WordPress vs. Blogspot FIGHT!

So, I developed this website for myself a short time ago as a central location for blogging and personal info/projects since I hadn’t been posting here. One of the main reasons I got that blogspot blog way back when was in the hopes that I could get more feedback from people on what I wrote. I had previously used livejournal (since 2006) but became disillusioned with the whole interface. But I would post this and that to blogger from my phone, and then delete it, since it seemed like no one was reading it. I do like the blogspot interface, and think there’s a lot of potential for hypertextuality there, but in the long run it became pointless for me to post. The cynical man in me would often reach that “fuck it” point, and delete what I was writing (or in some cases what I had already published).

Right, then there’s this website; I developed it using WordPress as a CMS. It’s been working out great so far. I turned it into a chronicle-like atmosphere–a resume of sorts–where I could compile my projects and flights of fancy at the same time. Still, the blog portion of the site lends itself to conversational posts where I still wish to see people comment and generate a dialog. This is yet another issue (or perhaps the same one all over again), since, well, hardly anyone visits my website. So, I’m back to where I was with the blogger page, hoping that people drop by, take the time to read, and have something to say about my posts.

Originally, when leaving livejournal, I thought that posting about my opinions would generate conversation, but it seemed that people had nothing to say about what was apparently me “running my mouth,” so to speak. So, I thought, people will respond to my more intellectual musings, reviews, and the like. Wrong again. I dropped that duality in favor of a more stream-of-consciousness type of posting–that which is relevant and interesting to me will receive its due word. I’m hoping that can continue to garner visitors, since I’m beginning finally to find a groove with which I can regularly post without immediately destroying what I have written due to some sense of web log ennui.

Now that I’ve completed this website and used it for a short while, I went back to the blogspot page with the intent to delete it, only to find myself not wanting to disconnect from that community, as funny as that sounds. Instead, I seem to want to keep that blog as an analog for my website. Why? What possible purpose would I need to duplicate the information from here to there and there to here? I have no wish to censor my posts between there and here, or divide my topics (work/school, something like that). I will write about what I will write about. Is there any benefit to keeping both?

It ultimately forces me to conclude that I must delete either the blogspot or my website in favor of expediency and common sense. So, which is better: WordPress or Blogger?

Documentary in the Works

This weekend marked the birth of the production company “Bandit’s Vulgar,” in association with “Odd Freak Films,” a collaborative effort through which I and Frank Gunderson are creating the documentary The Human Skab. We have been working long hours for the past few months, logging footage and conceptualizing the project, and we made our first major headway this past weekend with the finalization of the first teaser trailer. Check it out:

More news will be divulged here as this project continues to unfold, but the completion of this certainly gives me a lot of momentum toward putting the rest of the film together. I’ve also learned a lot about Sony Vegas 8 Pro recently, which should speed up the process as well.

A Day with the Dentist

The dentist’s office. Definitely an interesting place. I went there yesterday to have a consult concerning my wisdom teeth. I have five of them. That’s right: five. Anyway, I’ve got to get them all removed, because my other dentist (the one who cost me a lot of money) told me he’s not going to work on those teeth since they’re too far back. So, even though they’re all the way in, and straight, they have cavities, so it’s time for them to go. Also, they crowded my other teeth on their way in, but I suppose there’s nothing to do about that now.

The office staff are cordial, and it seems like I have to wait now to hear from them. They will check with my insurance agency to see what in my procedures will be covered, and get back to me with a figure. I hope it’s more than 50%, since the estimate they handed down was over $1900.

I finished assembling my exercise bike last night, a pretty decent machine I must say. Very quiet, fits in the living room, should be an active addition to my routine. Speaking of which, the week’s business has pulled me out of the norm, in fact, I’ve been out of routine since the trip up to NY for my Uncle Fred’s funeral. I took a picture today, so I’m planning to get back on track with daily photos.

Just outside my office window, a squirrel sat on a bench, and I thought, “Where’s my camera?” The little guy was just chilling out, relaxing, and staring at me in my little office world. I grabbed my camera, but I didn’t want to go right up to the office window; he might be scared off. So, I zoomed in to my camera’s optical max–20X–and snapped a shot. I touched up some of the light levels in photoshop, but I thought this wasn’t bad considering the backlight, the fact that it was through a large window, and that the camera was maxxed out.

The full pixel capture does have a lot of noise in it. You can see it here. I think that’s mostly due to the light exchange through the window. Still, it doesn’t detract from the photo overall when zoomed out; it actually functions more like a soft effect. I enjoyed taking this picture very much.

