Waiting on the front porch

 In Northern California, back when I was a kid, there was a major upsurge in child abductions.  Kids would be walking home from school and just never make it home. I remember vividly watching the news and seeing the pain in the eyes of tortured parents who have been waiting for their kids to come home.  I just imagined these poor parents sitting on their front porch, or their stoop and their just looking out toward the horizon, praying that their children will be walking down the driveway, laughing and brimming with life.
Today, my heart aches for those parents even stronger then before.  A week ago, my wife Mercedes and I were expecting a new life.  A new addition to our wonderful, crazy, wonderfully crazy family.  Excitedly, I told a lot of our friends and family, beating Mercy to the punch in some instances.  We were both very happy, but something felt off.  There was just this overall sense that something was missing, like there was a piece of the puzzle just out of reach.   When you have a feeling like that, you just tell yourself that you’re exaggerating or being a worry wort and you stuff it into the back of your mind and forget all about it.  That feeling was still there, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to think about it, let alone really talk about it.
We talked about names, gender, rearranging the house, rearranging our lives and the fact that we could be insane for wanting another child….you know, all of the usual stuff associated with having babies.  I started a blog post called “Baby:  The sequel”.  Here’s what I had so far:

If having a baby was a movie, it would most certainly have to be a Michael Bay movie.  Yeah, I know, we all want to think having a baby is really sweet and nostalgic like a John Hughes film.  Two incredibly witty, incredibly photogenic people (That’s Mercy and I in a nutshell) meet up.  There’s friction at first, they eventually fall in love and have a baby and there’s wacky hijinks with kooky parents and goofy doctors and maybe some kind of rush to the hospital with Martin Short as a Russian cab driver….that’s what we all want anyway.  What we get is explosions, crazy off the wall characters and a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t make any sense at all.  Ok, the explosions are usually emotional (until the baby arrives, then they are scatological.) My wife and I went through our first action movie….”Baby:  The reckoning”.  It was a wild ride with German doctors (Think Hans Gruber, but really nice and really old.), ticking time bombs (Never deprive a pregnant woman of her breakfast burrito.), and gnarly scars (Have you ever seen a C-section? Rambo couldn’t even handle that…not even Rambo.)  Now we are about to have the sequel…”Baby 2:  Probably another girl…sorry dad.”  Why would anyone put themselves through the craziness again?  Well, we love each other very much, we love our children and we are clinically insane.  We must be right?  And the girl thing isn’t a joke, I want a boy….yet I know this is going to be a girl.  Which  means I am going to have to pay for a lot of weddings in the future.  Does anyone have four more job openings for me, I’ll need some more cash flow.

I didn’t expand on it and I didn’t post it.  I wanted to, yet that nagging feeling kept bothering me.  I decided to wait until we had the first ultrasound.  I was going to post the ultrasound picture, just like I had done with Luna.   A few days passed after we first learned we were expecting and my wife and I kept talking about names.  If it was a boy we would go with Delbert, my late Grandfather’s name, or Bowie (after David Bowie) or Ryan (I was against that one, that was all Mercy’s idea)….or this or that….the boy name was always up in the air.  Mercy knew we were going to have a girl and as much as I joked and protested that we had too much estrogen in the household already, so did I.  This baby was going to be a girl, we both knew it.  Mercy didn’t have too many candidates for a girl’s name.  She loved the name Cielo.  We both did.  It was so natural.  We have a Luna and we would have a baby Cielo.  The Moon and Heaven.

Unfortunatly, the ultrasound we were waiting for never came.  On Monday, 7/21/14 Mercy lost the baby.  I struggle to find words to describe either of our emotions right now.  Sad would be an understatement. Mercy is naturally saddened and shaken, but not devastated.  She is the strongest woman I have ever known in my life.   I wish I had her strength.  All I can do is hug her.  When the time is right and I see that glint in her eye, I will try to make her smile, maybe even laugh.  For now, hugs are good and tears are natural.
We have God in our lives and in our hearts and we both know that this little life that has slipped from our grasp is not lost.  She is with God.  Our Cielo is in Heaven where she belongs.  And while it is a different type of loss, I still feel and relate to those ever waiting parents.  In this case, know Cielo is in Heaven waiting with God for Mommy and Daddy to come home.

“What was she thinking?” An anthropological guide to teenage girls.

"So I walks into a bar and I orders ten beers and I says...put it on my bill!  Get it!  Why don't anyone laugh at me jokes?  I'm a freak!  A freak!!"

“So I walks into a bar and I orders ten beers and I says…put it on my bill! Get it! Why don’t anyone laugh at me jokes? I’m a freak! A freak!!”

