I started blogging thinking that this is where I would review whatever media I felt like ranting about. It quickly changed direction. So this is my online diary. Comments are welcome.
Okay, I know it's been like 2 months since I've written anything, and if you've read this drivel before, then you know that I'm engaged now. Which means I'm busy doing wedding stuff. I don't know, I guess I didn't think I was going to write about more of that, but I feel like maybe putting in a few lines of the exciting stuff. Who knows where it will go.
Ashley and I decided who we would like to be in our wedding party. Then, we had a pizza party (because we're 10), and asked them nicely to be part of our big day. Luckily for us nobody declined. That would have been awkward. We both made individual gift boxes for our people. (Yeah, I call them our people.) Ashley put these really neat boxes together with a monogram stencil of the bridesmaids' first initial on each. Next, she added some girly gifts; nail polish, silly flavored chapstick (the kinds that little girls think are rad), a funky pen, a really nice necklace with a silver engraved pendant, and a miniature bottle of pink moscato. Then she wrapped them in bows the same color as the dress she'd like them to wear.
I didn't put that much work into it. Plus, we're all dudes. I used cigar boxes and I had a friend from work write their names under the lids in really nice calligraphy. Then I added a small bottle of Crown Royal Regal Apple (because I know the way to a man's heart), a cigar, cutter, long wood matches, and a bow tie to put it all together. The bow ties are the same colors as the girls' dresses. We made them match. They didn't seem to mind. Each of them had a personalized note inside their boxes. It was a fun project for us to work on together; especially knowing it would be something special for our friends.
We've booked the church and the reception hall. In my opinion, that was the easy stuff. I think we both walked into the church and felt a tingle that started in our toes, and worked it's way out through our finger tips. We knew right then that it was our place. The reception hall was a bit harder though, because we had the same reaction to one place in particular. The only problem was that it was too small to accommodate the number of guests we anticipate. This is really where my heart broke in the search for our reception hall. I couldn't continue. I didn't want to see any other places. They wouldn't be nearly as cool, and that was the only place I wanted to do it. And that was my final word. But then Ashley stepped in and found a place that will be perfect for us. (Again, boys, she's mine.)
We talked my cousin, Kristen Powers, into being our official photographer for the day. I'm thrilled about it, because it will eliminate that awkward wall of unfamiliarity that comes with a stranger taking personal pictures of you. An acquaintance of mine agreed to MC/DJ for us, and I'm hoping a good friend of mine will do the videography for the day. I have a lot of faith in my talented friends and family. I know they will help us have a spectacular day.
There's still quite a bit of planning to do, but with friends and family helping out I think we're closer than it seems. I'm actually super excited for the day to come. I honestly never thought ahead to my wedding day before all this. Sure, there were times when I thought about getting married, but this is all real. It's a different sense than just imagining. The biggest difference is that when I have an idea about something that I think would be cool, all I have to do is say it out loud and it becomes a plan instead of an idea. It's a neat process, but I'll tell you this; never again. Good thing I'm marrying Ashley. She's the best part of me. She's my people.
No Offense Needed
I was just sitting here at my desk after finishing my lunch of a delicious split pea soup, and decided to click the shuffle button on my iTunes playlist titled, "Classical." And well, let me tell ya, I am never unmoved by great music. Regardless of genre. It could be because I'm a big soft teddy bear, but I think in this case it's because the suite (Clair de lune) makes me think of my dad. Also, it made me think about my upcoming wedding. I'm going to be very real right now. I just want the wedding to be everything Ashley has ever wanted it to be. I could literally be happy to not make any decisions about it at all, as long as it was everything she wanted. And I genuinely mean that. I know a lot of people would probably think, "that's a cop-out", but it's not. I know I'll have to make some decisions, and hopefully they're great ones for the sake of my fiancée and our guests.
It got me thinking about something I saw just after Christmas that kind of upset me a little. (Basically, I let a troll on the internet get to me.) You see, I proposed to Ashley on Christmas. According to the internet troll on Facebook, that was unoriginal. As a matter of fact, I'll post what I read. (This was not from the person whose page I saw it on. He simply re-posted, and I acted irrationally and unfriended him. Sorry.)
"The biggest problem I have with proposing on Christmas is that it's unoriginal. It's just so incredibly lame. Same goes for New Year's Eve. It's just foolish and self-centered to do it on days that should be about family and friends, not your relationship. It's a cliché wrapped in a cliché wrapped in a metaphor for yout sh***y, unoriginal, uninspiring love story that will culminate withe you getting down on a knee in the living room, leaving most of the family members in attendance with a look on their face that says, "Look at this f***in' guy.""