All in all, it’s been a busy week with little time for me to keep up with my normal activities, so today I need to dedicate myself to some work with transcripts and on the documentary project.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I enjoyed reading Susie Bright’s blog post for today; she often has interesting things to say. In it she makes reference to The Departed, a film that I enjoyed watching even if it’s a bit pedantic (a common side effect of Scorcese pictures).

The film’s screenplay is nearly an exact adaptation of a Hong Kong film, Mou gaan dou (2002). The story of Mou gaan dou is basically same shit, different context. Two cops work undercover to infiltrate the Triads, one is part of a special police task force, but is secretly an agent of the Triads, while the other works for the police undercover, but isn’t trusted by cops because he has a family history with the gang. Admittedly, I have yet to watch this film, so I’ll hold off on further comments. It’s in my netflix queue. Here’s the IMDB entry, if you’re interested.

At any rate, the film does a great job of capturing the essence of Boston atmosphere, and at times is gritty, but the police politics are all but unbelievable. I guess I’m just getting too old to suspend my disbelief in certain instances.

What does this have to do with St. Patrick’s day? Nothing. It’s just another holiday, and in today’s world, we need all the excuses in the world to escape our surroundings and remember how to enjoy ourselves.

The Lost Keys of Solitude

So, I added a few portions of the back story for this character, “The Anyman,” from my short-lived Marvel Superheroes game, but since I doubt people are going to take the time to read it, I’d have to specify it is for my own posterity. So, moving on. . . .

Tonight is open gaming night, hosted by my comic book store. I’m kind of unsure what I will plan on playing, but I think I’ve decided to bring along a D&D 4e character with me, though I’ll most likely find a fantasy flight board game like Battlestar Galactica to play, since tabletop groups are usually more insulated from sit-ins. Still, I’ll go prepared.

Paul told me that the fighter class “is better than it looks,” and that he “would avoid making a warlock or paladin – they look cool, but are actually pretty weak when it comes down to it.” So, this is advice I will heed when I begin rolling this character. So, more geekdom will ensue when I get a few moments to put some time into this character and post the results.

Soon I will also post info regarding the progress of the tattoo I am planning to get. That’s it for now, I suppose.

The Anyman: Genesis, part 3


“You crazy son of a bitch,” James said with a flick of his finger against the shiny, silver bars pinned to Gerry’s dress blues. “Captain in just under four years. I’ve got to hand it to you; you’ve done well. I’m incredibly impressed, my friend–er. . . sir.”

Gerry knew that his friend wasn’t in the military for the same reasons that he was. James was no strategist; he was a politician. He was here because he wanted to pursue a career in the government, and no self-respecting member of the legislation got to have any real power without a military record. He smirked at his friend’s comment. “You mean you’re incredibly jealous, smart ass,” Gerry replied jokingly. They both laughed. “Thank you. . . lieutenant. And, keep your fingers off the brass;” he said, polishing his insignia. “That’s an order.”

“Aye, sir,” replied James with a half-hearted salute.

“Our celebration is short-lived, though, I’m afraid,” Gerry noted, quickly changing the subject. “New orders come approved with my promotion. I’m to take you and three of your lieutenant’s strike teams into the hot zone. You need to have your group prepped and ready to go by 2100. Seems that Gunny wants to take his dog soldiers to hit this ridge full of Vietnamese soldiers, and by god, I want to make sure we minimize losses–on both sides.”

James, still somewhat smirking, tilted his head to the side as he took the orders in hand. He raised his eyebrows and commented, “I suppose I shouldn’t be saying so, . . . sir, but it’s always astounded my why you’re just as interested in saving Vietnamese lives as you are in our own troops. I think the Gunnery Sergeant’s plan to hit the ridge with heavy artillery before sending in the dog soldiers makes the most sense,” added James, somewhat tentatively.

“You’re right; you shouldn’t be saying so,” Gerry snapped back. “We’re here to take ground and force a strategic surrender, not murder our opponents. Gunny may have winning in mind, but a bloodbath won’t do anyone any good regardless of how much ground it gives us in the short run. The stealthy approach is always better than brute force. It’s that simple. And I don’t need you to understand the strategy as well as I do; I simply need you to follow orders. Can I count on you for that, Lieutenant Buckley?”

“Aye, sir,” replied James, finally realizing the levity was gone. “Sorry, sir.”

