Daily Archives: December 24, 2016

Zom Fu – Chapter 11

karate-312472_1280

In the courtyard of his clan’s sanctuary, the master held his hands behind his back and paced back and forth as he trained the three hundred members of the tiger claw clan. Each member stood before a pole with a straw dummy attached.

“Claw!” the master shouted.

The students held out their hands as if they were claws.

“Strike!”

The students slashed their clawed hands through the dummies’ chests, allowing straw to spill out everywhere.

“Seize!”

Each student grabbed hold of an orange.

“Twist!”

The students twisted their hands back and forth, though in this simulation, there were no guts to fight through.

“Yank!”

The students removed their oranges and held them up victoriously.

“Disciples,” the master said. “All kung fu clans have been trusted with one signature move, a move that when utilized, can devastate an opponent. We have been trusted with the most deadly of moves, not just because ours is the oldest and most revered clan, but because the Staff of Ages has always kept our Infallible Masters on the path of righteousness. It has done so with my predecessors. It has done so with me. It will do so with Junjie when he replaces me.”

The old man stroked his beard. “Swear to me that you will never use the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw for evil!”

“We swear!” the students shouted in unison.

“Good,” the old man said. “That is all for this morning. Continue to practice, and we shall resume our studies this afternoon.”

The students formed small groups and showed off their moves to one another as the master hobbled into the temple. Slowly, the old man made his way to his room, sat upon the floor, closed his eyes, and began his meditation.

“Body and spirit become two,” the master repeated over and over. “Body and spirit become two.”

Tagged , ,

Zom Fu – Chapter 10

karate-312472_1280

The Grand Library of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw was old, dusty and in a state of disrepair. The reading tables were rickety. The floor was dirty. Cobwebs grew over the thousands upon thousands of scrolls stored in cubby holes along the walls.

“You’ve appointed me as a janitor, master?” Niu asked.

The master laughed as he leaned on a desk. “No, my son. It has been three years since Scholar Jing succumbed to his advanced age and I have yet to find a replacement.”

Niu looked around the room. “I can see why. No one wants to get their hands dirty?”

“No,” the old man said. “No one realizes the honor of this great position.”

Scholar Jing’s desk was decorated with a gold inlay that was in desperate need of polishing. Curious as to what it contained, Niu opened a drawer only to step back as a bat flew out. It squeaked menacingly, then flapped its wings until it was out of the library.

“I can’t say I’m feeling the honor as of yet, master,” Niu said.

“Kung fu is the way of peace,” the master said. “The way of tranquility. Defense over offense is our way yet many young students fill their minds with thoughts of adventure and daring do. No one wants to be a kung fu librarian.”

“And I should?” Niu asked.

“Of course,” the master said as he pointed to the cubby hole lined walls. “These scrolls contain the history of our clan. Each scholar records the events of his time and passes it down to the next scholar. It is an essential role, for if we lose our past, then our grip on the future becomes tenuous at best.”

Niu folded his giant muscular arms and looked down at the old man. “And when you look at me, a librarian is what you see?”

“No,” the master said. “I see an ox capable of crashing through enemy lines and destroying opponents two at a time. But there is what you look like on the outside and who you are on the inside.”

Niu sat down at Scholar Jing’s desk. The chair creaked and cracked apart, leaving Niu’s backside on the floor.

“And who am I on the inside?” Niu asked as he stood up.

“Someone who realizes this is a job that needs to be done and…”

Niu dusted himself off and sighed. “Someone who realizes if I wasn’t meant for this job, I wouldn’t be here.”

“You are free to turn it down,” the master said.

“No,” Niu said. “Though I’m going to need a bigger chair.”

“The library is yours to furnish as you see fit,” the master said as he led the big man out of the library and down a hallway.

“As our scholar, you will keep the library in superb condition, maintain the scrolls of past scholars, and advise those who seek information,” the master said.

“I understand,” Niu said.

“Naturally, I expect you to keep a full training schedule, as you are still a member of China’s most revered kung fu clan,” the master said.

“Naturally,” Niu said.

“But you must also devote your free time to reading the scrolls and absorbing their wisdom,” the master said. “You must start with the tale of how the Staff of Ages was constructed in Heaven and gifted to the First Infallible Master so that he would be inspired to raise the first kung fu clan and call upon others to raise clans in service of the Emperor.”

“That sounds like a lot of reading, master,” Niu said.

“Yes,” the master said, “But it is knowledge you will need to perform a scholar’s most important task.”

“An important task?” Niu asked. “Is it dangerous?”