What is the function of the mighty Platypus?  If we were to be part of some kind of cosmically aware sentient Google Earth and we zoomed out and looked down on creation, could we see what part the odd Platypus plays in the theatrical production that is life?  No, probably not.  The same could be said about the twice as mysterious Teenage girl.  What are they thinking?  What do they want?  When will they stop talking?  WHEN?  WHEN?  WHEN?!!!!  The joy of parenthood.

My wife, Mercy and I began raising my sister Michelea when she was just 10 years old…It seemed so much easier then.  Once she was acclimated to a lifestyle that didn’t include the continuous consumption of pixie sticks she stopped fidgeting enough to fall in love with reading and playing outside and just being a kid.  She would just run around fighting imaginary zombies until it was time for dinner….then we would read the Witches.  While only six years ago, those days of imaginary ghouls and Roald Dahl seem so long ago.  Fictitious zombies faded away to make room for real life ghouls like the disgusting Black Veil Brides.

"What do you mean we ripped off Kiss?  We meant to rip off Motley Crue!"

“What do you mean we ripped off Kiss? We meant to rip off Motley Crue!”

Seriously, have you seen these jokers?  It is as if they worshiped at the altar of Aqua net and Motley Crue.  If you thought Motley Crue was a lousy band, you haven’t heard anything until you’ve listened to this collection of groaning imbeciles.  Michelea:  “Oh can I please see the Black Veil brides….please?  It would be so Amazing!”  Me: “I’d rather have a tarantula bite my left eye while a howler monkey beats me in the head with a ratchet.”

I'd rather have this happen than listen to Black Veil Brides.

I’d rather have this happen than listen to Black Veil Brides.

Whimsical and creative fiction from the minds of Maurice Sendak, Mark Twain and Shel Silverstein  became cookie cutter drivel like Twilight and the Hunger Games.  I will concede that the Hunger Games is actually written well but the concept is just like any ordinary summer blockbuster.  You all know Twilight and if you’re not a girl ages 12-16 you know that it is just plain silly and sometimes downright insulting to the female gender.  “I don’t care if he’s an unholy creature of the night and he wants to suck my blood and he’s kind of a diva and a jerk….I love him!”  Now if that doesn’t sound like someone struggling with battered wife/girlfriend syndrome, I don’t know what does.  “Hey girls, it’s okay to like a guy who treats you like crap as long as he has magical powers! WHEEEEEEEEE!” Luckily Michelea is over that trend.  Okay actually when her grades were slumping I threw every last one of her vampire books away.  I would like to think that somewhere there was a garbage man that was about to throw the books in the trash compactor when his fellow burly garbage man stopped him and said:  “Are you insane Carl?  That’s Marked, the first volume in the House of Night series!  I love to read about the struggles of young Zoey Redbird and the world of vampires!”

"No Zoey Redbird!  Don't fall for the dashing young vampire, he'll just break your immortal heart!"

“No Zoey Redbird! Don’t fall for the dashing young vampire, he’ll just break your immortal heart!”

 

Of course these are all just phases in the mad world of teenage-girldom.  One phase that seems to last FOREVER is that all teenage girls know better than you.  According to a council of teenage girls, the teenage girl brain is like that of Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer all rolled into one.  This of course is a biased conclusion.  One such memorable teenage brain moment came when Michelea was insistent on telling me that the Getty Villa was in Miami.  Miami, California.  I corrected her as nicely and as diplomatically as I could.  “Don’t be a moron, Miami is not in California!”  To this she replied:  “You don’t understand!  It’s in Miami, California.”  So I showed her a map and she was quiet for about two hours.  That was the plus side.  However, teenage girls don’t stay quiet for long and they tend to share their opinions with everyone in ear shot, as Mercy can tell you.

Mercy and Michelea were arguing over a word in a book….ugh, I believe it was in Twilight.  Michelea swore up and down that there was a word pronounced “Chow-es”.  Since my wife has lived longer than a teenager and you know, can read and stuff she disagreed.  To which Michelea responded:  “You just don’t understand!  This is a word you probably know nothing about!  It’s Chow-es, It’s Chow-es!”  Teens see themselves as world weary pioneers and think that they have discovered everything for the first time and we as adults are just some kind of dim witted country bumpkins.  So, the common battle cry for the ego wounded teen girl is “You don’t understand!”  Of course in this instance I was the official, reluctant and scared referee.  The word was Chaos.  Chow-es is not a word, sorry to disappoint you.  And yes Michelea, we do understand Chaos, it’s called having a teenager.

Pictured:  The Chow-es of having a teenage girl in the house.

Pictured: The Chow-es of having a teenage girl in the house.

 

 

“Dad, what’s a blog? Does it live the swamp?” Lunaisms.

For the past few days I have been really listening to my children.  Yes, I know this comes as a shock to many.  Don’t worry, I’m not listening to them because I suddenly am trying to be a competent member of the family.  I’m listening to them because they are just so funny and people like to read funny things.

