No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge


No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge

By Cyber Trout & Evil Chicken

Like most people, we have also been affected by the “Big C.” According to the American Cancer Society, over 13,000,000 people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with cancer and many millions more are affected by it. So lets share a little of our struggles and loss.

JeffI lost my uncle to prostate cancer in 2007. James Newlin was more of a brother really. Being less than two years older than me, we grew up together, went to school together and were roommates for years. His loss hit me pretty hard. I have also had many other friends affected. From my mother in law Anne’s successful fight with breast cancer, to the loss of family friends. With all this tragedy in our lives, doing something, even so small as to encourage a few hundred friends and family to donate to the ACS, was the least I could do.

GeorgeI was 17 when my father was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  The prognosis was grim.  After his surgery I took him for his radiation treatments during July and August of 1987. In September his condition worsened and he was gone by the 8th of October of that year.  I am a part of this because no one should have to live this or watch it happen to someone they love.  I believe that we are on loan to each other and we must make the most of the moments that we have.  I’m in this because moments matter.  The American Cancer Society knows this too and they need the dollars to continue research to find a cure.  It will happen someday and what a moment that will be.

In memory of those we lost, we decided to do something about it in our own small way.

One of the most enjoyable ways to support the American Cancer Society is No Shave November.  The idea behind it, is to show support for people going through cancer treatments who typically lose their hair by actually growing some. You raise awareness and, with your donation page, money for cancer research.  WE, Mr. Trout and I came to the decision to participate out of a variety of reasons including Jeff ran out of shaving cream, my razors were far too rusty, and it was November and neither of us had shaved.

Jeff proposed that we should throw our lots together and create the No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge!  We would pit to combatants against each other and let the Citizens of Facebook decide who had the better facial hair.  Jeff, who happens to be a Technomancer, made all of the brilliant graphics and we were off to the races.  The battles were EPIC in scale crossing bearded celebrities, historical figures, writers, and artists.  Watching the voting gave us a unique view for each round with friends responses and our own.

We had some pretty jaw dropping battles over this past month but, all of them fade into nothing when compared to the real battle that is cancer. Sure, we have had an absolute BLAST with what you are about to read, however, this month’s facial hair growth spurt is not about us – it’s about others and those who are in the battle of their lives.  This month has been about supporting THEM.  So we would like to give our faithful readers here a chance to support cancer research as well.

Cyber Trout’s page can be found right here: CyberTrout ACS Donation Page

Evil Chicken’s page can be found right here: Evil Chicke ACS Donation Page

THAT SAID, Below, amassed for your perusal, assembled all in one place (well, two places if you happen to be reading this on Cyber Trout or, conversely, Chicken Scratch) are our match ups!  Who won?  Well, let’s review and find out!


Tom Selleck vs. Mr. T – TIE

Time for our first Facial Hair Challenge. Who had the best facial hair? A vote for Magnum P.I. is a vote for Team Trout. Choose Mr. T. and a vote goes to Team Scully.

Let the games begin!

 [NOTE: “I thought this one was in the bag. While B.A. Baracus has the beard, Tom Selleck’s mustache rules! Check out the link on the Doctor Who Challenge below.” – CT]

Teddy vs. Grant – TIE

A Veterans Day, No Shave November Challenge.

George Scully & I tied yesterday.

Today’s challenge is between two great military members and their iconic facial hair. Choose General Ulysses “Unconditional Surrender” Grant and you give a vote to Team Scully. Choose the leader of the Rough Rider’s and later General, Theodore Roosevelt, for a vote for Team Trout.

Above all else, remember all those that have served our country with honor and duty. To all our military members, we are thankful for your service.

Ducks vs. ZZ Top – TIE

Thus far Mr. Trout and I have had a fairly even competition. Round one was Magnum P.I. vs. Mr. T which ended in a TIE. Yesterday, after a fierce battle worthy of the combatants, Teddy Roosevelt vs. Ulysses S. Grant ended in ANOTHER TIE. Today’s battle involves two major league combatants in the No-Shave November Facial Hair Challenge. Representing TEAM SCULLY in this match are the gentlemen from Duck Dynasty! Representing TEAM TROUT in this round of facial hair voting are none other than ZZ Top!

This is a battle of the heavy weights. In one corner you have the four boys from Louisiana and in the other there is a Little Ole Band from Texas! Both of these groups of combatants have chosen to ignore their razors & shaving cream niceties for the pure joy of a free flowing beard. [YES, we know the argument, “But the drummer doesn’t have a beard.” While we admit this is true, his name is Beard and he sports a pretty good moustache.] Collectively their facial hair is iconic. So, we ask you Citizens of Facebook who wins in this battle of the Titans ~ Duck Dynasty or ZZ Top!?

Who wears it the best?

[NOTE: “This one shocked me.  I thought that ZZ Top was going to blow the Ducks out of the water.  I was wrong.” – EC]

Walt vs. Abe – TIE

Down to the wire last night. The Duck Dynasty Gang were ahead most of the day. They were set to beat ZZ Top. Then those sharp dressed men somehow managed to get some legs and tie up match number three. Three ties in a row.