When Niu and the master reached the end of the hallway, the old man opened up a pair of double doors. The pair stepped into a room where fifty children, ranging in ages from five to twelve, sat at tables and ate breakfast.

“Very,” the master said. “All scholars must educate the next generation, and don’t expect them to go easy on you.”

The master clapped his hands. “Children!”

Like a swarm energetic locusts, the kids jumped out of their seats and surrounded the visitors.

“Master, master!” the little ones cried.

“Hello, young ones,” the master said. “Behold, Scholar Niu, your new teacher.”

Niu grimaced as the kids swarmed around him.

“Wow, he is huge!” one child said.

“Like a mountain with eyeballs,” another child added.

“Master,” Niu said. “Why are the fates punishing me?”

The master laughed. “It may seem that way now, but in time, you will recognize this duty as a blessing, just as Scholar Jing did.”

“I am the greatest kung fu champion!” a little boy shouted as he kicked Niu square in the groin.

Timber. Like a mighty tree severed from its base, the clan’s newest scholar came crashing down to the floor with a tremendous thud.

“I think Scholar Jing was a better man than I,” Niu said as he stared up at the ceiling.

Tagged , ,

Zom Fu – Part 1 – The Test of the Twentieth Infallible Master

karate-312472_1280

Yaozu, the Nineteenth Infallible Master of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw, calls upon his four best students Junjie, Bohai, Mei-Ling and Niu, to compete for the Staff of Ages, the prize that will determine the clan’s next master.

Bohai takes the competition way too seriously.

That evening, Dragonhand’s Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite defeats the Clan of the Mystifying Monkey Slap.  The ruler of all zom fu warriors devours the brains of the Vengeful Master and the Sorceress Suyin.  In doing so, their knowledge, and thus their power, become his.

Chapter 1          Chapter 2          Chapter 3          Chapter 4

Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7         Chapter 8

Tagged , ,

Movie Review – Passengers (2016)

J-Law!  Chris Pratt!  Chris Pratt’s gratuitous ass! (I swear it did nothing for me).

BQB here with a review of Passengers.

So, 3.5 readers, do you know how technology rarely works?

I mean, it works great for a little while but sooner or later it breaks down, develops a bug, has something go wrong with it and after you exhaust yourself with tech support and trying everything you can think of to fix it, you eventually pull your hair out and give up, resigning yourself to the fact that you’ll have to just live with a shitty piece of equipment until you can afford to buy a new one which…will eventually break down?

As it turns out, technology isn’t that much different in the future.  Unlike the sleek, always operational ships in Star Trek, the Homestead Corporation’s ship totally sucks.

Five-thousand passengers are suspended in hyper sleep for a hundred and twenty year trip to a new planet, Homestead II.

Unfortunately, technology sucks in the future just as it does now, as Jim Preston (Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) wake up way too early with ninety years left before they reach their new home world.

In other words, they’re stuck in a ship for life, with no way to fulfill their dreams, doomed to wander the craft’s metal halls, perpetually bored forever with all of their plans out the window.

I must admit, I didn’t expect much out of this film going into it so I was pleasantly surprised by its awesomeness.  Even though there are only two characters (four if you count Michael Sheen as Arthur the bartending Android and Laurence Fishburne as someone but I can’t tell you who yet), there are plenty of epic twists and turns as well as some fabulous special effects.

As I sat there watching it, I thought to myself, “Yeah!  My laptop, TV, and cell phone all worked for about five minutes after I took them out of the box so I could totally see my sleep pod malfunctioning and leaving me to live out my life on a ship!”

See?  Technology sucks, even in the future.

Hyper sleep has long been a staple of sci-fi space travel films.  Interstellar, for example, opened our eyes to the concept that theoretically, it would be possible for a space craft to make it out into deep space as long as there is a way to preserve the human travelers, otherwise they’d live out their lives and die in transit so what’s the point?

But this is the first film (that I know of) to utilize hyper sleep as a big plot device.  While there are moments of comedy as Pratt and J-Law plead for help from pre-programmed, bureaucratic robots who assure them that it is impossible for them to be awake, the film is also a drama, a love story, and a suspense thriller all rolled into one.

Faulty technology, incompetent tech support help and a corporation that doesn’t plan for things going wrong?  Yeah, this film may be set in the future, but it does feel like life in 2016.  Somehow, it seems more plausible than Star Trek.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth seeing on the big screen.  Excellent date movie.  Women, stop looking at Chris Pratt’s ass.  Chris Pratt, stop showing everyone your ass.  I bet no one even asked you to show it, you were all just like, “I’m gonna let my cheeks flap in the breeze!”

Tagged , , , ,