Today, let’s look at the many funny, baffling, and ludicrous things my three year old, Luna  will say. I call them Luna-isms.  It’s amazing when you think about it because she really does have an opinion on all facets of life, even if she doesn’t actually understand 88 % of the world around her.

 

Our miniature philosopher displaying her serene calmness.

Our miniature philosopher displaying her serene calmness.

LOCAL POLITICS:

Me:  “Do you know who the mayor of Los Angeles is?”

Luna:  “Grandpa.”

Me:  “Really?  Grandpa is the Mayor of Los Angeles?”

Garcetti, Not Grandpa

Garcetti, Not Grandpa

Luna:  “He told me not to walk in the living room with cookies.”

Me:  “What does a mayor do?”

Luna:  “He’s a boss.  Bossers like to take naps.  I can’t eat cookies in your bed anymore because I leave crumbs.”

NATIONAL POLITICS:

Me:  “Who is the President of the United States?”

Luna:  “The President is Obama.  He lives in the statue of Americas.”

Current resident of the Statue of America...according to my 3 year old.

Current resident of the Statue of America…according to my 3 year old.

Me: “What does he do?”

Luna:  “I need more money.”

Me:  “Yeah, so do I.”

ENTERTAINMENT:

Me:  “What is your favorite movie?”

Luna:  “Cinderella Blue.  She is Cinderella and she wears a blue dress and she has glass shoes.

After all that fast food, she might not fit into those glass slippers either.

After all that fast food, she might not fit into those glass slippers either.

Me:  “She wears glass shoes? Won’t they break?”

Luna:  “Girls won’t break glass shoes.  You can’t wear glass shoes because you are a big man.  And you have a beard.  Beard people can’t wear glass shoes.”

Me:  “What is your favorite show on television.”

Luna:  “I like to Eye Spy and Timothy goes to school.  You say Timothy goes to jail….I don’t like that!  Policers are going to take YOU to jail.  It’s a bad choice and get out of this family.”

Me:  “Okay, I will leave.”

Luna:  “No!  I love you.  I was just making a joke.”

FINE CUISINE:

Me:  “What is your favorite food.”

Luna:  “I like Pancakes with cherry eyeballs and sausage mouths and you eat them fast.”

Me:  “That sounds really good.”

Luna:  “It’s not for you.  Only girls.  Boys eat rocks.”

RELIGION:

Me:  “What do we do at Church?”

Luna:  “We sing Blessed be the name and then all the children stand up and pray and then they go to Sunday school and we talk about Jesus.”

Me:  “What did Jesus do?”

Luna:  “Jesus made good choices and wanted everybody to be good and some bad people made bad choices and they made Jesus pass away.  Then Jesus was in a cave and he pushed a rock and came out for Easter.  Children hunt Easter eggs and eat chocolates.  I like Chocolates.  Daddy do we have candy?”

Pictured:  Luna's dream Easter.

Pictured: Luna’s dream Easter.

Next time:  Michelea-isms, true tales of the weird things a teenager says.

 

Tonight’s Episode: “The hardest post I’ve ever had to write.” Or “A very special episode of Blossom.”

veryspecial

Nerds of Mass Distraction has been sleeping for a while. If you have followed the blog in its many incarnations in the past, you may have noticed that I haven’t updated anything in bloggo formo in a long time. While I have been introducing the new facebook page and dumping as much nerd based material onto that as I can, I have missed the personal depth that a blog can provide. Done right, a blog is kind of like viewing a piece of someone’s personality. That’s what I tried to capture over the years. If you read the blog you get to know me, at least just a little. To really explain why I haven’t touched the blog in a while is to delve into a very serious subject, one that few people talk about, but things need to be brought to light. So on that note, take some time to compose yourself….laugh break starting in 5….4….3….2…..1….

spamviking

 

 

Okay, are you done? Good. In January of this year I had an incredibly traumatic experience, something that would soon trigger a chain of events that changed my life in many ways. My lovely wife was giving me a back rub, as lovely wives tend to do. Out of the blue I was hit over the head with a horrendous memory of my childhood. A memory that had been locked inside my mind for over 25 years. I pushed my wife away and began to sob uncontrollably. I had just came to the realization that I had been sexually abused as a child. Now as odd as it sounds, repressed memories are not uncommon, especially for someone who experienced a traumatic event at such a young age.

For both legal and privacy reasons, I will not go into the Who’s and the How’s all too much.  The fact is, that my abuser was someone who had abused many people in and around my family and did serve jail time for two of those crimes. Before this sudden and traumatic flashback, I only remembered and acknowledged one such event of abuse by this man but suddenly after January I would suddenly be ambushed by wave after wave of horrible memories. As these flashbacks continued to provide clues to the bigger puzzle, I talked to family members, asked questions and put the pieces together. Soon I came to the horrific realization that I had been abused for at least three years (That I can remember) From this January to now I have had my emotions just flipped upside down and blended into mush. I would get angry for no apparent reason, I’d yell, I’d cry….I was a mess.