“You have your orders, then. Dismissed.”

James Buckley ceremoniously took one step back, pivoting around and walking off with his newly received orders. He flipped through the pages of strategy that his new Captain had plotted out. It noted that two teams would sneak across the edge of the ridge toward the Vietcong barricades that stretched over the middle of the slope. This last line of defense was the remaining obstacle between the US troops and a major Vietcong resupply point. If the US captured this weapons and supplies cache, it would go a long way to squeezing out the central power they held in the country.

It was a bold plan. Platoon 53 would snap through the wire and set up an escape point along the ridge, concealing their position at night. Platoons 47 and 82, both under the command of Captain Gerald F. Watson, would make their way through the exit point and into the ridge defense. There, well into the night, they would capture two important officers that intelligence reports state reside in this camp. With the officers in custody, they would force a formal surrender of the camp, and Gunny’s dog soldiers would then move in and tie up any insurgence or loose ends. The contingency graph showed a covert exit through the concealed barricades, where Buckley’s radio man would wait to signal heavy artillery fire if the strike team was pushed out. This way, they’d bring in the heavy machinery only as a last resort. A bold plan indeed.

After reading through the orders, James Buckley felt somewhat embarrassed for second-guessing his long-time friend. They had been friends for nearly four years now–since they began in the military–and Gerry’s quiet nature made it easy to assume he was not as well-informed as other more extroverted people. But beneath his quiet facade, it was clear that Gerry was quite observant and strategically wise. He was more than qualified to be leading this mission. James rolled the orders in his left hand and ordered the barracks lieutenant to call a briefing in one hour. If Captain Watson wanted to begin prep. at 2100, then he was going to see that everyone was damn well ready to support him.

The briefing went well, as did all strategic projections about what to expect once the teams went into the Vietcong camp. Buckley noticed Captain Watson in tac gear during the reporting, and after teams were dismissed until rendezvous, he followed him to the supply tent. Noticing Gerry suiting up, James began gathering mission assault gear as well.

“So, where do you think you’re going, James?” asked Gerry.

“I’m backing you up, sir,” replied Lieutenant Buckley. “It is your intention to lead Platoon 82, correct?”

Gerry nodded.

“Well, sir,” added James. “I’ll be going with you. I’ve got your back.”

“No, James. I need you to stay and be ready for the tac teams in case we have to make a hasty retreat.” Gerry stopped packing and stood, staring at James until he responded. He didn’t want the plan to screw up.

James sighed. “Permission to speak freely, sir?”

Gerry nodded.

“Lt. Yance can handle the tac team–he’s just as capable as I am. You need someone who knows how to read you to watch your back because, well, you’re too damn quiet. These men believe you’re intelligent enough to lead them, sir, but I second-guess whether or not they’d take a bullet for you, because, well, they just don’t know you.”

“See, James, that’s what you do–you second-guess. I don’t need people to take a bullet for me, I need people to carry out their orders just like we laid them out in the briefing,” Gerry replied.

“Look, Gerry, I’m going to delegate that Yance take the tac positions at the exit point regardless of what you decide. So, why don’t you use me for support during the op?”

“Hmmph. Politicians,” thought Gerry.

Lieutenant Buckley moved closer to Gerry, and spoke softer but with more determination. “Look, Ger’ you owe me, or have you forgotten how I saved your ass?”

Gerry sat back down on the bench, rubbing his knee. He shuddered to think what would have happened to him–of all people–if James hadn’t stopped him short of that mine three months ago. “I wonder if I could re-organize my blown-up limb and put everything back in its place,” he thought to himself. He honestly didn’t know. Suddenly he realized how preposterous such a thought was, and he began to grin, overcome with his own internal hilarity.

“Gerry, did you even hear me? Jesus, sometimes I think you’ll get lost in that head of yours.”

“All right, James. Just stick to my back and don’t do anything stupid. You may have noticed that mine and you may have saved my ass. But you’re a lousy shot. Just be careful with this thing,” mused Gerry, handing his Lieutenant a M161A rifle.

The officers made their way out of the supply tent and headed to the insertion point, where Platoon 53 and the remaining tac teams were already in place. Captain Watson greeted the Gunnery Sergeant with an extended hand.

“Thank you, Captain. Let’s just hope you boys do a good job in there,” he said gruffly.

“Thank you, Gunny. We’ll do our best. Be ready to move if we need you.”

