August 18, 2016
About a year ago I started a new job building cars. It was a huge shift away from everything I had done before. At my previous jobs I always found people that I had things in common with. At my current job that wasn’t the case.
No one was into books, comics, games or even the same TV shows as me. They watch football and I watch Star Trek. They go clubbing and I go to the bookstore. They fish and I roll funny looking dice.
Now don’t get me wrong I am used to being the odd man out. It’s just that usually there is another odd man or woman out that I can have a conversation with. So what did I do? Well at first I resigned myself to lonely days at work. Then slowly I started making friends. I just started talking to people here and there about whatever I could. I am a parent and a lot of the people I work with are parents. So we talked kids. Then I found someone with similar music taste. So we talked music. Eventually I found myself enjoying the company of some of these people. I no longer felt like a Vulcan in the company of Klingons.
Through this experience I have learned an important lesson. One human being can eventually find ways to communicate with and build bridges to another human being with a little effort.
I’m still considered weird by many of my coworkers but at least now I can laugh with them. Who knows I may even become a football fanatic this year and become one of those guys that posts annoying football memes on facebook. War Damn Eagle!
November 30, 2015
One of the questions I get asked most is “why do you still buy comic books?” They tell me they either “trade wait” or they have abandoned the medium altogether. I won’t lie I have often considered just getting “trades” or the graphic novel reprints of the comic book stories. After all the comic books themselves can take up a lot of room. The graphic novels look better on the bookshelves and I get to digest the whole story arc at once instead of doing so over a six to eight month period. So why then?!
I suppose my answer comes down to three things. Number one I enjoy the storytelling. I think that comic books provide the most creative form of episodic storytelling. Each month I get a new “episode” that is told through the creative synergy of writer, artist, colorist, and inker. Through the use of color and art the creative team can convey ideas and emotions in a way that TV,movies and novels can’t express. Don’t get me wrong you can do a lot with special effects, actors and prose. I don’t want to disparage those mediums. It’s just that for me comics and art in general is just better at setting a mood.
Number two like most of you I am a busy guy. The “floppy” as it is called gives me a nice easily digested episode that I can enjoy in twenty minutes. Sometimes it is good to have a short break from reality to blow off some steam. I have found that comics are a good way to sort of clear your mind.
Number three is that it gives me something to look forward to every month. I suppose that makes me a sad man in a way! The truth in this case doesn’t hurt me at all. I enjoy going up to my local comic shop and picking up my new comics. It is just an enjoyable part of my life. There is nothing deep or philosophical about it.
In closing i’ll agree that all of my points could be applied to other hobbies that people are passionate about.(With the exception of the once a month point) Growing up I was always around art and that might also have something to do with it. My father, mother, one brother and one of my dad’s ex-wives are fantastic artists. This probably contributed to me loving the the drawn page more then the movie, tv show or prose novel.
Finally I will say that I try not to judge other people’s hobbies or past time passions. Life is a difficult journey and I think it is wonderful if you can find something that brings you a small amount of happiness in this crazy world we live in.
September 1, 2015
I would like to think that I have learned a lot about life. I have lived it 38 years and like the energizer bunny I keep moving forward to the beat of my own drum. A co worker and I had a brief conversation the other day about how young people don’t know what is coming. They think that their dreams are going to come true and any naysayers can just shut the hell up. The reality is some of your dreams come true and some of them don’t. Sometimes dreams become nightmares and milestones become chained to your legs preventing you from any forward momentum.
How can I say such things? I was in my late teens and early twenties once upon a time. I have lived it. I once believed that my life had a divine purpose. That I had a destiny. That I was on an exciting journey and the sky was the limit.
I am no longer convinced that my life serves any major purpose and I am ok with that. In truth at this point all I want to do is make a living and provide for my children.
If I am honest I have accomplished some of what I dreamed about. I fathered a son and daughter. I worked a job I dreamed of for a good seven years. I fell in love and was married. Unfortunately a lot of that was ripped away from me. My marriage ended in divorce. My ex took my kids and moved 500 miles away. The dream job ended and I was left with nothing to show for it career wise. Was it a waste of time? I still don’t have the answer to that question.
When I was young and in Christian youth group they hammered into our heads that God had a great plan for our lives. I often wonder if youth ministers were overly afraid that we were going to commit suicide. I wonder if they really believed what they preached. “You can be the next Billy Graham” they would say. In the end all of that rhetoric betrayed my heart. What if our only great purpose is to survive? To keep pushing on and do the best we can until our battery goes out and we slip into the peace of death?
There are two things I am grateful for today.One is that I have an amazingly supportive family. My brothers and my parents have been there for me through the hard times. Two is that I have been blessed with some amazing friends over the years who have also helped me through the hard times. They are all still there for me today as I keep pushing on. Trying to find something to make a career so that I can provide for myself and my kids again.
So what now? I survive and battle on. I Work towards small goals that I hope to reach one day.
