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My truth is my own,
And if you cannot
Open your mind to a
Reality that is vastly
Different than the one that
You have always known,
Then perhaps, dearest reader, you
May find that these
Tales are not for you.

If I could, I would always
Walk beside you, not
Holding your hand, but
Simply being there, to
Let you know that I’m
There when you need me.

So much of what my own
Parents said and did now
Makes sense to me, when
I see you taking those
First, cautious, unaided steps
Toward my outstretched hand.

But the best thing that I can
Do is teach you to always
Strive to be kind in a
World that feels more cruel
Now than when I stood,
Aided by my own father’s hands.

 

We often talk, mostly in a
Joking manner, about how
We would like to drink
From the skulls of our
Enemies,
And leaving aside for a
Moment, the practicality
Of just such behavior,
Would it not be a more
Poignant act, albeit less
Intimidating, to do so
From the skull of a
Friend?

You say
That you want a
Poem,
But that it can’t be
Political. That it can’t
Be about my
Identity, about who I
Choose to love,
About how I feel.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But it shouldn’t
Attack those in power,
That it should be
Passive, peaceful,
About unity, despite
Your support for those
Who would divide
Us
Me
You.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But it shouldn’t
Include lines about the
Ways in which I
Have been erased,
In which my friends and
Loved ones and
Chosen family have
Been ignored or betrayed.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But it shouldn’t
Reflect on the life
I’ve lived or the
Death
That I’ve seen,
Felt,
Held in my hand,
A small
Fragment of grief
Beyond description.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But you don’t
Seem to actually
Know what
Poetry
Is.

Last summer, V and I discussed the possibility of buying an elliptical to have at the house, as a means of getting ourselves into better shape than we’d been. Having set aside a little extra money that I earned during Ren Faire, in December we made that a reality.

So, I’ve been running every other day for about three months now. I started aiming for half an hour, and ended up getting about 4 miles in on my early attempts. During January, I made that consistent. In February, I bumped up to 5 mile runs, and started to adjust the tension for higher difficulty, with a variable scale on the elliptical from 1-8. I would run the first two miles on tension 2, the third on 3, the fourth on 4, and back down to 2 for the fifth mile. I was able to cut my time on these “hill runs” to 26:53.

For March, I have been focusing more on speed. I’ve been maintaining a five mile run, but leaving the tension setting on 2 for a steady flat-track feeling. I’m currently sitting at 23:27 for my best time, and I’m pretty content with that.

I’m not about to turn into a fitness nut (I like my beer and pizza way too much for that), and I’m not going to start blogging constantly about my running, but I wanted to say that I’m very happy to have found something that works for me, and that I can continue to do to help myself feel and look better.

Gerard Way (yes, that Gerard Way) has always loved comic books. He and Gabriel Bá launched the first issue of The Umbrella Academy in the fall of 2007, and I first read the comics a few years later. V had copies of both The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, and let me borrow them. I was instantly hooked.

February 15th saw the release of a live-action adaptation of The Umbrella Academy, and as of last Monday night, I’ve finished my first run-through of season one. Holy god damn, that was amazing.

The story follows an unconventional family. Years ago, several dozen children were born on the same day, with none of their mothers having shown any previous signs that they were pregnant. Wealthy eccentric Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of them, six of whom demonstrated incredible superpowers. Together, the children fought crime as the Umbrella Academy. That was then. Before Ben died. Before #5 went missing. Before Luther departed for the moon.

Now, Sir Reginald has died, and the surviving children have come home to pay their respects, but are interrupted as the long-lost #5 makes an unexpected reappearance. He claims he’s been in the future, and that he’s come back to help the Umbrella Academy stop the apocalypse, which is now only a few days away.

Given that Way and Bá created an intensely bizarre world together, but it’s a beautiful framework for the Netflix adaptation to be built upon, and build it does. As they prepare for the impending end of the world, the Hargreeves siblings bond and bicker, healing some old wounds and inflicting new ones. Luther attempts to lead as he once did, but can’t conceal that he’s not the same person he was before he left for the moon. Diego tries to maintain his activities as a local vigilante, but a previous relationship with Detective Eudora Patch complicates things. Allison, despite her celebrity status, struggles with her recent divorce and separation from her daughter. Klaus battles addiction and ghosts of his past. #5 is adjusting to reverting to his thirteen-year-old body and finding a way to cope with his PTSD. Ben is still dead. And Vanya, the “normal” one of the family, just wants a place to belong.

The casting of the characters couldn’t have been more spot-on. Robert Sheehan (Klaus) and Ellen Page (Vanya) aren’t strangers to superhero universes (Sheehan starred in the early seasons of Misfits and Page played Kitty Pryde in multiple X-Men films). They’re joined by a stellar cast, including Cameron Britton and Mary J. Blige as Hazel and Cha-Cha, a pair of time travelling assassins who are sent to ensure that the apocalypse takes place as scheduled.

The Umbrella Academy‘s soundtrack is killer too, as should be expected of a series with Gerard Way at the head. From a solo dance party scene featuring Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” through #5’s fight scene set to “Istanbul, Not Constantinople” by They Might Be Giants to Way’s own cover of “Hazy Shade of Winter” in the closing credits of the final episode, it’s pitch perfect.