So today, George of Team Scully and Jeff of Team Trout are looking for a win with a terrific twosome of fantastic follicle forefathers who knew how to foster the face fungus. Two men who know how to chop the mutton, and boast the beard.

In Team Scully’s corner we have the Hair from Harding County. The man who stomped slavery and tells it like it is. The copper chinned champ. The 16th President of these United States. Abraham Lincoln!!!!!

In Team Trout’s corner is the father of free verse. A poet, journalist and king of keratinized cells. The Humanist from Huntington. He exists as he is and that is enough. The Author of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman!

Let the match begin!

Morison vs. Garcia –Scully

This Heavy Weight bout for the No-Shave November Facial Hair Challenge will last a full 12 rounds! In this corner from Brevard County, Florida – weighing in at 175 pounds (he had gained about 40 pounds around the time of this picture) JIM “the Lizard King” MORRISON! And in this corner, from San Francisco, California weighing in at a figure higher than Jim Morrison is JERRY “Touch of Grey” GARCIA! It’s the DOORS vs. the DEAD!

We want a clean fight, Citizens of Facebook. …Hark, what is that I hear?

DING, DING, DING!

Round one has just started.

Ariel vs. Jasmine – Trout

With the first official win under his belt, Team Scully has taken the lead in our Facial Hair Challenge. Can Team Trout make a comeback today?

Say one thing about No Shave November, it is a biased day. This Facial Hair Challenge really is all about the guys and quite frankly, George & I were disgusted.

So we found a solution. What could be more feminine than Disney Princesses!

In the Team Trout Corner is the daughter of King Triton and Queen Athena. The beauty of the seas. The one and only, Bearded Mermaid herself amazing Ariel.

In Team Scully’s Corner is the only daughter of the wealthy Sultan of Agrabah. The lovely carpet riding princess that stole Aladdin’s heart. Beardladdin’s Princess Jazzbeard

So who will win this Facial Hair Challenge!!!!

[NOTE: “This one was a blowout – 8 – 0 for the bearded Ariel!  I misplaced my fighting trousers that day.” – EC]

Qui-Gon vs. Ras Al Ghul – Scully

Here are the standings so far.

George Scully has one win with Jerry Garcia defeating Jim Morrison.

Jeff Trout has one win with Beardy Princess Ariel who defeated Princess Jasbeard.

Remember to make a donation for your favorite team at the American Cancer Society. (Links to follow)

Today’s No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge is between one man.  An actor of our time.  From such great films as Krull and Excalibur.

This is the Battle of the Liam Neesons.

In Team Scully’s Corner we have a powerful user of the Force. The trainer of Obi Wan and meditating master who guided Anikan to his Fate. We present to you, at least the top half, Qui-Gon Jinn

In Team Trout’s Corner is the Demon Head himself. The trainer and the enemy of Bruce Wayne himself. Batman’s true bane, the everliving, Rā’s al Ghūl

[NOTE: “The force was with you this day.” – CT]

Gandalf vs. Dumbledore – Trout

Here it is everyone. Jeff & George are back with another week of No Shave November Facial Hair Challenges!

Team Scully jumped ahead last night with a decisive win. It has been a close battle and today may be the most challenging contest yet!

This Sunday we give you the Wizardly Battle of the Beards!

In Team Scully’s Corner is the Head Honcho of Hogwarts. The man who found the Twelve Uses For Dragon’s Blood and wielder of Gubraithian Fire! Harry Potters mentor and arguably the most powerful and knowledgeable Wizard in the world of J.K. Rowling.

We give you, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore!

In Team Trout’s Corner in the grey and white robes is the Magnificent Mystical Magical Master of Middle Earth. The defeater of trolls and orcs. The man who defied and defeated the fiery Balrog and the man who crowned the 35th King of Gondor.

We give you Gandalf!

Make your choice!

Green Arrow vs. the Maestro – Scully

Today’s No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge is one for the history books. In the spirit of the 1976 comic Superman vs. The Amazing SpidermanGeorge Scully and Jeff Trout bring you the DC vs. Marvel crossover of fantastic facial hair. Today’s challengers are two powerhouses of the world of superheroes.

On Team Scully’s side is the magnificent archer, billionaire and celebrity, Oliver Queen. With the charm and goatee of Earl Flynn and the skills of Robin Hood, he is one of the greatest heroes in the DC Universe. We give you Green Arrow!

On Team Trout’s side we have the Incredible Hulk’s alter ego of an alternate future. The conquere of a Post Apocalyptic Earth and a ferocious beard to match his personality. We give you The Maestro!

So, who is the best of the beards today?

Pitt vs. Depp – TIE

Yet again, it is officially a tie. Team Scully and Team Trout are having the closest challenge yet. George and Jeff have received some feedback on the Bearded Princess Challenge and it was apparently, not what the ladies wanted. So we went back to the drawing table.

This one was tough to decide. We thought about who would the ladies like to see in a No Shave November Challenge. We also had to be careful not to choose anyone who was more attractive than us.

