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Tag Archives: Doctor Who

I Have No Life, and I Must Scream

Thanks to the power of image editing, I not only have all my teeth, but they're shiny white too!
The Missus, kiddos, and neighbors 
don’t like it when I scream. 

I burn for something.

Crave it.

Got a fever for it.

But no, not for more cowbell.

It would be easier if I knew exactly what it is I need. But I don’t.

Instead I’ve read at least twelve books in the last month, with another currently in progress.

Binge-watched multiple shows on various streaming services.

Logged into work on off hours and days.

Taken the family on long hikes through the Redwoods.

And done other…more shameful…things to fill the void within me.

(Like stoop to writing…gasp…a radio play, to name but one.)

I think the pandemic has finally gotten to me.

Spending more time at home, enclosed within the same encroaching walls, dealing with exactly the same pets and identical family members day in and day out, I’ve struggled to feel …productive.

Whole.

Relevant.

I started with the streaming services, the gateway vice into maddness. Looking back, I can’t even tell you everything I watched. Despite being within the last thirty days, it’s all faded into a blur.

I mean, yeah, it’s a pandemic month and therefore technically longer than that, but still.

I do remember some Classic Doctor Who, snippets of Marvel movies and shows, and the first season of True Detective (good, but I really wish that was one of the programs I can no longer remember!). There was more, I just know it, but my memories of them remain hidden behind a facemask of inordinate size and opacity.

And I can count off twelve of the books I read (the last four Murderbot books, a Jasper Fforde fantasy series, some on-offs not worth mentioning), but I’m pretty sure there was more than twelve and I just can’t remember the earliest ones.

Like the radio play, the hiking, and working during my time off, they have all been ways to fill the void. Maybe escapism?

Though if the world of True Detective, Season 1, is an escape, how bad must reality be?

Turns out, pretty bad.

I’ve watched as people around me sank lower and lower as the pandemic stretched on and on.

I was doing OK until recently, or so I thought. I chalked up my resilience to being an introvert. Assumed I was handling things so well because I didn’t need or miss the social interaction suddenly yanked from all of us.

And the people I yelled at at home and work? They deserved it. Or so I told myself.

But I was wrong.

I have a problem. I crave input. Stories with, if not happy, at least satisfying endings.

Hello, my name is Ian and I’m a content addict.

A baleen whale trawls for krill and zooplankton by opening its mouth, swimming forward, and hoping. I think I’m doing the same thing, only my mouth is open to scream and my version of moving forward is taking advantage of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and thriftbooks.com.

My biggest problem, of course, is that unlike this pandemic, books, TV shows, movies, and even hikes all come to an end. And while my vices soothe me in the moment, I’m painfully hollow after they conclude.

Leaving me dangerously vulnerable and looking for the next hit. And in that moment, during that profound, bottomless low, I’ll take anything to fill the void and feel whole again.

Cat memes.

Opinion pieces.

Reddit threads.

Anti-vaxxer websites.

Even…[shudder]…fan fic.

So I’m ready to get vaccinated. Ready for herd immunity and parties and writing in coffee shops again. Ready for things to return to some semblance of normal.

Ready to have more in my life than just books.

Read that last sentence again.

One more time, slowly. Really let those words sink in.

Ready to have more in my life than just books.

The fact that I just wrote that sentence speaks volumes (no pun intended) as to the condition of not just my mental state, but our entire world right now.

We need help. All of us.

Though I suppose all of this could be down to flat panel displays. No, really, I read a thread online about this. WFH and binge-watching has resulted in me spending a lot more time in front of screens and the unnatural amount of blue light they expose us to. Maybe the 450-490nm wavelength emissions are what’s leaving me empty inside.

Perhaps the solution to all my woes isn’t a vaccine and hanging with people and coffee shops. Maybe it’s as simple as taping a sheet of transparent red plastic to my monitor and filing a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of said displays.

If nothing else, a lawsuit gives me something to do.

Hmm…

OK, maybe I need just a little bit more help than the rest of you.

