Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Script Frenzy is beginning in just a few daze, and I *still* haven't signed up/decided whether i'm gunna attempt it.
I wood say that my reluctance is probably my answer. I am intrigued by the idea, but, 4 whatever reason, I am just not motivated to write anything right now. And it's not (entirely) from lack of ideas.
In fact, part of the problem is I can't chews which idea 2 run with.
Witch idea is most appealing?
1) The Perth story
2) The Paul Washington story
3) The 5th go at Wolf - which would be, yet again, slightly different than the first 4 drafts...
4) An idea which has been brewing in my head for about two or three weeks now (where does the time go??) that I would nutshell as: Lost in the supermarket - literally. A grocery store (or most of it) and the random people inside (or most of them) get accidentally (or on purpose?) transported to an alien planet. (Unlike Lost, I'd be totally embracing the scifi elements.)
The problem with #4 (qnd all of the stories, really, but #4 is the worst offender since it's the newest) is that I don't have all the characters (or any) sketched out, and I don't haave any clue how it'll end up. I have, at best, a kernel of an idea. Concept alone does not equal good story.
I toyed with the idea of making a blog entry (and/or post on the WD) looking for characters to populate my stories - in particular #4's supermarket. I figured getting a rough character sketch from a wide array of people would, if nothing else, spark my imagination some. But, really, that's kinda asking people to do the work for me. Sorta.
That being said - if you've got any character names/identities/traits/whathaveyou that you'd think would make for interesting reading about - especially when put into the supremely bizarre situation from any of my stories - I'm listening...
*side note/digression/funny thought on "collaborating"* - it's called "Script Frenzy", not "Script Friendsy"
I don't know. I think, as per usual, the big hangup I have is fear. I've never written a screenplay before, and while I've looked at the SF's essay on doing it, and it looks easy enough once you get the hang of it ...I'm still unsure of myself and my abilities.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Super Paper Mario is fun, but after playing for three days now, I'm almost done with it. Too quickly beaten. (Of course, there still are probably weeks worth of hidden secrets to discover if I want to "complete" the game...)
Brian K. Vaughan is supercool. The two comics of his that I am familiar with - Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina (both *really really* good) have been optioned to be turned into movies. YAY!
Finales in order of greatness: Lost, Bimpsons ("24 minutes" being miles above "You Kent Always Say What You Want") Survivor: Fiji, Smallville, Heroes, Scrubs.
My hair is thinning.
And today was my 12 year anniversary at work.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I'm going to have to read the book, now. I was planning on going to the library tomorrow - now I have something to look for.
You're Loosely Based!
by Storey Clayton
While most people haven't heard of you, you're a really good and
interesting person. Rather clever and witty, you crack a lot of jokes about the world
around you. You do have a serious side, however, where your interest covers the homeless
and the inequalities of society. You're good at bringing people together, but they keep
asking you what your name means.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Beginning June 1st is the first official Script Frenzy - where you attempt to write a 20,000 word screenplay in 30 days or less.
I haven't yet signed up for it. Not sure if I want to. I have not yet successfully completed a nano month, and I know how novels are formatted. Doing a screenplay is a totally different animal (I would assume). On the other hand, a good portion of my story ideas are presented in my head as scenes from a movie. I can often see how something from Wolf, or the Perth story would play out on screen, so maybe I should give it a go.
If nothing else, the 'plot machine' is pretty amusing. I mean, who wouldn't want to see a movie in which:
After being bitten by rabid penguins
befriends a young runaway with a secret
Unable to break into adult entertainment
a talking lobster
discovers a shocking use for spray cheese
Two thumbs up!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
So. Let's get to it, shall we? Or should I say "Get Into It"? (a ha ha ha)
Last year's CW Upfront was in some ways better than this one, and in some ways worse. The performances were ...just as bad. This year instead of Black Eyed Peas, they had the Pussycat Dolls. Who pose the eternal question - don't you wish that your girlfriend was hot, like them?
Well - don't you?
And they performed twice! The song at the end was not their one hit wonder, though. It was a new song entitled "Get Into It", because that will be the CW's new tagline. And new theme song.
The orignal theme song was "Get Ready", and the the tagline was "Free to Be [blank]" We were informed that the "Free to be" campaign would continue for several years, at least - and so we ordered a lot of material for the station with that tagline all over it - hell, our sign outside the station says: "The CW Las Vegas: Free to be you". So, having them drop that was ...mildly irritating.
I guess they are "Free to" change their minds.
So, Pussycat Dolls perform, and Dawn Ostroff comes out, and, after some lame joke about how Dawn wanted to be the next Pussycat Doll - along with photoshopped image of Dawn's face on a Pussycat Doll's body to make the "joke" complete - she got into the schedule.
They started with Wednesday night, so that's what I'll do here, too. New shows will be bolded, and discussed in detail.
8pm - America's Next Top Model
9pm - Gossip Girl
So, yeah, ANTM is back. Again. And, apparently, is the new flagship program for the CW. It had some of the highest ratings in key demographics of women 18 - 34. Sad.
Gossip Girl is a new drama from the creator of The OC. Gossip Girl is set in Manhattan, among rich snobby teens, who act like they are in their 30s, and have no parents, and spend more money in an hour than I make in a month. Plus, they use their cell phones and blackberries and internets to , like, OMG! totally talk about how Serena is sleeping with Zack and Kelly totally hurt Screech's feelings!!!
This is what they're leading the upfront with??
Well, I suppose since I'm nearing the end of the CW's key demographic age, it would make sense that the shows they are running would become less appealing to me.
Anyway, the show looked boring-o-rama to me, but maybe I just don't have my fingers on the pulse of today's youth. [shrug]
8p - Smallville
9p - Supernatural
They know a good thing when they see it - or they know not to piss off the cult-show fans by moving things around. Either way, Smallville coming back makes me happy. This will undoubtedly be the show's final season, so I'll definitely be watching. Or, at least watching the finale. ;)
8p - Friday Night Smackdown!
Still nada on Saturday night.