After long deliberation we we came up with two mildly handsome actors to represent us. So without further ado we bring you today’s challenge.

On Team Scully’s side we have the incomparable actor of Tim Burton’s dreams. The man who started his career gushing blood in Nightmare On Elm Street and brought us such amazing characters as Tom Hanson, Edward Scissorhands, Gilbert Grape, Rango and that rapscallion, Captain Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp.

On Team Trout’s team today is the exceptional actor who began his career in TV soaps. But he got a break as J.D. in Thelma & Louise which led him to an amazing career. Who can forget his many roles as Detective Frank Harris, Mills, Jeffrey Goines, Tyler Durden, Mickey O’Neil, Rusty Ryan and countless others. We give you the most handsome grim reaper you will ever meet, Brad Pitt.

Connelly vs. Connery – Trout

Yesterday’s match was a win for Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) which edged Team Scully just ahead of Team Trout represented by, the Maestro (the Hulk of a possible future timeline). If there is one thing that we have continued to see during the No-Shave November Facial Hair Challenge is that anything can happen. Today’s match holds this promise. Today is a battle of the Whiskered Scotsmen and, yes, there can be only one.

HE has been the embodiment of so many characters over the years. This Academy Award winning Scotsman comes from humble beginnings. You know him as; Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, Robin Hood, King Agamemnon, Zed, Professor Henry Jones Senior, and some guy named, Bond, James Bond. You know him, you love him – representing TEAM TROUT is none other than Sean Connery!

HE too has worn many faces over the span of time. Starting from his blue-collar roots as a welder, he became a folk singer, a comedian, and an actor. He’s portrayed varied characters including; Uncle Monty (Lemony Snicket), Father Joseph “Joe” Crissman (X-Files II), the zombie pet – Fido (Fido), and Noah MacManus, A.K.A. “Il Duce” (Boondock Saints I & II). Ladies & Gentlemen, representing TEAM SCULLY – Billy Connelly!

Good Citizens of Facebook, the Battle of the Whiskered Scotsmen is now UNDERWAY!

Latrec vs. Van Gogh – Trout

A win for Team Trout last night brings him ahead by one. Team Scully looking to keep the game close today.

We have the Battle of Post Impressionists today.

We felt it best to let you judge these two by their beards and their works today. No fancy speeches or hype. Just enjoy some great art.

Cheers from Jeff &George.

On Team Trout, is Vincent Van Gogh.

http://www.vangoghgallery.com/

On Team Scully is Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

http://www.toulouse-lautrec-foundation.org/

[NOTE: “In the spirit of, ‘Hey, what the heck?’ we passed along this title card to the Author Guy, Mr. Christopher Moore.  He wrote a very funny book with these two characters in it called, ‘Sacre Bleu’.  He saw it on Twitter and he favorite it!  I love me some Christopher Moore.” – EC]

Hanks vs. Brosnan – Trout.  Gilligan’s Island song

[SUNG To the tune of, “Gilligan’s Island”]

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started when two actors found
Their boat had holes in it
 
Tom Hanks grabbed Wilson and a stick
A stick that could make fire
He took a couple Oscars too
For these he did acquire
For these he did acquire
 
Pierce Brosnan grabbed a coffee cup
In a poor attempt to bail
With water ebbing or the sides
It was an epic fail
It was an epic fail
 
Their ship’s aground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle
‘Cause this is done for charity
That makes it all worthwhile
 
No phone, no lights, no motor car
Not a can of shaving cream
You couldn’t cut their facial hair
With a diamond laser-beam
A diamond laser-beam
 
Now VOTE, our friends it’s up to you
Oh yes, who should it be
Peirce Brosnan vs. Thomas Hanks
Let’s agree to disagree
Agree to disagree
 
So Facebook friends the choice is yours
No Shave November brings
‘Be it Trout or Scully walks away
The or’ to nurse his stings
The or’ to nurse his stings
 
Consider a donation too
We hope this brings a smile
From Team Trout & Team Scully
On No Shave November Isle!

 [NOTE: “This was simply the best. Reading this when Evil Chicken shared it with me was so much fun.  – CT]  

Doctor Who (11th) vs. Theodore Maxtible – Trout

Team Trout has jumped ahead with two wins now and Team Scully, who has yet to find a way to travel through time, is looking for a win to keep our match close.

Today George and Jeff offer you another choice in the history of facial hair. This one spans time and space. With our mutual love for Doctor Who we could not resist this one.

We offer you the No Shave November Timey Wimey Facial Hair Challenge.

Today’s contestants are in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who were a challenge indeed. We perused our extensive knowledge stored in our Whovian brains and came out with two wonderfully bearded choices.

In Team Trout’s corner is the madman who becomes a being of pure hatred when he is infused with the Dalek Factor. A crazed villain and driving force in the Doctor’s wibbly wobbly history that flows like no other.

Team Trout offers you Theodore Maxtible.