 

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I Mourn for Adonis and the other perils of fan fiction (which is still destroying America, by the way)

Not so long ago, I warned that fan fiction was destroying America.

I’ve been silent on the subject since then because of the vitriol-filled emails I got from five different fanfic authors.

Five of them. That’s what, seventy or eighty percent of the people who write fanfic, right?

Clearly, I touched a nerve.

Their impassioned death threats and photos of the front of my house left me with both a lot to think about and an extreme reluctance to go outside, let alone touch on the subject again.

Until now.

Their chief complaint, after the one about my continued existence in a living, non-tortured state, was that as someone who didn’t write fanfic, I wasn’t a special star and could therefore never know what I was talking about.

Au contraire! I have written fanfic. In fact, I can count on three fingers the number of fanfic works I’ve written:

Two Doctor Whos (one thirty years ago, one about ten years ago) and one Star Trek (about twenty-five years ago).

So I have not only fanfic writing experience, but the wisdom, when speaking of it, that comes with age.

I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Ian, you’ve written fanfic? Bullsh*t.”

I can sympathize with this assessment. If I didn’t know myself intimately (and believe me, I do), I would share that assessment.

Therefore, I offer proof.

The first Doctor Who fanfic is lost to history, so I cannot present it as evidence of my bona fides. And the second Doctor Who story was written for an audience of exactly two (myself and the Missus, who is the star of the tale), and is not meant to be shared.

Both stories are also so terrible that to read them threatens the very fabric of space-time, and as my hero, the Doctor, would never stand for that, they shall remain forever beyond your reach.

That leaves the Star Trek story. When I first hit upon the idea of using it as my rebuttal to the vile electronic hate-scrawls that filled my inbox after the first blog post, I despaired. For I believed it, too, to be lost forever.

I was dimly aware of a copy reproduced in my high school Science Fiction club newsletter, but remembering the name of and then tracking down the phone number and calling the president of the club seemed like far too much effort.

In addition, ever since the burning paper bags with copies of Star Trek: Voyager inside them started appearing on my porch, I’ve been less than enthused about the idea of interacting with the outside world.

You have no idea how difficult it is to remove melted plastic from concrete. Especially when you know what had been on that plastic.

I have looked through the translucent blue case and seen horrors beyond description.

This is the hardware responsible for proving a horrific truth. There should be a Star Trek episode where Kirk and Spock go back in time to prevent the device from ever being built. Hmm, I may have a story idea there…

Then I bought a used USB Zip drive (via mail order, of course), and started going through all the Zip disks I had stored in my garage.

It proved to be a treasure trove of old pictures, letters, school papers, and, yes, works of fiction by yours truly.

It is this recent development that now allows me to present to you, my discriminating readers, proof of two things:

1) That I have indeed partaken of the fan fiction fount, and can therefore trash talk it without consequence from the tiny but fanatic community that still perpetuates this literary crime against Humanity

2) Fanfic is, as I have always maintained, and as my story demonstrates beyond any doubt, a literary crime against Humanity

So I now present to you, mostly unedited (except for the Kirk/Spock/time-traveling Wesley Crusher threesome scene – propriety demanded I cut it), Star Trek: I Mourn For Adonis. I recommend donning Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses before reading any further.
Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 1 February 2013 in Conspiracies Out To Get Me, Fanfic

 

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The Hobbit: An Unexpectedly Confusing Sequel or I’m as lost as these dwarves seem to be in the movie

Hello, I'm Martin Freeman and I'm filled with kittens and rage!

A Host of Unexpected Questions

I am a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan.

In fact, I can safely say there is no bigger, more Hobbit-like, more intimately familiar with the material, more enthusiastic fan out there. I can quote anything from the first three movies lock, stock, and quote-smoking barrel.

All of which means I was very excited to see The Hobbit.

So imagine my disappointment at what a confusing mish-mash of gibberish the movie turned out to be.

And I’m not talking about all the Elvish being spoken.

SPOILERS AHEAD

First off, what the heck is up with the ending? They didn’t even get to the gold. And why bother showing us that dragon, Smog, if they’re never gonna interact with it? Bilbo Jr. is all, “I think the worst is behind us, the end.”

