Archive for the ‘diary’ Category

It’s A Living

Becoming a professional writer has been a dream of mine for a long time.

Thanks to the wonder of the internet, that dream has come true.  The Examiner is a news website that hires locals to report on particular subjects of varying topics.  And you get to choose your topic.  One person might be a film examiner.  Another can be a Playstation 2 examiner.  I’m a little confused as to the specificity of some of the examiners.  Does the world really need semi-daily updates on hack ‘romance novels’ for vampire emo fetishists? Probably not.  But more power to you, whoever you are.  I’m sure you serve a purpose.

Currently I am the New Orleans Comic Book Examiner.  I’m still trying to find my voice on it.   We’re supposed to present our articles as Journalists would, rather than bloggers.  Which is fine, though I don’t really think it counts. To me, a blog is about your feelings and the things going on in your life.  When you’re speaking on a subject, even editorialized, it’s an article.   Then again, I’m no expert.  I have noticed some of the other writers don’t seem to adhere to this very well though.   And to some degree or another my ‘voice’ will have to come into play.  Particularly with reviews; 75% of it is opinion.

I’m looking forward to making this work.   I think it will be a lot of fun.

The Kindness of Strangers

In August of 2005 I sat in a farm house owned by the aunt of a friend and his family.   The news as ablaze with images of my hometown drowned like a modern Atlantis.   Not long after, the violence started.  You might have thought you were watching images of insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan, as people shot at American troops.  New Orleans had unofficially devolved into a third world nation within a week.

I wasn’t surprised.  I’m cynical, and I grew up in this city.  There are good people in the world.  Honest, hard working people.  But there are bad people as well.  And while I search for the former in everyone, I am well prepared for the latter. It was difficult to remain positive in those days.  It was 3 days of hell before I found out if my Mother and Brother had made it out okay.  I nearly burst into tears when I heard my brother’s static-clouded voice on the other side of a cell phone.  My father had remained in my childhood home.  Eventually I got in touch with him as well.  He’d stayed guarded in my room, surrounded by my hunting knife and my prized Samurai blade in case the violence spread in his direction.   He had no power and no one to turn to, but he was okay.

The worst part was the uncertainty. Most were like me; little in the way of savings and with no way of knoing when ewe could get back to work.  Would be able to return?  Would we even want to return to what was left?  I hadn’t even brought my car with me when I left. We seemed to be the last stragglers in Noah’s newest flood.   So it was at that time that I turned to the one thing that had carried me through all the toughest times in my life: comics.

Comic books had always been my greatest teacher.  Through the power of reading I’d learned all about literature, art, history and American values.   More importantly, I learned how to be a man.

Lafayette isn’t the sort of city you would know about unless you’re from here, but it’s one of the few big cities in Louisiana.    So fortunately I was able to find a local comic shop on Johnston Street.  I stepped into Acadiana Comics looking for a distraction. What I found was hope.

The owner, Ms Teresa, greeted me as I entered.  I recognized the place, though I’d never been there.  It smelled of books.  It felt like home.   Still, I suppose I stuck out.  She asked if I was one of the wretched displaced.  I nodded, and told her of my story.  I didn’t complain, but even someone a cynical as I can appreciate the dispair of moments like that.   When I was done with the search for sweet purchases, I presented her with my credit card.  I knew it was irresponisble, but it’s an indispensible part of my world and sanity.   Seeing the devil’s plastic in front of her, she pushed my hand away.   She said it was the least she could do.

I was genuinely stunned by her graciousness.  I was just another stranger on the street.  I could have been anyone.  Comic shops are modest businesses.  They are self-sustaining, but far from sustainably profitable.  

It may not seem like much to the casual observer.  Just a few comics. Just a little thing.   But that’s the point.  It wouldn’t have hurt her to charge me.  But it did hurt her financially, even in some small way.  But to me, it meant the world.  This is a person that wanted to help.  She did so in the only way she could.  And while I thanked her profusely on the two occasions this happened, I don’t know that I ever got a chance to repay her.

