Archive for August, 2008

31
Aug
08

Gustav Update: On the Road

The good news: Gustav weakened overnight. It’s not as strong as they expected it to be at this point.

The bad news: As whatsisname on South Park said, “It’s comin’ right for us!”

We’re loading up and we’ll be on the road soon. Wish us luck.

(Oh, and for those of you expecting a Summer Love chapter tomorrow… sorry, but it’s probably not going to happen. But I promise to pull up next to a lantern with a pen and notebook and work on it longhand.)

31
Aug
08

Gustav update: all for now…

Okay, folks, here’s the deal:

The storm is a-comin’. That much is obvious. And it’s a nasty one. But it seems like the government is doing a good job of handling it this time. Shows what a difference a competent governor makes, doesn’t it?

First thing in the morning, we’re packing the cars and going to my uncle Wally’s house in Folsom, there to wait out the duration of the storm. After that, there’s no telling. Most certainly, we’ll lose power and Internet connection at home. Possibly, we’ll lose it in Folsom as well. If I can keep the connection, I’ll update this blog as frequently as possible to update you not only on myself, but on any of my family and friends that I’ve gotten information for. In fact, I’ll start it up right now: Chase called me a couple of hours ago and told me he and his family are nearly in Austin, Texas, and safe.

If we lose connection, obviously I won’t be able to update Evertime Realms. I may, however, still be able to make updates to my Twitter feed via my cell phone. Look to the right of this page. See the section at the top of the column that says “Blake on Twitter”? That’s what I’m talking about. So look at that column for my most recent update, and click on it to read all of them. I also freely offer the comment section of this post as a place for people to try to connect with each other and keep track of how everyone is faring. I know after Katrina having an internet connection in our hotel was an absolute godsend. This time, I expect it will be the same way.

Not really anything else to say. Stay safe. Stay dry. Keep us in your prayers. And one way or another, I’ll see you on the flipside.

30
Aug
08

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 84: Geoff Johns

He seems to win a pick of the week every other episode, so Blake and Chase finally devote an entire hour to the amazing Geoff Johns. From his groundbreaking work on Green Lantern to his upcoming revamp of the Flash to the totally brilliant revitalization of the Legion of Super-Heroes, the guys discuss why they like his work, what makes him so darn good, and whether or not Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds will be as awesome as Blackest Night. In the picks, Blake goes with the first issue of the new Vertigo series, Air, while Chase is blown away by The Walking Dead #51. Please stay tuned after the theme music for a quick message from Blake about the Showcase crew’s efforts to dodge Hurricane Gustav. Keep us in your prayers, friends.

Episode 84: Geoff Johns
Inside This Episode:

Come back early tomorrow morning, guys, I’ll let you know what we’ve decided for Gustav.

29
Aug
08

Gustav Update, Hamlet, Playhouse, Showcase

Lots of stuff to say in this post, so I’m going to get right to it.

First of all: Gustav. Of course, we’re still watching it intently. Some parishes have already called for a mandatory evacuation beginning tomorrow. “Mandatory Evacuation,” however, is kind of misleading. What that really means is “we’re trying to cover our collective butts in case something happens.” We’re watching. We’re keeping an eye out. Are we leaving? We don’t know yet.

No matter what happens, chances are sometime beginning Sunday I’ll be incommunicado. If we stay, there’s a good chance our power and Internet connection will go down for an indeterminate amount of time. If we leave, I will of course take my laptop with me, and I’ll update whenever possible, but there’s no telling when that will be.

In the meantime, we’re doing what everyone else is doing: watching the news, getting supplies, praying.

Also in Gustav news, the production of Hamlet you’ve heard me mention here before. It’s obviously been postponed. The problem, for me at least, is that the only time available at the Civic Center to reschedule the play is the last week of September. Why is that a problem? Because that’s the same time that I’m opening the play I’m directing at the Thibodaux Playhouse, Bless Me Father. So unless something opens up in October and the play can be shifted even further, the inimitable Chuck Boutwell will be performing my role of the Player King for most of the Hamlet run, with me only stepping in for three or four performances.

In happier news, I’ve been informed that I have been nominated for a Thibodaux Playhouse Award for Best Supporting Actor for the play Rumors I was in back in April! This is really cool — I’ve been with the Playhouse for many years now, but this is the first time I’ve been nominated for an acting award. I smile with glee. The awards presentation is currently scheduled for the evening of Sept. 11. Hopefully it’ll go on as planned.

