Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the non-nerd (With a lot of nerd stuff thrown in!)

Is there a show that you’ve jumped into?  Is there something that you binge watch on ye olde Netflix?  Did you get LOST for 24 hours with a  bunch of MAD MEN in some kind of AMERICAN HORROR STORY with the SONS OF ANARCHY while your friend DEXTER was BREAKING BAD habits?

"Don't forget about my show...what was it called?  Are we even on the air still?"

“Don’t forget about my show…what was it called? Are we even on the air still?”

Well, get ready for a new show to add to your binge watching list.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D!

The new show is a spin off of the current Marvel Studio films and the season will expand upon the Marvel cinematic universe.  S.H.I.E.L.D is a clandestine government agency that deals with big picture threats to the United States and the world.  In the films and the television show, the acronym stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.  In the comics the acronym originally stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division (Debuting in 1965 in Strange Tales # 135, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) for no apparent reason, the name was changed in the 1990s to Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.    No matter what the name means, the show is taking a very logical step by bringing popular characters from the Marvel Studio Films and putting them on a weekly action show.  Before I delve to deep into the show and its history, I would be committing a crime against humanity if I didn’t note that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sadly, not the first time the comic book agency was given life on the small screen….

"Co-Starring Pamela Anderson as the Red Skull filmed entirely in slow motion!"

“Co-Starring Pamela Anderson as the Red Skull filmed entirely in slow motion!”

Yes, in 1998, the same year internet geniuses gave us Google, the evil geniuses at Fox gave us Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD starring David Hassellhoff in the title role.  Nick Fury is the head of SHIELD, in the comic books.  He created the idea of an all encompassing agency that would protect the world from major threats, but scrapped the idea….only to find that some U.N. type organization took his premise, created the agency and appointed him the Director.   So, some executive thought it would be great to see the guy who played Michael Knight as the not so tough head of a global defense agency.  Great casting!  Well, it went straight to television and was widely ignored.  Although, I’m sure it was huge in Germany.

"Let us all eat bratwurst, drink craft beer and watch Baywatch!"

“Let us all eat bratwurst, drink craft beer and watch Baywatch!  I’m not even German!”

Years later, Marvel comics created a new line of comics to reach a younger audience.  They ditched the decades of history and created an alternate universe that was streamlined to be more like a widescreen action movie.  This ULTIMATE UNIVERSE existed alongside the traditional Marvel Universe, so readers could choose which take on the characters they want to read about.  Of course, the company wouldn’t be mad if you bought every book they ever published.  Including the Adventures of Squirrel Girl.  (She’s a real character…and she fought and defeated Dr. Doom.  Don’t ask.  EVER.)  The first books were Ultimate Spiderman (A younger, just starting out version of Spiderman) and Ultimate X-Men (A darker, more cinematic version of the X-Men with plenty of twists on the original stories…Like Wolverine being a founding member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Colossus being a closeted homosexual.)  Ultimate Nick Fury debuted in the pages of Ultimate X-Men.  His look was rather different from what it would soon become…

This Fury looked more like Sonny Spoon (Mario Van Peebles) than Samuel L. Jackson.

This Fury looked more like Sonny Spoon (Mario Van Peebles) than Samuel L. Jackson

It wasn’t until the Ultimates (The Ultimate Universe version of the Avengers) that Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch reinvented the Nick Fury Character and made him look just like Samuel L. Jackson, however the creators didn’t ask Jackson for his permission to use his likeness.  So in an attempt to keep from being sued by the highest grossing actor in the world…when Marvel Studios began planning the Marvel Cinematic Universe that would eventually give us the Avengers…they asked Samuel L. Jackson if he would like to play Fury.  He agreed and the character first appeared to almost everyone’s surprise at the end of Iron Man.  Of course, throughout the film, S.H.I.E.L.D was represented by Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg.

Coulson's first SHEILD mission was to infiltrate a sub par Julia Louis-Dreyfus sit-com.

