Graphic readings

In keeping with the times, and my lack thereof, and my low energy and brain power (this is a theme that is likely to continue for some time until I get back into some sort of routine), I have a backlog of books I want to read.  I’ve tried.  They just don’t keep my attention or I don’t have enough time to really get into them and then the next time I pick them up I’ve forgotten what came before and need to start over.  And that’s the crux of the problem, I just don’t have the attention span for them at the moment. 

I have, however, managed to read a few graphic novels in the last couple weeks as I try to get back into this whole writing and reading, and reading and writing thing.  They are just about the right speed for me at the moment.  Our library opened up for the first time in over a year and while letting the Little Prince and Littler Prince find some prizes to borrow, a graphic novel caught my eye and I scooped it up  (Also, how cool is it that the library has comic books?) and devoured it easily.  The art.  The fast moving plot.  The small commitment.  Whatever it is/was, I was able to get through it.  So, then I got another one.  And then another one.

Superman: Year One – I was intrigued by the cover and I tend to like “origin” stories.  And, for the most part, I enjoyed this one as well.  It’s broken into three parts and I liked the first part the most but each section had merit and the art was beautiful.

Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite – I had started the tv series but hadn’t finished yet.  Picked up the graphic novel and read it in one sitting.  And, all things considered, I enjoyed the book more than I was enjoying the show. 

Superman: Red Son – Revis recommended this one.  The storytelling was very intriguing.  I felt the ending was a little rushed given the time spent on the buildup, but it took nothing away from the overall enjoyment of the story.

I know I used (still do?) have a lot of comic fans among the faithful kingdomites.  As I’m getting these from my local library system, I might not be able to get any you would suggest…    The first couple Revis suggested when I reached out to him were unavailable, unfortunately, but what would you suggest?  What can I look for next and dive into?

Guest Post: The Hook offers up some travel advice

Please welcome Niagara bellman: The Hook.  You know him, you love him, you’ve laughed with him and at him, and you know there is nobody else you could possibly trust with travel advice, because he literally has seen it all. 

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We all know why I’m here: our host is out and about, so he has sent out the “Bloggers, Assemble!” call for guest posts.

And here is my response.

THE HOOK’S GOLDEN RULES OF TRAVEL.

#1)  EMBRACE THE PURE JOY THAT CAN ONLY COME FROM LETTING GO…

Of whatever it is that’s weighing you down at home. Such as:

  • Crazy in-laws that make the couple from Everybody Loves Raymond look sane.
  • Kids that sometimes act as though they’ve pledged their little souls to Beelzebub.
  • A boss that is Beelzebub.
  • An ever-growing pile of bills that threatens to overtake the national deficit.
  • A schedule that prevents you from actually enjoying life; never mind finding time for a little “quality time” with your spouse, you can barely squeeze out some quality time with yourself! Pun intended.

So after you’ve melted your credit card booking the trip, you have an even bigger hurdle to conquer. And don’t kid yourself, certain problems won’t disappear during your trip: they’ll intensify!

If your kids are out-of-control (and whose aren’t at times?), you’re going to have to lay down the law long before you let them accompany you.  Most of us remember being in the back of the car and cowering in fear of our folks; you knew you were going to have trouble sitting back down for days if you pushed Dad too far. Nowadays, kids don’t have the fear of God instilled in them prior to embarking on the road.

Fear is a great motivator, folks.

Somewhere along the way we forgot just why our parents were such taskmasters in the first place.

Besides the kids, there may be trouble with the person sitting beside you that can drive you batty. If you bicker at home, you may kill each other when you’re away together! Seriously, I’ve seen couples hauled away in handcuffs – and not the type of cuffs they had planned on using during their trip….

So do whatever you have to do, but get your house in order before you leave your house. I know it won’t be easy, but let the family know the stakes are high. Let them know you’ll be impossible to live with if things go awry. Let them know you’ll murder them if they decide to get in the way of your fun.

Violence is also a great motivator.

Moving on, remember to leave the office when you leave the office. A few years ago, it would have been unusual to see a laptop on a bell cart. Now it’s strange to see someone who doesn’t have an electronic tether of some sort attached to them. I see it all the time; Dad sends the family on their way while he stays in the room or lobby to take an “important” phone call or set up a Skype session on a tablet.

Or worse yet, I’ve seen more than one family sell their collective soul to the demi-gods of Silicon Valley and allow them selves to be drawn in by their devices. I recently rode down to the lobby from the top floor with a family of  five – every one of whom was glued to their phones.

So much for creating precious family memories that stand the test of time. Checking in with perfect strangers on Facebook is much more important anyway.

Trust me guys, push your family away too often and you’ll wind up living in a bachelor apartment watching a crappy TV while a package of hot dogs thaws in the sink. If you absolutely have to call the office, do it first thing in the morning and then turn the Smartphone off. You may not like letting go of the Rat Race, but it sure beats the alternative.

To sum up, before you leave the house you need to pack your luggage, but leave your baggage at home.

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Baggage?  Luggage?  Wait… The bellman is making a joke about what?  Did anyone else catch that?

