Observations on the Road to...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy 24th, Justin!

For Reference

Today is what would’ve been Justin’s 24th Birthday. I’m sure that today, and this next week is gonna be just as weird/difficult/reflective as it has been the last four years since Justin’s passing (September 4th).

Not since 2004, have I had such an extraordinarily challenging year to waver through. This year I lost my maternal grandmother, which was excruciatingly hard. Also, my paternal grandmother’s health isn’t doing all too well. Also, I’m not exactly happy with where I am in my life right now. But in spite of that line, I am trying to use it as fuel to get myself out of the rut I feel I’m in; or at least do so as best as I can.

Don’t get me wrong; there have been a lot of good times this year to balance all the difficulties. Within the last nine months both my sister and brother have made new additions to their respective families, bringing the niece/nephew count to eight. That’s not counting to the nieces and nephews I already have from all of cousins. One of which just had another baby matter of fact.

What’s more, I actually got to travel to New York for the first time and San Diego for Comic-Con this summer, too.

Yet, at the same time, I’m just ready to clear the slate and move forward. But today has me thinking about Justin, and the good times I know my friends and I have had without him physically there with us, and knowing how much he would’ve enjoyed getting to do the things he wasn’t able to while sick, and the good times I wish he could’ve had since his 2004.

Justin had a way of not letting the bad things in his life effect his bright outlook on life; he didn’t sweat the small stuff. It’s one of the things that I try to adhere everyday. But every now and then, especially every year this week, it’s just a wee bit more bittersweet.

Happy Birthday, Justin!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

50 Things I Love About Comics

So after reading a few posts off of 4th Letter (which in turn David had found from blake-reitz.livejournal.com), I decided, what the hey, I'll jump on the meme.

So here are my 50 Things I Love About Comics. The list is comprised of single issues of particular titles, titles themselves or GN's, comic properties in other media, creators themselves, and a quote that I don't think I'll really ever get tired of. Some of the items may actually cross-over with one another, but whatever. Here's the list:

1. Y: The Last Man #60
2. Gotham Central #37
3. Seven Soldiers #1
4. Gotham Central #12
5. Infinite Crisis #4
6. The Spirit #6 (Darwyn's run)
7. Tiny Titans #1
8. Captain America #25 (vol. 5)
9. Ex Machina #1
10. Solo #10 (Damian Scott issue)
11. Detective #787
12. Captain America #10 (vol. 5)
13. Y: The Last Man #58
14. Batman #603
15. Amazing Spider Man #36 (vol. 2)

16. New Gods/4th World
17. Runaways
18. Teen Titans Judas Contract
19. Pride of Baghdad
20. Black Hole
21. The Pro
22. Scott Pilgrim
23. DC: The New Frontier
24. Transmetropolitan
25. Phonogram
26. Suburban Glamour
27. Astonishing X-Men (Whedon & Cassaday)
28. XXXombies
29. Crisis on Infinite Earths
30. 52

31. “I’m the Goddamn Batman!”

32. Batman: The Animated Series
33. The Dark Knight
34. Spider-Man 2
35. Iron Man
36. American Splendor
37. Superman: The Movie

38. Brian K. Vaughan
39. Geoff Johns
40. Grant Morrison
41. Adrian Tomine
42. Pia Guerra
43. Tony Harris
44. Ed Brubaker
45. Tim Sale
46. Terry Dodson
47. Darwyn Cooke
48. JH Williams III
49. Jack Kirby

50. Twitter (what better way to keep tabs on most comic creators these days)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: New York

Before going to San Diego last month, I had taken a visit to New York with my friends Joseph and Alisha. Joe and I had originally planned to go to New York sometime last summer as a graduation gift to ourselves. But due to poor planning, and just plain too much to do and take care of the first half of last year, we had to scrap plans for the big trip. So by the time 2008 rolled around, we made it imperative to start planning things to make this trip happen. Which for me that included having to sacrifice going to Coachella back in April with Alisha, Dang, and a bunch of other friends. I actually bought tickets to the event, but luckily, Keoki, who hadn’t yet bought his tickets to the festival took them off my hands.

Then after a while, and Joe and I began eyeing dates in which to go, Alisha told us she was thinking how much she’d like to see New York. Which led to Dang also to contemplate a trip out east. But in the end, Dang just wasn’t gonna be able to make it out with us. So it was Joe, Alisha, and myself.