WTF??

Ultimately, the movie raised more questions than it answered, which I found extremely frustrating:

Where the hell did the ring come from?

It’s been a while since I saw the Return of the King, but I’m pretty sure that thing got melted in the volcano lava. Along with Gollum.

Which brings up another question.

Why is Gollum in this movie?

He died at the end of Lord of the Rings, didn’t he? Or is he fire-proof, and swam away with the ring? I admit, there is some ambiguity there. But then if that was the case, Sauron would still be around, right? And his giant eye was nowhere to be seen in The Hobbit.

So I’m led to conclude that Gollum’s twin brother, Seagull, died at the end of Return of the King. But Peter Jackson could have made that clear, rather than forcing the viewers to guess that for themselves.

None of which explains where the ring came from.

Who in Sauron’s Inferno was the old guy at the start of the movie who was also named Bilbo?

Bilbo Baggins Senior? If that’s the case (and I’m not 100% certain it is), then why not call Martin Freeman’s Bilbo by a different name? Or possibly ‘Junior’?

Which brings to mind another issue I have, not just with this movie, but all the other fans of the series as well:

What is this refusal to acknowledge R. Tolkien Jr. properly?

Everywhere I look, people move the ‘Jr.’ to the front of his name, like this: J. R. R. Tolkien.

At first I thought this was some sort of Britishism, but I did extensive research on Wikipedia and could find no other examples. Did R. Tolkien Jr. have some sort of complex about being named after his father and as a result adopted this odd nom de plume?

I tell you, not knowing a rational explanation for this drives me crazy.

Other minor quibbles:

Frodo still has his finger.

I may not have been wearing my glasses when I saw Return of the King, but I’m pretty sure Seagull bit it off. And I know he has that finger now because I was wearing my glasses when I watched The Hobbit.

I can only assume Gandalf used magic to grow it back. Would it have killed Peter Jackson to include that scene in the movie? Talk about lazy filmmaking!

Speaking of Gandalf, what happened to his white robe?

Why is it grey again? Did he have an accident at the laundromat, and if so, why not show us that too? Frankly, I’m quite keen to see what a Middle Earth laundromat looks like.

Why was Gandalf talking to Saruman in the middle of this movie?

Hello! I thought Gandalf was this great and all-powerful wizard, yet he forgot that Saruman is a bad guy? Huh??

Too many damn beards.

I couldn’t tell the characters apart through the thick forest of facial hair. What, no razors in Middle Earth? Then why are the Hobbits so clean-shaven, huh? Huh?

Check and mate, Mr. Jackson. Check and mate.

Now before I threw these questions up on my blog and risked looking like a complete idiot, I ran them past a few acquaintances I’ve met via social media, to see if there was an obvious answer I had somehow overlooked.

There wasn’t.

The least-laughable solution they could come up with was the silly notion that if you assume The Hobbit is a prequel rather than a sequel, all of my questions answer themselves.

My response to that is, “Poppycock! Why make the first part of the story last? That makes no sense!”

I was hoping the novelization would do a better job addressing these questions, but I’m a quarter of the way through and so far it has even less stuff going on it in than the movie!

I will give credit where credit is due, however. It was a nice touch having the Doctor’s 7th incarnation be Radagast the Brown. I’d love to see how #7 got from there to the horrible, awful television movie.

Actually, if they make a sequel to The Hobbit, it would be really cool to see the Doctor help out.

Because he totally could.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My books are available!
 

The Santa Claus Gang:

The Santa Claus Gang: A Marlowe and the Spacewoman short story

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
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Posted by on 1 January 2013 in Angst

 

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Is there anything more humiliating than wearing the “Worst Halloween Costume Ever”? No.

I went to the Dark Side at a very young age

Crime fighter? No. Swashbuckling space hero? No. Evil space villain? Yup, that’s me.

The other day, the missus asked me what was my worst Halloween costume ever.

As we were gearing up for this year’s Halloween, I should have been prepared for the question.

I wasn’t, but sadly, I didn’t need to be. The answer leapt immediately to mind.