And one last thing — something I’ve been promising 2 in 1 Showcase listeners for months now. I finally figured out how to do it yesterday. It’s not exactly professional quality, but I think it’s nifty.

28
Aug
08

2 in 1 Showcase At the Movies Episode 2: Ghostbusters

We’re back with another half-hour of movie chat! This week, Chase and Blake pick into one of their favorite movies of the 80s, the original Ghostbusters. What’d they think? Why do they love it? And will they have anything left for next episode when they discuss Ghostbusters 2? Also this week, the guys debut a new feature: what’s the last movie you watched? Chase enjoyed the new release The Pineapple Express, while Blake bemoans 2004’s Catwoman. E-mail us with your comments on Ghostbusters or Ghostbusters 2, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Remember, guys, this is a DIFFERENT FEED than the regular 2 in 1 Showcase podcast! You can subscribe to the new show at http://twoinonemovies.libsyn.com/rss

Episode 2: Ghostbusters
Inside this episode:

27
Aug
08

Retro Everything But Imaginary #264: Brush Up Your Shakespeare

I’m afraid there’s no time for a new Everything But Imaginary column this week, friends. I’ve got a small role in the Sam and Jim Acting Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, opening tomorrow night at the Houma Civic Center in Houma, Louisiana. (Performances are 7 p.m. on August 28, 29, and Sept. 3-6, with 2 p.m. matinees on August 30, 31 and Sept. 7. Assuming Gustav doesn’t blow us all away.) Tonight is the dress rehearsal, and I’ve just got no time to write the column.

So instead, I’d like to invite you all to read an EBI from last May, Brush Up Your Shakespeare. I wrote this at the time that we just started working on Hamlet, and while I was teaching two different Shakespearian plays at once to two different classes. It’s kind of a fun reimagining of various comic book heroes as Shakespeare would have written them. At least, I’m proud of it. Back next week!

26
Aug
08

All Eyes on Gustav

Clearly, it’s too early to know what Hurricane Gustav is going to do. Most predictions say that even if it comes anywhere near the Greater New Orleans area, it’ll take five days to do so. So getting worried about it isn’t really a rational response at this point.

Even more irrational, though, would be to try to pretend it isn’t there.

Ever since Katrina, three years ago, those of us on the Gulf Coast watch these things with a sharper eye than we used to. I still maintain that, in this day and age, death by hurricane is avoidable. We know, literally, days in advance when the storm is coming. We have time to get out. For those who can’t physically move themselves, we should have a competent system in place to evacuate them. (The biggest of the many flaws Katrina exposed, in my opinion, was the total ineptness of the local government in this regard.) Those of us who CAN get out on our own, we’ve got no excuse not to.

Hopefully we won’t have to. Hopefully it’ll take a turn elsewhere, or peter out before it reaches us, or perhaps Superman will swoop down, fly in the opposite direction, and just unwind the sucker. But in case he doesn’t, we’re getting ready. Don’t worry (Erin, I’m talking to you). Me and mine will be okay. I have faith in this.

But we’re going to keep watching.

25
Aug
08

Summer Love Chapter Eleven

Eleven

Cupid’s Chokehold

I pulled aside the curtains to reveal a tanned, smiling man hovering three stories above the pavement. Eric gave a wave and pointed at the window lock. “Come on, Adam, open up.”

“Oh my God,” Amber said, “he really does have wings. I mean… I know what everyone said, but…”

“Impressive, aren’t they?” Eric grinned, climbing in through the window I opened for him. The wings, enormous white-feathered things, barely fit through and they had to squeeze down in a way that made Eric wince in pain. Once he was in, the wings stretched out reflexively, bumping into a lamp on one side and Perry on the other. “They are kind of cumbersome, though, aren’t they?” He scrunched his face up in concentration, and the wings slowly receded, folding into his body and soon disappearing into the leather quiver strapped around his pack. Only the tips of the feathers remained visible. He wore only a pair of torn cargo shorts and sandals, plus the quiver. Although still smiling, he looked haggard, like he’d just come through a war zone.

“Adam, Perry,” he said, “long time no see.”

“You have wings,” Amber said.

“Yes, dear, I do.” He talked to her like a kid flummoxed by a department store Santa Claus. “And what’s your name?”

“This is Amber Jenkins,” I said. “She’s our… Perry, is ‘friend’ really an accurate term?”

