Archive for September, 2008

Another Year

September 30, 2008

Today marks the end of my second year back in New York City.  I’m glad to say that it keeps getting better and better.  I love this city, I’ve grown a lot at my job and things are generally looking up.  The addition of a church home back in January finally put in the last piece I felt was missing. 

What will I have seen 12 more months from now?  Additions to my family?  History changing elections?  How will the economy be?  Where will I have travelled?  This time next year I’d like to be blogging about how God is using me in specific ways, advancements at my job, a steady girlfriend (fiancée?) and solid plans for my future.  A lot to ask, but who knows?  2008 was nothing but one surprise after another, why should ’09 be any different?

Thanks to all my friends I’ve met in the last year for being part of my life.  And for those I’ve known longer, thanks for sticking around.  Love y’all!!

And away we go.

– J

Version -2.0

September 25, 2008

Time for a good ol’ rant. 

The entertainment industry’s lack of creativity has created a time when people in their twenties can say, “You know, back in my day…” and have merit in doing so.

As I type this, I am watching the new Knight Rider.  Words fail me to express my aggravation and disgust at this worthless piece of television.  But you know me, I’ll try anyway…

1) At least the original Knight Rider TRIED to acknowledge the existence of basic physics.  I just watched two grown adults jump into the bed of truck which then morphed into a Mustang (NOT a Trans Am), placing the two people comfortably in the front seats.  Huh?

2) That Mustang was then hit by a heat seeking missile filled with a form of napalm.  Fortunately, KITT “diverted just enough energy to deflect the blast” but the napalm covered the car turning it into a ball of flame on wheels.

Folks, this was before the opening credits.  The continued 30 minutes I’ve watched has been sexual references, impossible G.P.S. technology and the worst acting I’ve seen since the school play in seventh grade.

Oh wait!!  Somebody just stuck their wounded hand in KITT’s blankityblankin’ glove compartment and received stitches and local anesthetic.  I wouldn’t have bought that when I was 8!!  And now they are marketing this garbage to (presumably educated) adults?!

Yes, Knight Rider in the 80’s was campy and unbelievable.  Turbo Boost was laughable and KITT could supposedly open locked doors in buildings from across the street by remote.  I guess my problem is that all these awful remakes seem to take themselves seriously while their originals didn’t try so hard.  The 18 wheeler with 4 people in it from the original has been replaced by a top secret compound with a hundred people and plenty of pointless spinning blue and red mood lights. 

Special effects does not make everything better.  Neither does gratuitous sex.  I wish these producers would leave my childhood memories alone and quit ripping everything off.  God forbid someone do some creative work and come up with something new.

Ninja Turtles, Terminator, Knight Rider, Care Bears, Dukes of Hazzard, Beverley Hillbillies, Transformers, and Halloween come to mind just off the top of my head.  I know for a fact they are in works to make a new Robocop, GIJoe, Green Hornet and more.  And if remaking something isn’t enough, then they just turn everything that makes a little money into an unplanned trilogy (Pirates of the Caribbean) or add more sequels to already completed stories (Indiana Jones) thus sacrificing story and quality of film for profits because they know people will go see things regardless of whether or not they suck. 

Enough is enough already.

And you kids stay off my lawn!! *shakes fist*

Agree?  Disagree?  More examples to share?  Vent away!!

– J

Music, Mets and More

September 23, 2008

On a whim, last night I went along with some friends to see a little known (to me, at least) solo performer by the name of Jason Webley.  Not exactly life changing or anything, but a lot of fun and I’m really glad I got to see his show and meet him afterward.  He’s all over YouTube and has apparently been at this for quite some time.  He’s worth checking out.  Remember, accordions are just as scared of you as you are of them.

Tonight I’ll be going the Mets/Cubs game in this the last week of Shea Stadium.  This season I’ve started following baseball a little closer and it turns out I really enjoy going to games.  So much in fact, that I’ve gone in with a group of wonderful Mets fans for season tickets next year at the new Citi Field Stadium.  If anyone ever wants to go catch a game next year, well now you “know someone”.  Ever seen Fever Pitch?  Yeah, it’s a lot like that (only I doubt I’ll be going with Drew Barrymore).

