Tuesday, January 31, 2012

15 Things that Define Greater Victoria

Some of these aren’t unique to Greater Victoria but together they do help define it.

1.      The Fairmont Empress: the hotel literally fit for a queen
2.      View Towers: the high-rise full of crazy people
3.      Non-stop panhandlers, especially but not limited to downtown; they made the news when a conference got cancelled by attendees wanting to avoid them
4.      Government offices everywhere
5.      Numerous swimming holes in the Western Communities
6.      Three comic shops on the same side of the same block of Johnson St
7.      The waterfront buskers
8.      The Johnson St Bridge enabling travellers to commute from downtown Victoria to Esquimalt and View Royal; currently a distinctive blue bridge; it’s replacement will also be fancy looking if built according to the plans
9.      Three key shopping centres on Douglas St: The Bay Centre with its triangular tower, the large sized Mayfair Shopping Centre, and the currently being reconstructed 2-level outdoor Uptown Shopping Centre
10.  Red and blue double decker busses
11.  Related to #5 but a little different, quick access to bodies of water almost everywhere
12.  A bit of a small town mentality despite the size, with differences not very tolerated
13.  A higher percentage of Caucasian people even compared to many other Canadian cities
14.  Lots of geese and ducks
15.  Horse-drawn carriages downtown

Bonus: 4 things that used to help define Greater Victoria when I first moved here but no longer:
1.      Huge rabbit population at the University of Victoria (relocated)
2.      Excessively long rides on the busses to the ferries (Express busses now in place)
3.      No transit to the airport unless you count the Airporter (still room for improvement but there is some service there now)
4.      Cows at the airport (I don’t know what happened to them)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Impatient People at View Towers Elevators

At View Towers elevators there’s a couple fascinating recurring phenomena.  People will be waiting to go up.  An elevator will arrive letting people off, with the arrow pointing down.  Rather than letting the doors close and reopen, people will wait until the doors are about to close and then push them open again and charge in. This of course just results in the doors having to close and reopen an extra time, because the arrow will only point up once the door closes entirely (and even this this assumes it’s not going down to one of the parking levels).  So people consistently guarantee themselves a longer wait to get upstairs by pushing open doors that are about to reopen again anyway. 

A similar thing people do is sometimes they’re press the down and up buttons because they think the elevator will arrive sooner.  It doesn’t speed things up and when the elevator arrives it will usually show up first as the down elevator, thus meaning you have to wait for the doors to close and open again before it becomes the up elevator. 

The morale is, sometimes things go faster if you don’t try to speed things up.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Most Profitable Venture

While in Nanaimo one of the comic shops (Island Fantasy, later Upstart Comics, now defunct)  was getting rid of its old comics for some ridiculously low price. Ten cents each I think.  That made me think of an idea.  I called around a couple book stores.  They would buy old comics for a percentage of the cover price. I’m thinking ten percent but it could have been 25.  This was in 1991-1992 so a very long time ago. Regardless I realized I could make a decent profit but buying those comics whose original cover price was the highest (there were no ten cent stickers so the book stores had no way of knowing how much I paid for them) and then selling them to the book stores and getting more for them there than I had originally paid. There were enough of these cheap comics around that I was able to make a bit of a profit. Not enough to make me rich, but I did buy one of those thick Roger Ebert movie guides with my profit and still had money left over.  I think I might have more qualms about doing this now but it was a fun at the time to realize I had unearthed an easy way to make a profit.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

12 Marvel Properties that Would Make a Fun TV Series

For purposes of this list, in order to think outside the box, I’m ruling out those properties that have already had a series or pilot/TV special: Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Captain America, Hulk, Power Pack, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD, Generation X.  Daredevil and Thor technically also had backdoor pilots via Incredible Hulk specials.

1.      Alpha Flight: A team of heroes defends Canada while also dealing with the Canadian government
2.      Damage Control: A look at a business designed solely to clean up after superhero fights
3.      Hawkeye and Mockingbird: Clint Barton and Bobbi Morse are a married couple, one a thrill seeking archer, the other a secret agent
4.      Howard the Duck: Slice of life adventures of a curmudgeonly duck trapped in Cleveland
5.      Human Torch: Jim Hammond is a fiery artificial man during World War II
6.      Man-Thing: You could have a conflict of the week which is impacted  by Ted Sallis’ plant creature alter ego, who burns those who know fear
7.      Marvels: A look at how a photojournalist’s life is affected by being in a world of fantastic beings.
8.      The Phantom Rider: Carter Slade fights bad guys in the old west while convincing everyone he’s a ghost
9.      Punisher: Frank Castle’s one-man war on crime brings him into conflict with criminals and the police
10.  Sgt. Fury: The wartime unit the Howling Commandos fight Nazis and larger than life groups like Hydra
11.  Sub-Mariner: Namor is an Atlantean king who straddles the fence between being an ally and enemy to the surface world
12.  Two-Gun Kid: Matt Hawk is a western gunfighter who finds himself in the modern world

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Impossible 5 Chapter 4

King Artur dressed in a red robe with gold hems. He wore a crown that said “Artur” on it.  Meerlim dressed in dress, including a robe and a large triangular cap. Yellow stars, moons, etc. were scattered all over both.

Walllbreaker was glad that they knew they were on the same side. Still, they might not realize that from the heroes’ perspective, the conflict with the Groovy Guys, and thus Token Woman, was long since over. They’d have to play this carefully.

Token Woman responding to Artur’s growing remark, replied.  “I’m from the future. The farther future that is.”

Artur asked Meerlim? “Can this be true?”

Meerlim frowned. “It’s possible.  Still tis strange that they would appear so soon after the younger Token Girl arrived.”