Thankfully, God has blessed me with an amazing wife. Mercedes has been both a rock to keep me anchored and sane and a safety net to catch me when I am falling due to one of these emotionally overloading flashbacks. Let me tell you, they are incredibly painful to experience. I never know what the trigger will be and suddenly for a brief moment I am no longer in the present day, I am reliving that moment where my six year old self is frightened and powerless. Not to take away from the seriousness at all, to me, the experience is very much like Quantum Leap….instead of my consciousness jumping into JFK or Babe Ruth it jumps into my younger self and I am back there in the 1980s scared out of my mind. While these experiences don’t last a long time, they feel like an eternity. Some are very brief with a little impact while others send me falling to my knees crying.  Amazingly, this experience has brought us closer together than ever before.  I am so blessed by God that I have a strong, powerful and courageous wife otherwise I’d be a raving lunatic.  Mercedes Castro-Miller, I love you so much.  (Okay, I promise I will stop embarrassing you, Wifey-Poo…well, I just did it again, didn’t I?)

My church has been incredibly helpful as well, I have awesome guidance through my Pastor, Richard and his wife, Jennifer.  They have both kept me grounded and reminded me that I am loved and I am NOT TO BLAME for what was done to me.  I wish I could say that I found love and support all around, but I would be lying. Sadly we live in a society that would rather sweep the truth of sexual abuse under the rug and pretend there aren’t abusers rather than have fruitful and productive discussions on the topic. When I told my mother about what I’ve been going through she said “I’m really sorry that happened to you.” My father on the other hand said “Well it happened a long, long time ago. You should really get over it.” Needless to say, I haven’t spoken with him since then and I have no immediate desire to speak with him any time soon.  Also on my father’s side of the family I’ve had and aunt and a cousin who accused my wife of convincing me to “make up stories to stir up shit”.  I’ve stopped talking to them too.  Family can be a magical thing, can’t it?  Sadly, I’m not the only person who has had to face these ignorant types of people.

The topic of sexual abuse is like the proverbial Sasquatch in the living room, you can cover it up with a blanket and pretend it isn’t there, but that doesn’t make it go away and it doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Men, women and children are in danger everyday from predators who wear the disguises of friends, family, civil servants, clergy and what have you. For whatever reason males who have been sexually abused get ignored in our society. We have our cultural stigma that a boy/man can handle anything and “They’ll be okay…just tough it up….” The problematic misconception is getting worse. In my case the abuser was a man. However in our society if a woman abuses a young man many people say he’s “lucky” or she’s a “cougar”.  No, he is a survivor of sexual abuse and she is a predator…end of discussion.

We need to stop ignoring the abuse and start supporting the survivors rather than treating them like jokes or pariahs. That’s why I am telling my story today. Yes, I know I write a funny little blog about family, fatherhood, comics and being a nerd but it is a good platform as any to bring this dark subject to light.  Now as I am beginning counseling, I am slowly starting to be comfortable again in my own skin and comfortable interacting with people.  It’s a slow and steady process as with any post traumatic stress, but the healing has begun.

For anyone new to my blog who may be startled or offended by the little sprinklings of humor I put in this post….get over it.   One thing my wife is helping me with as we go through this experience is that I need to stop holding back who I am for the sake of sparing the feelings of others.  That side of me is definitely on its way out.  This is who I am and if you don’t like it you can take a walk.  I always try to bring humor and humanity to topics I write about and I will not allow this traumatic experience to change that.  Any sane person will realize that I am not making light of sexual abuse.  The truth is sometimes bitter and painful to swallow so I am just giving it the candy shell of humor.

So with that said, you’ll start to see a lot more of me and my blog and soon we will be back to that point where you all get sick of my rants once again.  As always thank you for reading and may you forever be nerdy.

For the  facts on sexual abuse please visit these sites, they’ve helped me:

One in Six:  A resource for Male survivors of sexual abuse.  This site really helped me a lot when I was first coming to terms with my experience.  There is a wealth of information here for men.

Male Survivor:   Another great resource for Men who have been sexually abused.  There are a lot of great resources here.

RAINN:  This is an excellent resource for anyone who has been sexually abused.  This is probably one of the best general sites out there on the subject.

 

 

A new year….A new outlook…A new Post!

2013 is gone…it’s dead and I killed it! YAY! Sure, the past year brought out some good things in our lives. I just felt that the negative seemed to outweigh the good in a lot of ways, both personally and creatively. Even Pop culture seemed to have a darker edge to it.

