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TNA house show

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On Saturday night, a couple of friends and I went to the TNA house show in Rahway, NJ. I'd never been to one, and only occasionally watch it, but it was close, and seemed like it would be a nice outing.

There were five matches. We got there late, and entered right at the beginning of the first one, which was Kazarian vs. Robbie E. vs. Shannon Moore. Shannon Moore was the only one there who I was familiar with. One of the girls from Jersey Shore was there, which immediately put a bad taste in my mouth. She's probably the most attractive out of all of them, but I still don't see what the attraction is. Anyway, it was a good, fast-paced match. Next was Velvet Sky vs. Madison Rayne. The really memorable thing about it was Earl Hebner. At one point he throws on a pair of sunglasses and does the Bret Hart pose. The crowd was really into it, and I loved it. He also nearly got into a fist fight with a little girl, and had to be restrained. The little girl probably would have taken him out. Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez was third. It was a decent match, but didn't seem terribly special. The last match before intermission was Beer Money vs. Gunner and Murphy. The first half of the match really dragged. All of a sudden it got pretty exciting. Then there was the aforementioned intermission. I would have rather kept going, but they needed time to hawk the merchandise.

Mike Tenay came out during the break. Damn, does that guy suck. It would have been nice to see someone pour cement down his throat, and here in NJ that's always a definite possibility. Velvet Sky also came out and was signing autographs. Her line was halfway around the arena, so as tempting as it was, I didn't bother trying to get anything from her. Besides, it's not like she's Torrie.

The second half was much weaker than the first. First up was Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles. Hardy came out and I immediately got the impression that he was either stoned out of his mind or simply didn't give a damn about being there, and possibly a combination of the two. It was pretty warm in the arena, and I was getting overheated, so I decided to take this opportunity to head out and get a drink. The whole time I was on-line out there I kept hearing the crowd screaming "You ****ed up!" over and over. I got back about a minute before the match ended, which was fine, and asked my friends what was going on. They basically said that Hardy had no idea where he even was. I know what happened at the PPV the following night, so I'm thinking that confirmed my original suspicion. I wouldn't be surprised if he was in the back getting high, stopped just long enough to do the match, and then went back and did some more. He was an absolute mess.

The main event was Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett talked for about ten minutes, talking smack and picking fights with people in the audience. I figured they'd let Angle talk as well, but it never happened. I was almost always a big Angle fan, and used to enjoy his promos, so I was disappointed he never got the mic in his hand. The match was pretty depressing to watch. Angle is such a shell of his former self. He got in a couple of moves, but Jarrett was clearly carrying the match. I guess those last two matches were very indicative of a major problem with TNA: they're focusing on guys like Angle and Hardy who for various reasons really shouldn't be anywhere near a wrestling ring.

At the end, Angle and Beer Money stayed in the ring to pose for pictures with fans (for $20 a pop), and we were told that some of the other wrestlers were going to come out and interact with the fans. There was a meet and greet before the show, which we didn't attend, and didn't stick around for the post-show activities either. Still, it's good that they do things like that.

It was a fun night. They had a great crowd that was really pumped, and my friends and I agreed that it was a well-put-together show and would attend again. It's too bad they apparently do a better job with house shows than PPVs.

The best TV and movie songs you've (probably) never heard of

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This one's been going through my head for quite some time. For so long, in fact, that I've probably forgotten a few that I wanted to include. I thought it would be interesting to come up with a list of TV and movie songs that have really endeared themselves to me. Not every one is necessarily a major theme song, but might just be something included somewhere in the context of the viewing. At least one of them is a real stretch, since I don't believe it was ever actually used on the show, but since I like it I decided to include it anyway. A lot of these songs are from shows or movies that came out before most people on this forum were even born, so I'm assuming that at least some of them will be new to you. If you don't agree with my choices, I apologize, but I really like all these songs. So the list, in no particular order:

The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training

This was the second Bad News Bears movie, from all the way back in 1977. I remember watching the first two movies on network television, probably ABC. Obviously these movies were edited for television. We didn't have cable, and I definitely didn't see them in the theaters. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why. They both seemed like movies my family would have been willing to take me to. Anyway, I remember not completely understanding this movie when I first saw it. I was probably about 7-8 years old, and it bothered me that some of the kids had clearly aged from the first film. I'm not sure why it bothered me so much. There's also a scene in which the kids steal a van which completely went over my head. It shows up on cable every so often. I think it's a lot of fun to watch, more than the first one, in fact. The third movie, in which the kids go to Japan, should probably be avoided at all costs. I suppose if one wants to complete the trilogy then they should watch it, but it's just bad. It was pretty clear they only had enough storyline for two movies. The recent remake of the first movie needn't be watched either, in my opinion. This is "Looking Good," which plays a few times during the movie and over the end credits. It's a typical feel-good 70s song. I actually didn't like it at first. Something about the melody threw me. Eventually I found out that it was based loosely on Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, and I gained some appreciation for it.

The actor who played Kelly Leak, the bad boy baseball player, went on to play Rorschach in the Watchmen movie, and can currently be seen as Guerrero on Fox's Human Target.

The Greatest American Hero

This was an early 80s show about a guy who gets a costume from space aliens. It gives him super powers, but unfortunately he loses the instructions so he never really figures out how to use them properly. I always loved the song, but oddly enough, rarely watched the series. I never even saw the first episode and now, thirty years later, still haven't. It kind of scared me. Yeah, I scared pretty easily as a kid. Occasionally the repeats show up on SyFy. They did a marathon of it on Memorial Day. I'm not sure why. I guess because the holiday honors American heroes.

The song was reborn, so to speak, back in the mid-90s when George Costanza used a version of it as his answering machine on an episode of Seinfeld.

Ranma 1/2 Season 1 ending

Quite some time ago I wrote a blog listing this series as one that went off the air without a proper ending. For those of you not familiar with it, Ranma and his father fell into some cursed Chinese springs. Since then, cold water will turn Ranma into a girl, and his father into a panda. Other characters also wind up cursed into turning into other creatures. Hot water will turn them back. I still remember hearing the concept for the first time and finding myself so fascinated by it. Anyway, halfway through the first season, they changed the ending credits to include this song. This is the full version. An abbreviated version appeared on the show. I really love this song. Despite the fact that I can't understand anything they're saying, it's still a really catchy tune and I often listen to it in my car. This is "Equal Romance." It's too bad the words aren't translated here, because it really has a nice theme to it.

Ranma 1/2 Season 6 opening

This is "Don't Cry Anymore," the opening for season 6. I don't believe there is a full version of it. Upon getting the various season sets for the show, I soon found myself skipping the opening segments because, except for the aforementioned first season ending, I really didn't enjoy the music. I skipped this one a lot, too. Eventually I found myself listening to it and was glad I did. While short, I thought it was really catchy.

For anyone not familiar with the series, Ranma is quite a stud. He's suppsoed to marry Akane, the girl you see the most in this opening. However, he seems to have every other girl throwing themselves at him. Some of us think that he's crazy not to go for Ukyo, the girl with the bow who appears 49 seconds into the video. In fact, I wonder if there's something subliminal in this one, because Ukyo fans seem to really associate this opening with her, even though she only has a few seconds of screen time. Yeah, I know it's crazy to speculate about a cartoon character like this, but it's pretty tame compared to some of my thought processes.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

From the original 80s series, which many consider to be a glorified toy commercial but is still one of my all-time favorites. This is adrenaline-pumping music. I wish I could have it play every time I needed to go into an intimidating situation.

