Happy New Year Blues for 2020

So, here I am late again, posting not quite timely. I lost track of time again, not quite looking back or forward. I am here, for each day trying to enjoy some moments when possible.

That’s how I left the previous year and decade, going back to how I began both, by escaping and walking distant ground, collecting my thoughts into sustainable moments of bliss. This time, to my old areas of southern California, to spend time with friends and family.

But finally, the New Year sharing part sinks in, and it’s eventually time to share in that joy, days later. Here was the glory of the first day of my new decade, upon a quite beach that is often used as a backdrop for Miami, Florida in various movies and TV shows. Here the long beach that is upon Long Beach, California.

I walked the first hours of daylight for 2020 late and midday slightly hungover from the Eve before. I embraced the warmish weather (compared to Seattle) healing, walking the local shore. The beach felt soft to my sandals with a lovely gentle breeze highlighted by a fresh blue sky, trying to ignore the bits of trash piled up from the recent firework festivities. I did well to resist the allure of social media and constant messages lighting my pocket sleeve, all Happy New Year or whatever. Rather, I stare into the calm of the larger world offered to me, and it looks back to me.

Very pleasant. This steadied for about 2 hours, taking my sweet time to stop and admire this simple moment. Occasionally, I would cross path with another human. We would smile for a moment, say a Happy New Year greeting, then move on in opposite direction. Sometimes, I would rest on the sand, occasionally taking out my notepad to scribble some thoughts and ideas in preservation of later creative productivity.

There was more to the day, of which I will share soon. And, more to this California trip, and more to the last decade and into this one. I have much fresh content, that I wish to share. But, choices were made towards giving myself time to unplug and rethink my life direction and not treat my writings and content sharing like chores. The timing is off, but the wait to those who share in my joys will find such late belated things to be timeless and worth celebrating on any day. I will post some more good stuff, soon.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year to all.

Orion T

Gloomy reflections in dialation

Enjoy what the sky gives to the ground, especially after the rain.

The picture above is from the basketball courts in Cal Anderson Park, in the Capitol Hill district of central Seattle. The rain hit hard, and the gloom remains. I returned from an eye exam with my eyes freshly dilated. The world to me was a blur for about 2 hours, But walking around, I can still appreciate the beauty in it when given, and here it was…the peace of the day upon an empty space.

I took the picture in blind faith, that all would work out in the right perspective.

– Orion T

So, what have I been up to lately?

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Life has been a heavy thing lately.

And sadly, as a result, I haven’t posted much. Some events and turns in my personal life have weighed me down, then lacking in both time and motivated effort to do what I normally love, and that is to write.

But, I think a strong part of that is needing a new direction in writing. Something fresh and interesting, while taking the time out to think deep and share compelling thoughts and information. I will get there eventually, but first I must take care of myself. Some of that involves getting away from my computer, enjoying personal time, cleanse the mind of troubling doubts, and work on improving my physical, mental well-being.

That being said, there are the little things I will keep doing to feed the simple joys of life because that helps. I still seek little adventures when the time is right. I still love checking out big gatherings, especially if it’s centered on my eccentric and often geeky interests. And then, there are wonderful sights and observations, I still enjoy sharing. What else is there?

I am looking into that, but need more time. Then likely, I will get back to more writing, and maybe something new.

Orion T

The above picture is a micro portion inside the recent 2019 Emerald City Comic Con, here in Seattle. I will share more on that soon.

Happy New Year, 2019

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Happy New Year everyone!

Yes, it’s the 2nd day but still shiny new, barely a scratch. 2018 is gone, out and past away. But, there had to be a better transition to end the year on a better note than it began. Something, to begin the new grand cycle around the sun with a motivational high note. Focus more on what makes me happy, and sharing it with others. That’s how I will enter this new year while seeking something a little extra along the way.

And that I did, by leaving the US and going to Canada for four days. I spent last weekend and more in Vancouver, Canada. There, staying at a hostel and planning as I go. I have done this twice before, but I still treat it all like something new. Because, there is still a vast amount of unexplored areas, things to do, experiences that I have yet to check out. Being that’s it’s close to my otherwise hectic and jumbled life by a few hours, such the escape is still a completely different dream, of which I welcome when I have time.

