Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Unwrapping

When I heard everyone was going to open a gift on Christmas Eve, I thought that only extended to my nieces and nephew. Turns out everyone meant everyone. My sister has been crocheting for a while now she's she's good at it. She's so good that she made everyone in the family a scarf. It's ironic because I was thinking about buying a scarf but now I don't need to. Like a store bought scarf, this baby keeps my neck nice and warm and it has a sweet pattern to boot. I can't wait to try this thing out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Virginia Beach: Year One

On December 20, 2011, after a long road trip, I arrived in my new home, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Hard to believe it's been one year. It's a been an interesting year at that. I got to know my two nieces and nephew, growing more as an uncle as a result. After a lot of searching, I landed a nice job, making more money than what I did in Ohio and I work with some excellent people. I lived through my first hurricane and experienced a very low level earth quake. I saw the beach for the first time in my life and it was AWESOME.

Virginia Beach is a fantastic city. Town Center, the area where I spend a lot of my time, is a great place to shop. The Ocean Front, where the main Virginia Beach is located is absolutely beautiful and is a wonderful place to walk up and down. Despite the fact that many of the people in this city have no business being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, I really do like living here.

A year may not seem like a lot of time but when I stop and think about it, it really is unbelievable to me that I've lived out one year of my life outside of Dayton, Ohio. I was determined to build a life for myself here and I've done just that. It's a good life, too. I have a good job, a wonderful family and I've made new friends. And yet, for all the things I've seen and done here, I'm still adjusting to my new home. So I guess I've still got some growing to do. I suppose there's no where else to go but forward. Just when you think you have everything in life figured out, it drops a new text book on your desk for you to read. It's true what they say, you really never stop learning.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Thanks Giving in VA Beach

Well I made it through my very first Thanks Giving in my new home of Virginia Beach. (Is it still considered "new" if you've lived somewhere for almost a year?) Thanks Giving is one of my favorite holidays. You get to good food (REALLY good food) and be with the family. I got to thinking back to when I was living on my own in Ohio. Two of the five years that I had my own place I celebrated Thanks Giving by myself. It certainly wasn't bad. I ate well and enjoyed the day off but it was still a bit lonely with my immediate family being so far away. I never really felt like imposing on anyone else so I declined any extended offers to have dinner with anyone else. This year, for the first time in years, I got to see all of them for the holiday.

Speaking of family, I got a call from my good friend Justin Moses back home in Ohio. I've known Justin since we were kids, so he's practically family to me. We talked about gaming related stuff but it was just great to hear from him. I keep in contact with all my friends from home on Facebook, but it's still nice to hear the voice of familiar people.

Hope everyone had a happy Thanks Giving. I know I did. I'm only bummed I missed the Macy's Thanks Giving Day parade. I hear one of my favorite video game characters made a guest appearance. Not only that, he was leading the floats.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Walk About

One of the first things I did when I moved to Virginia Beach was go for walks around the neighborhood. Almost a year later, walking around town is still one of my favorite things to do here.

It's so peaceful to just walk around the area, listening to music, looking at my surroundings. Despite the fact that I'm still getting used to life here and that I still feel like an outsider, VA Beach is a very comfortable to walk about. Going out walking does a great deal to help me think, relieve stress, and it's just plain relaxing. Oh, and it's good exercise, too. Can't forget that.

I've decided that the best way to adjust to my life here is to take one day at a time. I'll deal with the uneasiness when it comes and just keep pressing onward. Nearly a year ago, I knew that moving here would be a big chance to take, but ultimately, I'm glad I took it.

Well, it's a beautiful day outside and I've got the day off work, so I think I'll do some walking.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Still Adjusting

It's been nearly a year since I moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. My father asked me some time ago, if it really sank in that I lived in VA Beach. At the time, I told him no and he responded by telling me that it could take a while before I fully adjust to living here. Even after being here for almost a year, I'm a little surprised that I'm still not 100% used to where I live.

The first time I moved I was too young to really remember. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and my family moved to Dayton, Ohio a year or so after I was born. So despite being born in Cleveland, Dayton has always felt like my true home. I really like VA Beach, but since this was my second out of state move and with me now being much older for it to impact me, I'm not completely sure how to deal with some of these feelings.

When I'm not busy working, I get plenty of time to stop and think and it often hits me "Wow, I'm really living my life somewhere other than Dayton." I've said it before and I'll say it again. Making this move was not an easy thing for me. I guess some people deal with these things better than others, but speaking from my own personal experience, when you live one place most of your life and then you go somewhere else, that takes some time to get used to, much more time than I originally thought.

More than anything, I feel like an outsider. I walk down streets I've been down so many times now and go to stores I've been in over and over again and I still feel like an alien. I don't feel like this all the time, but it just bugs me that I that way at all and I can't wait for this feeling to go away. There have been times where I've run into people that know that I'm not originally from VA Beach. I'm not sure if it's from the sound of my voice (no, I don't have an accent or anything), or I'm just that transparent that people can tell right away.

Without saying too much about my job, I will say that I work with some terrific people and they were among the first friends that I made when I moved. Like the people I knew and worked with in Ohio, they are becoming like extended family to me. Yeah, that might make me sound like a clingy, emotional idiot, but one of the main things I learned in church is that family isn't all blood related.

Lately, I have been missing my friends, my extended family in Ohio a lot. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about them. So if any of you happen to be reading this post, know that you're in my thoughts and that I miss and love you.

Before this post sounds too overly negative, let me say that I do really enjoy living in VA Beach. It's a wonderful city. I get to see my nieces and nephew, father, sister, and brother-in-law, I make far more money than what I did in Ohio, and I've met some more great people. I guess it'll just take more time before I truly feel like I've adjusted to this new life.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What to Do

It's been nearly 3 months since I made a post on this blog. Part of the reason for not writing anything here is that I've been busy writing on my gaming blog. The other reason is that I've been struggling with what I should write here.

