Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Friday, September 23, 2022
Thursday, September 22, 2022
(It sorta makes sense in context.)
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
A couple of years ago, I was asked by a friend if I'd write something about cosplay for their blog. This led to my first and only appearance talking about cosplay at an Anime convention, which was a bit confusing as I hardly knew anything about Anime at the time and have yet to cosplay an Anime character.
Still, I recall being very proud of this piece at the time and being told more than a few people were moved to tears by it.
Naturally I never thought of republishing it on my personal site. Until now. Which was prompted by my finally getting around to listening to the audio book of Doctor Who: Scratchman by Tom Baker and being astonished that the final "PS From The Doctor" ended with the words "Mind you, if someone like me could get away with being the Doctor... Well, who's to say you can't too...?"
With that in mind, I delved into archive.org, recovered this lost text, and restored it here.
I dedicate this, with respect, to Tom Baker, for all the inspiration, and to anyone who ever donned a costume to make children smile.
Now read on...
Not too long ago, actor Tom Baker - most famous for playing The Doctor on Doctor Who - celebrated his 80th Birthday. On this occasion, he granted an interview where he spoke a bit about the role and the show. He said many interesting things (as he usually does in his interviews) but the one thing that stuck with me was that he stayed in the role as long as he did because of how happy it made him and how much he enjoyed “being a hero.”
I can relate. Because that is how I feel every time I am The Doctor.
I’ve managed this trick despite not looking very much like Tom Baker apart from having brown curly hair and a striking voice. He is tall. I am not. His eyes are bluish-grey and usually wide open. Mine are brownish-green and usually half-closed. And yet, for many young children at sci-fi conventions, I am The Doctor.
The first thing I learned being The Doctor is that you must always have a bag of Jelly Babies upon your person. Because it is certain that if you don’t offer them to everyone who recognizes you upon meeting them, they will ask if they might have one. And if you don’t have one to give them, you’d better have a good excuse why not. My best one is that convention security confiscated them AND my Jammie Dodgers thinking they were deadly weapons.
The second thing I learned about being The Doctor is that dressing in an outlandish and instantly recognizable outfit does little to dissuade parents that you are not a dangerous maniac when you offer their children strange candies. Until the first time I had a parent look nervous after I asked their toddler “Would you like a Jelly Baby?”, it had never occurred to me that I was doing precisely what we instruct young children to watch out for strangers doing. For all they knew, I might have a windowless white van instead of an old blue box!
After that, whenever a child asked me for a Jelly Baby, I’d smile and say “Thank you for asking so politely, but that’s up to your parents.” This worked quite well for a time. And yet no matter how well you plan these things you can still get thrown for a loop, as I was this past fall.
I was dressed as The Doctor at a shop in the Dallas/Fort Worth area - The British Emporium - which holds a yearly Doctor Who festival. There were two little girls who recognized me and shyly came up to me to say they liked my scarf. I thanked them and complemented their Dalek-knit caps, noting they did make me nervous until I remembered that Daleks weren’t that small.
The older of the two asked if she might have a jelly baby. Before I could get my line out, her mother - who was watching this from a distance - said “I’ve told you not to take candy from strangers!”
“He’s not a stranger! He’s The Doctor,” said the girl with all the gravity a pre-schooler could manage.
At that moment, I was both inspired and mortified in equal measure. I was touched that this girl could believe in me like that… even if the reward for that belief was free candy. And I was frightened as I pondered just how easily the monsters of this world could take that trust and abuse it.
The Doctor could look like anyone, after all. And he’s turned to children for help before. How many children might be lured away from their homes by a cunning liar promising Jelly Babies and a quick trip around the universe? It’s a frightening thought and one that never entered my head until that moment. Because when you’re The Doctor, these things never enter your head. You’re so busy focusing on the smiles of the people and laughter of children around you that such things never occur to you.
This is why, I think, The Doctor becomes so very angry and very horrible whenever something takes him out of that place. Because he’d like nothing more than to just enjoy how wonderful the universe is yet can’t stand idle while bad things are happening. And that’s why he’s made it his business to be the thing that monsters everywhere have nightmares about.
I can’t make claims to such heroism in my occupation as a youth services librarian. I’ve never disabled a Dalek or stopped a Sontaran. But I have helped a boy hide from the father he wasn’t supposed to let pick him up from school. And I have confronted a patron who thought the best way to deal with a teen whose phone went off in the middle of the library was to slap the phone out of the young man’s hand then forcibly drag him to my desk.