“Oh, Jenkins.” Eric nodded. “I’m supposed to visit you someday, but it’ll be several more years. Just hold tight, okay?” He started to walk around, shivering. “Hey, do you think I could borrow a robe or something? You keep it like an icebox in here.”

“A robe? Who am I, Hefner?” I scrounged up a t-shirt and tossed it to him. When he pulled it down over his head, his pecs strained against the fabric enough to make me try to calculate the time since I’d gone to the gym.

He sat down on my couch, next to The Total Moron’s Guide to Greek Mythology. “Aw, Adam, you don’t give yourself enough credit.” He picked the book up and started thumbing through it.

“Look, not to beat around the bush or anything, but… who are you?”

“Who am I?” he asked. “I thought you guys were a braintrust. You can figure out Sisyphus and Tantalus, but you can’t place your old pal Eros?”

Amber smacked her forehead and Perry nodded, but I was still lost. “Eros? Who’s Eros?”

“Geez, Adam, don’t you ever read these things when you’re illustrating them? Look, I’m right–” He cut short, staring down at an illustration. “Oh, you ass,” he said. “I can’t believe you drew me this way.”

“What? I drew you? What way?”

He turned the book around and pointed to one of my cartoons, a pudgy little cherub firing a bow with heart-tipped arrows. “Really, man, this is the sort of cheery Valentine’s Day stereotype that’s been plaguing me for years now.”

“That’s you?”

“That’s Cupid. Or at least, the crappy Hallmark-ized version you doofy mortals have conjured up. That was the name the Romans gave me. I still prefer the Greek’s name. ‘Eros.’ Doesn’t it just sound more regal?” He plucked a shaft from his quiver, which he’d slipped back on over the t-shirt, and twirled it in his fingers. “Besides, it kind of sounds like ‘arrows,’ which I always thought was kind of funny.”

“You’re Cupid?” I asked. “Flies around, shoots people with arrows, makes ‘em fall in love Cupid?”

“In the flesh. Well… actually, in the rough approximation of flesh constructed to contain our godlike energies because your human brains couldn’t handle the sight of our true visage without going mad. But you get the idea.” He punched my shoulder. “You, my friend, were a hell of a project. You fell for a girl at the drop of a hat, but finding a match? Geez. I never realized the trouble it would cause.”

“You made me fall in love with Stephanie? Why the hell would you do such a stupid, destructive thing?”

“Whoa, whoa, Adam, it’s not that simple. I’ve seen all the cartoons, I know how you mortals think it works, but the rules of the universe weren’t written by Tex Avery. My power isn’t about physical attraction. Humans fall in lust with each other left and right, day in and day out. Zeus knows you don’t need any help from me.

“What I do is, I find people who have a genuine connection. People who actually belong together. Then I help them realize it. I tell you, Adam, no one was more surprised than I was when I realized I could connect a dumpy little web cartoonist like yourself with the queen of the underworld, but a match is a match.”

I almost took offense at “dumpy,” but when he stood up and various portions of his anatomy began rippling, I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut.

“I don’t get it,” Perry said. “None of the stuff you read in the books describes your power that way.”

“That’s because it’s a lot more romantic to say, ‘Eros makes people fall in love’ than it is to say ‘Eros helps compatible individuals form a meaningful connection.’ The guys who wrote the history books were still writers, Perry. They weren’t above a little use of creative license.”

“Then they didn’t get everything right?” I asked. “Like the stuff Perry was reading about Persephone’s personality? How she was a… a…”

“A stone-cold bitch? No, actually, that part was true. When it was written, anyway.”

“But… she’s not now?”

“She’s mellowed. Three thousand years trapped underground in a loveless marriage with a husband who’s lost all the sesame seeds off his hamburger bun will kill the spark from most women, in my experience.” The perpetual grin he had on his face started to crack. “It’s bad down there, guys, I’m not going to lie to you. Most of Hades’ realm was never a picnic, but after new spirits stopped flowing in, Hades started to get bored. And when he got bored, he got cruel. He started to round up the Unclaimed, the aimless souls not marked for either punishment in Tartarus or reward in Elysia.”

“And then?”

“And then… he got nasty. He started looking for different ways to punish, different methods of torture. And think about that for a minute. Think about what kinds of torture you could envision with all the time in the world, and a victim who can take all the abuse you give and not die, because he’s already dead.”

“Jesus,” Amber said.

“Yeah,” Eros said. “From what I know of the guy, He wouldn’t approve either.”

