Mumblings

The sick thing keeps holding on and continues to be sick – I wasn’t actually referring to the President but it applies there too.

My cough remains (and it drains me, saps all my energy) and the more I talk the less I can talk – it seems. I folded a load of laundry this weekend and had to take a nap after as I was beat. The only thing that has been alleviated since I started the antibiotic is pain. My throat doesn’t hurt any more and that’s a really nice thing – thank you science.

I’m going to call my doctor this morning and try to see him to see if this is something else or just a virus thing. Hopefully he can get this all sorted out.

Work folks think it’s a nice change from me talking all the time and my friend Vanessa is happy I’m not singing at my desk all day (I’m never sure if she doesn’t like my singing or just finds it odd that someone sings at the job). Continue reading

New Digs

Here are some photos from my new digs. It’s a nice 2 bedroom condo I’m sharing with my friend Anne.

I didn’t going into Anne’s bedroom or bathroom but they are very nice too – quite spacious. We also have a balcony and a small laundry area. we have a space we think will have a dining table and chairs there and we need more artwork in the main rooms. I didn’t want my Superman art to over power the whole condo so that’s in my room… I could put my portrait in the living room, that’d be creepy.

Things seem to be going ok so far.

  • early risers
  • love coffee
  • like men
  • ride bicycles

and likely more than that in common. We might both be (I’m sure I am) tippy toeing around one another to ensure we don’t upset the apple cart too early ūüôā

I don’t think we’re doing a house warming party or anything but if we do I’ll let you know.

By the way – friends helped me raise enough money to get my bicycle repaired thanks to all. I’ll post photos when I have it back and am on the safe bike paths again.

Making Capes Happen

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This morning I attended an event for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona at the end of the event they gave everyone capes and I wore mine all day afterwards. The central theme of the event was heroes. I’m thinking we could start a new trend and make them fashionable again. Who says the only people that can pull off a cape ‘work’ for the church? Blasphemy I say! Blasphemy!

IMG_0104

Now just imagine me in a skin tight onesie with all my fatness, I’d have to wear my contacts… but hey – sexy, am I right? Ladies? Ladies? Oh wait, I swing for the other team… never mind.

That’s my friend Katie with me, she’d make a great side kick… I’ll have to think on a good sidekick name for her.. that would be fun.

Back to the event – we heard from real heroes during breakfast – a veteran, a police chief and then the stars of the show – a Mom, her son (a little) and his Big Brother from the program. It was a little emotional and a great story to kind of tie the morning up.

When we returned to the office I wrote a little email for the staff so they’d know what we’d been up to and encouraged them to join up with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I also shared about Donnell and how he made a difference in my life, not a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters but still a pretty nice experience for me. (Donnell & Superman).

At the event they let us know there is a huge waiting list of Little Brothers waiting for someone to come and mentor them. I know a lot of great guys in the valley, not just the ones from AA but work and other avenues… lol that would likely make great mentors for these kids.

81% of former Littles surveyed agree their Big gave them hope & changed their perspective of what they thought possible. (from the BBBS AZ Website)

All those kids waiting for someone to show them hope, strength and compassion.

I know a couple of Big Sisters¬†–¬†Lisa, my ex bosses daughter and my friend is a Big Sister in Central Virginia, she’s pretty amazing anyway but it lets her share that awesomeness with someone else and show them their dreams are a possibility.

This is something akin to sponsorship – you share your experience, strength and hope with someone else and show them a better way. You show up – bring your A game and mostly have fun. At the very least you help a kid… at the most that kid teaches the joys of giving back.

