Monday, January 25, 2010

I dream in 2.35:1

I had a dream last night that was totally crazy. I will tell you the details of the dream in the order that I remember them occurring in the dream.

For starters, I lived in a hidden apartment in the back of an elevator shaft. I lived there with my parents and younger brother (note: they were not my real parents, and I do not have a younger brother). It was sort of like a hidey-hole, with a few smaller rooms and a really low ceiling. The building that the apartment was in was some sort of retail store on the ground floor, with apartments on the upper floors. There was a girl on one of the upper floors that my younger brother had a crush on. We would see her near the elevator and I would rib him about it. And then we would wait for the elevator to go by and then climb down into the shaft and open the doors to your apartment. It was bizarre.

Anyway, at one point in the dream I went out of the apartment and out into the store and got geared up to go out and be a police officer, because apparently I was a police officer, and the police headquarters was a part of this store. I put on all of this bulky stuff that made me twice as tall and muscly as I really was in the dream, so that I sort of looked like a really awkward-moving body builder. And then I went out in search of drug dealers and such to bust up.

At this point, the dreaming me realized that the dream-world me was in some weird variation of the plot of The Terminator. Don't ask me what made me realize this, because obviously what I've just described has nothing to do with The Terminator at all, but I just knew that's what was going to happen: I was going to go out and encounter this unstoppable killing machine that looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger. And that is exactly what happened. I was out busting up drug dealers and such in my mecha-esque gear when I encountered a Terminator. Well, I didn't encounter it, but I knew it was there and that it was coming for me. I spent the next 20 minutes or so running and trying to find a hiding place from this thing. The number of dreams that I have in which I am running and hiding from scary things is inordinately high (I once had a dream that The Joker was chasing me through Gotham for one reason or another - the last thing I remember about that dream is hiding in the corner of a friend's apartment while The Joker slaughters people looking for me. It was traumatic). Does anyone know if this is some sort of a common dream scenario?

Anyway. At one point I ditched the weird techie gear I was wearing and, somehow eluding the Terminator, I took off back to the police headquarters/big box store. Somehow on the way back there I managed to interview witnesses who had seen the Terminator and identified what it was wearing and what it looked like (it was wearing cowboy boots and jeans, among other things that I don't remember exactly). I went to the dispatch and asked her to patch me through to my partner and fellow lawpeople so that I could let them know to be on the lookout for the Terminator, and meanwhile as I'm there I'm still hiding from this thing because who knows if it's coming for me. Then, as I'm hiding, these crime boss-looking guys come in in their fancy suits and well-kept hair and what-not, and they drop a bundle of money on the desk in front of the dispatch (who is now apparently my boss) and tell her that this is a payoff of $600,000 so that they can do whatever they want. My boss starts to protest this when the Terminator arrives. He shoots the crime bosses and I take off running again, leaving my boss to who knows what terrible fate.

I run home. The apartment I live in is basically a hole in the wall behind an elevator. Who would think to look there? Certainly not the Terminator, I think, or at least I hope. So I get to the apartment and I seal up the entrance (which is basically a set of sliding elevator doors that meet in the middle) and I sit there next to it and I'm shaking. My family is there and they're freaking out and I don't remember if I tell them anything or not but the whole thing is very tense. And then something starts pounding on the door. The Terminator manages to bust a fist through the door. And that's when I woke up.

Seriously. What the hell? I haven't watched or even really thought about a Terminator movie since Salvation came out last Summer, and this dream bore more of a resemblance to the original Terminator movie than that one. It was like some weird cross between The Terminator and RoboCop. My favorite part was definitely the apartment in the back of the elevator shaft, though. That was pretty weird.

So what does it mean? Maybe I just watch too many movies.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Guilty Pleasure Friday

Over on The Collective (where I am routinely told what to think and how to think it), they've been talking about guilty pleasures this week. Rather than simply post a comment there today, I thought I would share some with you, the loyal and/or occasional reader. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Gilmore Girls. 'But Joe, that's a girl show!' Shut it, ass. They talk fast, they make obscure pop culture references, and Lauren Graham is one of them. There was never any doubt that I would love this show. I watched the first two seasons on DVD, and became so invested in the characters that when I disagreed with their life choices at the end of season two I vowed never to watch again. And I haven't. Yet. It's really only a matter of time.

