9.30.2007

Stick With It

Most people know that the Stickies application is not the best place to store permanent data. It's fine for quick reminders, but the information is reliant on a single file that can corrupt, and an upgrade or even closing a note may cost you that information forever.

For the most part, I stored trivial information on mine. A few months ago when I was upgrading my machine, I copied the contents of all my notes into a generic text file. So, most of what I lost on Saturday morning was stored elsewhere. I'm not sure how I lost all my notes. All I know is that I launched the application, and not one note appeared. I quit and started it up again, and it only opened two notes, the default ones that appear the first time the program is used.

I live my life by checklists and calendars. I keep lists of tasks I have to do at work and at home. I check my calendar for deadlines and dates for musical jobs. A few months ago I posted my ultimate to-do list. While some of those items were “big picture” and others were jokes, I've actually accomplished about 6 or 7 things from that list. On a smaller scale though, I have my weekly sticky list, which I had to recreate.

At the end of each week, I open this digital note and add to it. I put some small things on there that I know I'm going to do anyway, because deleting them on Sunday evening gives me a sense of accomplishment. Things on the list like novels or long-running television series stay on there a lot longer than things like laundry or throwing out empty bottles. To the best of my memory, this is what I recreated:

finish last two books of hitchhikers trilogy
church
laundry
recyc
sun post
tony gig
johnny gig
pbw puppies
plinks
sliders last seasons
always sunny
stargate 198/214
eureka
catch Chuck encore
PBW piano cat
sort & box books
use B&N gift card
tmnt missed eps
Joey last 2 eps
Physics of Superheroes
jordan 11
rr martin 4
essential mcf
1 netflix
4 biondiflix
sat cartoons


As you can see, grammar and spelling aren't a big concern for me, nor proper names. I only added proper links for this post. In most cases, I'll complete and delete items from the list within a day or so, with the exception of the books and television series that have been on there for months now. And of course this doesn't take into account my Netflix queue, and the text file on my hard drive for overflow since the queue has a limit of 500 and I consistently have about 614 movies yet to see. I started making more of an effort with movies about two or three years ago, and the number still hasn't changed.

Some things on my list definitely affect other things. Until I sort and box the stacks of books in front of my mom's piano, I'm never going to get a video of my cat “playing” a song. If my “Tony gig” on Sunday takes too long or I hit traffic, I might not make it to B13's to get pictures of his puppies. I know I won't get everything done on this list in one weekend, but I feel good on Monday morning when I've gotten most done, and it's good to keep track of things I'll eventually do.

Other than cartoons, Chuck, this post and the “Johnny gig”, I didn't eliminate too much from the sticky on Saturday. The gig was on a triangle in Queens, an island surrounded by three busy streets on a which a small park held a barbecue. Parking was tough, and between my dad and our friend Bill the trumpet player, I had two old guys in the car making different suggestions at the same time. It didn't help my stress level, and I snapped a bit when my dad suggested I follow a sign he saw that said “Shea parking”. I'm not going to say where we were, but it was several miles from the stadium so even if we could park in that lot, it would have been more of a trek than it was from the spot I eventually found two blocks away.

We had a small group that, in addition to the three of us, included the band leader, a retired drummer on snare, and his wife on the bass drum. It was an easy job, strolling around to a new spot every few minutes and playing a short song. Bill especially was getting tired, and on the ride in had admitted he was getting tired in general of these gigs, regretting accepting the one that had come up for Sunday. My dad agreed that when it becomes a chore, it's hard to stick with it. I feel that way sometimes, but I haven't been at this anywhere near as long as the others. At one point the drummer took a poll of ages. Bill was 84, Johnny was 61, my dad was 77, and the drummer and his wife were both in their late ‘60s. At nearly 33, I was the youngest guy there. “And thank GOD he’s here!” added the drummer.

We met with insane traffic on the ride home, cars beeping when there was nowhere to move and trucks cutting in to my lane when I was up against a wall. Bill was making suggestions for alternate routes to take for Sunday's gig, but my attention was elsewhere. I found a side road, bypassed traffic, cut back into a highway, somehow crossed four lanes of bumper to bumper to reach my exit, and then found another local detour. I had Bill home in an hour, and tried not to think about the traffic and the bridge I'd be facing in just over twelve hours for the next job. I literally will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I was surprised to hear my dad admit to Bill that these jobs are almost more trouble than they're worth sometimes. He's always encouraged me to stick with it, and I'm sure he won't be quitting anytime soon. He was just sympathizing with our friend, but I think there was some grain of truth to his words as well.

It's funny; at one point between songs I heard the guy who hired our band ask the leader “What's with that guy? He always have a puss on like that?” I looked up as the leader said “That's just his demeanor.” Realizing they were talking about me I managed a smile, which brought laughter and cries of “There you go!” I can't imagine the expression I must have had; I know I was deep in thought at the time, mentally perusing lists of things to do. I have fun playing music. It's easy for me, and nice to have extra/back-up income. Ultimately, I think it's the time that gets to me. Sure, some jobs don't take that long, and we only spent two hours on that triangle. But the traveling gets to me, fighting traffic, searching for parking, and hoping our car is there when we finish. Local work would be nice or, failing that, the ability to teleport would be nice as well.

The demographics vary in the myriad groups I belong to, and I'm not always the youngest. But there are a lot of people twice my age who stick with it. I once played a job with a 93-year-old clarinet player. Hearing my dad commiserate with Bill made my dad human, and I didn't feel so bad about those times when it all seems like a hassle. If my dad can feel that way, then it's okay for me to feel that way. No one ever calls me weak or lazy outside of my own brain. I guess I'm not weak or lazy when I grumble or get tense fighting traffic; I'm just human. Admitting that, and realizing it's okay to admit that, makes it a lot easier to stick with it. As long as I'm here, I'm always going to have something on my list.

9.29.2007

Blogroll Hero Logos

As good as my new job is, there are definitely things I miss about my last one. The type of work I did involved a lot of typography, and while I'm no expert, after about 100 book jackets in the realms of science fiction or fantasy, though I still had a lot to learn, hopefully I learned a few things too. My new regular gig doesn't require that I play with type that often, so I plan to make time on my own to do just that: play.

Cardboard Monocle directed me to a great five-part series on the evolution of the Batman logo. Drawing inspiration from that, I turned to my blogroll. Just as I've imagined my fellow bloggers as comic book heroes or villains, I realized no character is complete without his or her own colorful logo. After spending some time perusing The Comic Book Database for further inspiration, studying which logos worked, and which ones didn't, I tried my hand at five. What if these people starred in their own monthly adventures in four colors? What might the logo look like for the cover of each issue?