When I started this blog back in March of 2008, it was primarily a comic-based blog, but since my interest in the medium had decreased so much, there hasn't been a great deal for me to talk about on that front. For a while, the blog did see a lot of activity regarding non-comic based posts before I made my move to Virginia Beach. But  now, well, as I said, it's been a sizable gap since the last post.

I'm not entirely sure what I should dedicate this blog to.  I think my father and sister have far more interesting things to blog about in their lives than I do. That's not to say I think my life is dull. Far from it. I guess it's just easier to write about gaming because I'm so passionate about it. I do still keep an eye on the comic industry so I could chime in on what's going on there. Or I could just continue to write about the things going on in my life. Should I write about what I like, or about what I think people would prefer to read about? Maybe I could do both.

One thing I have deiced on is to get out in the open why I'm so fed up with comics. There will be a nice detailed post about that coming up. I've also got some stuff to say about my life here in Virginia Beach and how I've been adjusting to it all. So while I haven't posted for some time, this blog is far from dead.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Going on 30

I don't usually like to make a big deal of my birthday but people tend to make some birthdays more special than others. 13 is a magic number but 16 is seemingly even more important, but not as much as 18, which marks you as an adult while 21 let's (legally) you drink and partake of the wonderful joys of hangovers (never been one to do that).

So what does 30 get you? Well I really don't know, but lots of folks view it as a sign of  that you're really getting old. But from everything I've seen and heard, 30 is the new 16. I mean, I don't particularly look or even feel that much older. Most people are surprised when I tell them my age. While I don't mind getting older (too much) it does serve as a reminder that our time on this Earth is limited. That makes me stop and think about what I've done with my life.

I don't have any major, grand scale achievements to my resume, but when I think back on my 20s, I did do two pretty important things. One was moving out and living on my own for the very first time. I got a lot of experience and grew even more of a backbone. The other was becoming an uncle, which is one of the best things that's ever happened to me and one of the most important titles I'll ever hold in my life.

It seems like my teenage years breezed by but my 20s moved at a snail's pace. And yet, I can recall being a teenage as if it were yesterday. Playing GoldenEye in the basement with friends, a bunch of us in the car driving around. Good times, good times. I made some new friends in my 20s and had a blast with them, too. I'm sure the 30s will hold some good memories as well.

Getting older also makes me think about things I'd like to do with my life. There are still so many things I haven't done. I'd love to check out Europe, visit New York, get some stories published and more. I'm not sure when those things will happen but I do want to make them happen.

The one thing I really hate about my birthday is when people sing it to me. This tends to happen at the numerous places I've worked. I've only been at my current job for two months and I work on Saturday (my birthday) but very few people there know it's my special day. So maybe I'll be spared the embarrassment of being sung to. Maybe.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Haul

Like most people, I've always been a fan of Mickey Mouse. He's one of the few cartoon characters that's achieved the same iconic status as Bugs Bunny. I'm most familiar with Mickey's animated exploits, having never read any of the Mickey Mouse comics. When I saw Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley, I just knew it would be something I'd want to pick up. 

Despite the title, Race to Death Valley packs numerous Mickey Mouse comic strip stories from the early 1930s. There's also some nifty bonus content including some very kind, lengthy words from Mickey fanatic Warren Spector of Epic Mickey fame. I've only thumbed through it so far, but this is looking like one very impressive book. This book marks the first time Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips have ever really been collected. With nearly 300 pages it may take me a while to read through this hardcover. The side of this one actually says "Volume 1." If that's an indication that there's more vintage Mickey Mouse comics to come, I hope Disney and Fantagraphics Books deliver the goods.

Who doesn't love The Far Side? If I had to pick 5 of my favorite newspaper comics, The Far Side would easily be in the top 3. I've actually got a number of Far Side books in my collection, but it's actually been more than 13 years since I've bought any Far Side material. I think the last Far Side book I bought was The Far Side Gallery 3. Barns & Nobles had some good deals on their books and at under 9 bucks each, it really was tough to pass on these.

The PreHistory of The Far Side is interesting not only because it contains commentary from creator Gary Larson on nearly every page, but it also features some of his rejected strips and even some artwork he did as a child. It's also one of the thickest Far Side books I've ever picked up, being very close to 300 pages. Of course, it has nothing on The Complete Far Side books, which are heavy enough to be doorstops. Maybe I'll get around to picking those up someday, but for now, I'm fine with what I've got. I'll probably read through The Far Side Gallery 2 first because it's a bit thinner than PreHistory.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DVD Haul

Yeah, I'm still buying DVDs when Blu-Ray is all the rage. You wanna make something of it? I digress. While I usually stick to games for my entertainment, like anyone else, I enjoy a good flick or animated series. As I've said before, my interest in comics has waned considerably and continues to do so. Amazing Spider-Man continues to be an unfunny Joke, the changes and constant renumbering/relaunching of Ultimate Spider-Man are aggravating, and with DC's we're-not-calling-it-a-reboot-but-it-really-is-a-reboot-of-nearly-the-whole-DC-comics-brand announcement last week, it's that much easier to stick to animation when I want to get my super hero fix.

I was a huge fan of Grant Morrison's 12 issue run of All-Star Superman. The blend of retro elements from past Superman stories with more modern material made for one of my favorite stories I've ever read about big blue. The animated film version was written by Dwayne McDuffie, a huge contributor to the DCAU's Justice League Unlimited, one of my all-time favorite cartoons. Sadly Mr. McDuffie passed away one day before All-Star Superman hit the shelves back in February. I still can't believe he's gone and I may get teary eyed when I watch those creator's segments on my Justice League DVDs since I'm in the middle of watching the DCAU all over again. Since this was one of his last works, I figured I owed to myself to pick it up. I never met the man, but from what I've read and heard, in addition to be a superb creative talent, he was an all around nice guy. R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie.

As much flack as Jeph Loeb gets these days, he did turn out some fine stories before he lost his creative steam and even some after that. I actually enjoyed his Public Enemies arc on Superman/Batman when I read the trade back in 2007. I thought the animate version of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was even better than the comic it was based off of. Heck, even Jeph and artist Ed Guinness called Bruce Timm and co and told them they loved the film. If I recall the next arc after that one had something to do with Superman discovering Supegirl. I never did read that one but since I dug Loeb's first Superman/Batman story, I figure I may enjoy this animated version. That and and my brother-in-law told me it was awesome.