There have been other incarnations of He-Man since this one, but they've really scaled back the music since this. I'm not happy about that, since I think the music was a big part of what made the show successful. I still get chills when I watch the He-Man and Battlecat transformation sequence. Sometimes I'll find a video of it on YouTube and just watch it and smile. I know that probably sounds silly, but it's true.

Transformers: The Movie

This is "The Touch," by Stan Bush. It's not the official theme of the movie, but plays a couple of times throughout and I think many people see it as the unofficial theme. Absolutely kick-ass song. I don't even know how many times I've listened to it. I saw the video that I've linked played on MTV once. It may have only played that one time, ever. It's definitely worth listening to. Another of his songs, "Dare," plays a few times in the movie as well. It's another great one. If you listen to the lyrics, both are quite inspirational.

That original series had its flaws, but I still don't think anything that's come since has quite matched up to it. This is another movie I find that I can keep watching over and over, although it basically retcons the first two seasons. This song first plays in the scene in which Optimus Prime drives around purposely running over Decepticons. Great memories there. I'll admit that I cried when he died in the movie...


Jack and the Beanstalk

Or, to be exact, Jack to mame no ki. I remember our family planning to attend the Easter Vigil waaaay back in 1985. While we were waiting, I found this movie on TV. It was Jack and the Beanstalk, but not quite the story I was familiar with. Yes, it had Jack and a beanstalk and a giant, but it also added so much. There was also a princess and an evil queen and...well, a lot more. I may have only seen it that one time, but honestly don't remember. I think it played on HBO for a while around that period, but then they took it out of rotation and it never returned. That movie was in my head for years, literally, and it was one I kept saying I wanted to watch again but could never figure out where it was. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is just such a common title and there are so many versions out there that it seemed like trying to finid a needle in a haystack. Eventually I occurred to me that it was obviously a dubbed Anime, and that piece of knowledge helped me finally track it down. A few years ago, on Christmas Eve, I found the movie on YouTube and just sat down and watched it. After nearly 25 years, it still had an impact on me. It's just a really, really good movie and tells the story with layers I've never really seen anywhere else.

At one point in the movie we hear this song, "No one is happier than I." During my first rewatch, I had completely forgotten about it. As soon as I heard the tune start, it all came flooding back over me. Wow, what a song. While very short, I think it's incredibly powerful and the melody is, for lack of a better word, haunting. It becomes even more powerful when you know the context of the movie and understand how ironic it is. There are some other songs in this movie, but this is the one that everyone remembers. There was never a soundtrack. Fortunately, these days there are ways around that.

Mighty Orbots

This Saturday morning cartoon, back when there were Saturday morning cartoons, show ran on ABCfor thirteen episodes in the 1985-86 season. Many of the people who remember it, remember it fondly. Unfortunately, even most of my contemporaries have no recollection of it. I'd love to see it released on DVD, but with so few people who remember it, it just seems so unlikely it will ever happen. All we have left are burned DVDs of 25-year-old VHS tapes, so getting high-quality versions is very difficult.

This is another one of those inspirational pieces of music, at least in my opinion. A shortened version of it played over the closing credits. This longer version only played three times during the run of the series, but I found it so memorable that it stayed with me years after its brief run was over. I regularly find myself humming it.

Damn, I still can't believe they never came out with a toy for this.

Pumpkin

Since I didn't particularly like this movie, I don't have any intense feelings to describe. I only watched it because I found out that a girl I went to high school with was in it. She was also one of the briefcase girls on Deal or No Deal. It was an okay movie. I didn't really have any problem sitting through it, but doubt I could again. This song played over the closing credits. I found it to be a really haunting song. Here is "Falling From Grace," by the Gentle Waves.

Transformers: Masterforce

One of the first things I learned upon getting the Internet was that, while the Transformers TV series got canceled here in the US one season after the movie, it continued for three more full seasons over in Japan. However, while linked to the original series, these took it in a whole new direction. Each of the three series told a self-contained story which is more common now, but back then all we knew were a bunch of self-contained episodes that could usually be watched in any order. Masterforce is probably the most different of all the Transformers series, but wound up being my favorite. I think the opening theme song is great.

Time Bandits

Apparently a week really wasn't enough time for God to create the universe. Turns out there are a bunch of holes in the fabric of reality, and six Dwarves have a map to find and fix them. They decide to use the map to steal the treasures of history, and along the way a little boy joins them. Another of my all-time favorites, and the replica of that map is one of my prized possessions. The ending was...strange, confusing, controversial, etc. It was definitely memorable, though. It was the first part of a strangely unrelated trilogy of movies that also included Brazil and Baron Munchausen. I saw the others and didn't like them as much as this one. It's fun to watch, plus it's a time travel movie that pretty much gives the finger to any and all rules of time travel.

The theme throughout the trilogy was dreams. This one was seen through the eyes of a child, Brazil through the eyes of an adult, and Baron Munchausen through the eyes of the elderly. Keeping with that, "Dream Away" by George Harrison played over the closing credits. The lyrics seem to make little or no sense, but if you think about it, dreams are usually the same way. The nice thing about the closing credits is that they show scenes from beginning to the end of the movie, so if you're running short on time you can just watch the credits and get the gist of the film. I really don't recommend this.

David Warner as Evil is amazing.


Quantum Leap

For anyone unfamiliar with this series, Sam Beckett can leap around from time to time within his own lifetime. His goal is to set right what once went wrong, so he might try to keep a couple from divorcing, or that guy from driving off in a rage and wrapping himself around a pole, and things like that. In one of the first season episodes, he leaps into a piano player. He and his partner sing "Somewhere in the Night," a song I absolutely loved from the first time I heard it. I wound up buying the Quantum Leap soundtrack just to get the full version of it. It's another song I just love listening to.

Joanie Loves Chachi

Nobody remembers this. It was a really bad spinoff of Happy Days that only lasted one season. Joanie and Chachi became so popular on the original show that it was determined they could carry their own. It didn't work. However, I really like the opening theme song. They actually sang it once on an episode of Happy Days, and sang it again for the show. It's probably the only memorable thing about it.

Once I was watching it with my first love, who I've mentioned in blogs ad nauseum. She said that Joanie was prettier than her. I agreed. I realized afterward that I probably shouldn't have.

The Muppet Movie

One of my all-time favorite movies. I still remember the magic of seeing it the first time. I don't know if any other movie has ever affected me as much as this one did. This is the first song we hear, "Rainbow Connection," as sung by Kermit the Frog. Just an amazing song. In fact, most of the soundtrack is pretty damn amazing. It includes a version of "America the Beautiful" that adds a few extra beats to one of the lines. Whenever I hear the regular version of the song, I find myself involuntarily adding those beats. Speaking of involuntarily, a few of my friends know the secret of "Rainbow Connection": sing me a line from the song, and it's virtually impossible for me not to sing the whole thing. No, I don't have a great singing voice, but it's all in fun.

