Archive for May 8th, 2008

Age and Wonder…

[originally started on 3/10/08]
Or, “How I Reflect on Age Across Blogposts…” Now that I have cleared the 200 post mark…

I have done it, albeit slowly, and with a lot of bumps along the way. I have finally crossed the 200 post threshold. I remember when I first crossed the 100 post mark, and I was very excited – I had been posting at least once per day, while I was at work, and was doing quite well.

The first 100 too me about 5 months to hit. The second hundred, over a year, and I am about 2 months into the third hundred (with four to five posts currently sitting as “drafts”, like this one had been, until now).

With the first 100, I still had the enthusiasm and naivety of a beginner. Not that I am not still enthused about doing this – I am – but I am not strictly concerned with random posts. I am not trying to surf the web looking for things to comment on (as easy as it may be) – I don’t really have the time to do that at the moment (but I might actually increase that, now that I am a bit more comfortable letting the words flow out).

But I’ve changed. I am still looking at things in terms of post count, but that’s too narrow. That’s a quantifiable way to measure things, but it’s the writing progress that matter a bit more to me now. The quality, over the quantity, so to speak.

The only way to improve as a writer is to actually write. And I think I have come a long way since I started posting regularly. I hope it doesn’t take me another year to finish this third 100 posts, but the time won’t really matter, as long as the level of writing (the flow and feel) get better.

However, here’s to crossing the 200 mark (even if I am about two months late)!

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Making the Grade

The semester has finally ended, and the grades have been posted. As the dust settles, I can see two grades on the horizon… They are emerging like the heroes from an action film, cosmetically bruised and bloodied, but otherwise fine despite all of the other events that have transpired.

I have officially passed my first two Graduate classes. I got an “A” in my Special Studies in Film course (focus: controversial film & literature – the source of several of the movies that I have “recently watched” over the last few months).

I also got a “B” in the Script Writing class. On one hand, I am a little bummed out by the “B” – I wanted to get “A”s (as was noted in my Resolutions), but I am also realistic. I didn’t actually complete my script, not did I do any revisions for the segments that I have completed. I also went through about a month of no writing, which directly impacted my final page count – I could have easily gotten almost 100 pages, had I done about 10 pages per week during those “off” weeks. On the same side, it was the first time I actually tried my hands at writing a script, so getting a “B” was a realistic expectation.

But the semester is over, and life is continuing… and (as can be told by the deluge of posts) I am getting some “pent up items” well under way. Oh, and for the record, I am able to retake the Script class up to three times, for credit, as a graduate student. I do plan on taking it again, and I do anticipate getting an “A” in the future.

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Life of a Comic (book)

[post originally started on 3/10/08]

I used to be a comic book kid. I wasn’t a raging, had-to-have-every-issue-I-could-get-my-hands-on type (but I was probably pretty close). There were only a handfull of titles that I “had” to get (X-Men, and the spin-offs – 2099, Unlinited, Uncanny, etc. – Wolverine, Spawn – once I got into it, starting at about issue 5, I think… And Transformers, and even GI Joe for a little while…). Okay, like I said, I was pretty close to crazy about some titles. Then there were others that I added to my subscription (you know, those things that local shops will provide, sometimes even throwing in the backer-board and clear polybag to help protect the book) simply based on the story line.

When I was growing up, there was a shop called “Comic Book Zone”, and the owner closed up shop and moved right as I was starting to get into comics. The next closest shop was in the next town, about 15 miles away, and was not a place I could normally get taken to (usually, it would be asked on the random trips over there… but not enough to warrant a subscription – although I did ask!)

A few years later, there was a used book shop that opened up in an older house, called the “Book Swap”, and I began to be a frequent visitor. It didn’t hurt that the shop was not that far from my house, and also along one of my paper routes, but I digress. She expanded from being just a used book shop and started carrying gaming supplies and comics (she even had a room upstairs that we could use for gaming, but that’s another story). When she started offering subscriptions, she also included copies of a quarterly magazine that included information on titles and story lines that would be “coming soon” – so I could add those to my subscription, especially if it was a “cross-title” story arc.

Such was the case with Spiderman. I will admit it – I’m not a die-hard fan of the web-slinger. At least, not when I was fifteen. I got the entire “Maximum Carnage” story arc when it first came out. I read through it way back, but it has been sitting idle in a box, plotting ways to spawn symbiotes to cause mass destruction.

But it has been years since I really “read” comics, and I’m still not about to go out and get into new subscriptions. I’ve picked up a few titles recently, mostly graphic novels or trade books, sort of playing catch-up in some ways (I finally discovered Sandman last year, nice way to be behind the curve). Mostly, though, it been in context of thinking as a writer, to look at different books to see how the layouts work, in a writing context. To see how the scripts might flow.

And I’m tired of having so many comics, with no plans to read them (geez, most of them have been in the box for over 10-12 years), so I decided to pass them on. I went through my comic collection (all of 1 long-box, but still), and sifted through the titles, putting together a stack of titles to give to my nephews – through my sister (so she can use them as incentives, etc. instead of just plain giving them to the kids). My oldest is almost 10, and has started getting into some regular books and comics.

I used to collect the comics, partly for story, but more for possible future value. I wasn’t planning on being able to buy a house with them, but expected some increase in financial value. I’ve gotten past that thought, and have gone to the point that it has to be something I am really interested in, in order to warrant keeping it. Or something I might want to try to use as a writing experiment. It’s not the financial value of a book that is the key, is the enjoyment that can be gotten from sharing them. I’ll probably pass on a lot more of my comics over time… but not until the kids get older…

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I don’t like robberies very much. The physical stuff, fine, it’s “stuff”, emotional scarring aside from knowing someone else has been fondling the property. However, it is when someone is trying to “rob” another (through guilt) of their right to have an opinion that I get really frustrated.

I have a friend who had somewhat recently posted something on her blog, voicing her frustrations over something that had happened at church. It wasn’t a really huge thing (looking at it superficially), but in a way, it was something big. When people go to church, they expect to have the plates passed, and they expect to hear the Word of the Lord. Besides the readings (Old, New and Gospel readings), there is also a Homily (Protestants call it a sermon) that generally relates to or expounds on things mentioned in the readings. The particular instance that she had mentioned, instead of a full Homily, she was disappointed with getting a very brief Homily, and a very long statement about the church’s capital campaign.

We get it. It’s something that “the company” (a contracted 3rd party that helps to raise manage the funds, I’m guessing) “requires” that the announcements be made. I do agree, though, that right after, during, or in place of part ofthe Homily is bad timing.

But the point is that she had stated her opinion on her blog. At no time did she specifically mention names, places, or any other information (like Dragnet, names had been changed to protect the innocent). In due process, a few other members of the church discovered the blog, and the posts, and “got stupid”. Quite literally, actually. They took offense at someone stating their opinion, about disliking something that happened, and tried taking her to task over it. These individuals also escalated it, bringing things to the attention of one of the Priests.

She mentioned that “she was robbed”… and now she has been. She voiced her opinion on a site that is hers (not sponsored or endorsed by the church), and now she has been “strongly encouraged” to censor what she posts. She has been robbed of her opportunity to voice her opinion.

As a side note, part of the “Conversion Story” posts that I had submitted to her (specifically, those where I expressed my disappointment in a few items from this year, also, equally non-specific for names and places) were also victims. For those that want things to run a certain way,that’s fine. But if your skin is so thin that you can’t take someone’s opinion with a grain of salt, then you need to go find as deserted island to isolate yourself on.

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