Today, as my job took my into the long haul to Lafayette, I passed her store in the waining hours of the day.   Surprisingly, she was there.  I asked if she remembered me, and she said that I looked vaguely familiar.  And I recounted her kindness.   And I told her how much her kindness had meant to me.   And we talked for a while.   I even bought a Trade from her.  It wasn’t much, but I wanted to pay her back in as much as I could, at least with money.   The truth is I’m not sure I could ever repay her.

She gave me a gift, and it wasn’t a book.   It was a renewed faith in humanity.  An understanding that there are still people who will reach out in kindness to others without reward or even sufficient thanks.

If you’re ever in Lafayette, Louisiana stop by Acadiana Comics and put down a few dollars for a good book.   You never know when some stranger might repay your generosity.

MegaCon 2009

I’ve wanted to go to a comic book convention since I was all of 12 years old.  It took me 19 years to make it, but this weekend I attended Orlando’s own MEGA-CON.  

Having gone to my first, it has only whetted my appetite for bigger shows like Wizard World Los Angeles and the big daddy, San Diego Comic Con.  I had an awesome time.  

Admittedly Mega Con is a smaller show.  All the media attention was focused on WonderCon in San Francisco.  Even so, we had some serious action in Orlando.

img_0570I went Friday with the intention of getting a lot of signatures out of the way before everyone showed up over the next two days.  From the second I arrived at the Orlando Convention Center I felt at home.  People of every shape and size  were there in all manner of costume.  Final Fantasy finatics.  Comic book characters.  Even some idiot dressed like Beetlejuice.  (Good impression but I hate Beetlejuice.) There was a DeVry Institute Graduation next door to the convention.  I had to laugh as proud parents watched their babies withimg_0581 diplomas and tried to take pictures as Mega Man and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers walked by.

As I said, there were less people Friday, which allowed me to get some decent time in at the Con.   One of my favorite writers, Mark Waid, had a panel which I got to attend.   He made a lot of jokes and debuted material from his new company, Boom Studios.  He’ll be writing two new series:

  •  The Unknown is a new miniseries about the world’s greatest detective.  She’s dying, but refuses to shuffle off until she finds 0ur what happens when you die.
  •  Irredeemable is the story of the world’s greatest hero— who slowly becomes the world’s greatest villain.

 Both sound pretty amazing.  Afterwards I was able to get Mr. Waid’s signature on my copy of Kingdom Come #1.  I told him how much I loved his work over the years.  He thanked me and said “That’s great to hear.  At the end of the say I’m just a guy who got lucky enough to write comics for a living.”  And when I asked him about a career in editing, he even gave me his e-mail address and said if I ever move to LA he might be able to get me an internship.  That’s pretty amazing for how big a guy he is in the industry.

img_0579

I got a bunch of great signatures, including Jimmy Cheungimg_0577,

Chuck Dixon, Greg Land and Tony Bedard (with whom I also had a great conversation).   I think the best thing about all this is that these guys were so great about it.  Very few of them had egos (although there were a couple assholes).

Unfortunately my experiences with the “celebrities” wasn’t as great.  Don’t get me wrong, they were nice.   Al Snow (WWE Superstar and Tough Enough host) is apparently a comics fan as well, and walked up behind me while I was bent over a comic stand.   And I had a decent conversation with Christy Hemme.  The problem is they wanted money for everything from a signature to a picture with them.   20 bucks!!  No offense, but if I pay twenty bucks to take a picture with  you, the picture will be of you on your knees sucking my cock. Tricia Helfer of BSGI don’t begrudge them making a living, but 20 dollars is way over the top.  Consequently I didn’t get pictures with any of them, including BattleStar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer.

 

 

 

 

DC UniverseI hadn’t intended to go on Saturday, but I found out DC and Marvel were doing panels.   I just made it to DC’s.  Even got to ask a question.  Dan Didio’s answer was a major Announcement.

  • Bruce Wayne’s situation will be addressed in Blackest Night #0

He also gave a little spoiler on the first issue of Flash Rebirth.

  • In the first issue a Runner dies.