I'm ashamed to admit that I was not sold on Batman: The Brave and the Bold when I'd first seen what the art would look like. It was already clear that it would not be like that Batman of the DCAU, but when I caught the Christmas episode, Invasion of the Secret Santas!, that was all it took to convince me. I later found out that some of the same creative minds of the DCAU worked on The Brave and the Bold. Seeing Batman team up with and fight some pretty obscure characters from the DC world and Batman's history is pretty cool and I rather like the art style, which has a Jack Kirby feel to it. Neil Patrick Harris singing as the Music Meister in the musical episode, Mayhem of the Music Meister is the worth the price of admission alone. Considering what a box set of 13 episodes will cost you these days, I think $14.99 for both parts of season one is pretty good. I'm kinda bummed that there are no extras on these DVDs, but with over 600 minutes and 26 episodes of campy Batman goodness, do I really need more to watch?

I have yet to see a Hayao Miyazaki anime film that I didn't like. I haven't seen everything he's done, but what I've seen, I've really enjoyed. Kiki's Delivery Service is a movie I've been wanting to check out for a some time now. Every time I go to Best Buy I always walk by it, pick it up, look it over, put it back and go on about my business. Well I finally made part of my collection and it's actually the first Miyazaki film I own (everything else I've seen by the man was owned by friends). I think my nieces may like it too so I'm gonna try to sit down and look at it with them on Friday if they aren't out and about.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

At the Beach with the Family

It was one of those rare instances where nearly everyone in the family had Saturday off (Charles unfortunately had to work). I had originally planned to stay home and game all day but changes my plans because hey, who knows when we'll all be fortunate enough to have the same day off work.

Instead of going to the main Virginia Beach, we went to a beach that was about 15 minutes away from the house. It was my first time being to this particular beach and the first time I'd been to a beach that had way more than a handful of people. Kids and adults were having fun in the water, people were fishing, riding jet skis, ya you know, all the good fun activities you can do when you're that close to the ocean.

As always, the beach, no matter which one it is always impresses me. The view was phenomenal, the ocean crashing against the shore, the sound of the waves, the smell of the water, I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.

I watched my nieces and nephew play around in the water. Despite being only a year old, Samuel shows no fear of those crashing waves. He didn't even cry when some water got on his face. Nakiah loved to tube around in the water. I think she stepped further into the water more than any of us.

I actually did get my feet wet but I only wet so far. That whole not-being-able-to-swim thing could get messy. Still it was great to stand in the water if only a small part of me was in it. The water hitting my feet as I listened to music on my MP3 player and stared out at the ocean, man, that was awesome. I'm still cleaning sad out of my shoes and my bag. We'll probably be vacuuming the stuff up for some time but we had so much fun today. It was one of the best Saturdays I've had in a very long time. Definitely gonna have to do that again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stormy Weather Aftermath

On Tuesday, May 24th, we had a brief but nasty thunderstorm here in VA Beach a little bit after 4 PM. The winds were so strong that I feared rocks or even tree branches might have flown through the windows. My mom was on her way home in the middle of the mess but she made hit back safely, save for being drenched. My sister was out with her kids and she made unscathed. Same with my father.

I was getting ready for work when the storm came. The power kept flicking on and off when around 4:30, it was finally knocked out for a good, long while. It wasn't just my neighborhood that was without power. A good chunk of VA Beach was without electricity. There wasn't much to do at my job because the back up lights don't give you much to see and there's only so much you can do when your power is down. I was at work for about 2 hours then was sent home.

The power gradually came back in different places. Streets lights were also off in certain intersections. Combine that with many folks in VA Beach not knowing how to drive and crossing a street becomes very risky business. I have to say though, it was one of the few times I encountered some generous people behind the wheels of a car. There have been times I've had the signal to cross and idiots have pulled out in front of me, nearly making me lose a limb or worse.

We had Papa Johns Pizza for dinner with candles lit. Fortunately, we had some flash lights with batteries so seeing where we were going was not a problem. The real struggle for me was finding something to do with no electricity.

I was a bit sleepy so it was one of the rare occasions that I climbed into bed earlier. It's been taking me a while to fall asleep lately and it was after 10 when I laid down. When I woke up, I was annoyed when I looked at my clock to find out that it was only ten minutes until 12 AM. The power was, of course, still out. I think I begrudgingly fell back sleep a little while after that realization.

The second time I woke up, it was going on 3 AM. Still no power. I did have my sansa fuze + MP3 player to listen to and I was listening to some music on that to help get me to sleep, but when you're a night owl, going to bed early is hard. Staying asleep is even harder. There was also my DS to keep me occupied. I finished Gunstar Super Heroes after about an hour of playing with one of the characters. I didn't feel like finishing it with the other because one of the stages had irked me enough for one night.

I'd heard of people reading books in the dark with the aid of a flashlight. Never thought I'd do it, but I was done gaming for the night and I had some reading I'd been wanting to catch up on. So I passed an hour's worth of time reading a Guinness Book of World Records book (more on that in my other blog). As much as I enjoy gaming, the company of a good book is quite nice and even better when you've got some good tunes to hear. It was probably one of the best parts of doing without power, the other being dinner with my mom, dad and two nieces, something I don't get to do much of since I work a lot now.

I didn't want to completely drain my MP3 player's batteries or those of the flashlight so when the chirping of the birds became more frequent and daylight ever so slowly crept in, I went to sleep for the third time. I woke up a little after 10 and the power was back on. That had to be the longest I've ever gone without power in terms of bad weather. As bad as it was, it was a cakewalk compared to the people who were struck by that twister in Missouri. Some people still don't have power, but at the very least, many of us do have our lives.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MP3 Player Upgrade

I've been aware for some time now that my first MP3 player, the Philips GoGEAR Vibe was much too small in terms of storage space. 4 GBs may seem like a lot but for someone that has a super extensive selection of music,  4GBs just wasn't going to cut it. There was also the issue with some skipping on songs. For a while, the skips on happened with certain songs but it worsened as I made new playlists. It got to a point where songs that normal wouldn't skip had multiple skips in them, which, understandably made enjoy my music that much more difficult.