I have no idea how many times I've seen this movie through the years. I actually managed to see it on a big screen last summer when it was playing in a nearby park, and I still found it to be magical. But no matter how many times I've seen it, I have NEVER been able to pick Kermit out in that first swamp scene until I'm supposed to. If you watch the video, you'll know what I mean. I try and try to find him, but just can't. That's some damn good camouflage.


Powerpuff Girls

Okay, to my knowledge this music never once played during the show, but would just randomly pop up during commercial breaks. This is "Super Girl," a really great song which gives even more of an Anime feel to various Powerpuff Girl clips. Unlike a lot of the songs I've listed, I don't have any emotional attachment to this one. I just like it. I miss the days when Cartoon Network didn't play 99% crap.

Superman

Okay, admittedly this is one that people have probably heard. However, it's just such a powerful piece of music that I felt the need to add it. In the best of all possible worlds, this would be playing every time I walk into a room. This song just says "Superman."

And finally, coming in at #1, ;)

Thanks for reading.

My adventure west, part 2

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Continuation of this

I drifted in and out of sleep for hours. I was basically lying there, desperately trying to fall asleep. Then I was still lying there, desperately trying to fall asleep, but had the awareness that some time had passed since I had been conscious. I had no way of knowing how long I'd been asleep, and certainly didn't feel rested. Eventually the conductor came to the only empty seat, the one next to me, and had a cute girl with him. She was really cute. I didn't even know which stop she had just come from. This should have been like hitting the jackpot. Unfortunately, it was the middle of the night and, even worse, I was so cranky from this ridiculously broken up sleep I was experiencing. Despite not exchanging words, she managed to grow on me. Partly it was because she was just so cute. The other part of it was probably because those seats were so close together that she kept rubbing against me while she tried to sleep. I wasn't complaining about that at all. In fact, being awake for something like this wasn't bad at all. However, I still found myself drifting in and out of consciousness.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the cute girl had grabbed my, uh, thing. I looked over and saw that she was still asleep. I decided to refrain from waking her because, well, it felt good. Eventually her grip got really tight and I was no longer enjoying the experience. I started to pry off her hand when all of a sudden my eyes flew open. I looked over and found her peacefully asleep and I realized the entire experience had just been a dream. Needless to say I was disappointed but damn, what a vivid dream. I'm pretty sure I've never had a dream which was basically an alternate-reality version of what was actually happening that very moment. In my defense, she had been rubbing against me over and over throughout the night, so I'm sure that was having an effect on my mind. As much as I was sorry to wake up from that dream, it's probably a good thing I did. If it had gone on for another minute or so, I was probably going to really regret not bringing a change of pants. I will say that I'm still shocked I was able to go into a deep enough sleep to dream like that.

Among all the other issues with that train, the heat kept crapping out. I had a blanket in addition to my heavy coat. She was ill-prepared for it. She had a coat, but didn't bring a blanket. I found that I couldn't watch her suffer, so I gave her my blanket. I was cold with just my coat, but decided she needed the blanket more that I did. I eventually woke up for good, and was happy about the decision I made. I would have been very upset with myself if I didn't at least offer to help. It's just the way I am.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much it with her. She woke up eventually and we talked a little bit, but we almost immediately reached her stop, and she was gone. It was too bad, since she seemed pretty nice and it would have been nice to have her company for a while. I felt a bit of an emptiness from her not being there. Yes, on top of everything else crappy about this trip, I somehow managed to pick up an additional regret on top of it. Nice. On the flip side, I'm glad I got to talk to her, even if it was only for a few minutes. If the train hadn't been running so ridiculously late she would most likely have departed in the middle of the night, so I wouldn't have even gotten that. Still, it felt like life had dangled a carrot in front of me and then immediately plucked it away.

By the end of the trip I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. People getting on were asking what had happened to the train, and since I was there from the beginning I got to share the war stories. Eventually I got to my destination. The one good thing about the delays is that, instead of arriving over an hour before the museum even opened and wondering what to do with myself, all the places I wanted to visit had now been open for some time. In fact, it was almost lunch time. Since I had a vague idea of where the museum was, I decided to walk. Not only did I not want to spend the money on a cab, but after being cooped-up on that train for nearly a day it just felt good to move around. Plus, the weather was actually a step up from where I came. I was expecting the opposite, but again, the plans I made were before I knew we'd be hit by a blizzard. Unfortunately, my memory wasn't as good as I thought. I followed the path that I thought would take me where I needed to go, but it seemed to lead nowhere so I headed back. After trying a couple more directions I became concerned. I had no idea where I was, nor what kind of neighborhoods I was going through. I wasn't lost, since I had traveled in a straight line and could just turn back, and finally admitting that I wasn't going to accidentally wind up where I needed to go, I returned to the train station. It wasn't even like I could call a cab on my own, since I didn't know any of their numbers, and the woman there got someone to pick me up. It was now worth it to pay the money, since once I was there I'd have a point of reference and should be able to find my way around. I got to see the cars I had made the visit for. Seeing the Muppet Movie Studebaker didn't have quite the same punch it did the first time, probably since I had now already seen it and, sadly, it was still in the same lousy condition it was in the last time. However, it looked like it was only going to be on display until November, so I was glad I got to see it before it went away. Seeing the movie cars was pretty cool. I should have stolen Herbie. Maybe I'll go back for him.

Normally I wouldn't get a hotel if I wasn't planning to spend the night. However, I knew that the last time I visited I wound up doing everything I wanted by lunch, and then had about ten hours to kill before the return train arrived. By 5 or 6 that afternoon I was back at the train station reading, since the weather wasn't good and I really had nothing else to do. After some debate, I decided it was worth the money to have someplace to crash, even if it was just for a few hours. I figured I could take a shower, watch some TV, and maybe take a nap. Considering how rough the train ride in had been, having access to a bed now seemed especially attractive. The hotel was within walking distance of both the museum and the train station, and it was pretty reasonable. They put me in room 1407. Anyone ever see 1408? A few times I wondered how I would have reacted if I'd gotten put in 1408. The strange thing was that the door to 1408 was actually ajar the whole time I was there. Part of me was tempted to push it open and take a peek inside. I never had the guts. There really wasn't much to do after dark. So many places close early. It was hard to even find a place to eat dinner. Fortunately, the TV offering was pretty good. I got to watch the Rock's lousy Tooth Fairy movie, and they had USA, so I got to watch Raw. Again, I was really sorry I didn't bring my laptop, since I could have gotten in on the discussion. I was going to watch the whole show, but decided to head back to the train station halfway through. I was going to get there very early, but I didn't want to take any chance of missing that train. I had called through the day to make sure it hadn't been canceled, and fortunately it hadn't. I decided to walk to the station. It was quite cold outside, but I didn't care. I saw no reason to spend money on a cab, and again, I knew I had a long trip ahead of me and thought it would be good to get the exercise. I'd heard that parts of the way weren't the best neighborhood, but didn't care. I started the long journey. I took some comfort in knowing that I was walking through residential areas. If anything happened, at least there would be people around. That's not to say they'd necessarily help, but I tried not to think about that. I was fine, up to a point. All of a sudden I realized I had no idea where to go. I wasn't truly lost, since I could just turn around and head back toward the hotel, but after walking so far and carrying so much stuff, that just didn't seem like the best option. I was also concerned that by the time I got back and they were able to get a cab for me that I might actually miss my train. On the other hand, I didn't want a repeat of that morning where I just kept trying various directions hoping to find my way, especially in the dark. I really had no idea what to do, and then I heard a train. It wasn't my train, but tons of freight trains travel the same rails. Surprisingly, I was still rational enough to head in that direction. Eventually I reached the tracks, but there was still no station. I was in such a panic at this point that I started thinking they must have knocked it down in the past twelve hours. I started following the tracks. I wound up choosing the wrong direction, but fortunately I passed something I had seen that morning (the last time I'd been blindly wandering these streets) and it gave me a point of reference. After heading in the opposite direction, I finally found the station. By the time I got there I was nearly feverish, and it took a good twenty minutes before my heart rate would slow back to normal.