Coulson’s first SHIELD mission was to infiltrate a sub par Julia Louis-Dreyfus sit-com.

Coulson became a fan favorite, appearing in almost all of the Marvel films, eventually gaining a larger role in the Avengers….Until he was killed by Loki, the god of moving the story along.  This brings us to the show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D where Agent Coulson is revealed to be alive and well, despite being stabbed through the heart by Thor’s evil bro.   Not-Dead Coulson assembles his crew of Level Seven agents to tackle unusual comic book-ish threats that have arisen since the Super Heroes came on to the scene.    If the show left you scratching your head and wondering….”What the hell is an Extemis?” here’s your handy dandy nerd guide.

Why is Robin from How I met your Mother on this show?

The very Canadian actress, Cobie Smulders (Who does play Robin on How I Met Your Mother) played Maria Hill in the Avengers and reprised her role for a brief cameo on the Pilot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  In the comic book world, Maria Hill is a top level S.H.I.E.L.D agent and answers only to Nick Fury himself….and probably his bosses….maybe even to the Pope, heck I don’t know.  Nick Fury is presumed dead and Maria Hill is appointed his successor.  A lot happens in between then and the current Marvel stories (Including SHIELD being run by Iron Man, dismantled by the Green Goblin and replaced with his HAMMER organization), but now Maria Hill is back in command of SHIELD.

I hear all this babble about LMD what the heck is that, a delicious new snack at McDonalds?

No, an LMD is not a snack.  Rather than standing for Lettuce, Meat and Doritos (Coming soon to Taco Bell!) LMD actually means Life Model Decoy.  Basically its an android that looks like a specific person, keeping that person out of harm.  Read onward for why this nerd factoid matters.  (Does any of this really matter?)

Is Coulson Alive or Dead?

Okay, so we saw Phil Coulson die in the Avengers, but in Agents, he’s bouncing around with witty one liners and being all pervy toward Maria Hill.  His story is that he recovered in Tahiti for a while and his death was just a story used to motivate the Avengers into…Avenging.  The second the show was teased and Clark Gregg hit the convention circuit, fans speculated that the Coulson killed in the Avengers was an LMD.  However…when a SHIELD medical officer is chatting with Maria Hill about Coulson he says:  “He doesn’t Know?” and Maria Hill says:  “He can never Know.”  Now, this leads to a lot of speculation and mystery as to what that means.  Maybe Coulson did die after all and this Coulson is an LMD who doesn’t know he’s not the real deal.  Perhaps he’s a clone.  Who knows, maybe he is the smoke monster from Lost.

What is an EXTREMIS?  Is there an ointment for that?

In 2005, comic book writer Warren Ellis and artist Adi Granov created the Extremis storyline.  In this six part story, we learn about a computer code like virus which can be placed in the mind of a human and take over the healing part of the brain.  This in effect upgrades the user, allowing him to adapt to anything that comes his way.  Tony Stark injects himself with the Extremis virus and modifies the virus, allowing him to use it to interface with technology.  The movie Iron Man 3 first introduces Extremis to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  it is essentially the same thing, upgrading its users to be super soldiers.  However, these soldiers are unstable and if they get too angry and worked up can turn to human bombs.  The “Hooded Hero” in Agents of SHIELD is revealed to be a test subject of something called Centipede which uses an insect like device to interface with the Extremis virus.

Will Nick Fury appear in the show?

Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson wants to be on the show!  However, according to various interviews he gave, Jackson claims that Disney/Marvel Films can’t hire him for the show due to contract problems…blah, blah, blah.  Samuel L. Jackson says that if he was on the show, he’d love to appear like Charlie on Charlie’s Angels and just play a voice role.  Maybe he could be represented as a hologram message.  Either way, I’d love to see him on the show…he is the head of SHIELD after all!

Will there be other Marvel Heroes on the Show?