7p - CW Now
730p - Online Nation
8p - Life is Wild
9p - America's Next Top Model (encore of Wednesday night's episode)
Wow. Lotsa new stuff here!
CW Now is totally just an "Extra" or an "Access Hollywood" or "The Insider". In other words, an entertainment-based news magazine show. In other other words, canceled after three weeks.
Online Nation can be summed up in 4 words: "Youtube: The TV Show". This is where the 4 hosts (why? I mean, couldn't one person do the intros?) showcase the latest and greatest "online user-based content". So, if you want to see funny online viral videos, but ...um, don't want to watch them online - then Online Nation is the show for you.
That being said, despite my snarkiness, Online Nation did have some pretty funny clips. So, too, does America's Funniest Home Videos, and that's been on for like, 170 years, so, who knows. This could work.
ON will also rely heavily upon people loading videos to the site and chatting about what they liked, and whatever else the "digital generation" finds attractive and fun. (I sometimes really hate the whole 'interactive aspect' of EVERY SINGLE tv show on nowadays, but I guess that's just the way things are going. And with a show like this, it makes sense.)
Life Is Wild - Everwood, take 2, pretty much. Dad is a veterinarian. He has two children - a CW-pretty daughter, and a pre-teen...um, son, I think.
He is widowed, and remarries a woman with a CW-pretty son, who gets into trouble with the law.
Family life is going eh, so dad decides that the best cure is for the family to up and move to South Africa to stay with his father for a year.
The show is filmed on location in South Africa, so it totally has great scenic shots. The acting, dialouge, and story lines... well, hard to tell if it'll be closer to 7th Heaven or Everwood. I doubt I'll watch regardless, but that's just me.
And the 9 o'clock hour on Sunday is just thrown away with "America's Next Top Repeat". But, I guess it's 'worked' for them this past year, so, you know, whatever.
8p - Everybody Hates Chris
830p - Aliens in America
9p - Girlfriends
930p - The Game
I'm surprised to say it, but Aliens in America looked pretty funny.
Premise: Quirky family in the midwest: CW-pretty older daughter, and CW-dorky-pretty teenage son, along with dad & mom (and alpacas. Dad raises them for money. See? Quirky.) Son - named Justin - is starting high school, and is having rough time of it.
Mom decides to get him an "instant friend" by agreeing to take in a foreign exchange student.
Except, through one of those 'only happens in a sitcom' misunderstandings - the student is a Pakistani Muslim named Raja.
Fish out of water culture misunderstandings and coming of age hi-jinks ensue.
My description makes it sound much worse than it looked, I'm sure. But trust me, there definitely was funny involved. I'll give it a few shots, especially if there is nothing else on on Mondays at 830.
8p - Beauty and the Geek
9p - Reaper
Surprisingly, B&tG is coming back first thing, rather than midseason. But, hey, whatever works for them. I've watched a few episodes of Beauty and the Geek, and enjoyed them moderately. If they can maintain the following that they've had, more power to 'em, I suppose.
But the big winner of the upfront had to be Reaper. It was why they saved it for last, I'm sure. End on a positive note.
Reaper's premise: 21 years ago, the main character's parents "accidentally" sold his soul to the devil.
Now, on his birthday, the devil (played awesomely by Ray Wise) has come to collect.
What the devil is having him do, is collect the souls of demons that have escaped from hell.
It looks extremely campy, very offbeat, and, from the clips that I saw, very very funny.
I'm sure it won't last. (If, for no other reason, then that dude that was in Dead Last and Invasion is in it as the main character's best friend. He's very funny, but he kills every show he's in.)
Midseason shows that were mentioned, but not focused on too much:
One Tree Hill
Interestingly (and I never thought I'd use that word in the same sentence as "One Tree Hill") when the show returns in the spring of '08, they will have jumped forward 4 years, so that the actors will be playing their real ages.(heh) Also, so they can skip "the college years".
They plan on having online-only content that will be in the form of video diaries showing highlights of what happened to the characters during those 'missing years'. Huh.
The other 3 midseasoners are all reality shows:
The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll
Um. Yeah. I don't get how they're able to have a second (or first, really) season of this, but, there ya go.
11 mother/daughter teams will compete in beauty pageants in what looks like a very bitter, catty, vicious, small-minded reality show.
Farmer Wants a Wife
Green Acres, the Reality Show.
So, a few new glimmers of hope in a sea of WTF. Sounds about par for the course, actually.
I suppose the highlight of the whole thing is that they didn't revive 7th Heaven again.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Here are the three other attempts, in order:
"Excuse me, Driver?"
Jason Wolf turned to face the passenger that was requesting his attention. A young Hispanic looking woman, dressed in a professional looking suit with exquisite earrings and a matching necklace was squatted near the driver seat, a very concerned look on her face.
"Yes, ma'am?" Jason acknowledged.
"There are several people back here who seem pretty sick. Like maybe some food poisoning or something?" the woman spoke quite quickly.
Jason was pretty sure that she spoke that way all the time, but the fact that there was a potential crisis brewing probably acerbated the situation.
Her diagnosis of food poisoning was probably a correct one. Greyhound Buses constantly stopped at greasy spoon restaurants that did hell on one's digestive tracks. Jason considered his own gut as evidence. He wasn't overly large, not like some of the other drivers he had seen. It seemed that you could usually determine how many years of service a person had under their belt by looking at their belt. The rule of thumb seemed to be that for every year on the job, another five pounds were added. Jason was following that rule to the letter, as he could certainly stand to lose at least 20 pounds.
Jason shook his head to refocus on the situation at hand. "How many people are displaying symptoms, ma'am?" he asked as he glanced in his mirror, looking at the thirty eight passengers, trying to determine for himself what was so bad that a civilian would bother to alert the driver.
Jason could see three people who were obviously in a state of distress. One of them was a male, his age was hard to determine from the position he was in, but he looked young. The person seated next to him was an older man, probably in his late sixties, who was very thin, and had long flowing grey hair. He gave off an aura of a grandfatherly hippy type, probably helped by the fact that he was wearing a tie-dye
t-shirt and tan khakis. His skin was quite tan, and he looked as though he could be of Native American descent.The older man was rubbing the back of his ill companion and muttering something that Jason could not hear, but assumed was words of comfort.