The ride home was pretty non-descript. The border patrol did come on the train in Buffalo to check everyone's citizenship. I have no idea what brought that on. When they first showed up I figured they must have gotten tipped off about something, and expected them to take someone away. As far as I could tell, no one was arrested. I was a little concerned, though, since I wasn't carrying a passport and wasn't quite sure how I was going to prove that I was a citizen. Fortunately they were only asking a yes or no question. I guess a person could have lied. The woman next to me actually said she wasn't a citizen, and after she showed them her passport they just left. Sleep wasn't that much of an issue, since I was so exhausted from the previous day that I was just drifting off from sheer exhaustion. Every time I woke up my neck was in some bizarre position that couldn't have been good for it. Plus my body was so sore from sitting so long as well as from being tossed around during the first ride. Possibly worst of all was that it was just so damn…boring. There was only so much reading I could do. Perhaps it would have been better if I'd brought some DVDs and the laptop, but even then, how much can you watch? I've always enjoyed traveling by train, but the amount of time it takes to make the trip can be a drawback. We were behind schedule for a while, but they managed to make it up, and we managed to get in a few minutes early. It didn't really help me, since I had to wait about a half hour for a train to take me back into NJ. I started writing this blog last night, but wound up going to bed in the middle of it.

So there you go. Three strange days. Trains are just such a metaphor for life. You come into contact with people, some of whom will make an impact on you, and most of whom won't. And chances are that, for better or worse, you'll most likely never see any of them again. Really, what are the chances of accidentally running into a stranger on a train twice? Especially on a long distance train where people are coming on and off from multiple states. Am I any better off for having come into contact with that woman on the train? Probably not. Maybe I'm actually a little worse, to be honest. Would I ever take the train again? Probably. During the first leg of the trip I swore off them forever, but that probably wasn't fair considering the circumstances. Although it takes much longer, I still prefer traveling that way than by plane. I was definitely glad to get home, although had I known how badly we'd gotten hit I might have stayed there another night.



My adventure west, part 1

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Almost six years ago I visited the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, a trip I somewhat touched up on in this blog I've toyed with the idea of returning, but it's a very long train ride and returning just to see the same thing again wasn't quite doing it for me. Then a few weeks ago I found out that this was going to be there:

Seeing as I had some vacation time left to burn, I decided to make the trip. While Herbie the Love Bug never affected me in quite the same way as the Muppet Movie Studebaker did, it was still the first car that ever really had a profound effect on me. Plus, those movies were among the first I ever saw in my life. The car was going to be on display until April, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to go later. This is unfortunate, since generally speaking it's not the best idea to go to Indiana during the winter. I always said that if I went again it would be during the spring or summer. That way I could at least go for walks and things like that without freezing my buns off. Alas, it wasn't to happen.

Of course, had I known that the East Coast was destined to be blasted with a blizzard on the same day my train was supposed to leave. I found myself with quite a dilemma on Sunday morning. It was possible Amtrak would just cancel the train. That would have made my life much easier, because if I couldn't go I certainly would have gotten over it. However, they didn't. While I didn't think there would really be much of an issue going from NY to Indiana, since the blizzard was just starting around the time we were leaving, I was concerned about getting back home. I was supposed to get a return train late Monday night, and if the East Coast had been destroyed by this blizzard, that train might just get canceled, and I didn't know what I would do in that case. I decided to do the opposite of what I would normally do and went for it. I figured that even if I got stuck there for another day I could still find some way to deal with it.

I got to Penn Station very early, again for fears that the trains into the city could either be canceled or seriously delayed. Naturally I spent that time convincing myself to cancel my Amtrak tickets and go home. I didn't, and spent the next several hours regretting it.

This wound up being the train ride from Hell. Later on I would hear from other people who were there and had been on numerous Amtrak trips, and they said they'd never seen anything like this one. One guy even echoed my own thoughts by saying he wished Amtrak had just canceled it earlier, as it would have made it easier on him. If it was possible, there's a good chance I would have gotten off at an early stop and gotten a return trip home. Unfortunately, Amtrak doesn't work like that. With local train service, on practically any day or time of the week you can get a train somewhere and within an hour you should be able to turn around and come home. Most Amtrak trains only run once a day, and in some case they don't even run every day. And the schedule isn't friendly for taking a trip in one direction, doing something quickly, and then hopping back on a train to come home…at least not for the long-distance trains. I did the math later, and it looked like I would have had to wait around the better part of a day to get that return trip. Mind you, this would have been during a blizzard, and I wouldn't have had no place to stay, so staying on the train turned out to be the best course of action.

The ride was rough. It was a lot like the dramatic scenes in Star Trek where everything's shaking and people are getting tossed around all over the place. Try using a little toilet during times like those. But we made it to dinner, at which point the power went out in the train. It was still moving, but it severely limited what dishes could be served. I've actually found the food on these Amtrak trains to be quite good, and a major step up from airline food. But now, that advantage had quickly evaporated. It took about two hours to get our food and eat, which was probably about four times as long as it normally takes. It tasted good, but the omens were definitely bad on this one. And it didn't get better. Several times the power went out throughout the train. Sometimes the train would just stop, usually to give right of way to a freight train, but it still seemed like it was happening over and over. And the whole time the train was bouncing around like a ship at sea during a hurricane. The guy I mentioned earlier said that he had gone to the café car in the middle of the night and found several of the staff debating over what to do about the train. It was so bad that they were apparently considering bringing in a repair crew, and this would have added hours to the trip. I'm kind of glad they didn't.

Now I get to the girl part of the story, since there always has to be a "the girl" part, right? The train was packed. This wasn't entirely unexpected, since even when I had booked my tickets a few weeks earlier it was obvious that this was going to be a busy time for them. Trains were already sold out, and luxuries like sleeper cars were no longer available. People asked me how I could go and try to sleep on a train in one of those seats, and it was because I had no choice. After the last time I went, I swore I wouldn't do a trip like this unless I could get a compartment and sleep horizontally, but it wasn't an option. Besides, it would have been too expensive, even if the option had been available. I have thousands of Amtrak points that would have gotten me free travel and free sleeper cars, but of course this week was a blackout period, so those points were useless. On top of all this, with all the area airports closing due to the weather, that sent even more people heading to the trains. Yes, the train was packed. Having the conductors regularly remind us that we were on a sold-out train wasn't completely necessary.

