Friday, April 27, 2012

Batman: 13 I've Got Batman In My Basement!

Batman is a DC Comics character, and Batman: The Animated Series is owned by Warner Home Video. If you'd like to purchase this episode, you may do so here; if you'd like to buy the DVD box set, you may do so here. The story was written by Sam Graham and Chris Hubbell and directed by Frank Paur.

Deep brass instruments contrast with heavy use of the xylophone to give us a score both ominous and playful. A closet door is open, the light diminishing with each step down.

The moon is high in Gotham's sky, and we pan to the world's toughest looking window cleaners. They stop on a floor with a scintillating egg and proceed to steal it with finesse. Changing out of their jump suits on a nearby rooftop, they stop to remark how easy it was.

The incantation is complete – Batman is summoned! He quips, but before he can get to disassembling criminals, a giant bird knocks him down. (Like they do.)

To read the rest, go to this page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In a Diner, Which is Every Diner

I look across the table at her, and she smiles at me. I smile back, and drop a too slow, overly suggestive wink. She cracks up, kicking my foot under the table. We finish our lunch in companionable silence and order dessert. A large sundae that practically swims in chocolate fudge is brought to the table, and we grin at each other like the children we are.

There is nothing between us for many minutes but the slow savoring of cheap ice cream in large quantities. Finally, I push back from the speckled Formica table with an appreciative belly pat. I close my eyes as the sugar races through my blood, enjoying the warmth of it. I feel her watching me. I enjoy that too.

When I open my eyes again, hers are on me. She looks around carefully and places one hand on the corner of her mouth. With a final circumspect glance, her pink tongue peeks out. I lean forward and cross my arms, bumping her elbow on purpose. Her spoon clinks against the now empty bowl of ice cream, the sound a tiny chime. She gives me mock disapproval under lowered eyebrows.

Our waitress appears then, and asks, “How was it all?”

My wife’s expression clears up like a sudden Florida rain. “A-mazing,” she says with a smile like a flashbulb, giving the first vowel a lingering hard pronunciation.

Yeah,” I concur. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I trail off into the silence. I feel another kick under the table, almost a nudge.

You two,” the waitress says with a smirk and a gentle shake of her head. She places the check on the table and points at the front counter. “When you’re ready.”

All of this is lost on the people around us at the little roadside diner; all of this is lost on us.

I will never learn that my wife picked up the surreptitious raspberry from a boyfriend she had in high school; I've long forgotten that the telegraphed wink came from a college girlfriend. Faux anger she learned from her mother; the amiable elbow bump I absorbed from my father.

As we get up to leave with the slight delirium that accompanies the feeling beyond satiety, I hold her coat. She shimmies into it, giving a delicate little hop to let me know she’s situated. When she was in third grade, she saw another little girl do this when her mother held a purple parka open for her. I grab the check from the table and head for the register.

When the credit card receipt prints out, I sign it with a flourish copied from a man I saw when I was seventeen. The door jingles as I hold it open for her with one hand and make a doorman's sweep with the other, like my father's business partner used to do for clients.

Once inside the car, I fail to realize our marks on one another are as indelible as they are subtle. The idea that we are pieces of one another slips by me like the miles of lonely desert highway outside.

Our someday children might poke their tongues out in restaurants, imitating a man they've never met that used to kiss their mother. The suggestion that discrete segments of our personalities enjoy a faceless immortality, even after the initial actor is removed, never occurs to me.

I go through the rest of my life blind to the fact that these cadences and gestures and pieces are like social DNA, easily propagated. I never even dream that I and we and us together are repeatedly transmuted by the incidental alchemy of casual human contact.

Instead, I am always too busy looking at my wife’s face to discern the provenance of the motions animating it. Even now, I steal glances away from the road to watch her laugh. It is music, and in my blessed ignorance, I am the only one it plays for.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chatting with Batman


Hey Batman. I know you're online. Your little icon is green.

What do you want?

I can't do a recap this week. I've got to find an apartment.

Why are you telling me?

Well, I was kinda hoping you could do the recap. You know, sort of an "eyewitness" account? People would love it! All you've got to do is keep record of how many times you get sprayed with gas and knocked out. I've noticed it's been happening a lot lately.

Have you thought about covering the lower half of your face all the time, not just sometimes? It's worth thinking about.

Anyway, the Joker seemed pretty excited about the idea of collaborating with you on this. I gave him your contact info. He said he'd be in touch.


Sorry everybody! New recap next week, I promise!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April's Robot

You know what time it is, don't you? Robot time. (If the thought of robot time worries and/or dismays you, check out the introduction.) You can tell by the way April's robot uses his walk that he's a ladies man, no time to talk. As such, I have dubbed him BG-42.

BG-42, initiate stayin' alive protocol!