May 20, 2015
It is crazy to think that I have had this blog for six years. My life has changed so much in 6 years as has my vision for this blog. Originally I was just going to post my thoughts on comic books and geek culture here. Yet as I look back I see that this small part of the internet has become a place for me to get things off of my chest. I can discuss what is going on in my head here. If I am brave enough. I have been wanting to reflect on where I am in writing for a while now. A friend of mine wrote a blog that was the impetus for me writing this one. Her blog is http://thesoutherngypsysoul.blogspot.com/.
Six years ago my life was much different. I was married with one baby boy and a tiny little infant girl. I had a house and solid job doing audio production for a Christian organization. My dreams were coming true. Unfortunately sometimes dreams become nightmares. My now ex wife left me on Valentines day of 2010. She took the kids and moved back home. She informed me she wanted a divorce two weeks after my birthday. It was the worst day in my life. I had never felt that kind of a emotional anguish in my life. All I could do was weep and moan. So me in a desperate attempt to win her back left the solid job I had to pursue something that paid better. I had hoped we would reconcile and be able to come back together. After all part of our problems seemed to stem from financial difficulties. She would hear nothing of it and five days later the better paying job let me go. My kids were gone. My marriage was over and I was unemployed. I moved back home to live with my mom. Yep. Every 30 somethings nightmare come true. I was so emotionally and spiritually broken that looking back it was a good thing that I was able to move back home.
My career took a nose dive as well. It seemed that a lot of Christian ministries didn’t want a divorced guy working for them. So between that cold fact and my lack of demo I decided to let it go. I worked several odd jobs. I even helped out at a station in a college town for a few months. (War Eagle!) In the end none of it panned out.
So where am I today? I still live with my mother. I am employed by a bookstore. I enjoy the work. Although I do look to the day when I can make good money again and live on my own. My kids come for visits and I have one thing I didn’t have for a long time:hope.
Over the past five years my heart has been healing. The emotional cut is a scar at this point. Perhaps one day it will be gone. I have let go of a lot of the resentment and anger that I held onto. I have forgiven. My ex is getting remarried and truth be told I hope she has a great life.
For a long time I believed that I was finished. I couldn’t understand why I was still alive. I still haven’t had any great epiphany other then that I know my children,family and friends need me. I still trust that God has a plan for my life. I have no idea what that is or where to go. I don’t have to figure it out all at once. I am content going day by day and seeing where my feet land. I have some ideas of where I can go career wise.
So I said all of that to say that sometimes it is a long road out of hell. Sometimes you don’t get the miracle fix you were praying and hoping for. Sometimes you just have to push through the trials and let the healing take its course.
I see myself as a phoenix ready to be reborn into the next phase of my life. I couldn’t say that 5 years ago. I can say it now.
December 3, 2014
It goes without saying that everyone goes through hard times in their lives. Personally I have dealt with a lot of disappointment and frustration this past year. In the midst of all of the questioning and tears there have been a few things that have brought me some measure of comfort during the tough times.
One of the great loves of my life are good stories. I enjoy the story and I enjoy the synergy between writer and artist that the comic book medium provides. It takes me around 10 minutes to read a comic book. It always cheers me up and more importantly it gives me a moment to step back and catch my breath. It helps me calm my brain for a few moments while I read about how Batman or Spider-Man save the city or let my skin crawl as I watch the demons emerge from the forest in the horror comic Wytches. I also appreciate the different art techniques used by the many different artists in comics today. That is what happens when one of your parents is an art teacher.
Another form of art that has helped me get through the year is music. I have always loved music. There is something special about that melodious noise. It is like someone plucked an emotion out of the air and stuck it in a jar. When you open the jar you can take out the emotion and either wrap it around you like a blanket or drive it into your heart like a blade. Music gives us the ability to express emotions and relieve the tension they can cause. One particular album that came out this year that has helped me a lot is “Extremist” by the band Demon Hunter. I love metal and I love the brutal honesty that it can convey. Demon Hunter is made up of a group of guys that were pastor’s kids or grew up in church. Their lyrics and the way they approach life and religion in them connects with me. Their latest album “Extremist” has some songs on it that inspire me to keep moving forward. “I will Fail You” , “Artificial Light” and “Cross to Bear” are my favorite songs on that album.
Finally Brian Welch the guitarist for Korn and his side band Love and Death wrote a book called “Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality” where he shares in short chapters the struggles of his life and how he has worked to overcome them. Once again his honesty is what I enjoy most in the book. His points aren’t all that deep. Don’t expect anything on the level of Kierkegaard or Lewis. Just expect the story of how a guy that loses his temper and does some selfish things finds his way to a measure of peace and learns some life lessons on the journey.
So what works inspire you? What are some escapes that help you relax and decompress?
April 21, 2014
Today is Easter! It is the time of year when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I thought that given the holiday I would blog about a simple yet complex topic: Jesus and me.