Rey's A Point


The Write Jerry


Lorna in Wonderland


The Southern Conservative


B13 Fotographica


All of the above images may be clicked for a larger version.

I embraced this exercise in the spirit of fun and keeping some of my rusting abilities sharp. Hopefully no one minds and, if this has a good response, I may do more in the future. Some of your names really lend themselves to this type of treatment. If anyone prefers not to be included in future attempts at this, I'll respect that of course. Conversely, I'll definitely take requests.

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9.28.2007

Answer in Sitcom

I've answered questions using song titles several times now, but I don't think I've ever answered random questions using the names of sitcoms. I may be mistaken. Nevertheless, after a week that's brought new episodes of five of my favorite comedies, I'm inspired to answer some inquiries I was sent not honestly, but situation-comedically.

1. What is on TV this second?
Scrubs

2. What's hummus made of?
Two and a Half Men

3. What did you eat for dinner tonight?
Wings

4. How much gas is in your tank?
Empty Nest

5. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?
Gimme a Break!

6. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?
Too Close for Comfort

7. What Is Your Favorite Salad Dressing?
Nurses

8. Have you told a secret to someone this week?
Two Guys and a Girl

9. Are Your Days Full And Fast Paced?
Good Times

10. What are you doing right now?
Diff'rent Strokes

11. Do you use sarcasm?
Yes, Dear

12. Have you ever been beaten up?
One Day at a Time

13. Do you watch the news?
Whats Happening!!

14. What is the last thing you purchased?
Cheers

15. Where do you work?
The Office

9.27.2007

I Got What Power?

I can think of any number of M.C.F.A.T. questions that have dealt with being a superhero or living with special abilities. The topic certainly isn't limited to those posts though, and I touch on it often. Still, when Janet posed the question, ”If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?”, for this week's ”Tell it to Me Tuesday”, I couldn't resist delving into my favorite realm of escapism.

Of course, these things always go the same way. I go through various powers from the mainstream comics I read predominantly in high school and college, consider flying but, like Rey, realize I'd have a problem with heights, and ultimately settle on super speed because it would mean getting to work on time and, more importantly, leaving work on time. I don't feel as overwhelmed and crushed as I did at my last job, but I do feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. I have my regular job, my weekend musical jobs, things to work on around the house, and thousands of movies and television shows to catch up on. I've even fallen behind in my reading. I have a blog to maintain, photos to take and someday I'll have to, you know, add a life to the mix. Getting married, buying a house, raising kids, helping them with homework, meeting with teachers, seeing them through college, babysitting my grandchildren, and all that other stuff would require more time and money, so things like movies would have to fall to the wayside since quitting a few bands or working less hours during the week would never be an option. Super-speed would be super-handy.

Since this is a topic I've already covered in depth, I'm going to take a different approach to the question. Since Janet was inspired by the Heroes season premiere, I'm going to look at some of the characters and abilities on that show, and determine how such abilities would make my life better or worse.

(•) Mohinder Suresh
While he doesn't possess any superhuman abilities, Mohinder does have the natural ability to be really smart, and yet at times be a complete moron. If I had that power...oh, wait, I already do.

(•) Matt Parkman
I never know what people are thinking. I speculate, and whether positive or negative, I always seem to be wrong. It's rare that I confirm this, when I do, sometimes years later, it catches me off guard. It would be great to read people's minds, wouldn't it? What problems could I anticipate at work by knowing what people want from me? Which girls should I pursue and which should I avoid? How can I avoid fights with my parents? Ultimately, knowledge comes with a responsibility to act, and I'd have to live with the guilt even if others had no idea I knew what was expected of me. Worse, what if all the negative opinions I read in people's eyes were confirmed? I'd rather live with the possibility that people genuinely like me than confirm that they don't. Mind reading? No thanks.

(•) D.L. Sanders
I don't know if I'd have much use for the ability to pass through solid objects. I'm not often locked in or locked out of things, and while typing such a statement guarantees leaving my car keys locked in the car within the next 24 hours, I still see more cons than pros. What if I lost the power in mid-phasing and solidified within a solid object? What if I couldn't turn it off and was unable to eat or touch another human being? What if I fell through the ground and kept falling? How do characters with this power keep from sinking or floating off into the atmosphere? I'll keep my mass just the state it's in.

(•) Niki Sanders
Oddly enough, I'm still not fully clear on her powers even after a whole season, but I've probably read too much into the show. While she struggled with a split personality, we eventually saw that she had the same super strength as her mirror counterpart. So assuming she was just crazy and the strength was her main ability, I'd say that would have come in handy, especially growing up when I needed to be able to take punches. Maybe I could have dished some out. Maybe someone would have gotten seriously hurt. Maybe super strength isn't so great...

(•) Micah Sanders
Niki and D.L.'s son is a technopath, able to talk to machines and fix anything. It's a passive ability, but it would probably come in handy. I spend a lot of time talking to computers and troubleshooting problems as they arise, and it would be great to keep my car running without troubling my dad or any of his mechanic friends.

(•) Nathan Petrelli
Unless I had super strength, invulnerability, or healing powers in addition to flying, I don't think it's an ability I would embrace alone. I sometimes pretend I'm flying when I'm trying to fall asleep at night, but while my mind soars my body is definitely meant to stay in contact with the ground at all times.

(•) The Haitian
While there are plenty of things in my past I'd like to forget, and even a few that I've forgotten or put on the back shelves, it would be really great if I could make other people forget my past. Yes, I do appreciate the irony of such a statement on a blog in which I upload every detail of my existence except for my real name and appearance. Still, “Remember the time...?” and “Aren't you that guy who...?” are two conversation-starters I don't always enjoy hearing at parties.

(•) Peter Petrelli
From a superhero standpoint, mimicking anyone else's ability just by observing them makes for a super advantage. Do I risk an overload? Could I be too powerful? And would I end up with powers in the mix that I don't want? As a Hero, Peter has the best ability. As an average guy, I'm not sure I could handle it.

(•) Sylar
Sylar's original passive ability was to see how stuff works. He employed it against other people with powers, isolating the parts of their brain responsible, removing those parts, and somehow making them a part of himself. Sylar can gain other powers like Peter can, but he needs to cut out brains to do so. I'll pass.

(•) Claire Bennet
Claire can rapidly regenerate tissue and heal any injury. For someone as accident prone as I am, this would definitely come in handy. It would be nice to face the world without my scars. Of course, even though she can heal, she still feels pain. In some ways, scars serve to remind us of pain and prevent us from making the same mistakes.

(•) Hiro Nakamura
Time manipulation may be a better asset than superspeed. I wouldn't have to go fast if I could slow everything else down. Then I could move along at my own pace. Manipulation of space as well as time could also improve my life. I could be anywhere I needed to be, at any time. Traveling to the past or the future and changing events would be a little messier, and I'd probably avoid creating too many divergent alternate realities. If I had enough time to do things right, I wouldn't have to do them over. This power would be my first choice.