And last but not least, a shameless plug.  Forefront Church life groups start next week!  I’m co-leading a Wednesday night meeting in Astoria with the fantasmazing newlyweds, Tristan and Melissa.  We’ll be reading and discussing Celebration of Discipline by Richard J Foster.  We still have space available and if you’re interested in great food and inspiring conversation in an honest and welcoming environment, then we’d love to have you.  This is a great chance to meet new people and develop some wonderful friendships.  And if all that’s not enough, there’s also a cute little dog to torment play with.  Sign up info is here.  We’re group #12.  If Astoria’s not your vibe, then check out some of the other locations and times still available.

Have a good’n,
-J

Bought A Boom, Badda Bing

September 18, 2008

I bought Boom Blox for the Wii a few weeks ago.  I highly recommend it.  It’s similar to Jenga, but it’s so much more than that.  It’s simple to play, but thought provoking at the same time because you have to consider which way blocks will fall or interact with each other.  You throw things to knock blocks down, or sometimes have to pull specific blocks out from certain angles.  The physics are superb, and it may be the best party game to come along since the original Wii Sports.  Up to 4 people can play either co-op or versus.  There is a story mode to play through with some interesting characters, but it’s not quite as much fun as the regular puzzles you play and unlock as you go.  You can also design your own levels and try to stump your friends, but I haven’t tried that part out yet.  With over 300 puzzles and multiple ways to play them, I’ll be enjoying this one for a long time.

– J

Con-fessions

September 18, 2008

Last terrible Con pun.  Maybe.  I just can’t help myself. 

The past week has involved a lot of overtime at work, being sick and not a lot of sleep.  Sorry this took so long, and I hope you find it worth the wait (if indeed you were waiting).

Put the pitchfork down and blow out the torches Ali, here you go.  As for the zombies in your care, Halloween is just around the corner and I’m sure they’ll be great fun at parties.

Saturday

A daily problem for me on any type of overnight outing is that I am an early riser.  Doesn’t matter what time I go to bed or where I’m sleeping (be it my own bed or a nice hotel) I will be up around 8 AM every day fully rested or not.  So I laid in bed passing in and out of consciousness waiting for my room mates come back to life.  Eventually we were all up and went our separate ways.  

Later on, Jon and I made our way to the Hyatt for the action short films at 1:00.  While waiting for the doors to open we were thrilled to find Abney Park beginning an unplugged jam session!  They clearly had a long night after their concert, but they still managed a great show complete with a pirate sing-a-long.

The members of the band dress steampunk most of the time.  Personally, I wasn’t sold on steampunk right away.  That was before meeting Finn Von Claret, at which point I pretty much fell in love with the whole idea.  Finn is the background singer and interpretive dancer for Abney.  Any woman that has “von” in her name and carries her microphone in a holster is fine by me.  I’m thinking a winter wedding, but she wants to wait till next summer.  I’ll let you know what we decide.

When they were done, we checked out the Action shorts (which left much to be desired).  After scrounging some lunch we met back up with the girls at the hotel and decided to go swim a while.  I left before everyone else and went to the panel entitled “Aliens Remembered” at 5:30.  I was really excited because Aliens is one of my favorite trilogies (I deny the existence of Aliens 3, and therefore consider Alien Resurrection the third and final entry in the series).  The panel was a Q & A session with Carrie Henn who played Newt and Lance Henriksen who played Bishop.  Good times.

After the panel, I killed some time wandering around amidst the throngs of people in the various hotels.  Narrowly avoiding an anxiety attack, I gave up trying to actually move around the crowds and returned to the hotel finding the pleasant surprise of some of Ali’s family who came to hang out.  We ordered a pizza and were thoroughly entertained by a hilarious little boy (Ali, please provide details in the form of age, relation to you, and a name if you wish.  I have drawn a complete blank.  Sorry!).

Around 10:00 it was time to get ready for the Cruxshadows concert.  This is one of the major draws for all Con goers and my hopes where pretty high.  There are rules that have to be adhered to.  Among them: Goth out, SOMEthing on your person must glow, and of course “hydration” is important.  The metamorphosis process was quite fun to watch…  Ali’s hair and makeup got more dramatic, Jean sprouted glowing blue horns while mine and Jon’s hair suddenly became irradiated.  Jon looked sleek and sexy while I turned into the love-child of The Crow and the Joker (A croker?).