Iron Man 3 (An excellent movie) gave us a neurotic, damaged Tony Stark. Man of Steel (Spoiler commencing in 5….4…3…2…1) featured a Superman whom killed his enemy as a last resort rather than having a firm line against killing. (I warned you about the spoiler…the movie stank so don’t bother.) Worst of all was the harbinger of death that was the MTV Video Music Awards of 2013….Let’s not even speak of that unimaginable horror.

The tounge of the apocalypse.

The tounge of the apocalypse.

Not all of 2013 was bad…there were a few bright spots and despite it all, through the grace of God…we made it out alive! So, with that venom leached out of my system, let’s put the bad behind us and concentrate on the good. Here now, submitted for your approval is a list, just like all the other lists that Nerds such as myself love to compile. This is the list of….

THE BEST OF THE NERD WORLD 2013
(This is all my opinion. If you disagree…nothing at all will happen.)

BEST COMIC SERIES OF 2013

Astro City

Thankfully, Hollywood Producer Jon Peters had nothing to do with this giant metal spider.

Thankfully, Hollywood Producer Jon Peters had nothing to do with this giant metal spider.

As with every single year, 2013 saw the release of many different books, some new, some re-launches and reboots. The book that had me hooked with every single issue was Astro City, hands down! This was Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson’s return to the hit series that they launched in the mid 90’s.

This new volume brought us a strange new character known as the Broken Man…a somewhat cosmic being (SPOILER AHEAD…He might also an inmate of a loony bin) who narrates the first issue and warns of a new menace. Busiek returns to doing what he does best and giving us super hero stories as witnessed by everyday people. Brent Anderson and Alex Ross help bring these already believable characters to life, creating excellent interiors (Anderson) and photo realistic covers (Ross). I think the best issue of the new launch is issue 5. This story deviates from the usual formula where either a hero or man on the street is the focus. In this issue, we are once again in the presence of the Broken Man and he is putting us in the driver’s seat as we witness his crazy home made timeline. We, the reader wander off and receive small tidbits of really promising storylines that we have to savor like an appetizer before the Broken Man pulls us away. It is an amazing issue that showcases the storytelling strengths of both Busiek and Anderson with one of the best covers Ross ever painted.

BEST SINGLE ISSUE OF 2013

Locke and Key Alpha #2

Seriously, this was one out of a billion cover variants from this issue.  They were all really good!

Seriously, this was one out of a billion cover variants from this issue. They were all really good!

The Locke and Key saga from IDW by writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez started waaaay back in 2008 and was released in a slow drip. Like morphine in an IV drip at a hospital. Also like morphine, the series was wildly addicting. Telling the story of the Locke family and their battle with evil, the book gave us all too human characters over the years. We meet the Locke Family and soon witness the murder of patriarch Mr. Locke by a psychotic young man named Sam Lesser. Soon the family moves to the ancestral Locke family home, the Key House and that’s when things really get weird. The house is host to mystic properties, most importantly magical keys that grant various powers and abilities. Soon a generations old evil is released and an unfinished family story is forced to unfold. Alpha #2 gives us the final curtain call…in the most perfect way possible. (Sorta Spoilers ahead) Evil is not only vanquished, but pardoned and released from eternal torment. Those whom were thought to have fallen return (Okay, just one. Everyone else who dies in the Drowning Cave stays dead. Sorry.) And the family grows, leading to the possibilities of future adventures. I do not recommend this story for a new reader, it’s not that kind of single issue. However, in one single issue, the amazing story is wrapped up in a brilliantly written and lavishly illustrated bow.

BEST NERD FLICK OF 2013

WORLD’S END

Speaking of Variant...this comic book style "World's End" movie poster rocks!

Speaking of Variant…this comic book style “World’s End” movie poster rocks!

Just like with Locke and Key, the Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Science Fiction, Action Comedy World’s End is the ending chapter in an amazing work of art. What started in Shawn of the Dead and continued in Hot Fuzz is wrapped up in World’s End. While the movies aren’t related story wise, they are all created by the same people and loaded full of Easter Eggs and bonuses that tie each film together. The major tie is that an Ice Cream flavor from the Cornetto company is featured some way in each film. This story is the most mature and dark of the three, it still has a major amount of laughs and thrills that any warm blooded Nerd would love. The movie handles action in a way that makes me very, very excited to see the Edgar Wright Ant-Man movie. If Wright can make a pub crawl this exciting, imagine what he can do with the Avenger’s most over looked member.