Team Scully has chosen a champion of the human race. The man who met with Nixon and saved us all from, well from something. We can’t quite remember what though. From his isolation and imprisonment in Area 51, he had some time away from his razor on the Tardis.

Team Scully offers you The Eleventh Doctor.

[NOTE: “This upset took place on the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’!  I’m still reeling.” – EC]

[NOTE: “I was sent this link a bit later and found that my choice for Tom Selleck was a good one.” Den of Geeks Doctor Who’s Ten Best Uses of Facial Hair – CT]  

Vlad vs. Rasputin – Trout

Today’s No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge is between two mysterious figures in history whose names conjure trepidation and dread. Has history given way to legend and legend to these arcane feelings towards these two figures? One of them was a war hero & protector of his people, the other was a self-described, “pilgrim” who wanted his country to stay out of World War I. However history remembers these men one thing is sure and set in the pages of time ~ both of these gents had EPIC facial hair!

Representing TEAM TROUT in today’s bout is Grigori “The Mad Monk” Rasputin.

And representing TEAM SCULLY in the day’s match is Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes.

So, Citizens of Facebook, who wore their facial hair the best? …Hold on, the bell’s about to start.

[NOTE: “I am still amazed that there was a disco song written about Rasputin” – CT]  

Socrates vs. Kahn – Scully

Today is a most excellent challenge. Still riding the time traveling wave from this weekend we thought it was an outstanding idea to have go with another great time travelling story. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. While there is a debate about this, we totally believe the phone booth time machine is an ode to the T.A.R.D.I.S.

Before we start this week’s challenges, we need to do a recap of last week and see where the two teams stand. Whoa, it looks like Team Trout has a commanding lead now with three excellent wins. Team Scully is totally losing! But he plans on making a comeback as amazing as Wyld Stallyns epic win at the Battle of the Bands.

George S. Scully Esquire has chosen a champion from the year 400 BC, a time when most of the world looked like the cover of the Led Zeppelin album, Houses of the Holy. We were there. There were many steps and columns. It was most tranquil. His bogus shaving tools left this dude no choice but to grow one excellent beard. He is sometimes known as the father of modern thought. He was the teacher of Plato, who was in turn the teacher of Aristotle, and like Ozzy Osbourne, was repeatedly accused of corruption of the young.

Welcome SO-CRATES!

Jeff Theodore Trout chose a gentleman we picked up in medieval Mongolia in the year 1269. This is a dude who, 700 years ago, totally ravaged China, and who, we were told, two hours ago totally ravaged Oshman’s Sporting Goods. He is rocking a most outstanding fu mancu.

Please welcome the very excellent barbarian…

Mr. GENGHIS KHAN!

Party On Dudes!

Ezio vs. Snake – TIE

After yesterday’s, most excellent, battle of No Shave November’s Facial Hair Challenge; Socrates examined his life, found it worth living, and walked away the winner. Today’s battle is one for the gamers and if you are a gamer then you are probably familiar with these two warriors. One is from Renaissance Italy and the other from a not too distant future. Sure, both of these men’s beards are really a collection of 1’s and 0’s – lines of code built bit by bit by a team of storytellers, artists, & programing teams but, hey, “real” beards are built from organic lines of code called DNA. Who are we to judge? These combatants have survived thousands of close shaves within the bounds of their respective universes, yet, neither of them (or their programing teams) know very much about shaving. Both use stealth as an ally – it’s hard to see either of them with those beards.

Solid Snake is representing TEAM TROUT in today’s No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge! Snake has been voted by the Guinness Book of World Records as the 4th most popular videogame character of all time. He made his first appearance in, “Metal Gear” (1987). Snake is, as per his own personal wiki, “Possessing an IQ of 180 and fluent in six languages, he was known as “the man who makes the impossible possible” and his exploits made him into a living legend among the military black ops. Initially a Green Beret, Snake was later inducted into High-Tech Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND in the mid-1990s while it was under the leadership of Big Boss. Repeatedly tasked with disarming and destroying the latest incarnation of Metal Gear, a bipedal nuclear weapon-armed tank, Snake would thrice avert potential nuclear catastrophe, becoming a famed war hero.”

Ezio Auditore da Firenze represents TEAM SCULLY in the day’s bout! Ezio has been voted the 35th most popular videogame character of all time but the Guinness Book of World Records. He made his first appearance in, “Assassin’s Creed II” (2009) and, unbeknownst to most historians and philosophers, the Mentor of the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins, a title which he held from 1503 to 1512. As per Ezio’s wiki, “During his travels, Ezio managed to not only unite the pages of the Codex, written by Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, Mentor of the Levantine Assassins, but also to save the cities of Florence, Venice, and Rome from Templar rule. He ensured the future travels of Christoffa Corombo to the “New World”, liberated Rome from Borgia rule, and prevented the rise to power of Ercole Massimo’s Cult of Hermes, helping spread the Renaissance and Assassin ideals of independence and free will throughout Italy.”

These electronic warriors do not know the meaning of, “Game Over”. Saving the world? Easy. Finding a razor? Not so much.