If I ever get my life together a little more, I think I’ll give this a shot. I’ve been given a lot of chances and lead toward proper paths by¬†a lot of others examples (Suzanne, Eric, Gary, Jim, Richard, Flo, Bruce, Ma and Pa…. the list likely goes on for quite a ways… ). If AA taught me anything besides how to stay sober it taught me that I have to give it away to keep it.. so I’ll have to take action and make this happen…

Maybe you should too…Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.18.45 PM

You can go here to volunteer for  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central AZ: Volunteer

You can find out more about Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs all over the country here: http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5962335/k.BE16/Home.htm

A Future at DC Entertainment

Saturday mornings as a kid some of my fondest memories include watching Challenge of the Superfriends¬†each week – I was captivated by those and other cartoons including Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Batman and Robin and others… but the first comic book I ever remember reading was … well probably Archie, my mom loved those… and then Casper, Wendy, Richie Rich… good stuff that I liked as a kid… The first one with real super heroes was a beat up copy of an X-Men book and they were visiting Kazar in the savage land… not even sure what issue that was but I¬†was very interested.

It wasn’t until I was a teen and had a little pocket change that I was able to buy my own comic books and I found some at a little store in Whitehall, WI… back then they were maybe 75 cents a piece and I bought up all the ones I thought I would like. It was right in the middle of Crisis On Infinite Earths in 1985 and I was very lost… there were heroes in these books I’d never heard of before like Blue Beetle, Vigilante, Harbinger, and more… who were these people and what was going on. In Whitehall it was difficult to get back issues and I struggled to figure out what was happening. In the middle of that series Supergirl sacrificed herself to save Superman in a heroic gesture… Superman’s grief in that moment and pages after are what initially drew me to love the guy… Marv Wolfman and George Perez captured a feeling that I had inside me in that book, they transported me from Earth-Prime (that’s the Earth we all live on) to Earth-2 and the antimatter universe.. I was drawn in and loved it… Continue reading

Some Hugs Are Better Than Others

I’m not a hugger… I wonder how many posts have started out that way on my blog? I’ll have to research that some day (anti-hug posts: “My Sponsor Wont Shake My Hand” “Obsess Much?” ). I opted to go to AA over NA because of the hugging that assaulted me at my first NA meeting… it was awful.

Sometimes a hug can be better… special… needed? Continue reading

The Belly Button of Thirst

Contrary to what many may believe I don’t dream about Superman often, but last night I did and it was very odd.

The last son of Krypton and I were traversing through the universe and came to a planet primarily composed of water. I was being carried in Superman’s arms much like Lois Lane and whispered in his ear that we should check this place out.¬†

We lowered into the atmosphere and were flying around looking at the beauty of this planet – water was almost everywhere and sparkled the light from the sky in great colors – it was amazing. We finally found a species there and Superman lowered me to the ground. Continue reading

My Take on Man of Steel – SPOILERS

I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions on the new Superman movie Man of Steel and wanted to share my thoughts on the movie with you. This post will be full of spoilers and if you’ve not seen it yet don’t bitch to me about things you didn’t know…

OK?

OK? OK?

Really now, I’m about to talk about the movie…. so this is your last chance!

Here I go…. this time I mean it….

 

Man of Steel – a review by Jamez

First off, I loved Krypton and everything about it. I found it visually pleasing and loved Russell Crowe as Jor-El and not just because he’s so fucking sexy and that accent makes my knees wobble… he just played the part well and I liked it. We were introduced to the villain really quickly which pleased me. I loved the technology on Krypton, the robots were great.

On Earth we jumped forward and backward in time with Clark and I didn’t mind that at all, I heard some people complain that it was confusing – which baffles me, here he’s young, here he’s old… how hard can this be? I found Clark’s struggles with having his powers growing up to be a great part of the story and how he came to deal with those powers over time was easily explained but I didn’t put certain things together until later.

It was nice to see the parts of Clark that were very human – anger, sadness, confusion, compassion for others form into what is going to make him a great hero one day. Those things are in all of us, even Superman, and sometimes can be a struggle to get through. Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) and Ma Kent (Diane Lane) were cast well – I disagreed with Pa Kent’s decision in the end and not sure that was to character, for me Pa always loved Martha and Clark so much I can’t see him just letting go like that.