Since I've been working for about a month now, I've been able to afford stuff again (which is oh so nice) and a top priority for me was replacing my old MP3 player with a superior model. After doing some browsing in Best Buy, I was disheartened that the prices for even 32 GB MP3 Players and 16GB iPods were rather steep. Even with what I make now, $230 and up is a lot to pay for a portable music player. That's like video game console money right there. I had just about given up when an employee recommended the SanDisk sansa fuze + 8GB MP3 Player.

Now I usually prefer to do some research on something before I buy. Nevertheless, I picked up the sansa fuze + without doing any reading up on the device. On top of that, I'd never even heard of this particular MP3 Player until I went in the store that day. Though I've used some of SanDisk's products before and I'm quite pleased with how well they've worked, I was still a tad apprehensive about the sansa fuze. For starters, it cost more than the GoGEAR Vibe did, but offering more storage space, that's to be expected, but it wasn't as much as the more costly players. What sold me on buying it was that the sansa fuze + storage space could be expanded with the microSD card. I picked up the 16 GB micro SD card for a whopping total of 24 GBs of storage space.

The sansa fuze + is about twice the size of the GoGEAR Vibe, which kinda sucks because I adored the small size of that thing. It also uses touch on the bottom half as opposed to more full on buttons, which took some getting used to. I had some trouble navigating the menus and picking my music due in part to the shuffle being turned on and not knowing what took me where. Of course now I can use the thing without any problems.

I have to say, I REALLY dig this thing. The touch buttons rock and the amount of space on this baby is awesome. Unfortunately, there are a few nitpicks. The touch buttons, awesome as they are are pretty sensitive. If you want to listen to a song or hear a playlist without accidentally skipping to another song or going to another menu, you pretty much have to set the thing on lock. It can also take a while to load up after adding more content to it. After the the almost non-existence loading I had on the GoGEAR Vibe, I'm not sure if I'll ever get used to it. It's almost as bad as putting up with loading on games. But, the good overtakes very little bad, so it's really hard to keep griping about such things.

So what became of the GoGEAR Vibe? Well, I know I said I'd hang on to it for sentimental value, but my mom was thinking about getting herself and MP3 player and the thought did cross my mind to give her my old one. 4 GBs of space is more than enough for her and she's had very little problems with songs skipping. I told her that if she ever encountered any trouble I'd just get her a new MP3 player. I feel kinda bad that I only used my first MP3 Player for about 5 months, but I really needed something with more space and my first player served me well. Besides, it seems fitting that my mom should get my first MP3 player since she bought it for me in the first place.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lego Architecture

Legos were always my favorite toy when I was a kid. Building and playing with them were some of the best times of my childhood. Even as an adult they still interest me. I've been wanting to purchase some newer Legos to build and put on display for some time now but I haven't had the cash until recently. A newer set caught my eye, the Lego Architecture series.

Lego Architecture is more geared towards adults than children. These stylish sets are based off real word locals and even come with building prints that the actual buildings were based off of. Pretty nice bonus feature if you ask me. I don't know a lot about architecture, but I'm still very intrigued by this Lego series. There are sets for the Rockefeller Center, the White House, Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center and others. I probably won't buy every set, just the ones that really catch my fancy. As it is, these Legos are the ones I'm craving the most now.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Art: Astro Boy Showcase

Astro Boy in artrage by cuson
Astro Boy by Teben-the-Every
Astro Boy by monk-art
Reluctant Hero by KicsterAsh
astro boy quickie by pyawakit
Astro Boy for CyberneticHero by AtomicTiki
Astro Boy by Dark-Jessa
Tetsuwan Atomu by Duhokama

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More Complete

The main reason I haven't been doing much blogging here and at my other blog in the last four days is because I've been working. Working, working, working, working and working.

Work is exhausting but I like my new job. Strange as this may sound to some, working makes me feel more complete. I'm actually enjoying Virginia Beach even more now. Being able to afford stuff again will be nice to and I'll be able to help the family with bills.

A while ago, my father asked me if it had truly sunk in that I'm living in VA Beach. In all honesty, I'm still getting used to it, despite having lived here for about four months. I guess it really takes time for some people to adjust to a new location when you've lived in one state your whole life. Though I have to say that I do really like it here. It's peaceful, the weather is (mostly) great and best of all, my family is here and it's great seeing them everyday, something I couldn't do when I lived in Ohio. I miss my friends and I really haven't made any new ones but I suppose the new pals will come in time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It Starts

Well tomorrow is my first day at my new job. Kinda hard to believe this will only be the sixth job I've ever had. I'm sure people my age have had way more jobs than I've ever had. I wonder if that means I have less or more experience because of it.

It feels like the first day of school. I'm still a bit nervous but not nearly as much as before. More than anything, I'm glad I'll be working again. During the months I didn't work, it felt like my new life was stuck on hold. I didn't think it would take a little over three months to land a job but, I'm just happy to have one.

In the words of a certain Italian plumber, "Here we go!"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Life Without Internet

*Sigh* It really is true what they say. "You don't know what you got until it's gone." When we live with something that we like for so long, we become very accostumed to it, so much so that we can't ever imagine how we'd get along without it. And yet, when it get's taken from us, we just have to somehow get by. In this case I'm referring to internet service (as if you couldn't tell).

Perhaps for whatever reason, you couldn't pay your bill and your ISP cut you off. Or your connection just doesn't feel like working (I especially hate it when this happens). Maybe the folks that you signed up with are doing a lousy job. Maybe some drunken, wreckless peon that was behind the wheel smashed something. There are a dozen scenarios but they all have the same basic conclusion: life without the internet sucks.

As I already mentioned, we've gotten so used to the internet. We use it on a daily basis. To be without is hardly living. Sure, you're alive, but you're practically dead inside. OK, so it isn't that dramatic, but I think you see where I'm going with this.