Citizens of Facebook – gamers and otherwise, we humbly ask you who has the best facial hair?

This digital match begins right NOW.

Dali vs. Escher – TIE

With yesterday’s tie, Team Trout still holds a minor lead. Can he hold onto it or will Team Scully’s persistence melt his clock today?

Today’s contest pits the surreal mustache against the impossible goatee.

Before we start this match we want to remind you to donate to the American Cancer Society. The real contest is for us to reach our goal.

Team Scully has chosen Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech

More specifically, he has chosen the upper lipholstery of the man we call, Salvadore Dalí. A moustache that’s just as memorable as his art. Some of the most intriguing and bizarre images we have ever seen. From melting clocks and the lobster phone to the most interesting Shirley Temple painting. He has influenced the art scene forever. From his earliest age he was encouraged to be an artist. He was also told by his parents that he was the reincarnation of his brother, which may account for his eccentric lifestyle. A vote for Dali is a vote for Team Scully.

http://goo.gl/QBJFND

Team Trout has chosen Maurits Cornelis Escher

The fantastic graphic artist, the original MC, always had a goatee to be envied. This man’s imaginative interlocking images and masterfully impossible works have inspired countless scientists, architects and artists. From Babylonians on horseback and flocks of doves, to insurmountable ascending and descending staircases, we are all in awe of his work. A Voter for Escher is a vote for Team Trout. http://goo.gl/DgBCmU

So who will win? The stache or the goat?

Make your vote!

Russell vs. Zach – Scully

Black Friday got you down? Has the sea of humanity at the malls and superstores across the land damaged your hopes for society? HEY, did that guy just steal your parking space!? Ah, Facebook, take heart; sometimes ya just gotta laugh.

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone…”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote those words and, by gosh – by golly, she was onto something.  I’ll take laughter over weeping 9.8 times out of 10.  We need to laugh.  We have a tendency to take ourselves a bit too seriously.  That said, today’s bearded combatants do not suffer from that affliction.  Good, bad, or other – they make people laugh and that is a high calling.  Two funnymen are stepping into the ring for today’s match in the No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge.  Sure, they may be funnymen but their beards are no laughing matter.  Look at how well these gents are quaffed!

Representing Team Trout is none other than Mr. Russell Brand!

Representing Team Scully is Mr. Zach Galifianakis!

Giggles?  Yes.  Facial hair?  Aplenty.

The comedian, Carol Burnett once said, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.”  Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, NOW is the time for the BLACK FRIDAY No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge to kick off!

Who wears it better, Russell or Zach?

<<<>>>

Ladies and Gentlemen in this years No Shave November Facial Hair Challenge TEAM TROUT has won the day!  Cyber Trout was able to pick the better beards throughout the course of the month to the tune of 7 – 5!  Surprisingly, out of 19 matches there were 7 tied scores!

I, Evil Chicken, would like to take the opportunity to thank my partner in crime, Mr. Jeff Trout – aka – Cyber Trout.  Without him this adventure would not have happened.  The Evil Chicken – aka – George Scully, thanks him wholeheartedly.  I’m looking forward to the next project – whatever it may be!

I think I’m keeping my beard.  How about you, Jeff? – EC

I Cyber Trout, would like to show my sincere gratitude in finding an amazing and worthy opponent as well as a fantastic accomplice in this endeavor. Without your brilliance in writing such catchy tunes, (look out Weird Al) and wonderful sense of humor, we would not have created such a following. I too look forward to the next amazing project on the interwebs.

Still on the fence. I think I will try cleaning it up a bit and see how it holds up. I’ll let you know. -CT

Project 365 Day 68: Unholy


Monster Mania is a horror convention in Cherry Hill and it was a blast this year. The show was fantastic and the cast from the Walking Dead were great. My good friend Sam & I went up for the day. We met stars from a variety of shows and movies, talked with cast members, sat in on a Q&A with the cast of the Walking Dead and more.

The day was filled with a variety of wonderful vendors selling all manner of horror film collectibles, various celebrity sightings, amazing home made costumes and so much more. Erin Grey flirted with me and gave me her phone number. (Something I have wished for since I was old enough to be interested in flirting!) Killer clowns tried to abduct me in cotton candy and when I stopped for a little nap, Freddie paid me a visit. I hung out with Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Magenta , got punched in the mouth by Deadpool and heard some horrifyingly bad jokes from the Crypt Keeper. The only disruption in the fun was when a Class 3 Apparition appeared on the third floor of the hotel. Luckily the Ghost Busters showed up and asked me to lend a hand.

2013-03-09 20.39.57

The evening ended with the Walking Dead Q&A. The cast members were lively and funny. They seemed to enjoy themselves as much as us.

The questions asked were diverse. From silly questions to thought provoking ones.

Here are some of the things I learned about the Walking Dead cast.

– Due to the secrecy of the script writing, when most cast members learn of their demise it is a surprise.

– There is a special area on set that Danai trains in constantly. Many cast members wondered about her role before they met.

– Lew Temple, (Axel) was quite upset that Rick took his death so calmly.