Marvel’s panel later in the day wasn’t nearly as exciting.  Whereas EIC Dan Didio showed up and was flanked by some big names of DC, Marvel tossed a few artists at us, none of whom knew anything about what was going on, even in their own respective books.  After a while I got sick of being jerked around and walked out.

But it was on Saturday that I got my biggest surprise.  I waited in line for over an hour to get the signature of superstar artist Ethan Van Sciverimg_1658 (Green Lantern, Flash Rebirth).  As we got closer and closer to the front of the line, I realized he was doing free sketches for fans.

I can’t tell you how big a deal that is.  These sketches could be sold for a hundred dollars on ebay.  He is a big time artist in the business.

So when it came my turn, I asked if he could do Superboy Prime for me (let’s just say he’s an evil Superman).  He went straight to it without a word.img_0002  When all was said and done he’d given me this beautiful sketch as well as a signed poster and comic.  I was blown away by the man’s generosity.  I even felt a little guilty for not paying him something. 

Make no mistake though, I will not be selling this sketch.  I love it.  Iy’s going up on my wall.

Which brings me to Sunday when I went with my friend Alexandra.Alex It was her first time at a con as well.  Can you tell?  She went a litttttttle nuts what with all the Final Fantasy schwag around.  Yeppers, it was geek’s bonanza. She took pictures with all the pretty freaks, broke the heart of a poor little geek.  And informed me matter-of-factly that she could have well over a dozen boys like him, there, if she so wanted.

Good times.

Anywho.

I got my signature from comics legend George Perez and we moved on down to Marvel Cover Artist Brandon Peterson.  I just happened to have a 30th Anniversary issue of Uncanny X-Men which Peterson had worked on.  Not nearly as big a deal as I’m making it sound.  When I asked him to sign it, he accidently spilled Vitamin water all over it.  He apologized profusely, to which I said it was no big deal.img_0004  But he insisted on making up for it and asked us to come back in ten minutes.  When we did, he presented me with a copy of his sketchbook, including a sketch on the inside of Wolverine saying “Sorry Bub”.  And of course he signed it.

I carried the thing around for the next hour, despite the fact that I had a backpack on.  I just love it so much.  Again.  Not for sale!!!  

Alexandra and I left not more than an hour later for fear she would break her bank on Final Fantasy soundtracks.l_acdc3aed34b7445fbeab44bd315fedac

Over all it was a great experience, though I hadn’t realized how expensive these things are.  Next time I go, I’ll need to have cash to spend.

Fortunately, the FX show is in  two months!  Can’t wait.

Words of Wisdom

I was pretty jazzed after this past weekend.  It was a pretty great weekend. I got to hang out with my friend Alex.  Went and saw Illuminations.  Caught a movie.  And best of all, I bought tickets to my first ever comics convention, Megacon.  I’ve always wanted to go to one. And it isn’t a full convention like San Diego or Wizard World, but it’s something.  So next weekend I’ll be down at the show.

I was feeling good about it all.  I mean, no, I don’t have a job. And things are technically bleak.  But for some reason, I have the strangest feeling things are all going to work out.  It’s probably the drugs talking.  But I am glad to be here.  It feels right.  Not perfect.   I need a new phone.  And a new computer.  But it feels right.

So when I woke up today, I’d planned to run down to the DMV to straighten out my motorcycle registration, stop at kinkos to print out my new resume’ and then drop off a few applications.  And I would round out the day by running down to Universal to watch the free taping of TNA Wrestling.

That was the plan.

But in the words of a wise man:

“Life is what happens when you’re out making plans.”

-I have no idea who that guy was.  But he was wise.  

… and a man.

Anyway.  About 5 minutes after I start driving, another wise guy, this one named Murphy, started laying down his law.   There was a thumping beneath my feet and a sound like a boot stuck in a dryer from underneath me.   Clearly this was a problem.  So I pulled over and took a look under the car.  What did I find?  Absolutely nothing, because I had no idea what I was looking at.  So unless I found an actual boot flapping in the wind, I was kind of useless. 