There is really only one Halloween costume I think of when asked that question.

My attempt to balance out the creepy serial killer Snoopy my sibling went as

Not satisfied with how much candy I reaped from being evil, I opted for the other side of the spectrum – crazy comedian Robin Williams and popular TV character, Mork.

No, it wasn’t one of those cheap plastic-mask-held-on-with-a-rubber-band and plastic apron costumes that were so prevalent in the 70s, though I wore a lot of those growing up (sometimes even for Halloween!).

This was a costume I wore shortly after leaving college, when I was supposedly educated enough to know better.

Ha! Like that will ever happen!

I decided to go as Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

On the surface, this is actually an awesome idea for a costume. I was tall, still relatively lanky at the time, and able to grow a goatee.

early dabblings with wearing makeup

Evil didn’t get me enough candy. Crazy comedian Mork didn’t get me much more. So then I tried undead. But I think I wore too much lipstick.

That goatee is more dear to me than you’d think, since I am utterly unable to grow a proper beard.

I loved that goatee. If it had been legal at the time, I would have married it.

No, the problem I ran into was the shirt.

That damned lime green shirt.

Ya see, being the late 90s, glowing green shirts weren’t really in fashion anymore.

But genius that I was, I hadn’t figured that out yet.

Now I understand why my parents made me wear a chastity belt with this costume.

One year I went as a Boy Scout. Because it saved me a lot of money, rather than buy a costume, I actually joined this paramilitary organization. I learned how to field strip an AK-47 and survive in the wilderness by eating the weaker, less fit members of my troop.

My first thought was, “Easy peasy. I’m a crafty guy, I’ll make my own.”

I went to a craft store and bought a bucket, a white t-shirt, and a packet of the sort of florescent green dye Navy Seals use to mark their location.

How could I not succeed?

This resulted in a light green, almost yellow shirt. I learned from the missus, in recounting this tale, that I should have bought two packets of dye.

Sage advice that came 15 years too late. Oh, if only I had met my wise, beloved missus 15 years sooner, I might have avoided what immediate family and friends refer to as “The Shaggy Halloween Costume Incident”!

Unaware of the two dye packet requirement, I gave up on making my own shirt and started looking for an already manufactured lime green shirt.

It didn’t seem like it would be a huge undertaking when I started. I would just look around and surely I’d find one pretty quickly, right?

Not so much. I looked everywhere.

My old clothes.

By now, I was growing weary of the commercialism of Halloween.

Was I being avant garde or just too poor to afford a costume this particular year? I went as a caricature of myself. The costume was surprisingly uncomfortable.

My dad’s old clothes (hey, he wore shirts in the 60s and 70s, right?).

In thrift shops.

In department stores.

And finally, in mall specialty clothing stores.

It’s this last one where I made my blunder, where I crossed over into worst Halloween costume ever territory.

I literally was going shop to shop, flicking through the clothing racks, pouncing on anything even remotely green.

I mean, I even tried putting on a yellow shirt over a blue one.

Yes, I was that desperate.

It was a long, thankless task. Which made the discovery, the perceived victory, seem all the more sweet.

Maybe this costume will annihilate my traumatic memories of the 'Incident with the Shaggy Costume'?

This year I decided to be the antithesis of all my previous Halloween costumes – winners and losers. This year I am Anti-matter Batman. The only drawback is I can’t touch anything, or I’ll destroy this corner of the Universe. A small price to pay if it erases the trauma of that Shaggy costume.

I found one. A shirt. Not just green, or greenish, but Lime green. With a capital ‘L’.

My size.

On sale.

I proudly went to the cash register and slapped down my hard-earned cash to pay for my hard-won purchase.

My entire body burned with the delicious sensation of accomplishment.

The woman behind the counter looked at me funny, but before she could speak, I told her how relieved I was to find this item.

How I’d been searching and searching for a lime green shirt for Halloween.

How hope had begun to fade, and a sense of looming defeat had driven me to thoughts of an alternate costume.