“Aye, sir,” Gunny said with a salute. That’s when Gerry, James, and 25 other troops moved in toward the ridge.

The soldiers stuck to the plan well; within minutes both platoons were positioned at the corners of the camp while Captain Watson moved in toward the bunker at the center, where intelligence deduced the officers would be holed up. Gerry pinned himself up against a wall of sandbags, waiting for the right moment to move across the main yard of the camp toward the central bunker. James was sitting right next to him. The two waited for several minutes, until finally Gerry motioned that it was time to move.

He spun around and ran, in a squatted position, toward the center. James spun around and began to follow. They both successfully rushed across the yard, and crouched in some jungle palms just outside the bunker. James looked back at Gerry from his position now in front of the Captain. Watson made the hand motion that meant “move forward,” and James rushed up against the bunker house. A search light moved across the path suddenly, but no alarm was sounded. Perhaps the lookout thought he saw something? The briefing team had no idea there was a search light in this camp, as it was obscured in the top of a tree–but this confirmed that there were high profile officers here.

Gerry’s heart began to pound in his chest so heavily that he feared it could be heard. He stared at James from his position, unable to cross now due to the search light. He was gripped with fear and adrenaline coursed through his body; it was times like this that made him more aware than ever that he was different than other men. All Gerry could think about was completing the mission and not being seen. He couldn’t predict, though, when the search light would move across the only path left to the bunker house. He was pinned, and so was James, and neither of them could complete the mission without the other.

The Captain remained for several minutes before finally determining that he had to make a move. “Time wasn’t waiting for the search light guy,” he thought to himself. He removed his helmet to wipe off the sweat from the jungle heat. He gave James the “on three, I’ll come to you,” hand signal–which was largely invented on the spot–but it was understood. 1. . . 2. . . 3: Gerry bolted toward James’s position, but was stopped short by the Lieutenant pointing emphatically toward the tree. The search light was quickly being routed toward his position. Now, halfway between the palms and the bunker house, Gerry had nowhere to hide. He was trapped. Instinctively, he dropped to the ground in a prone position and something amazing happened. He immediately blended into the color of his surroundings. To James, it appeared like the Captain laid down, and disappeared, leaving his clothes behind.

Gathering all of his focus, Captain Gerald Watson drew on the deepest reaches of his power and discovered that it allowed him two newly-discovered and amazing abilities. Not only did he blend into the dust of the ground, he managed to disrupt the molecular structure of his clothing and gear, so that it, too, effectively disappeared. Just in time, he simply seemed to vanish before the eyes of his Lieutenant, while the search light panned around and on top of him without detecting anything.

Lieutenant Buckley was going crazy. He had no clue what to think. He began to stand clumsily, distracted from his mission by the apparent disappearance of his friend and commanding officer, and collided with a wild palm. It shook, drawing attention to his position from the search light as well as from within the bunker house. Gerry had to once again act fast, but now the cat was out of the bag. His power manifested right in front of James and jeopardized the mission. Now he had to set things right.

Standing and reaching toward the tree, Gerry quickly pointed the search light into the air, and shut it off. He then pulled the bulb and lens apparatus right from the machine, hurtling it into the woods. At the same time, he grabbed the weapons from two soldiers who were now running around the face of the bunker house. He dropped one in front of James’s feet, and the other, still hovering in the air, turned toward the soldiers and cocked. Lieutenant Buckley grabbed the weapon, and motioned for the two soldiers to get on their knees. With the butt of the rifle, he knocked out the Vietcong soldiers and dragged them toward the palms to begin tying them up.

Gerry followed behind, pulling the levitating weapon into his hand as he rematerialized.

“What the fuck just happened?” fervently whispered James. “Did you just. . . did you just fucking disappear, Watson?”

Standing naked in the jungle with a Vietcong rifle in his hand, Gerry nodded.

“Care to explain to me how the fuck you did that, Captain?” James asked, still obviously shaken by the experience.

“James, you’re my friend–I need to be able to trust you with this. I have some sort of. . . power. I can manipulate matter. Shift it around in my own body. I can interact with any matter around me. It’s not something I share because I don’t want to abuse it. This is the first time I’ve used my powers in four years. I can’t tell anyone about this.”

“Jesus fucking tapdancing Christ, Gerry. I. . . I mean, what in the fuck. . . I. . .”

“Pull yourself together, Lieutenant,” ordered the Captain, still naked. Suddenly they both burst into laughter that was immediately suppressed. Gerry began taking the uniform off of one of the Vietcong soldiers.