Not exactly saving planets, admittedly. But I did help a boy to run from his monster. And I got another monster to see himself for what he was by politely but firmly pointing out that it’s generally unacceptable to strike and grapple a child that isn’t yours in full view of 20 people in the middle of a library that is two minutes away from the nearest police station.
Most afternoons I run an after-school program that gives the local teens a place to get away from their problems for an hour or two. It’s not a ride on the TARDIS, but it gets the job done most of the time. When it doesn’t, I can be that one other thing a lot of kids don’t have - an adult who will listen. Not advise. Not lecture. Not preach. Just listen.
Because that’s the final thing I learned by being The Doctor. It’s that while there are monsters in this world and they can look like anyone, there are also heroes. And like The Doctor, they can look like anyone. So anyone could be The Doctor. Anyone could be a hero. Even you.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
(Okay. That doesn't sound as impressive.)
Still, we check out several of our old haunts, catch up with some old acquittances and start scrounging up the cash and a ship for a trip to Monkey Island.
Monday, September 19, 2022
At any rate, hijinks ensue and we get a chance to know the new interface.
SEE THE EARLY ADVENTURES OF GUYBRUSH AND SENSEI STARMAN!
LET'S PLAY: THE SECRET OF MONKEY ISLAND
LET'S PLAY: MONKEY ISLAND 2: LECHUCK'S REVENGE
LET'S PLAY MONKEY ISLAND 3: THE CURSE OF MONKEY ISLAND
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Friday, September 16, 2022
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
With Barry having suffered a major loss, the team rally around him in the darkest hour yet.
The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson.
This is the last episode to feature Jesse L. Martin as a series regular.
With this episode, The Flash surpassed Arrow as having the most episodes of any Arrowverse series.
Reportedly, this was originally planned to be the series finale, but a new ending was written when the series was renewed for Season 9.
Impulse describes a situation as "all aster, no dis." This is a nod to Young Justice, where the young heroes routinely took apart words, such as when Robin wondered why people were overwhelmed or underwhelmed but never just whelmed.
The flash forward at the end of the episode takes place on June 29, 2049. This episode originally aired on June 29, 2022.
The blue crystal in the future shown in the final scene may be a nod to the villain Cobalt Blue - a Flash villain from the comics with connections to both the Allen and Thawne families.
Barry plans to enter the Negative Speed Force by using a concentrated blast of dark matter and negatively-charged lightning in conjunction with his tachyon harness.
Chester reports detecting a huge influx of negative kinetic tachyons right before the Reverse-Flash appears in downtown Central City. He later detects negative kinetic isotopes with temporal, geothermic, and electric chemical readings, corresponding to the effects of the other Forces.
Impulse: (on seeing Reverse-Flash's new costume) Who's his new tailor? Satan?
The reborn Reverse-Flash confirms that the Negative Forces brought him back to serve as the Negative Speed Force avatar, due to them being too weak to function without a fourth member of their circle.
Barry tries to kill the Reverse-Flash, but is stopped by XS and Impulse.
Barry finally relents on killing Reverse-Flash when XS and Impulse point out that if they're still alive, Iris couldn't have died yet. (Or that there's still a chance of fixing the timeline.)
Barry plans to go into the Negative Speed Force, theorizing it is the only place Thawne could hide from him after Chester can't find any sign of him on Earth-Prime.
Barry continues to insist that he felt Iris die and that he can't feel their connection anymore. He also fears she may have been erased from reality completely but the changes haven't caught up with them yet.
Iris wakes up in the same empty space dimension from 805 and is greeted by a remnant of Damien Darhk's memories.
Meena volunteers to use her powers to give Barry the Negative Speed Force charge he needs to enter the Negative Speed Force.
Cecile tells Barry she can feel him radiating anger.
Cecile suddenly feels an intense sensation of frustration, right before having a vision of Bashir (aka Psych) the Sage Force Avatar.
Cecile believes Bashir wants her to find him and the other Positive Force Avatars.
The Negative Force avatars take the Reverse-Flash into a space resembling the Reverse-Flashpoint from 804.
The Negative Forces reveal that Eobard Thawne did not tap into the Negative Speed Force with his machine. The Negative Force tapped him, choosing him as an avatar because it fed off of his hatred for Barry Allen to empower itself.
Damien confirms that the Negative Forces used Iris as an incubator to create a new Negative Speed Force, in much the same way Barry and Iris' love allowed the Speed Force to be reborn.
Damien explains that the Time Stone he gave Joe acted to save Iris, because she wasn't meant to die at this point in time and that there's something important she's meant to do in the future.