It’s hard to tell yet.  I think the Hooded Hero in episode one was a teaser and we are going to be treated to actually established Marvel Heroes and villains.  However, there are some people on the web making there wish lists of characters they want to see on the show…and they include X-Men and Spider-Man related characters.  Due to the film rights, Marvel Studios can’t use Spider-Man characters or X-Men characters. Ghost Rider, Blade, and the Fantastic Four are also off limits.  Here are some heroes that can (but probably won’t appear): Namor (The king of Atlantis and a real jerk), Dr. Strange (The mystic Sorcerer Supreme), The Punisher (Ex-Navy seal whose family was murdered and he began a one man war on crime), Shang Chi (A character based on Bruce Lee, appeared in the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu…awesome) Luke Cage (Formerly Power-Man, a street level, invulnerable hero for hire)  Iron Fist (Luke Cage’s partner, Danny Rand, a mystic fighter) Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers is caught in an explosion of an alien device and is given super powers)

Why Should I watch this crazy show?

Because it’s not crazy, it’s got great potential and you could be watching this….

 

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Is this a hostage situation…or are we just parents?

You’re just sitting in your living room, minding your own business.  Perhaps you’re watching something on television.  This program is not animated in any way, shape or form.  It’s the Evening/Morning/mid-afternoon/half a second after tea time news with Bimbo Fakesmile and Jack Botox.  Nothing animated about that (Unless you count the two re-animated corpses the affiliate dug up to read the news to you…I do!)  As you listen intently to the weather report, given to you by a man so tan he looked like a giant carrot who fell asleep in a tanning bed on Mercury, you hear a loud, demanding voice echo throughout your living room.

Cheer up, you could be forced to watch this freak.

Cheer up, you could be forced to watch this freak.

 

This loud yell shatters any notion you had of peace.  “I want to watch ELMO! NOW!”  Your mind reels.  Who is this busting into your home and yelling demands at you?  Is this some pint sized Hans Gruber?  Worse yet, are you going to have to climb through ventilation shafts with bleeding feet?  You quickly look around for this would be shot caller and realize that it’s your toddler.

"Where's my juice box, Mr. McClane?"

“Where’s my juice box, Mr. McClane?”

 

Yes, your peace and quite is now being held hostage by a person who is just now learning how to pee in the toilet without falling in.  In my case, this was my 2 1/2 year old, Luna wearing nothing but her super heroine shirt and the Eagle cap her grandpa Pretzel gave her.  (His name’s Russell, but she says pretzel.  It fits, he’s a bit twisted and Bavarians love him….I have no evidence to back up that last claim.)  “I want ELMO!  What’s this?”  She says as she stands defiantly in front of the television.  “This is news, Looney.  I like to watch it.  Can you watch it with me, quietly?”  I asked.   Her reply was no nonsense and to the point.  “No!  No news!  You can’t watch the news again, never ever.”  I stood up and reached for the volume, trying in vein to tune her out.  This of course brought the “The News is too loud!” chant.  Followed by the “ELMO is quieter!” method of reasoning.

Rather than argue and battle with a toddler until my head felt like it was full of angry fire ants….I relented and turned the channel.  This of course led to applause which was almost instantly followed by “I want to watch news with you!”

 

Unearthing words from the heart

Moving and settling in to your new domicile can be like an archeological dig.  You break ground, dig around for a long, long time, coming up with nothing but rubbish, broken pottery and those little white tables that come on large pizzas for no real reason. 

Where else are pixies going to get their  tiny furniture?

Where else are pixies going to get their tiny, cheese covered furniture?

Then, after a long time of stumbling around (I’m the one doing most of the stumbling) you come across a rare treasure.  In light of our upcoming 5 year anniversary, I found the wedding vows that I wrote for that special day.

When I was writing the vows, I stayed late after work and worked on the school computer.  It seemed like I spent hours crafting such a relatively small collection of words.  I was so nervous that I rehearsed my vows in front of my colleagues, Ms. Narachi and Ms. Stifell.  When they both started crying, I knew that I either hit the jackpot or wrote the worse thing ever spoken to a bride.

