Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Series



I was unfamiliar with this series until I saw commercials for the new movie based on the book.   I saw one of the books and the name of the writer looked familiar.  Rick Riordan was also the writer of a series of mystery books that I love.  I was wondering why I haven't seen a new book in the series for awhile.  It's because he was off writing kids' books.  The series is Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

The main character is 12 year old Percy Jackson.  He discovers that his dad is none other than the Greek God Poseidon.  Of course this puts him on a quest and his fate is part of a prophecy that could foretell doom for the Gods of Olympus when he turns 16.  There's five books in the series and each book brings him closer to his 16th year, until the final book he turns 16.  The Greeks Gods are given a more modern twist, Apollo drives a sports car, etc.

I'm on the fourth of the books now.  I picked up the first one about a week ago and enjoyed it.  I've been reading them since.  Now before anyone asks, no they're not Harry Potter, but than what is?  Harry Potter was the top as far as kids books go, but these are very good and held my interest as an adult, much the way the Potter books did.

I would definitely recommend them to anyone interested in a good adventure story.

The Funeral Possession

Someone filmed the Funeral Possession passing through the town.  Ten minutes it took of cars driving.  It was amazing the amount of people that turned out for JJ's Funeral.  Watch it and just be amazed at the amount of cars in the possession.

New Column

Just to let everyone know I am now writing a column of comment about comic books for one of the local comic stores in town.  They have a webpage where they feature the upcoming comics and stuff and now where they'll feature my new column.  The column is called "Don't Try This At Home" mainly cause I couldn't think of anything else to call it.  It'll be me talking about comic books, reviews, basically anything I feel like talking about that I can connect to comic books.  You can find the page here, than just look for the logo with my name on the right side of the page and click on it.  I'm going to try and do this on a weekly basis but we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Funeral

I've been back a couple days now from the funeral.

The funeral home quickly became filled with people coming to pay their last respects to JJ.  Jason and Claire did so well, they were holding up so good.  When I got there and greeted them I just went mute, I just didn't know what to say.  I just hugged Claire and wished I had the words to say.

The service was SRO.  So many people wanted to pay their respects to this young man.  I heard many a person say that they didn't even know the family, they just wanted to come pay their respects.  After the Chaplin gave the services he invited people that wished to speak about Jason to come forward.  JJ's brother went first and talked about his brother.  Throughout the day Parker did himself and his family proud.  He spoke wonderfully about the bond he had with JJ and what they meant to each other.  During the day I saw Parker talking to others, helping them with their grief, he showed what a fine young man he was becoming.

I made it through the service with just a little misting over.  I felt like I was cried out over JJ.  Afterwards the possession was to the cemetery.  The possession made its way through the town of Canton, passing the local shopping center, through the heart of the small town and passed the local high school.

On the way I found I still had plenty of tears for JJ.  Alongside the streets were gathered people, lots of people, all standing with flags or saluting or just standing out in the cold offering their respect.  The stores were closed so the people working could stand out front.  The high school was closed, all the students were in front.  As we drove down the street two hook an ladder trucks from the fire department were ahead of us, their ladders forming an arch we passed beneath with flags drapped from their heights.

I saw one little girl, she couldn't have been more than five or six standing next to her Mom, holding a small flag and waving it as we drove past.  I couldn't stop the tears as I drove, I kept wiping at my eyes and driving.  But I couldn't believe the amount of people on the streets.  So many people.

At the cemetery I heard the Chaplin (who was the Police Chaplin for the County) tell Claire that he was ready to start, but the people just seemed to keep coming.  He said he had never seen anything like this in his career.

I knew at the site, with the 21 gun salute and the folding of the flag I would get more emotional.  I did at my Dad's funeral when they fired the guns.  It was bitterly cold out there, but no one was in a rush to get it over with.

But finally I had to leave and head back to Louisiana.  

Monday, February 22, 2010

Leaving

I'm heading to Georgia this morning for JJ's funeral tomorrow.  Thanks to everyone that has commented and left good thoughts, it means a lot to JJ's parents.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

TV News on Jason

Here's a video of the local news coverage of Jason.

