Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Free Excerpt! Isabol Tseung Voice News Chapter 1 "Nobody Does it Better Part 2"

These are two scenes taken from different parts of the upcoming chapter, due out at the end of this month for my patreon subscribers. If you like what you see, you can always go and subscribe at 99geek.ca for simply a dollar a month to get access to over a thousand pages of my content, and a new chapter every month like episodes of tv shows. Keep in mind that this chapter hasn't been edited yet, I'll do that before release, so cut me some slack for any typos. Also, some of the typos int he dialogue are deliberate, I was trying to convey accents, to a range of effect. Let me know what you think below, or follow me on twitter @AndrewGeczy or subscribe on my patreon. Links to everything I do at 99geek.ca

Characters, places, and events are works of fiction and not at all indicative or representative of any real life person places or things. A lot of inspiration was taken from Vice, a subsidiary of HBO. Much respect is held for the journalism that goes on at Vice, and I suggest everyone check them out. I do not represent them, nor do I think my book is a factual retelling of anything relating to real life. For the true story on everything, check out Vice.com or tune in daily to   Vice News airing on HBO. I personally never miss an episode.



1x01 “Nobody does it Better Part 2”

Released on September 2018 at www.patreon.com/99geek

She could swear she recognized the song. The quiet instrumentals of the elevator warbled through a small speaker above her, playing some strange EDM version of an old pop song. Isabol was sure she’d heard the tune before, but she wasn’t exactly a music expert.

Vindicated! That was it, she thought as it got to the chorus. By Dashboard Confessional. She hadn’t heard that song in years and years.

The elevator was a rickety broken-ass junk box that was constantly getting stuck. Their office, 
downtown Hamilton, had been renovated twice as they’d grown and grown over the eight months she’d been working there, but the elevator was still the same death trap that had been here when Shane bought the building.

It jolted with a loud clack, and the dull metal doors opened to the third floor. The blonde haired blue eyed Elly Reeves stepped on to the elevator with her, the doors closing behind her as the lift lumbered loudly to a start again.

“Hi,” Isabol said politely.

Elly smiled at her from behind her massive glasses, taking a while before responding “Hey?” as if she was trying to decide which greeting to go with.

Isabol looked away from Elly, at her own blurry reflection in the dull unpolished metal doors. She could only just make out her shoulder length black hair, brown eyes, and tanned Asian features. In the door she didn’t look any more Asian than Elly. More tanned though, Elly was about as pale as someone could get. They were both wearing jeans, though Isabol’s were darker. Elly also wore a bright button up blouse, while Isabol had a worn brown leather jacket over her black wide collared shirt. Fake leather of course.

“Is that Dashboard Confessional?” Elly asked, as the elevator music warbled on. “God I haven’t heard this song in ages.”

“I know!” Isabol agreed with her, and then there was silence again in the elevator.

“So, vampire children,” Elly said, as the elevator rumbled to a stop and the doors opened with a ping to the sixth floor.’

“Have a good day,” Isabol said with a polite smile to the woman, as they split up to go to their desks.

“Oh,” Elly said, clearly disappointed they didn’t get to continue their conversation. “Okay.”

The Vice office’s top floor was a loft, with large glass windows that shone into the open concept layout. Any walls on the top floor were made of glass, short glass dividers separating the cubicle desks of ornate cleanly carved wood. She passed all the cubicles to her desk, one of the larger ones right by Shane’s office. There were balloons hung from the rafters and taped to the wooden columns and cubicles. There seemed to be some kind of celebration going on, but Isabol had no idea what it was people were celebrating. She’d been out of the office for a week straight planning her interview.

It seemed a number of reporters were crowding around one of the other correspondent’s desk.

“Isabol!” said the man the desk belonged to, center of the crowd, and of everyone’s attention in the room. Just the way he liked it. “I’m back.”

“Greg. Were you gone?” Isabol asked with disinterest. The crowd around him seemed to separate enough that he could make his way across the aisle to her desk. She stood above it, trying not to match his gaze. She didn’t feel like throwing up in her mouth.

“For a month, yeh,” He looked to the reporters around him and laughed. “You’re gonna pretend loike yeh didn’t notice. That’s a laugh.” He crossed his arms. “Moi friends call me Beckett by tha way.”

“So you keep saying,” Isabol said. At this point she was just doing it to annoy him. Everyone was watching her, obviously all celebrating his return. She tried to think of something to say so she didn’t come across as a complete anti-social bitch. “Did you have a fun vacation?”

“I was in Africa buildin’ a school for ah bunch ah kids.”

“That sounds fun,” Isabol said absentmindedly, searching her desk for something to distract her. It was mostly clear, except for a small pile of mail in the corner. She didn’t use her desk often.

“It was important, is what it was,” Beckett continued as she ignored him.

“Mmhmm.”

“I was helpin’ people. Yeh know? Makin a real difference,” Beckett was tall and slender, disgustingly good looking with naturally blonde hair and outrageous muscles. Just a little bit of eye shadow. Every woman in the office had a crush on him, and he’d slept with most of them. He didn’t even need his job there, he lived off his rich parents, and the huge trust fund they gave him. He was often bragging about all the things he’d take time off to do. Adventures helping people and being the best person he could be. And sleeping with the hottest women.

“There was this one native I slept with there that reminded me a lot ah yeh,” He told her, and she made a face.

“I really don’t want to hear about your conquests, Greg.” She noticed Tom in the crowd of people around Beckett’s desk.

“It’s Beckett,” he repeated. “Everyone calls me by my last name but you,” he said, continuing with his story. “Which is like what I was sayin. This girl was different. Like you. She was tough, bad ass, strong. Determined. Motivated. She made me realize a woman like you is worth a thousand other girls.”

Isabol stopped what she was doing to try to process his words. “You’re telling me that shagging up with another woman made you realize I’m special?”

“She also started teaching me Swahili,” he said, smartly changing the topic. “My ninth language if I can get it. I’ve bought a book to keep up with it.”

