Month: October 2010

HALLOWEEN – I’m dressing up like a Missed Deadline

Do you remember the very first costumes you wore for Halloween?

I’m not meaning the ones your parents may have put you in when you were an infant. “Oh, isn’t that a cute little pumpkin.” The ones you chose yourself.

Do you remember those plastic sheet costumes? Even as a little kid I thought they were dumb (forgetting itchy and hot). I wanted to be Superman, not wear a picture of Superman. The plastic mask was bad enough, with that dry rubber band to hold it on. We all knew it would never survive the night.

Even though I had seven years of marching in my elementary school’s Halloween costume parades, I only remember maybe three of the costumes from back then. I was Dracula twice, (and a magician using the same outfit), and The Mummy.

After Elementary school I don’t believe I put on another costume. I was picked on enough in High School; I didn’t need another reason, (see last week).

But I did go to one Halloween party during college dressed as Doctor Who. Or as close to being dressed as Doctor Who as I could.

(Has anyone else noticed how writing about Doctor Who confuses the grammar checker in your word processor?)

Back then I was a big Tom Baker years fan of the show but also liked Sylvester McCoy. So my costume, which was thrown together from clothing I had, became a merger of the two. I even took the time to draw red question marks on my shirt collars as was worn by Peter Davidson, Collin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy. Really wish I could have had McCoy’s umbrella. At the time that would have been cool.

No one, absolutely no one, knew who I was dressed as. And so ended my Halloween costumes.

Now I keep thinking about being invited to a Halloween party and dressing up. Times sure have changed since school.

Back in school, High School and even college, no one would have shown up with a Superman t-shirt, and yet now its very common to see such a shirt around town, or a Batman, Flash, or Green Lantern (even a Darkest Night) shirt. For girls the Supergirl or Wonder Woman logos aren’t all that rare.

On top of that dressing up as different characters isn’t all that rare.

When I first began to attend the San Diego Comic Con, there would be dozens of people dressed up for the Saturday night Masquerade. Now those costumes are out the entire con every day.

Not only at the Con but also because of Anime strong influence on American popular culture, cosplay has become a regular part of lie as well. I’ve seen girls wearing catgirl hoods around town.

Then there is Steampunk, which I’m only beginning to learn about, but has some of the most fantastic costumes. Though based on a alternate world where technology took a different turn, there is still something solid and real about the costumes. As wild as the costumes are, they might be something I’d be interested to slip into sometime, if I could afford it.

If not that then I might dress up as Doctor Who again, this time David Tennant or Matt Smith. I think I look like Tennant when he was wearing the pajamas.

Or I’ll just dress up like this Deadline I’m just barely going to make.

One last thing before I sign off.

The webcomic I write with Shannon Muir: FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, is included in a collection that is published. “Webcomics: What’s Cooking” Is a cookbook produced by webcomic creators and it will feed the hungry in both Canada and the U.S. Preorders open up Friday October 29, 2010. http://tgtmedia.com/

Help Flying Glory save the world in a real way.

Trick or Treat

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

An Extra Blog – Bullied

I normally write and post my blog on Thursday, but since I was able to post, both the comic and novel chapter on Tuesday why not try to force the blog to go up Wednesday.

Enough of my normal humor, I’m writing this blog and hope to post it on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 to give my two cents worth related to this being “Spirit Day” and support anti-bullying. I don’t have anything purple to wear today, so this blog will have to do.

‘My two cents’ may be all that my thoughts and experiences are really worth compared to those kids who have suffered so much that they felt that the only way out was by ending their lives. I can’t compare my experiences to them.

With that, I want to at least right about what experiences I did have.

Bullying began for me in elementary school. For some reason because I wore glasses some of the other, students thought I was smarter than them. It wasn’t true, I struggled for every C I got.

There are three bullies I remember from those first years of school. One event turned into some fight that he actually punched me in the stomach and I passed out. The strange thing there is that after that event he and I became good friends over the next months and years. I invited him to my birthday parties even.

The second of these was a guy who got his jollies out of picking on just about everyone, including the teachers. It got so bad that they kept sending him up an extra grade each year until he was finally out of the school. The teachers couldn’t do anything with him. The sad thing is that I recently learned that he was homeless and living under a bridge.