O, Canada. I missed thee. There, gained many new experiences and revisited simple joys. Through things learned and smiles exchanged, it’s been a wonderful breath of cold air throughout. Some of it was also very wet, and my only loss was my green wool cap. That was a good one, keeping my head warm in tough times. Now, perhaps forever lost, and left behind in the streets of Vancouver. Or better yet, someone else will find and wear it, with a fresh smile.

Meanwhile, I will share more details on memorable moments and findings in the days ahead soon. Look forward, and again…Happy New Year!

Orion T

The shot above is unfocused on the New Year’s fireworks in Downtown Vancouver, at its Convention Center. This moment was accidental, not knowing the lady in my cam sight holding the camera. But, I like the shot as something different from an interesting perspective that holds a different story, maybe. I think I will aim for more different perspectives, in 2019.

 

The Spirit of Christmas Present…

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And another Christmas Day has come and gone (almost midnight right now). We tried to be merry as many of us struggle with inconvenient news, emotional angst, and hardships. Yet, the best we can do throughout the day is share some warmth and light to others who may need it through support, prayer, gifts to others in need. In that collectivity, I hope this day was joyous in whatever way such can be delivered, or given to everyone taking part in this annual tradition.

– Orion T

My fantastic comic book relationship with Stan Lee

(Originally posted recently from my sci-fi/fantasy news site, strangerworlds.com)

Stan Lee, a brilliant creative genius whose heart and soul put into comic writing, editing, publishing ignited a new generation of comic books, inspiring beyond with no limits. His Marvel Comics brand became an essential modern myth to our culture, expanding beyond the printed page into every other medium possible. Though he passed away recently at age 95 after living a full and awesome life, his inspirations shall continue to awaken our inner superheroes.

Yet, there is something more to his work, in the ongoing limited series run that is my life. That is my connection to Stan the Man through the pages with his spirited philosophy on awakening the incredible, the uncanny, the fantastic to my yearning for some amazing fantasy. Such would inspire me to better create, adventure, embrace my geekish side, leading me to maintain my love for comic books for the decades ahead. And with all that, build a sense of duty toward helping many in need, especially when great power and privilege comes my way.

My first true exposure to Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics brand came at a turbulent time for me during age 9. I was in the middle of a difficult transition, moving to the big city of San Francisco from the suburban/rural life of Fresno, California. In that, I would also be reunited with my mother after separation for most of my early childhood, with a new stepdad I would hardly know at the time. I had already begun to miss my old friends and felt a bit overwhelmed by my new loud, confusing big city life.

Still feeling on page 1 of this new adventure, I would eventually visit my first comic book store, where my life would forever change. It was a small little store in the North Beach (aka Little Italy) area on Grant Street near the Coit Tower landmark. I think the store name was  “Best Comics” or something like that (not the nearby more famous, Comix and Comix, which I would discover later spend many afternoon school hours in). Within, I walked into the next giant splash page of my life, rich in detail and dramatics. Rows of comics books around me, with boxes of more below. Some stacks were stray, and come loose on counters.

There and everywhere inside, were some familiar friends from TV and toys. All with much more vivid color and detail, speaking in word balloons, in combat poses, expressing action. I saw the Amazing Spider-man, as known from my beat-up stuffed plush doll. I would see the X-Men, recognized from some comics in a waiting room at the last eye doctor visit. I saw the Iron Man, Thing, Captain America recognized..and more from a Marvel Super Heroes card game played often in the library of my early grade recess hours. So many familiar faces in colorful outfits; waiting for me to get to know them; take an adventure with any back home.

But, I had a little money to pick something. After some browsing, I gravitated to a spinning rack of paperback digest-sized comics. Such was not common for the comic book-sized format, but I wanted something with more pages, and easy to carry around. And eventually, I saw this small paperback book… Stan Lee presents The Incredible Hulk (#2).

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It was a 159-pages of full color, 1979 reprint stories of the older Tales to Astonish (mid-1960s, #85-99) stories of the continuous adventures of Bruce Banner, a scientist who would become the Hulk under very stressful circumstances. I knew the green goliath from TV live-action series, starring Lou Ferrigno. But here, he was different and greener with stories far beyond anything the TV show would offer, with more expression, more action, more Hulk! I would buy this with some pocket change, and then witness the pain and the power, the man-brute at his best!