Whenever I don't have net serivce, I feel like I'm missing out on what's happening in the world. "Watch the news on TV." Feh. I rarely watch TV as it is and I can get acces to dozens of news feeds with just a few clicks on the internet. Being an avid facebook user, the net is also my means of keeping in touch with my friends back in Ohio and other parts of the globe. Not letting them know what I'm up to or not knowing what they are up to is a real bummer.

We all have to cope without the internet at various times in our lives. I've done it more times than I'd care to but I always survive. It isn't the end of the world. It's just a huge downer and I hate it. You know, I was just reading a column about a man that had to do without his wi-fi service the other day. Now I don't have internet. I believe that is what they call "irony."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Simple Technology

Most people are a bit surprised when they find out I'm not a tech junkie. I don't know the first thing about fixing a computer, I probably couldn't tell you what the latest brand of ipod is, let alone alone all of it's features, and I'd probably look like a baboon talking on a basic flip phone. I can appreciate advancements in the technology that we use in our daily lives, but at the same time, I could do without some of them.

These day, we have phones, Androids, BlackBerry, Robot, whatever name they go by, that let let you go on the internet as well as come with all the bells and whistles of a standard phone like video, pictures, texting, and all the others that I can't even think of. Usually, when I go on the net, I do it from my PC. I don't text nor do I even know how to text. Unless you can say it to my face, in an e-mail, phone me, or post it on facebook, I probably won't get the message.

I'm perfectly fine with DVDs. Yes, I've seen the super crisp, crap-your-pants picture quality of Blu-Ray, but I don't feel like forking over even more money for better quality when DVDs have served me well over the past decade. Besides, it's taken me a while to build up my DVD collection and I don't even want to think about how much money replacing those with Blu-Ray would cost. As long as my 20th Anniversary DVD of The Goonies still works, I'm a happy camper.

I also like my video game systems to be simple. Most PCs these days already have built in DVD playback and your standard DVD players are pretty cheap too. When I buy a video game system, I want it to play games, not be some high end super computer. Adding extra features increases the system's price and with the rising cost of game and console development, shelling out even more cash is something we could all do without.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all the extra added stuff we get sucks. I'm certainly not looking down on people who take advantage of all the features a super phone gives them. I'm merely saying that I'm fine with basic tech. Who knows, maybe someday I'll do a 180 and fully embrace advanced technology and end up texting like a teenage fool.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why No Comic Book Love?

Since I started this blog back in March of 2008, I've done a plethora of posts about comic books. Early on, I did talk about other things, but it didn't take long for this blog to be dominated by comic book talk and comic related entries. That has died down considerably and not without reason.

As far as just comic books go, my interest in this was gone down quite a bit. The biggest factor in all of this relates to Spider-Man. The character has always been my favorite super hero and twice I've been there when Marvel has run the character through the ground. The first was during the Clone Saga in the 1990s when the company attempted to tell readers that the Spidey of the two decades they had been reading about had been a clone.  The second was at the end of 2007 where they had Spidey make a deal with Satan to save aunt May in exchange for his marriage. If you've never heard of the story, I'll save you the trouble and say just say that it's even more stupid than it sounds and far worse than the Clone Saga. Unfortunately the dark days of Spidey were just beginning. After Spidey made his demonic pact, things just kept getting worse with the protagonist being portrayed as constant idiot, lame new villains, bland new supporting characters and bad writing. For the last 3-4 years the regular line of Spider-Man comics have been an unfunny joke.

The worst part is, there doesn't seem to be a clear end in sight for this mess. We've yet to really be shown anything that make's Peter's new girlfriend, Carlie Cooper, a worthwhile love interest and no, having the entire supporting cast tell us how awesome she is does not count.

Did I mention the insane amount of variant covers? Since Spidey sold his marriage to Satan and became single, just about every issue of Amazing Spider-Man since #546 has had multiple variant covers, so this sort of inflates sales numbers, which are a far cry from what they used to be before this debacle began.

There's also talk that the comic industry is headed back to the 1990s and from the actions we've seen both DC and Marvel take, there is some truth to this. Captain American was killed a few years back. He's all better now. Batman was killed recently. He's also fine and dandy. Seeing a pattern? Shock value and gimmicks seem to be taking top priority over telling a good story just as it was in the '90s.

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four has just been offed and FF #587 was the last issue because the FF book is going to be rebooted. The issue where Johnny died was also polly bagged, just like Superman #75 was when big blue was killed. I'm sure Johnny will have had enough chicken soup to get better in time for FF#600, which is when the "new" FF book will go back to it's old numbering, something just about every single Marvel book has done.

I'm tired of rape stories, fed up with people in power making decisions to take books back to "the good old days," and I am sick, sick, SICK of comic heroes/villains being killed just to make the reader gasp, or I should say try to make the reader gasp because many of us already know that death in comics is super cheap.

My disdain for comic books doesn't mean I'm completely done with them. I still think Tiny Titans is a fantastic book for kids and adults and I want to check out the Disney BOOM! line of comics like Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck and DuckTales. I still have some DC graphic novels I need to pick up and talk about and when I get the chance I'll give me thoughts on those. There are also things I'll being talking about that relate to comics such as some shows in the DCAU (DC Animated Universe), which is my all-time favorite series of cartoons.

New Spidey Costume Thoughts

Yes, this is old news but whatever.

Everyone has had there say on the new Spider-Man costume for the upcoming reboot (regardless of what Avi Arda says, it IS a reboot). I honestly didn't think it was a bad-looking suit upon seeing the first picture. Then more pics came out and it got ugly. No, ugly is too nice a word. Rather than go into serious detail about the suit like everyone else has, I'll just let Jay Sherman sum it up for me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bullying the Bullies

Last week Richard Gale, some 12 year old punk looking for his 15 minutes of internet fame thought it would be a good idea to bully 16 year old Cassey Heynes. Cassey endured one sucker punch and four jabs before he snapped and went Zangief on the 12 year old upstart. One doesn't have to eat a concrete sandwich to know that it doesn't taste good but I guess some people really are so stupid that they need to have an example made out of them. You can probably tell that I don't have an ounce of sympathy for the little snot.