If you're wondering, yes, I edited the expletives. I wanted to address this though. You can't just throw a blanket over something like this and call it cliché. (Actually you can, but I wanna complain about it, so meh.) I don't agree with anything this fella was saying, and I actually felt a little sorry for him. Here's the thing: I (and by 'I', I mean we) have had an extremely tough year. In 2013 we were all still so numb from Dad's death that we really couldn't enjoy our holidays. I'm thrilled that this year was different. Ashley and I gave the family something to smile about and to look forward to. Sounds to me like we were able to give something special to our family and friends. It wasn't just about us.
The other thing is how this dude called it unoriginal and uninspiring. That's great. (I get the idea that this person is really lonely.) See, I'd been planning to propose for about a year. I knew last Christmas that I definitely wanted to marry her, (eat your hearts out boys, she's mine) but the only issue for me was, when? I had a few really cool and totally original ideas, but let's face it, it's all been done before. So, I didn't do something that would have gone viral on YouTube. I didn't fly her all around the world just to ask for her hand at our last destination. I didn't hide secret messages that lead her on a scavenger hunt to find her ring and myself waiting for her to say yes. (Not saying those are bad ideas.) Instead of extravagant I played Santa at out family Christmas get together. I made sure all the presents were passed out. Then, I got down on a knee and asked the woman I love to be my wife. I did it in front of my family. I wasn't trying to take all the attention. I was trying to give my girlfriend the very best Christmas gift I could. She deserves so much more for all the things she's done for me in the past couple of years. I want her to be my family. Oh, and ask anybody who was there if it was annoying. They'll tell you the truth. All I know is that it was about love, not my relationship. Love for my family, love for my lady, and love for the things to come. And you know what? Ashley thought it was absolutely perfect. #winning.
Things and Stuff
Two things caught a lump in my throat today, and it's not even noon. The first was a sense of pride in the company I work for. I don't want to get into what I do all day, or even explain what the American Angus Association is exactly. I just want to say that I was very lucky to have been given this job to start with. (Thank you, Dad.) And that when we reach major milestones I feel proud of what we're doing. Sometimes it's just a small sentiment that means the world to your employees. I guess I just feel appreciated today. So, thank you.
The second thing was good music. Only, the music successfully brought a tremble to my lips. Music has this effect on me most of the time, but this caught me off guard because it was a Christmas song. It wasn't a Santa Claus song. It was a religious song and I felt the words stronger than I ever have. I guess I felt "the reason for the season". I can see what this weekend is going to bring for me, so watch out. I'm bringing the love.
The Black Canary
Okay, I have to get something off my mind. Don't worry, this one isn't serious. Not at all.
I don't know if any of you are watching 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' on the CW (keyword - and), but if you like good television, you should be. Especially if you like super hero stuff. The best thing is that even if you're a chord cutter you can watch a day later on Hulu. So, if you aren't watching, get to it. I don't want to spoil any parts of these shows for anyone, so if you haven't watched but plan to, please don't read this now. Did you get that? DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED 'ARROW' OR 'THE FLASH.'
Okay, so since Laurel is apparently going to take up the "Black Canary" mantle for her sister, I had a few thoughts. In 'Arrow', Oliver isn't confronted with too many bad guys that have seemingly super powers. And those that he has faced were dosed with mirakuru. We might see that change now though. Remember episode 1 of 'The Flash'? A particle accelerator exploded shortly after it was turned on and released particles and dark matter that created metahumans. The Flash himself is one of those. At first I thought the explosion only affected Central City. However, we've now seen that Keystone City was also affected. (I know, theoretically it's just across the river.) Also, Dr. Wells suggested that other areas may have fallout from the explosion.
So guess what that makes Andy think. Yep! Starling might have been hit too. (Even though according to Oliver that's 600 miles away.) We know the these cities exist in the same universe because Barry has visited Starling. I can't wait to see how the show runners play this out. There are limitless possibilities for bad guys with powers, but the coolest thing that comes to my mind is that it could give an introduction to familiar Justice League members. I know that's not how they got their powers, but it would make for a great tie-in.
Now, as for the subject of this post. We've seen her training. We've (I've) seen the first looks at Laurel, played by Katie Cassidy, as the "Black Canary". And it seems to work for me. Except for the fact that Sara was a highly skilled and rigorously trained assassin. It doesn't make sense to assume Laurel could get up to speed in just a few months of training sessions in a dingy boxing club. But if she was perhaps affected by some dark matter that gave her a sonic scream and some strength or speed, well, maybe you've got something there! It's probably a stretch, but I want it so badly. The original Black Canary didn't have any powers. She was a skilled fighter and impersonator. But they've opened the door for a great succession just like the comics. The previous Black Canary, Sara, didn't have any powers. She was a skilled fighter. Now, if they can make it believable for Laurel to have gained a super power to counterbalance her lack of training and fighting skill, they will have a brilliant transition from one to the other.