The second person was three rows further back, and was most likely the Hispanic woman's co-passenger. She was also dressed professionally, but she was not looking good. Her head was back and she was perspiring heavily enough that even from the quick glance Jason had of her, he could see the pools of sweat on her forehead. She let out a low moan that made Jason cringe in sympathy pains.
The third was a short,stocky white man who appeared to be in his fifties. He was traveling alone, it seemed, as there was nobody near him. He rose from his seat, clutching his head and grimacing. Jason figured he would be the next to approach him, probably ask him to stop for medical assistance.
The woman at his side answered his question, "Meredith – that's my friend I'm traveling with – is one of them, and it looks like there are two other men who are also not feeling well."
Jason looked out the front window at the freeway passing by. They were just less than one hundred miles from Las Vegas, their destination. Mesquite was the next major city on the route, and if they needed immediate medical attention that would be the place they would stop. Vegas was an hour away, maybe an hour and a half. Mesquite would be
reachable in 35 minutes. They were about to enter the Virgin River Gorge, which was one of the most nerve racking parts of the drive, with all the twists and high crosswinds that were on that portion of the freeway. Additionally, while in the Gorge, cell phone service was spotty, at best, and getting a hold of Dispatch was not guaranteed either. If a crisis was about to erupt on board, being out of communication was not something that Jason wanted. On the other hand, traveling through the Gorge took at most, ten minutes, and they would have to get through it regardless, so the sooner he passed to the other side, the sooner they would be able to get medical help, if they needed it. Taking into consideration that it was already almost 7:00 and that it was dark out, he did not think stopping early was a
"Okay, ma'am, thank you for bringing this to my attention. Why don't you return to your friend right now, and I'll make an announcement about our next stop." Jason advised.
The woman nodded and began to head back to her seat when many things happened both in the bus and out. Interstate 15 was rather busy that night. Jason watched as the sports car in front of him began to swerve in an erratic manner. He slowed down, giving himself a wide berth from the vehicle, in hopes that the driver was simply one of those hundreds of idiots who spoke on their cell phones while driving, and had lost cell phone reception and was losing control temporarily.
Going the opposite direction on the freeway, Jason noticed a semi truck driver with his eyes squeezed shut in pain. Time began to slow down as he watched the man pound his head on the steering wheel, all the while still gripping it, and that vehicle - a much larger danger than the sports car ahead of him - began to slow down and drive
erratically. Horns blared from the cars and trucks that were in danger of being struck by the 18 wheeler.
Jason picked up his intercom and addressed the bus passengers. "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," he began. "It seems that some of our fellow passengers have become ill. I am going to have to make an unscheduled stop in the town of Mesquite, in order to.... Jesus!" The sports car had swerved first completely into the left lane, then
overcompensated back into the right, and had gone off the freeway entirely. The speed at which the automobile had been moving was fast enough for the shoulder bridge holder thing (safety shoulder rail??) snapped and the car went over the ridge, disappearing into the darkness of the dark Virgin River hundreds of feet below.
Jason could hear horns honking in the distance. Another vehicle - a green SUV - zipped past them. Jason saw them begin to slow down. He instinctively reached for the dispatch intercom but absent mindedly put it back in the holder and began to slow down so that he could stop and investigate the accident he had just witnessed.
In a moment of prescient abilities, his mind began to scream at him - "There's something not right here. You've got sick people on board, and other people crashing and swerving. There must be something making people sick. Some kind of terrorist attack, maybe. Something is not right.".
Before he could pursue this train of thought any further, he was interrupted by the sick passengers onboard. The stocky white man had collapsed into the aisle, facedown. Two men from across the row had started to get up to help him.
Meredith was also getting worse. She had begun to wail, and thrash about, almost as though she were having a seizure. Her friend, the woman who had approached Jason to begin with mere minutes ago – although it felt like much longer as things progressed to get worse – was panicking near her, trying to calm her friend, and not doing a very good job.
The white haired man’s sick friend was also no better. Although the older gentleman did appear to be handling the crisis much more competently than anyone else seemed to be.
Jason spoke to the bus again, “If everyone will remain calm and in their seats please. I am going to pull over and request some assistance.”
Meredith’s friend yelled, “My friend is in trouble! She’s really sick; I think she might be dying!”
Jason began to slow the bus down and pull onto the shoulder. The air brakes on the bus hissed as the speed decreased. At least three other cars sped past them on the freeway. As the bus shuddered to a halt next to the 500 foot drop to the Virgin River below, Jason activated the emergency flashers. He unbuckled his seat belt and got out of his seat, addressing the passengers from the head of the bus in his best authoritative voice, “Is anyone on board a doctor or have any medical training?”
“Oh my God!” screamed one of the men who had been going to assist the sick fat guy in the aisle. He pointed at the man’s body as Jason watched in amazement. The overweight fellow was …changing.
The man’s skin – a (overly) healthy pink – had begun to grow more hair on it. In fact, the man’s entire body was beginning to have hair erupt on it. Although the hair was so thick, that it would be more accurate to call it fur. But, Jason’s rational mind protested, humans don’t have fur.
He tried to avoid the next logical step in that chain of thought, but it was inevitable: This guy is not human.
All of that took place in about three seconds, as Jason, and the others on the bus watched in dumbstruck terror as Meredith, overweight guy, and white haired’s friend all began to morph. The metamorphosis was rapid, and judging by the moans the victims were emitting, very painful.
Jason took his focus off overweight guy and looked at Meredith instead. The woman was completely covered in dark brown fur now, her face no longer recognizable as a human’s. Her eyes were shut tight and she had her mouth open. Jason could visibly see her teeth growing. She began to shake her head as though she were irritated by something, wanting to shoo away an annoying fly or something that were bugging her. Or perhaps she was just saying “No” to what was happening to her, begging the forces at work to prevent it from happening. If so, the higher powers were not listening.