“Gerry, I don’t really know what to say. If you can do these things, well, I mean. . . you’re not a Martian, are you?”

“No, I’m a human just like you, only I can do these things. It’s a part of who I am.” Gerry finished putting on the Vietcong uniform, and then grabbed James by the arm. “Look, I promise I will explain everything to you, Jim. You’re my friend, all right? I just need to know right here, right now, that I can trust you with this secret. I can trust you, right? Jim?”

“Of course you can trust me, Gerry. That’s what friends are for,” James replied, assuring his friend.

Gerry saw the look in his eyes and knew he was telling the truth. James had always been good for his word. Letting out a sigh of relief, the Captain added: “Now, I’ve got to fix this mission before all hell breaks loose.” With that, Gerry grabbed the hand of one of the unconscious Vietcong soldiers, and shifted his body to imitate him identically. This made James jump a bit, obviously taking more time to get used to what was happening right before him.

Now completely a duplicate of one of the Vietnamese guards, Gerry walked toward the entrance of the bunker house while James tied up the soldiers. The Captain walked inside, noticing two officers talking at a nearby table. They were his target, and they were the only two people in the building. One of the officers turned and spoke, though Gerry didn’t understand a bit of it. Trying to improvise, he shrugged his shoulders, and nonchalantly walked closer to their table. The pair looked very confused. Gerry drew close, trying to smile and seem natural. The officer closest began shouting orders that the English-speaking Captain didn’t understand. In a swift maneuver from his many years of martial arts training in the military, he rendered one officer unconscious and quickly pointed the rifle at the other officer. Confused and scared, the officer put his hands in the air, and the Captain knocked him out as well. Shifting back into his actual form, Gerry called James in to tie up the officers.

The rest of the operation was a complete success. The weapons cache was was captured and no lives were lost. “Uncle Pete would have been proud,” Gerry thought to himself. During the debriefing, James and Gerry kept glancing at each other to ensure they’d remembered their version of the story needed to cover up what really happened out there. The report went smoothly; the only thing no one could seem to explain is how a lamp lens and bulb from a search light at the center of camp managed to fall just out of the northern perimeter near the latrine.

“I kept my vow,” Gerry thought to himself later that day when the commotion died down. “I got where I am today without using my powers, but I can’t deny them. They’re part of who I am. I need to find a way to live my life focusing on my abilities instead of running away from them. After all, they saved so many lives today. Mandy would be proud. . . .”


The Anyman: Genesis, part 2


Gerry packed his remaining clothes into his uncle’s faded green military duffel bag. He took his time, though, carefully re-folding each garment and laying it into the base of the sack. He knew Mandy didn’t want him to leave for military college–he didn’t want to leave her either. Mandy was the best friend he’d ever known, and she’d been there for him through it all–especially the last two years since the accident at the construction site. If she hadn’t been there for him then, encouraging him, he might not be able to understand his powers as he does now, with such clarity and command.

Mandy waited with Gerry in silent contemplation, staring at the things in his room that had been such a staple part of their lives. She wished so much that he didn’t have to go. After all, she made her father angry when she put off a scholarship for college a full year so they wouldn’t be apart during his senior year of high school. She stayed for him, out of love, and, well, because he saved her life.

She continued to wander around his room, stopping occasionally to pick up an odd picture, or one of their favorite records, and every so often her eyes would grow misty. Then she would sigh. They just didn’t know what to say to each other, so the contemplative silence continued.

Truthfully, the prospect of officer’s college sort of scared Gerry as well. But with the military conflict in Vietnam looming, his Uncle Pete–a war veteran himself–believed that having advanced military training and volunteering for service would be far better than simply being drafted into the war, and that sort of logic made perfect sense to Gerry. “Put in your service, and be the best you can be, then come home; don’t be drafted, sent out with nothing but basic training, and be wounded or worse, all as an unwilling pawn,” Uncle Pete would say gruffly. This usually made Aunt May roll her eyes when the conversation came up at the dinner table, which would make the young man grin. But Gerry bought into that ideal, and today it was the only thing keeping him calm and collected.

Mandy picked up a picture of the two of them, arms around each other, sitting on the south bridge over Howard’s Brook. She chuckled, and he glanced over at her.

“Uh, I think Aunt May took that one,” he said flatly.

“No, you did,” she fired back. “I remember that day,” she continued with her eyebrows raised. “That was the day you finally figured out how to hold a camera still in the air, and move its moving parts without dropping it.”