The third of these elementary school bullies I truly don’t remember, but a couple of years ago I was approached by him to meet and have lunch. It was part of his alcoholics anonymous 12 Step program. He had to go and apologize to anyone he had ever hurt or offended, and he remember something he had done to me. I don’t remember, so it was easy to forgive. Would it have been easy if I did remember? I’d like to think so, but don’t know.

In Junior High (or Middle School) I had bullies there as well. To avoid most of them I spent lunch either in my next period classroom or the school library (did improve my reading skills). One bully once shoved a container of what he claimed to be as marijuana into my face. When I knocked it aside and the contents were scattered all over the ground he tried to get my parents to pay for his ruined chewing tobacco. Another kid in the school was a real mean bully. He was physically smaller than the most and so picked on us weaker kids; he created a bulldog attitude to survive. I have no bad feelings towards him, and those that I did washes away the day of our Jr. High Graduation. Whether they were kids seeking revenge, or just bigger bullies than him, grabbed hold of him put him in a supply closet and shaved his head. I had survived those two years (and actually two schools), a whole lot better than he had.

High School wasn’t much better. Again, I spent much of my free time in the library or away from other students as I could. I know that my shyness and staying away from others resulted in other problems in the years to come, but I survived those as well. Though the water balloon in the face that shoved me back into the handle of my locker certainly didn’t feel good.

Once I reached my High School years I had begun to mature in my thinking more in how I handled things even if it was more passive aggressive then most people would.

One day in my Freshman year, I did something no one is supposed to do. I wandered into “Senior Corner” and was quickly approached by two football player sized guys. “Let’s can him.” Before they could grab me, I looked at them and said, “What can? I’ll get in it for you.” They looked at me, realized that I wasn’t going to let them have any of their fun, and then walked away.

A similar event happened during Swimming Class. I liked to get into the water, but was terrified of the diving board and everyone knew it. But on day came the time the coach required us to all jump from the high dive. I got up there and froze. I don’t know how long I was up there, but long enough that the couch came up and pushed me off the board. I splashed into the water. Still never went up there again, but I got past that. But it wasn’t good enough for the class bully. This guy was always kicking at me on the stands or pushing me around the water. Than one day as the bell rang for us to hit the locker rooms I was climbing out of the pool and he turned around and shoved me back in. I fell face first into the water and stayed there. Passive aggressive me won again, because the bully leapt into the water and pulled me out. Realizing that I was okay, he got upset and screamed, “don’t ever do that again.” “Me?” What had I done? The important thing was he didn’t pick on me again.

As stated above, I cannot compare my life to others who struggle not only with the bullies of the world, but how people including their families see them. I have none of those experiences. What I can say is that I survived even if at the times I didn’t think I would.

Wish I could promise that everything is going to turn out okay, “It gets better,” but what I do know is that I survived.

So this is my little blog about my experience being bullied it doesn’t feel like anything. Maybe I’ll still post a regular writing related one tomorrow.

Shhhh… This place might be blogged

Went to an industry gathering last night about – Well, I can’t tell you what it was about, we were sworn to secrecy.

Because I can’t tell you what it was about got me thinking about something, and so I’ll blog about that instead.

When the panel began, the representative of the place hosting it reminded us that there was no recording or pictures taken allowed. Before she could finish; the moderator of the panel made the point that ‘blogging’ would not be allowed. Repeating, ‘please don’t blog’.

It made me realize just how much has changed in personal recording devices and how they’ve been implemented over the years.

When my mother was in college, she thought there had to be a way to better study the teacher’s lectures.

So one day she wrote to RCA suggesting they provide her with a portable audio recorder, saying it would be an ideal way to help students study the class lectures if they could listen to it over again. She suggested that if she could have one it would help promote sales to other students once they saw how it worked.

Realize that at the time, even though it was battery operated and considered ‘portable’ this was a reel-to-reel tape recorder that came in its own briefcase like carrier.

The kind people at RCA wrote her back, and plainly said ‘No’. They had no interest, or believe that their recorder could be used in a classroom situation.

My parents eventually did buy a similar reel-to-reel device they used on a vacation trip.

Decades pass and the cassette tape is born. Another battery operated device we could carry but even it was too large to have sitting on your classroom desk. And the placement of the microphone was never good. (I use to record the audio of TV shows with that, this was before we got a VCR.)

That, in turn, led to me getting a mini-cassette recorder, and here’s where we get back to the subject.

I once attempted to use my mini-recorder in a class, but the teacher wasn’t too happy with it. But it turned out that all he wanted was for me to ask ahead of time and not just start recording.