So I took it down to a local Chevy dealership.  600 bucks.  So long tax return money.  I barely knew ye.  The wheel baring hub was busted.  The most infuriating part is that I should have replaced the damn thing over a month ago.   As wont as I am to blame my oft rotten luck, it isn’t exactly true.

“The fault lies not in the stars, but in ourselves.”

-Billy Shakespeare

Damn you, Bard and your words of wisdom!  The fact is that while my shitty luck has always held me back, it is my own mistakes that compound the situations.  In other words, I have no one to blame but myself. Self awareness can be kind of a pain in the ass.

It wasn’t all bad.  I met a retired Puerto Rican man named Rudy.  I’ve always related better to older people.  I guess I’ve always head older sensibilities.   Interesting guy though.  Nice, family man.  And an amateur biker, as well.  The time passed fairly quickly.

It’s a set back.  A big one.  But hopefully my luck will change soon.  In the meantime, all I can do is soldier on. 

Everything is going to work out.  Everything will be fine.

Our Story So Far…

It was time.

I wasn’t especially anxious on the day Josh asked me to move back to Florida with him.  I had plans to get a new iMac computer and go on a few trips, including one to the San Diego Comic Con. It would have been a good year.  Maybe even a great one.

When he called to say he had an apartment and wanted to know if I was in, it promised a less carefree future.  A less certain one.  But at the end of the day, it was time.

So I packed all my things and I moved to Bever-leeeeeee.  Disney that is.  Lake Buena Vista, Florida more specifically. 

I’ve been here before.  Literally.  My apartment complex faces Vista Way, where I lived the first time I came out here.  In a funny way, it feels like I’m starting over from square one.

It isn’t perfect, but it’s home.  And it’s where I need to be right now.  Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe I’ll fall flat on my ass.  But maybe I’ll be just fine.  And for the first time in a long time, I’m really living.

Traditions

When I was in high school, my favorite show was Mad About You.   I was more or less in love with Helen Hunt… or I guess her character, Jamie.  She seemed to be the perfect wife.  Hot, intellegent, witty… she could banter… and she was totally willing to fuck on the kitchen table while her friends were in the next room.   Who could ask for more than that?

Huh.  That was actually waaaaaaay off point.

There was an episode about Paul’s ( Paul Reiser) birthday, where he explained a tradition that his Uncle had passed on to him.   Every year on his birthday, he took a glass of a specific bottle of cogniac (?), went for a walk and reflected.

I always thought it was cool tradition, and when I was 21, I decided to implement a version of it.    Basically, at the end of every year, you talk about your accomplishments and failures of the past year, and what you hope to accomplish in the next year.  And we do this so that we may never become complacent in our lives.

The tradition sort of failed for years, because I didn’t have anyone who was willing to do it with me.   But I’ve been doing it online the last couple of years.  That is what the internet and myspace are for, after all!  Sharing.  I encourage you to do it with me, but if you do, put it in a blog of your own.   You cannot possibly recount your year and your future in a single comment.

So, these were my 2008 predictions.

 

  • FINISH THE BOOK.  FINISH THE BOOK.  FINISH THE BOOK. I will be focusing on publishing options.  It’s time to take my shot.
  • Romance needs to be in the air sometime next year.  Mindless sex would be acceptable, but going out with a few girls would be preferable.
  • I will get a third job.  I need to pay off some of my debt and either move to California, Australia or a cruise ship by next summer.
  • I need to keep working on being friendly and sociable with others.   Sitting in my room playing on myspace while jerking off and watching Veronica Mars DVDs… while immensly pleasurable… is not an acceptable life style.

 

Okay, so ummm… yeah, pretty much screwed the pooch there.  I did  trrrrrryyyyy to be nicer to people. So there’s that.   Nothing published. Book Unfinished. Didn’t have a date. No third job, and even quit the second.   Not moved anywhere.  Still masturbating and watching Veronica Mars. 

So… yeah.