“You speak nine language?” Isabol asked.

“From all over the world,” he told her. “Wherever I’m needed, I like to be ready for anything. Everywhere I’ve volunteered at I’ve tried to pick up the local language.” He nodded to her. “You ever do any volunteer work like that?”

“Nope,” Isabol said with a shake of her head, not completely true. “I guess you’re just a better person than me.” She backed away from Beckett and met Tom’s gaze. “Did you submit our piece with the narration I sent you last night?”

“Uh,” Tom said behind his glasses, awkwardly fidgeting as all the eyes in the crowd turned on him. “Ye-yeah. I think he’s in there watching it right now.”

He glanced at Shane’s office at the back of the loft behind her and Greg Beckett’s desks. The shades were closed, and the lights clearly off behind them, as they usually were when he was viewing work prints.

“You should have led with that,” she told him, knowing full well why he didn’t as she shot Greg a dirty look. He couldn’t just interrupt Mr. alpha personality Beckett over there.

“Yeh’ve been workin’ on a new story, aye?” Beckett asked Isabol.

“I guess you’ll have to find out on Friday,” Isabol told him, the night their main show aired. They had a less popular nightly show, but their Friday edition was always meant for their most in-depth reporting.

She turned her back on him and his pile of groupies. Let them celebrate and eat cake without her. She had bigger things on her mind.

*     *     *

It was fourteen hours before their plane touched down at Mosul International Airport. From conversations she’d had with the people around her on the plane, it seemed the airport had only recently been opened again for commercial traffic. There weren’t all that many people in the baggage pick up.

There were, however, numerous armed soldiers standing guard around the perimeter. She counted more armed guards than regular airport crew.

“I can’t believe you were in that bathroom for over forty minutes,” she complained as he grabbed her bag from the rack. To make the point that she didn’t need help, she lifted his bag off the same rack, forgetting that it had been filled with cases of water bottles and weighed as much now as her. She dropped it heavily onto its wheels.

“Ay’ve got stamina,” Greg boasted. “Most women would find that a plus.” They traded suitcases, and aimed themselves for the exit. “Besides, they didn’t have any magazines.”

Isabol frowned. “Please don’t tell me you spent the whole forty minutes staring at yourself in the mirror.”

“I wasn’t just staring at myself,” he argued. “I was also giving myself words of encouragement.” He mimed himself masterbating again. “Everyone loves you. You have a beautiful penis.”

Isabol closed her eyes. “Stop.”

“I also practiced my Somali. Waxaad leedahay gus ah qurux badan.”

“What does that mean?” she asked, changing her mind. “Wait, I don’t want to know.”

They stepped through the automatic doors and the first thing Isabol noticed was the heat, scorching her like a blanket of fire.

“Ah,” Beckett said beside her. “There’s something I don’t miss. In Africa it was like this but only more humid.” He slapped shades onto his face, and she scolded herself for forgetting to even bring sunglasses. She’d just thrown as many clean socks and underwear that she could find into a carry on, and that was it. Also on the way, they’d stopped by a bank where she converted all the money she had in her account into Iraqi currency. Five hundred thousand dinars.


It actually sounded more impressive in dinars.

The second thing she noticed was the people, pushing against the military blockade keeping the crowds back. They were men and women and children, screaming and crying, covered in sand and dirt, lips parched. They surged against the blockade, reaching their arms past the gate that men with guns were struggling to keep from bursting open. At least 30 or more. Isabol was surprised there weren’t even more than that, but supposed much of the city was likely evacuated during the fighting.

Everyone all seemed to be talking at once, and Isabol couldn’t understand a word of it. One armed man approached them and said something to them, and it took a couple repeats for her to realize he was speaking in English.

“Do you have taxi? Or ride out of here?” he asked, seemingly genuinely concerned. “I afraid walking to city would be quite impossible. We call you transportation if you require.”

“We don’t have anything yet,” Isabol told him, her eyes darting across the landscape. It was flat, so flat she could see the city to the north of them. Sand was everywhere, as one would expect from a desert. Construction was underway to rebuild a bombed out building inside the airport grounds, a bulldozer clearing out rubble even as a crane was laying down new foundations. It seemed like construction was being rushed.

“Did ISIS do that?” Isabl asked the English speaking guard.

He laughed and shook his head. “That one was Americans,” he said, with a cold shrug.

Isabol pointed out to the buildings she saw past the beggars at the gate. Three out of the four in her view were equally bombed out, and reconstruction hadn’t gotten to them yet. “What about those?”

“The Americans,” he said again. “You have to be understanding, when we were fighting to retake this place there were snipers on those rooftops. Stolen military APC blocked road there.” He pointed to a crater in the street. “Man with, what you say R P G. That rooftop.” He pointed to the building inside the grounds currently under construction.

“It is complicated,” he continued, “to say who is to blame.”

Isabol nodded to the crowd of people begging for help. “Who do they blame?”

“It changes,” he responded. “Depending on who you ask.”

Isabol spared a glance at Beckett, and was surprised to find he had his SLR out and pointed at them, apparently recording their conversation. For his many faults, she was glad to see he could come through when it mattered.

“I’m gunna get some B-roll over there, if ya don’t moind,” he told Isabol, turning to capture the construction going on to their right.

The guard followed Beckett with a look of concern. “What is your reason for visit?” he asked her.

“We’re journalists,” She told him. She offered him her hand. “Isabol Tseung Voice News.”

He stiffened, and notably didn’t take her hand. “You should not be announcing this around here.” His eyes shifted to the other guards around them, all seemingly ignoring them. Assuming this soldier had them covered.

Isabol yelled across to Beckett, “Hey maybe keep it in your pants.” He turned to her confused. And she darted her eyes to the left. He didn’t get it. She took a couple steps toward him so she wouldn’t have to speak so loud. “Till were further away from some of these men with guns?” she suggested.

He nodded his understanding and hid his camera in his bag.

“So is there some kind of attack going on?” She asked the guard, stepping closer to him and speaking in hushed tones.