Over the course of 10 episodes, you get more character development than we’ve seen in the comics (so far, but with story arc #3, Hotel Oblivion, we’re starting to see more, and Way has mentioned several more planned story arcs). Considering the relatively sparse nature of the original plot of The Apocalypse Suite, I’m happy to see that the showrunners have blended some elements of Dallas into season one, giving us a far more well-rounded bit of story. I don’t doubt that Netflix will pick this one up for a second season, and I look forward to seeing my favorite dysfunctional super-family again soon.

 

I know that the winters
Seem hard and cold, and
I know that the dark
Seems endless.

Remember that wheat is
Planted before the winter,
And awaits the freeze
That it might sprout in

Spring.

“Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear.”

Eight years ago, I started out on a writing journey. Some of you have been here ever since, and I can’t thank you enough for your support and encouragement.

Reading through some of my old posts from January 2011, though, I’m seeing a lot of projects that I hinted at that have yet to come to fruition. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t kind of depressing. On the flip side of that, though, I see some of my notes, and I remember who some of the characters were, and how they came to be. It’s a bit on the inspirational side.

lot of the old writing is kinda cringe-worthy, though. I’ll leave it in place, because it’s a sign of my growth and development as a person. I hope to continue to change for the better.

Thanks.

I’m very late to Wii U ownership, y’all. I got one for the family for Christmas because the classic Wii that has been our Netflix streaming device since I first started my Netflix account will no longer be supported as of January 31st, 2019. It was as good an excuse as any to buy a system I’d wanted for a while, and so I finally have gotten the opportunity to dive into the expansive world that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Yes, I know it’s available for the Switch too, but damn it, I was aiming for some level of fiscal responsibility here (and now I only need to reclaim a Nintendo 64 to complete my collection of retired Nintendo consoles). Besides, the Switch version is a port, and it gives me all kinds of happy throwback feelings to playing Twilight Princess on the Gamecube rather than the Wii.

There’s so much to this game. The graphics are gorgeous, and the open world leaves Link free to explore the biggest version of Hyrule that has ever existed. Nintendo took the RPG-lite elements that had been incorporated into Skyward Sword back in 2011 and build it into the most unique entry in the franchise that players will actually talk about. It’s fascinating to go from Skyward Sword‘s depiction of the first hero of Hyrule to the opposite end of the series’ timeline.

It’s not a traditional Zelda game, and I absolutely love it. I’ll spend an hour just coming up with different food combinations. I’ll complete a dozen side quests before taking on the first “real” dungeon of the game (albeit purely to avoid a fight that I couldn’t win with the equipment that I had earned at the time). I wandered into a village that was on my way to another quest, and found a place where I could buy and renovate a house. I’m taking the long way around in a game where you can essentially run off to confront the final boss right away, and I’m having a fucking blast.

I can’t wait to see where Nintendo takes this franchise in the years to come. That is all.

2019 is here, and as is tradition, I’ve got a few goals to share with you.

1.) Reading! Last year, I set a reading goal on goodreads of 200 books. I got through over 230. Now, I do include graphic novels and manga in my challenge count, but I’m fully expecting to be able to exceed 200 books again this year.

I would love to be able to get through:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I made a major dent in this one while I was on vacation in November, but I need to finish it. Same with Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison. (Hey, Philip, are there any titles from your last year list that you actually got around to?)

God’s Last Breath by Sam Sykes. (What did I just say?)

When They Severed Earth From Sky by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. (Okay, seriously)

The Toll by Neil Shusterman. The Arc of a Scythe series is coming to an end. I can’t wait to see how it wraps up, given the way book two ended.

Dune by Frank Herbert. This one’s a re-read, but I haven’t gone through it since high school.

One Piece by Eiichiro Oda. I want to re-start this one too.

Old Man’s War and Head On by John Scalzi.

There’s a LOOOOOT of good stuff on my to-read shelf, y’all. I’m going to take on as many as I can.

2.) Writing!

Hey, I wrote more posts in 2018 than I did in 2017!

By, like, two.

*sigh*

And considering that 2018 lasted for something approximating a decade, that’s pretty awful.

I’d blame losing some of my favorite writing challenges, but that’s just making excuses. There’s no room for that kind of nonsense. I can seek out writing prompts without being handed one or two every week. But if you find any awesome writing challenges, I’d love for you to send them my way.

3.) Create! I got to play a little more with the Makerspace at my library in 2018 than in 2017, and I’ve got some more designs to work on going forward. I need to finish sewing/stuffing a felt Luci from Disenchantment soon, because he’s been sitting on my living room bookshelf taunting me for the last few weeks. I’ve got a Yu-Gi-Oh! card game table that I’m working on with our laser cutter, too. I did a prototype back in November, and I’ve been tweaking that design quite a bit. And of course, I’m hoping that time will allow for me to get back into some cosplay work. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t planning a Séance costume now that Umbrella Academy is getting a live-action adaptation.

seance

4.) Gaming. I miss playing D&D, y’all. It’s been a hot minute since I had a good campaign going, and I really want to do more with it. There’s talk of teaching the kids, and now a family D&D game is more viable than ever before. Also, V and I have finally gotten our Malifaux crews assembled. I know. It’s been two years since I got the box. I’m getting there. Now I have paints, so I can get that done, and we can play. It’s way more fun to put those damn things together than I expected, too, and now I’m trying to figure out what other characters I can add to my collection to supplement my crew. They’re releasing the 3rd Edition of their rules this year too, but thankfully we’ve both picked masters who are still playable in the updated rule set.

And honestly, there’s probably more goals that I’d like to set for myself, but I’m trying to be realistic here, considering how many years I’ve typed essentially this exact same post.