Friday, January 20, 2006

No, not that movie with John Lithgow...

I caught the first half of an interesting documentary called "Raising Cain: Boys in Focus". It's about emotional development in boys these days and the problems they have in school.

The first part dealt mostly with pre-high-school, and seeing some of the kids, it reminded me how amazingly alien they are. And I totally don't mean this in a disparaging way; it's fascinating. The way they interpret and synthesize the information they get surprises me.

It's like 1 + 1 = CANTALOUPE!!!

Brody's going to be 3 in May, and I wonder what he's going to be like as he gets older. Right now, he's unusually well-mannered. He says "please" and "thank you" most of the time without any prompting, and when he refuses food (90% of the time), he says "No, thank you."

This, despite the fact that he spends his days with his old man.

He's very affectionate; he loves hugs and kisses. He asks for "threekiss," which is when Jen and I both kiss him on his cheek. And when you get a hug, he says, "Squeeze hard!"

So watching the documentary gave me a whole new set of things to worry about, not the least of which is hoping he doesn't end up like me.

When Michael Thompson, who wrote the book on which the documentary is based, asks a 13-year-old outcast some of the names his peers call him, I called them all out before he did. You never forget, I guess.

Like riding a bicycle.

One that calls you names.

I see in Brody different parts of Jen and me. He's blindingly smart; he makes connections between things that neither of us expect. He gets that from her, I think. He's also as cute as the dickens, which he also gets from Mom. But he seems to have pretty good retention for details, which is my blessing and my curse. Hopefully he won't be burdened with lyrics to 25-year-old gum commercials locked in his head.

If he does, he can always get his skis shined up, grab a stick of Juicy Fruit -- the taste is gonna move him.

I just hope he's not as introverted as I am. As I mentioned the other day, I'm still quite shy. Shyness, I've found, is a malady on par with "a case of the vapors" in terms of people taking it seriously. One of the few things more aggravating than being shy and seemingly unable to change it is being told to "just stop being shy," which seems like telling an anorexic to "just eat a sandwich."

I'm keen to see the rest of the documentary, even though I'm sure it will give me still more things to worry about.

If I'm lucky, it'll crowd out the Juicy Fruit song.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Me, myself and I

If I had any Photoshop skills at all (or patience), this would look cooler. I was just struck by the fact that at three separate trips to the so-called "Happiest Place on Earth," I look less than my happiest.

I also appear to have shrunk.

And I look more like the Pillsbury Doughboy than either of my younger incarnations.

Time to hit that gym.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

This happens way too often

I'll be minding my own business, and it doesn't matter what I'm thinking about. All of a sudden, this starts running through my head:

Chaka Khan, let me rock you
Let me rock you, Chaka Khan
Let me rock you, that's all I wanna do
Chaka Khan, let me rock you
Let me rock you, Chaka Khan
Let me rock you, 'cause I feel for you
Chaka Khan, won't you tell me what you wanna do
Do you feel for me the way I feel for you
Chaka Khan, let me tell you what I wanna do
I wanna love you, wanna hug you, wanna squeeze you too
Let me take you in my arms
Let me fill you with my charms, Chaka
Cuz you know that I'm the one to keep you warm, Chaka
I'll make it more than just a physical dream
I wanna rock you, Chaka baby, cuz you make me wanna scream
Let me rock you -- rock you

And I've never even met Chaka Khan.

Is that weird?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Wondering about WonderCon

WonderCon is almost upon us again. So in no particular order, some thoughts on comic conventions:

After going to last year's show, I decided that the 2005 con was my last.

Okay, maybe I was a little hasty.

Last year, I got a little overwhelmed. It seemed a lot more crowded than before, with not many places to be out of the way while my brother and my cousin were checking out the back issues.

This is a problem I have with going just about anywhere. I don't like crowds. I get really irritable, and when it gets really crowded, I start stressing out a lot.

So you can imagine the fun I had at the 2002 Comic-Con in San Diego, where the attendance was roughly in the billions.

The other thing that kinda bummed me out is how much more expensive things have gotten in the relatively short time I've been going. My first WonderCon was only in 1999, I think, and it seemed pretty laid back.

But last year, a lot more celebrities were asking to be paid for signing anything, even if it was something you brought yourself. I still haven't figured out how I feel about this.

On one hand, I know that many TV stars from my youth don't get residuals from the shows they were on, and this is a way for them to make some scratch. But I don't know.

I have no problem paying an artist for a sketch, though I've seen plenty who don't charge. I pay my $20 and I have a tangible product from someone whose work I admire. Does an actor whose show I grew up watching and enjoying deserve the same $20 for scribbling their name on something I bought to support their show in its initial run and brought with me?

I haven't paid for an autograph yet, if that tells you anything. I know some people are getting autographs for resale, and this is a way for actors to make sure they're getting something for it, but it just rubs me the wrong way. Glossy pictures that they bring with them? Sure, I know that stuff costs money. Asking for a donation to charity? No problem.

But here's the thing: I have a limited amount of money. Am I going to spend it on artwork, videos and (of course) comic books, or am I going to spend it so a star can sign my trading card?

I have to maximize my spending.

Okay, I feel like I'm ranting, so I'm gonna stop. There are lots of cool things about conventions. I got to meet the hosts of "Creature Features," Bob Wilkins and John Stanley. I almost ran right into announcer extraordinaire Gary Owens because I wasn't watching where I was going.

I think my biggest problem is that I am painfully shy. The con is filled with tons of nice people whose work I admire, and I have a hard time talking to any of them. Fortunately, my brother is always with me, and he has no problem talking to anyone. He doesn't see why I have a hard time.

"Dude, they're not going to eat you. Just talk to them. That's why they're there. Jeez, grow a pair, huh?"

My baby brother, ladies and gentlemen.

He's right, though. If I were a guest at a convention, I'd be jazzed to hear from someone who liked my work. Sure, some clown could come up to my table and tell me how much I suck, but chances are that it would be my brother, anyway.

If you are going to WonderCon this year (probably on the 11th), be on the lookout for someone who looks like this and say hi.

And yes, I know that 53% of the attendees will look vaguely like that, just in different shapes and sizes. You'd know me if you saw me.

I'm the one holding up the wall.