The funny look should have been a clue. The shrug after I spoke another one. But I was too effervescent to notice, and frankly, as the missus will tell you, I’d make a terrible real life detective. I’m always missing the clues.

It was at the party, hanging out with a large group of mostly strangers, that I sensed something was wrong.

I’d been single for a while at this point in my life, and was more than a little tired of that. I had high hopes that this party would open up some avenues of companionship for me. And I thought a clever costume like mine would help on that front.

It didn’t. The women, when they would look at me, gave me unsettling, dismissive stares.

Very much like that store clerk.

And it wasn’t me they were gawking at. It was the shirt.

My long-sought after, hard-won shirt.

Not even my lovingly sculpted goatee could compete with that glowing, bright green top.

And let me tell you, crappy beard aside, my goatee is a thing of wonder.

I remember the moment realization began to dawn. It occurred to me, finally, to wonder about the fit of the garment.

Because the fit was definitely a bit odd.

It hung loose on the top, and low in the front. This had puzzled me from the get-go, but it was lime green, dammit, and it had taken me days to find.

But standing there, in a sea of women who not only weren’t impressed with me, but clearly questioned my masculinity, I realized what had happened.

I’d bought a woman’s blouse.

I sweated underneath a zipped up jacket for the rest of the party, and I went home alone afterward.

Alone, but definitely a little bit wiser.

I had learned an important life lesson that I carry with me to this day:

Lane Byrant sells women’s clothing.

Exclusively.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
 
My (completely free of intimate encounters) books are available!

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
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Posted by on 31 October 2012 in Angst, Life

 

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The unheralded performance art of Niels Bohr, the Man Who Would Be A Physicist

I’ve come across a certain misconception so often in my reading of Physics and General Science textbooks, that I feel the need to point out the truth.

Yes, I read science textbooks for pleasure. You should try it. They can be quite exciting. Though the mysteries aren’t terribly engaging – they tend to spell everything out, including the solution, right away. And some of the problem sets are blatant red herrings.

Neils Bohr, the Marcel Marceau of performance art, and possible future Doctor Who

Niels Bohr, world’s greatest performance artist. His one man show, Atom and Eve, is wildly credited as the inspiration for Cats.

That misconception? That distortion of truth? That lie portrayed as alternate reality?

Niels Bohr, despite his Nobel Prize, was not a groundbreaking physicist, nor was he the “Uncle of the Atomic Bomb.”

Now if someone told me Niels Bohr spent his free time investigating murders in Copenhagen, I could believe that.

Or if he was a leading member of the Danish underground, who spent his free time investigating the war crimes of the Nazis during the occupation, I could believe that.

Hell, if you combined the two, I’d believe that as well.

And if those activities formed the focus for a series of mystery novels, I’d totally read them.

But a physicist? Who made meaningful contributions to the understanding of the atom?

Please.

The truth is that Niels Bohr was a performance artist.

A Danish performance artist.

A damned good Danish performance artist.

His most famous piece was a years-in-the-making performance purporting to plumb the depths of the then greatly misunderstood atom.

Titled simply “The Bohr model” (or, in some smug circles, the “The Rutherford-Bohr model”), it was Niels’ way of protesting against the dangers of the complicated system of alliances in Europe and the risk of all-out war.

In a letter to his wife, Margrethe Nørlund, Niels explained the themes and hidden meanings behind his so-called model of the atom:

The 'n' stands for 'neutrality'.

The model that caused all the trouble. Not as sticky as the plum pudding model of J. J. Thomson, but still more sticky wicket than mere tacky wicket.

The nucleus represents the nation-state, a single country, any country. The positive charge of the nucleus: the fact that it is alone is a good, a positive development. The negatively saturated electron shell beyond the happy nucleus represents the draining, subtractive threat of complicated, binding alliances, circling around the carefree nation like an unseen shark, ready to neutralize a country’s sovereignty and drag it into war. The emitted photon is a metaphor for the weapons of warfare, the fiery horror of Man’s inhumanity to Man.

I am fine. How are the children doing? I miss you all terribly. The cafeteria food here is horrible. Please send sausages. And chalk. There is a terrible shortage of chalk, and I can’t get work done without it.