Meredith – or the thing that once was Meredith, Jason wasn’t sure that it was accurate any longer to think of these people as the souls they had once been – was struggling to get out of her clothes. Her body had grown from the lithe figure that had been in the seat originally. In fact, Jason thought he could hear the bones stretching and the flesh expanding on the three poor people. Whether that was fact or Jason’s mind simply making things up due to being overtaxed by events that should not be happening, Meredith was bigger than she had started out. And that meant her outfit was too tight to be comfortable.
The female brought her right hand – it could almost be called a paw at this point due to the amount of fur it had on it – to the collar of her dress, gripped it, and pulled down forcefully. The fabric ripped revealing the woman’s torso, which was entirely covered in fur. She then clutched at her chest, and Jason idly wondered if maybe she was having a heart attack, but instead she was only removing her bra, which had not been visible beneath the amount of fur on her body.
The transformation was nearly complete at this point. A tail had emerged from the backside of the poor woman. It was just under a foot in length, and quite bushy. Some part of Jason’s numb brain whispered, Werewolves. He had, of course, seen the movies growing up, and heard stories, and even had gone through a phase during his youth where he idolized them – who hadn’t, really? Werewolves were a popular monster myth in American culture.
But until just then, Jason had always believed them to be just that – myths. Not real. Make believe fiction used as metaphor or escapism.
For whatever reason, that wasn't flowing after that point, so I abandonded it and went on to write version 2:
The Warden listened in disbelief as the report grew increasingly depressing. “Two inmates escaped. One guard incapicated. One vehicle stolen.”
The Warden took a relaxing breath before issuing the commands. It was important to remain level headed. Yes, the situation was bad, but the inmates would slip up. And when they did, the Warden would be there, ready to pounce.
“Lock down the facility. Nobody in or out. Issue an APB. Notify our agents in…” The Warden consulted the Intel to see where the prisoners were most likely going. “…Oregon of the situation, and tell them to expect me personally. Let them know that the criminals will most likely attempt to blend in, and that they are extremely dangerous. Do not underestimate these two. That is how we got in the situation we are in now. I admit, that was my mistake. I won’t make it again.”
The Warden breathed deeply again. It was going to be a long night.
“Jesus, Nichols, slow down!” Jason shouted.
Trevor Nichols rolled his eyes, but decelerated slightly. “C’mon, Wolf, we gotta get some distance between us and the warden. No doubt they’ve noticed our disappearance by now. In about half an hour, every damn cop between here and Corvallis will be looking for us.”
“Right,” Jason Wolf agreed. “So it does us no good to get pulled over for speeding. We should probably ditch this car, too. My gut tells me that it’s been reported stolen. Last thing we need is for them to know exactly what we’re driving. But first things first. We get the cash, hook up with Heidi, and get the hell out of the country.”
“I still have reservations about involving your girl, man.”
“And I’ve told you, Heidi is trustworthy. She’s also the mother of my child, and I’m going to take care of them, no matter what.”
Trevor turned a corner sharply. A minivan in the other lane swerved slightly and honked. Trevor flipped the driver the bird, and turned back to Jason. “Two things, Wolf man. One – ‘taking care of them’ is how you got yourself busted to begin with, if you recall.
“And two – the longer we stick around, the more chance there is of us being caught. No way am I going back. No broad, no kid, hell, no friendship is worth that.”
Jason silently took this in and the air around the two inmates grew slightly uncomfortable.
“No offense,” Trevor offered.
“None taken,” Jason replied gravely. “I understand where you’re coming from, Nichols. I don’t plan on going back either. We’re in this together, right? I mean, neither one of us could have escaped without the other’s help, so as far as I am concerned, we’re still equal partners. And if you want to split once we get the stash, I’ll be okay with that. Turn here on the left.”
Trevor turned onto a dirt road, off the main street. Within minutes the Oregon forest surrounded them. The clear night sky illuminated the way while the full moon hung low.
Jason continued to guide Trevor through the off roads, grimacing as his companion drove over some particularly rough areas rather haphazardly. Finally, they came upon a large oak tree that towered above the others. The gnarled bark and knots in the trunk gave it a very ugly look, that in the moonlight produced faces of the damned staring out at the two criminals.
“Here.” Jason said.
Trevor killed the engine and they stepped out of their stolen car.
Two shooting stars zipped overhead. An owl hooted nervously.
Trevor looked at his partner, “Here? You hid the cash here?”
Jason nodded. “All four million of it.” He walked over to the massive tree and began running his fingers over the bark, feeling around in the near darkness.
Trevor reached inside the car and turned the headlights on to provide more light, then walked over near Jason and watched.
Finding a large hole in the trunk, Jason reached his arm deep inside the tree. He smiled as he grabbed the bag that he had placed there two and a half years ago, before he had been arrested for bank robbery. The briefcase was still in relatively good shape after the years of neglect.
He pulled the case out of the tree and set it on the ground. Trevor hooted in joy upon seeing it. “Wolf man, you are my freakin’ hero!!” he shouted.
“Yeah,” Jason said, “which makes this all the more tragic for you.”
Trevor barely had time to register the meaning of the words Jason had uttered before the first bullet hit him in the shoulder. “Whu?” was what Trevor said in utter surprise.
Jason Wolf held the smoking gun in his hand and fired a second time, hitting Trevor Nichols directly in the chest. The convict fell onto the ground, and rolled over, attempting to claw away from his would be assassin.
Jason took the steps quickly, pointed the gun at the back of Trevor’s head, and fired two more shots, obliterating the man’s skull.
He then reached into Trevor’s pocket and retrieved the car keys. He walked back over to the bag filled with the money. He reloaded the gun, closed up the case, and got into the car.
He drove about five feet before stopping the car, opening the door, leaning out, and vomiting up his last meal. When he was done, he began to cry. I can’t believe I just did that, he thought. Jesus. Murder.
He shook his head clear of thoughts, and began to drive back to the main street. By his calculations, he had roughly ten more minutes before the police would begin looking for him and Nichols in earnest. He knew that Heidi would be one of the first places the cops would begin their hunt, so he had to get to her first.