For anyone wishing to leave condolences to the Family there is a page set up on Facebook here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More on Jason

 Back when I was writing, those many years ago, one of my favorite things I created was the series "Lizards" that ran in the page of Fantagraphics Critter anthology comic.  I'm actually not too fond of the title Lizards, it was supposed to be called "Dragons" but somehow I ended up with Lizards.  Irregardless I think the stories I wrote in this series are some of the best things I've done.  For most of the kids in the series I took their names from the kids of friends.  Of course one of the kids in the series was named for Jason.  Instead of calling him JJ I called him Lil' Jason.  (I never got around to showing Big Jason in the series).  I thought I'd post one of the stories I did featuring Lil' Jason.  






Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jason Estopinal

Families come in all sizes and shapes.  You don't even have to be related to be family.  That's how I think of Jason and Claire, two of my best friends in the world.  I wrote about them in this post when I was writing about what great friends I have.  I remember when their first son, Jason Junior was born.  And their second Parker.  So much of my life is made of memories of friends and the two of them share a wonderful part of it.

I don't even know how to write this.  On Monday their oldest son, JJ, was killed while serving on duty as a Marine in Afghanistan.  When I went to lunch I checked my email on my phone and saw an email forwarded from Claire and opened it.  It was a link to a newspaper article about the death of JJ.  I was stunned.  I didn't even realize I was crying until I felt the tears on my face.  


I remember when JJ was born, Claire wasn't going to let me feel awkward around the baby.  I wasn't use to babies, to me they were little people that others took care of.  Claire wasn't going to have any of that, the first time I saw them she pushed JJ at me and told me to hold on to him.  She made sure that I was comfortable with him.  One of my favorite pictures of me (and I generally hate pictures of myself) is of me holding JJ at one of the many BBQ/crawfish boils we would have.  Before I realized it I was babysitting JJ.  I can still remember when we'd all get together as a group and all the grown ups would be sitting around talking and I'd be running around the back yard with JJ.  


I don't even know why I'm writing this right now.  To be honest it hurts to just sit here and put these words down.  It hurts to remember him.  But all I can do is write.  That's all I have is words, however inadequate they are.  


Jason and Claire ended up moving to Atlanta so I didn't see them as much.  A few of us made a point of going every year to visit.  Than after awhile that stopped.  It seemed there were always too many things to do.   Than even the phone calls dwindled down.  It wasn't that we still didn't think of ourselves as the same friends. Life just has a way of making things difficult.  Last summer I talked to Claire and I had the best intentions of driving up to Atlanta and seeing them.  I would probably not be able to see JJ, he has joined the Marines and was finishing up Boot Camp that summer.   But I got sick, my Mom had surgery and again life just threw up too many roadblocks for me to make the visit.  



One of my favorite pictures.  I don't know how old JJ was, but he couldn't have been very old.



This picture was probably at Six Flags in Atlanta.  I just love that smile.



Me and JJ riding Splash Mountain. Notice how he's trying to hide behind me and let me get most of the water.
Didn't work.




Another trip to Atlanta.  This was at Stone Mountain.  That's Claire, JJ and his brother Parker and to their right my friend Sal and me kneeling in the front.




JJ and me riding away.


JJ with his brother Parker.


Jason as a Marine.

All my memories of JJ are as him as a child.  Even his name, his name is Jason, but when he was little everyone called him JJ and that's still how I think of him.  But he wasn't a child anymore, he was a man.  I wish I had been able to know him as a man.  He was 21, the same age as my niece.  I know he was a good man, he couldn't have been less.  And he would have continued to grow and become an even better man.

I left work today.  I thought I'd go back in but as I walked towards the door I knew that I wasn't going to be able to stay.  I told Krista, asking her to come outside to talk to her, and barely able to get the words out.  Saying the words made it too real.

So here I sit, trying to find words that can make some sort of sense of all of it.  I like to think of myself as a writer, but I can't find the words.  I try to think of some quote or passage, something that might make take the edge off some.  I like to think that I'm this fountain of knowledge when it comes to music and when I try to think of a song to download on this page I come up empty.

When I remember JJ I'll always remember the smiles and the laughter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!


I had to work.