The interesting thing is, Cassey was bullied for three years. That means that Cassey didn't go all pro wrestler on his attacker out of the blue. There was some build up behind this. Gale just happened to be the one that made Cassey say enough is enough. If the bully read TVTropes, he'd have known that you really shouldn't provoke nice people because when nice people get angry, it tends to be a lot worse than someone who's always mad. There was also that noticeable size difference, but from what the video showed, the bully wasn't very bright.

Bullies continue to be a problem on school grounds. When you have a problem that's as old as dirty, finding a solution is not easy. 

"Just ignore it," is probably the most common advice on escaping a bully's wrath and the most pathetic. Cassey tried ignoring his bully and it clearly did not work.

"Stay with a group of friends," is also frequently given advice but there are bullies that could care less if your pals are with you. Not only that, you can't be with your friends all the time in school. 

"Tell a teacher." Now teachers know that bulling is a constant problem and unless they are present at the time when the punches get thrown, they can't do anything about it until after the fact. All schools have a no tolerance policy on bullying and anyone caught fighting in any manner usually get suspended. I guess this is the best schools can do to combat bullying but in my personal opinion, I don't think schools really know how to deal with it at all.

The worst thing about being bullied is that if you even defend yourself by fighting back, you get put out of school for a few days. Stand there and take it and you get to stay in school but you're still a victim. What we have here is a no win situation because schools really don't know what to do to stop the bully problem. 

Schools are freaking out because this video went viral and are now afraid victims will start slamming bullies on  the ground. They act like this is the first time a bully has had a taste of his own medicine. Bully victim has been snapping for years. This is just one of the times where it was caught on video and became insanely popular. What the schools are missing is the reason it's so popular is because the lousy school system has never really fought back against the problem. Any kid that has been bullied will tell you that being a victim sucks and since the school won't do anything about it, these kids are starting to take matters into their own hands. 

Now I like to avoid violence and as much as I wish bullying didn't exist, we all know that's not the kind of world we live in. So as it stands, kids have two choices. Stand up for yourself and get suspended. Take a beating and stay in school. Life isn't fair, but what else is new?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vegetables are Tolerable to Me Now

"Eat your vegetables so you can grow up to be big and strong."

How many times have we heard that one? When you were a kid, odds are you hated veggies with a passion. Whenever they were on my plate, they would be the only food that remained on my plate. Though I can recall one time where my mom really wanted me to finish the green food that I'd hoped I wouldn't have to eat, for the most part, my parents never really forced veggies on me.

I never thought I'd warm up to them, but I find eating vegetables has become easier over the years. I'm not saying I load my plate up with them or I eat them on a daily basis (because I don't), but whenever they are an option, I have been eating them.

Green beans, one of the my previously most despised veggies are now tolerable to me. I can eat greens pretty easily now, too. Broccoli, however, must have cheese on it or I'm not touching that it. Period. I'm still not fond of brussels sprouts either.  Nearly anything else I'm fine with.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Window Shopping Sucks

You're walking about in the mall, comic shop, video game store, or wherever it is you shop. Something catches your eye and you just gotta have it! Only you can't because you either don't have the cash or the money you do have in your pocket has to go towards something else. I HATE window shopping.

In these tough times there are probably more window shoppers now than there have ever been. I don't mind looking to kill time. That's what I call "Optional window shopping." But when I absolutely can't buy a thing and have to look at things I want to have like a prisoner behind bars, that's called "Sucks to be you window shopping!"

Of course what I also hate is my nagging conscience. The stores can't make money unless customers buy things and I tend to feel bad for doing so much window shopping these days. Gah. Now I made myself feel bad just writing about this. Meh.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sail Over the Storm

I like living in Virginia Beach, I really do. The weather is nice, it's peaceful here and most importantly, I love being with my family. Unfortunately, the next chapter in my life has been marred by an old nemesis I'm sure many of you are all too familiar with: financial struggle.

It's been a little over 2 months since I've been here and I've yet to find a job. I've lost track of how many applications I've filled out and I haven't even had a single interview yet. You'd think the job Market in VA Beach would be better than that of Ohio, but after all the looking I've done, I'm really starting to wonder.

This isn't the first time in my life I've been jobless but not having a job is easily one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. Not only do I myself have my own bills to pay, but I want to help the family with the house bills as well. And it isn't just that I need to work. I want to work. Not having a job makes me feel like dead weight because I'm unable to help out and that makes me feel useless. It also means I have far more free time on my hands than I'd like to have. Free time is nice but not when it's the only time you have. However, if I don't keep myself occupied, I go crazy.

Still, I've experienced what seemed like overwhelming odds before and I've come out alive. When things get rough, you just gotta find something to hold on to while your ship is being tossed around by the waves and sail over the storm, no matter how bad it may be. Storms may go on for a while but they don't last for forever. Soon or later, the sun will come up.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

At the Beach, Take 2

I went back to what I now believe is the main beach of Virginia Beach today. Originally, I had planned to walk along the shore, but the experience was marred by my shoes, which do not have flat bottoms. I suppose I'll have to get a pair of flip-flops eventually. Today wasn't really a day for that type of footwear, though. Despite being in the upper 50s, it was still somewhat cold when I got closer to the ocean. Still, what little walking I did was nice.

I got so close to the water that I could smell it. I would have liked to get closer but I didn't wanna get pulled in by the crashing waves and I really didn't feel like taking a chance on getting my clothes wet. Being closer to the ocean than ever before was awesome, even for someone who lacks the ability to swim. When it gets warm, I'll probably step in and get my feet wet.

Sometime ago, I saw a photo of the King Neptune statue. Since then, I've been wanting to see it for myself but I had no idea it was on the same beach I was visiting. Turns out the statue itself is pretty huge, in fact much larger than I thought, standing over 30 feet tall. It was really cool to see it up close and someday I'm gonna have a photo snapped of me standing in front of it. 