I liked how he found the Kryptonian ship in Canada but it puzzled me how he found it there… I know we heard the one story on the radio or TV but he seemed to be heading that way all along. We also were introduced to Lois (Amy Adams) up there as well as Emil Hamilton (Richard Schiff)… I’m not sold on Amy Adams as Lois, but honestly it didn’t really matter to me who it was, that part was minimal in my eyes.

I saw absolutely no need for the Daily Planet sub story, I love Laurence Fishburn, but didn’t feel he added to the story as Perry White.

The things I’ve heard most talked about negatively in the movie were the killing of Zod and the long fight scene.

First, Zod. I had avoided any reviews or spoilers as best I could so I didn’t know this was going to happen. A friend points out that a more experienced Superman would have found a different way to stop Zod and that seems pretty logical to me. When it happened I was really stunned for a moment – Superman doesn’t kill is a mantra that runs through my head when I read Superman stories in comics or see him in the cartoons. But I recall he once did kill, I can’t recall the story very well but I know it bothered him immensely and he took steps to recover from that – what I felt the movie didn’t do well was show the repercussions of taking a life and the toll it can take on someone who has a soul, a heart if you will, as big as Superman. It felt like Zod was dead, Supes screamed and then boom he was making snarky remarks to the military guy. Maybe I’ll see the fall out in the sequel, which would make me pretty happy.

Secondly, the big bad fight at the end. So much destruction, is what I heard, was it really necessary? I don’t know. For me it was appropriate – you have a group of aliens hell bent on terraforming the planet and killing all of us who will stop at nothing to do so. There machines were doing a fairly great job of that on there own. I NEEDED a Superman movie where he actually punched things – I needed the fight to be fast and furious with destruction. Again, a more experienced Superman would have taken the fight out of the city, but he had just put on the cape and boots. I don’t know how long this fight scene was but I don’t really think it was much different than the Avengers end fight scene which had just as much destruction and aliens causing chaos. What I did like about the fight was showing how much destruction had been caused – it’s so easy to read these fights in the comics or see them on the cartoons and see just a superhero being thrown through a wall with no one getting hurt and the building always left standing that realism was good for my experience.

I saw it twice in a two day span – the first time was in 3D which I found to be a waste of money – not enough was done for it to be so. The second time in 2D was just as good.

In my opinion, this is the best Superman movie to date (I don’t say “of all time” because time isn’t over yet). I’m a fan of the Christopher Reeves movies, I loved them back in the day. I think Superman Returns was a nostalgic movie more about an actor that looked like Christopher Reeves than a Superman movie, and that’s sad, there were parts of it that I liked and parts that I didn’t. This movie the parts that I didn’t like were minimal and nit picky… one of the last scenes ins a flash back to young clark on the farm outside of Smallville wearing a cape and acting like Superman… which really couldn’t have happened and bugged me, but I can look past that and see this movie for what it was – the Superman movie i’d been waiting for.

 

 

 

Donnell and Superman

From 2000 – 2005 I worked at Children’s National Medical Center in a few departments that focused on HIV/AIDS. I don’t do hospitals well, I’m squeamish (see this story) but working behind a computer is easy regardless of where the computer is so it wasn’t an issue as long as I didn’t have to look at tubes and blood and stuff… ewww.

One of the nurses I worked with, Christy, had been working with one particular kid since he was born. His name was Donnell and he was born with HIV. Donnell was around 7 years old the first time I met him. He had come up to our floor with the purpose of seeing Christy and peeked his head around the corner of my cubicle shyly and then ran away, he was soon back and played with the Superman toys I had on my desk, but he was very shy. At that time I still had some hair РI know hard to believe Рand I was wearing thick framed glasses in a Clark Kent style. Donnell convinced himself that I was really Superman. I think back then he honestly believed it and who was I to deny a kid a dream.