He laughed, not sharing her subtlety. “Was it not your president who called the news enemy of people?”

“Yeah,” Isabol mumbled. “And we had words about that.” She pulled out her phone, finding a picture of Suzie she’d downloaded to her phone. “Have you seen this woman at all?”

He looked at the picture, and then to her, and then back to the picture. He sighed, and then pulled his own phone out of his pocket, pulling up a picture, and pointing it at her. It was a very different shot, but there could be no denying it. It was a picture of her, looking tied up and bloodied, on a wanted poster.

“Have you?”

Isabol put her phone away. “That could be an added complication,” She took a swig from her water bottle. The heat was already getting to her. Or maybe it was the desert sun. What did suzie get up to, that would have her wanted by the government. A government that apparently had a prejudice against reporters, how much did Isabol want to bet Suzie was just doing her job?

At the gate, a child was able to squeeze through the metal bars, and he scurried past the legs of the guards to reach Isabol and hug at her leg tightly.

“Raja'. 'ant tabdu mithl almalak,” the boy said, incoherently. “Hal yumkinuk 'ana taetini alma'? 'Ana eatashan jiddaan.”

“The little goi says e’s thirsty,” Greg translated, joining Isabol’s side, “and asks if ‘e can have some a ya wateh.”

“Yeah,” Isabol said, handing her water bottle to the kid. The top of his head barely reached her waist, he couldn’t have been older than seven, with wild black hair and dirty torn clothes. His face was tanned to the point of sun burnt. If she had to guess, he hadn’t been home in a while.

The kid hungrily unscrewed the lid and gulped down the water like it was his first drops in days. Isabol looked past him at all the other people pushing against the gate.

“Hey Greg,” she said, “Bust open one of those cases of water, would you?” He unzipped his suitcase, and ripped open a case, passing her some bottles.

“They’re cold!” she said in surprise, not expecting them to be cool to her touch.

“It’s an insulated case,” he told her, “And I packed a ton of ice packs.”

“Do you mind?” Isabol asked the guard, taking the water bottles to the people at the gate.

His expression implied that he didn’t really want the hassle. Begrudgingly however, he approached the gate, and waved her to come with him.

She handed the two bottles to people reaching, one to a woman, and another to a little girl. Beckett came up to join her at the fence, handing her more bottles.

The guard waved at the people pressing against the gate. “Alwuquf wadih min albawwaba,” he said to the people, and many of them seemed to take a step back. The guards were looking at him funny, but he yelled to them, “Aftah albuabat. Sayakun bikhayrin!”

“Aftah Albawwaba!” another guard yelled to a man in the tower. The man yelled out to the man across the way in the other tower.

“Aftah Albawwaba!” he said as well. The gate began to creak open.

“Quickly,” the guard she’d been talking to said to her as there was enough room for her to fit through. “It not be open long much time.”

“Right,” Isabol said, taking the kid’s hand and walking with him through the gate. Greg pulled the suitcase after them, and as soon as he was through the gate, Isabol turned in time to see the guard she’d been talking to nod to the guard on the right tower.

“'Ughliq albawwaba!” he yelled across to the guard in the left tower, and the gate quickly sealed closed behind them.

“Hey!” Isabol yelled at him, feeling betrayed.

The guard smiled at her, then, ignoring her, looked out at the crowd and yelled, “'Inhum jamieaan lika.” He laughed at the crowd and continued. “Khudh alma' walmala. 'aqtul wa'aklihim , nahn la nihtam.”

“What did he just say?” Isabol asked Greg as the crowd closed in around them.

Beckett shook his head. “You don’t want to know,” he promised Isabol. “Just trust me that they’re not going to open those gates for us again.”

The child she’d given water to clutched her leg tensely as the crowd seemed hungry for their flesh.

“Take out one of those cases of water,” she told Greg.

He frowned. “I only could fit eight,” he warned her.

“Just do it,” she hissed, and he did, handing it to her. She placed the open case on the ground. “This is all yours if you’d be willing to help us out and answer some questions.”

“Yumkinuk alhusul ealaa hadhih almiah,” Greg said, translating what she was saying as fast as he could. “'iidha kunt sawf takun sadiquna”

She pulled out her wallet and counted out some money. “Also,” she said loudly. “Two hundred thousand dinars.” She raised it in the air. A man stepped forward to grab it and she raised it high in the air. “For the person willing to give us a tour of the city.”

“Lilqiam bijawla,” Greg translated.

The man who had approached Isabol reached down and grabbed a bottle of water. He opened the top and took a sip.

“'Iinah jayid,” he yelled to the crowd. The old man, he had a grisled beard and no shirt, his upper body a scrawny skeleton of a man. She could see the indents of his ribs.

That man turned to Greg and embraced him suddenly. “Bandar min alma',” he said with excitement. “Sadiq.” The rest of the crowd moved in, ripping the case apart and passing around the bottles of water.

“Yes,” Greg responded, awkwardly turning red. “'Iinaa sadiq.”

“It’s okay,” he told Isabol. “They loike us now.”

“Well done,” Isabol said with relief. She knelt down so that she was the same height as the child that still clung to her leg. “Is your mommy or daddy here amongst this crowd?”

“'Ayn eayilatuk,” Greg Beckett translated.

The kid shook his head. “Ymknny 'an akhadhak lahum.”

“He says he can take us,” Greg told Isabol. “Is that – Is that something we want?”

Isabol wasn’t sure either. But they couldn’t stand around outside the gate forever. “Yeah,” she said. “Let’s do it.”

“'Iintalaq,” Greg said in Arabic, and the kid nodded, taking off down the road toward the city. Greg and her shared a look then followed behind him, dragging their luggage behind them. And behind their luggage, about half of the people from the crowd chose to follow after them, almost as if the three of them were leading a protest march, or roving band of explorers.

