, I have dialup. *
*Oh, and no one under 18 should go there. See I'm a responsible adult.*
(Personal side note: I often mark the ADULT ONLY box in my blogs, and yet still anyone can read them. I am making the effort to keep young 'uns out, but said efforts are thwarted somehow. This happens when I'm not even logged in. Maybe the tech team could look into that.)
Also, just cause I'm in competition with that other Igor, here's a scene with Dr. Frankenstein in jail. Yes, he sings the classic "Witch Doctor." I'm quite partial to novelty songs from the 50's.
INT. TRANSYLVANIA JAIL CAFÉ - MORNING
The breakfast line is being served. Bruno sits down with the Prisoner from earlier.
So, big guy, what are you in for?
Really? I thought that was no longer
Is illegal if involves herd of sheep.
Dr. Frankenstein, along with Lonely Johnson, roll in a piano. The gathered criminals boo and hiss as Frankenstein sits down at the piano.
Bruno watches with deep interest as Frankenstein starts pounding on the keys.
I told the Witch Doctor I was in love
with you! I told the Witch Doctor I was
in love with you! And then the Witch
Doctor told me what to do! He said…
Dr. Frankenstein is interrupted by the criminals suddenly rushing the piano. Dr. Frankenstein hides behind his piano, but Bruno comes to his aid, standing in front of the piano. All the guards are on high alert.
LET MAN SING!
All the criminals slink back, terrified of this man. Bruno then looks at Dr. Frankenstein.
SING WITCH DOCTOR!
He’s furious. Dr. Frankenstein, shaking, sets down at the piano again, shaking slightly.
I told the Witch Doctor I was in love
I told the Witch Doctor I was in love
with you! And then the Witch Doctor told
me what to do! He said…
Bruno joins in, tapping his foot and snapping his fingers.
Oooh eee, oooh ah ah, ting tang
walla walla, bing bang…
INT. TRANSYLVANIA JAIL SHOWER ROOM - MORNING
Dr. Frankenstein, mercifully, is alone and taking a shower. Lonely Johnson walks by in the background.
Good show this morning, Frankenstein.
Huh? Oh, yeah. Thanks.
Lonely Johnson is now gone. He’s alone again. Peace and quiet reign. But a few soft, echoing steps on the tiling indicate someone is coming in.
And then it goes away again. Dr. Frankenstein turns to look in the direction it came from. No one’s there. The doctor goes back to his shower.
And then another few soft steps echoing on the tiles. Increasingly concerned, Dr. Frankenstein turns and looks. No one there. Whew.
Then the doctor turns back around, right into the face of Bruno, who is naked, wet, and smiling.
Uh, hi...Bruno. Thanks for...you know
Bruno like Witch Doctor.
Really? That’s nice. So do I.
Sing Witch Doctor.
Sing Witch Doctor!
But...Bruno...we wash ourselves here. And
I’m about to dry off.
Bruno still dirty! Wash Bruno’s back!
I’m sorry but...
Sure, no problem!
He very reluctantly does so.
Sing chorus to Witch Doctor!
Oooh eee, oooh ah ah, ting tang
walla walla, bing bang…
Bruno dances a little while the doctor sings, and slowly washes Bruno's back.
Okay, this is for wiseguy, maelstrom, notafan, and anyone else who wants to join in. If you don't want to play, then just ignore this blog.
I once made the off the cuff remark about Digital Playground, and how the next project they should make oughta be an adult flick with a leading lady super hero.
But here's the thing: I haven't seriously considered a plotline...yet.
So I'm gonna present this option to anyone who wants to play along: adult films are about fantasy, and we all have things we want to see, so everyone who wants to make a suggestion go ahead.
Either post it as a comment below or send me a message.
Think of this as how the fans contributed to "Snakes On A Plane." (No, I'm not calling it "Trouser Snakes On A Plane," so don't suggest that.)
If you've got a serious suggestion, or a comediccampy one, drop a line.
If it should parody the teen drama of Smallville, say so.
Remember, given the success and popularity of Digital Playground's "Pirates" series, there is no limits.
Now I'm gonna state right here I make no promises this will get made, so keep that in mind.
So let's rundown a possibility of what could be suggested, but also keep in mind I'll likely have my own ideas to add.
1. Super heroine, her powers, her background, how she obtained said powers, etc.
2. Her locationhome.
3. Her enemyenemies.
4. Her weaknesses. (Besides THAT. You know what I mean.)
5. Also keep in mind she's the hero, she's the star, so we affirm her character. (Yeah, substance is necessary. I can't help myself.)
6. Whatever else you can think of.