Posted in Odds & ends

Twilight photos

Here are a couple of photos that I took earlier this evening. The first shows my NJ Transit train arriving in Bridgewater right around sunset. The second shows the crescent moon and the planet Venus, which appeared unusually close together tonight.

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Posted in Autographs, comic books, Lego, Odds & ends

Borough Con 2018

Yesterday I went to Borough Con, a second-year comic and anime convention being held at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. After a successful first year at St. John’s University, the show organizers hoped to transition to the new space and unfortunately, the crowds did not exactly follow.

There were a couple of dozen people waiting to get in when the doors opened a little bit before 10 a.m., and it took just a few moments to wander the show floor since the majority of the vendors and artists were still setting up. So, panel time… I went to “You are not the father,” a Maury-style examination of familial relationships in Dragon Ball, Naruto and Yugi-Oh… which ended up being a fun way to start the day.

I got to listen to Jim Starlin, Ron Marz and Fabian Nicieza talk about creating some of comics’ best villains Thanos, Parallax and Deadpool (yes, Deadpool started out as a villain until he got crazy popular.) That was fascinating, but it pivoted onto a topic that is sadly always relevant – what happens when you change a character in a way that pisses off some fans. At least when Hal Jordan became Parallax, it was before social media was around to amplify negative reactions to the degree it does today.

Then it was time for the one panel that I’d been planning to attend — Whoprov NYC: The New Adventures. Whoprov NYC is exactly what it sounds like – a Doctor Who-inspired impov group based in New York. And despite the group members outnumbering the audience, they put on an amazing show with two original “episodes.”  One was built around bubble tea, garlic and linoleum. The other featured Weeping Angels and alien chickens. Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall might not have much to worry about, but they were good fun in the spirit the sillier classic Doctor Who serials.

I went to one more panel before lunch, “Life as a Professional Cosplayer,” just because I was curious about how people managed to turn their hobby into a profession. This was the only panel that pretty much filled the room, which seemed like it could accommodate around 20 or 30 people comfortably.

The panel turnouts should have been a clue, but I was surprised how empty the show floor still was after I’d had lunch. I bought art prints from Jim Starlin and Mark McKenna, found a polybag to add to my Star Wars Lego collection, and looked at what everyone else had to offer.

By looking through the tables I discovered just how far out of the anime scene I’ve gotten… I think KonoSuba was the newest show I’d watched, and that’s from almost two years ago at this point.

I hung around for the media guests’ panel in the afternoon, which again was lightly attended. According to the BoroughCon program, the lineup was originally planned to feature Hale Appleman (Elliot on The Magicians), Isaiah Mustafa (Luke Garroway on the recently-cancelled Shadowhunters), and Jamie Chung (Blink on The Gifted.) As it turned out, only Chung made it to the convention. She was joined by Daniel Newman (Daniel in The Walking Dead.)

The panel was planned as a Q&A, but Chung and Newman ended up having a conversation with each other for most of it. And they were awesome. Chung told us about buying comics when she was a kid. She picked based on the cover, then put them away in plastic unread because she didn’t want to mess them up. Since this was the Death of Superman overproduction era, it’s probably pretty safe to open them up to read now.

Chung saw my Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 t-shirt with Groot on it and told us about going for the part of Mantis in the movie. She didn’t get it, but she said she’s ok with that because she’s friends with Pom (Klementieff). I ended up with a unique inscription on my Blink photo when I got Chung’s autograph after the panel.

It ended up being a fun day… I got to see panels I wouldn’t have been able to go to at a larger convention and talk to guests in a way I wouldn’t have if there’d been a bigger crowd. It was a very nice change of pace from New York Comic Con, but I’d have to guess it will be tough to get vendors, artists and guests to come back next year based on the small crowd numbers.

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Posted in Nature Photography, Odds & ends, Toy Photography

Photos

I’ve got about a million things that I want to do, but I only have the time and energy for a fraction of them. So tonight I’m just going to show you a few of my favorite photos that I took in May.

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I took this photo of my Matt Harvey Oyo Sports minifigure after learning the New York Mets had designated him for assignment last month, bringing an end to an era where he was supposed to be the Mets’ ace. They later traded Harvey to the Cincinnati Reds, where he continues to struggle. For a brief period, Harvey was awesome and on the nights he pitched, every Mets fan had to stop what they were doing and watch to see if Harvey would do something for the history books.