As it turned out, even the Deacon, Sergio whom presided over the ceremony was nervous, this being his first wedding and all.  His daughter, Monica was a good friend of my wife and she had known him for a very long time….but heck, even Deacons get jitters, right?  Deacon Sergio forgot to ask us to share our vows, we were able to read ours at the reception.  Here’s what I wrote:

Mercy,

I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time.  Now that it’s here, I want this moment to last forever.  You bring out the best in me and I believe I bring out the best in you.  When we’re together we make a super team, like Superman and Wonder Woman.  Batman and Robin…well, only if Robin was a woman.  Standing here with you, surrounded by all of our loved ones, I feel like the wealthiest, luckiest man on the planet.  The way the Trix Rabbit might feel when he finally gets a bowl of Trix brand cereal.

       Instead of gaining a delicious fruit flavored breakfast cereal, I will have the ultimate treasure.  The woman that I cherish more than any other human being on the planet.  And I vow that I will hold this treasure, this marriage as close to my heart as I possibly can.  Whether its turning on the bathroom light for you in the middle of the night because you are scared, or making sure you have your socks laid out for you in the morning, I will always be here for you.  I Vow to always be honest and truthful with you, even if that means admitting that I’m wrong.  I promise to always be faithful and loyal.

     You stir up feelings in me that no words can express and no painting could ever illustrate.  You’re my wife now and no force in the universe, even Darth Vader could keep me from being the best husband I can possibly be.

Mercy, I love you and can’t wait for the wonderful, bright future that we have in store for us.

Now, five years later, the feelings I have for my beautiful wife are still the same, probably even more intensified after all we have been through.  I’d like to think that I have lived up to some small measure of what I promised those five years ago, it sure doesn’t seem like it sometimes.  I know that I’d never want to spend my life with anyone else….not even Princess Leia in the gold bikini.  Plus, isn’t Carrie Fisher like a thousand years old now.  Please, don’t put her in a gold bikini in Episode VII!  Wait, what was I talking about…oh yes, Trix!

Five years later and Trix are still for kids.  Damn segregationists!

Five years later and Trix are still for kids. Damn segregationists!

A novel tease….

A lot of things are changing around here for my family and I.  We just moved into a great new place, and I am actively trying to gain a new job, one with more benefits and potential for growth.  I applied for a few places, but there is a great position with a Printing company that I am really excited, so if you are the praying type, please throw us a prayer bone, if you will.

Amidst the changes and the hustle and bustle, I am still trying to piece together a novel.  Yes, like Jessica Fletcher from the great CBS series, Murder She Wrote, I am seeking to become a published author.

murdershewrotelogo

While Murder She wrote is arguably the greatest show about widowed senior citizen mystery novelists ever created, I’m writing something a little bit different.

The story is titled: Catch my killer.  I don’t want to give too much away, but it is a mix of mystery, comedy, suspense and the supernatural.  Here is a short teaser….

Waves crashed mournfully onto the cliff side and the full, Mid October moon peered through the thick evergreens, lighting the way for Lucille Davershim.  The Fifty-Two year old retired hairdresser walked her hulking German Shepherd Kiss Kiss down his favorite hiking path, her neon running shoes crunching the sandy gravel beneath them.  Having just had a fight with her overly willful Nineteen year old daughter, Lucille decided to blot out the rest of the world for the time being, listening to whatever music she crammed onto her smart phone.  The small ear buds succeeded in blocking all but the muffled sound of the Pacific Ocean and the panting of her gargantuan dog. 

