Friday, 30 August 2013

Mike Vs. The Wizard

There's a strange reoccurring flight of fancy that keeps crossing my mind lately.  It's that my life is not at all dissimilar to that of one of the many, many wizards that populate the various works of fiction I've absorbed over the years.  In many ways, I live a lot like the prototypical wizard.  I'll explain with a brief list. 

1.  Wizards often live alone in tall towers cluttered with strange and unusual items.  These towers generally include a balcony for addressing rampaging Orcs or for smoking a pipe while glowering up at the approaching storm. 

I live alone in a one bedroom apartment on the 19th floor.  It is filled with strange and unusual items and includes a balcony upon which I can step out and address the rampaging East York residents, or perhaps even smoke a pipe whilst glowering up at the approaching storm.

2.  Wizards generally have some sort of scrying device, a magic mirror or a crystal ball or whatever, so that they can view the happenings from far and wide throughout the land.

I have high definition "magic mirrors" in the living room and the bedroom, both of which bring me news from across the land, including traffic and weather!  Sure I call them TV's and mostly use them to watch cartoons, but still...totally counts!

3.  Wizards generally have row upon row of dusty shelves full of books and scrolls containing vast amounts of knowledge on topics both strange and diverse!  

Me too.

4.  If all else fails, Wizards may need to summon a demon or spirit to assist them in finding the answers to life's various mysteries.

I have the Internet for that.  If need be, I can even venture into the foul underworld of the "Discussion Forum" to confront the demonic trolls that reside there and learn the answers to even the most obscure questions, albeit at great peril to my fragile psyche!

5.  Wizards often have collections of obscure potions to treat a variety of conditions, both mental and physical, along with the ingredients and knowledge to create more of these magical concoctions.

I buy most of my potions pre-mixed at the drug store, but I admit to indulging in occasional experimentation...

6.  Wizards can frequently be found brooding in their towers, pondering the mysteries of the cosmos and the overwhelmingly complicated intricacies of existence and the human condition.  

That's like, all I ever do. 

Well, I could probably go on and on about this, but you get my point.  Clearly, I'm a wizard....

7.  Wizards are WISE.

D'Oh!  Uh...Never mind....

Saturday, 24 August 2013

FanExpo 2013!


Once again I'm late for posting...this time cause all day yesterday I was at FanExpo!  This was...oh, the third or fourth time I've gone.  It's a fun day!  Although my friends and I don't really "do it right".  We just sort of wander around treating it like the world's biggest geek garage sale, without actually looking into any of the panels or activities or signings or anything that most people go for...

Even without all the "activities" there's still tons to do and see, especially in just one day...

Fun!  Someday when I finally have enough seniority at my job to get weekends off or just time off in the Summer, I'll have to do the whole thing properly over the whole weekend...

Oh, of course I had to bring home some "loot"...I didn't go too nuts this year but I managed to purchase a nice selection of terribly nerdy things...

Can you believe that they made an action figure of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh?  I know, right?  Awesome!

Anyway, good time!  If you ever have a chance to go, you totally should.  You know, if you were on the fence or something.  Do it! NERRRRDDD!!!!!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Saturday's Dementia...

I took off (to the Great White North) for my days off (Thursday and Friday, as per usual) this week which was great!  I've been doing it every chance I get this year!  Unfortunately due to a combination of laziness and poor planning this time, I had to suffer the consequences of being away...

Don't be alarmed, the consequences are mild! 

One - I gotta blog during my break today since I wrote nothing on Thursday...

Two - I had almost no food so I had to go grocery shopping today!  Ugh...THIS is where they get you!

It amuses me, the things that I build up in my head as a "big deal."  Without having weekends off for most of the last decade, I have managed to successfully avoid going to the store on a Saturday for years!  It's so much easier to get your groceries or say, try on a pair of jeans on a Thursday morning than it is on a Saturday afternoon.  I mean, it's the same thing, but on Saturday it's like everyone else on the planet had the same idea as you and thus everyone is in everyone's way.  Suddenly there's an extra 150 people within shouting distance of me wherever I go.  Very annoying...why do we even live in cities full of this many people?  It's crazy!