Inside, the Hulk would prove himself as the strongest, against the US military, super-villains, aliens, the High Evolutionary, the Abomination, the Silver Surfer. Each chapter seemingly more excited than the last. Between the action, we got interesting internal struggles, especially within the Hulk and his other self, Bruce Banner. Both would conflict against each other as much as the outside world.  This drama is as exciting as the action itself was all written by Stan Lee himself, a name I would never forget.

Stan Lee, through passionate exposition and character building, would give me a message that would stick far beyond the printed pages. Inside, we have trapped within, some incredible greatness waiting to be released through some incredible circumstances. The greatness can be so outstanding and wonderful, that we struggle to recognize it when it’s upon our weaker selves. But in reaching that, we don’t want to look back, until the power becomes a troublesome burden. Then, yearns a return to innocence and normalcy until we need that power for greater responsibility.

That’s what I got out of this Hulk anyway. The difference in the Hulk from other super-types is that his heroism is more on a subconscious level. The Hulk would often find himself protecting the weak while crushing those stupid enough to try to exploit him. He is selfless, never looking to harm others. He would prefer to be left alone, and in that when there is no reason to fight, there is peace for the Hulk and Bruce Banner.

All that, presented by Stan Lee. A name I would first notice more in my next few rereadings of that awesome paperback.

His name would return again and again, in many more Marvel Comics I mostly gathered from cheap quarter bins, flea market finds, more bookstores. The later eighties and early nineties, I spent many hours growing up in the comic stores after school. There, always peeking into the comics of Marvel, and eventually other companies (DC, Gladstone, Mirage, Archie being my top favs).

But often coming back to Marvel, there would be new favorite stories from Stan Lee’s design stemming his creative work, and groundwork messages. The X-Men, heroes living a parallel of the fear and prejudice in today’s world. Spider-Man, a hero whose personal issues would be set aside to defend New York City. Daredevil, a hero for justice whose blindness is both his greatest curse and strength. The Fantastic Four, a family whose cosmic radiated superpowers would lead them into deeper explorations of the unknown. And, many more would follow.

Among them, my personal favorite, the Silver Surfer, after finding reprints of the earlier stories written by Stan Lee (#1-18, 1968-1970). This above all is Stan’s most philosophical, poetic storytelling of all. Every page full of Stan Lee’s presentation, dialogue, exposition of the lonely cosmic traveler in a constant struggle to understand the worlds around him, is awesome.

Over the years, the spirit of Stan Lee would carry on through countless cherished comic stories. Then beyond the cartoons and TV shows. Sometimes, Stan Lee would do some introductions or narration; bringing his passion for storytelling along. Eventually, would come to the movies, which he would have some hand in producing. And, there would be the cameos…always welcome to his fans.

And his presence would be felt at many conventions, often in person. I would attend a few of his panels, looking back to his past of promoting some collaboration on projects. I would even meet him, once by pure luck, while resting nearby his booth in the early 2000s at the San Diego Comic Con. He signed a Spider-Man collected stories paperback I happened to have in hand, and then we shook hands. “Excelsior!,” Stan Lee said with a blessing. That cherished memory, I would look back upon as the greatest echo of my comic book relationship with Stan, since seeing his name for the first time many years ago.

I still feel his work throughout my life, and sometimes it helps keeps the best parts of me going. I sometimes need the attitude of the Hulk on a bad day, the curiosity of the Silver Surfer in my travels, the energy of Spider-Man in keeping up with responsibilities, the leadership of Professor X for group organizing, the patriotic duty of Captain America when I join a protest. Stan Lee’s work continues to inspire me through the foundations of the fictional heroes he shared.

And much like the Marvel Comics that continue on through the comic stores and extended media, there never really is an end to it all. We carry on through reboots, cliffhangers, spinoffs. Though sometimes, we may not get some things right in interpretation.  And sometimes, there is are rediscovering of his lesser-known creations through better presentations, like the recent Black Panther and Ant-Man movies.  meanwhile, the presence of Stan Lee will carry on, reminding many of us of his original groundwork laid down for readers to grow from.

Thanks again Stan the Man, and Excelsior!

The momentum of the abstract view

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Sometimes, I look up. And, I take a picture with a camera.

Sometimes then, I forget to switch a setting meant for the night. The original shot was kind of boring, while the overexposed revealed a weird dimension of countless angles and forgotten math.

I love it.

The actual shot is below a fixture inside the Oregon Convention Center, in Portland. Further details of the moment are unimportant.

– Orion T