“So Hades has spent a few thousand years torturing dead people?” Perry asked.

“No. Just the first few hundred. Then he started to get bored again.”

I sat down. “Why do I get the feeling I won’t like this part?”

“He started to expand. First he aimed for the Elysian Fields, but the heroes who rest there managed to band together and keep out the Army of the Unclaimed. So then, he decided to go into the seas. He started in a spot you mortals call the Bermuda Triangle, sinking ships from right underneath the ocean floor. People started to get paranoid about the place. Then he took the battle back to Greece and he tried to scale Olympus itself. The war was… intense. It spilled out all over the Earth. It lasted for hundreds of years, and a lot of our smaller battles are in your history books. You see, Hades, Zeus and Poseidon used mortal proxies to fight their own battles. The Crusades. The War of 1812. World War II.”

“World War II was one of your smaller battles?” Amber shouted.

“Our last one, in fact,” he said. “Poseidon took control of your air forces to try to blast Hades off the map. He succeeded, but he had to ride the bomb down. He… Let’s just say that we were all surprised to find out the humans had invented something powerful enough to kill a god. Poseidon especially, I suppose.”

“Geez.”

“No kidding. Anyway, after that, Zeus and Hades signed a treaty. Zeus wouldn’t interfere in the Underworld and Hades wouldn’t interfere in the Sky. Trouble is, Earth itself is still free territory.” He flipped through the book again, landing in the “P”s. “Things have been quiet for about 60 years or so, but the last few years, Hades has been moving again. Persephone kept making her visits to Earth all this time. He didn’t really care until you, Adam.”

“Me? What’s so special about me?”

“Damned if I know. All I know is that you’re only the second person to touch Persephone’s heart since the day Hades first snatched her by her ponytail and dragged her underground. I don’t think anyone really believed it either. I mean, she’s had lovers before – Adam, don’t wince, I know you’ve been reading the books – and everyone sort of assumed you were just another toy. But then this year, when she got out, she made a beeline right back here. Looking for you.”

Amber looked over at me, then back at Eros. “Good grief, can’t you just hear his ego inflating from here?”

“Look, cut to the chase,” Perry said. “What are you doing here?”

“The lines are being drawn. Zeus is staying out of it, but the rest of us aren’t powerful enough to fight Hades alone. So we’ve been trying to band together. Apollo and Athena have been leading the rest of us. Ares and Hephaestus have both thrown in with Hades. A lot of the other lesser gods have joined one side or another. We think Persephone can be our ace in the hole. With her working with us, we may be able to get in and destroy Hades before this war of his finally destroys the world. And frankly, if we can’t stop him, I think it’ll be sooner rather than later.”

“So why are you here? We’re three ‘mere mortals’. What can we do?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Persephone has been trapped in Hades for millennia. Even with the few months she roams the Earth each year, she’s never had anything she wants before, until now. That’s where you come in, Adam.” He twirled his arrow again, then flicked it through the air. It whizzed past me, embedding itself in the wall and vibrating with a sharp twang right next to my head. “You’re coming with me, Adam. You’re our bargaining chip.”

Next: Chapter 12-Slave to Love

Creative Commons License
Summer Love by Blake M. Petit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.evertimerealms.com.

Just a reminder, friends… today is LAUNCH DAY for Mur Lafferty’s Playing For Keeps! If you’re planning to order a copy from Amazon.com, DO IT NOW!

24
Aug
08

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 83: Plastic Man

This week the guys turn their attention to the world’s first pliable sleuth, Plastic Man! The guys ask why he’s never cracked the upper tier of the DC Icons, share their favorite stories, reminisce about a miniseries that almost no one remembers, and wonder if Ethan Van Sciver‘s proposed relaunch will ever get off the ground. After a quick side-discussion on Flash: Rebirth, the guys get to their picks of the week. Chase goes with the webcomic The Devil and the Monk, while Blake asks everyone to rush out and get the superhero novel Playing For Keeps! E-mail us with your comments, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at Showcase@Comixtreme.com!

Episode 83: Plastic Man
Inside This Episode:

23
Aug
08

What I’m About to Read: Little Brother, Lost and Philosophy, Paradox in Oz

One of my favorite features here at Evertime Realms is my “What I’m Reading” segment — a fancy name for a book review. At the moment, though, the book I’m reading isn’t one I’m quite at liberty to review. Y’see, I’m part of the Amazon.com “Vine” program, in which the company sends frequent reviewers (like myself) free copies of yet-to-be-released books to review on their site. I’m only on my second book, The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem, but I’m enjoying being part of the system. My first review, of the upcoming teen horror/fantasy novel The Last Apprentice: Wrath of the Bloodeye by Joseph Delaney, went online not long ago. I’ll try to remember to alert you guys whenever I do a new Vine review.