Rockford Again

I read somewhere that they are making a new version of The Rockford Files for TV.  I'm sorry, there will only be one Jim Rockford and that's James Garner.  Are there no new ideas out there, that the networks have to keep going back and dusting off old television shows.  I've also heard that there's a new Hawaii Five-0 in the makings too.  Why try and re-do Rockford, use all that energy into creating something new.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

LOST

I know I'm running late with this week's edition of LOST.  I've come to a conclusion that I'm kind of surprised by:  I'm not that interested in Kate.  I've realized that the Kate centered shows are some of my least favorite.  Coming from the high of last week's episode this one was something of a let down.  Reactions?  Thoughts?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Five Years

This Friday will mark the fifth year that I've been blogging on this site.  Wow....five years, I'll write more about it as that day comes.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Night of the Saint's Win

I didn't get to watch the Big Game.  I was working.  I work at a sporting goods and outdoors store.  We are a major source of Saints products: shirts, hats, pennants, etc.  Since they've won the NFC championship we've been selling a lot of Saints stuff.  If the Saints win we were going to open right after the game and start selling Superbowl championship product.  The merchandise was there, we couldn't open it until the end of the game.  If the Saints lost than it all went back.

We had the game on the radio so we could listen.  We had a store full of associates standing around waiting for the outcome.  Before the game was over, once it started to look pretty good for a Saints' win we had people start lining up outside the store.  By the time the game was over we probably had a few hundred people waiting. As the game ended we started opening boxes and putting the product out on the tables.  Every register was manned and we had people behind all the tables getting the shirts and hats out.  I was in charge, making sure everything was ready.  We had police there to help control the crowd.

The plan was to let twenty people in at a time, once the first twenty was in and moving along we would let another twenty in, and so on.  Once the tables were packed with the shirts and hats I gave the signal to the police office to start with the first twenty.  By now the line was all the way down the strip mall and around the side.  We had to have over a thousand people in line.  The parking lot was parked, all you saw on the road was headlights headed towards us.  Horns were blaring, car alarms were going off, people were screaming and all you could hear was "Who Dat!!!!"  The fire department came with an engine with lights and horns blaring, parking out front of the store.

Everything went smooth.  People poured through the store, buying shirts and hats and moving through the registers with no problems.  Everyone was cheering and yelling as they came through.  It was as close to a party you can have while still working.

43 years in the making.  There was a lot of emotion that night.  The people here love their Saints and have stood behind this team through a lot of bad years, so it was great to see all that loyalty finally being rewarded. Within three hours we were sold out of everything Superbowl related and we still have hundreds of people outside.

I have to admit I was a little nervous about having to go out there and face that crowd.  Some of those people had been standing in line for hours.  One of the firemen came in and volunteered to go inform the crowd through the fire trucks' speakers.  The police officer at the door told the people that had waited so patiently and were now at the door to be let in that sadly they were going to be turned away, we had no more product.  After thousands of hats, shirts, pennants, license plate holders, magnets we were out.

This was crucial point, even the police officers were a little worried.  What would this crowd of hundreds do after standing outside, drinking and partying, waiting for Saints product that they were now told was not here. New Orleans did me proud.  They turned away with no problem.  Of course there was some grumbling, a few people could be heard that this wasn't fair, but the majority, the vast majority of the people understand and went off cheering and chanting for their Saints.  They knew we'd have more product the next morning and even more important than to be the first to get that shirt or hat I think they just wanted to be out with fellow fans to celebrate after the win.

So for me I've been seeing the win from a slightly different perspective.  I haven't even had a chance to see the local news to see how the rest of the city has reacted.  The next day I was back again, with another big crowd, but nowhere near the size of the previous night, and lines of people with the shirts and hats we received again.

I heard from someone that when the Saints came home today from the airport that the streets were lined for miles around the airport with fans.  I'm off Tuesday so I'm looking to be able to watch some news and see what's been happening otherwise with the Saints.

Who Dat Picked the Saints?

Before the game a lot of celebrities are polled to see who they thought would win.  The majority picked the Colts, mainly due to Peyton.  Just thought I'd share two picks with everyone.  I always knew I liked Valerie and Ms. Jett is one of my favorite rockers.


