I am sore. My butt is bruised.

It is the daily bus rides. The tie straps on a scooter have a little give and so does the seat belt. The result is that a bump can raise me into the air just enough to hurt on the way down.

The potholes in Edmonton this year are bad. We don’t hit the big bumps every day, but there are no gentle rides. I get no time to heal.

But what really annoys me are the people mad at the city because we have potholes. To my knowledge they aren’t preventable in asphalt. And the warm winter with frequent temp changes and lots of precipitation is tailor made for generating the buggers.

And they complain they aren’t fixed fast enough. Once again, I’m no expert, but I think the cold mix patch applied in winter can only be temporary. We are in a deal-with-it state until thaw. And even then the patching crews aren’t magic brownies. They work 1 hole/crew until they are done. And many roads have what seems like a million holes.

Or they complain patching isn’t enough. Some roads need a grind and repave. True enough. Some certainly do. But those need clear roads and weather and time and money. And even with a grind and pave a road like Argyll under the train tracks will still deteriorate very quickly.

Potholes really suck. I get it. My butt gets it. But there really isn’t a good scapegoat here. To quote my friends, “Suck it up, Princess”.

Or In situations like this, with no one to fairly blame, I always like to blame the network. .


Onto the Carousel

Mom likens a visit to the Doctor as getting on a carousel. The most likely result is that you see more doctors.

Went to the doctor today. Guess what? I have 9 follow ups. Nine.

3 I’ve already dealt with. 6 left. 1 is a quick item for tomorrow lunch. The rest? Either 4 or 5 will require separate work absences. Gah. With DATS each visit takes a minimum of half a day. Normally. So three days away from work.

Mom said to not get on the carousel. But there is apparently a real thing they are looking at now. Not a serious, life threatening thing, but a thing. It isn’t just me complaining of a cough.

I think I can dodge one. And one might be unnecessary. Hopefully.

Stupid carousel.

Movies – After Oscar

Critics say last year was great at the movies. I’m a little more ‘Meh’.

There were some incredible action flicks – The Avengers and Skyfall for instance. But the Oscar type movie has left me unmoved.

I have seen less than half of the Oscar contenders. So my reactions might be different after seeing the rest.

I list them below with comments. (List culled from the best picture, acting, directing and writing categories):

Movies I’ve seen:

Argo – good thriller, but not great. The comedy bits in Hollywood were the highlight. I liked Affleck’s The Town better
Life of Pi – beautiful. Worth seeing. But the story ain’t all that.
Django Unchained – I’ve seen Tarantino do this before.
Les Miserables – I didn’t like the music
Flight – Denzel is really good. But he’s been much better. Interesting look at how a ‘functioning alchoholic’ isn’t really functioning.
Moonrise Kingdom – I quite liked this film. My second favorite of the quirky director’s oeuvre. Recommend if you like quirky.
Lincoln – a movie made up of great moments that doesn’t quite become great itself. It comes close so often though. So far this is my favourite of the contenders.
The Master – I had such high hopes. But I found this to be a mess. Just a mess.

Have not yet seen

Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
The Impossible

Have no Plans to see

The Sessions
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Winter’s End

February is nigh finished. To me the end of February always means the worst of winter has passed. Hours of daylight are bearable. -30 days are rare.

Of course that isn’t true. March is still a winter month. While the highs crest 0 often, the lows are not yet above freezing. And traditionally there is even more snow in March than other winter months. March is a frustrating month as each sunny day that hints at spring can be followed by more winter.

It is a horrid month for potholes. For freezing rain. And general grey skies.

April is the start of spring, but depending on the year can still feel like winter more often than not.

But the sun rises at 7:30 am and sets at 6 pm tomorrow. That is pretty cool. It feels as though the worst of winter is done.

Everyone comes back in the end

I had an idea for a story setting. Not a story idea. Just the setting.

It is a real world, but the folks in it come back to life like comic book characters. Not resurrections or miracles, but ‘she wasn’t actually dead’, ‘they were able to stop the bleeding’, magic and cosmic tom foolery.

Sometimes they don’t come back easy. They might be zombies or vampires. Or the surgery that saved their life turned them into a half man/half machine.

Sometimes, a person dies, but it wasn’t actually them, but their evil twin.

Sometimes, a person doesn’t return for a long while. Then there is a full continuity reboot and they come back.

But the characters aren’t superheroes or Holmes fighting Moriarty by the waterfall. They are just normal folks.

Would the story be about them discovering this? Or do they know about it and they try to ensure they can come back quickly. Or maybe the characters are all just deluded (that is the darkest option of the blackly comic ones). Maybe there is only a town where this happens and an outsider wanders into the craziness (the current comic series Revival is actually based on a similar concept).

Maybe it isn’t a dark comedy, but is a drama exploring loss and death.

It is a silly setting. Bouncing in my head is the slapstick version. Hopefully writing it down excises it.

Comics – Hellboy

I organized my trades the other day. My Hellboy trades leapt out and demanded to be read.

First, I read my BPRD. Then Abe Sapien. Then Lobster Johnson. I skipped Witchfinder and went to the final and main course – Hellboy itself.

Man. Those are some incredible books. I’ve only made it through the first two trades: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil. I’ll wax ecstatic about the later.

At the end of the first trade, Hellboy beats Rasputin and the Cavendish clan and thwarts the plan to wake Sadu Hem and summon the Ogdru Jahad. Wake the Devil picks up there. The basic plot is that the skeleton of what may be a vampire is stolen. The BPRD searches out the vampire’s castle to prevent his rejuvenation. There are three potential castles so they split up and Hellboy gets the right one. There is even an early joke that Hellboy is certain to draw that particular short straw.

Then the plot gets busy. Cryogenic ally thawed Nazis are behind the plot. Rasputin’s ghost schemes. The castle Liz Sherman visits may not have vampires, but it has its own dangers. And back with Hellboy, Nazis and vampires are the least of his concerns when he angers Hecate, queen of witches.

The sheer numbers of ideas on each page is the greatest joy. The first trade was similar, but each idea had a ton of exposition too. In Wake the Devil, they just show up and Hellboy starts punching them.

The sense of humour is the next bit of awesome. This book has many laugh out loud moments. Mostly in Hellboy’s jaded, blue collar approach to the mythological threats. But there is also some slapstick moments – especially the Nazi denouement.

The development of Hellboy’s story is cool. More mysteries are introduced than resolved. It is nifty.

Mignola is doing full writing duties on a long story for the first time. All the above is a credit to what were, at the time of release, his surprising talents. He was already a great artist and he had credit for Hellboy’s creation. He had some entertaining short stories. But Wake the Devil was the revelation of just how groovy HB could be.

Oh, yeah, the art. Mignola’s art defines Hellboy. There have been many cool artists that have worked on the creation: Corben, Fegredo, and Davis to name three. But Mignola is the best at showcasing his ideas and creations.

All told this is a favourite of my comics collection.