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9.26.2007

PBW: Gateway to Shore

For this week's Photo Blog Wednesday, I spent a lunch hour with my camera. First, I visited my dad's lot to check on the new gate we built. I think the one we took down is something he may have worked on with my grandfather, so it's kind of cool if the next generation has put up this gate. There was also a random tire lying near the curb for some reason. Afterwards, on my way back to work, I got various pictures near the shore including some waterfront property that, while a definite fixer-upper, would shave about 25 minutes off my commute.














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9.25.2007

MCF's Perilous 4.I Questions

Last week, MCF's Perilous! returned from a Summer break to start a new season! If it's anything like the new television season has been thus far, things are going to be entertaining, exciting, and hilarious. Only a few fragments of the Mysterious Master Prize™ remain, and one is at stake. This round is over, and with only two left in this series in order to win, the stakes have never been higher and the perils faster.

In MCF's Perilous! I provide 10 answers for which you, my readers, have to come up with the corresponding questions and post them on your blogs. Scoring is as follows:

1 pt=each question
2 pts=each question that matches MCF's
-1 pt=any sentences not in question form, or forgetting a question mark
15 pts=Bonus for the Best Question


Each series has three rounds, at the end of which the player with the most points gets the prize.

Here's the current score for this new series:

Round 1: Lorna R1 25
Total: 25

Round 1: Darrell R1 11
Total: 11

I fear my fissiparous comment on Lorna's post scared away other players, because she did indeed secure the 15 point bonus for question #5. Congratulations! And despair not, other hopefuls; with two more rounds, it's still anyone's game at this point.

So, what was I thinking when I wrote these answers?

1. Two beaches and a marina.
What does my new commute take me past each morning?

2. “This **** just got real.”
What Bad Boys II quote was put to excellent use in Hot Fuzz?

3. Drooling.
Which of his habits makes it a lot less cute when my cat curls up on my lap while I'm sitting at the computer?

4. “Those would make a great coat!”.
What comment did I opt not to leave on B13's initial puppy post under the pseudonym ”Cruella de Vil ”?

5. David Hewlett and Trey Parker.
Which two actors did I notice a resemblance between, only to find that they weren't remotely related?

6. A square bit.
What kind of bit did I use when fastening each slat of my dad's new gate?

7. My knee.
What the heck is that?

8. They would cancel each other out and the show would last forever.
What would happen if I cast Adam Baldwin and Ted McGinley on the same sitcom?

9. I jumped in a big puddle of mud.
Why did my mom have to bring a change of clothes to me after recess when I was in the fourth grade?

10. Because, It's Midnite.
Why does Limozeen have the ”Heart of a lion
And the wings of a bat”
?

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9.24.2007

Phantasmic Links 9.24.07

As I started to chronicle previously, my dad got me up early on Saturday morning for a very important task. Our band was Pennsylvania-bound once more on Sunday, and our band leader's son, who can't drive any more than his father can, had rented a minivan. At least that's what he told us. Since he called a place in our town, all we had to do was show up and pay a $300 deposit, which we'd get back. I didn't like it any more than my parents did, but didn't see any other options. Of course when we got there, we found out that the person driving would be responsible for all payments and had to be present with a credit card and a driver's license. I signed and initialed a contract in several places, was charged a $350 deposit, and soon a vehicle and the lives of 6 other passengers were in my hands.

Our leader was waiting for us in Brooklyn, ready to reimburse me the $160 his son told him it would be. The fee was $80 a day, but since the place was closed on Sunday we had to pay for an extra day of this thing sitting in our driveway. I also had to fill it up with gas, and I got all the optional insurance they offered because I damn sure wasn't going to have my insurance be responsible. Then there was tax to consider. His son has no concept of such things, so the father was unprepared when I presented him with a bill for around $275. Other than that, it was smooth sailing and except for almost getting creamed by a bus in Manhattan, we made it there without a scratch. It was a perfect day that included a classic Ferrari show on the same grounds as the feast, and I really wished I'd brought my camera. The people loved us, singing and dancing along with every tune. Red wine is awesome like that.

The ride home was smooth, and we made incredible time until we reached the Holland Tunnel. There, seven lanes run into toll booths then merge into two before going underground. We sat in New Jersey for 45 minutes, occasionally spotting cute girls in surrounding vehicles. “Not for anyt'ing guys,” said our band leader's son of a nearby driver's pretty girlfriend, “If I was in a car wit' huhr, I wouldn't be able to drive.”

“You wouldn't be able to drive if you were in a car by yourself,” I quipped, bringing laughs from the rest of the band and silence from him. With the amount of money they ended up spending on the rental, money I will get from them on our next gig, they have to see how advantageous it would be to know how to drive.

I left my house before the sun came up, and returned after it set, and aside from aggravation with the whole van situation, it was a gorgeous day with great food, pretty girls, hot cars, and not a cloud in sight. After all that time out in the world on a road trip, I think I still remember how to use a computer though, so here are this week's PHANTASMIC LINKS:

Toyman Tower Defense looks like a dozen games you've played online before, but with a movable hero and some other cool features, it stands out among its kind.

A lot of books are available online for free. And legally.
Hat Tip: Darrell

There's no similarity between Harry Potter and Star Wars®...is there?
HT: J-No.

Apparently, December 8th is ”Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day”, and it was awesome. I mean it will be awesome. I'll be back.

Check out 10 of the most amazing temples in the world. I wouldn't want to walk out the wrong door on some of those...

The world almost ends, one man's decision brings us back from the brink, and we find out much later.

Can you guess video game classics from audio alone? I got 11 out of 18.

D'oh! Simpsons scenes are paired with the original film references they're spoofing.
HT: Sean.

Can you stay on the space highway in Pathfinder? On my first try I scored 90,768, reached level 20, and got the #1 spot on the high score list. Hint: Wings are fabulous.
HT: B13.


Have a link to a game, movie, article, or anything else you think might be “phantasmic”? E-mail me and it just might appear in an upcoming PHANTASMIC LINKS!

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9.23.2007

24: The MCFiles

I love 24. Every season comprises a single day, with each of the 24 episodes covering one hour of that day. Jack Bauer has gone through 6 such days, with little or no sleep, each time saving the world and overcoming terrorist threats. A lot happens in each of these days. People die. Stuff blows up. Presidents don't always remain in office. 24 hours in the lives of the people on that show are a lot more interesting than say, 24 hours of my life. Let's take a look at one such day, Friday, the longest day of my week...