They walked down the sand swept highway for over fifteen minutes before finally the child stopped, about half way between the airport and the city. Both were a distant horizon, though the wind whipping sands made it hard to see much in the distance. All she knew was there there were no buildings in the vicinity. Just a few bombed out cars around a crater. The boy led her from the crater to the side of the road, and pointed to some rags. Not just rags, bones and rotting flesh. Insects eating at their skin and eyeballs.

Isabol screamed despite herself.

“Hadha mamana,” the boy said.

“That’s ‘is Mommy,” Greg translated solemnly.

The boy pointed to another pile of rags and rotting flesh. “Hadha ‘abi.”

“That’s my father,” Greg said, forgetting to even change the pronoun.

Isabol breathed deeply so as not to scream again, the effort coming out like a gasp. She could feel her eyes tearing up, and her legs wobble under her weight. Dropping to her knees, she threw up into the sand.

“Why didn’t anyone bury them?” she asked the boy, his face emotionless even as she fell apart before his eyes.

“Hal turid minaa dafanuhum?” Greg Beckett asked the boy.

An older man, with a graying beard and overalls, slapped Beckett on the back as he passed him, followed by a few of the other men who had been in the crowd of people following behind them. “Sanadifanahum,” the old man said to Greg. “Aimnahawna eshr daqayiqa.”

“He said they will bury the boy’s family,” Greg told her. “In thanks for the water. Come on, let’s get yeh back on the road. Yeh don’t have ta watch this.”

“Come on,” Isabol called to the little boy. “You shouldn’t have to see this either.” The boy took her hand and allowed her to lead him after Beckett to the road. They sat on the hood of a bombed out car as the men gave the boy’s family a proper burial.

Beckett pulled out his camera and began filming the tender moment as Isabol watched the boy fidget and gaze concernedly at the men at work.

“How long have they been dead?” she asked the boy.

“Mundh mataa wa'ant bidun 'umuk wa'abuk?” Greg asked without taking his eyes off the camera viewscreen.

“Tset 'ashhur,” the boy responded.

“Nine months,” Greg told her.

“Bloody hell,” she muttered under her breath. “Where have you been living since then? Do you have any family?”

“'Ayn taeish alana?” Greg asked the boy.

“Fi 'ayi makan aistatyea,” the boy told him, digging his shoe into the ground. “Almabani almahjurat. Fi bed al'ahyan 'anqad minhim.”

“’e’s been living anywhere ‘e can,” Beckett told her. “Ruins a places n’ shit. He’s got no one else.”

Isabol could feel herself tearing up. A reporter had to keep herself distant. “What about food. What about school. Toys. Play? Having a normal childhood?”

Greg looked at her. “Yeh really want me ta ask him all that?”

“No,” she muttered. “I don’t know.”

“Look around,” Greg told her. “Normal’s gone out the door. We’ve entered hell. The rules have changed. It’s not about living your best life out here, luv. It’s about makin it day boi day.” He closed his camera, and slid off the car. “Why the hell did yeh think I didn’t wanna come out here,” he muttered, facing away from her.

“I’m sorry,” Isabol muttered back. As much as she hated to say it, she was the novice here, and he was the expert. He’d been to areas like this. Probably worse even. He’d made it his fool’s errand seeking danger. But he certainly wasn’t chasing it anymore. Isabol wondered when this change had happened in him, and why she hadn’t seen it before.

“What about aid,” Isabol asked no one in particular. “The united states. Canada. The UN.”

“We see nothing like that,” a woman nursing her child to her breast said from the small crowd that had followed behind them. “No aid.”

It seemed the men were done with the burial, and one of them, a middle aged man with a thick moustache and beige robes, approached her. “I have a truck,” he told her, speaking even better English than the woman. “I’ll give you that tour,” he paused. “For the two hundred thousand dinars.”

“Of course,” she said, handing the money over to him as a sign of good faith.

He took it and pocketed it in a fold amongst his robes. “It’s just up this way,” he told her. “Not far from here.”

Isabol looked at Greg, and reluctantly he grabbed his suitcase, pulling on it to follow along behind her.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

99% Geekly Weekly 2 (September 16): DCAU

Now playing: Pokemon Yellow (3DS)
Now Watching:  DC Animated movies
Now Listening: Kinda Funny Morning Show, Kinda Funny Gaming Daily
Now Reading: Working on my novel Isabol Tseung Voice News

I've been really enjoying the DC animated movies. It's somewhat of a complicated thing to dive into for the uninformed, but in a period where the DC Movie Universe is having some major issues, the animated movies are actually doing something right.

It starts, really, with the Batman Animated TV show, and the Superman Animated TV show. They cross over, and finish off their runs. The Batman animated show even has some movies early on before the reboot with Tim Drake as Robin. Then there's the Justice League. Justice League Unlimited after that. Batman Beyond. Young Justice after that. It's not technically part of the same canon, but you can head canon it, and the same can be said for many of the movies that follow. SOme can be more easily head canoned to take place among the same canon than others. There's a lot of them, and you can find a list on wikipedia or google or whatever.

What I've been watching lately is the new canon they started with Flashpoint. Basically Flashpoint takes place in the old canon, but it's implied (Very loosely mind) that at the end he splinters reality by resetting time, and creates a new timeline, which are the movies that follow. So far I've watched Justice League War, Son of Batman, Justice League Throne of Atlantis, and Batman vs Robin. They've each been really good and fun in their own way, and worth watching. The batman ones have been a fun exploration of him and his son Damien. The Justice League ones have been brutal and fun in their own way. Quality stuff. If you've never touched any of DC's stuff, you should start from the beginning. That's Batman the animated Series. Just find some list with all DC animated shows and movies in release order, and work your way through it. It's all quality stuff, the Batman, Superman, and Justice League stuff. If you have already touched on that stuff, then start with Justice League War or Flashpoint Paradox, and enjoy the new continuity in it's awesomeness. It's worth your time. It all is.

Beyond that, I've started working on the chapter for the month. There'll be a free excerpt here,  in less than a week. Promise. I'd write more, but I'm watching some Iron Fist. Have a good week. We are the 99 percent.

