One site I like to occasionally visit is the Angelfire Classic Member Directory. This site is a very simple collection of old school Anglefire websites from the 90’s and early 2000’s. The other day, I spent a hour browsing through one category and decided to collect some of the sites I enjoyed the most. They mostly reflect sites that I would have visited back in the day or still find interesting today.
Genelle Waterman planned out Clarissa’s reunion party that Sam mentioned a couple chapters back. In this chapter, we learn that Genelle was Clarissa’s arch nemesis in high school. Genelle through this post high school party in an attempt to get Sam back, someone she dated for a couple months in high school, which obviously didn’t help her relationship with Clarissa. Not many girls are okay with their boyfriends climbing into another girl’s bedroom via a ladder.
Genelle threw herself at Sam but Sam wanted Clarissa. The teasing from their prior meeting was enough to spark both of their sex drive sand Clarissa and Sam found themselves in his Dad’s pickup having sex. It was a wonderful experience, but one that was interrupted by a fireman after Genelle set off the fire alarm at her own party to try and ruin Clarissa’s night. In present time Genelle wants to talk to Clarissa.
In this chapter we got some imagery that was probably as horrific to myself as it was to Clarissa and that was her parents buck-naked smoking a joint. I did not need that visual.
Clarissa spends some time with Norm’s setup as research for her paper. This leads her on a trip where she finds herself in front of Nick’s music studio, Headspace. She lingers around front until a punk rocker girl comes out which she assumes is his girlfriend. It’s clear that Norm is out of the picture, but Clarissa still has a thing for Sam and Nick.
We end the chapter with Clarissa agreeing to meet Genelle to hear her news.
We got a lot of information in these two chapters and some graphic Sam on Clarissa action. I’m digging the story, although it does a feel a bit all over the place. I’m hoping they start tying some of this together soon.
Be sure to check out Michael’s thoughts about this book over at Random Thoughts and Ponderings
Recently, I ran across this post by Brad Warner, a Buddhist teacher that I follow: Be A Loser.
The last paragraph and a half were very enlightening, because it echo’s the way I’ve recently discovered seems to be a way to reduce stress.
…my usual policy became that if someone wanted to defeat me in a battle, I would allow that person to defeat me.
I realized that the “winner” in these conflicts usually has more trouble than the “loser.” So I would allow the other person to be the “winner” and deal with the trouble they created for themselves by being the “winner.” As the “loser” I always had less responsiblity and less work to do. It was a great strategy.
Being raised a “man” I was taught to fight every injustice. Stand up for myself in every situation and go down swinging. Unfortunately, those sentiments don’t always work in the real world. What I should have been taught is to learn to pick your battles. There are times that you must stand up for yourself and you cannot be a doormat, but there are also times when a conflict is so stupid and so meaningless, it’s just easier to lose and walk away. You end up winning in the end.
A prime example would be the whole concept of going above and beyond. I’ve always been that guy who worked extra hard and wanted to be the best. It helped me in some jobs, but not my current one. Going above and beyond only got me extra work with no extra compensation. It got me put into bad situations where I was mistreated and made to feel miserable. It took me a couple of years, but I realized there is no light at the end of this tunnel. There is no grand promotion or recognition. It’s just more tedious work and be taken advantage of.
So, I pulled back on the reigns. I withdrew but still stayed productive. I get my job done, and done right, but I don’t go above and beyond. I don’t put in any extra effort. I shy away from any extra tasks and I don’t look for kudos. I come in, do my job, and go home. I collect a paycheck and that’s it. And you know what? My life got a lot better. I mean, shockingly better. My anger and frustration at work was reduced significantly and every day is a little more tolerable. I look forward to the day I find a new job and hopefully my work ethic will be rewarded, but until then, I’m happy to be the loser and go home happy.
Yesterday, I discussed a lesson on friendship that I learned from the movie Grownups. I know… random. Anyway, I had a little more I wanted to say but I felt like the post was getting a little long so I decided to split it into two parts. So here we go:
Two years ago, I lost 80 lbs. It took a while, but people started noticing at work and that felt good. The compliments poured in, I inspired two people to lose significant weight, and my confidence boosted. Having been the fat kid most of my life, it felt good to be lighter and healthier.