Anyway, the train was packed, but some of us, myself included, still managed to hold onto our seating areas without having to share with anyone. I think the guy who I've referenced a few times in this blog and I were the only ones left in this position by the time most people were going to sleep, or at least trying to go to sleep. He was sitting by the window, while I was in the aisle seat. I actually prefer window seats, but since I may or may not need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I always try to stay at the end since I don't feel like having to climb over anyone. Since I also know that I sleep so poorly on trains, I'm not terribly concerned about someone waking me to get out of the way in case they have a call of nature. Anyway, the conductor brings this girl over to his seat. However, she asks if she can have the window seat since she has a laptop and would like to use the outlet. My mind immediately starts racing. I found absolutely nothing interesting about this woman. However, and here's where I feel like I'm going into a Jerry Seinfeld bit, these things are a gamble. I think a lot of people just want to be left alone on things like this, but it rarely happens. Sooner or later the chances are that you're going to be sharing your seat with someone, and considering that person may be on the train for the duration of the trip, you want that person to be something good. I'm not even limiting this to attractive women, while that's certainly a plus. A person who's going to be quiet is perfectly acceptable. A person who likes talking but is actually interesting is acceptable as well. I managed to run into this on both legs of my trip, which is practically unheard of. On the other hand, getting stuck next to someone who is going to annoy the hell out of you is pure torture. The worst thing is that there's really no escape. If there were empty seats for you to escape to, this person wouldn't have needed to be seated next to you in the first place. So now I found myself in another dilemma. I could have saved this man the trouble of having to move his stuff around and just suggested that she take the already empty seat next to me. I would have been able to sleep soundly (or as soundly as possible on this thing), knowing that my inevitable partner was already there and I wasn't going to have to worry about being awoken in the middle of the night to make room. This woman didn't seem annoying at all, so I could have just gone the safe route and that would have been the end of it. However, for whatever reason, I chose not to. Maybe I held onto some hope that I was going to get away with having a partner.

On a side note, seeing the woman with the laptop made me realize just how ill-prepared I always am for these long-distance trips. I actually had my laptop in my bag at one point, but took it out when I found out that there was no WiFi on the train, and for the little amount of time I was going to have access to that network it didn't seem worth it to carry it around. However, this woman was watching a DVD, and I felt like kicking myself. Why didn't I think of that? Especially since my friend gave me the X-Men animated series on DVD THAT VERY MORNING. Next time…

*Since I see that my entire blog is actually too big for this site to handle, I'll post the other half later...*

NY Comic Con and other stuff

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Earlier this month I went to my second comic book convention, which took place a week after the first. However, if this one was the first I ever attended, I probably wouldn't have even counted the other as an actual convention. Compared to this one, the first was the equivalent of a dozen guys laying their comics out on a table in a basement somewhere. This one was HUGE.

About a week before the event, I found out that as a librarian I could get my hands on a professional entry badge. I'm not sure why, but I figured that if they were giving it out, I might as well take it. I'm glad I did, because not only did it get me into the event three hours before it officially opened on the first day (which I really didn't get to take advantage of, due to my train being stuck on the tracks for about a half hour), but it also gave me a special entrance, so that I didn't have to wait on line like everyone else. The first day, Friday, it wasn't really an issue. There was a good-sized crowd, but it wasn't overwhelming. Saturday, which is considered the main day, I treated that professional badge like a piece of gold. The line for everyone else was going through the entire convention center, but I was just able to flash my badge and walk right in. I'd like to say I felt a little guilty about it, but I don't want to lie.

I was there for about three hours on Friday. Most of the celebrities weren't there, as Saturday was the big day for things like that. But the event was massive. I spent my time there walking the length of the convention center. They had it broken into two distinct areas. The smaller one was for signing from both artists and celebrities, as well as books/comics from independent presses. The larger area was for, well, everything else. It consisted of numerous vendors, larger publishing companies, etc. The two areas were separated by a long hallway. After my first walk through the signing area, I headed down that hallway and ran into a guy who was already crying about how much walking he had to do. I tried not to laugh. Comic Con was also combined with Anime Fest, which I never bothered to check out. It was basically a small room upstairs dedicated to Anime. People were complaining about what a small area they got for that part of the convention. I can't say I blame them.That first day, some girl at one of the independent presses asked me to sign up for a raffle. She was cute, so I did it. I wound up winning a graphic novel, which arrived Friday. I've never heard of it, but will probably check it out. Besides, it was free, so even if it's trash, what do I care?

They really keep you hostage in places like this. I don't think there's anyplace in NYC where you can eat for cheap, but the prices at the Javits Center were sky-high. I wound up walking to a pizzeria for lunch. Unfortunately, it was hard to decide how to dress. It was cool in the morning, so I wore a jacket. By the afternoon it was very warm, plus the amount of bodies in the convention center made it warmer still, so I got very overheated. I had to break down and buy a $4 glass of lemonade. It was good, but not worth $4. By then the damage had been done, though, and I had developed a migraine that cut my day short. It didn't bother me that much since I had a 3-day pass, and already had plans to return on Saturday.

Saturday came, and the crowd I had seen the day before was nothing compared to the one I now faced. Even my special access entrance had a line going all the way outside...although it was still better than the line everyone else had to deal with. While I was standing out there, who walks by but Sylent and his wife. I recognized him right away, but he didn't recognize me. I told him I'd catch him inside, which realistically I didn't think was possible. We had previously exchanged cell phone numbers, but weren't sure how dependable they'd be due to possible reception issues. Surprisingly, I was able to find him pretty easily inside, and we made plans to meet at noon for lunch.

Just to reiterate what I hope has already been made clear, the crowd was overwhelming. I heard someone say there were 30,000 people there. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I wouldn't doubt it. Some aisles were manageable. Others were just a wall of people. I have to admit it got to me a few times, and I had to walk outside. If I didn't have the special badge, though I probably would have stuck it out.

Being there really did something for me creatively. I don't want to say I was inspired, because I don't think it would be the right word. It was more that being around so much "creation" really pushed me to be more creative as well. Although I haven't read a comic book in years, I still love the idea of the comic book world, and it really felt good to be a part of it again.

We had lunch at a diner a couple of blocks away from the convention center. Sylent's a cool guy, and it was fun spending an hour or so with him. He came in his trademark Morpheus costume. He said that someone recognized him from pictures posted of other conventions, called him "West Coast Morpheus," and said he was a big fan. I thought that was pretty cool, and am sorry I didn't see it. He found NYC to be a bit overwhelming, and I can't say I blame him. I've been there numerous times through the years, and I still find it a bit overwhelming myself, so he and his wife being there for the first time had to be quite an experience. NYC drivers get a bad rap, and it's well deserved, but the pedestrians deserve a similar rap. No one pays attention to traffic signals. On my way home Saturday night, I was standing at an intersection waiting to cross when I heard a siren indicating that an ambulance was coming. At this moment the light changed, but I stayed there since that's what you're supposed to do. Everyone else poured out into the intersection, and this was with a cop standing a few hundred feet away yelling at them. Unbelievable.

After lunch, Sylent's wife took a picture of us:



He said he wasn't expecting me to be so tall.

After lunch they went back to their hotel to drop off the stuff they had gotten that morning. I didn't see him again, unfortunately. He wanted to attend a Green Lantern panel that afternoon, but he said that after standing on line for some time they told him the room was full and he couldn't go in. Needless to say, he wasn't happy.