Again, it's probably just me being hopeful, but Black Canary is one of my favorites. I couldn't explain all the reasons why, (because I thought this was going to be a short post, and I have work to do) but she's a really strong character. She's tough and won't take crap from anybody. Ever. Also, she'll kick you're teeth out, then make you bleed from every orifice in your head with her scream.
– Oh yeah, and just wait for my post about the Atom when that bomb finally drops. (Great casting, btw.)
Gusts of Cold Amongst the Warmth
I probably couldn't count how many times I've said I'm going to do something only to end up running out of steam, or completely abandoning a project. My point is that I don't want this to be one of those. I want to continue to write. I have other writing projects in mind, and running out of steam on this one will derail all the rest. I know, it's easy to think, "so do it.", or "write more often." And I do think like that.
What I can't figure out is if I'm doing it right. I get on here and plug out some of my thoughts that I'm honestly not sure if anyone reads. But is that why I should do it anyway? Is the uncertainty the reason I don't do it as often as I figured I would? Is it something else? Maybe I haven't found my voice yet. Maybe I don't know what I want to say. It's all that and more I think.
I did have a reason to write today though. I have to say some things to someone who is very close to me. He's going through a really rough thing right now, and to him it seems so sudden and out of nowhere.
I understand that things were going so great in your life. I've been right here with you the whole time. I've also been on the outside of all of this, and bracing for impact. I love you, brother. You never have to hide how you're feeling from me. You don't have to put on your paper mask and pretend. Mostly because I can see right through it. I know this sucks. I actually know that it isn't just the one thing, but that a lot of things are eating away at you now. It was easy to shoulder the small bits while you were floating on clouds, but this is a catalyst for negativity now. Pick yourself up. Look around you. Notice the pieces still left in place. Brush them off good and hold your head high kid, you're doing fine.
We talked about it recently. About how great things are going for you. Remember that I told you to remember what it felt like to be down and out. Hopefully you took a moment to think about that. To think about a time when we were so broke a cheese sandwich was a meal. To think about the handful of times neither one of us had reliable transportation and had to rely on the hospitality of others. And to think about what it felt like to suddenly be without a place to sleep at night. Things haven't always been up in the clouds for you man, but looking back you can see they've been much worse.
I'm not on here to air your laundry. I haven't mentioned anything too personal. Besides that, anyone who knows you already knows everything about you. You're an open book, my friend. And this small thing that has you twisted up is just an ellipsis at the end of a chapter that is to be continued.
My heart is heavy this morning. I can't pin it down, though. Maybe it's because I had trouble sleeping; racked by a couple of really horrible dreams that kept me awake. Perhaps my brain is trying to make sense of some things that are going on in my life. It could be the sermon on Sunday. During which I realized there is no middle ground with God. There is also a possibility that my heart is heavy because of the headlines I read just moments ago.
'US strikes Islamic State in Syria.'
I wonder if any of this is an attempt to help the innocent people of the region? But then, the logical part of me thinks that war is never waged for the innocent, right? I understand that President Obama will speak soon about the offensive. This might be worth paying attention to. I don't know. Something about this situation feels very wrong to me. It has for a while now. Well, since ISIS took the spotlight anyway.
Again, I can't pin it down, but my heart is heavy like stone this morning. My stomach is in knots and the bags under my eyes are dark. So, I can't assume it's all because of a headline. My dream though, if you were wondering, was about war. War all over the world. I watched as my loved ones were consumed by fire and I was given a choice to participate in war, or die. I woke up as the cold steel blade sliced my neck.
I guess I don't know what to make of it.
Oh man, am I ever off my game today. I have a small stack of things to do, but my brain isn't cooperating. I guess I have some things on my mind. In fact, it has taken me 20 mins just to write these first few lines. I don't know what's going on. I was going to write a post on my Examination blog, but I lost interest in which summer movies I'm most excited to see. Mostly because I have already seen most of those on my list. There are some pretty good flicks out right now.
Okay, now that it has been 2 hours and I have 2 paragraphs written, I'm out of here. I'm so distracted...