So much to do, so little time. But so, oh so much money.
As Jason Wolf, loving father, long time bank robber, first time murderer, pulled out onto the main street, a police cruiser sped past him. The black and white did not have its sirens on, which was a good sign in Jason’s view. It also did not stop *him*, which was an even better sign.
Jason turned on the radio, and switched over to the news station, to see if their escape had made it to the media yet. If it had, it was not, apparently, a big enough story to warrant covering. Jason was not deemed a dangerous criminal, and until ten minutes ago, hadn’t been. True, he had robbed several banks, and had used guns in order to do so, but he had never actually shot anyone.
Nichols, on the other hand, had been in for a multitude of crimes. Murder being one of them. He had harmed people, including a guard during their escape. The guard had not been killed – Jason had made sure that he was still alive when Nichols had left his unconscious body on the floor – but assault of an officer did not go over well with the police force.
Jason considered for a moment the fact that Trevor most likely would have killed him, had the situation arose. Nichols was not a good man, and, while it may have been justification speaking, Jason believed that the world was better off with Trevor Nichols dead. He’d done a good thing by executing him. Trevor free in the world would have been bad enough. But Trevor free in the world with millions of dollars would have been exponentially worse.
And Jason didn’t even want to think about what Trevor would have done around Heidi and Matthew.
And then, several months later, I tried again, with version the third (or, um, I guess 4th, if you include the original blog entry):
Jason Wolf was standing in line at the bank when the two men brandishing guns and wearing ski masks brazenly strode into the building.
There were five other people in line in front of Jason. A tall elderly man wearing a checkered business casual shirt, and holding a cane. An attractive woman who appeared to be in her mid thirties, with curly blond hair. The woman was holding the hand of a young child. The boy, who was no older than four was wearing a Spider-man t-shirt, and had curly blond hair just like his mother. Jason smiled at the kid, because he reminded him of his own son, Matthew, before he had gotten ill.
There was also a young man who was tattooed and had a very thick neck. His hair was cut extremely short, and he was wearing a t-shirt with “Ministry” printed on it. He was also talking on a cell phone, much to Jason’s annoyance.
Other than the customers, there was one security guard – who appeared rather bored prior to the invasion – and three bank employees. Two of them were tellers, the other one may have been a teller, but was not actively helping anyone at a counter, but instead doing work in the background.
Jason’s heart was pounding before the men even walked in. The planning stage of the robbery had been going on for almost a month now, and it was finally going to happen. He needed this to go down without a hitch. The success rate for bank robberies was pretty high, Jason knew, but on the downside, often the robbers did not make enough money to ‘live’ off of. Jason didn’t want to make bank robbery a career (although he felt that he did have a knack for certain aspects of it); he only needed to obtain a quick influx of cash so that he could pay for the medical bills that Matthew had racked up in the past two months. His medical insurance coverage was taking care of some of the payments, but not nearly enough. He and Heidi had had to borrow money in order to make last month’s rent. Jason’s younger sister, Vivien, had loaned them several thousand dollars, which had been a godsend, but the shame that Jason felt having to borrow from family was enormous. And while Viv claimed she was happy to help – especially for her nephew – she didn’t have enough money to bail her older brother out of all his financial difficulties. (Yet.)
This was why this robbery had to be perfect. Jason felt as though he were out of options. He’d done as much plea bargaining and begging and payment arranging as he could do. If he could manage to get a hundred thousand (or more) out of this heist, things would be much much better.
Jason eyed the security guard. The man looked to be in his forties, but seemed to give off a Barney Fife type of aura. The pistol in his holster might be a problem, but Jason suspected he would not be able to pull it fast enough. Besides, even if he had, it would be no match against the shotguns that his partners would be using. And lastly, Barney would be thrown off by the fact that while it appeared that there were two gunmen doing the robbery, there was actually a third working the job.
The Ministry customer in front of Jason was much more worrisome. If that guy attempted to play hero, someone – most likely him – could end up injured or dead. Jason did not want anyone to be harmed. He merely wanted to get the cash and get out. The other problem Ministry guy posed was his phone. All he had to do was hang up and dial 911 and all the planning would be for naught. Luckily, Jason had taken cell phones into consideration when preparing the crime.
The customers that were being helped by the tellers both finished up at the same time, and walked out. The elderly man and the young mom both began walking toward the employee counters in order to complete their transactions.
Jason saw the men approaching. There was no turning back now. This was the point of no return.
With a deep breath, Jason closed his eyes, and visualized Matthew healthy and whole again. He then pushed the button on the device in his pocket. The lights flickered briefly inside the bank. Nobody was aware yet, but Jason had just cut the security cameras and the bank alarm was now disabled.
The man on the cell phone said, “Hello?” and looked at his display – which was completely blank. A confused look crossed his face, and he pushed a few buttons, trying to get his phone to operate again. “What the hell?” he said. Jason kinda chuckled to himself. That guy’s cell, the security alarms, and all the electronic devices within the building – including the computers the bank employees were using- would be nonoperational for the next ten minutes. The EMP that Jason had used had made sure of that.
The employees were experiencing computer problems as well. “My screen just went down.” One of the women said. “Mine too,” the other employee commiserated. “I’m sorry, folks, it looks like we had some kind of power surge, and our computers are temporarily down,” the manager stated to the customers.
It was at that moment that Jason’s partners, Trevor Nichols and Keith Stelman, entered the building.
“Everybody down, now!” the larger of the two men, Trevor, yelled. His voice carried extremely well in the enclosed space. All ten of the people in the bank turned to look at him. Even Jason was impressed with how into the role Trevor was getting. None of them had robbed banks before, but Trevor seemed quite adept at it so far.
Trevor pointed his shotgun at the customers and employees, while Keith aimed his weapon at the security guard. The guard had been reaching for his weapon, but Keith ordered the man to get down. “Floor!!” Keith yelled, indicating the floor to the guard in case he had forgotten where it was. The security guard raised his hands from his belt, and slowly got down on his knees, glaring at the armed men.