While I was there I had my picture taken with Katee Sackhoff, who was Starbuck on the recent BSG:



I enjoyed having her hanging on me, although I didn't get to hold onto her as long as I did Torrie. She told me that I was the only cool guy there. I told her that I hear that a lot (in my head). It's cool having the celebrities there, but it's expensive, too. There are people walking out with autographs and pictures from everyone there, and I don't know how they afford it. Sylent met the ladies from V. I didn't realize they were doing autographs, or I probably would have, too. He managed to upset Laura Vandervoort by buying a picture out on the convention floor that had "illegally" been circulated on the Internet. She still signed it, though. Jerry Lawler was there. He was doing some sketches for people. I debated talking to him, but wound up not. Maybe next time. The big hit out of the celebrities seemed to be Bruce Campbell. His line was completely insane.

I didn't wear a costume. If I go again, I might. It looked like fun, and you can get away with it if everyone else is doing it too. I just wouldn't wear it on the train ride over. Both days it went, it seemed like half the train was going to the convention, but most people weren't in costume. The ones who were definitely stood out, at least on the train. Sylent was right in his past blogs when he said there are always a bunch of hotties in costumes. There was also a guy in a Sailor Moon outfit, and I actually saw a guy in a Catwoman costume too. I'm sure they weren't the only two in drag. If I wore a costume, it would have to have a mask. That's always been my rule. I saw a guy walking around in a really cool Spider-Man costume, but without the mask. Admittedly, he was a dead-ringer for Peter Parker, but still...

Batista would have had a field day there. That's all I'm going to say about that.

I left around 6ish Saturday night. It was still going to be going on for quite some time, but I was burned out. I actually considered going back on Sunday, but decided against it. I'd definitely go again, though. As a result of the trip, I somewhat got back into comics, and have bought a number of Spider-Man issues in the hopes of catching up. I really missed comics.

I actually have an update to this blog. I actually wrote a good portion of this book a couple of years ago, but wound up giving up. I found that writing it was upsetting me too much, and my idea seemed to dry up before I could get a complete book out of it. About a year or so ago I decided to try to finish it, but couldn't find it. I searched the computer, as well as any of the flash drives that I've used, and it wasn't anywhere. I'm still amazed that it just disappeared like that, and it's so hard for me to believe I purposely deleted it. I have tons of half-finished stories floating around, so I don't know why I would erase this one. In August I decided to rewrite it from the start. I was floundering for the first few chapters, and wasn't getting much done. Since the convention I've been writing like crazy, and managed to finish it a few days ago. I found that the best way to stay inspired for it was to listen to depressing, sappy love songs about lost loves and unrequite loves and things like that. Judge me if you will, but it worked. I'm pretty happy with it, but haven't had a chance to proofread it yet. I need to start writing something new tomorrow, so it's unlikely I'll get back to this one for a while. I just need to make sure this completed version doesn't disappear on me, because there's no way I'm going to write this a third time. I will say that this second version came out much better, and is much more filled out, than the first, at least in my opinion.

I watched The Portal last night, on The Movie Channel On Demand. I'm assuming it's also available on the regular TMC, but haven't checked. By the way, don't watch it. It's bad. I watched The Crazies on Starz as well. That was pretty bad, too. I was pretty disappointed this year. It seems like in the past they rolled out some decent scary movies around Halloween, but this one's going to go down as a bust.

I also caught the first two Superman movies from thirty years ago. I've seen them before, but still think they were done very well and can sustain multiple viewings. Admittedly the tacked on "Make the world spin backwards" ending seems to detract from the ending. I'd love to see that first movie the way it was supposed to finish. They re-edited Superman II, but I don't know if the footage exists to re-edit the first one as well. Then yesterday I watched Superman III. I shouldn't have.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween.

Now I can die happy

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For a while I've had plans to attend my first comic book convention, NY Comic Con, which will happen next weekend. I'm supposed to meet Sylent there. If anyone is in the NYC area next weekend and wants the opportunity to meet not one but two TV.COMers, come on out.

However, although I still plan on attending, it will no longer be my first convention. A few days ago I found out that my goddess Torrie would be appearing at another comic book convention this weekend, also in NYC. In an unusual moment of spontaneity, I bought a one-day pass. After waiting an eternity (two days), I jumped on a train this morning and headed over to NY. I actually got lost getting to the convention, even though it was right across from the train station. Yeah, I'm really not good with directions.

So I got there, and she's in the very first booth, maybe a hundred or so feet away from me. Damn did she look good. But I couldn't get to her, because I had to check in. Checking in wound up consisting of walking through the entire hotel the convention was being held in, going outside, turning left, and then going into some building down the street where everyone was playing Magic cards. It took way too long, even though in reality it only took a few minutes.

So I got back and went right back to her booth. I thought she looked hot on TV, but it's nothing compared to having her a few feet away from you. I couldn't believe hwo beautiful she looked. I decided that if I was going to do this I might as well go all the way and wasn't going to be satisfied with just an autographed picture, so I went for getting a picture taken with her, one with a Polaroid that she'd sign, and one with the camera that I brought.

So I'm standing there with my arm around her and feeling her oh so soft hair and meanwhile the guy can't figure out my camera, which is perfectly fine with me. He wound up taking two pictures with my camera. After the first one he tells to hold on and not move, and I said that I could just stand there all day. Torrie laughed. The other picture was a full-body shot of the two of us, but I won't be posting that. People might not believe that the bulge in the front of my pants was just my jeans bunching up.

She told me that I was the only cool guy there. Okay, she didn't, but I'm sure she must have been thinking it.

Sure, it was silly, but I don't regret doing it. A guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do. I will say that I'm not used to women who are nearly as tall as me.

Kevin Nash was right across from Torrie. While Torrie always seemed to have a few people around, I never saw anyone go near Nash. I was quite amused by that. Sunny was supposed to be there, but I didn't see her. I didn't even see an empty table where she was supposed to be. She might have canceled. Virgil was there, but I didn't go anywhere near him. I've heard from more than one person that he pretty much begs anyone within a certain distance to buy his autographed pictures, and I just wasn't in the mood.

I also saw the 1960s Batmobile. It was parked right outside the hotel. Adam West and Burt Ward were at the convention, and while I saw their tables, I didn't see them anywhere. Maybe they were coming later. The boys from the Brady Bunch were supposed to be there too, but I didn't see them either.

The funniest thing was a guy wearing a kickass Stormtrooper costume. He either put a lot of work into it, or just spent a lot of money, but it looked great. It had some battle wear and tear and everything. After he stopped to take a bunch of pictures with people he was walking away and someone told him he was a little short to be a Stormtrooper. For those who don't remember, that's a line taken directly from the first Star Wars movie. However, despite this guy's obvious dedication to the franchise, he didn't get the reference and instead called back, "Hey, I'm taller than you!" There was also a guy wearing a Rorschach costume and carrying a sign that said, "Free hugs." I'm not sure if he got any, but it was still funny. There was also a guy wearing a costume that I absolutely couldn't identify. A couple of guys were walking in front of me and were obviously just as confused, as they asked him who he was supposed to be. The guy just stared back, hatred in his eyes. Maybe it wasn't a costume.