– Michael Rooker, (Merle) is a great climber. At IronE Singleton’s (T-Dog) going away party, Michael climbed the outside of IronE’s house to the third story in nine seconds.

– Kylie Szymanski (The Governor’s Daughter Penny) loves horror movies.

– While Danai IronE and Michael love the graphic novels, Oscar never read the books or even saw a zombie movie before the Walking Dead.

– When asked who’s side MErle is on, the Gov’s or Rick’s, Michael Rooker said as I predicted, “Merle is on Merle’s side.”

There was more but my phone died.

The whole experience was one I won’t soon forget. To the people who put together this show, I would like to send a sincere thank you.

Below are a collection of pictures from the show.

IMG_20130309_163145 IMG_20130309_193051 IMG_20130309_194312 IMG_20130309_121754 IMG_20130309_122549 IMG_20130309_123358 IMG_20130309_131440 IMG_20130309_135515 IMG_20130309_142150 IMG_20130309_142815 IMG_20130309_145139

My Year In Review: Part Three There! I’m Back Again.


I named my last post about my year in review The Desolation of Sandy. It was such a big deal, that I decided to spend some time figuring out how to share my tale on it. This storm was amazing, devastating and heart-wrenching. My story starts before the storm hits and lets me tell why I love social networks.

About a week before the storm there was a post on Facebook.

“ATTENTION NJ, East PA, NYC, LI, CT, RI and MASS family and friends – this is “the one”. The path and intensity of Sandy represents the worst-case scenario for a tropical system to massively impact NJ, NYC and LI. You need to prepare NOW for torrential flooding rains, massive power outages and a large damaging surge along the coast. In some places in NJ and LI, power will be out for weeks. You need to have non-perishable food, water, batteries, prescription medicines refilled, and cash on hand. If you have a generator, you need gas – gallon/day is the minimum to use, more if you have a house generator. This is going to be an historic storm. You need to take action now.”

This post was from a friend of mine who I grew up with. We went to Kindergarten together and stayed good friends through most of high school. Then he went away to college and I had not heard from him for years. During this time he began a career with the National Weather Service. In 2009 he popped up on Facebook and we reconnected. He has never been an alarmist before this post, so I took him seriously.

This is one of the many examples of how social networking is so much more than Words With Friends and funny posts by Patton Oswalt. I have used themon many occasions for greater things. It has helped organize high school reunions, health issues and much more. Our local weatherman alone, makes Facebook a useful tool. One of my favorite examples was back in August 2011, when Twitter  informed me of the earthquake in D.C.

We felt our library shaking and were unsure of what it was considering we don’t get earthquakes in our area often. As we exited the building to look around, I pulled my phone out and checked Twitter. Friends and celebrities from Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and New York, including the aforementioned comedian, all posted they were experiencing an earthquake. Instant news!

With this one post, I was set in motion. I did all the preparation I could. I set precaution measures, battened down the hatches and prepared for the worst. We are slightly inland from the coast  but still in a very vulnerable place in NJ. We were lucky. Here in my town, we have had worse thunderstorms.  The barrier islands and everywhere north of our point however, were devastated. The best example I saw of the aftermath was these before and after pictures from the Huffington Post.

Here are a few of my pictures and a few from my friends in the area as well.

Sandy (3) Sandy (2) Sandy (1) Sandy (18) Sandy (17) Sandy (16) Sandy (15) Sandy (14) Sandy (13) Sandy (12) Sandy (11) Sandy (10) Sandy (9) Sandy (8) Sandy (7) Sandy (6) Sandy (5) Sandy (4)

As I said, I came out of the incident unscathed. We didn’t even lose power.  I have friends from Sea Isle City to New York who lost everything. One friend, from Ocean City, has written a few blogs on it, while many others just called or shared their stories on various social networks. One person, a friend of one of my favorite authors and a complete stranger, was worried about his summer home. Thanks to a chance discussion with our mutual friend, I was able to help him get information on his house and avoid any issue when he arrive to inspect the damage. It is amazing how the world is so much bigger and smaller thanks to the internet. Those social networks that let us gather from the comfort of our homes would, once again surprise me.

November was another crazy month. It started with a very positive event. It was sparked when a friend of mine on Facebook posted something. He siad, if you came out of Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed, and you stocked up on canned goods and other supplies for the possibility of having problems, you might want to think about donating them to the people who need it right now. We started sharing this and it evolved into something great. We collected numerous truckloads of goods for people in need after the storm. It was amazing to see the generosity of people in our area.

I took a break from the charity to get on my soapbox about the election. I supported Obama and I will take all the blame people want to throw at me but I really believe the country would have been much worse with the alternative. I lean Democrat and I am not ashamed of it. Liberal is not a dirty word. However, I should say that I have voted for a Republican before. I choose the best choice we have. Since our REAL choices were Obama and Romney, I chose Obama. I was actually more shocked with the post election reaction. The people against Obama really fumed and complained. They are hell bent on believing he is the enemy. While I can grasp that they don’t agree with his policy, the general demeanor of politics today is lacking compromise and discussion. I tried on Facebook and other environments, but that was tough when a zealot for a party jumped in.