While this was going on, the mother had picked up her son and was shielding his face from the intruders. The young child began to cry, asking his mommy what was going on. She was attempting to calm him, but not having much success.
The old man and the Ministry guy had both gotten down on their bellies. Jason, too, had interlocked his hands behind his head and was down on the ground.
Trevor had walked over to the employees and handed them a large sack. “Put the money in the bag, quickly, and nobody will get hurt. And don’t try anything funny. No alarms, no dyes, no tricks.”
Meanwhile, Keith continued to have his gun pointing at the customers and the guard. “Gentlemen, empty your wallets,” he announced to the room. “You,” he said, indicating the mom, who looked absolutely terrified, “empty your purse. And take off that jewelry.”
He stepped across the room and knelt down next to the young woman. She eyed him nervously as he put his hand on her son’s head, in an attempt to calm the child said, “Don’t worry, little guy. We’ll be gone soon.”
The child looked at the man in the ski mask and said, “Are you a bad guy?”
Keith laughed. “Hey, Trev…” he stopped himself from using Trevor’s full name, but Trevor was irate. “Enough chit chat!” he hissed. “Get the wallets, we’re almost done here.”
Keith nodded, and scooped up the woman’s purse and necklace. He stopped at the kid and answered his question, “No, not really, kid. Just desperate is all.”
Keith walked over to pick up the wallets of the old man, the Ministry youth, and Jason. There were two reasons that Jason had planned for the people inside to be held up as well. The first was to keep tabs on everyone who happened to be there. He fully intended to pay back any money that they stole from the wallets and purses that they absconded. They were bank robbers, not petty thieves. The second, and more important reason, was so that Jason could pass the EMP device out of his pocket so that it would not be on his person when the police arrived.
All of the stuff was thrown into a separate bag that Keith was carrying. Trevor’s bag was filled with money from the bank tellers and handed back to him. Trevor opened the bag to investigate, and make sure that his previous directions had been followed, that there were no money dyes included.
As he was searching the bag, the Ministry guy had made silent gestures to Jason, indicating that he was planning on “playing hero”, just as Jason had feared he might. Jason had attempted to dissuade him of the idea, all the while, still pretending to be one of the victims of the robbery.
Keith pointed the shotgun in their direction – more so at Ministry guy than Jason, Jason noted thankfully – and shouted, “Hey! Don’t try anything stupid!”
As if on cue, while Keith, Trevor, and Jason were all distracted by this, the security guard leapt into action. Moving at a speed that surprised Jason, and unfortunately, Keith as well, Barney Fife retrieved his gun from his holster, sprang to his knees, and yelled, “Drop it!” He pointed his handgun at Keith, who had begun to turn his attention (and weapon) to the guard.
Jason yelled, “No!” just as the officer fired a bullet in Keith’s direction.
It was certainly a cliché, but it was true – from Jason’s perspective, everything slowed down as a million things happened at the same time.
The gunshot from the guard was deafening and the flash blinding as the bullet traveled the short distance across the room, striking Keith in the shoulder. Keith screamed in agony and cursed as he dropped his weapon. Trevor yelled in frustration and shock as he fired at the security guard. The sentinel’s gun had produced a thunderous explosion, but it was miniscule compared to the blast from Trevor’s shotgun. The shot hit Barney Fife in the upper thigh, and he dropped instantly, screaming in pain.
The woman with the child was screaming, the child was screaming, the elderly man was huddled on the floor, shaking, the Ministry guy was muttering, “Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck” over and over, and the employees had disappeared behind the counters. Jason Wolf saw his fragile, beautiful plan of robbing the First Bank of Medford shatter into an irreparable mess. Worse, was the image of his son being healthy and all his financial problems shattered along with it. All he could say was “No.” He was crying “No” repeatedly. It was as if he and the Ministry adolescent were both trapped in some sort of bizarre vocabulary loop, constantly reiterating the only words their brains could properly process.
Trevor scrambled over to Keith, who was down on the ground, bleeding profusely. “Are you gonna make it?” Trevor asked. Keith responded with a hiss and a “Yeah, but it hurts like a motherfucker.” As he was starting to stand, he asked Trevor about the guard, “You didn’t kill him did you?”
Trevor shook his head. “I don’t think so. Leg shot, is all. …Why, did you want me to?”
Keith smirked in spite of himself. “No. We’re in a world of shit enough as it is. Let’s get the cash and get out of here before…”
Outside the bank, two police cruisers had arrived, with their siren lights on, but the sirens themselves in silent mode.
Trevor snapped at Jason, who was still huddled down on the ground. “I thought you took care of the alarms?”
Jason did not want to give up his cover yet. Trevor and Keith may be going down, but there was no need for him to go down with them. At this point, he might very well get out of here without being implicated in the crime. He did not respond to Trevor. Luckily, Trevor did not pursue his line of questioning. As far as everyone else was concerned, Trevor’s question about the alarms could have been directed to Keith.
The police that had arrived on scene stepped out of their vehicles. One of them used a bullhorn to speak to the bank. “Come out with your hands up and weapons down.”
“Oh, god,” the guard moaned weakly. “It hurts.”
Trevor stepped over to where the guard was and picked his gun up. He placed it in his pants and hissed at the security personnel, “Shut up! I need to think!”
“All right,” Trevor started, his voice somewhat shaky, nowhere near as confident as it had been fifteen minutes earlier when he had first come into the bank, “here’s what we’re going to do.
“All of you get up and get into that corner over there,” he pointed to the farthest corner from the entrance.
As the elderly man and the woman began to make their way to the corner, the Ministry youth stopped and said, “What about the guard? And your friend. They both have been shot, and need to go. Why don’t you let them get the help they need?”
“Why don’t you stop trying to tell me how to rob this place, punk?” Trevor shouted in return.
Oh, man, he’s cracking up. Jason thought.
“But,” Trevor continued, “you make a good point.”
Ministry nodded slightly as if to say, “Yeah, I know I do.”