The weight loss helped me out of a couple of physical health obstacles and I think the self-esteem boost helped me get out of a toxic relationship. It was a super positive experience and one that I’m grateful for.
I was terrified after I reached my goal about maintaining my new weight. It also didn’t help that I started dating an amazing cook. Slowly the pounds crept back up. I decided I’d start counting calories again and then the pandemic happened. I attempted to lose a little bit of the weight, but I only have so much energy: I can work on my mental health or my physical health, but I can’t do both. I’m just not wired to handle that. I choose my mental health.
I haven’t gained all my weight back, but I have gained half of it back. I actually feel good and feel like I still look pretty decent, but there is always that lingering feeling that I’m a failure. All of those people I work with who made a big deal out of my weight loss, I imagine them whispering about how they just knew I couldn’t keep it off. I think about the snide remarks they say behind my back about how disappointing it is that I’m a lazy loser who couldn’t keep the weight off. Of course, most likely, they don’t even care or notice, but its hard to not imagine those sort of things.
I’ve held off on buying new clothes because I guess secretly I hoped I’d feel good mentally and jump right back on losing weight. I realized the other day that that is just not going to happen right now. I need to feel better at work, so I went to Kohls and I bought some new shirts, one size larger just to give me some breathing room and to make me feel that much better.
And let me tell you… it’s made a world of a difference this week.
I look better in clothes that fit. I feel better and I’m not constantly fumbling around with one button that kept coming unbuttoned. Sure, it felt a bit like defeat that I had to buy bigger clothes, but once I got over that mental hurdle everything else has been fantastic.
So, what changed? What prompted me to hop up on my super chill out day that I planned to watch movies and run to Kohls and buy new clothes? Well, like I said yesterday, I was watching Grownups. I saw the characters joking and having fun and accepting their overweight friend and I realized that my thoughts were stupid. Hell, the people who made a deal out of my weight loss aren’t even people I like. The people I like, liked me before I lost the weight and would like me after. I was doing the one thing I would always advise anyone not to do and that is worry about someone else thinks, especially someone you don’t even like.
I think just watching that movie jolted me enough to realize that I was acting stupid. I just needed to go buy a couple new shirts, enjoy life, stop worrying about other people, and as soon as I’m feeling better mentally, I can start calorie counting again and drop the weight just like I did last time. This definitely was not worth straining myself mentally over. Life is friggin hard right now and I’m sitting here worrying about this stupid shit. Thanks to Grownups, I’m feeling a lot better about myself this week.
I’ve spent most my online time the past couple of weeks moving my blogs over to WordPress. This was a huge undertaking, especially for my BrandonsHorror.com blog which had well over 1,000 photos I needed to properly attach to each page. It’s helped some work days go by a little quicker and is the type of mindless, tedious task that I think I needed. It gave me time to heal a little and kept me from fretting so much about life.
I’ve actually found a good rhythm lately. I’ve been able to find some things that make me happy, focus on them, and just try and let the rest wash away. I know this feeling of contentment will pass, but its always a nice reprieve to find yourself atop of wave of emotion, instead of at the bottom.
Without the constant barrage of information from the internet world and the news I’ve had time to think about my life and the things I want and need in it. This has allowed me to adjust my needs ever so slightly so that they can be met and I can feel a little bit better. I don’t believe in giant leaps of improvement, but I do think small incremental increases can be achieve with a little effort and realistic expectations.
I found some inspiration in a weird place, which isn’t that unusual for me. I’m always looking for lessons to be learned and I tend to shy away at articles like, “Top Five Ways to Be Happy” or books like The Secret. I’ve wasted so much time reading self-help books and getting no where with them.
This time I found a little inspiration from the movie Grownups. It’s a pretty universally hated Adam Sandler movie, that I thought was pretty decent. It’s nothing special, but it’s one of those movies that’s an easy watch and it’ll get a chuckle or two out of you. Just avoid the sequel, it’s pretty horrible.
I re-watched this movie on Monday and I think it just resonated with me. I’m not quite as old as the actors in the film when it was made, but with my 37th birthday coming up I’m pretty close to that age range. I’m getting older and that’s always in the back of my head.