It was somewhere between Sweet Child of Mine and Living on a Prayer that Lucille noticed her dog had begun to whine nervously.  Something that he rarely did.  Lucille didn’t hear the slow paced crunching of gravel that seemed to echo her own footsteps.  She didn’t notice when the crunching sped up and began to outpace her.  Kiss Kiss stopped and whipped his huge furry frame around and began barking.  Lucille popped the ear buds out just in time to hear the heavy breathing right next to her left ear.  A soft, breathy voice spoke in a seemingly forced whisper.  “Hi, Lucy.  We need to talk about the stars.”  

Lucille Davershim tried to scream, she tried to run, but as the gloved hands wrapped around her throat, all she could do was release her humongous dog, hoping he’d help.  As Kiss Kiss ran in the opposite direction, disappearing among the trees, all Lucille could think of is that she always hated that dog.    

I still have a lot of work to do on it.  Let me know what you think.  Until next time…Stay Nerdy.

Idea Stew: A cocophony of random (and not so) thoughts….

It’s been a couple of weeks since I have put brain to blog, and a lot has happened.  My family and I have moved from the Suburbs back to the city.  A choice that I am quite fond of.  Even though I grew up in the country, I am very much a city soul.  I need hustle and bustle, I need the noise of people around us.  I enjoy the cultural clash of people co-existing.  You don’t really see that too much in the homogenized realm of suburban living.  The city is for me.  Where else but East Los Angeles can you find a neighborhood that offers Taco trucks on one corner, a mini market on another, a video store (Yes, they still exist) and a small gymnasium that hosts weekly Lucha Libre bouts?  No where.  Rather than write about any given topic, I’m just going to thrown many thoughts and ideas into the bowl and see what tastes good.

Idea Stew:

  • Moving is a royal pain.  Do you think Hermit Crabs would have nicer dispositions if they didn’t move from shell to shell all the time?
  • What would you call a nice Crab?  You couldn’t call it a crab anymore…it would be more like a Kind…a Hermit Kind just sounds stupid.
"Why do they call me a Hermit?  I like people, DAMMIT!"

“Why do they call me a Hermit? I like people, DAMMIT!”

 

  • Toddlers are the natural born enemies to new carpets.  They seek, and they destroy.  The person who can create a toddler proof carpet will be the next multi-billionaire.
  • My wife had a serious tooth ache all week.  I wanted to tie her tooth the ceiling fan, ala the Three Stooges, but she wasn’t having it.
  • Thank goodness for pain medication.
  • Do you think Dr. Howard, Dr. Howard and Dr. Fine would have a practice that is covered by the new Health Care laws?
Like all doctors, they are presently occupied with more important matters.

Like all doctors, they are presently occupied with more important matters.

  • What jobs haven’t the Three Stooges done?
  • CLASSIC COMEDIAN SMACK DOWN….Who’s funnier, Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy?

They secretly hated each other.

 

  • So far, I am not liking the DC Comics Villain Month books.  It’s been two weeks and only two issues have struck my fancy.  The Joker issue, which is a weird, untold story about his pet Ape was strangely compelling.  Since it is Joker telling the story, the whole issue is filled with lies, “jokes”, none of the looks into his past are to be taken seriously.  It’s Joker’s joke on the reader, he’s messing with us.  For anyone who takes the Joker so seriously (The Heath Ledger, Dark Knight diehards) you missed the point.  This is a solid story by Andy Kubert with really good art by Andy Clarke.  The other issue I liked was the Brainiac Origin.  Most Superman fans already had an idea of the villains back story, this takes the great work by Grant Morrison and runs with it, combining the traditional DCU Brainiac origin with the New 52 Brainiac in a satisfying way.
  • The 3D gimmick covers for Villains month are beautiful…gimmicky, but beautiful
  • I really like what Marvel is doing with Infinity and its associated books.
  • I wanted to hate Superior Spider-Man with its “Doc Ock’s mind in Spidey’s body” premise, but the story is building to a satisfying conclusion.
  • Prediction…Peter Parker’s consciousness wasn’t eradicated…it is inside Doc Ock’s junky old Lab robot, just waiting to take the bastard out once and for all.
  • I could be wrong.  I’m not, but I could be.
  • Comics are great.
  • Being a good Husband, a good Father and a good Nerd is a hard thing to juggle.
  • Go watch Copper on Netflix.  It’s what Gangs of New York would be if it was a police procedural rather than an epic film.
  • Liam Neeson was barely in Gangs of New York and he was still amazing.
  • I owe my wife another Movie night.  I owe her a lot of things…flowers, a spa day, sanity…you know, the usual.
  • I hate hash tags but….
  • #mywifeisawesome
  • #shedidn’tforcemetodothis