Facing the Music
My heart is broken. In the wake of recent tragedy in my life I have realized that I can hear the music in my soul. I hear it out loud and at all times. Sometimes it's so loud it just feels like pressure in my head. Other times it is as quiet as a whisper in the wind. But it's always there. What have I done to have lost the ability to hear this beautiful composition for so long? Was it any of my few questionable life decisions I have made? Was it because I gave up playing music, or writing, or acting, or any of the things I was so enamored of but just quit doing? Or is it because I'm lost on my spiritual path in my walk with God? I'm almost certain it's the latter.
When my dad passed I did the only thing I could do. I prayed. I prayed hard. Some of you can really connect with what it means to pray hard. I haven't prayed like that since I was 16 years old. Some may ask, why then? What good was praying for a man's soul that had already passed? Turns out I wasn't praying for my dad's soul. I was praying for mine. And an internal peace is what was answered. Ask me how I know my prayers were heard.
Every time the leaves rustle against my front door I hear the symphony rise, and when I lay down at night the soloist begins my lullaby. My heart is filled with music, my mind is filled with stories and words, and my eyes are filled with brilliant color. I feel creative. I know that Dad only ever wanted me to be happy with what I was creating. He was so very proud of everything any of his kids did. I hope those siblings of mine read this and know, Dad was your #1 fan too. So, have a conversation with God, and listen to the music.
Phantom Vibration Syndrome Part 2
I wanted to touch on this topic again and tell you what I've been working on. Since I blogged about the phantom vibrations that you feel because of your mobile phone I have been reading a lot more. I have read a couple of books, lots of comics and plenty of current events. The more important thing is that I got my creative swing back.
It's true. I'm playing my guitar more and letting myself get consumed in a melody. I've attempted to cook some things I had never cooked before. I'm writing again. I'm currently working on a short story that I'm really excited to share with everybody. (When it's ready, of course.) I've spent a lot of time with friends and family, and you know, I've missed you guys. But I'm most excited about developing a comic book. This is something I've always wanted to do, and I have a really great team of folks working with me. I can bundle a lot of creativity into this one project. I'm writing and learning the art of inking. I'm researching a lot of content as well as directing the project. There is so much to do that it will keep me busy for months. We are shooting for a March release of issue 1. That will be around the time of the 2014 Planet Comicon in Kansas City, MO, although we will not be participating in the con.
My point is this. We should all rediscover something that we've lost touch with. Especially if we are good at that "something." Or if it is a thing we enjoy immensely. I'm aiming for happiness in my life. And it's definitely working for me. What are your goals? I'd like to know.
What Am I Reading?
There isn't anything better than a good horror story this time of year. So that's exactly what I went in search of at a recent book sale at our local shopping mall. I found a lot of titles that caught my attention, most of which were authored by Stephen King. However, I didn't find anything that had that nagging pull to pick it up and read it.
I've been reading a lot of comics lately. I'm a big fan of "The Walking Dead" by Robert Kirkman and this month's issue left me feeling a little bit hungry for some gnarly zombie action. I've also been reading "The Sixth Gun" by Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt. So far this is a great western story about six revolvers with supernatural powers and the terror they raise. I'm only three volumes into it and the main characters have met with ghosts, ghouls and a giant mummy. I suppose this is filling my need for spooky, but I just can't seem to be satisfied.
I've also been reading a superhero story by Kirkman called "Invincible." It's an original story that tends to mirror some of our favorites from DC and Marvel. I finished reading Vol. 11 recently, and I immediately remembered a story I had entirely forgotten about...
Almost two years ago I stumbled upon a Kindle Single while browsing the Amazon book store called, "Ex-Heroes" by Peter Clines. This book was amazing! It combined all the things I love; zombies (here called "Ex-Humans"), superheroes, giant-robot-mech suits and all of it set in a post-apocalyptic world. Genius! There are two sequels to "Ex-Heroes." "Ex-Patriots", and most recently, "Ex-Communication." I have these in digital format and somehow I had forgotten about the most recent sequel that I'd downloaded around August. I intended to read it right away, but I've been busy reading a lot of other fiction and learning my new job. But now I can say that this Fall is off to a great start. The new season of "The Walking Dead" is on AMC, pumpkin spice lattes are back, pumpkin/seasonal ales are here, the Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated, the World Series is starting and now I have something to read this month.
I discovered reading and writing for fun when I was in the 4th grade and I haven't been able to stop. I discovered my musical talent when I was 12 and started a band with my brother and my best friends. I have been on a journey of discovery that has shaped and molded my tastes for music, reading, writing, art, food and extracurricular activities since I was a high school freshman. And I'm not quite finished, so come along.