HOUR 1) 5AM-6AM
• I sleep.
• My cat Chirp sleeps on the floor next to my bed, wedged between boxes of DVDs, sleeping on gloves, and purring contentedly.

HOUR 2) 6AM-7AM
• I wake up from a dream mumbling some of the new jargon I've picked up at my new job. Work is seeping in to my subconscious again. Uh-oh.
• I look at my cell phone, charging by my bedside, see the time, and go back to sleep.

HOUR 3) 7AM-8AM
• My dad calls me in the middle of the hour.
• Closer to the end of the hour, I drag myself to the kitchen and pour a bowl of cereal. I slump into a chair in the living room.
• “Are you going to work today?” asks my dad, as I realize I've finished eating and have been staring into space, holding an empty bowl, for a good five minutes.

HOUR 4) 8AM-9AM
• “Are you going to work today? It's almost a quarter to nine!” My dad's voice snaps me out of a daze, as I realize I've been standing in the shower thinking about my tasks for the day and washing the same spot on my left shoulder. I quickly towel off, get dressed, and hit the road.

HOUR 5) 9AM-10AM
Jewish holiday=Very Little Traffic.
• Construction on a One Lane Road=Significant Traffic.
• I walk in at 9:20. My boss is at a printer with his back to me. “Morning, [MCF]!” he says cheerfully without turning around, as though unconcerned by my tardiness. I still wish I could move more quickly in the morning.
• My 401K Saga continues. After a week with no responses to an important e-mail, a contact at my old company finally responds with a crucial fax number. Unfortunately, it's the one day I didn't bring in the form I needed her to sign before I can deposit my money in the new account. Classic MCF.

HOUR 6) 10AM-11AM
• I race to make corrections and have printouts ready for a meeting, even though my boss told me I wasn't expected to get everything done since people got back to me late. Fifteen minutes before the meeting begins, when I have all my copies printed and collated, new information arrives and I have to reprint several pages. More classic MCF.

HOUR 7) 11AM-12PM
• My meeting goes very smoothly. Further changes are minimal, and no one spends a lot of time checking to see if I did the stuff I'd been so frantic about. I make a mental note that sometimes I create my own stress.

HOUR 8) 12PM-1PM
• I start making whatever changes arose in the meeting. Just as I'm about to go to lunch, I get an e-mail with more changes. I go to lunch.

HOUR 9) 1PM-2PM
Subway continues to disappoint. The old man who was at the cash register on a previous visit is now at the other end of the process, taking initial food orders. He disappears for a good five minutes to find chicken. On the plus side, the kid who was taking initial food orders on a previous visit is now at the other end of the process, working the cash register. Even though coin change is dispensed automatically by the machine, he hands me more coins from the drawer.
• I find my dad's sunglasses in my car, apparently left there a day prior when he had new brakes and tires put on. I call my mom to let her know, and get stuck in tangential conversation about what mail I received, what my uncles were up to, and what the ladies from the garden where she volunteers were doing. I finally lie and tell her I'm driving and can't talk. Then I flip my phone shut, start the car, and pull out of the parking lot.

HOUR 10) 2PM-3PM
• I work.
• TheGreek calls with a question about my old job, which he inherited after I was let go. After I'm able to help him, for the first time in weeks I remember some of the fun stuff I used to do with a pang of regret and nostalgia.

HOUR 11) 3PM-4PM
• I do more work.
• I start having trouble concentrating as I think about heading in to the city in a few hours to meet old friends and former coworkers.

HOUR 12) 4PM-5PM
• I try to do some more work. A visit from a friend at work is a welcome distraction.
• My cell phone rings loudly, in my office. I'm not used to getting reception indoors. A text message from my friend Sparkplug confirms that happy hour is still on. I assume he's already in the bar at this point.

HOUR 13) 5PM-6PM
• It's time for the birth of a new ritual. Scouting the area where I now work earlier in the week, I calculated the best possible parking spot. The lot at the station requires residency and a permit, while the surrounding blocks have either meters or signs with limited parking. A 90-minute parking zone works since it's only in effect between 8AM and 6:30PM. Whatever the night ahead holds, I'm sure I'll be back to my car before 8AM. What could go wrong? Classic MCF.

HOUR 14) 6PM-7PM
• There are a lot of young people on the train. I feel old. One couple, high school or college aged by my estimate, talk about almost missing the train when their daughter fell and bumped her arm. I realize these are twenty-somethings, and I really feel old.
• The husband talks about a lock on their house breaking and states that he'll have to buy a new door. One of his wife's friends laughs that all needs is to buy a new “locky-thing” and that buying a new door is such a rich person thing to do. I'm on a train full of giggling rich girls and their husbands or boyfriends. I feel poor, and annoyed.

HOUR 15) 7PM-8PM
• Manhattan, and the freedom to travel wherever my legs take me is a welcome respite.
• On the way to the bar, I see a war veteran in a wheelchair playing trumpet on a corner across the street. It's dark, but he looks a lot like another trumpet player that used to be in our band. He wasn't a veteran, and the only time I saw him in a wheelchair was after he broke his leg and showed up for a procession in one(only to be sent home by our leader). I'm guessing he kept the chair and found a new gig. One of our band leaders did discover the guy on a subway platform...

HOUR 16) 8PM-9PM
• An interesting group is gathered. I find out who's still with my old company and how things are going there, as well as catch up with other people who've since gone on to new jobs.
• I completely lose the end of a sentence when a cute waitress rubs my back as a sign to let her walk by.

HOUR 17) 9PM-10PM
• “She hurts me,” confesses Sparkplug, in regards to his current lady friend. “Emotionally?” I ask. “No! She hits me!” I think he's drunk or kidding or both, but as the night goes on I notice playful punches to his arm are delivered with force, and once or twice she slaps him loudly. Joey Tribbiani once dated a girl like that. The greek beauty admits to being part Spartan when one of Sparkplug's buddies makes a 300 reference, and it explains a lot.
• We all share a plate of amazing hot wings, and I discern two distinct sauces working together.

HOUR 18) 10PM-11PM
• When I tell one girl I'm 32, she calls me a “baby” and I don't feel as old as I did on the train. I do feel the need to tell the rest of the group, mostly 3-4 years older than me, that I'm not that young and will be 33 in a little over a month. “That's an important year if you're Catholic,” points out one girl with sincerity, “That's how old Jesus was when He died.” I thank her and point out that I'll take off if I see Romans with wood and nails on my doorstep that day. Classic blasphemy.
• Sparkplug suggests that a couple of girls make out with each other. With not much persuasion, they comply in spades and I decide Sparkplug has super powers.
• Five minutes after these girls are gone, my friends and I are still staring at the empty space where it happened, either in disbelief or clinging to the image.