And now that you’ve been hooked, go and check out his site for more travel advice, hotel madness, comic book call outs and pretty much anything else you could possibly be looking for:
http://youvebeenhooked.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/my-crazy-bellman-life-myths-and-facts/
http://youvebeenhooked.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/my-man-of-steel-review-in-ten-super-bullet-points/
http://youvebeenhooked.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/an-open-letter-to-ellen-degeneres/

the brothers

Frank and Millie brought two sons into the world.  They raised Clark and Peter, named for their heroes, on the tenants their namesakes were famous for.  They raised them to be strong, caring, and ready to help anyone at anytime.  They raised them on the legends.

When he was old enough, Clark enlisted into the Marines.  It was the only sure fire way he could think of to become a true man of steel.  He trained.  He studied.  He excelled.  In the end, while he wasn’t faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, he was quick to spring into action when his help was needed, loyal to a fault, and a true boy scout.

With Clark out of the house, Peter was able to buckle down and focus on his education.  While his older brother developed his muscles, he worked his mind, dove deep into science, created wonders, and made important discoveries.  He used his knowledge to create the gadgets that would assist him in helping others when called upon.

Peter and Clark were both celebrated heroes on their own.  They had saved countless people from cruel fates.  They had become symbols for peace and justice.  They had become the very heroes their parents had so proudly named them after.

Frank and Millie only had one regret, as they grew older and watched their sons reshape the world into a better place.  Peter and Clark never worked together.  They had tried once or twice but there was too much friction between them because, after all, they were from different universes.

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Word Count: 268

It’s that time again, time for another silly contribution to the current Inspiration Monday writing prompt:

The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.

OR

No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:

DOOR SWEEPER
NAMED FOR THEIR HEROES
SOUNDS OF SUMMER
LEND AN ARM
NEVER HEARD OF

designated driver

I was given an elixir this morning… This magic potion promised to heighten, sharpen, perfect whatever sense I was concentrating on the most when I drank.  Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, the warning label in super fine print on the back said that all the other senses would be dulled as a result.

My immediate instinct was to drink it down anyway.  I’ve been struggling with poor eye sight since I was in elementary school.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to see without the aid of glasses or contacts, without the star bursts at night, without numbers and letters swirling in front of me due to my astigmatism?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to finally be able to see what everyone else is always pointing at and talking about?

I brought the bottle to my lips to knock it back, but as I started to tilt it I caught a whiff of a rather unpleasant odor coming from it, and that made me wonder what it would taste like, and what it would feel like as it ran passed my tongue and poured down my throat.  I shivered at the thought and gulped audibly, the sound reverberating in my head.  I pulled the potion away from my mouth.

I like being able to hear.  It let’s me know what all is going on around me that I can’t see.  I like being able to smell.  The good smells are tied to memories (the oceans, the mountain trees) and the bad smells let me know when something isn’t right.  I like being able to taste.  There is nothing like having a buttery filet melt in my mouth, and if something doesn’t taste right I can spit it out before I do myself harm.  And if I dulled my sense of touch, then would I be able to lift the little prince and hoist him over my head?  Would I be able to feel him tugging at my shirt when he wants to be held tighter?

I couldn’t risk dulling any of my other senses just to see again.  I set the potion aside.  It wasn’t for me.

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I kept it just in case I found out later it would give me a super power like x-ray vision, or laser sight, or something else awesome.  Then it would definitely be worth drinking…

The Matticus Top 12 for Monday February 11, 2013

You’ll get the motivation for this post by the end….

My current top 12 favorite things (sort of) in no particular order (mostly):

#12 – Bruce Springsteen – listened to about five of his (and the E-Street band’s) songs on the way to work this morning.  He truly is The Boss.
#11 – Princess Bride – probably referenced this movie fifteen times over the weekend.  “It’s only the greatest movie ever made.”
#10 – Superman: Man of Steel – I’ve been watching the second trailer for this movie about once a day.  It.  Looks.  Fantastic!
#09 – Stephen King’s Dark Tower series – I’ve been stuck in the middle of a terrible book for a very long time.  I couldn’t talk myself into picking it up to finish it, and I couldn’t talk myself into putting it aside to start something else – “it got published, it must get better eventually…”  Yesterday I pulled down “The Gunslinger” and will start reading the series again to give me something I know I love to read and cleanse my mind of that other terrible book.
#08 – Only 20 days left until the 2013 season kicks off for the Los Angeles Galaxy.  Can we three-peat?
#07 – Did you know that there are lullaby versions of Green Day and No Doubt songs?  My wife and I got them this past weekend at the baby shower.  How cool is that?!
#06 – Family – both my family and my wife’s family are amazing.
#05 – Grumpy Cat Memes – I’m pretty sure I don’t need to elaborate.
#04 – Any top 10 list ever made – because it has two fewer entries than this list.
#03 – Any top 5 list ever made – because it has seven fewer entries than this list.
#02 – Jeff Dunham – normally I’d say that ventriloquism is kind of creepy, but the man is a hilarious genius.
#01 – Manchester United are 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League standings, with only 12 games left to play this season.