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My other favorite photo subject is my flowers. This is an allium, a plant in the onion family that produces a round ball of tiny star-shaped flowers in the spring. I usually look at the whole ball of flowers, but this photo is a closeup that’s more interested in the lines of the flower stems than the flowers themselves.

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I think it rained on all but one Saturday in May… it kinda took the fun out of having them off for a change.

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Lego ‘me’ doing some gardening

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Actual me looking at a clover plant I’ve been growing since last summer. It’s gotten another six or eight inches taller since I took this selfie.

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A peony flower near sunset

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A nearly full moon

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An alternate of the highwayman photo I posted on my Instagram account… I like the lighting better here, but I noticed that Lego horses don’t photograph well head on.

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My Memorial Day 2018 photo

Do you have any cool photos that you want to share? Post them in the comments & I’ll take a look.

Entertainers, drug dealers, fans and junkies

I’ve been reading Saga, a critically acclaimed comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Think about a cross between Romeo and Juliet and Game of Thrones by way of Star Wars, and you’ll have the general idea.

Alana and Marko are our star-crossed couple, members of two warring species in a conflict that has lasted so long that the origin has largely been forgotten and the actual fighting is done by proxy through conscripts and allies on different worlds. Yet somehow, they end up falling for each other and have a baby… and that puts them on the run from both sides. Can’t have someone showing that it might just be possible to not be at war, after all.

While they’re on the run, Alana briefly works as an actor on the Open Circuit, a kind of virtual reality successor to television. And she has this conversation with Yuma, a set decorator for the bad soap opera she works on:

Alana: We’re not soldiers, we’re entertainers.

Yuma: Like hell. We’re drug dealers.

Yuma: It’s true, the Circuit has only ever existed to pacify an angry and hopeless population.

Alana: Maybe shitty shows like ours, but what about actual good ones? I got into “Filament City” when I was young, changed the way I thought about poverty.

Yuma: And what did you do? Join a nonprofit organization? Volunteer at a soup kitchen? Or did you lock yourself in a tiny room, shut the blinds and mainline every transmission like a junkie?

Yuma: Some art might have the power to change people, but the Circuit can only ever change the way we feel, and never for very long.

— Saga Chapter 20, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

And you know what? It kinda hits home, not just about television but about a lot of our entertainment in 2018.

Art can change people and give them something to aspire to… just look at all of the folks who ended up in science because of Star Trek, for one example. People have found love through fandoms. People went on to become authors and artists after starting with fan fiction and fan art.

But Netflix, Hulu and the internet put so much entertainment at our fingertips that it’s easy to get lost in the escapism. And as someone who’s managed to watch whole seasons of a series in a weekend, I do wonder what I might accomplish if I pulled the plug.

But that’s just it… I wonder. And odds are pretty good that I’ll go back to watching Lost in Space shortly after I hit the “publish” button.

So yeah, I might be a junkie…

(But check out Saga and Lost in Space, they both look pretty good so far.)

Posted in Odds & ends

A touch of spring

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Before I headed over to the ballpark on Tuesday to catch the Mets’ game, I stopped at Macy’s Herald Square flagship store to check out their 2018 flower show. If you’re in the area, you can check in out through April 8th.

Posted in Odds & ends

Could the world be about to turn?

Maybe the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who organized Saturday’s March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C. are an answer to all of the ‘thoughts and prayers’ that follow school shootings and other horrific acts of violence.

At least 200,000 people turned out in the nation’s capital, with other demonstrations throughout the country. People — especially our young people — are trying to convince those in power that we can do better. Students should not have to practice what to do in the event of a shooting at their school — something that never even crossed our minds when I was a student.

Maybe those in power will listen and try to do something this time. Maybe they will be voted out of office. Maybe the world is about to turn.

Maybe they try and it’s not enough, or it’s the wrong thing. Maybe we will have to try again.

Maybe nothing changes at all, and we just wait to express sadness and outrage again after the next horrific act of violence.

I don’t know. I’m choosing to believe in the possible.

Posted in Odds & ends

Lenten reflection

This is a little late for this year, but a member of my church family shared this Lenten reflection with me last week and I thought it was worth passing along.

Give up complaining – Focus on gratitude

Give up on judgments – Think kind thoughts

Give up on discouragement – Be hopeful

Give up on bitterness – Turn to forgiveness

Give up anger – Return good for evil

Give up gossiping – Control your tongue

Give up pessimism – Be optimistic

Give up gloom – Enjoy the beauty around you

Give up jealousy – Pray for trust

Give up worry – Trust Divine Providence

Give up giving up – Hang in there!

— Author unknown