 

 

 

Familia week in review…

When waking up in the morning, it would be uncomfortable for most people to walk past a room and hear “La La La La La La…I’m awake…I’m awake….” for anyone with a toddler, it’s business as usual.  I entered our toddler’s room to find her in the corner of the crib cradling one of my smelly t-shirts.  “This is my baby.”  She said, rocking the shirt back and forth.  “Oh, that’s your baby.”  I asked.  She suddenly changed her mind and said “No, it’s Grandma Cindy’s Baby”  So now, my mother suddenly has a smelly t-shirt for a baby.  It’s weird how the world works.  Although, my mother is not the only grandma in this weird toddler cycle of domestic fascination…she also “Married” her Grandma Cathy.  Utilizing purple napkins as a bouquet and my wife, Mercy as the priest, Luna had a short ceremony consisting of pacing up and down the living room repeatedly saying…”Here comes the bride…”

Monday, the teen turned fifteen and we all celebrated with a great breakfast at Los Antojitos in Los angeles.  Irma is quite possibly the coolest lady in the world.  She brought the teen a strawberry and whipped cream flan so we could all sing happy birthday.  It was a great start to a cool week, midway I took the toddler to Belvedere Park while Mercy was at the doctor’s office.  We ate breakfast under a tree and quickly became friends with the king of all city waterfowl.  He was huge and hissed like an asthmatic Burgess Meredith.    This of course prompted us to feed him.  Luna threw as much bread as she could for him.  King Duck (or goose) was pleased and even posed for this photo.

"Do you have a tribute, for I, King Duck/Goose?"

“Do you have a tribute, for I, King Duck/Goose?”

His royal diseasyness then hissed and ushered in about nine other ducks who tried to peck at us.  This led to Luna running away and sitting on a seemingly harmless park bench.  Which just so happened to be the house of two other, bigger ducks who were resting underneath the bench.  This freaked her out more and I had to hold her for a while.  Then she saw a dead fish in the pond and was fascinated claiming “This water is dirty, the police better clean it.”  I had no idea that was in the job description for local policemen, but someone has to do it, I guess.

Later in the day, Mercy and I looked at a really cool apartment in East Los Angeles, it’s not quite the same as our suburban hideout…it is really nice with a full laundry room, an office and a closet that Luna could sleep in…Mercy and I both are praying we get the place, it’s adjacent to all the freeways and the teen can (And will!) walk to her school.

 

Today was the capper.  She found a cross with a small golden Jesus figure on it and carried it around the room, telling me that he is sleeping and he’s very tired.  I asked her why he’s tired, she said “He working too much, all day long.”  Like Mercy said, when you are busy absolving all of humanity for their sins, you get a little tired.  So, Luna placed golden Jesus on a pillow in the hallway for all to see.

"Most places leave mints on your pillows...what a weird hotel!"

“Most places leave mints on your pillows…what a weird hotel!”

 

The week ended on a great note, Mercy and I were able to have an actual adult night out without…gasp…children!  We went to see the World’s End, which if you haven’t seen it, is an amazing movie, great soundtrack, cool story and amazing acting.  We parked on the very top of the parking garage and soaked in the cityscape of our little suburban hideaway.  I looked into my beautiful wife’s eyes and said “If you were a flower, you’d be an awesome blossom.”  yeah, I’m that smooth.