I probably would have gotten more out of the non-Torrie part of the convention if I was still into comics like I once was. While I still like them, especially Spider-Man, I haven't read a comic since the mid-90s. I really felt out of the loop. There was a great selection, but I also didn't want to start buying because I know with my obsessive nature I'd follow that with trying to snap up every Spider-Man title I missed in the last fifteen years. If I had the balls I would show up at one of these things in a Spidey costume. You can get some great ones on eBay, although they're not cheap. However, I have my doubts that I'd ever have the balls to do it. I didn't recognize most of the comic book artists they had there signing. Edge was with one of them. Okay, it wasn't really Edge, but I had to do a double-take when I saw him.

It was a good day, and fortunately the crappy weather we had all week broke for it. Plus, by the next time I go to a Torrie appearance she'll have been missing me so much that she'll probaby rip my clothes off as soon as she sees me. :)

Movies I have watched (in one day)

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It's been a loooooong time since I last blogged. In fact, the only blog I've made all year was back in January, asking for help when I couldn't get this site to work properly. The staff here was completely unhelpful on that issue, thank you very much.

I'm trying to write more. It'll be a good tune-up for Nanowrimo. So I've finally decided to end my blog drought, at least for a while.

I wasn't feeling good yesterday. It was too bad, since the weather was really nice and I would have liked to have gone outside for a while, but my sinuses were bad. It happens to me every year around this time, and there seems to be no way to avoid it. Anyway, I wound up watching some movies. I haven't watched many movies lately. Most of the time I just find something I've already watched and have it on as background noise so I can do other things. Yesterday, despite not feeling great, I found that I was actually in the mood to sit through a full movie, so I did. Four times. Surprisingly, I enjoyed everything I saw. Okay, the last one I watched actually was a pretty crappy movie, but it fulfilled its need at the time. Here, in order, are the movies I watched, and what I thought of them, and this will no doubt contain spoilers:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
I had been meaning to watch this one for a while. I actually started watching it once, but a few minutes into it I realized that I just wasn't in the mood to sit through a full movie, and this was one I actually wanted to pay attention to, so I aborted. My teacher read this to the class way back in grammar school. I liked the story, although always found it a little disturbing. It was changed pretty liberally to stretch it out to a full-length film, but the changes didn't bother me. I really enjoyed it. I hear that they might do a sequel. I had to check into it, and it turns out the book had a sequel as well, although obviously I'd never heard of it. I thought they did a great job with the adaptation, but have my doubts that a sequel would work. It seemed nice enough as just a stand-alone story, and I'm thinking that every movie doesn't necessarily have to become a franchise.


World's Greatest Dad
I'd never even heard of this one. I was perusing the On Demand selections and came across this bizarre 2009 Robin Williams movie in which he plays a father to a complete dick of a son who accidentally kills himself. Not wanting the exact manner of his son's death to get around, he winds up forging a suicide note, followed by a forged journal, which becomes a national sensation and turns his late son into somewhat of a cult figure. I actually debated quite some time whether or not to watch this one. I checked into it and some people were calling it brilliant while others were writing it off as utter crap. After my internal debate, I finally decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did, as I really enjoyed it. It was a very dark comedy, not something that was going to have you rolling around the floor crying with laughter, but still fun to watch. I thought it was a great statement about the incredible hypocrisy we often see from people after someone dies. The son was an absolute waste of a life, almost no one liked him, and it seemed like the world was going to be a better place without him. Meanwhile, the same people who wanted nothing to do with him during life (and deservedly so) were revering him as nearly a saint after he was gone. I'm always amused by that type of hypocrisy. We see it all the time, especially when a celebrity dies. A person who's on the front page of every tabloid while alive suddenly becomes a lost treasure upon death. Ridiculous. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie. I have no idea if anyone else would. Like I mentioned earlier, people either think it's really great or that it's really terrible. One question I was left with was whether or not we were supposed to like the teacher that was seeing Robin Williams' character. She seemed likeable, but there were things she did that were unlikable, or at least questionable.

(500) Days of Summer
As I mentioned in a few blogs recently, this is a movie I've really been interested in seeing for quite some time, but never did. I've certainly had my opportunities, but just never did. One of the problems is that description makes it seem like a romantic comedy, a genre I've gotten bored with, but it really isn't, at least in my opinion. So I finally watched it yesterday. This one hit me hard. It definitely wasn't what I expected. First of all, I found it very unusual to see a movie like this from a completely male point-of-view. Usually a movie like that would be more focused on the sexual side of a relationship, instead of the romantic one. It was a refreshing change. The problem with the movie was that it seemed like it was based on my life, more specifically, my most recent relationship. While I thought the movie was very well-done, I found it difficult to sit through for that reason. From what I've gathered, a lot of men have had a Summer in their lives, and for those of us who have, the movie tends to touch us in quite a different way than for everyone else. As for Summer, she's hard to nail down. Since you only see her from his point of view, we're probably not getting the full story. A lot of people seem to hate her, although I'm not sure if it's deserved or not. I found most of the story to be quite realistic. Sometimes two people can seem perfect for each other and seem to have the perfect relationship together and there wouldn't seem to be a reason in the world for them not to be together for ever…except it doesn't quite happen like that. I guess no one can really explain why. This movie really got to me. I was still thinking about it when I went to bed last night, and it's been on my thoughts throughout the day. I'd actually like to watch it again. I think it's worth a second viewing, but to be honest, I'm not sure I could sit through it a second time. If watching it once bothered me this much, I'm not sure what would happen if I watched it again. The movie arguably had a happy ending, although not the happy ending I wanted to see.

After watching this, I decided I needed to watch something super-violent to balance out what I was feeling. So I did.


Punisher: War Zone
At this point I wasn't looking for a story. I wasn't looking for a plot. I just wanted to see a lot of death and destruction. I wasn't disappointed. No, this wasn't a very good movie. I don't think it was terrible, but it just wasn't that good. On the other hand, it was good for what it was. I really wish Marvel would stop rebooting all its series. So a sequel didn't do so well. Is that really a reason to scrap the whole thing and start over? Spider-Man, Hulk, this…I think they're doing it with Fantastic Four as well. Why? There were plenty of duds in the Star Trek franchise, but they didn't start over every time a movie bombed. Of course, Punisher probably isn't the best example, since I don't think any of the movies did terribly well. The first one, way back in the 90s, was garbage. They took it so far from the source material that you wouldn't even know it was based on a comic book. The 2004 version wasn't great, but I found it to be watchable. Now it's been rebooted again, with another movie that bombed. The one thing that seemed to be the common theme throughout the three movies is that the people involved wanted to distance it from being a comic book property? Why? Maybe they'd get the fans to actually come out and watch if they stuck to the character's roots, but what do I know? Is Punisher a hot property anymore? I really don't know. I haven't religiously followed comic books since the 90s. Back then he was probably up there with Wolverine as far as being the top Marvel draws. Anyway, what was I saying before I went off on the tangent? It doesn't matter. It's good for watching after another movie has helped you to relive the years of heartbreak you've recently gone through. Plus it has Wayne Knight from Seinfeld and Julie Benz in the first non-blonde role I've ever seen her in. I like her better as a blonde, by the way.

Heh heh, this is why I rarely write. Or watch movies, apparently. I get too emotional. Thanks for reading.

Help with forums?