HOUR 19) 11PM-12AM
• “I don't believe in that whole toilet paper thing,” proclaims the Spartan chick, “Europe has the right idea with bidets!” With some hesitance, I ask what she does since we're not in Europe, and she says she'll usually take a shower afterward: “I took TWO showers today!” I turn to one of my friends at the end of the bar and repeat her stance, and he agrees enthusiastically and shares his similar morning ritual. I wonder aloud how in the span of an hour we've gone from girls kissing to people's toilet practices.

HOUR 20) 12AM-1AM
• The night slows as the bar gets quiet, picking up briefly when a bachelorette party arrives. Some guys do body shots off of the girls' chests before the group gets too rowdy and they're asked to leave.
• I'm no longer drinking. A lot of the girls have left. Conversation ranges from a future paintball trip to the fact that I've yet to see Fletch or its sequels.
• I'm bored.

HOUR 21) 1AM-2AM
• Since nothing interesting is happening, I decide to head out early.
• Apparently I checked an old schedule, so I miss my train by five minutes. I have a two hour wait until the next train. Classic MCF.

HOUR 22) 2AM-3AM
• After buying a ticket, a man asks me for some loose change to get home. I happen to have extra change from Subway at lunch, and the universe balances out.
• I wander a bit, opting not to walk seven blocks back to the bar and I settle in to a McDonald's.
• A lot of pretty drunk girls in stylish outfits stumble in. They're talking about their classes on Monday, and I'm trying to figure out if they're in high school or college. Either way, I'm a tired old man at a small table in Penn Station in the middle of the night.
• Someday, I'm going to see the dude driving the floor cleaner run someone over. He beeps his horn, and narrowly drives around people slumped against walls or pillars waiting for the next train, but he never, ever slows down.
• Sparkplug stumbles in near the end of the hour, surprised to see me still in the city. After I left, not much else happened and the few who remained got pizza. I didn't miss much.

HOUR 23) 3AM-4AM
• Finally, I'm on a train, sober but exhausted. The train is packed with drunk young people, some unconscious. A conductor shoves one kid about 15 times before he wakes up. “If you don't know how to drink, don't drink!” she admonishes, “Get your ticket out or get off; I've been standing here for 10 minutes!”
• The other conductor shows up, and asks the first one to “get them”. A minute later she returns with two big cops, and a lot of the kids perk up. The second conductor tells them there's a belligerent passenger in the next car refusing to produce a ticket or money. As the train sits in the next station, I wonder if I'll ever make it back, and if my car will be ticketed or towed.

HOUR 24) 4AM-5AM
• My car is still there! I don't have a ticket! The walk back is pleasant and uneventful, and soon I'm driving home.
• After shouting to be heard in a noisy bar all night, my voice has a great quality for singing along with ”Hey There Delilah”. Someday I'll have someone to sing to again.
• I'm enough of a blogging geek to prepare posts in advance when I know I'm going to get home late the next day. The pre-written Cloakfest 2K7 is posted a few minutes after the hour, before I collapse into bed, only to be called three hours later to help my dad with something....to be continued...

* * * * *


See? There would be a few good episodes, but some would be horribly boring and I don't know if people would stick around until near the end of the season during my sweeps hours. I guess 24 should stick with the whole counter-terrorist super agent theme.

9.22.2007

Cloakfest 2K7

Palavering Platanos!(™ Rey)
Holy Whorenelli! (© Darrell!)
What are we doin' for lunch? (® B13)
mmMMMmm, Arby's 13...


I digress. Why all the excitement? Believe it or not, we're now approaching the end of my third year of consecutive blogging! If you were here around this time last year, you already know what that means.

CLOAKFEST!



A CLOAKFEST is an anniversary celebration that last a couple of days, and incorporates my October 13th anniversary date. This year, the celebration will last four days, to incorporate a Wednesday, as long-time readers would naturally expect. So, what do I have up my cloaked sleeves this time?

1) Wednesday, October 10th: A revealing Photo Blog Wednesday is an annual tradition. Last year the world got an excellent idea of what I look like, and yet I managed to conceal enough so I could still go out in public. People get fired for what I'm considering this year. Will I chicken out or go through with the most recent revelation yet? There's only one way to find out...

2) Thursday, October 11th: Just as The Essential MCF 2K5-2k6 provided summaries and highlights of my second year, so too will The Essential MCF 2K6-2k7 cover my third. While one of my more time-intensive endeavors, it's always fun to look back and see reminders of what my year was like.

3) Friday, October 12th: I'm flipping COMMON! It's been fun coming up with groups of four and letting my readers guess what the common bond was in each group. It was even more fun guessing Jeff's reciprocal groups. Now, everyone has a chance to reciprocate! Send as many groups of four as you'd like to MCFSPU@hotmail.com by or before midnight EST on Saturday, October 6th. I'll choose the best of the bunches, and provide both humorous and sincere guesses for what each group has in COMMON. Hopefully, you'll leave me a comment or two and let me know if I get any right.

4) Saturday, October 13th: That brings us to my actual blogiversary. Last year, we all made some interesting predictions. I'll take a look at those and see which ones surprisingly came true. Some of us may be psychic...

But wait, there's more! This year brought us one other Nexus game, and that was MCF's Perilous! I'd post answers, readers would guess questions, and a good time would be had by all. (In fact, there's one going on now!) So what will OMNIPerilous! entail?

20 answers. 20 questions. I'll provide both, but the catch is that most if not all of the questions will be paired with the wrong answers. The one(s) who can mix and match the most correctly will get not one, but two fragments of the Mysterious Master Prize™. But, your guess comments must fall within 24 hours of the post in order to qualify to win.


Wow, I think I just made a lot of work for myself. The awesome Year Three is almost over, but the good times are just beginning!

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9.21.2007

Lunch Rewards

Nearing the end of his time at my former company, a coworker told me one of his biggest concerns was the loss of a routine. He said he quickly caught himself, and thought, “Wait, I'll just get a new routine.” Indeed, change entails a period of adjustment, after which we settle into a new comfort zone of familiarity.

My lunch quest has settled in to a routine as well, with a lot of rewarding discoveries along the way. At least once a week, I've been meeting up with B13 and other former coworkers, which has helped with the transition. As I've gotten busier, there have definitely been days where I couldn't venture too far from the office, or stay out for too long. I have made some great discoveries though.

The most important thing in any area is a decent pizzeria. We have one that doubles as a restaurant, and after sampling plain and Sicilian slices the first week and approving of them, I've moved on to specialty slices. They have one of the sweetest, juiciest chicken slices it's ever been my privilege to consume, and that's saying a lot considering some of the places I used to get pizza from.