“You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens,” said Wallbreaker.  Normally he didn’t like to openly display his level of self-awareness, but he wasn’t particularly interested in getting into a big magic fight.

“We mean you no harm, sirs,” said O’Canada.  “Token Woman is destined to meet you a few more times in your own future….”

“My head hurts,” remarked the Crack Heroine.

“… and she knows that you are good.  Though I must confess that seeing how badly her younger self was just injured….”

“Actually that wasn’t them”, replied Token Woman.  “That was the Creature from the Greenish-Blue Dimension.  Long story.”

Artur asked. “Will thou submit to a scan?”

“We will,” said O’Canada.  “Just understand that the Glowing Man here sometimes affects other energies.”

Meerlim nodded. “It should suffice to scan the rest of you.”

He started the scan. “Oh my you are a bloodthirsty one,” he said as he scanned the Missile. Arthur tensed up. Meerlim waved his hand dismissedly. “But not a threat. At least not to us.”

“So what brings you to our castle?” asked Artur

“Aside from your clamps?” retorted the Crack Heroine.

Meerlim said to Artur, “You’ll have to forgive her, Your Majesty. My scan revealed traces of numerous psychoactive drugs in her system. It seems that these drugs give her heightened abilities, but are highly addictive and adversely affecting her personality.”


“However, they all seem to be genuine.  But tell me, how did you start using drugs to fight crime?”

“Some Afghanistan scientists captured me on a trip there and used me to experiment on.  Only it backfired and I gained powers.  I stole some of the drugs after I beat up my tormentors, fled by way of a superjet I found (it operated on mental commands so I didn’t need to know how to fly it) and when I got home, my friend Dr. Beanhead and his mutated pet monkey Seedu whipped me up some more of the stuff so I could fight frime.

Meerlim nodded, “Yes that would explain it.”  Wallbreaker didn’t want to say so out loud, but he could have sworn at one point she’d told him that it was a trip to Moscow and that it was the Soviet government that captured her.  No, that didn’t make sense. The USSR had crumbled well before she became a crime fighter.

O’Canada explained to Artur and Meerlim how the Master Plotter had used his Plot Device to trap them on this world.  “You have a lovely dimension, but we must get back home.”

“That is within my power,” replied Meerlim, “but we must request a favour from you.”

“We figured that was likely,” O’Canada said.

Artur said, “Three villains have gotten a hold of the Three Rods of Power.  Alone they are a nuisance but one we were willing to tolerate in order to hide our true nature from the multiverse.  However, it seems they are considering formerly an allegiance with a few other ne-er do wells and may realize that the three rods together form the Triangle of Terror, and that is truly destructive.  We therefore need you to acquire the Rods for us. I recommend do face them together one by one instead of splitting up and facing them as once, for the rods are still quite powerful.  If this is agreeable I will tell you what you need to know.”

The heroes agreed.  Meerlim wave his wand and the seven heroes prepared to face their first task.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why I Switched Barbers

I’m going to be vague on names to protect the guilty. I don’t want to turn this blog into a dirt slinging forum, but it’s too interesting a story not to blog about.

Anyway, my barber at the time knew someone that I knew.  So one time I was getting my haircut as a practical joke he insisted that that other person had died.  Understandably that made that particular barber experience unpleasant. I decided to verify this with someone else and… it turned out to be a practical joke on the barber’s part. To a degree I can take a joke but thought that trying to convince be that someone I knew was dead went beyond the pale.  On the plus side I found out that my replacement barber charged a buck less so it all worked out, except for the original barber.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

12 DC Properties that Would Make a Fun TV Series

For purposes of this list, in order to think outside the box, I’m ruling out those properties that have already had a series or pilot: Superman, Superboy, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Human Target, Birds of Prey, Aquaman.  I also left out Green Arrow because a pilot’s in the works. I considered Immoral Man or Resurrection Man, but I decided that a series about a guy who dies every episode would be on the fast track to cancellation.

1.      Deadman: Trapeze artist Boston Brand is killed but his spirit remains on Earth to seek out his killer with the help of his abilities to possess people’s bodies
2.      Dial “H” for Hero: A magical dial transforms its recipients into a different hero each time.  I’d probably go with the Chris King/Vicki Grant versions because of the character interplay
3.      Doom Patrol: A team of misfits who gained powers through accidents that made them seem like freaks to the general public. I’d go with the original team but make Elasti-Girl thinner when growing and fatter when shrinking in order to make her more of a misfit
4.      Eclipso: Heroic scientist Bruce Gordon must try to stop the evil and powerful Eclipso, who shares his body
5.      Elongaterd Man: Ralph Dibny solves mysteries with the aid of his stretching powers and good humoured wife Sue
6.      Hawk and Dove: Right wing Hank Hall and left wing Don Hall or Dawn Graingerer a strong left winger gain enhanced abilities; to maximize the drama, I’d probably have Don killed in the first episode and replaced by Dawn
7.      Hawkman and Hawkwoman: Carter and Sheira Hall fights crime with flight or medieval weapons. If you go the reincarnated royalty route you could have flashbacks to past lives; if you go the space police officers route you could have them learn our culture
8.      Jonah Hex: Drop the powers from the movie and just have him be a curmudgeonly gunfighter who follows the money
9.      Nemesis: Thomas Tressor tries to balance the scales of justice using disguises, with face masks that vaporize after he’s done with them
10.  Phantom Stranger and Doctor Thirteen: One is a supernatural being, the other is a ghost breaker who doesn’t believe in the supernatural; circumstances keep finding them on the same case.
11.  Spectre: Jim Corrigan dies and becomes a supernatural being with extreme ways of punishing the guilty
12.  War that Time Forgot: Soldiers fighting dinosaurs. Give the soldiers distinct personalities and make them aware of the strangeness of their situation