Meena almost destroys her Artificial Negative Speed Force trying to give Barry a jump-start. Barry persuades her to charge herself up so that she can give her power to him.
Joe West is shown at his home, praying for Iris to return home safe, when the Jay and Joan Garrick of 2049 show up. They explain that they followed Iris' particle trail across time to Joe's house. This eventually leads them to the Time Stone, which Jay recognizes, having heard about it in his travels.
With the reluctant help of Queen and Top, Cecile attempts to make contact with Psych. He appears briefly and confirms that the time sickness that infected Iris and Deon Owens spread to the Sage Force and Strength Force.
Psych also explains that he saw potential in Cecile and opened the floodgates in her mind. This caused her to steal the powers of Queen and Top by accident.
Barry travels into the Negative Speed Force and confronts the other Negative Forces.
The Negative Forces explain that Barry disrupted the cosmic balance in 805 when he depowered the Reverse-Flash instead of allowing him to be erased from existence. Before that, they had no idea it was possible to upend the balance in such a fashion, This gave them the idea do the same thing, but to their benefit, turning the Reverse-Flash into an avatar of all the Negative Forces.
The Reverse-Flash dons a new black version of his original costume when he returns to Central City.
Damien Darhk gives Iris a pep-talk, telling her that she is a survivor who is too stubborn to die and that even if the spark between her and Barry is dead, it can still be reignited.
Reverse-Flash hits Impulse with lightning and sends him back in time a billion years.
Using the Psych mask, Cecile is able to transfer her power to Bashir. This somehow allows him to heal the rest of the Positive Forces.
The Positive Forces Show up and give their power to Barry, giving him the chance to fight Reverse-Flash evenly.
Iris reappears at Joe's house.
Barry is able to hold his own against Reverse-Flash, but the two of them wielding all the Forces is threatening to destroy Central City, if not all of reality.
Jay runs Iris to the battle so that Barry can see she is alive.
Instead of fighting Reverse-Flash, Barry meditates on maintaining everything.
Reverse-Flash burns himself out trying to summon more power to destroy Barry.
Barry uses all the power he has to restore things so his children and Meena return.
The universe rights itself after.
Chester confirms that Barry's extra Force powers are gone and that Iris' time sickness is cured.
Gideon confirms there are no more Eobard Thawne remnants anywhere in the timeline.
Jay, Joan, XS and Impulse return to 2049.
Meena confirms the BLOC is no longer working and that she's lost her powers.
Barry and Iris give Meena the yellow tie worn by the reformed Eobard Thawne she loved.
Barry and Meena both offer each other help with whatever they might need help with in the future.
The Top and Queen are both confirmed to have their powers back, with The Queen being locked up in Iron Heights again.
Cecile is revealed to have developed telekinetic powers.
Allegra, Chester and Cecile decide to collective call themselves Team Badass.
The Flash reunites Tinya Wazoo and her mother Renee.
The cryonic chamber Chillblaine build malfunctions. He tries to take Caitlin Snow out of it, but is confronted by someone he doesn't recognize. She has the same voice as Caitlin and Frost, and introduces herself as "A friend, I think."
Barry and Iris enjoy a quiet night in, but Iris worries that the Negative Speed Force will find another avatar to replace Thawne.
Central City - June 29, 2049
The Bottom Line
A messy end to a messy season. The best that can be said is that it does tie up all the loose ends except for what is happening to Caitlin and Frost. (This was likely due to the need to work around Danielle Panabaker's second pregnancy.) Hopefully Season 9 can give the series and the Arrowverse a proper ending.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Superman: Our Worlds At War, The Final Night (Superman entering the sun to kickstart his powers) and Superman: Miracle Monday
The episode doesn't make it clear what happened to Jon-El and Lana-Rho after their capture in the last episode. If they are locked up on the normal Earth, why doesn't it pain Jonathan Kent and Lana Lang? (Perhaps John Henry Irons got his device from 211 working?) Alternatively, they could have been sent back to Bizarro world, but then why wouldn't they separate the two Allys?
The revelation that Superman and Lois is not set on Earth-Prime and that there are no other superheroes creates something of a plot hole regarding John Diggle's cameo appearance in 112, where he mentions "...Doppelgangers, other worlds, glowing boxes, losing the people I love..." as well as someone named Oliver saying Superman is the best we have. (This could be a different Oliver than Oliver Queen, or the Oliver Queen of this world is an ARGUS agent rather than a vigilante.)