Every time Donnell came to the hospital he would ask his nurse, Ms Campbell, if he could see Superman and I would drop whatever I was doing and spend hours with that little boy. We’d run up and down the hallways and visit strange areas and he’s always ask me when I would take him flying. I… sorry it’s hard to think about. He was always so happy to see me and he became a bright spot in my every day life.

Donnell called me Superman and other people started to call me Superman and that’s why I decided on the Superman tattoo I had done when I turned 10 years sober in 2004. Donnell thought it was pretty cool when I showed it too him and it still is today when I look at it.

He invited me a few years later to his graduation from elementary school (I think) and I was a little wary about going to Anacostia but I did anyway. He ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug that day and it was so cool to see him all dressed up and progressing. I was always asking him about school and trying to encourage him to study and try harder – emphasizing the importance of a good education, even if it was boring.

I usually go to Ft Lauderdale for my birthday in December but the year I didn’t I was in the hospital when Donnell came to the emergency room. I went to spend the day with him while they tried to figure out what was wrong. Turns out he had a brain tumor the size of a small orange in his head and they had to operate. I was with him and his family up until they took him into surgery. It was so scary, I remember being a big teary mess that day too. In spite of my squeamishness I visited him in his room every day until he was released, I even came in on a Saturday.

When I left Childrens I lost touch with Donnell, I would hear once in a while from friends that they had seen him at the hospital, but I myself hadn’t seen him since then. I often wondered how he was doing and if he had gotten into college yet.

Today he suffered a stroke, his mom found him and they resuscitated him twice before letting him go. I hear he had been doing really well on his medications and the future looked bright.

I’ve cried a few times tonight about this, a lot about time lost because I was too busy to stay in touch. A lot because he was such a good kid and he loved so many people with such a big heart.

Mostly today I wish I had been able to fly and give him that one thing – maybe now he can fly. Maybe now he has wings – if you believe that type of thing, and I”m not sure I do – if there is one man who deserves to fly it’s him… I’ll miss you Donnell, thank you for loving me .

Ooooh That Smell

For a while now I’ve had super sensitive sense of smell. I think it’s getting worse… better… more intense maybe is the word I’m looking for here. Sometimes it affects what I’m tasting or maybe it would be easier to say that I can taste things in foods and liquids that others don’t.¬†A few examples are listed below in no particular order.

  • Mildew on towels (fresh from the dryer or clothes line or hanging on the towel rack for however long)
  • My cats litter box is on the second floor of the house, I can smell if she’s used it from anywhere on the first floor or when I first get home
  • friends and strangers have bad breath that I’ve asked others about but they say they didn’t smell anything
  • perfumes and colognes can be detected strongly from a train car length away or a good block if the wind is blowing properly
  • something in my house smells like chicken, I can’t find it and I’m not sure what it is but I have lots of scented candles and odor eater things placed about to make the smell less evident
  • there is a tree near my house that smells horribly like stale beer
  • I can’t walk in the middle of the prepared foods part near the deli of the grocery store the smells of the foods in the buffet part is well, too smelly
  • dogs and cats – just touching them and I can smell them on me for hours after and I LIKE dogs and cats
  • sometimes when I’m sitting or standing next to someone I can detect that they’ve either been wearing the same underwear for a few days or don’t wipe well
  • there are things that I would have never considered to have a smell at all that have a smell
  • feet, gas, fish, body odor – none of these things would I consider to smell good anyway, but they seem to overpower my senses

If that’s not disgusting enough for you, some of the taste things include water or tea where I can taste sewage in them (what does sewage taste like? just like what it smells like) and milk starts to go bad to my tongue a week before the expiration date. I can actually taste when food I’m eating has been touched by something that isn’t on my plate – onions, peppers, fish – or maybe the preparers didn’t wash their hands¬†in-between¬†touching the items.