Being the big, gigantic Oakland Athletics fans –let alone baseball fans– that Joe and I, we just had to make sure that we had to see a baseball game in Yankee Stadium. This 2008 season of course being the last season the Yanks would play before moving next door into the new Yankee Stadium. It just so happened that the A’s were playing a weekend series in New York in July. What worked out so picture fucking perfect and then some, was that the weekend after the trip to New York, was Comic-Con weekend.

To maximize our time in New York, we figured getting on a red-eye that left SFO on Wednesday night, and our connecting flight from Las Vegas to JFK would get us into New York at a little past 8am Thursday morning. In the cab ride into the city, I chuckled to myself as Alisha and Joe were either still kind of sleepy or had their attention elsewhere as we passed by an exit to Queens Boulevard. I mouthed the phrase: “I AM QUEENS BOULEVARD.” Joseph being a fan of Entourage as well, I thought he’d get a kick out of it as well, and I tried to show him the exit sign before it was too late. Hell, I got so much a kick out of it that I tweeted: “I am Queens Blvd.”

Anyhow, after checking our bags into the hotel (located in Times Square), we headed straight for the Statue of Liberty, which I gotta preface by saying that it pays to not only buy your tickets for these sightseeing stuff ahead of time, and online, but also to get the express passes. It really is so freakin damn worth it considering all the time you save, especially considering we were running from place to place at break-neck like speed –might be over-exaggerating with that, but still– we had to if we wanted to see and do everything that we wanted to see and do.

After the Statue, we had to conserve a little energy to get to Rockafeller Center for the tours we had planned for there, so we didn’t bother getting off the ferry again to see Ellis Island. Following the Statue of Liberty, the three of us headed to Rockafeller Center to take a pair of tours: the NBC Studio Tour and the Top of the Rock Tour.

The studio tour took us to the set where Brian Williams does the network’s Nightly News broadcast, which is actually only one room away from where MSNBC does their programming. We also got to see Studio 8H, which is where Saturday Night Live is taped. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go tour through Conan O’Brien’s set. My guess was that since it was so close to the hour in which they tape the show that they were probably rehearsing. Oh well. Also, they didn’t allow for pictures to be taken on the tour. Again, oh well.

After the studio tour, we took the Top of the Rock tour, which was basically a tour of the Rockafeller Center, and concluded with being shown to the top of the Rockafeller building.

Throughout the trip, I took photos with not only with my digital camera, but with my manual camera, too. I think I took something like four rolls at 24 exposures each. Haven’t gotten them developed yet, but I will, and like the others I’ll end up uploading it onto my flickr.

We went to Papaya King afterward for a quick –and I mean quick– bite to eat, which is also to say, some pretty good hot dogs. We had just enough time to get something to eat before having to get ourselves ready to catch the Avenue Q musical just down the street from the hotel.

When Alisha picked out the musical, I scratched my head sine the title sounded so familiar. They did a run of the production at a theater in San Francisco not too long ago. Thought it was enjoyable, especially considering most of the characters’ arc fit our the themes in which the three of us could relate to.

To cap the night off, we headed down to a movie theater on 34th Ave, where we met up with this fucking guy. Dave and his friend were already in line, as they were waiting for us to catch a midnight screening of The Dark Knight. I’ll share and repeat Dave’s description of the line that night: it was retarded! That line worked its way around the freakin damn corner; it was so long.
Since the theater sold tickets to the movie in four different auditoriums, Dave and his friend had tickets to watch the movie in a different auditorium than the three of us.

But when we met up with Dave after the movie, there was no denying the fact that we were all just in so much fuckin awe of that movie. The way in which Alisha kept describing my reaction to the movie –as the credit rolled– to people: “It was as if Joey had just seen Jesus.” More on The Dark Knight soon, I promise. I’ve been meaning to write something up on the film, and a couple other issues as well.

Anyway, after the film, as Dave was escorting/walking us back to our hotel, he laid this little bit of information on us: last call at bars and clubs in New York is as late as four or five in the AM. Of course, in California, bars and clubs have a last call at around one-thirty or so. Although the three of us were dead damn tired after just the first fuckin day, we took full advantage of this information the next couple nights.

And like the San Diego recap, there’s just too much to fit into in just one single post, so I’ll leave off here, and pick things up in the next couple days.