Also, I need lotion. The chalk really dries out my skin.

I am amazed, to this day, that most high school science classes, and far too many college physics classes, continue to propagate the foolish notion that Niels Bohr was a serious and influential physicist.

I blame Texas’ influence on textbooks. There are, inexplicably, a large number of Bohr fans on the Texas Board of Education. Whether or not they know the truth of his livelihood is open to debate, but it is unassailable fact that they consider his contribution as a physicist to be more beneficial to his reputation than his contribution as a performance artist.

This is not to say he wasn’t influential in the world of physics. Paradoxically, and much to his own personal amusement, he was.

Why?

Because people, not realizing he was a performance artist, took him seriously.

They weren’t alone. He took himself seriously too.

Or, more accurately, he took his art seriously.

He took it so seriously he actually studied Physics in college and grad school, despite how repugnant and confusing he found the material.

He later said that the birth of quantum physics was a Godsend, because no one understood it and therefore they didn’t recognize his hopeless meanderings within the subject.

The only thing that preserved his undue reputation as a physicist, and society as a whole, is that somehow, against the odds given his liberal arts leanings, he managed to stumble on a model that not only conveyed his message, but was reasonably close to the truth.

Close enough that other, real scientists, were able to build on and refine and correct it.

But I’ve always wondered: would we have had an atomic bomb sooner if Bohr hadn’t clouded the science back in the early 1900s? Would the Nazis have gotten the bomb first?

Maybe his protest piece saved us all from nuclear fire.

Or, even worse, having to speak German.

In that light, maybe the Texas Board of Education got it right after all.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
 
My books are available!

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

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So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
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Posted by on 15 August 2012 in Science!

 

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Stop Treating Me Like An Idiot, Mainstream Television!

Yes, there were beautiful women in it.

Yes, I was mostly naked.

These two lines are extremely handy for starting blog posts that I don’t want friends, family, or, frankly, anyone who has seen me, reading. They see those first two lines, and assuming they don’t fall to the floor gibbering in primal horror while curling up into the fetal position, immediately take a pass on reading further.

Quite handy.

Oh sure, the next line, if I were being honest and they were still reading, would be:

No, I didn’t have any fun.

I’m talking about a dream I once had. I was hosting a bunch of people in my home: ex-girlfriends, beautiful women on twitter who I’ve never physically met before, and female strangers who were also pleasant to look at.

They couldn’t give a rat’s ass about me, even in my own damned dream. And how does this dream that started with so much potential wrap up?

With me. In bed. With a male friend and his male acquaintance.

Platonically, mind you. If I’m not having any of the funny stuff with the ladies in my dream, I sure as all heck am not having any of the funny stuff with the guys in the dream either.

I think the worst part of the dream is that I am so physically inadequate that none of the women in it noticed I wore a wide-open bathrobe and nothing else.

No admiration.

No shock.

Not even horror.

Blake Shelton Naked (not)

"Because remember, underneath our clothes, we're all ... naked!"

Yes, not even horror. Impressive physique or dreadful physique, at least that gets you noted. You register on whatever the female equivalent of the male attractiveness Richter scale is called. The Bradley Cooper Threshold? The Clooney Displacement? The Shelton Naked Scale?

(At last! A legitimate reason to use ‘Blake Shelton naked’ as a tag on this blog! Suck it, Blake Shelton fans!)

And I, in my own freakin’ dream, don’t register at all with these women. Not so much as a blip.

Humiliations galore.

Well, one of them did come to me and ask that I fix a leaky faucet.

I have leaky faucets at home, and this fact has managed to creep into every single dream I have. My sleeping life is like my waking life – an unmitigated horror of bad plumbing.

Naturally, when I wake up from this recurring dream, I am depressed.

Morose.

Adrift.

And like many unnoticed, alienated men, I turn to the one thing that might just cheer me up.

No, not the wife and kiddos. I said cheer me up!

No, not killing hookers. That’s even more depressing.

And a little creepy.