Nearly an hour had passed and after multiple attempts, I was finally successful in forcing myself to leave. One day when it's much warmer, I'd like to spend a whole day there. After just two trips, I've fallen hopeless in love with the beach.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

First Time at the Beach

While out with my mom the other day, we went and saw one of the beaches in Virginia Beach. I didn't think I'd get to see the beach until it got much warmer outside but the area we were in was right by the coast. This was the first time in my life I had ever seen the beach. I was completely awe-stuck. Even though we only stayed for a few minutes, it was beautiful. Really, words and photos don't even begin to describe it.

To me, the beach was more than just sand and water. Much, much more. The ocean stretched on forever, the clouds seem to touch the water, the waves crashed against the shore. I could see boats and cruise ships out in the distance. The beach is hands down one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I could have easily spent hours there just walking along the shore.

I really can't say enough how spectacular it was and I can't wait to go back there. It seems like the perfect place to relax with a book or just listen to some music while staring back at the waves. The beach is simply breathtaking.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"So Where Ya From?"

Well, if finally happened, although much later than I thought it would. While looking for an umbrella in K-Mart the other day, an employee asked me if he could help me out. I asked where the umbrellas where and he pointed me in the right direction. After that, he asked me where I was from. I guess he somehow knew I wasn't originally born in Virginia.

See, I figured I'd get asked that question much sooner, like say a week or two after moving to Virginia Beach. I also thought I'd get asked that question a lot more often. I mean, VA Beach is a huge tourist zone and new people float in and out of this city all the time.

Also, would having that question be asked by an insanely beautiful woman be too much to ask? (Sigh) Life is so unlike all the movies and sitcoms. At least for me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Waiting in Public

I'm in Lens Crafters on Wednesday waiting to be attended to so they can make some much needed adjustments to my glasses. It isn't a huge store and I went during the evening hours. There were only two employees in the place and only one other customer besides me in there at the time. Time I sat there waiting for them to get to me? Over fifteen minutes. Now I could understand if the place was swamped with customers, but it wasn't and from what I could tell, the worker was getting chummy with the customer, which is fine, but when you got people waiting, stow that stuff away and get to work.

I try not to be impatient when I have to wait in public places. I try not to let me body language or facial features show that I am bored out of my skull and sick of waiting around. Basically, I like to give the impression that even though I've been sitting around forever, everything is fine and dandy. But sometimes the act falls apart and I end up showing how I truly feel. If the employees are nice and apologize for the wait, I feel bad for being impatient. Still, I think I do an OK job of handling myself while I'm out in the public eye waiting. I mean, I haven't blow up or anything or had to be escorted out by security so I guess that counts for something.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Watch Your Mouth

I'm not one to spout profanity and those that do, that's perfectly within your first amendment rights. However, I do believe in being careful with what you say around children and this is something I'm always being reminded of by Ava and Nakiah, my two nieces.

Again, I don't swear but there have been some words I've had to practice not saying while I'm around them. They haven't given me the full list (yet), but thus far, I've found that no one in the house is allowed to say the following.


Yes, as silly as it may sound I'm not allowed to use the word "crud," which is actually one of my favorite words. Every time anyone in the household says the above words, we'll immediately get corrected for it. "You're not allowed to say that," Ava will tell us and we'll apologize. Being a gamer and death being a large part of gaming, I've had to replace my usual words of dying with the girl's term "done for." I wonder if "doom" is acceptable.

The funny thing is, this isn't something mom and dad taught them. No, they picked this up all by themselves and everyone in the house respects their wishes. I'm sure they'll probably grow out of it eventually and start using these words later on in life, but for now, I'm proud of them for putting a limit on what can and can't be said at such a young age.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Still Like to Read Books

No matter how far the internet has progress and despite all it has given us, I firmly believe there will always be a place for printed materials. I spend a great deal of time reading articles on my PC and as much as I love it, there's nothing like having a book or magazine in your hands. The feel of the pages, being able to take the book anywhere you want (I don't have a laptop yet), laying on the sofa, reading to your own music, it's all very relaxing.

Before the boom of the internet, and even after, one of my favorite things to read were video game magazines. I took them to school, to work, just about everywhere. I think the last time I had a subscription to a game magazine was when I moved into my first apartment. For whatever reason I didn't re-subscribe, but I still picked up magazines off the news stands and flipped through them. It wasn't until a few weeks ago when I saw a copy of Retro Gamer (a magazine I never thought I'd actually hold in my hands) that I was reminded of just how much I loved to read game magazines. When I'm able to, I think I'm gonna subscribe to Retro Gamer.

I've also got an extensive manga collection. It would be even larger but I'd put my money towards other things. The last manga I did pick up were the Mega Man Megamix titles. At $12.95, they run higher than what I'm used to getting but it was worth every penny. I still have to finish the interviews and character profiles from Megamix vol. 2 before I can move onto vol. 3. Now that I have a portable mp3 player, I'll be able to read Megamix while I listen to Mega Man jams away from my computer.

Further proof that books will always be around in print, just about any time I go into a Borders or Barns & Noble, there's a good chunk of people inside. Some things are just irreplaceable, even by technology.

They Grow 'em BIG in VA Beach

My father and sister told me up here in Virginia Beach, the bugs can get pretty big. During the month's long time I've been here, I've seen more roaches than I'd like and most of them seemed about the same size as the ones I had seen in Ohio. No big deal, right? That all changed this evening.

It wasn't until I was about to go upstairs that I saw just how big the bugs here can get. At first I thought it may have been one of my nieces' toy bugs. However, as I reached my hand towards it, the thing actually moved. The thing was alive and that sucker was HUGE! I'm not exaggerating when I say he was a big as my thumb. I dubbed it the Roach King. Never in my life have I seen a roach, no, a bug so big! I ran for the bug spray and let him have it. I sprayed that sucker multiple times to make sure he died.