The smell of things can be so intense that I’ll stop walking down the street to avoid scents coming from someone, or move to entirely different cars on the Metro. At meetings I try to distance myself from smells. If someone comes into a restaurant and their perfume or cologne is too strong my meal can end up tasting like what they are wearing. It’s not every scent, it appears to be just some scents and I’m sure there is a pattern I’m missing somewhere. It sounds crazy.

When I smell something so strongly I often look around wondering why none of the people near me seem to notice and ask others if they can smell it – they say no. If you were Superman or Wolverine you’d go crazy being able to smell the things they can smell hell, I’ve been crazy a long time and I know this is driving me crazier. When I talked to my doctor about this he actually suggested I might be turning into a superhero – sniffing out crime… I like my doctor, he’s funny.

Friends have suggested I might be pregnant as they’ve experienced an enhanced sense of smell then, but the condoms have been intact – I know they are only 99.9% effective, but I’m fairly certain I’m not pregnant.

So after my doctor and I talked he talked to colleagues who didn’t know what this was either and then I had an MRI last week. The results of the MRI were normal or “non specific white matter change in some part of the brain, which is normal and doesn’t explain the smell symptoms” – but it does confirm that I actually have a brain in case you were wondering.

So if I offer you a breath mint or a stick of gum – you should really take it, especially if you want me to keep talking to you. If I don’t want to shower at your house or spend the night – it could be that I don’t like people but really it’s probably that your towels smell mildewy or that you have a pet who’s smells overtake all my other senses.

You might see me breathing out of my mouth a lot – yes I’m a mouth breather. I’ll be a mouth¬†breather¬†when I have to be and apparently I have to be a lot right now.

DC’s Change

DC Comics announced their plans this week to relaunch the DC Universe this summer renumbering most of its current series and giving almost every hero a makeover to make them into heroes that would fit into the modern world. You can read about on USA Today, CNN or Facebook and probably even on DC‘s very own website. Most of the fanboys I know are not very happy about this news – we’ve seen it before and it hasn’t gone well and usually ends up screwing up the continuity even more than before.

I started reading super-hero comics quite by accident really. My Mother would have copies of Archie or Casper the Friendly Ghost and the like but it was never anything like Superman or Spider-Man. Then one visit to my great aunts I found a beat up copy of the X-Men – by beat up I mean this thing had no cover, was missing a few pages and was ripped here and there. What was inside though was beyond my imagination – heroes unlike any that I had ever seen before on panel after panel and all working as a team. I was immediately most in love with Ice Man – and this was before he became all glossy and sleek, he was still more snowman than iceman but he was my favorite. I was really confused about all their powers and didn’t have a clue about their origins but my whole universe changed as a result of that comic book – it became an obsession.

For the next few years I would search out comic books wherever I thought they might be – the grocery store, Ben Franklin, magazine stands at road side cafes anywhere that might have the slimmest I would scour the store for an issue of anything that looked remotely entertaining. When I was fifteen, living with my grandmother I was fortunate enough to find a local store that not only sold comic books, but didn’t realize they should be taxing me for them – this lasted for about 2 years before the merchant caught on and then was nice enough to let me know why the prices went up – I didn’t know they should be taxed either. It was in that store that I found a copy of Crisis on Infinite Earths – which I only bought because I had read everything else the store had to offer. Back when I first started reading comics were about .35 cents each.

What was inside for me was absolute confusion – I didn’t know any of these heroes and the infinite earth thing was really a lot for me to try to wrap my mind around. I think this was the third issue, I eventually found a copy of the first and tried to piece together what was going on. There were heroes in the story that I did recognize: Flash, Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Robin, Green Lantern, Spectre… but there were also alternate versions of some of these characters which kind of kept me in the dark for a while. I did manage to collect all the issues and I honestly cried when Supergirl sacrificed her life for her cousin Superman – for me it was a defining moment, there are somethings worth dying for. It made superheroes something more for me than just some silly drawings on a page, they stood up for what was right and made the world a better price, no matter what the personal cost may be. It mattered to me at 15, and if I reread those issues today it would still have an effect on me – it was a great story.