There are places for recorders to be used, and there are placed for them not to be used.

These mini-cassettes turned out to be useful as I went to work on the college newspaper for when I did interviews with subjects. I interviewed comic book artists Brian Murray (Young All-Star’s, Supreme) who had been a student at the college a few years earlier, and science fiction writer James P. Blaylock who was teaching a class that semester.

The mini-cassette eventually was replaced with a digital recorder. Did the job nicely, but came along a little too late.

Now practically everyone has a digital recorder in their pocket or strapped to their belt. It’s called their cell phone. Hey, not only can you record the audio of a teacher’s lecture, you can record the video of him droning on and on while the students fall asleep. Then put it up on Youtube not just for your own use and for other students to study by, but to be watched by the rest of the world as well.

We have so gotten away from the intent of my mother’s original idea of being able to have her teacher’s lecture at hand when she needed to study for the exam.

Now there is an expectation that there will be a recorder of some device in every gathering of more than two people.

Cellphones are ordered turned off not because of that terrible ring-tone you have, but because you might well be recording something.

Signs are put up everywhere with the order that all recording devices can not be used while in this building or listening to that speaker, or watching a clip of an as yet unreleased movie. Heck, when on a movie lot I have to leave my phone in the car because people are so paranoid that the smallest video clip will leak out. Not that they’re wrong in their thinking, but I would have liked to have had my phone. I never use the camera anyway, right.

But even with the order that we can’t use our recorders, things have gone even further than that now.

“Please no blogging.” Live blogging? How is that even possible? It’s hard enough for me to take notes during a panel discussion, let along put it all out in some coherent fashion on to the web, live.

But it does happen.

All you Mac fanatics I am certain were watching the streaming live blogs a few months back as Steve Jobs talked about the latest released of the iPhone, iPad, and MacTV. Remember how he attempted to show off the wireless feature of the camera feature on the iPhone? Remember how it didn’t work? Remember how he had to plead with the audience for everyone to stop Live Blogging because it was slowing down the wifi of the building and he couldn’t do his little presentation? There was so many bloggers there all writing about the exact same thing, that they became part of the story themselves.

So in our little secret panel discussion of last night the moderator was more concerned that secrets would be leaked out in a live blog than they would be through an audio or video recording off your iPhone.

That’s the world we live in now, everything (including this) ends up on a blog.

Beware the power you wield.

Shhhhh… the place maybe bugged – or is it blogged?

And there’s my blog for the week, it’s still Thursday on the West Coast.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
“Four Names of Professional Creativity”
And not yet live-blogging.

Oops – “The Dog Ate My Homework” – Not!

When writing a blog, there is no such thing as ‘the dog ate my homework.’ Unless the dog is a virus that eats up your files, destroys your hard drive and years worth of work is destroyed. But there’s no such virus here, and that dog don’t fight or bite.

After writing up a blog two weeks ago about how important it is to meet your deadlines, here I sit having missed a big one. With no excuse except that I forgot.

I can tell you how last Friday a freak storm passed through our town, didn’t last more then an hour but it knocked out our power for eight hours. I was in the midst of working on the comic page and this through me so behind that I wasn’t able to get the page posted on Sunday like it should have. It didn’t go up until Wednesday (that power outage did give me the time to hand write three pages of serial, but still wasn’t enough).

After posting the artwork for page 6 and jump at page 7 and get going on it hoping that it’ll be posted on time this Sunday.

So I totally forget that this blog was due yesterday.

And that, dear editor, producer… reader is the only excuse that I can give you. I forgot.

Take that, as you will. I messed up, and missed my deadline.

So here I am writing this apology, not only to you but to myself. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to keep my promise and get this posted on time, just as I wasn’t able to get the comic posted on time Sunday.

I’m sorry.

So if there are any producers, or editors, or publishers out there reading, know this: If you’ve hired me to do a job, write article, story, or script, and I miss my deadline. There is no one, and no reason, to blame but myself.

That said I now have to tell myself not to let it happen again. I’ve got this blog (which is mostly filler I guess), and I need to finish the pencils and inks for the next page of the comic, start the next chapter of the serial, my week goes on and I will stick with my plans to produce all this as if I was being paid for all this.

Next time won’t wait till the last minute to come up with a subject for my blog.

Again, oops, I’m sorry.
Let’s get it right next time.
Thank you for understanding.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity – I want my Creativity to be as Professional as possible.

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