You know, now that I think about it, the roach could have been a female. Not that it hardly matters. I'm an equally opportunity bug killer. Unless that roach is helping around the house in some way, he/she is gonna get the spray. Worse part is, it probably won't be the last time I see a bug that big. And if I heard right, they get even bigger!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Toy Nostalgia

For a while now, I'd been thinking about getting reacquainted with some of the old toys I grew up with. What clinched it was when my brother-in-law Charles brought home a ton of cars for my nieces to play with.

I think most of the cars were of the Hot Wheels brand, but there were also some from Matchbox. There isn't a single guy I know that has not played with cars at some point when they were children. As I watched my nieces play and look at the cars, I was reminded of how much fun I had when I was a kid playing with cars. It made me recall the famous Hot Wheels track Criss Cross Crash track.

It also got me thinking of another brand of toy car I loved. These weren't as popular as Hot Wheels, but I always thought they were still awesome in their own right. Remember the Turbo Tricksters? Pull 'em back and watch 'em speed off, or pop a penny in the back and watch 'em do tricks. I even have fond memories of sneaking those things into school to show off to my friends. Ah, those were some good times.

More than Hot Wheels and Turbo Tricksters, my all-time favorite toy has got to be Legos. There are so many different sets of Legos out today, but even when I was a kid, there was still a lot them. Sometimes I would just flipped through the Lego catalogs my sister and I got with our Lego sets, see other Legos and salivate over those. Of course our own collection was nothing to scoff at. We had fire Legos, police Legos, town Legos, Black Trons, and some of my absolute favorite, pirate Legos.

Lately, I've been thinking of buying a few Lego sets here and there to build and display. I'll mostly stick to smaller sets, maybe buy a bigger set every now and then. I'll probably buy some Hot Wheels cars from time to time, too. And yeah, some Turbo Tricksters.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Movies I Haven't Seen

A few of my friends always respond in visual and verbal shock when I tell them I've never seen a film that practically everyone else living already has. I love movies, but I'll freely admit that I've always leaned more towards animation for my graphical entertainment that doesn't involve me holding a controller. So for no one's amusement but my own, here's a list of movies I've never seen. From old to modern day stuff. *Deep breath*

Right Stuff
King Kong
Pulp Fiction
Fight Club
Sin City
Iron Man 2
The Godfather Trilogy
Gone with the Wind
When Harry Met Sally
Lilo and Stich
Full Metal Jacket
Bonnie and Clyde
Bride of Frankenstein
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Reservoir Dogs
Citizen Kane
Drunken Master II
The Fly
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Warriors
Dirty Harry (all the movies)
Old Dogs
The Blind Side
The Great Debaters
Seven Samurai
The Terminator
Apocalypse Now
The Silence of the Lambs
The Shining
Alien 3
Spirited Away
To Kill a Mockingbird
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Great Escape
The One
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Kill Bill Vol. 2
The Thing
Star Trek (2009)

Oh and by the way, this isn't even all of them. Not even close.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Back to My Own PC

Over the last few weeks, I've been accessing the internet through my sister's and father's computers. I'd like to once again thank them both for letting me use them. They've got fine-working PCs.

Really, though, there's nothing like having your own computer to use. Kinda like that old saying. How does it go? Oh, yeah.

"There's no place like home."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Portobal Music Players FTW

Once again I am late to the party. While just about everyone else I know has had a portable music player in some form or another (iPod, iPhone, etc.) for years, I wasn't able to get in on the act until a few weeks ago.

My mom, sweet lady that she is, let me pick out any on-the-go music device of my choosing. Originally, I had my heart set on an iPod. I'd wanted one for a few years now but when I went looking online for prices on how much green a meatier iPod would cost (80-120 GB), I had no intention of having my mom spend $250-$300 on little ol' me. Looking for an alternative, I settled for the Philips GoGear ViBE 4GB MP3 Player.

Let me just say that going out walking while I hear the music of my choice is AWESOME! Seriously. I know it may sound like I'm overreacting over a simple thing as an mp3 player, but as a huge music lover, being able to hear what I want, when I want is a Godsend. I don't know how I got by without one of these babies. I can exercise to Yuzo Koshiro's Streets of Rage albums, or go walking to various versions of Guile's theme from Street Fighter. It does go with anything, after all.

Nearly all of the music on my mp3 player is that of video game tunes ("geek music" as I often call it) and even though my storage space is only that of 4GB, I'm still able to get many of my favorite jams on here. In the event that I ever do fully fill the thing up (given my HUGE music library, this is more than likely to happen), I can just swap my playlists in and out.

Somewhere down the line, I'll probably get an mp3 player with more storage space, but for now, I'm pretty content with what I have. Even when I do upgrade, I think I'll still hang onto the GoGear ViBE. Sentimental value and all that.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Guy In Town

I've been living in Virginia Beach for two weeks now, and yet it still feels a little strange. I suppose it takes some time to fully adjust when you've lived in one place for most of your life and then you move somewhere else. I'm not sweating it too much. I might not look like it, but I'm a fighter so I'll survive.

Thankfully, the part of VA Beach that I'm staying in is really nice. The neighborhood is quiet, clean, and a lot of good stores are within walking distance. Speaking of walking, one of the first things I did during my first week here was take a walk around town during the noon/evening hours. I still had a lot going through my head and I wanted to familiarize myself with the town. After a few days at it, I was finally able to get back to my apartment without getting lost. Yaay, me.

The weather here is really nice. Yeah, it does get cold but not as cold as Ohio. Also, the spring weather shows up real early here. Today, it got up to near 60, something I noticed after I already had on all my warm clothes when I went out walking.

One thing I'm kinda bummed about having to do is get a new job and make new friends. Job hunting is never fun and I loved my previous job. I wish I could have brought it and all my co workers with me. Same goes for all my friends.

"I have to make new friends." That sounds sorta pathetic coming out of the mouth of a man who is twenty nine and a half years old. Just thinking about that makes me sigh. I'm keeping in touch with all my old friends via facebook, but I'll still have to go through the whole friend-making process again. Oh well, I know I'll make new pals. What would really be nice if all the cute, pretty, and or hot female friends I'll make aren't attached this time around.