I typically don’t like to talk “religion” with people. I would prefer to write or talk about enjoyable things in life. If you talk about Jesus with people then walls go up and people assume you are trying to get their money, or worse convince them to vote for a Tea party candidate. I don’t want your money or your vote. I don’t even want you to have my theology or see things my way. I don’t want to convince you to come to my church or that I am some kind of awesome Christian man. In truth I am a terrible Christian. If you look to me as an example of evangelical Christianity you will be sorely disappointed. I enjoy beer and philosophy. I love hanging out with people from all backgrounds, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs. Worst of all I enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons and I loved the Harry Potter movies and books. The typical guilt trip for evangelicals is that someone will look at your life and go to hell because you didn’t live it the way the preacher thought you should. I don’t buy that at all. We all have our own journey to go through and decisions to make. At the same time I don’t want to come across as another progressive leaning blogger that is going to talk about his bad experiences with church. I suppose I have been blessed because my wonderful experiences with church outweigh the bad ones.
So with that mini rant out of the way I want to talk about Jesus Christ and me. Why do I believe in him? Who is he to me? Where did I first meet Jesus? I was raised Roman Catholic. We went to church every Sunday. Even when my parents divorced and we were avoided by people at the church we still went to Mass. Eventually my mom started dating a guy that went to a local Assemblies of God church. She invited me to it and got me to go by telling me they had a live band playing in the church. As a music lover this was something I had to see. In Mass there is no band rocking for the Rock. So I went and I enjoyed the music and more importantly for the first time in my life I felt the presence of Jesus. It was a divine love that penetrated my soul and warmed my heart. I went forward and was lead through the sinner’s prayer by a youth leader. That was the easy part of the whole experience. That was when I was 17 years old. This year I will have been a professing Christian for 20 years. My journey has not been the neat one that Charismatic Christianity tries to sell you on. Every day has most certainly not been a Friday. The biggest challenge that hit me was when my wife of six years left me at 33. Shortly after that I lost a well-paying job that I had moved closer to home for. Those experiences destroyed me. They tore down my worldview and my heart was in pieces. For a time I didn’t believe in God anymore. I had worked hard in ministry for 7 years. I had gone to a Christian college. I had saved myself for marriage. I hadn’t “sinned” like other people I knew. So why was this happening?!
I reached the point in my journey where it was Jesus and me. As much as I didn’t want to believe in Him I still felt his arms around me. I still saw his hand on my life. I still felt that divine unexplainable love penetrate my heart. So I decided to just rebuild myself. I have rethought everything. I realized that Jesus made me the way I am and that most importantly he died on the cross so that I could be with Him forever. I don’t have to be perfect or give up X,Y and Z to keep his favor. I know that a lot of my beliefs don’t fit in well with the dogmas of modern Christianity. That is fine with me. I am different. I am my own man and I have my friend and my God Jesus Christ. I still have doubt and I still have days where I think my life is going nowhere. At the end of it though I know that Jesus is there. I don’t know how to explain it.
I don’t have any desire to be a “good” Christian anymore. I don’t even know what that means. I am not out to save the world or thump the Bible at anyone. I am just a broken hearted man with my Jesus. In the end it is just about Jesus and me. The one who endured a hellish execution so that he could redeem me. So that I could have a relationship with almighty God. So that when I was all alone. When my ex told me she wanted a divorce and I was crying so hard that my tears dried up and all I could do was wail. I could look to Him for comfort.
Life is not neat. It doesn’t fit into nice little religious boxes that can easily be explained. I take comfort in knowing that neither did Jesus.
March 24, 2014
So last night I was playing in a heroclix tournament at my local game and comics shop when I noticed not one but two instances of a breach in games store etiquette. This inspired me to type out this blog. I present what I will call the 2 basic rules of game store etiquette.
1- Keep your opinion of someone else’s fun to yourself. What I mean by this is if someone is taking part in a game you don’t like don’t tell them so. It is none of your damn business. Last night two different people decided to inject into our games their views on why they dislike heroclix. You know what? There are a lot of games played at my local game store that I don’t care for. I don’t like Warmachine, or 40k or any game where you pay 15-20 bucks for a broken figure that isn’t even painted. I understand that some people get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside when they glue and paint their own figures. It just isn’t for me. I don’t walk up to their tables where they are playing Warmachine and tell them that. Why not? Because that would make me an asshole. Telling people how much you dislike a game they are enjoying is a dick move. I don’t care if you think certain clix rules are broken. I don’t care what grievance you have with the game I am playing. If you actually show up and play heroclix regularly then you can at least have room to talk. Otherwise piss off and let me enjoy my rules broken superhero game in peace.
2- Don’t walk up and pick up a figure that doesn’t belong to you. Last night some guy that I don’t know walked up to my table and picked up one of my heroclix. I had to bite my lip to keep from letting this guy have it. Leave other people’s stuff alone unless you have permission to touch it. I thought this was the most basic rule that most geeks would understand. Once again this guy didn’t play heroclix and didn’t seem all that interested in it. Regardless it is poor form to touch someone else’s toys. PERIOD!
Everyone gets into games to have fun. Not everyone will enjoy the same thing. People are different. Don’t infringe on someone else’s fun because you think you know it all. Don’t be a gamehole.