Geekly Weekly TV Rankings:
  1. Shameless *****
    Whenever I come across the question of what is my favourite TV show, there's so much great TV it's really hard to choose. Do I go with the cliche and Game of Thrones. Do I say Legion? Do I say one of the hundred comic book shows I love? SOmething more obscure? Often times I'll just default to Shameless, because the show is on its ninth season now and has never stopped being strong. It gives everything, I laught harder than any other show. I cry when it wants me to cry. The characters are a family, and there isn't one main character I don't love deeply. Besides Frank, but William H Macy plays him perfect.
  2. American Horror Story *****Traumatizing, disturbing, horrifying. I've missed AHS. If you've never watched, better to start with season 1 or 2. This one has gotten really bizzare, but I love every second.
  3. Fear the Walking Dead *****
    An amazing episode of Walking Dead this week. Really strong writing. Great cliffhanger finale. I really cared when they had the Polar Bear reveal. I don't subscribe to the belief that Walking Dead is a terrible show. I know people say Fear The Walking Dead is better, but I think they are both great shows. This episode might have been more action packed than some, but what the show has always excelled at is the quiet moments. The skill it has in getting you inside the heads of the characters, so that even when there isn't any dialogue you know what they are thinking and how they feel. It's not an easy thing to do, and the main show never lost it, and this show has it too. To really enjoy these "silly zombie horror" shows, you have to be able to appreciate the quiet subtle moments, because that's when they succeed best. And then it makes big moments like this week work only all the more dramatically.
  4. Killjoys ***Not their best episode. I still hold onto the assertion that the cast is amazing, and they are giving one hundred and twenty percent. I feel like this episode, the writing (And budget) really let the show down. But then Zeph starts acting her ass off without much to work with, and even as I'm cringing from the writing, I'm tearing up from her performance. I find the main girl (villain from Antman and the Wasp) also always gives 120%. The cast is just so good. That explosion near the end though, the big one, looked so god damned bad. I think the first explosion of Babylon 5 looked better. The first one, not the fancy remade one for the TV movie.
  5. The Last Ship ***
    I've never loved this show, but it's had moments that feel like a cheesy action film, but on a weekly TV budget. It's very pro America, and pro military, and seems to be getting dumber and dumber every season. Or maybe it was always dumb, and it's just bothering me more in season five. I dunno if I'm gonna stick with this. The trailer for the coming season looked alright. It's the final season. I might have one more season in me if they can make it good.
  6. You **
    A weird creepy show about how girls are always falling for the wrong guys, and punishing themselves and making the worst choices... and we explore all this through the eyes of a stalker / killer cause nothing will help nice guy geeks like us than to portray the good ones as stalking serial killers. I'm on the fence.
  7. Kidding *
    You won't see this next week. It lost me. I just don't like the characters or circumstances much at all. But there's a lot of truth there. Too much maybe.
Geekly Weekly Talk Show Showdown:
  1. Vice
    Great stories about how crazy Evangelist Christians are for Trump, and the horrible massacres in the Congo. Unspeakable things are going on there. This world is a horrible place.
  2. Last Week Tonight
  3. Stephen Colbert
  4. James Corden
    Was in the Fifth spot until their episode with Allison Brie and Keegan Michael Key.
  5. Daily Show

Sunday, September 9, 2018

99% Geekly Weekly 1 (September 9): Spider-man Week

Now playing: Spiderman (PS4)
Now Watching: Spiderman 1-3, Amazing Spider-Man 1-2
Now Listening: MCU in Review Podcast
Now Reading: Mickey Mouse comics from 1930s... don't ask

Welcome to my new weekly blog. I’m a huge TV fanatic, and with peak Tv totally a thing, I wanted a place where I could share personal rankings on everything I watch. I’ll also try to keep you up to date with my latest opinions, as well as news on my upcoming 99 geek projects. Don’t worry, I’ll still be giving free excerpts from my chapters released on patreon.com/99geek and I even think I’ll try creating audiobooks again. It didn’t work well last time, but when you don’t succeed, just try and try again.

Even though TV has been gone all summer,  it hasn't been all gone. There's been some great TV still, like Killjoys and Wrecked. If you haven't been watching, you've been missing some good stuff that would be okay during peak TV, but is really hitting the spot in the recent drought.

And that drought is about to end. You'll be able to track all the best shows to watch here.

I re-watched all the non-MCU Spider-man movies, and as usual I couldn't stand Tobey Maguire's Spider-man. I really do believe the Amazing Spider-man movies, while not perfect, were better movies and really understood Spider-man better. Maybe give them another chance?

Oh one more thing. Here's my Spiderman playthrough Part 1. https://youtu.be/6yuoX-NOx0A

Geekly Weekly TV Rankings:
  1. Killjoys *****
    Great show on Sci-fi. Awesome kick ass cast, and great writing makes up for low budget and generic setting.
  2. Fear The Walking Dead *****
    I don't agree with people that insist The Walking Dead has gone to shit. Maybe it's not the best, but I enjoy every tense moment of the show, every quite ponderous linger on a characters face portraying all the crazy emotions these people go through. It can be slow, but that's been the point from the beginning right? There's nothing wrong with something slow that can make you feel.
  3. Wrecked ****
    A comedy sitcom version of Lost. It really should not be as good as it is, but it's really really funny. It has numerous quotables an episode, oh and Rhys Darby.
  4. Kidding **
    It's not good. But I kinda get what he's trying to do, and I'm waiting to see if it can touch me. There were moments it came close. If this is coming from Jim Carrey's heart, I'm willing to give him the time to try to understand how he's become such a  mess. Ugh, he was cringeworthy on Bill Maher, he has to stop those voices and faces and shit, but I think that's his only gimmick.
Geekly Weekly Talk Show Showdown:
  1. Stephen Colbert
  2. Vice News
  3. Daily Show
  4. James Corden
  5. Real Time with Bill Maher

Monday, August 27, 2018

FREE prologue 1x00 Isabol Tseung Voice News


Characters, places, and events are works of fiction and not at all indicative or representative of any real life person places or things. A lot of inspiration was taken from Vice, a subsidiary of HBO. Much respect is held for the journalism that goes on at Vice, and I suggest everyone check them out. I do not represent them, nor do I think my book is a factual retelling of anything relating to real life. For the true story on everything, check out Vice.com or tune in daily to   Vice News airing on HBO. I personally never miss an episode.
 