BEST SUPER HERO FLICK of 2013

IRON MAN 3

Another cool poster from Collider (The World's End poster is also from there)

Another cool poster from Collider (The World’s End poster is also from there)

Since this movie came so early in the year, it is sort of hard to believe that it was released in 2013. Giving us a psychologically damaged Tony Stark, we bear witness to his world crumbling apart after the events of the Avengers. Directed and Co-Written by Shane Black (And Co-Written by Robert Downey Jr.) Iron Man 3 was everything that a super hero follow up should be…intriguing. The movie pulled you in because it didn’t follow the all to predictable path. Even the end of the movie left many people wondering about the status quo of Iron Man. The villain of the film was another really cool twist because it gave us something that we just didn’t see coming. Was it true to the comic book…every part but the Mandrin’s movie origin was as close as you would expect from a movie adaptation. Whether you’re a comic book fan or just an action movie addict there is something to be found for everyone. Unless you were a fan of the traditional Mandrin…but he was sort of a walking, talking racial slur, so you shouldn’t be a big fan.

BEST ETC. OF 2013

Here is a quick list of the people, places and things that I Nerded out on in 2013

Day of the Doctor (The 50th anniversary of Dr. Who)

John Hurt as The War Doctor

Superior Spider-Man becoming a surprisingly great book

Arrow on television

Agents of SHIELD

Ben Affleck cast as Batman (Just kidding.)

A look at 2014…since we’re actually in 2014.

As the new year approaches, my family and I are all in brighter happier moods. Yes, we are still not on our feet financially but our faith has strengthened ten fold, so did our love. (Sorry to get sappy, but the truth is the truth.)  Good things are on the horizon for 2014.  I am going to start working in Special Education again, my lovely wife, Mercedes has just returned to college to finish her Childhood Development degrees, My teen, Michelea is even more teenish than ever before (Yay?) and is going to start her Junior year of High School sooner than I want to think about, and the toddler is turning Three and her throat condition is officially gone.  (YAY!)

On the writing front, my good friend Gerry Castro and I are working on a Magazine about the Paranormal that will see the light of day later in 2014.  We’re shooting for Fall….Summer if at all possible.  The magazine will tackle all sorts of topics related to the weird and unexplained.  Of course it will have a sense of humor and wit that you’ve come to expect…or hate.  More details on that to come…If you have any stories or encounters with the paranormal, feel free to contact me.

Back in this blog, expect to see more comic book reviews, movie news, and some more obscure exposes on Nerd topics.  Next up….After our move from Alhambra to East Los Angeles, I finally went through my box ‘o books and found that old Strayer stories book about M.L. Strayer.  I will post the very rare 1954 Interview of Stayer and her Husband just months before they disappeared.  Plus…A Strayer update of sorts….2014 is going to be a wild year.

Spooky Comics I must read!

‘Tis the season for all things spooky…fa la la la la la la la la.  This is the time of the year when we all gather around, watch classic horror films like Dracula, Frankenstein, Friday the 13th and of course, the horror masterpiece Mariah Carey’s Glitter

The villagers are right behind her with torches and pitchforks.

The villagers are right behind her with torches and pitchforks

Beyond the spooky movies, every Halloween season, I like to go on the hunt…or haunt for spooky comic books that I have yet to read.  Yeah, I read a lot of damn comic books, but believe it or not, there are some comics that I have not read.  Somewhere out there in the ether of online auctions, comic book store back issue bins and some mystical yard sale there awaits some spooky comics that I’m waiting to read.  Here are the top three acclaimed spooky comics that have not crossed my path yet.

3.  Alan Moore’s  Neonomicon:

"yeah...I think I'll just wait here for back up...or maybe I'll just go home."

“Let that be a lesson for you:  Never ask an alley dwelling space squid for a dollar!”

What happens when the comic book legend that created Watchmen and revitalized the Swamp Thing gets his creepy ringed hands on H.P. Lovecraft’s mythology?  The product is Neonomicon.  This has been recommended to me for a while now by a lot of comic connoisseurs.  It’s a book that I am scouring the nerd world for.  I liked most of Moore’s stuff through Avatar Press, this features the work of the talented Mr. Jacen Burrows, so I’m sure it’s a great read, like most of their collaborations have been.

2.  Ferals:

Disney's gritty new remake of Old Yeller, directed by Michael Bay

Disney’s gritty new remake of Old Yeller, directed by Michael Bay

This is another one by Avatar Press, who are no strangers to creepy, bloody comic books.  Ferals is a new take on the werewolf folklore by writer David Lapham and artist Gabriel Andrade.  I’ve been a huge fan of David Lapham since his early days as a very talented artist with Valiant comics.  It wasn’t until I started reading Lapham’s self published Stray Bullets that I realized what a great writer he was.  I’m not familiar with Gabriel Andrade, but I’ve seen some of the art from the book and it looks pretty good, in a gruesome, disturbing way.