Would I have chosen him if we had other options? Can’t say. But I can say that I want things to change. Those things, we should all want to see change, regardless of our party.

1) Term limits for everyone in Washington DC.
2) Primaries on the same day so the country decides, not New Hampshire.
3) Spending limits and equal coverage for all presidential candidates. This includes Green, Libertarian, etc.
4) Federal rules for early voting that make all states equal.
5) Eliminate lobbyists.

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But enough about politics. Let’s talk about the British Secret Service.

Skyfall was a great film. I am quickly thinking Daniel Craig is the best Bond. Sorry Sean. Ever since that preview with Bond leaping on the train and fixing his cufflinks  I knew this film would be great. I was not disappointed. This movie, like the new Star Trek, developed the character of Bond, introduced new characters and opened the door to tell the tale anew.

When it hits the DVD/Blue Ray market, if you have not seen it, check it out.

A also loved the song from this film. Amazing opening title sequence and that voice.

Adele almost beat the second love of my life, Shirley Manson. However, as my wife has said, Shirley could sing “Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling” and I would love it.

Work really took off in November. Planning for the holidays was a challenge that I relished. The group of us worked on Cyber Monday, technology reviews and holiday gift help. I could not ask for a better job.

Oh yeah, there was also this!

December was even more overwhelming at work. We had our hands full. Our holiday celebration was well received. We did a live broadcast from the Book Mobile in the parade on Face Time. That had technical difficulty due to a cell phone needing a charge, but a quick delivery of an extension cord and charger put us back in action. We shared various holiday sites. My particular favorites are NORAD Santa Tracker and PNP! Over the years, these two sites have added to the wonder of Christmas for my kids.

December also brought us the shooting that is still making the news today. It was a major tragedy that again fueled me to speak up. Not on its own mind you, but with the help of others saying completely crazy things. You can read my thoughts here, because if I get started again, this blog will never end.

Back to the lighter side of 2012, Stan turning 90.

Stan Lee has influenced my life since I was old enough to read a comic book. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought us these heroes and monsters in all shapes and sizes that are surprisingly and wonderfully human. From the Fantastic Four and Spiderman to Iron Man, Doctor Strange and the X-Men, these characters battle super villains and save the world. They do this while battling prejudice, alcoholism, family problems and so much more. This pioneer of great storytelling had had a major role in my growing up.

I want send a special thanks to Doctor Who & Jello for saving the world from certain doom.

Christmas was a great time and my community helped make it wonderful. It helped me end 2012 on a good note.

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My year ended on a good night and the New Year started off with a bang. It wasn’t my worst year but it certainly wasn’t my best.

2012 is over and 2013 has started. With it comes new experiences and challenges. I have started a 365 project and my job has me trying new things all the time. This year I want to strive to grow and learn like never before. From technology and photography as well as grade school math!

I am not overly egotistical so statistics like these don’t make me jump for joy or give up. With that being said, I still have a good following for a guy from New Jersey. It is even more impressive that this many people still read the erratic sparse offerings. I started this blog censoring myself as much as possible. This year, I opened the door to the things that aggravate me and it was a bit cathartic. I have also left more non finished tangents going here in the past two years than I wanted but still this blog got nearly two thousand views. So, my New Years Resolution……

Screw that! We always break our resolutions. I will try to be more me and I  will try to keep writing. Time management is something I have been good at before my children arrived and I am trying to get it back. My work and my life are constantly busy and 2013 promises to be even busier.

But I will try.

I hope that 2013 brings us all a better time than we had in 2012.

and who knows, maybe my writing will get better.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Addendum

Let me share with you how I compiled my info to write this tale. I could have wrote  10 parts and still have material left to share. How?

Because I use a variety of social networks and other technology resources. All of this has cataloged my life.

From my Facebook Timeline to my WordPress blog there are plenty of references to review my past. Add the following and it fills up quick.

  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • GetGlue
  • GoodReads
  • Foursquare
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Flickr
  • Evernote
  • Spotify
  • LinkedIn
  • Dropbox
  • Gmail
  • Skydrive

That is not all of them either. Our lives are being recorded like never before. Just something to think about.

My Year In Review: Part Two The Desolation of Sandy


“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

When last we left our intrepid hero, his current boss was retiring, he had moved to a new place with his family and his life was about to change.

July would turn out to be a tumultuous month. My work would be up in the air for the next few months. The library had big plans for what was currently MY department. My meaning I was the only person in the department of course. It was going to grow and change and become much more. But for now it was mine, until they gave me or someone else the official position. The question was, if I didn’t get the top position, what position would I get? I applied to be the head of the department and a few other well qualified candidates applied as well. I would have to wait until August to learn my fate.

I had also signed up for the MDA Lockup in our area. I had lofty hopes of raising $3000 with ease. I would soon realize that this was not the case. I started begging for cash with my friends, coworkers and others. I am not the type of person who likes asking for money and quite frankly most people I know don’t have much to spare. I am also not well connected with executives, wealthy business owners, etc. but, I do have some amazing friends and they did gave all they could.