With this episode, Tyler Hoechlin establishes himself as the Superman of a generation.
The special effects work is fantastic all around as the worlds merge and shift at random, but the battle between Superman and Parasite is bar none the best use of CGI in the Arrowverse ever.
The episode title comes from a song recorded by Daughtry in 2013. It is not to be confused with the similarly titled Flaming Lips song "Waitin' For A Superman.
The biggest revelation to come out of this episode was that it revealed that Superman and Lois is set on an alternate Earth apart from Arrowverse Earth-Prime and that Superman is the only superhero on it.
Chrissy Beppo's message, as relayed by the Department of the Defense, is almost a word for word copy of the episode's official synopsis as released by The CW.
Lana references Superman's revised motto in the comics from 2021 onwards: "Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow." Beyond referencing Superman's original nom de plume as "The Man of Tomorrow," the change also reflected Superman's status as a global hero rather than a purely American one.
The day Superman defeated Ally Allston is declared Miracle Monday. This was the name of a classic Superman novel written by Elliot S! Maggin. The story features Superman fighting a being of pure chaos, winning by virtue of simple goodness and establishes the titular holiday as being held on the third Monday of every May in the DC Universe.
This became the last episode of the series to feature Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent. He stepped down from the role between seasons, due to unspecified health issues.
John Diggle makes mention of Intergang and Bruno Mannheim. In the Superman comics, Intergang is a criminal group that makes use of advanced alien technology in their crimes. Bruno Mannheim is their leader. It is suspected that he will be the chief villain of Season 3.
General Lane makes reference to a DoD program that used bufotoxin secreted by toads as part of an experiment.
John Henry's plan is to explode X-Kryptonite inside the void between worlds, using it to destroy the portal to Bizarro World.
Natalie suggests that instead, the transfer the power of their suits into the pod and use that to disrupt the portal.
Chrissy: With the authorization of the Department of Defense, today I can relay to you, not only is the merging of the planets real, it is happening, and Ally Allston, or whoever she is now that she and her Bizarro self are one, is responsible. If Ally succeeds in merging these two worlds, each of us will be forced against our will to merge with our other selves, turning us into... I don't know what. And I can also confirm that for the first time in 20 years we can't wait for Superman to save us. Our world's hero is now powerless because of this parasite twin. So I urge everyone watching this video, please stay home, be with your loved ones, and pray for a miracle.
Superman: How do we stop Ally?
Tal-Rho: Well, brother, we aren't going to stop her. I am.
Superman: Tal, she drained me of all my energy, nearly killed me. I don't know that you alone is gonna be enough.
Tal-Rho: Perhaps, but what other choice do we have? Brother, for years I've watched you do things no other hero is capable of. It's rather inspired me to have a go myself.
Superman: So this time last year, you were trying to destroy the world, and now you're fighting for it.
Tal-Rho: I'm not fighting for the world, Kal. I'm fighting for you. You and your family. The only people on this planet that truly matter to me.
Sam Lane: Boys! I've been working for the DOD for a long time. I've seen things you would not believe. Glimpses of other worlds and the leagues of superheroes they have on them. And even though we only have your father on this planet, thank God that we do, because he's the finest of any Earth. So don't go losing hope yet. I sure as hell haven't. Your mother hasn't and I guarantee you, neither has Superman.
Superman: Have some more.
Chrissy is allowed to broadcast the truth about Superman being depowers and the worlds merging.
Kyle Cushing disappears as the worlds start to merge.
Lana takes her daughters to look for Kyle.
Superman says that he's never encountered something like this in his career. This is another major clue that the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths didn't take place in this reality.
Natalie's tablet begins beeping as the worlds start merging.
Natalie picks up a signal from John Henry and guesses that he is in the void between worlds. She makes out enough to hear him say he needs her escape pod.
Tal-Rho shows up for the first time since 212, having also been transported to Bizarro World. He says that since Superman is powerless, he figured he might be needed and possibly welcomed.
Lois is left behind on Bizarro World after the rest of her family is sent back to their Earth.
Sam Lane finds Lois, having been left on Bizarro World after his jeep disappeared while he was driving to the Kent Farm.
Sam and Lois go searching for Bizarro Chrissy Beppo, after Lois remembers that she helped Anderson find Bizarro Lois in 210.
Bizarro Lois appears on the regular Earth, which Natalie takes as a sign that she needs to help her father.
Jordan and Jonathan both acknowledge Natalie as part of their family and she says she liked having brothers.