1.  Locke and Key:

The book also spun off Mime and Wolf, an edgy new cop show that will debut on Fox in 2014

The book also spun off Mime and Wolf, an edgy new cop show that will debut on Fox in 2014

Out of the three comic books I wrote about this is by far the one I know the least about, which makes me want to read it even more.  Written by novelist Joe Hill with art by Gabriel Rodriguez and published by IDW, Locke and Key is the story of a gothic mansion in New England that contains powerful, supernatural keys that can change the people who possess them.  The story also weaves in H.P. Lovecraft mythology with classic gothic noir.  For me, the draw is Joe Hill who as a novelist has proven that he can tell one hell of a creepy, atmospheric story with realistic characters that you’ll be drawn to.

Well, that’s it for now Boils and Ghouls, next installment will feature my favorite creepy comics…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the non-nerd (With a lot of nerd stuff thrown in!)

Is there a show that you’ve jumped into?  Is there something that you binge watch on ye olde Netflix?  Did you get LOST for 24 hours with a  bunch of MAD MEN in some kind of AMERICAN HORROR STORY with the SONS OF ANARCHY while your friend DEXTER was BREAKING BAD habits?

"Don't forget about my show...what was it called?  Are we even on the air still?"

“Don’t forget about my show…what was it called? Are we even on the air still?”

Well, get ready for a new show to add to your binge watching list.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D!

The new show is a spin off of the current Marvel Studio films and the season will expand upon the Marvel cinematic universe.  S.H.I.E.L.D is a clandestine government agency that deals with big picture threats to the United States and the world.  In the films and the television show, the acronym stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.  In the comics the acronym originally stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division (Debuting in 1965 in Strange Tales # 135, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) for no apparent reason, the name was changed in the 1990s to Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.    No matter what the name means, the show is taking a very logical step by bringing popular characters from the Marvel Studio Films and putting them on a weekly action show.  Before I delve to deep into the show and its history, I would be committing a crime against humanity if I didn’t note that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sadly, not the first time the comic book agency was given life on the small screen….

"Co-Starring Pamela Anderson as the Red Skull filmed entirely in slow motion!"

“Co-Starring Pamela Anderson as the Red Skull filmed entirely in slow motion!”

Yes, in 1998, the same year internet geniuses gave us Google, the evil geniuses at Fox gave us Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD starring David Hassellhoff in the title role.  Nick Fury is the head of SHIELD, in the comic books.  He created the idea of an all encompassing agency that would protect the world from major threats, but scrapped the idea….only to find that some U.N. type organization took his premise, created the agency and appointed him the Director.   So, some executive thought it would be great to see the guy who played Michael Knight as the not so tough head of a global defense agency.  Great casting!  Well, it went straight to television and was widely ignored.  Although, I’m sure it was huge in Germany.

"Let us all eat bratwurst, drink craft beer and watch Baywatch!"

“Let us all eat bratwurst, drink craft beer and watch Baywatch!  I’m not even German!”

Years later, Marvel comics created a new line of comics to reach a younger audience.  They ditched the decades of history and created an alternate universe that was streamlined to be more like a widescreen action movie.  This ULTIMATE UNIVERSE existed alongside the traditional Marvel Universe, so readers could choose which take on the characters they want to read about.  Of course, the company wouldn’t be mad if you bought every book they ever published.  Including the Adventures of Squirrel Girl.  (She’s a real character…and she fought and defeated Dr. Doom.  Don’t ask.  EVER.)  The first books were Ultimate Spiderman (A younger, just starting out version of Spiderman) and Ultimate X-Men (A darker, more cinematic version of the X-Men with plenty of twists on the original stories…Like Wolverine being a founding member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Colossus being a closeted homosexual.)  Ultimate Nick Fury debuted in the pages of Ultimate X-Men.  His look was rather different from what it would soon become…

This Fury looked more like Sonny Spoon (Mario Van Peebles) than Samuel L. Jackson.

This Fury looked more like Sonny Spoon (Mario Van Peebles) than Samuel L. Jackson

It wasn’t until the Ultimates (The Ultimate Universe version of the Avengers) that Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch reinvented the Nick Fury Character and made him look just like Samuel L. Jackson, however the creators didn’t ask Jackson for his permission to use his likeness.  So in an attempt to keep from being sued by the highest grossing actor in the world…when Marvel Studios began planning the Marvel Cinematic Universe that would eventually give us the Avengers…they asked Samuel L. Jackson if he would like to play Fury.  He agreed and the character first appeared to almost everyone’s surprise at the end of Iron Man.  Of course, throughout the film, S.H.I.E.L.D was represented by Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg.

Coulson's first SHEILD mission was to infiltrate a sub par Julia Louis-Dreyfus sit-com.

Coulson’s first SHIELD mission was to infiltrate a sub par Julia Louis-Dreyfus sit-com.