Chinese food is also important. I went through a phase with my ex-girlfriend when we were first dating, in which I thought it would be bad form to take her to the same place twice. I succeeded for about a year, but as we found places that became “our” places, going to the same restaurant twice wasn't the relationship-killer I feared it would be. In spanning Long Island, we actually hit a classic movie theater in the town I now work, and found a great Chinese place across the street. I recently returned, and it's still great.

We had a decent deli by my old job, but the only seating was outside, which didn't help in the rain or in the Winter. I've found a great deli with ample seating and a great selection. It seems they rotate their sandwiches, and I've taken great delight in ordering “Roast Beef Supreme”, “Chickaroni”, and “The Psycho”. The first hero was just roast beef with melted mozzarella. “Chickaroni” was an obscenely good collaboration between chicken cutlets, pepperoni, and mozzarella. Finally, “The Psycho” combined chicken, bacon, and swiss. I paired that last one off with a new kind of Doritos which combined two flavors in one bag: hot wings and Blue Cheese. I nearly proposed to the bag.

That deli definitely puts Subway's deflated sandwiches to shame, and I'm still baffled that I work in an area with two of those but not one Quizno's, where the pictures match the real food and you're allowed to have more than one napkin.

Thursday brought the best rewards yet. One of my friends at work lives in the area, and asked if I'd like to hit the best barbecue place in town and then check out a nearby comic book store. I was halfway to the parking lot before I realized we had two more hours until lunchtime. After my visits to Famous Dave's, I wasn't sure how a small local place would compare, but my friend said he and his wife hit it all the time. Walking past a small bank of stores, he turned in to a small doorframe just past a laundromat. I followed down a narrow hall, half expecting to emerge in someone's apartment. At the end, it opened up to reveal a counter and a dining area, and I had the best BBQ chicken and fries that I've had in a long time. We probably should have gone to the comic book store before eating something that messy, but it was still a good break.

Slowly but surely I'm finding a new routine, and new places to eat. Of course, none of my routines include exercise yet, but then no one ever accused me of prioritizing...

9.20.2007

Closed Door Genesis

When I was a kid, I thought a lot about comic books and cartoons. I didn't consider the creative process behind cartoons that much, and focused more on the plot and the characters as though they were real. By the time I was a teenager though, I paid attention to the credits in the comic books. Pencillers, writers, inkers, and editors were right up front. There were people who came up with characters, their motivations and appearances, and the things they would face. It seemed like an awesome way to make a living. By the time I was in college, I started paying attention to the credits on cartoons as well, from writers to animators to voice actors.

What happens behind closed doors? It's easy to imagine brainstorming sessions for the more colorful printed material in our society, but every printed piece is given a lot of thought in conference rooms by various teams. Whether it's the circular for your favorite department store, a newspaper, a comic book, or a random piece of junk mail, someone designed it and others directed that design. On the Superman: Doomsday DVD I bought this week, one of the special features delves in to one such session, and explains how the original Death of Superman came about.

As a collector, I always skewed more toward the Marvel side rather than DC, even if the latter had a better presence in popular culture through movies and television series, and exposed me to the notion of super heroes. When word got out that Superman was to die, I started buying all the issues leading up to the event. The news covered it. Mainstream magazines wrote about it. Every week, a new issue came out as heroes and civilians fell before the unstoppable might of a new menace, Doomsday. I bought multiple copies of issue #75, an all-splash page slugfest in which the hero pushes himself harder than ever before, saving the day and making the ultimate sacrifice in the process. I had the black armband and all the gimmicks they issued.

No one who has a familiarity with comics ever believes death is permanent. Characters “die” all the time, only to return. Maybe the one who died was a clone or a robot. Maybe the character was in suspended animation in a state resembling death. Maybe there was no body, and someone went over a ledge or a cliff. Sherlock Holmes certainly was part of that tradition. Every now and then the person inside a costume might die, but another character takes on that role. The originals always seem to return. But Superman was more than some random civilian in a costume with gimmicks, and was such an iconic figure that his death made the news. These days, it's common for things like Captain America's assassination or Spider-man's unmasking to make the news. Before the early ‘90s, these would just be plot threads only comic book fans cared about. The Death of Superman brought the comic book world more into the mainstream.

There was a plan; that much was clear to me at the time. The hero fought a valiant final battle, was laid to rest, and the series ended after a few issues of the supporting cast mourning. Three months later, Superman comics started coming out again, but the main character was conspicuously absent. Four pretenders rose, with the possibility that one of them was the real deal. Eventually it got sorted out, and the world kept turning. Superman even settled down and finally married his longtime love interest Lois Lane. Who knew that very wedding was what led to his death in the first place?

Bruce Timm and company did an excellent job as usual bringing DC Comics to animation. Their adaptation of the classic death storyline was decent enough, and managed to hit on the key themes. At just under an hour-and-a-half, obviously a lot had to be cut from a story that spanned well over a year and probably close to 50 issues if not more. I had one or two critiques, most of which I won't spoil here, but I enjoyed it. James Marsters stands out among the new voice cast, and did an amazing job with Lex Luthor. Some of his actions definitely contribute to the PG-13 rating. Kevin Smith has a cameo, and utters a perfect line.

What I like best about the both Marvel and DC's animated DVDs is the behind-the-scenes stuff. The format allows for great featurettes in which creative people get screen time, and get to explain their thought processes. What did happen behind closed doors? How does a voice actor get chosen, and what leads a hero to his demise? How do they think up this stuff? The featurette on this particular DVD gave me some surprising insight. Years before it happened, the creative team had a wedding mapped out. Storylines are planned a year in advance, and with four different comics a month, they had to make sure each creative team coordinated. Plans were made, and they were happy.

Meanwhile, in another medium, Lois and Clark were enjoying fame on a quirky action/drama/comedy. The people behind the series had plans for a wedding as well, but not for a few seasons. They wouldn't allow the characters to wed in the comics before they wed on the television series. It could happen at the same time, or after, but not before.

I wasn't aware of this back in 1993. I just remember being glad that the television show was still on, and that the character lived on somewhere. Honestly, was Superman ever going to leave popular culture for good? At the time, I think a lot of us were naive enough to fear just that. I worried about the show being canceled without the comics to support it, not knowing the workings inside the mechanism. Writers, artists, and editors suddenly were told that their plans for the coming year were unacceptable, and they had to come up with something else.

People were bitter. They sulked and brooded, and it wasn't much of a creative environment. Writer and artist Jerry Ordway made a joke in this meeting that he'd made countless times before in meetings: “Let's just kill ‘im.” For once though, the people in the room stopped and considered the idea. What if they did kill Superman? What stories could they tell about a world without its greatest hero? And so, a television marketing directive combined with a bitter creative joke led to one of the most historically significant events in comics.