But I’m almost done with this book, which means it’s time to move on to another. Now I’ve got to be honest with you, I’ve fallen behind a bit on my reading. Between the two plays I’m working on, school, my reviews and columns, working on Summer Love, and a couple of podcasts of which you may be aware, it’s taking me longer than it used to to get through a book. But I’m still getting books at the same rate as ever! So as a result I’ve got piles of unread books lying around, waiting to fulfill their destiny (i.e., be read). Today, I thought I’d take a different approach to the “What I’m Reading” category. Here are a few books that I have not read, but that I’m planning to get to relatively soon.

Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Doctorow has become pretty popular among a certain segment of the reading public, and although I haven’t yet read anything by him, a while back he released the first chapter of this book as an audio file, which was then included to the feed of a podcast I listen to. (I actually don’t even remember which podcast it was, but that’s beside the point.) I really loved the first chapter of this story, so I decided to give the book a try. Now obviously, I haven’t read it yet (else it wouldn’t be on this list) but the idea intrigues me — a 17-year-old computer whiz winds up turning himself and his friends into unwitting suspects in a terrorist attack on San Francisco. When released from prison, he finds his city has become a police state, and he takes it upon himself to save them. The title of the book is an obvious reference to George Orwell’s 1984, and while I don’t really like when my fiction gets overtly political, from what I’ve read of this book it sounds like it doesn’t go down the sort of paths that make me roll my eyes. I’m looking forward to finally cracking the cover of this one.

Lost and Philosophy. People who have been with this website since the June relaunch will recall one of my earliest “What I’m Reading” reviews was of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series edition of The Office and Philosophy. Those of you who haven’t been here that long, here it is in a nutshell: this series of books collects essays by modern philosophers which examine a piece of pop culture — a TV show, a movie, even a rock band — and dissect it from a philosophical standpoint. Other books in this series have featured shows as diverse as The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and South Park and films such as Lord of the Rings and The Matrix. If ever there was a show open to an in-depth philosophical dissection, it’s Lost. The show is an incredible science fiction parable about power, the nature of good and evil, and the struggle between science and faith. It’s one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen, and one of the few shows that I absolutely, hands-down have to watch each and every week. If the writers who contributed to this book can help shed a little light on the many mysteries of The Island, I shall be forever in their debt.

Paradox in Oz

Paradox in Oz. I’m a huge fan of the Oz series of books. I’ve read all 14 original books by L. Frank Baum. I’ve read dozens of comic book series that have tried to tap into the Oz magic. I’ve seen more Oz-related motion pictures than most people reading this probably even know exist. (Incidentally, the 1939 movie with Judy Garland? Excellent as a classic Hollywood musical. As an adaptation of Baum’s book, though, it’s terrible.)

What has proven to be a problem for me, though, is finding other early Oz books. After Baum’s death, the series was taken over by his illustrator, Ruth Plumbly Thompson, then later by Jack R. Neill, then dozens of other writers over the years. Once the earlier Oz books went into the public domain, there were even more, and not all of them were actually that good. Others, while good, didn’t really fit into the world that Baum created. (Gregory Maguire’s Wicked comes to mind — an excellent novel, but there’s simply no way to reconcile it with the true Oz mythos.) Unlike the Baum books, however, there doesn’t appear to be much interest in keeping the earlier books by other authors in print. Thank goodness for the good folks at Hungry Tiger Press, who not only have reprinted some of the earlier books, as well as many non-Oz books by Baum, but they also produce new books that feel like they belong in Baum’s world. I’ve read one of their original books before, The Living House of Oz, and I loved it. My sister game me Paradox in Oz, by the same writer-artist team of Edward Einhorn and Eric Shanower, for Christmas last year. It’s finally made its way to the top of the read-pile.

So anyway, these are the next few books in my reading queue, as it were. This isn’t necessarily a promise that I’ll get to ’em — after all, that queue seems to get rearranged more often than my NetFlix queue. At the moment, though, this is what I’m looking at reading next. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of them all.




Blake’s Twitter Feed

Blog Stats

  • 315,707 hits

Blake's Flickr Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.