In Grownups, Adam Sandler reunites with his childhood basketball team after their coach dies. They rent a lake house, attempt to disconnect their children from their phones, and just have a good old time. What made the movie so enjoyable for me, was the interactions between the adult male friends. It was the thing I could relate to the most. Having moved a bunch as a child, I don’t have a core group of childhood friends. Actually, I don’t have any friends from my childhood. I have one on again and off again friend from high school and another I met when I just got out of high school, and those are my two oldest friends. Outside of that, I have two or three people I talk to on a near daily basis and they make up my friends.
I used to feel bad about not having more friends nearby. It was almost as if my friends who are so far away weren’t real friends since we couldn’t meet up once a week. Heck, some of these friends I would go 10+ years in seeing. But after observing the friendships of some of my peers and just letting go of this notion that proximity plays a factor in friendship, I realized that my friends are quite amazing. I have three people I can totally rely on almost any time of night. Guys I can reach out to when I have concerns, guys I can share my fandom with. I have friends that I actually enjoy. I’d love to have them closer, but I’m incredibly blessed to have these people in my life even if our relationships are mostly text based. (And what’s wrong with that anyway?)
I think with my free time and getting out of debt this year, I realized I need to make an effort to keep in touch a little better and make some trips to see these friends a little more. I guess, one of the things I took from Grownups is to not take your friends for granted and to realize how precious they are the older you get.
The mystery of Sam and Clarissa’s falling out continues to unravel as Clarissa details one of her last times having coffee with Sam. There was talk about sex, awkward knee touching, and it’s clear that Sam was testing the waters for making a move.
Before Clarissa gets to tell us what happened at her reunion, her old boyfriend Norm notices her and proceeded to talk to her in the third person and just be a general jackass. Clarissa blows him off and the chapter ends.
Clarissa gets her chance to present to MT and Dartmoor, which surprisingly doesn’t go well. Clarissa has decent material, but Dartmoor is on the warpath and her conflicting approach to finance journalism is a hard sell. Luckily, her stalker ex-boyfriend Norm shows up. He proposes to Clarissa, which she denies, but she sees potential in doing a piece about his DIY skateboard creating venture. Norms handsome look and obnoxious behavior grabs the attention of MT and Clarissa gets the job.
I liked these two chapters. I still feel like this book makes way too many characters talk obnoxiously (Norm in this case) but the story is flowing well and this Sam mystery is slowly unraveling.
Be sure to check out Michael’s thoughts about this book over at Random Thoughts and Ponderings
I started off this year with a small, simple personal blog on Blogger. I found myself writing more and using the blog as a replacement for my lack of social media. It was a place for my friends to keep up with what was going on, as well as a sounding board for all the weird stuff I wanted to share. After a few months, I grew frustrated with some technical mishaps occurring at Blogger and fueled by my desire to escape the Google eco-system as much as possible, I took my blog over to Write.as, where I rebranded it Brandon’s Journal and found a whole new audience of privacy conscious people who miss the internet of old pre-algorithms and sponsored posts. As much as I enjoy the community at Write.as, I found myself spending way too much time on Read.Write.as and well… I was taking in just as much negativity by reading some the personal blogs. So, I stopped. I pulled my blog off Read.Write.as as well. And for the last month or two, I’ve been back writing in my bubble which has been relaxing.
I recently moved over my horror website, Brandon’s Horror Review to a self-hosted WordPress. Google recently forced a new update with Blogger that I just cannot stand and it was time to allow that site to grow and breath. After a few days, I was thrilled at my progress and loved being back on WordPress. I decided then, that I would move Brandon’s Journal over to WordPress as well.
I hate to separate myself from the community over at Write.as, but I missed my sidebar. I think Write.as is a wonderful platform, but some of its limitations were just hindering how I wanted my site to grow. So, I’ve been porting everything over (which as not been an easy task), and I think I got the site 75% where I want it and that’s why I’m posting this today.
I do not have the time or the patience to figure out how to port my email and RSS subscribers to WordPress. I’m sure if you are like me, sometimes you rarely actually visit a website and just let your email/RSS readers do all the work. Well, if you like my content or want to continue keeping up with me, you’re going to have to re-subscribe. Just open up your browser and go to BrandonsJournal.com where you’ll find a Subscribe via Email feature and my RSS can be found at http://www.brandonsjournal.com/feed.
I appreciate all my readers and followers and hope you’ll continue to follow me on my new platform.