Crisis was supposed to help clean up some of the notorious continuity issues that DC had for the last 50 years or so – they were going to make Superman more super and really make him the last survivor of his destroyed planet, Pre-Crisis there was Superman, Supergirl, Power Girl, Superman from Earth II (which was really the first Earth)… well there were suddenly an awful lot of Kryptonians for a planet that had been destroyed when Kal-El (Superman) was rocketed to Earth as a babe. One of the ways to do this was by killing Supergirl. She wasn’t¬† the only hero to die during this series, we lost The Flash (Barry Allen), Kole, Robin and Huntress (the old ones not the new ones) and a bunch of others…

However, Supergirl is not dead anymore – I’m getting off track here, go read my post about dead heroes not staying dead: “…and it sold comics“.

In 85 or 86 I met my friend Ted who introduced me to a darker side of comic books that I had not yet known. He showed me Cerebus, Magic, Hellblazer, Nexus (which helped me get the US Military recruiters to quit calling – long story) The Titans (ok, maybe not dark, but definitely outside the scope of what I was reading), Swamp Thing, (Mike Grell’s) Green Arrow – it was pretty amazing. We would read for hours on end these spectacular stories that took us to a different world, away from all the troubles that happen to trouble two teen outcasts in rural Wisconsin. Ted even introduced me to the Dark Phoenix saga, which I had missed – most of the X-Men issues were not regularly stocked at the store where I got books. Ted also introduced me to Westfield which delivered comics to his home – wow, unheard of for me. Ted was also the guy took me to my first comic book store – geek heaven, let me tell you (In my adult life I’ve been to much larger comic book stores across the country but the one in Eau Claire was pretty amazing for a small town boy). Ted and I had dreams of writing comics and owning our own store when we were young… sometimes you grow up and dreams change.

Present Day: Books and Comic books can be read on portable devices – some of you may remember the movie with Tom Hanks in 1988 called Big. During that movie Tom had a job at a toy company and he proposed electronic comics way back then and today it’s a reality.

I can read DC, Marvel, Image and whatever other companies are out there making comics on my phone, my iPad, and even on my computer screen – and the comic book companies are charging me the same price they would charge for an actual comic that I could hold in my hand and read smell and touch. This technology has to change the way that comics are made and distributed – and I’m sad to say that it’s probably for the best, but I’ll miss the old ones.

So back to the point of my rant here, DC is relaunching 52 titles over the next year and giving almost every character in the DC universe a makeover. They say they’re doing this to clear things up for new readers and bring in new readers as well as keep old readers. I don’t know that that’s what’s going to happen nor do I really believe that that’s their sole purpose here. See some people think all of these #1 issues are going to be worth big bucks, but I’ve been around long enough to remember all the “Alternate Covers” back in the 90s that they printed hundreds of and sure enough suckers bought em, but I don’t think most of them are worth what they paid for em.

If you want to know why some comic books are worth a lot of money from way back when you really need to see a documentary about it from the History Channel (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373763/ ) and realize that those comics were around during the war and parents (and children probably) donated them towards the war effort making the remaining copies the rare finds that they are.

So to DC I say, good luck guys and gals. I’ve been reading DC and Marvel comics since that first X-Men book and chances are I’ll continue to read them until my eyesight fails. But I hope for their sake that this isn’t a gimick, that this wont be like the episode of Dallas when Bobby was in the shower – change is necessary for everything, but meaningless change wont help you here . Also, as a 15 year old boy I cried when you killed Supergirl not just because it was a tragic sacrifice, but because at the time you had made the story so engrossing I actually cared about her – return to those days with your stories, return to the days when a death had more finality and a hero was believed in because they brought a sense of hope and wonder to the minds of readers. Make us care again and make it worth out $2.99.