Coulson became a fan favorite, appearing in almost all of the Marvel films, eventually gaining a larger role in the Avengers….Until he was killed by Loki, the god of moving the story along.  This brings us to the show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D where Agent Coulson is revealed to be alive and well, despite being stabbed through the heart by Thor’s evil bro.   Not-Dead Coulson assembles his crew of Level Seven agents to tackle unusual comic book-ish threats that have arisen since the Super Heroes came on to the scene.    If the show left you scratching your head and wondering….”What the hell is an Extemis?” here’s your handy dandy nerd guide.

Why is Robin from How I met your Mother on this show?

The very Canadian actress, Cobie Smulders (Who does play Robin on How I Met Your Mother) played Maria Hill in the Avengers and reprised her role for a brief cameo on the Pilot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  In the comic book world, Maria Hill is a top level S.H.I.E.L.D agent and answers only to Nick Fury himself….and probably his bosses….maybe even to the Pope, heck I don’t know.  Nick Fury is presumed dead and Maria Hill is appointed his successor.  A lot happens in between then and the current Marvel stories (Including SHIELD being run by Iron Man, dismantled by the Green Goblin and replaced with his HAMMER organization), but now Maria Hill is back in command of SHIELD.

I hear all this babble about LMD what the heck is that, a delicious new snack at McDonalds?

No, an LMD is not a snack.  Rather than standing for Lettuce, Meat and Doritos (Coming soon to Taco Bell!) LMD actually means Life Model Decoy.  Basically its an android that looks like a specific person, keeping that person out of harm.  Read onward for why this nerd factoid matters.  (Does any of this really matter?)

Is Coulson Alive or Dead?

Okay, so we saw Phil Coulson die in the Avengers, but in Agents, he’s bouncing around with witty one liners and being all pervy toward Maria Hill.  His story is that he recovered in Tahiti for a while and his death was just a story used to motivate the Avengers into…Avenging.  The second the show was teased and Clark Gregg hit the convention circuit, fans speculated that the Coulson killed in the Avengers was an LMD.  However…when a SHIELD medical officer is chatting with Maria Hill about Coulson he says:  “He doesn’t Know?” and Maria Hill says:  “He can never Know.”  Now, this leads to a lot of speculation and mystery as to what that means.  Maybe Coulson did die after all and this Coulson is an LMD who doesn’t know he’s not the real deal.  Perhaps he’s a clone.  Who knows, maybe he is the smoke monster from Lost.

What is an EXTREMIS?  Is there an ointment for that?

In 2005, comic book writer Warren Ellis and artist Adi Granov created the Extremis storyline.  In this six part story, we learn about a computer code like virus which can be placed in the mind of a human and take over the healing part of the brain.  This in effect upgrades the user, allowing him to adapt to anything that comes his way.  Tony Stark injects himself with the Extremis virus and modifies the virus, allowing him to use it to interface with technology.  The movie Iron Man 3 first introduces Extremis to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  it is essentially the same thing, upgrading its users to be super soldiers.  However, these soldiers are unstable and if they get too angry and worked up can turn to human bombs.  The “Hooded Hero” in Agents of SHIELD is revealed to be a test subject of something called Centipede which uses an insect like device to interface with the Extremis virus.

Will Nick Fury appear in the show?

Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson wants to be on the show!  However, according to various interviews he gave, Jackson claims that Disney/Marvel Films can’t hire him for the show due to contract problems…blah, blah, blah.  Samuel L. Jackson says that if he was on the show, he’d love to appear like Charlie on Charlie’s Angels and just play a voice role.  Maybe he could be represented as a hologram message.  Either way, I’d love to see him on the show…he is the head of SHIELD after all!

Will there be other Marvel Heroes on the Show?

It’s hard to tell yet.  I think the Hooded Hero in episode one was a teaser and we are going to be treated to actually established Marvel Heroes and villains.  However, there are some people on the web making there wish lists of characters they want to see on the show…and they include X-Men and Spider-Man related characters.  Due to the film rights, Marvel Studios can’t use Spider-Man characters or X-Men characters. Ghost Rider, Blade, and the Fantastic Four are also off limits.  Here are some heroes that can (but probably won’t appear): Namor (The king of Atlantis and a real jerk), Dr. Strange (The mystic Sorcerer Supreme), The Punisher (Ex-Navy seal whose family was murdered and he began a one man war on crime), Shang Chi (A character based on Bruce Lee, appeared in the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu…awesome) Luke Cage (Formerly Power-Man, a street level, invulnerable hero for hire)  Iron Fist (Luke Cage’s partner, Danny Rand, a mystic fighter) Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers is caught in an explosion of an alien device and is given super powers)

Why Should I watch this crazy show?

Because it’s not crazy, it’s got great potential and you could be watching this….