But at the end of the day, it wasn't NEARLY the "big deal" that I thought it might least the annoyance factor was not so terrible as to make it worth living without all of the grocery items I needed until Monday afternoon just to avoid the crowds.  On the other hand, I'm in no rush to do it again.  Thursday morning is still clearly preferable!

Anyway I don't know what the point of all of this is except to say that I am well on my way to becoming a hermit who is completely set in my ways.

Oh and that this blog is late and less interesting than if I'd written it on Thursday, but too bad...I was busy sitting in the sun by a lake.  A far more worthwhile activity, to be sure!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Bat, the Clown and the "Family"

I just finished re-reading Batman issues #13-17, containing the most recently published Joker story, "Death of the Family".  In this story, the Joker's come back to Gotham City after having been missing for a year and he's upset with Batman for all that's happened in his absence.  He sees a Batman who's become weak and lost the edge that he had back in the "early days".  Why does the Joker think that Batman's so weak?  It is because he has become too dependent on his allies...his "Family".

See, when the Joker first arrived on the scene, it was just the Clown and the Bat...dancing their dance with the fates of the anonymous citizens of Gotham hanging in the balance...some will live, some will die, and the dance goes on...until Batman introduced a new element.  Suddenly Batman had help...suddenly he had Robin! 

This might have been alright, but it didn't stop there...after Robin, out of nowhere Batgirl arrives...then the first Robin grows up and becomes Nightwing and ANOTHER Robin appears to take his place...and when Joker KILLS that one another appears...and then the dead one is resurrected...and then Batman's son shows up to be the next Robin...and suddenly it's awfully crowded on the dance floor.  And all of that is just in the New 52...before the reboot it was even MORE complicated!

So the Joker argues that having all of these "kids" to take care of/rely on for assistance weakens Batman.  That Batman is more pure and driven and a stronger force when he is working alone.  That having so much help takes something away from him, as a crime fighter and maybe even as a concept.

It got me the Joker right?

At the end of the day, should the Batman be surrounded by friends and allies?  Or should he be a lone, brooding Dark Knight?  What makes for a more interesting story?  

Personally, I enjoy it when Bruce has a whole network of people to work with...there's more chance for character growth and it opens up more avenues for storytelling.  Yet every time Batman arrives at that place where he has all this help, it inevitably gets taken away from him.  He loses his family, he become yet darker and angrier and goes back to brooding in the shadows of the night...

Not that I mind terribly.  I enjoy solitary, brooding Batman too...although the transitional phase where he's extra grief-stricken and angry and grim is kind of a bummer....

But of course the Bat eventually makes it back from that solitary's a never ending cycle...and one of the great strengths of Batman as a character is the ability he has to adapt...he can go from campy and lighthearted to dark and serious...from street-level crime-fighting to galaxy-spanning can tell almost ANY kind of story with Batman as a protagonist!

Anyway, I was just thinking about it...maybe drawing a few parallels as I've been kind of a hermit myself lately (partially through circumstance and partially by design).  What is Batman's most natural state?  Alone or with his "Family"?  What do you prefer??

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Struggle to Relax...

I keep trying to tell remind myself...that sometimes I just have to let things go. 

I'm way too prone to being stuck in my own head and over-analyzing things and yeah maybe everything does have meaning BUT sometimes you just have to let it flow instead of trying to figure it all out.

Not that I don't want to be mindful of my past, or attentive to where I'll be going in the future, but sometimes it feels like I'm focusing too much on those aspects...anything to distract myself from living in the moment that I'm in right now!  Which is strange, because the moment that I'm in right now is usually a pretty good moment!  If all that was ever on my mind was where I am right now and what I am doing right now, I'd rarely have any reason to be unhappy.  Most of my moments in this modern world are nice moments...why is it so hard to just relax and enjoy them?

When you really stop to think about it, most everything that we burn energy concerning ourselves with will do whatever it's going to do regardless of our plans and strategies.  Sure we can affect change on lots and lots of things...but the staggering amount of activity that goes on in the universe without any help or interference from us makes what we CAN change pale in comparison.  So why worry about it?  I don't know...but it seems I can't always help myself. 

It's silly...especially since I'm pretty sure, with or without my overseeing things, that everything is going to work know, reasonably okay.

So I just keep reminding myself.

Sometimes I just need to LET THINGS GO.