Okay, yeah, 2008 may not have been a banner year, but it was far from a bad one.  I was struggling for a long time.  I’d lost my faith, and in doing so lost all reason.   I was tormented by waking nightmares of death.   A lot of that passed when I started taking Paxil during the summer/ fall.  Those mini- panic attacks subsided and I was better able to function throughout the day.

Subsequently, I have felt (more lately than anything) a personal strengthening.   I’m feeling a bit of the old me.  More alive. More confident.  Sexy, even. I feel like I’ve accessed a part of my brain long shut down. And am now more ambitious; more inventive. It’s a good feeling, even if I was much less liked back then.  But I’ll take personal success over people liking me.   I haven’t been on the Paxil for more than two weeks, and I wonder if this feeling is chemically or personally induced.  I think the latter, though my doctor assures me otherwise. 

And I have been talking to the ladies more lately. Don’t laugh, that’s a big thing with me.  But I feel like I’ve been handling them better.  Not in a manipulative way, mind you.   Just… in a “Hi, my name is Adam and I want to buy you a drink and find out who  you are.” kind of way.

But while my mental health has been prospering, my physical health has diminished.  I seriously need to lose weight. I am by far heavier than I’ve ever been.  While I am not currently impeded from any physical activities, I can’t keep gaining weight like this.   But once I get out of an exercise habit, it’s tough to get back in.   Also, I’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.  Which means I stop breathing at night.  They want me to spend 80 dollars a month to rent some machine that pumps air down my throat.  It’s bullshit to spend that much on renting what amounts to an air compressor.  But I do need it.  Perhaps now more than ever, as I seem to be tired all the time.

I quit my weekend job because of an altercation with my employers where they forgot to pay me and then proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that  I was to blame.  So I left a note and never went back.   Unfortuately, I have failed to find a part-time job since then.  This sucks for so many reasons.  I need to curb my debt.  Not to mention the fact that I now need a new computer since my piece of shit Dell had crapped out on me after less than two years.  Meanwhile the one that’s five years old is still sort of running.

I just passed the road test for my Motorcycle license.  All I need now is to pass the written test.  Motorcycles have been a big part of the last 6 months, adding to my overall quality of life.

I am emotionally and psychologically in a good place for the future. 

2009 Predictions

  • I’ll get my license and go riding with my old man.
  • I will save money and buy my new iMac computer. 
  • There will be a second job. And there may be a new first job if the right circumstances come along. 
  • Publishing is a difficult thing to predict.  But i will advance myself as a writer and artist, and work towards making those dreams a reality.
  • To better myself as a man, I will talk to every pretty girl I run across.
  • To better myself as a person, I will control my rage and be nicer to people.
  • I will forge new relationships and friendships, female or otherwise.  And I will strengthen the bonds I have.
  • I will work to regain a level of personal control.  Meditation is a good start.
  • To lose weight, I will change factions of my diet and buy a bicycle for regular exercise.
  • Moving is first and foremost on my mind.  I will search job listings and attempt to move by this time next year.

Thats it for me.  Remember, these are not New Year’s resolutions. They are predictions.  Whether I do them or not is up to me, but there is no immediacy on them.  Do you have any predictions? Are you where you thought you would be a year ago?

My Name is Adam

I walked into the hall with pep in my step.  On any other day I would have shivered nervously and tread slow.

But not today.  Today was different.  Today I felt that fire of life that I had long since been missing.  I remembered something.  My name is Adam.  And I am one bad ass son of a bitch.

As my feet slid upon the marble tiles music danced in my head.  The sounds of the BeeGee rang through to my toes and my walk became a strut; slick suede jacket swaying with my jig.  I tossed casual “I could have you” stares at the women I passed.  It felt good.  I felt strong; powerful.  And the longer it went on, I could not decide whether I wanted to blow shit up or fuck someone senseless.  And secretly I wondered if I were capable of both.

This is how I once felt.  Yeah, I was an arrogant prick.  But I was a man.  It felt good to feel strong and masculine. And then one day I lost it.  Lost.  I have been hollow inside.  Stifled and no longer in control of my own destiny.  Less than a man. Less than a human.
But today was different.  And tomorrow will be a brand new day.