Gerry chuckled. “Huh, you’re right. I remember that now.” He tilted his head to the side with mock pride, and added, “Well, I was always better at shifting matter around in my own body than I was at manipulating matter at a distance.”

“Yeah, I got sick of hearing you curse every time you dropped a camera. I don’t think my mom ever forgave you for breaking her Polaroid.” They both laughed.

“I think that was the same day I took us out to dinner at Radicio’s Grill. Remember? I shifted into Radicio’s manager and told the hostess to give you and your date who was running late a free meal at the ‘best table in the house.’ Wow, that was a great day.” Gerry smiled widely, and stopped packing to walk over and take the picture. “I have to take this with me too,” he added, still smiling.

Mandy looked into his eyes. “What are you going to do about your shifting when you get to officer’s school? You’ve got an amazing gift, Gerry. I know we’ve been calling it ‘shifting,’ but whatever it really is, it’s a remarkable ability. You could help people; you could save lives.”

“Shifting,” Gerry chuckled. “I think you came up with that name too.” He let out a sigh as he stuffed the picture frame into his bag. “I’ve thought a lot about this too, Mandy, and I just don’t think I should tell other people what I can do. I want to help people if I can, but. . . .” He sighed again, searching for the right words. “It’s just that I can imagine what would happen if this got out. They’d use me, Mandy. Dissect me. I wouldn’t be able to help the people that needed helping, unless I lived my life on the run. I can’t do that.”

“You’ve been listening to your Uncle too much,” she replied with a sigh. She continued with more authority in her tone. “You’ve got to put more faith in people. Let’s face it, Gerry; you can shift into anyone you see. When you shift you look and feel exactly like them. You can even shift into objects nearly your size. I. . .”

“I know–you used to call me ‘The Imitator,’ remember?” Gerry interjected, jokingly.

“Yes, I remember.” Mandy sighed. She didn’t want to joke any more. “I’m just saying that it’s one thing to look like any man–anything–you want, but don’t confuse that with actually understanding everyone. You’re a loner as it is, and I’m worried that you hiding your abilities will make you feel separated from norm–. . . from people who can’t do what you can do. Until now you’ve had me, but now you have to leave. You’re really going to be on your own, Gerry.”

Normal people. He sighed. Really, though, that word didn’t bother him any more. And she was right. He did keep his distance from people. He liked watching them, observing, waiting. He was great atimitating them. He was profoundly gifted with acting just like anyone. But the only person he’d really ever connected to was Amanda. Suddenly, he realized how much he was going to miss her.

They continued their nostalgic trips down memory lane, until finally it was time for Gerry to go. Uncle Pete was calling him down. Mandy and Gerry kissed as if they would never see each other again, and then headed toward the hallway. Gerry took one last look at his room, and then headed down the stairs after Mandy. Aunt May hugged him, and then took Mandy in her arm. “You’ve already made me proud,” she said. “Now go make yourself proud, Gerry.” He climbed in the passenger seat next to his Uncle and had to use his power to hold back the tears.

During the car ride to Quantico, Virginia, Uncle Pete was mostly quiet, but gave Gerry several pep talks about the responsibilities of being an officer and a “Watson.” It wasn’t until they crossed the Virginia border that Gerry’s uncle finally addressed the topic he had been avoiding for the entire trip–Gerry’s powers.

“You’re like a son to me, Gerry. I want you to know that I’m thankful every day for what you did to save me; I’m thankful for your gifts. But you need to keep them secret. It’s one thing to be trusting of people, but there’s such a thing as too much trust. People. . . well, people wouldn’t be able to see you as normal because you’re not like them and that scares them. And because of that, people would use your abilities at your own expense. That’s my advice, son, but you’re a man now–a Watson. You’ve got your own decisions to make; just know I’ll support you.”

“Thanks, Uncle Pete. That means a lot,” Gerry replied.

“You’ll enjoy being an officer in the Marine Corps, Gerry,” Pete said, changing the subject with a clearing of his throat. “I know you’ll do well.”

Gerry smiled but didn’t reply. He made a vow to himself instead. He had spent the past two years of his life learning how to skillfully manipulate matter, shifting and honing his powers to remarkable proficiency. During boot camp and military school, he vowed to himself to see what talents he could achieve without using his powers to manipulate matter. He decided that it wasn’t enough just to have power, he needed to be the best at something regardless of his power. And that’s just what he planned to do. . . .