April's robot would hit the floor
Boombox blaring, a funky roar

Hip-hop, disco, he knows it all
Dancing now, in total thrall

He sways his arms side to side
His metal moves, bona fide

Look out now, he's coming through
the robo-bboy, BG-42

Friday, April 13, 2012

Batman: 12 It's Never Too Late

Batman is a DC Comics character, and Batman: The Animated Series is owned by Warner Home Video. If you'd like to purchase this episode, you may do so here; if you'd like to buy the DVD box set, you may do so here. The story was written by Tom Ruegger; the teleplay by Garin Wolf; and directed by Boyd Kirkland.

A lonely bullet train glides down the rail, its beacon like a glowing eye. A full orchestra gives the scene an undertone of loss.

In what must be the only quiet suburb of Gotham, a girl loses her ball near a gated mansion. Inside the house/fortress there's a newscast about a gang war. That’s the town we know!

Crime bosses Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell are at war, and it’s the latter’s home that we’re in. The newscaster cuts to Commissioner Gordon, who’s of the opinion that Stromwell - the younger looking, yet older boss - is losing the fight. (I guess he moisturizes.)

To read the rest, go to this page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Which Frank Wakes Up


Frank sat up in bed, blinking furiously. There was a taste like old milk in his mouth. No, that wasn't right - it was more like the rush of air from the cooler that the milk was stored in. He licked his lips to get the taste out, and came away with raspberries. No again. This was the artificial raspberry flavoring they used in candy, or lip balm. Frank felt like he should look to his left.

He did so, and found a girl there. "Huh," he thought, "that's not normally there."

The girl who was not normally there was very alert for having been just discovered.

"No, I'm not normally here," she said.

"Can you..."

"Read minds?" she asked, squinting meaningfully.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Batman: 11 Two Face, Part Two

Batman is a DC Comics character, and Batman: The Animated Series is owned by Warner Home Video. If you'd like to purchase this episode, you may do so here; if you'd like to buy the DVD box set, you may do so here. The story was written by Randy Rogel, and directed by Kevin Altieri.

We see a “previously on” clip show before cutting to the same title card. This time, the isolated xylophone strikes have unified into an ominous theme.

A Rolls Royce pulls up outside one of Rupert Thorne’s gambling establishments. In the back seat is what’s left of Harvey Dent. He flips a coin, and it lands bad side up - it’s time to dole out the punishment.

The Dent’s toothy chauffeurs kick the door down, brandishing Tommy guns. They look like larcenous versions of Howdy Doody.

The man himself walks in a moment later, pimped out in a half-white half-black suit.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Will Buy You A New Life

Perfect shiny and new.

It is with joy and mild terror that I present to you the new Bad Ideas I Have Had, now called “Bad Ideas I Had” in everything but URL. You could call it Bad Ideas for short, which is what I call this place in my head. (I plan on dropping one word a year until the site is eventually a giant B, 40 feet high and luminous.)

I've overhauled the way the site looks and works to provide a better, cleaner experience. It still isn't perfect - sorry, Everclear - but I like it immeasurably more. I've also reviewed and edited all posts and works of fiction from prior to 2012. There were times when I felt like I was being haunted by my own ghost, but I pushed through.

Said works of fiction and Batman recaps are now located on my domain, though the posts that announced them and the comments remain here. I’ll continue to post samples of new fiction, but the full text will be on pages that are outside of Blogger. Click the Writing and Batman links on the side to access a full list.

Fun fact: This is the hundredth post on Bad Ideas I Had. I couldn't have planned the synchronicity if I tried.

Did you know that a lot of images here have alt-text, the words that you see when you hover over a picture with your mouse? If you’re not reading the alt-text on the Batman recaps, you’re missing half the fun.

I have two tumblrs now! The Microwave’s Ghost is short flash fiction (less than 300 words, sometimes only 100) that tends toward the macabre. It is full of tiny, morbid bubbles that pop in your face and leave an oily residue. Batman’s Day Out features captioned .gifs and screencaps from The Animated Series. Most images and captions are new, although a few of my favorites from the recaps will creep in. (“cap” density for this paragraph: 13%)

Both sites update once a day, Monday to Friday, and they already have a few posts so you can get a taste of what they’re about. They're accessible via the My Projects link on the side. Hopefully, they're just the start - I have so very, very many bad ideas.

I've put up a new piece of flash fiction called Keeping a Pet, a new Chapter One named Incident Report #77A-1, and while there isn't a new short story (yet), I've fleshed out The Northwest Corner in a way that disturbs even me.

That's it. Go poke around. If you like what I do, tell people via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, reddit, or however you get down. If you want to shout in the faces of strangers in a downtown area, it’s your call. Where I live, it seems pretty popular.