VALERIE BERTINELLI
Actress
New Orleans, 24-21. With those two quarterbacks, there has to be some scoring because they are both brilliant. The Saints have a deep offense and the defense is so good, they will hold them back. It will be a great game no matter what ... especially when the Saints win.
JOAN JETT
Rock star
New Orleans, 45-33.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Two Scary Words - President Palin

I admit that I find the words President Palin to be just about the two scariest words I can think of.  She is saying that running is on her mind.  Fred Kaplan from Slate explains why those two words should be scary.

Let's be clear on why those words should terrify anyone with a thinking brain. Palin is someone who has clearly never seriously thought through any issue of national importance on her own. She's excellent at reciting a raucous speech, but she can't improvise a coherent sentence, which usually reflects an inability to form a coherent idea. (At Nashville, she even had to scribble her five-word legislative agenda on her palm, andglanced down at it during the Q&A.) She is deluded enough to believe (or at least to saySunday morning on Fox News) that her brief, aborted stint as Alaska's governor gave her more executive experience than President Obama has even now. She believes that the country should elect leaders, including presumably herself, who seek solutions in "divine intervention."

Saints Win!

I know I'm late, but I had to work for the Superbowl and afterwards we re-opened to sell Superbowl shirts and hats.  There literally was thousands of people in line tonight.  I'm sure I'll have more to talk about the Saints win later, but it's time for bed.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Maybe They Can't Get Enough

I know it was only a post or two ago that I talked about the bonuses of big companies, but I came across this and had to pass it on.  Go read here.  This is the type of stuff that makes me think President Obama isn't delivering on his promises.

The Queen's Meme

I got this Meme from Trav and while I commented and answered some of the questions at his blog I really wanted to do it over here, so here it is.


The Queen's Meme #22 - Come on Baby, Light My Fire


Before you get carried away and let your mind wander down a trail of romantic and erotic intrigue, stop. We're not talking about that kind of fire. Not today anyway. We're talking about intellect, entertainment and adventure. 

I'd like you to take a look at the what makes you happy and brings you joy. Pretend you are talking to a new friend. Answer the questions as enthusiastically as you can and share with your friend what lights your fire. Recommend your favorites, what you're passionate about - and tell us why. If it's too hard to choose just one, narrow it down to the best of the best. Everyone who reads your answers will not only get a better sense of who you are but we might be inspired to check it out upon your expert recommendation. I like learning something new everyday. If you open the door of my imagination, I just might step through. Tell me!



1. Which historical figure do you admire the most? Why?  I'm going to stretch this one and not pick just one person, but a group.  I am fascinated with the men and women who created this country.  You can find fault with them if you wish, but have a group of people ever created something so good and great? 


2. Name the band or artist you'd like to see live in concert before you leave the planet or tell us about a concert or album that has already rocked your world.  I've had the good fortune to see some amazing concerts: Bruce Springsteen at Jazz Fest the year after Katrina, Will Hoge at Bonnaroo, Joss Stone at the HOB, Shannon McNally, Theresa Anderson, Dylan at the Zoo, John Boutte and Paul Sanchez at French Quarter Fest....these and more are shows that thrilled me, moved me, brought me to tears.  And still there are ones I've missed and want to see: Neko Case, Tom Petty, Avett Brothers; but I'm going to cheat a little because I'm going to pick someone that I could not see today.  The top of my wish list would be to see the Beatles.  I saw Paul McCartney on his last tour and I felt like that captured some of the excitement of a Beatles show, but I know it really comes nowhere what a true Beatles show would have been.  Of any concert I could see that would be who I most want to see.


3. What's your favorite television show or series of all time? Why should I care?  This is a tough one, I have a few favorite shows, which one being my favorite probably depends on when you ask me.  On Trav's blog I agreed with his choice of The West Wing, one that definitely fights for a spot as my number one.  It's one of the few shows I've watched from start to finish at least three times.  It's one of those shows that makes you think, makes you proud of your country even as it makes you question it at the same time.  It's just that good a show.  But I think for my number one show I'm going to have to go with the show that gave a name to my dog...Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I watched this show at least three, if not more times, from start to finish.  If you think it's only a show about vampires and horror, you've never watched this show.  This is a show about people and belonging and how we fight off loneliness and just plain about the human condition.   