It's funny how things work out. We don't often think about the process, about everything that has to happen before we read or watch something. By the time we're enjoying an end product, a lot of time and planning has taken place, months and even years in advance. The next time you see a flyer or a package or a book, think about its genesis behind closed doors.

9.19.2007

PBW: WIIW. It Is...

The first interactive Photo Blog Wednesday debuted last week. Inspired by B13's ”What is it Friday?”, I came up with 10 detail shots of things around my room, asking readers to guess what items I zoomed in on. Any one with a passing grade of 70%, earned by getting at least 7 out of 10 correct, would have won a fragment of the coveted Mysterious Master Prize™. Not everyone attempted to guess all the items, and some guesses weren't specific enough, but all in all there was an excellent effort:

B13
65%

Scott Roche
40%

Wendy
10%

J-No
10%

Darrell
35%

So, what were those pictures of? Here's a better perspective on the subjects:

1) Camera case.



2) Tic-Tacs



3) Plush Dilbert.



4) Starfire figurine.



5) V For Vendetta DVD case.
(I gave B13 and Darrell half credit, but only Wendy guessed both that it was a DVD case and which movie.)



6) Desk calendar.



7) Cell phone.



8) Comic book stack.



9) My knee.




10) Drawer knob.

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9.18.2007

MCF's Perilous! 4.I

Summer is over! The kids are back in school, though our neighborhood is still plagued by skater punks in the afternoon. They loiter on our lawn, slap cars that run by, and one called my mom “Mary Poppins” when she told him his language was atrocious after she couldn't take the swearing drifting in to our house. No one sasses my mom but me. I bet these kids would learn respect if they were in a prison like the one featured in Prison Break's third season premiere, which brings me back to my original point. New seasons of my favorite television shows are starting as the temperature drops and (some) kids are starting to do homework. So after a Summer break of my own, MCF's Perilous! is back with a new season! We haven't played since June, so a reminder of the rules is in order.

MCF's Perilous! is a quiz in reverse. I post ten answers. You get one week to come up with the corresponding questions and post them on your blogs, leaving a link to your post in the comments below. Next week, I'll reveal the questions I was thinking of, along with everyone's scores.

Points carry over from one installment to the next, and after THREE rounds the person with the most points can redeem them for a “prize”. Every THREE rounds, the scores reset, and a new winner could potentially gain a piece of the Mysterious Master Prize™. Yes, I've shortened the number of rounds to make the pace more enticing and make it easier for me to tally the scores from week to week. Here's our current scoring system:

1 pt=each question
2 pts=each question that matches MCF's
-1 pt=any sentences not in question form, or forgetting a question mark
15 pts=Bonus for the Best Question


The “Best Question” is the funniest or most creative one that, though it doesn't match the one I was looking for, deserves to be rewarded.

Will you face the perils below and attain the maximum points possible? Here are the first 10 answers:

1. Two beaches and a marina.

2. “This **** just got real.”

3. Drooling.

4. “Those would make a great coat!”.

5. David Hewlett and Trey Parker.

6. A square bit.

7. My knee.

8. They would cancel each other out and the show would last forever.

9. I jumped in a big puddle of mud.

10. Because, It's Midnite.

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9.17.2007

Phantasmic Links 9.17.07

A ”3 hour project” took a total of 10 hours and spanned two days, but we've got a sturdy new gate up. Perhaps tomorrow my fingers will be able to bend completely once more. I also managed to mow the lawn, balance my finances, do some laundry, and fit in Hot Fuzz, which rocked hard. The next time I put up a gate, I may attack it whilst jumping through the air and holding two drills. That's a movie reference, and these are this week's PHANTASMIC LINKS:

You can find all the “I'm a Marvel/I'm a DC” parodies in this link, but here are some recent highlights:



Hat Tip: Darrell.

Yo! Gabba Gabba Party in my Tummy will:
A) Give you nightmares.
B) Teach Kids a Valuable Lesson.
C) Simulate an Acid Trip.
D) All of the Above.
HT: B13.

Here comes The Sheep Pig...

A song cleverly incorporates Every Cuss Word We Know, so be sure to use headphones for this one.

If for some reason you need him to, Young Bob Dylan will flip signs with any message you want.

Finnegan is a squirrel who found a new home with an unusual family. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, though the photos looked digitally altered, this was a true, heartwarming tale.
HT: B13.

GROW Island continues a popular series in which stuff happens when you do things in any order, but great stuff happens when you do them in the right order. This one has a cool alternate ending!

Art Frahm painted women with their underwear falling off, and always included celery. Who knows where artists get their themes from, but this one works.

Pooch Plunge 2007 combines dogs with water. Those dogs had more fun than I did this Summer.

Can you match drugs with their warning labels?

What would the world be like Without Us?
HT: B13.

On a sad note, fantasy author Robert Jordan has passed away. The Wheel of Time was a great series, though it started getting drawn out a bit. I still haven't read book 11, and now I'll never read the conclusion in the unwritten book 12. My condolences to his family, friends, and fellow fans.


Have a link to a game, movie, article, or anything else you think might be “phantasmic”? E-mail me and it just might appear in an upcoming PHANTASMIC LINKS!

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9.16.2007

Screw This.

Very early on in life, long before I decided “artist” was the right track for me, I entertained the notion of being an architect or a carpenter. I liked working with tools and building things. It didn't matter that my “treehouse” was a single platform I nailed to a tree across some beams, or my “bike helicopter” never got off the ground, a project abandoned after nailing the first few pieces of driftwood together. When I was 4 or 5, my idea of “helping” my dad and my godfather renovate our den was taking a coffee tin of nails and dumping them out the window. In time, I realized that wasn't road for me. There's a difference between enjoying something and being good at it.

On Saturday, my dad asked for my help with a project he estimated would take 3 hours or less. I've learned from helping him repair automobiles that his estimates can be grossly offset by even one snag. Over at his lot, he wanted to put a new gate across the driveway. We arrived, and he revealed what he'd done so far in our garage. He had taken a series of fence slats, and spaced them apart along two other pieces of wood. It still looked better than the heavier series of wobbly red planks collapsing in on themselves.

The first post was sturdy, so we left the hinges on it and just took off that door. Screw types alternated between flat and Philip's head, and I stripped one or two along the way. Breaking the old wood or using a monkey wrench did the trick, and soon we were lugging the old wood up the driveway.

The next part was fun. Even after thirty-six years, my parents still occasionally get mail for the previous owner of our house. When my dad got a Lowe's coupon addressed to this man “or current resident”, he headed out and got a sweet new drill with a removable, rechargeable power pack, and screw bits as well as drill bits. I confess to being afraid of my dad's old drill when I was a kid. It was a heavy silver beast with a thick cord, thick bits, and a horrible roar. This new red plastic model probably won't last as many years, but it was lighter and felt less dangerous. My dad thought I was silly for removing the power pack each time I'd change a bit, but the instructions said to do so and I know that if anyone is likely to slip and release the safety and hit the trigger while holding a drill bit between his fingers, it's me.