Not to mention, not something easy to do when one is feeling lethargic. At least, not if you don’t want to get caught.

Just a bad idea all around.

So yes, I turn to the only other alternative.

Television.

Oh, what a disappointment that turns out to be. Every time.

Which is why I think we need a television viewers Bill of Rights.

Plane passengers get one, right?

Consumers get one, yes?

Public utility rate payers are afforded this protection in some locales, correct?

Grover Norquist foisted one upon all the Republicans, didn’t he?

So why not TV viewers?

Therefore, without further ado, I present to you, dear readers, my TV Viewers Bill of Rights:

1) When you start a show, finish it. Don’t do a half-ass job of promoting it, then cancel it just as the fan base becomes rabid. You’ll piss off a lot of people and get a ton of hate mail.

2) If you broadcast a show on your network, and then do cancel it before all story arcs are resolved, you will make the resolution of those story lines known, either with a press release or a spin-off graphic novel or by going on The Ellen Show and announcing them.

Just don’t do it on Oprah. I don’t get OWN.

Unless it turns out the mark on the amnesic main character is an angelic glyph and his amazing intelligence came about because he was dead and in Heaven before coming back. That’s just lame and I’d prefer you keep it to yourself.

3) On a related note, if you start a sub-plot, and your show doesn’t get canceled, finish the damned sub-plot. Don’t have one of your main characters take his girlfriend into the future and then leave her there while he goes back to actually prevent that future from happening. Or if you do, at least explain why he couldn’t be bothered to go get her. Or even mention her again.

4) You will monitor twitter while your show is airing. Across time zones. Your lawyers will use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and any other douchey legal tools at hand to force all live-tweeters to Cease and Desist. The DMCA is a crap law, but we ought to get some good out of it.

5) Never, ever, EVER have something really bad and shocking happen, something cataclysmic that guarantees astronomical season finale ratings and has people talking at the water cooler for the duration of the rerun period, only to have it end up being a freakin’ dream. You do something bad ass, own it. If you don’t have the writing cojones (or ovaries) to write yourself out of it after the fact, don’t freakin’ do it to begin with.

6) Don’t swear up and down for the first four years of your show that the characters are not in Purgatory, are in fact alive, and all the events they are experiencing are real, only to actually kill them off and have them in Purgatory for the last season. That is beyond stupid, moron, and if you do end up doing it, please get lost.

7) For the love of all that is good, so-so, average, neutral, ambiguous, and even evil, do not have characters who fight end said fight with a passionate kiss and a tumble in bed/on the kitchen table/under the desk at work/in the Men’s Room stall at Grand Central Station.

That crap is totally cliché.

8) Don’t replace a character with another actor. If you have to, don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Samantha really should have been wondering why her husband was suddenly slightly less effeminate, and, oh yeah, A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON!

And ya know what? My kids are still curled up underneath their cribs, blubbering on and on about what happened to Marina. God dammit, Nick Jr., you’re supposed to be all about the kids!

Jesus Christ, How Many Actors????

How do you plan to top eleven actors? Hire a TWELFTH?

Don’t even get me started about Doctor Who. They’re on their ELEVENTH actor playing the title role. Hello, the British pound is worth more than the dollar! You can afford to give your star a raise to keep him!

Come on! It’s not like you spent the money on special effects! At least, not for the first twenty-five years!

9) Finally, and most important, don’t insult the viewer’s intelligence. Some of us actually are smart, and can figure stuff out without being hit over the head with it. Try challenging us, make us work for the entertainment. We’ll be more vested in the show if you do. And if you’re worried about the stupid people, don’t. Just keep hiring sexy men and women in tight clothes to hold their attention.

But please, choose sexy men and women in tight clothes who can also act.

Feel free to print this out, sign it, get your kids and neighbors and pets to sign it, and then send it to:

Wil Wheaton
c/o NBC Universal
Quality Assurance Division
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Because NBC, through Wil Wheaton, is responsible for all TV shows. The illusion of other networks and foreign programming? All a vast conspiracy. But that’s the subject of a future blog post.