2. System of a Down. I go back and forth on thinking that these guys are actually a good band and thinking they're awful, but no matter if they're good or bad I still really like them. I will rock that shit out. I can't listen to them at work because when I do it looks like I'm having a seizure, I rock out to this band so hard. Or I would imagine that that's what it looks like.

3. Flatulence noises. I'm not talking about actual flatulence, I'm talking about the sound of it. Yes, it's childish, but it's also fucking hilarious. A well-placed farty noise is always welcome as far as I'm concerned.

4. The Star Wars prequels. Yes, I know the dialogue is awful and the acting is wooden. But did you see all those Jedi? And Darth Maul was so cool! Lightsaber fights just work on me. Don't you dare judge me.

5. Superhero action figures. Heh, just kidding, I don't feel guilty about this at all. Just try and feel guilty when you've got this sweet-ass display in your apartment!

I know, right? Amazing. You hear that, grade school bullies? Your asshattery towards me has worn off! I hardly ever wake up crying anymore!

Those are just a few of the many, many guilty pleasures that I have. What are some of yours, dear reader?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On Comics' "Big Events"

I love superheroes. I have since I was little. I don't know what it is about them that I liked when I was younger, but as I've grown up I've become attached to the characters. Which is why what I have to say next is so difficult: I might be done with them.

Well, not superheroes as a genre, but the big two superhero publishers, DC Comics and Marvel Comics. For the better part of twenty years, mainstream comics publishing has functioned under a 'big event' structure, wherein once (or sometimes more than once) a year there is some sort of company-wide crossover that affects all of the books that company publishes, and if you want to understand what's going on/follow the story you have to buy the main event comic plus a bunch of ancillary tie-ins that may or may not really matter in the grand scheme of things. And usually, as a result of these big events, the publisher makes a bunch of money. That's just how it works.

It wasn't so bad ten years ago. Ten years ago there was *just* the event series and *just* the few tie-ins, and for the other six or seven months a year comics were independent of each other. That all changed around 2004 (I think it was 2004). DC Comics took the idea of a shared universe in which all of the titles coexist with each other - and idea that I absolutely love - and started actually doing something with it, which led to the countdown to Infinite Crisis. The countdown lasted for six months, and I have to admit, I lapped it up. The writing was FANTASTIC, the stories compelling, and it was all leading towards this one series that would resolve everything. I was hooked. And then Infinite Crisis hit, and it was a huge disappointment. I didn't realize what a disappointment it was until it was all over. Sure, some of the pictures were pretty, but nothing happened in the story. At all. Then came 52, DC's weekly series, which was brilliant. And then, immediately after 52 ended, Countdown to Final Crisis began. And it was awful. Then Final Crisis itself, which was pretty cool, if not nearly incomprehensible. And now, right now, DC Comics is in the middle of Blackest Night. But wait, after Blackest Night, they're starting another, bi-weekly series called Brightest Day. Which, I'm sure, will lead into the next big event.

The past six years of DC Comics has been one long event. And that's just DC! Marvel saw DC's success with Infinite Crisis, and they've followed suit, with Secret Invasion and the current Dark Reign/Siege storyline.

It occurred to me earlier, as I looked at the teaser image for Brightest Day, the hard truth of the situation: it's never, ever going to end. Event will string into event, which will lead to the next event, and so on and so forth for the rest of my comics-reading life. And I just don't care to keep up with it anymore. Especially when the events are boring. Sure, Blackest Night might seem like a fanboy's wet dream, but nothing has happened. Nothing. And it's been six issues. They have two issues to wrap everything up, and I'm already fairly convinced that this would have been MUCH better as a four-issue series. I just can't take this anymore.

There are plenty of other books out there to read, from plenty of publishers, but DC and Marvel just make me tired anymore. I want a story to end at some point, not just springboard into the next big story. I know that's how an ongoing series has to work, but until the quality improves, I'm out. I've already dropped most Marvel books, and I'm pretty close to following suit with DC (I was already leaning that way now that Barry Allen is back as The Flash, but that as a topic for another ranting post). I'll miss the heroes that I've grown up with and come to love, and I'm sure I'll check in on them from time to time, but it's over.

Sorry, superhero comics. I think we should just be friends.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


There will be multiple timelines in the new season of LOST. Not multiple time periods, multiple timelines.