Trevor turned to his wounded partner and said, “Look, Keith, I don’t think you should stay in here. If I get out of here with the cash…”
Keith stopped him with a look of panic. “What are you implying, here? That I turn myself in, while you and Jason get away?”
Jason shot the men a worried, furtive glance at the sound of his name. If they blow my cover, so help me… Jason thought to himself. This situation was growing increasingly tense and Jason simply wished he could get it back on the plan. He considered what his implications were at this point – his fingerprints could conceivably be found on the EMP device. And, of course, if Keith and Trevor went to court, they would implicate him, and it would be his word against theirs. Jason had made sure – or so he thought – to destroy all traces of the paper trail that could lead to any of them. All the planning had been done via untraceable cell phones. The EMP had been ordered using a different address and names in a city several miles away. None of their communications had been done via email, so there was no computer trail. Nobody inside knew that Jason was involved. And, legally, he hadn’t actually done any of the robbing or threatening – or shooting. All he had done was taken out the security cameras. This was probably a jail worthy offense. But if he did end up convicted, he would undoubtedly get a lesser sentence than Keith or Trevor would.
However, Jason would prefer that he keep his jail time to a minimum. Or nonexistent at all. And at this point, he might be able to avoid that, if he kept cool. Hell, all three of them might still be able to remain free. Although the odds of that happening seemed to be dwindling with each passing second.
Will there be a 5th go of it? Time will tell...
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Anyway. The point is that that means I'll have a topic to blog about on Thursday!! Assuming, of course, that I'm not so freaking exhausted by the end of the day that I can be bothered to.
Right now, I am so UTP@, and have such a skull-cracking headache, that it's impressive that I'm getting this boring non-entry written.
Work is ttally kicking my ass lately. With my supervisor being out, I've stepped up my responsibilities tenfold (or, at least threefold), and I just have to wonder why I care so much.
Monday, May 14, 2007
This week's videos are They Might Be Giants related. (Note that not every week will necessarily have themes. This week just does. Because TMBG rule.)
First up, a Lost/TMBG combo!
And two songs from them:
and, of course, after watching these (and even if you didn't), you are Older than you've ever been...
Saturday, May 12, 2007
(Yeah, I didn't really have anything to blog about today, so it's just a link to a fun time-wasting game. Also while you're there, try this one. I got up to the green level. The mirrored-inverted-moving levels are just insane)
Friday, May 11, 2007
Possibly longer, since people would still be giving birth.
But imagine that. 1,000,000 people is just about the population of Las Vegas. So it would take 17 years of wiping Las Vegas off the planet every day before all humans were gone.
That is a lot of homo sapiens.
I've thought about having expanding that idea somehow into a story - but I don't really know where it would go. Maybe people start to figure out a pattern to which people are going to be killed? Or they attempt to fight back? I don't think that there is much of a story there. It's just an interesting fact that there are over 6.5 billion people on the planet, and that is a large number that I can't really comprehend.
But I have noticed that a good percentage of my story ideas involve some sort of crisis that impacts the entire human race. Not sure why that idea appeals to me, but it does keep arising in my consciousness. Maybe if I actually finished one of the stories, I wouldn't be so obsessed with that theme anymore. (heh)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Or maybe I'll just delete that first one, since it was a non-post as it was.
Today was a strange day at work.
And...huh. Now that I'm going to sit down to type it out, I find that I don't want to talk about it. Smooth move, ex-lax. (heh.)
Let's see. What to talk about instead?
When I was a teenager, back in the days before caller ID [god, i'm old], my friends and I would spend a lot of our time making prank phone calls. One that was particularly amusing was when we would call up a fast food restaurant (it was KFC, if I remember correctly), ask for a manager, and then when the manager got on the phone, attempt to make a reservation.
Good times, man.
Eh. I still have my headache.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
I started my reread of the Harry Potter series today.
Dumbledore says, "He'll have that scar forever." [eyebrow]
And, "Scars can be useful."
Nothing odd sticks out about Petunia at this point. Except that it is stated that the Dursleys and Potters have not seen each other for several years at the beginning - meaning that Petunia had never met her baby nephew, until the Tuesday when Voldemort was defeated.
Dudley Dursley's friend's name is Piers Polkiss. Many wizards and witches have names that are alleterative. (Erm. Not sure if that's a word, but I'm just pointing out that it's interesting that so many characters have the same letter for their first and last names, and that both of the aforementioned kids are [assumedly] Muggles...)
Hagrid borrowed the motorcycle from "young Sirius Black". But... wasn't Black in Azkaban at that point? (I need to keep that question in mind, for when I get to book 3)
I'm surprised at how quick the first three chapters went. Things were so much easier in the beginning...
Monday, May 07, 2007
The creators of Lost announced today that the show will be ending in 3 seasons. They came to an agreement with ABC that the next 3 seasons will be 16 episodes a piece, resulting in 119 episodes total. Personally, I would've rather they stopped at 108, but I figure if I just ignore the Jack-centric episodes, it will most likely result in that anyway, so it's all good.
The good thing about this arrangement is that the writer's now have an end-goal in sight, and they can actually work toward that. Hopefully less filler episodes as a result.
I fired up the grill today, and made some awesome cheeseburgers and hot dogs for dinner. Mmm. I love this time of year when it's nice enough to actually enjoy being outside in the evening.
In the news today - there was a bomb that went off in a parking garage of a casino here in town. Apparently, an explosive device was left on top of a car in the parking garage of the Luxor. Around 4am, two employees were going back to their car. One of them attempted to remove the thing from the roof of the car, and it exploded, killing him.
It totally sounds like it was an episode of CSI.
I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone from the library today. (We own it, but it's currently packed away) I plan on reading about 3 chapters a day ...starting tomorrow, I think. There are 160 chapters in the 6 books, so doing 3 a day will result in me finishing before the 7th book is released. So, maybe not 3 every day. But, yeah, Steph rereading the books to the girls has me interested in rereading the series for myself. And maybe blogging about it on occasion. ;)
I also picked up a cd from The Minus 5. It's a little more countryish than the previous disc of theirs, but it's still enjoyable.