4. Movies! I am so behind on the movie scene. What should I watch this weekend? Should I watch it alone or with someone?   I am really behind in my movie watching.  Once upon a time I would be seeing at least two or three movies a week, now I can't remember the last movie I saw at the theater.  Or even on DVD.  There's a lot of great movies, but one that hardly anyone remembers or even saw, that was always one of my favorites is Creator.  It came out in 1985 and stars Peter O'Toole, Mariel Hemingway, Vincent Spano and Virginia Madsen.  It didn't make much of a dent when it came out, I think it was pushed as a teen comedy and it was far from that.  It's a movie that will make you laugh and cry and think.  What more can you ask of a movie?


5. You are hopping on a plane tomorrow morning. Where did you choose to go and why?  Lots of places I'd love to go visit, never been to Japan and want to, but I think I would have to pick Alaska.  I've been there twice and I don't think there's any place more beautiful.  It's a beautiful place filled with some amazing people (ex vice presidential candidates excepted).


6. Who is your favorite author? What about their writing inspires you or simply entertains you? Recommend at least one book that you feel I must read.  I have a core group of writers that I can go back and read their work over and over.  John D. MacDonald is one, I never tire of reading his books.  The World According to Garp is a book I have to read every few years.  But the one writer that I read constantly is Harlan Ellison.  His fiction and non fiction has moved me, has made me think, has inspired me to want to write.  A month rarely passes that I don't pick up a book and read one of his stories or essays.


7. Hobbies and passions. What brings you joy in your spare time? How did you get into it?  Reading, writing and music.  I can't play or sing, but I love to listen to music.  And I love to read.  I think Travis said it best when he talks about not being able to part with his books, I understand the feeling very well. But at the rate it's going I'll have to move out and leave the place for my books.  And though it seems to be something I don't do very well I love to write.  Once upon a time I would write everyday, all the time.  I would stay home while everyone was out having a good time because I wanted to write.  Unfortunately it seems that desire has been derailed by a million and one excuses that should not matter, but writing is still a passion and one I want to make myself get back to more seriously.

Friday, February 05, 2010

That's All?

Evidently the news that the Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs only recieved $9 million dollar bonus for last year seems to have most thinking it was a small bonus.  Now where I come from that is definitely no where a small bonus.  Go read more about it here.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Glory Bound

Thanks to Aimee for sending me this cause somehow I missed it.  And me being a really BIG Theresa Andersson fan.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

LOST

Ok, the first two hours just ended.  If this is the season we start getting some answers than they better get on with it, because I have more questions after tonight than ever before.  Not that I'm complaining, it was a great two hours.

Oh, just to be safe...SPOILERS AHEAD...if you haven't seen the first two episodes yet, don't read anymore.

So now there seem to be two versions of all the characters running through the series.  One making the flight back from Australia and landing in L.A.  It's interesting to see how the characters are meeting up as they land in the land of angels and you have to wonder where all this is going.  There has to be more to this than just a simple alternative reality where they don't crash on the island.  Especially since they seem to be having the characters interact.

I have to admit that I was on the edge of my seat when the show started and Jack was on the plane and he looked over to see Rose.  Than when the plane started to shake I had to think it was all going to happen again.

You know for a mysterious island there sure seems to be a lot of people on it and always new ones popping up. More Others.

Thinking that Jacob, Richard and the mysterious "Monster" that is Locke now all were part of some ship that wrecked on the island a looooong time ago.  Death doesn't seem to slow Jacob down too much.

One thing I ask, no beg if I have to, let's not visit the Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle again.  I'm so sick of that, let's move on.  I wish Juliet had lived, but I guess her commitments to her other show precluded that.

Ok, thoughts?  Any ideas on what's going on?  I know I can't wait for next Tuesday.

LOST Returns

Tonight it comes back on.  Get ready for weekly reviews and feel free to drop in and talk about what you think is going on.  I have a lot of faith with the writers of this show, but I can't figure out how they're going to wrap this whole thing up.  But than I guess that's the fun of it.

Who Dat!

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