Now don’t any of you suggest a Blog Readers Bill of Rights. I can’t live up to those sorts of standards.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
 
My book, (the edited) Marlowe and the Spacewoman, is out!
 

Marlowe and the SpacewomanClick here to learn more or order a copy!

 
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Posted by on 20 March 2012 in Life, Other Blogs, Story

 

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My Other Police Box is a DeLorean

TARDIS: Now with more cookies!

Time travel AND cookies! It doesn't get more paradoxical than that!

I’m a sucker for time travel.

Backwards time travel, that is. Forwards time travel, not so much. I do that all the time.

And when I say I’m a sucker for backwards time travel, I’m talking about stories and books and TV shows and movies about it, not actual backwards time travel. Alas, while that would be spiffy too, I’ve never managed to do anything but travel in the forward temporal direction. Oh sure, I’ve sat through some meetings that slowed time down, but I’ve yet to endure an event that reverses it.

Though I’ve heard reports of an Amway pitch in Bowling Green, Ohio on August 12, 1978 that stopped time for 3.8 seconds.

I was too young to attend at the time, but I totally would travel back in time to go to that, if time travel were possible.

After that incident, Amway set up stringent guidelines on how to run your pitches, to avoid any cataclysmic ruptures in space-time. With mixed results. Did you know those semi-regular additions of time to the clock on New Year’s Eve are due to rogue Amway pitches? Totally true.

Why am I a sucker for backwards time travel if I’ve never actually done it? Because the idea of popping back to witness important historical events is fascinating. I’d love to dress up in a fancy costume, pop back, and immerse myself in a historical period. I could slip back and ensure Jane Austen never marries. That would change the tone of her books, wouldn’t it? Or right a wrong, like making sure that bastard Alexander Hamilton doesn’t kill Aaron Burr in their duel.

Or prevent my parents from ever meeting. Boy, would that ever save the world a lot of trouble!

I’ve also considered bitch-slapping Hitler and then shanking his ass, thus ending World War II in 1944 or 1945 instead of 1948, but I suspect that particular scenario is pretty high on all the time traveler tourist agendas. Hell, they probably have temporal docents sternly leading groups through the bunker, talking with a slight lisp and their nose high up in the air:

“And to our right is Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany, instigator of World War II, and world backgammon champion of 1936. It is said his bitterness over losing the title led to the eventual invasion of Poland. Currently, he is getting a completely platonic back rub from Joseph Goebbels. Oops, and now another tour group has arrived, and as you can see, they are bitch-slapping Hitler something fierce. Goebbels is trying to intervene, but he isn’t prepared for modern weapons like that group has. And now they’re stabbing Hitler with a collection of butter knives, spoons, and, I think, yes, a spork. Don’t worry, we’ll resuscitate him and you’ll all get your chance. Make sure your toothbrush or comb has been filed down to a nice, sharp point.”

But time travel has some seriously heavy downsides to it, Van Damme law enforcement movies notwithstanding. You can erase your parents, yourself, your family and friends; heck, if one of those tourists dropped a taser and Hitler got hold if it, our entire society could vanish in a puff of paradox and we’d all be goose-stepping to the Horst-Wessel-Lied.

Paradox is nasty. Worse than second-hand cigar smoke, and nearly as carcinogenic.

Scientists way smarter than me say that this is a good thing. Paradox means that time travel is impossible, so we don’t have to worry about things like George W. Bush getting elected president instead of Al Gore. Man, what a bullet we dodged there, and all because time travel is impossible!

But that does leave me feeling pretty bummed. Because horrific downsides or not, I think traveling back in time would be really, really cool. I could totally snag the Magna Carta from King John right after he signs it, and sell it on eBay. Or pay Michelangelo to paint a handlebar mustache on his rendition of God on the Sistine Chapel. Maybe even curling the end instead of reaching out to Adam.

Fun times.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Amway pitch to attend. This guy is breaking all their sales record, so he has to be bending time and space as well as the rules.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!

My book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman, is out!

Marlowe and the SpacewomanClick here to learn more or order a copy!

 
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Posted by on 18 January 2012 in Other Blogs

 

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