Before 3 PM I had new holes drilled, new screws in, and a new door hanging. “What do you think?” asked my dad, “Can we put the other one up today?” I was high on a sense of accomplishment, and perhaps a little poisoned from sun exposure. Even though the other door needed a new beam to hang from, I still thought I could get it done in an hour and get home in time to go to church with my mom. The older I get, the more like my father I become.

At some point, the old beam must have rotted to the point that the people in the neighboring warehouse rigged up a second piece of wood. They nailed it over the top hinge, then attached the bottom hinge to the outside of it. My dad started tearing this wood off before I stopped him, and pointed out that taking the door off first would make it easier to get at the hinges. Over the years, he's reluctantly started taking my advice occasionally, knowing that sometimes when he's in a hurry his actions cause us to take longer. I got the door off first, then the hinges, and then my dad ripped the beam out of the ground. Rotted at the base, it left a small splintered stump that I began digging around. Once we dug that up, we could put in a new beam, pour some cement, fill the hole with dirt, and hang a new door. Yes, in hindsight I realize it was silly of me to think I could do all that in an hour.

The wood may have rotted in one spot, but what was left in the ground was solid. Digging was tough, as I kept hitting rocks, and twice I scratched my arms on rusty nails my dad refused to pull out of the neighboring fence. “Ah, those won't be in the way...leave ‘em.” I chiseled bits of wood away, tried to get a bite on it with a post-hole digger, and at one point hammered a long screwdriver into it that Arthur Pendragon himself would never be able to draw free. My dad hammered at it with a metal beam that bent under the hammer while the wood remained solid. I tried a piece of rebar as a lever. The wood held; the metal bent. I called my mom and told her to go to church without me, that I'd have to go on Sunday. I also asked her to leave her cellphone on so I could let her know whether or not to pick up dinner.

We chiseled and dug and fought. At times it was a comedy routine for the people in that neighborhood. My dad tried hitting the stuck screwdriver with a pipe and caught my knee on an upswing. I tried tying a wire to it and yanking it out. After carving out a hole about 15 inches deep and 12 inches or more in diameter, we decided to just chip away as much of the old wood as possible and set the new beam on top of it. We'd already wasted four hours and the sun was setting. The screwdriver was free, and though we reduced the old beam to splinters and pulled many long shards free, I'd estimate it continued another five inches or more into the ground. I called my mom’s cell phone, which was of course not turned on, and later she called me to check and let us know we’d have to reheat the dinner she picked up.

In the end, we put in whatever screws we had, some not all the way through, to attach the hinges to the door. We only put four in place on the beam to hold the door until Sunday, two on each hinge. Some people think I have nothing but free time, but I think whatever our lives are like, we all have things that can devour our time, even if it's not the same things. Last weekend was spent playing music, 15 hours including travel time on Saturday, and another 5 on Sunday. This weekend, the one gig we did have was canceled, but a new project filled the vacuum. In addition to putting in the last few screws as well as a locking mechanism and a “no parking” sign, Sunday will include some repairs to my car. It started clicking or grinding when I make left turns, and my dad thinks I may have a bent power steering rod. We'll know more once we jack it up. After I go to church, cut the lawn, help my dad with my car, and finish the gate project at the lot, I'll probably settle down with some DVDs to enjoy the remainder of the weekend, unless of course I develop Tetanus. But then I'll have something interesting to write about.

9.15.2007

The Right Track

I'm not the idol of millions. Kids don't line up to get my autographs or purchase sketches of my characters. These days, I create more art with a few clicks of a mouse than I do with a pencil, and instead of creating superheroes I'm creating advertisements for a variety of products. I like working in an office though, sitting at a computer and filling one daunting blank page after another with colors, shapes, and fonts. My career track didn't run in a straight line, and certainly not the course I predicted, but ultimately I'd say I'm content.

When choosing a major in college, I was motivated by more than the desire to create that which interested me. Even as a teenager, I realized most of us will spend more time at a job than at home, and I knew picking something I'd enjoy was as important if not more important than a fat paycheck. I've since wavered in that position over the years, but still believe the principle to be sound. I wouldn't want to be wealthy if it meant being miserable and stressed out, but any day I'll take a decent salary for work I like over a low salary for work I love.

My driver's education instructor, “Uncle Al”, thought I was mad when he learned I was majoring in art and had a four year average of 98/100 in mathematics and had taken advanced calculus. He wasn't really my uncle, but insisted we all call him that, so his credibility in career advice was questionable, especially given his profession. Sure, he had controls on the passenger side of his car as well, but kids are crazy.*

Looking back, did I make the right call? Am I in the right field, or general vicinity of where someone like me should be? Antick Musings had an interesting career meme that I decided to try:

1. Go here: http://www.careercruising.com/default.asp
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.
4. Post the top results.


I found the quiz link in the upper left after logging in, and proceeded to answer 39 questions about my likes and dislikes. Some were blatant in which jobs they were referring to, but I'm not sure how much that skewed the results. I know I wouldn't want to be in an operating room or chasing criminals down an alley. I don't want to work nights and weekends, and I don't want to memorize law or history tomes. After getting my initial results, I took the option to answer another 54 questions and refine my results. I have to say it painted a pretty accurate portrait of who I am, and the top ten especially reflect my interests. There are different things I could be doing, but they all involve art and/or computers, so it's nice to see I'm basically on the right track.

1. Video Game Developer

2. Computer Support Person

3. Website Designer

4. Business Systems Analyst

5. Computer Animator

6. Artist

7. Computer Network Specialist

8. Animator

9. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator

10. Illustrator

11. Film Editor

12. Computer Engineer

13. Web Developer

14. Desktop Publisher

15. Computer Programmer

16. Database Developer

17. Multimedia Developer

18. Technical Writer

19. Electronics Engineering Tech

20. Data Entry Clerk

21. Computer Trainer

22. Composer

23. Interior Designer

24. Craftsperson

25. Camera Operator

26. Optical / Ophthalmic Lab Technician

27. Electrical Engineering Tech

28. Electrician

29. Avionics Tech

30. Set Designer

31. Office Machine Repairer

32. Special Effects Technician

33. Model Maker

34. Jeweler

35. Bookbinder

36. Cable Installer and Repairer

37. Drafter

38. Film Processor

39. Security Systems Technician

40. Dental Lab Tech


* * * * *


* (I know someone else ran a light and hit B13, but those photos did too good a job illustrating my point not to link them. And B13 was a crazy kid, even if that accident wasn't his fault. ;))

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