1x00 “Nobody Does it Better”

Released on http://www.patreon.com/99geek on August 2018

Susanne collapsed against the side of the bombed out building, wincing in pain as her hand kept pressure on her side. When she pulled away from the sand stone wall, she left behind a bloody imprint. They’d have no problem tracking her now.

Gunshots rang out in the distance, and Susanne stumbled forward through the empty alleyway, tripping over debris of a house hit by military airstrikes. She smacked the sandy ground hard, propping herself painfully against a metal beam as she laboriously gasped for breath. It was getting harder.

She looked around the alley. She was somewhere in the middle of downtown Mosul in the country of Iraq. Perhaps this would be a good place to die. Quiet. Alone.

More gunshots rang out, and she could see the people in the street continuing their day. Gunshots had become a regular soundtrack to these people. Their entire lives had been only war for so many years now that it seemed the only thing left that could startle them was peace.

Her bloodstained hand reached into her pocket, the bullet wound in her side bleeding out furiously. She was growing cold, in a climate that often hit 115 degrees during the day, and on top of that her head was spinning. Her hands furiously worked against her phone’s touchscreen, slapping the keyboard as fast as her thumbs could keep up with her mind, each tap leaving a bloody thumbprint in its wake.

There were more gunshots, this time far closer. They were coming from the building just in front and to the left of her. She could see the muzzle flashes as two more shots went off, illuminating the shadows on the third floor of a bombed out structure.

Suddenly an Iraqi woman, slender and muscular, with military camo jacket pants and hijab, came to the edge of the third floor. She was facing away from Susanne, and fired two shots with a pistol into the room she’d just come from, before jumping from the third floor. She struck the wall of the building across from her with her shoulder, and bounced off to land heavily on the ground at Susanne’s feet.

Turning onto her back, the familiar Iraqi freedom fighter raised her pistol at the floor she’d come from as two large bearded men took her place at the edge of the third floor. They were wearing turbans and carried AK-47s. She fired up at them, two shots into one, and two shots into the other. As they fell, she took two more carefully aimed shots pegging them with headshots before they hit the ground.

She ejected her magazine, checking the cartridge which only seemed to have a couple shots left in it. Pocketing the cartridge in a baggy pocket of her cargo pants, she got up and offered Susanne a hand.

“We must be moving, Suzie,” she said in a commanding voice.

“Alright Alia” Susanne said, her thumbs still working the keyboard, “just let me finish this text.”

“There will be time for doing this later,” Alia insisted in her thick accent. “They will be swarming this حارة [hāra] soon.” She bent over to help Susanne up. “There is place for us to hide. I have people in the city.”

“Go ahead then and fetch them,” Susanne moved her arm so Alia could see the blood on her side. “I’m not going to make it with you.”

“Don’t speak these things,” Alia begged, her face turning soft.

“I have to send this message out,” Susanne insisted, finishing her email, “No one is watching. No one knows what’s been going on here.”

“There’s no time,” Alia said.

“There,” she said stubbornly. “I’m done.” Susanne raised the phone as high as she could, trying to get a signal in the spotty locale. “Come on.” Zero bars. “Come on.” Her arm fell as her head got dizzy. “Come on,” she said as she saw the phone get a bar. The animation of the email sending began, but the bar flickered out before it could finish.

“Who is your friend?” Alia asked.

“We’re not friends,” Susanne said with a gargling laugh. “Oh that didn’t sound good, did it? Ugh, we went to university together. She’ll know what to do. Far better than me.”

There was screaming from the street at the mouth of the alley, “laqad wajadat alnisa' kunaa nabhath eanha, allah 'akbar, tueal 'iilaa huna,” and Alia turned quickly to fire off a shot that went through the man’s neck. The crowds in the street were finally dispersing as the man went down. The damage was done.

Alia grabbed Susanne and forced her up in one surprising show of strength for a woman so petite. Supporting Susanne with her shoulder, the wounded reporter with red hair screamed and dropped her phone to the floor. Trying to go for it, Alia pulled her away.

“No!” Susanne insisted through the pain. “I have to make sure it sends. It’s all that matters.”

It was futile however, and Alia led her from the alley, the two women far out of sight and earshot as the phone pinged with the chime of a sent email.

*     *     *

“Do you mind if I smoke?” Robert Daggers said in his deep voice, pulling a cigarette from the half depleted pack he kept in the breast pocket of his suit jacket. The man was tall, imposing even, in his traditional black suit with suspenders that seemed to be doing nothing to hold his pants up when he still wore a belt.

He brought the smoke to his lips, and with his other hand fished out a lighter. He flicked the lighter before Isabol Tseung could even respond.

“A little,” She said, too late. She was sitting across from him in a small foldable chair, lights beaming down on them both from stands where her cameraman had set up three fresnels in a triangular pattern to counter act the shadows cast by the one draped window in the cold library conference room where she was conducting her interview on the University of Toronto campus.

Robert Daggers drew deeply from his smoke, and Isabol Tseung tried to share a glance with her cameraman, though she couldn’t see his eyes through the reflection of light on his glasses. He threw her a shrug and she gave the American a disapproving frown. Better to not make a fuss. She wasn’t there to attack him on his nicotine addiction. Not that.

“I guess we’ll just have to call this my presidential prerogative,” President Daggers said, taking another drag, he blew the smoke into Isabol’s face.

“It’s actually illegal here,” Isabol said, unable to stop herself, “now. Smoking inside.”