Here’s a little before and after for you…  Yep, that’s what Con’ll do to you.

CS puts on quite a show, no doubt about it.  Next year, I think I’ll opt for a spot more centered on the stage and not 10 feet away from the stage left speakers taller than I am.  Eventually, my head couldn’t take much more.  Headbanging while tipsy with loud music blaring, surprisingly enough, hurts.

So we went to a more calm environment.  Something peaceful.  A rave.  I had never been to a rave and I have a feeling this wasn’t a very good example of one.  All I know is I was allowed to sling around little glowing things to a very loud beat and had a lot of fun. 

At some point in that night of craziness, I found Jesus.  Whodathunk The Almighty was friends with Kevin Smith?

Around 3:30 or 4 in the morning we found ourselves back in the hotel room completely obliterated from the evenings events.  There was nothing left to do but crash.  And so we did.

Tune in tomorrow this weekend next week probably October for the exciting conclusion to the Dragon Con recap.

Y’all be good,
– J

Under Con-struction

September 9, 2008

At the risk of physical injury I ask you to give me one more day, faithful readers.  I’m sorry, but life and work got in the way tonight.  Either tomorrow night or first thing Wednesday morning I’ll have the next installment for you.

Very Much Love!

– J

The Wrath of Con

September 5, 2008

My first thoughts Sunday morning, August 29th:

“My knee is killing me, I’m partially deaf in my right ear and I sure hope I got all that black eye liner off last night.”

If that’s not the sign of a pretty awesome night, I don’t know what is.

Pictures to follow.  Unfortunately, my camera decided to die as soon as we arrived.  Jon however, being the generous person that he is, took plenty and I’ll be getting more to share very soon.  In the meantime, here’s a recap of day one…

The flight out from Newark was uneventful which, when flying is concerned, is a good thing.  With only a few bomb and fire jokes uttered passing through security Ali, Jean, Jon and I arrived in Atlanta.  We stayed at the Hilton and had a nice room on the 6th floor with a view of the pool.  

Before even making it to the lobby of the hotel I saw various anime characters, zombies and heard lots of pop culture references I did not understand.  It was going to be a good weekend.

Checked in, we got dinner and began working out our remaining hours of Friday.  Loving cartoons and Batman as I do, I decided on a panel entitled “The Animated History of Batman” at 8:30pm.  I worked my way through the 3 hotels fighting my way past various incarnations of jedi, anime and comic book characters and steampunks (a fad I would soon learn to appreciate a lot more).

It was a fun panel, but not very educational.  Apparently, the animation of Batman on the Scooby-Doo Show was designed for kids, while Batman – The Phantom Menace was aimed more towards an older audience.  Never would have crossed my mind.

By 10:30 or 11 we had made it to the Abney Park concert.  Or more accurately, the line for the Abney Park concert.  The line left the hotel, went outside and around the corner where we waited on the sidewalk to be let in.  Jon walked down the line to take pictures, Jean and Ali were talking and I set out on a personal quest to figure out What That Smell Was.  It belonged to a very confused homeless man making his way up the street past the throngs of people in all forms of dress.  I can only imagine the thoughts going through his head.  I mean, I’m sure he’s used to being ignored by people, but probably not by Spiderman.  When he got to us, he tried to get me to give him my beer.  I, being the insensitive NYer that I am, told a homeless man that he couldn’t have my beer because it had “been a long day” and I was “still using it”.  That settled I resumed conversing with the girls.  Not only did he not go away, he took it upon himself to start making strange noises while staring at Jean.  Ali and I positioned ourselves between them and, realizing he wasn’t getting a beer or a free show, he took the hint and moved on.

Once the line started moving, it went quickly and we got a great spot down front for the concert.  Only a brief word on Abney Park as auditory description of this band would be an insult.  They rock, I am officially a fan, and I recommend you check them out.

Concert over, we returned to our room and concluded day and night one at Dragon*Con.  Days two and three coming soon.  There’s glowing fluid and aliens involved.  You’ll love it.

– J