I keep squashing (or losing, temporarily) the drive to write. Ideas keep coming to me, though.
Current stories/story ideas I want to expand upon:
An idea I had today - Aliens arrive on earth, and announce that in X number of days, they will be leaving, and they will be taking X number of worthy people with them.
I wonder what the reaction would be. Would people attempt to go with them? Try to stop other people from leaving? Try to kill the aliens? I don't know. It was just a thought that I had earlier in the day. My brain wanders at times.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
When transforming into wolves, the clothes (generally) just vanish. [We watched the Buffy episode Beauty and the Beasts today, and it was quite guilty of that. Perhaps Oz's clothes just got absorbed into him?]
An American Werewolf in London got it right in their transformation scene, because David is in so much pain, he removes his clothing beforehand, and morphs in the nude. Good job, movie guys!!
Of course, magically disappearing (or appearing - see below) clothes are pretty rampant in tv and movies.
Heck, in the same episode of Buffy, Angel managed to track down a pair of leather pants, and, despite being out of his mind from hundreds of years of torment, got himself half-dressed!
And when You-Know-Who is reborn in the movie version of Goblet of Fire (another thing we watched today), he arrives complete with magic robes!
And of course, my long-standing complaint about souls/ghosts is that they always appear wearing whatever they died in. I guess fabrics have souls too.
But going back to werewolves - that was (one of) the biggest logistical block(s) when I was planning "Wolf". (Which I still do plan on writing....someday.) How to get past the clothing issue. I mean, yeah having wolf-creatures in various stages of undress might be more accurate, but it sounds kinda silly. (Or kinda terrifying, actually. Seeing some beast approaching you while it has half of Aunt Sally's skirt around it's waist might be disturbing.)
Huh. I guess that could work then.
Doesn't remedy the other end (the changing back. What would all these nearly nude people do?) And...you know, talking through this has actually helped spur some ideas...
Saturday, May 05, 2007
P@, who currently has no working computer speakers
Friday, May 04, 2007
ANYWAY. While the show (and novel [and maybe the movie, I haven't seen the '53 version]) were worthwhile, this post is not exactly about the series.
In the show, there was a character named Dr. Harrison Blackwood. He was one of those 'free-thinking' types that Hollywood loves so much, and while he was a doctor, he used many unorthodox methods.
One of these was the usage of a tuning fork to help retrieve memories.
When my friends and I saw this, we found it hilarious. (It is rather funny in its outlandishness. I'm not sure whether it was intended to be or not.)
But, the point is, that we began to write stories - sometimes collaborating, sometimes working solo - where tapping a tuning fork would cause the character(s) to remember something else that had happened, even [and especially later] past lives. As the stories progressed, they more or less morphed to where the characters were not remembering the events, but actually time traveling with each 'bong' of the tuning fork, they would be transplanted to a different time (and place, usually). Depending on how deep the "bong" of the tuning fork was, the bigger the change in time/space.
(And, yeah, the fact that when I was 13 I was naive enough to not know the other meaning of 'bong' has definitely brought a wistful smile to my face.)
I'm fairly certain that there was an overall narrative to the tales, as jumbled as it ended up being. Although the fact that the 'bongs' of the tuning forks often worked as deus ex machinas probably would've made our English teachers cringe, they were incredibly funny to a bunch of 13 year old boys. Especially when the 'bong' would result in looping back to a previous memory/situation.
Brian, Matt, Jason and I really got into the Tuning Fork stories for a while there. (I even went so far as to buy a real tuning fork that I carried around. I was such a freaking NERD!!)
Sadly, all of the Tuning Fork stories are lost to the ages. I really do wish that I had kept some of them, or could remember how they went. Maybe I should look into getting a tuning fork.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
It's not a fully developed theory, and I don't know how much of it I buy myself, but ever since the seed of the idea came into my mind (sometime after "Catch 22" aired), it's been growing.
Spoilers for season 3 up through at least "The Brig" are below:
What if Smokezilla is God?
Not exactly the God of the Bible, but still, an omnipotent judging....being.
In Neil Gaiman's books, gods fade out of existence if people stop having faith in them. I really like the idea that god(s) have to survive on faith. What if that is what the island's security system has to live off of as well?
My island time line would go something like this: First, Dharma arrives on the island, and they either discover Smokezilla or create it. Either way, they start to worship it, maybe. And for a while, Smokezilla lives on a strict diet of Otherosity. That is the only "religion" that it knows, and everything is hunky-dory.
Then, Danielle and her crew show up on the island, and accidentally (?) cause an illness that kills pregnant women on the island.
Now, the Others have to start recruiting people to get to the island.
Somewhere along the way, Smoke(God)zilla learns that there are other faiths. So, since it wants to learn more about them, it begins to bring people of different faiths to the island - Desmond was a monk, Eko was a priest (actually Yemi was, and it brought Yemi there first), Jack has faith in science, John has faith ...in the island (which might be why the Others think he's "special"). Maybe the Island/Smokey/God is looking for a religion that it can call it's own. Maybe God is Lost, and wants to be Found.
Eh. Like I said, not a fully fleshed out theory, and I can confidently say that I would be floored if the show did go in this direction, but if it does, remember that you heard it here first. :)
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I keep holding myself back from creating things. The desire is there, the fear (of it being bad? of failing? of not completing it? i don't know exactly) is just stronger.
Let's see what I can do to remedy that.
(This was totally not the post I wanted to make originally. I have held myself back from that, too. This may be harder than originally intended...)
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Maybe it's that the amount of work was overwhelming, and I spent a good portion of the day feeling like I was drowning and/or wanting to cry.
Maybe it's rising gas costs.
Maybe it's watching the news, or reading the news, or hearing the news, or the fact that there's news.
Maybe it's riding the bus.
Maybe it's the chaos and clutter.
Maybe it's seeing evolution going on as I walk through businesses in Las Vegas.
Maybe it's just me.
Whatever it is, this yucky empty feeling can stop now, thanks.