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I can no longer submit posts on the forums. It's been that way since Thursday afternoon. All the other buttons work, such as "Preview," but clicking the submit button does nothing. I'm using Firefox 3.5.7, and have had to switch to crappy IE in order to post over the last few days. I've got a message over in the technical support forum and one person has been trying to help me but so far it hasn't done any good.

Anyone have any ideas what's going on? As far as I can tell no one else is experiencing this, and it's strange that everything on the Internet seems to work except for one button on one web page.

Season Finales

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Now that all of the shows I regularly watch have ended for the season, I might as well comment on their finales. For those of you who haven't seen them yet, there will be spoilers so beware.

Fringe

I was sure this show would be cancelled by the third episode. I liked the premise, but it seemed like something that would never catch on. Plus I thought it started very slow, and at least for the first few weeks I had to keep reminding myself to tune in. I was very pleased at how it turned out. I'm almost as fascinated with the idea of alternate realities as I am with the idea of time travel, and am really looking forward to see where they're going with this concept. Having Leonard Nimoy show up was a nice treat. I'm not sure how much he'll be around next season, but I enjoyed what little they've shown of him. My big concern is that they're apparently moving this show to Thursdays at 9 p.m. in the Fall. I suspect it'll get killed there. It may have developed a nice following in its one season, but it'll be going against other shows that also have their own followings, which are probably larger. As it stands right now I'll have to choose between Fringe and Supernatural, and will probably wind up watching the latter. Why not just put it on Saturday night at 10 p.m. if they really want it cancelled, which is probably what's going to happen. Hopefully they'll come to their senses and move it back to its current spot. If not, they'll probably have to do it during the season, and by that time they may have lost too many viewers.

Heroes

I really don't know what they're doing or where they're going with this show. I think it started strong way back in Season One, but even by the end of that run I think they'd already started running out of gas. The big Season One finale of our heroes finally facing against Sylar consisted of most of them standing around doing nothing, and some of them not even being on site. Now they might as well call it The Sylar Show. I've read comic books my whole life, so I know that comic book villains rarely if ever stay dead forever, but there's usually at least a gap between appearances. When The Green Goblin died in Amazing Spider-Man 122, he didn't show up fresh and clean in 123. They've made Sylar more like one of those bad horror movie villains that gets chopped up, blown up, eaten, etc., and then just shows up in the sequel like nothing ever happened. I'm honestly starting to believe that the writers have no idea what to do with him, and at this point the only thing they can think to do is give him more and more powers while hoping that the series gets cancelled before they have to offer any type of resolution. I think they would have been smarter to "kill" him in the first season, try something novel and actually introduce some new villains over the next few seasons (and no, not villains that we're told are going to be dynamic and then get killed within a few episodes), and then bring him back, maybe for the final season. They've depowered the heroes to the point that it's no longer believable that anyone could ever stand up to him. And the idiocy of not using Claire's blood to save her father in the last episode still irks me. I know that the producers probably want to forget that second story arc ever happened, but the fact is that they did establish Claire's blood was a cure-all. That was yet another mistake, in my opinion, as it made it difficult to care since any character could be brought back any time. It's bad enough that Sylar and Clair already seem to be in that position. But pretending that never happened is ridiculous. Of course, Peter did dump that girl in the alternate future, and we're supposed to forget that happened as well. I really think they need to wrap this series up, and fast.

Lost

Wow. I have no idea what's happening on this show, and I love it. Knowing what we now know about who was manipulating Locke throughout the series makes every previous episode seem different. It's like watching a (good) Shyamalan movie for a second time after finding out what the twist is. So was Richard on the Black Rock? I don't know. I like it that Jacob, and therefore the Island, was somehow a part of all these people's lives even long before they ever crashed. As I already mentioned here, I really enjoy time travel stories. I like it that they're creating the very future they're trying to prevent. My one concern with this show is that it's easy to see the finale falling flat. Expectations are running so high that unless it's absolutely perfect in every way, people are going to pan it. I'm still looking forward to it, and hate to have to wait nearly a year for the final episodes. Since I really hate dangling plotlines, I wonder if they're ever going to revisit the story of Libby. In that one flashback she was shown to be in Hurley's psychiatric ward. Her character was killed soon after, and I don't think that was ever mentioned again. I hope there's some explanation somewhere down the road.

Smallville

I always thought the Lana bashing was more of a jumping-on-the-bandwagon thing, and kind of felt bad when she got trashed for every second she spent onscreen. However, I have to admit that there was a real shift in quality between the pre-Lana and post-Lana episodes this season. It seemed like Smallville had done the impossible, and had overcome the loss of two major characters in what had been its final season and were telling good stories and making me look forward to each upcoming episode. Then the Lana episodes came and went, and the following episodes just seemed…lacking. The season finale felt like it was just slapped together. All of a sudden the Justice League has Davis subdued. How? They were really all over the map with him. "Jimmy" owned him several episodes back, then Davis tossed Clark around like he was nothing, all without having to change into Doomsday. If even Davis was stronger than Clark and had no weakness to Kryptonite, I have no idea how Green Arrow managed to take him down. Maybe there was no way it could be done, so they just skipped that scene. Clark's climactic nighttime battle with Doomsday seemed to last all of ten seconds, and seemed to culminate in them flying into a mountain and exploding. You blink, and all of a sudden it's daylight and we're with Chloe. I figured it out later, but at the moment had no idea what was happening. I wondered if the battle was still occurring, and this was just to show passage of time. Davis winds up being a monster after all, "Jimmy" gets killed, and Zod shows up. Again. I thought it would have been ballsy if they'd actually killed the real Jimmy. They don't really have to follow Superman canon to the letter, do they? Because it seems like they've had no problem deviating from it in the past. With one season left, would it really have mattered if they killed the real Jimmy? It's not like they'd have to rewrite decades of comic books to match the Smallville storyline. Especially since it doesn't seem like we're ever going to really see Superman in this, what's the difference? I also thought that Michael Rosenbaum might make at least one or two appearances this season, namely in the finale. I guess not. Since I guess the argument is that everything bad that's currently happening is happening because Clark saved Chloe, he should just go back in time and kill her. She's the reason Doomsday became unstoppable (even though they stopped him), and as an offshoot, the reason "Jimmy" is dead. And Chloe NEVER met "Jimmy"'s family? Come on. At the beginning of the season I was hoping they'd extend it for another year, now I'm not so sure. Season Nine had better be damn good, and unless they're finally willing to wheel out Superman, it had better be the last.

Supernatural

This is the series I'm expecting to get cancelled season after season, and am always surprised when it's renewed. I thought they said at some point that it's meant to run five seasons, so if that's the case, I guess we're heading toward the end. I really enjoyed this. I found it interesting that throughout the season they made the angels very "human", with their own plans and agendas beyond what one might think. Some of them weren't much better than the demons in the end. I think they did a good job of convincing people that Ruby was at least somewhat on the side of good, although we finally found out the truth. I'm definitely wondering where they go with this series come the fall. It would seem they're not done with the angels yet, which is fine. Plus I love the car. How sad it was when the car got wrecked at the end of the first season. I was sure we'd never see it again.



Banned

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For those of you interested, Sylent_Asassin has been banned from this site. Once his 5-day suspension was up, they decided to just go ahead and ban him. Why didn't they just ban him in the first place? His getting banned is pretty ridiculous when you consider the number of obvious trolls running around this site that no one seems interested in dealing with.