Friday, May 20, 2011

Extra Medium, my new/old column for Popdose

Well it sure took me long enough, but I've finally debuted my column Extra Medium on Popdose. I took the title from a short-lived column I wrote for Trouble With Comics, and in fact the subject matter is pretty much the same. Extra Medium covers movies, music, books, video games, etc. adapted from or inspired by comic books.

The column is here and the first installment reviews Thor.

I'm not sure how often I'm going to post columns. We'll see. Hopefully, the rest of my summer comic book movie reviews will be a little bit more timely.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two not-so-quiet quiet weeks

The past two weeks have been a little too eventful for my tastes. I won't lie and say these events are the only reasons Superheroes, etc. has been quiet and why I haven't contributed much to the websites I've recently signed up to, but they sure didn't help.

I won't get too specific. In one case I am bound by law to not be specific, and in another I am simply respecting the privacy of my family.

On May 2nd, I learned 2 members of my family had died. The tragically bizarre part of it is that one of those two died in 2005. My uncle died on Sunday, May 1st. For reasons no one in my family seems to know, my uncle cut off most or all ties to his extended family (at least my side of that family) about 10 years ago. So none of us knew until May 2nd that my late uncle's oldest son, my cousin, died six years ago.

Only a few days afterward, I was summoned for jury duty. My name was the first one called, and I was eventually selected for trial. I can't say anything more about the trial itself (and for those of you in my area, please do not try to guess the specifics because I will delete your comment if you do, whether or not you guess right). I will say I have never felt more honored, more burdened, or more challenged than I do toward this duty.

Right around the time I was selected for jury duty, my left arm developed what I thought was nothing more than a minor muscle pain. I refrained from sleeping on that side (and that is the side I usually sleep on), but I wasn't worried. I got a little concerned after the ache didn't go away after the first couple of days, but I wasn't about to call the doctor just yet. The following Tuesday, the pain dialed up to 11. I couldn't sit, lie, or stand in any position that didn't accompany excruciating pain in my arm. I didn't think it was anything too serious - both because of my age and because I didn't have any other symptoms - but the fact that I am not a small man and the pain was in the arm large men don't want to have pain in, a few fatal thoughts did cross my mind. It was my mother who correctly diagnosed me before I got in to see a doctor because she had suffered the same thing not long before: bursitis, an inflammation of the joints. When my mother was treated, they had given her a shot of cortisone in her shoulder and she said she felt better before she even left the doctor's office. It didn't work so fast for me. But after a day I felt good enough to get out of bed, and after two days I barely felt any ache at all.

So, the last couple of weeks have simply been more emotionally turbulent than I am used to. Both in the cases of my family's losses and the jury duty, I don't think I am exaggerating when I say I am feeling things I have never felt before.

When it comes to my uncle and cousin, first I felt horribly guilty for allowing such a severance between us that I didn't even know my cousin had been dead for half a decade. I don't think there is much I could have done to stop it from happening other than to habitually scan the obituaries. It was my uncle's choice to keep us out of his life and I doubt I could have forced my way back in. Regardless, restoring contact with people who have fallen off the landscape of my life is swiftly becoming a priority.

As for the emotions the jury service has stirred, unfortunately to really talk about them I would have to talk about the trial and I can't do that. Suffice to say, there are not many things I have taken more seriously than my jury duty.

These things have not stopped me from writing. In fact, I should have used my writing to deal with them, but I didn't. I think I've regrouped a little bit, so hopefully more updates will be forthcoming.