After Clarissa describes the experience of visiting Ferguson in prison we finally get our first glimpse of the man. He’s rocking a do rag and a gold cap. He talks like a stereotypical rapper (what’s up with this book and giving people bad accents?) and he’s actually adjusted well to the prison life. He’s started up a dating service and bribes guards with his mom’s tofu cookies. He also turns off his prison persona once Clarissa explains the problems he’s created for his family.
Ferguson proceeds to spend two hours teaching Clarissa about finances and setting her up to write a great article.
Clarissa still can’t figure out what angle she wants to write her article on so she takes a stroll through New York City for inspiration. She notices a do it yourself cafe and is inspired by the DIY movement that has sprung up both in person and online with Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Then she runs into her ex boyfriend Norm.
The meat of this read through was the chapter with Ferguson which was annoying to read but did progress the story. I’m not sure how much I like the current Ferguson storyline, but I’m willing to ride this out and see where it goes.
Be sure to check out Michael’s thoughts about this book over at Random Thoughts and Ponderings
I’ve always loved comic books. Superheroes, Archie, horror, you name it, I probably like it. But I wouldn’t call myself a super fan. In fact, my comic book reading has been quite sporadic over the years. I’ve got through five or six year gaps where I haven’t read anything at all but then at other times I read weekly. The best method for me to consistently read is to catch up about every six months or so, that way I can read through entire story arcs and truly appreciate what is going on.
A couple years ago, I gave up on comic reading. I was frustrated and a little burned out, and I figured it was time for me to drop the hobby. So, I haven’t read much over the past two or three years, but I have found myself really wanting to dive back into them here lately.
Marvel comics haven’t interested in me in quite some time, but I am a big DC fan. I was excited to start up a couple of DC books but then the DC bloodbath occurred. Corporate cost cutting hammered the DC workforce and well… that bothers me. I’m not against downsizing or anything, but I have a feeling AT&T is going to take a similar approach to their DC properties that Disney is doing and just farm them for IPs and discard the comics. I know, I could just forget all of that and enjoy the stories, but I think my frustration with the world as a world prevents me from doing that right now. So, I decided to look elsewhere. I checked out some of the smaller companies and so far, I’ve found some incredible books. I thought I’d talk about a few of them here:
Pulp by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
This may be my favorite graphic novel of all-time. Part pulp, part western, part man trying to find his place in this world… this book had everything that I love in good storytelling. The artwork is gorgeous and I am just stunned by how perfect this book was. I’ll definitely be buying a hardcover in the future to display on my shelf and appreciate for years to come.
Interesting Articles I Found Related to Pulp: (They do contain spoilers so read them at your own risk.)
Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera
Something is Killing the Children was originally scheduled to be a five-part limited series, but was quickly promoted to an on-going series because sales. The book reminds me of a new, twisted take on Buffy and I mean that in a very good way. So far, I’ve read issues 1-6 and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. There are quite a few questions left that I want to know answers to, however, I’m not sure if this is something I’d read for years to come.
Firefly by George Pak and Dan McDaid
I went into this book a bit apprehensive. I love Firefly but I’ve never been all that impressed with the various tie-ins. They’ve been quite hit and miss with me and I attempted to start the novel series recently released but grew frustrated about one-third of the way into the story. I decided to give the comic series a chance to provide me with an adequate story from the Verse and I feel like it delivered. It’s not perfect, but its eons better than the novel and I like the story and artwork. The characters are pretty spot-on and I enjoy the pacing. I devoured issues 1-10 in one sitting and it actually kept me up pretty late and almost made me late for work the next day! I’m excited to continue reading this series.
Recently, I wrote about my fondness for movie and television novelizations, especially those from the 80’s and 90’s. While doing a little research for that particular post I ran across a link inside a book that directed me to Retro Reading Time, a website ran by a very nice guy who spends some of his free time converting old novelizations into digital form.
I was flabbergasted by the selection included on Retro Reading Time and immediately started downloading tons of great books. Some of them I’d seen and read before (various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and others I didn’t even know exist (Short Circuit, Adventures in Babysitting). But there was barely a book in the library that I wasn’t interesting in reading.
If you are interested in out of print novelizations I highly recommend you check out Retro Reading Time.