“Yes,” the President of the United States said, ashing his cigarette carelessly on the floor, getting some of his ash on her shoe. “It’s illegal in the States as well.” He gave her the thinnest of smiles, almost daring her to get triggered. Triggering the liberal media was, after all, what President Bob Daggers did best.

Isabol wasn’t going to take the bait. She’d been wanting this for only too long, and anyone who knew her knew she never let an opportunity go to waste. “So you believe, then, that certain types of people should be allowed to live by a different set of rules than other people. Such as successful people. Or rich people.”

The president wasn’t often prone to smile, but his thinly veiled satisfied smirk didn’t budge once. She hoped to wipe it clean off his face before the interview was over.

“I don’t think anyone is saying that,” President Daggers said confidently. “But in life there is an unspoken understanding that people who have made it to the top have earned a level of respect and privilege that lesser classes are welcome to if they just work hard for it. I think if someone is a value and benefit to their society, what good does it do to drudge into their private lives?”

“You mean like Rosanne?” Isabol asked, brushing her dark hair behind her ear and tapping her pen on the pad before her. She didn’t have any questions written on it, but she found just having the pad there an often effective intimidation tool.

“Sure,” The president agreed.

“Harvey Weinstein?”

“Maybe.” She wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of reacting to that. He ashed his smoke on the ground again.

“So,” Isabol said, leaning forward in her chair. “following your logic to its rational conclusion you probably also don’t think child pedophiles should have to announce themselves when entering a new neighbourhood.”

“Nobody is saying that.”

Isabol crossed her arms. “But you’re not denying it either. Right? What exactly are people supposed to think?”

“People can think whatever they want to think,” Daggers told her, smoking away. “I personally think that my supporters are an intelligent, critical thinking, flock.” The word flock seemed to jarringly contradict his descriptors of intelligent and critical thinking. “And I think any intelligent man knows that there’s nuance to every issue.”

“And what about intelligent women?”

The president ignored her question. “You have to take things like that on case by case. Do I think there’s a lot of wrongfully accused pedophiles who are being treated unfairly, you’re damned right I do.”

Isabol clicked her pen. “Do you have any evidence or stats to support that?” She already knew he didn’t. “Or are we seriously just supposed to take your word on that? That immigrants are murderers and rapists, and some pedophiles are good people?”

“That’s the problem with you media folks,” he said in his deep voice, stroking his chiseled unshaven chin. There were more hairs on his scruffy face than atop his shiny bald head.

“We’re the enemy of the people,” Isabol stated flatly. “Those were your words. Would you care to elaborate?”

“You’re asking me? How are you the enemy of the people?” the president leaned back confidently. His smoke now burned to the filter, he tossed it away into the corner of the room. “Honey,” he said. “you should read my tweets.”

“I was just hoping you could explain it to my face,” Isabol told him. “Personally I love -- people. I became a reporter because I wanted to help -- people.”

“Maybe you should have been a nurse.”

“My father wanted me to be a -- doctor.” She said, in case there was any doubt in his mind women could be doctors. “It just wasn’t for me. This is where I belong. You still haven’t answered my question.”

“It’s the lies,” he said. “The way you attack conservatives.”

“So you feel attacked,” Isabol said, tapping her pen on her pad.

“You don’t think I’ve watched Voice News?” he said.

Isabol nodded, with a polite laugh. “Yeah, I don’t think you’ve watched us.” He was too busy watching the jokers at Fox News.

“I’ve seen enough,” the president said. “I’ve seen clips. You make me out like I’m some kind of pervert. Like I can’t bring up how hot I think you are without you spinning this interview to make me seem like some kind of creep.”

“And yet,” Isabol said, leaning back, “despite that, you still brought up my physical qualities when I’ve only come here to address you at an intellectual level.” She crossed her arms again, somewhat more tightly this time than last.

“It’s a compliment,” he said. “I’d be more than happy if you told me I have a hot body.”

“But I don’t think you have a hot body,” Isabol Tseung said, trying to keep her voice level. “What if I brought up your bald head, your sweaty pits, how your face turns bright red when you get angry. Your fat banana lips.”

The thin smile he’d been wearing the whole interview was gone. She was starting to get under his skin.

“None of those were compliments,” he said. “And there’s the problem with the media. I complimented you, and you insulted me, and somehow people will watch this interview and think I’m the bad guy.”

“I think the problem,” Isabol explained, “is that comments on physical attributes take away from the real conversation.”

“But you’re not interested in a real conversation,” he argued before her. “You’re only interested in spreading fake coverage of nonsense, and distracting people from what’s really going on.”

“Let’s go through it all together then,” Isabol said. “The events, from the beginning. It started in twenty sixteen when you beat Donald Trump to be the conservative representative.”

“He played a good game,” Bob Daggers said. “I just played the same game better.”

“But then you lost to the democratic representative who beat Hilary Clinton, Shirley Manson.”

Bob shifted in his seat. “Only because of election tampering.”

“You mean the so called hacking of the elections,” Isabol clarified for the camera.

“It wasn’t so ridiculous when it was the Democrats complaining about election hacking.”

Isabol frowned, crinkling her small nose. “For the record though, the democrats meant hacking in the loosest of senses. The Russians took advantage of social media to push false narratives and spread discourse. There was no actual hacking, as much as there was mind hacking or life hacking.”

“And there’s another false story,” Bob Daggers insisted. “That’s what the media wants you to believe to hide the real hacking that Hilary Clinton did with the Russians to get her ultimate revenge.”

“That sounds like a good movie,” Isabol made the casual observation. “So Shirley Mason wins by quite a margin—“

“Proof of election tampering,” Bob Daggers interrupted. “The polls showed the race to be much closer.”

“So the Russians didn’t bother to hack the polls first?” Isabol was trying to follow his logic. She really was.

“Why would they?”

“So then there was the scandal with Mason’s vice president, and in a shock to practically everyone, she announced you her new VP.”

“She wanted to close the divide between the right and the left.”

“Okay,” Isabol said, tapping her pen against the pad again. “but you then went on and destroyed her administration from inside, set her up for impeachment, and took the presidency completely against the wants and votes of the people.”