Superman says that one year has passed since Tal-Rho tried to take over their Earth.
Tal-Rho goes after Ally, but she is too much for him.
Jordan saves Tal-Rho from falling. He thanks him and says he is in his debt.
Superman says the only one who can stop Ally at this point his him.
Superman asks Tal-Rho to throw him into the sun, hoping it will kick-start his powers again.
Superman affirms that Lois is the smartest person in the Kent family.
Natalie transports her pod into the Shuster Mines and through the portal into the void.
Lana discovers that Kyle vanished along with Mitch and Fuller from some of the other fire-fighters.
Lana tells the fire-fighters to go home and stay with their families rather than try and keep the peace in Smallville.
Sam and Lois find the Bizarro Chrissy, but she vanishes just as they start communicating.
Planes around the world start crashing as their pilots are sent to the other Earth.
Kyle finds Lois.
John Henry is in the middle of recording a final message for Natalie when she finds him. Unfortunately, she missed a part of his message - the one where he asked her to use the escape pod to bring him as much X-Kryptonite as possible.
Natalie and John Henry use their suits to try and disrupt the portal with an energy wave unleashed by the escape pod, even though this will leave them trapped in the void.
Kyle thinks that being taken from his family is karma for his cheating on Lana.
Kyle disappears after Lois tells him that she doesn't believe that.
Sam Lane goes back to Earth and finds Jonathan and Jordan after the latest world shift. They tell him about Clark's plan to kick-start his powers.
Sam Lane tells his grandsons that he and Superman have seen other worlds and the leagues of superheroes that exist on them. He also confirms Superman is the only superhero on their Earth. This proves conclusively that Superman and Lois is not set on Earth-Prime.
Superman's plan to be supercharged by going into the sun works.
Natalie and John Henry tell one another that they are their personal heroes, as they disrupt the portal.
Superman saves John Henry and Natalie from Ally.
The submarine with Superman saved in 201 crashes near the Kent farm as a side-effect of the Earths demerging.
Superman defeats Ally Allston by giving her more energy than she can absorb. This causes the two Allys to demerge.
Natalie and John Henry catch the Allys, as Superman demerges the Earths with a solar flare release of all the energy he absorbed.
A holiday is established in honor of Superman saving the world, called Miracle Monday.
Clark apologizes to Lana for not being there when she was running for Mayor. He also promises to be completely honest with her from now on about his life.
Lois says she needs to tell Chrissy the truth about Clark. Chrissy takes this to mean that Clark lied on his resume about working places beyond The Daily Planet. Instead, Lois tells her that Clark is Superman.
Lois apologizes for lying to Chrissy in the past, but says if they are going to be partners on the paper they will need to be able to trust each other completely.
Jonathan Kent is shown with Candice Pergande, with the implication they are dating again.
Sarah and Jordan make-up, agreeing to reset, be honest and talk to each other about their feelings as they figure out where they stand. Jordan apologizes for not telling her about his powers. She apologies for not talking about her kissing a girl at summer camp.
Kyle asks Lana to dance at the celebration. She turns him down and says she isn't there yet and doesn't think she ever will be. He accepts that.
Both Ally Allstons are revealed to be in DoD custody, kept in the same cell.
Lois interviews Ally to ask if she ever did get the "complete" feeling she was looking for while she was merged. It turns out she didn't.
Jonathan is still working at the general store and has to wear an apron to work.
Tal-Rho has matching work trucks delivered to the Kent farm as gifts to his nephews, with a card saying they came from "Uncle Tal."
Tal-Rho is revealed to have made his way to Bizzaro World, figuring that it needs a hero now that its Superman and Tal-Rho are dead.
John Henry Irons meets with John Diggle, who last appeared in 112.
Diggle reveals that Bruno Mannheim, the head of Intergang, killed the John Henry Irons of this Earth and that he is investigating why.
Sam takes Lucy on a trip to Metropolis.
Clark takes the rest of the family on an ocean trip, where he build a new Fortress of Solitude using a crystal to create an island. He says that this one, however, will be a lair for the entire family.
At some point in the past, both Superman and General Lane worked with the superheroes of other Earths.
The Bottom Line
A fantastic episode, which has the unfortunate effect of starting to shut the door on the Arrowverse. With Superman and Lois established as its own beast and The Flash's upcoming season 9 confirmed as its last, there's a sad sense of ennui to the episode despite the hopeful ending. Hopefully this will be the start of something big, much like how Arrow progressed from a Smallville spin-off into a fresh start for superhero television.