“More media spin,” Daggers insisted. “You really can’t help yourself can you? Conservatives are treated as evil monsters without –“

“But when the things you believe are monstrous,” Isabol insisted, pushing him. “When the very tenants of your party are callous and cruel…”

Bob Daggers shook his head. “That’s a gross misrepresentation of the Republican party. Let me boil it down for simple minds like yours to understand.” He lit another cigarette as he spoke, and the smoke around Isabol was making it hard for her to breathe. “Conservatives believe in small government and free enterprise. That’s it.”

“I’ve heard this argument before,” Isabol insisted. “But in practice it seems like conservatives only believe in small government when it suits them. Where’s your small government when you’re pushing a law through senate to abolish all abortions in the country. Forcing women to suffer through pain and horrific body transformation because you think the government--”

“That’s not exactly how I would describe child birth,” Daggers said with a laugh.

“You’ll never know,” Isabol argued angrily. “You could never know.” She was starting to raise her voice. “What about the girl in Texas, who was raped and was refused an abortion. She didn’t ask for her life to be changed forever. You don’t know how traumatizing child birth can be on a person. How life altering. It should always be a choice. Otherwise you might as well be signing them to torture and a life of unpaid servitude.”

“That is absurd.”

“Where is your small government when you are refusing immigrants at the border? When you are kicking out hard working people for being “illegal” but really just because they are a different ethnicity as you. People who were providing for our economy, even without many of the benefits rewarded to legitimate citizens of the country. How can a small efficient government be so needlessly cruel while simultaneously shooting themselves in the foot?”

“It’s all spin,” Daggers insisted. “You can spin it anyway you like.”

“Where is the conservative focus on economy and a cheaper government, on lowering our national debt, when Bush started the war in Iraq. Racked up a ten billion dollar deficit in the process. You claim to care about the debt, and yet the only way you actually push towards small government is to cut important environmental protections so you can put that money into funding your anti-immigration. You cut money from social services that guarantee vulnerable people will suffer and die, and then you just openly hand that money back into the hands of the rich with tax breaks, even though they are already doing just fine for themselves and only keep getting larger in needless assets.”

“My presidency has been better for both the rich and the hard workers of America,” Bob Daggers finally butted into her tirade.

Isabol took a deep breath. “That’s not true. How can you say that and yet deny minimum wage workers even a living wage. When a single mother works 40 hours a week and can’t even make enough money to feed her kid, and your argument to support that is simply that she will learn then how to work harder? It’s despicable.”

Bob Daggers got up, “I don’t need to listen to this.”

”What about the allegations against you of women abuse?” Isabol said, getting up with him, fully aware she was about to lose him. “Do you enjoy taking advantage of people more vulnerable than yourself? Is power just a trip for you, so you seek new ways to flaunt it? Or, in that disgustingly perverse misogynistic cave of evil you call a mind, are you just existentially incapable of accepting a world in which you can ask something of a woman and her answer to your question is NO.”

She grabbed his smoke from between his lips, broke it, and tossed it aside. She didn’t realize she’d tossed it at the blonde secret service agent off to the president’s side, but the woman in a suit and shades leaned back casually and dodged both pieces. All while facing away. How could anybody have reflexes that good?

President Bob Daggers raised his hand as if to slap her, his face twisted in furious abandon. Isabol planted her feet and locked eyes with him, daring him to follow through. Instead he chuckled in such a way that sounded like a cough.

“I suppose it’s a good thing I have diplomatic immunity,” he said, lowering his arm to point at her instead. “You should watch yourself.” He shared a glance with his secret service agent. She didn’t seem to hold herself much like the agents Isabol was used to seeing. There was a rumour that Bob Daggers had fired the entire secret service staff, replaced them with his own private contractors.

“This conversation is over.”  The president said, turning to her cameraman with his same hand still outstretched. “Give me the tape.”

“It doesn’t run on tape,” Tom said, pulled the micro SD card from the back. “We’re all digital…”

The secret service woman grabbed the small chip from him.

“Go ahead,” the president said to Isabol. “Say anything about me that you like. I promise you that you’ll hear from me again, and that I’ll enjoy our next meeting far more than you.” The way he said that made her skin crawl, and the way he looked her up and down was as if he was imagining her naked. He then stormed out of the room with his protection.

“Jesus,” Tom said, behind his large glasses that sat awkwardly on his square face. Isabol jumped, having forgot for a moment that he was in the room. “That was really intense.

“Tell me you didn’t give him our only copy,” Isabol insisted, pointing at him the way Daggers had pointed at her.

“I was connected to the university WIFI and uploading live to the dropbox,” Tom told her, and she breathed her first sigh of relief, hugging him with excitement. “He had to know that though, right?”

“No, you lovable lump you. I don’t think he did.” She looked at the door he’d only just slammed on his way out. “I’m really good at pissing off conservatives,” Isabol said. “You notice that?”

Tom shrugged while taking the camera off the tripod. “Nobody does it better,” he said casually, as he slipped the camera into its case.

Isabol sighed, and picked up her pad where it fell when she stood up. As she did, Tom turned off the Fresnels and bathed her in black. In the darkness her phone’s screen was the only light. A notification had popped up, an email. The subject line was a single word.

Urgent.

Next Month on Isabol Tseung Voice News at www.patreon.com/99geek in September 2018
Chapter 1: Isabol Tseung is an up and coming reporter who wants to make a name for herself doing more than just local news, and AP reporting. She wants to go into the field, interview the most relevant people, she wants to dig at the story, and find something real to report on. Something that affects millions of lives. She wants to make a difference.

Next Time: Adrift Homeless at www.patreon.com/99geek in October 2018
Chapter 6:
Just because the Blazkor second rebellion has broken, doesn't mean there isn't still lots to be done. There's a ship to fix, and a crew still must be formed to man it. People will need to be uprooted from their homes and forced to live in an unfamiliar environment. Bureaucracy will have to be tended to. And there are more threats still to come.