I would also go in to have my kidney stone removed. The little bastard (mind you little was the size of a pencil eraser) had been bothering me for nearly two years. I had it smashed with Lithotripsy last year and that had little or no effect. This time they would knock me out, THANK GOD, and they performed a Ureteroscopy on me. I won’t go into other details of the pain and discomfort here. I will just say, drink LOTS of fluids. You do not want to experience this. I mean it! LOTS of fluids.

August started out with a bit of a downer. I didn’t get the head position for my department. I was really looking forward to the challenge. I did get the only full time position and would be integral to the department. Let me stress, this position and this department, in my humble opinion, is the future of the library. Technology is where the library has to go. I still have an awesome job so don’t go crying for my loss. However, at the time, it was a bummer.

Soon after, I had the fun of signing my son up for soccer.  I never realized how much of a chore this would be. The crazy regulation Nazi’s at our local rec center, make this process unbearable! We had moved a few months ago. This made proving we were residents a pain in the ass. Add that to getting 47.5 forms of ID and writing a check for more money than I should have to for my kid to play soccer and have fun and you have one of the worst experiences I have had to go through. Seriously, the NJ MVC (formally DMV) is easier to deal with!

The end of July had brought us Dan Cathy, Chic fil-A’s president making the following statement. “the biblical definition of the family unit” and that he prays “God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about.”

I figured this would get lost in the mix of stupid people who have made similar statements, but I was wrong. Little did I know that Henson and the Muppets were doing a promotion with the fast food chain with the famous cows. 

When they pulled their products from the kids meals, all hell broke lose. Protests from LGBT groups and Christian groups sprung up. Then a movement started up to boycott the fast food chain. Another movement sprung up to show your support and eat at Chic fil-A by Mike Huckabee. Seriously? Huckabee?

Maybe it was my disappointment that I didn’t the job or maybe it was just my years of studying religion, but I was furious. So I went on a rant! That rant was cathartic. It let me blow off steam and voice a very subdued frustration with our society. This is what I have always done. Exploded, blown off steam and then bottled everything up. This time, however, it was the crack in the dam that would soon burst.

My religious views are pretty simple and pretty complex. I know that makes no sense as I read it but, it is true. I think that anyone, of any faith is completely arrogant to believe that they are right. The concept of religious faith is not hope or sight. Faith can only operate in the realm of the invisible concerning those things we hope for and do not yet see. Faith cannot exist in the visible realm. So how can you know, truly KNOW, you are right? More importantly, how can you say you believe something and dedicate your life to something and ignore the teachings from the prophets or deity you worship? I think all faiths can be a path to enlightenment and perfection, in their own way. But as most faiths profess, most people will never reach that place.

So I started getting on my soap box and it felt good. Then I got locked up.

I am referring to the MDA Lockup, of course. Again, I hated begging and pestering people. I alienated numerous Facebook friends, workmates and others. I felt bad. I change the channel when starving children and beaten animals come on TV. Not because I am callous. Actually it is the other way around. I wish I had the money to help people. I wish I could adopt an abused animal. But I can’t afford fifty cents a day Alyssa Milano! So I turn it off. So, asking others to do this for me, was worse. It was a great experience and I did raise $640 and that was good. My bail was $3200 and I didn’t come close. I found the journey to my imprisonment enjoyable. I rode with a young summer cop (we call the summer officers rent-a-cops here but not usually in their presence) and Reverend Dr. David J. Montanye. The least enjoyable part was a spoiled arrogant little girl who bragged about how much money she had raised. It was well over $3200 and that was great. It was the fact that she disrespected and interrupted her grandmother enough times for her to leave and while her mother boasted how amazing her child was, the girl had no manners. She played the trumpet poorly but for some reason, insisted on doing it five times without invite from the MDA organizers or anyone else. People trying to eat or converse were blasted with noise in the small room.   The Reverend was not only an interesting person to talk with but was also kind enough to drive me back to work after a photo and a crab cake. We discussed religion and our region. He was the highlight of the day. If you are of the Methodist faith and you come to the Southern most Jersey Shore, visit his church.

August was also the month I finally started using Instagram! I love it and applaud them for realizing the policy change was a bad idea.

The best part of August was playing with my kids and doing things as a family. The highlight of the month was Star Wars @ the Library!IMAG1471 IMAG1465 IMAG1468

My kids were thrilled beyond belief. Not only because of the amazing job done by the Children’s Department. It was also because of the wonderful charitable group known as The Northeast Remnant of the 501st Legion. These guys made my kids day. They had an amazing time and enjoyed the evening of fun and games.

Oh yeah, I did too!

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I got a great gift in September! An amazing picture from someone I met once, friended online and have been immensely influenced by. He is so positive and so brilliant. He knew my love of Star Wars and his gift was one of his original pieces of art. 

This was also the month the dam broke! I got political. I started arguing politics on Facebook and among friends. I kept it from work and off my blog. But I certainly opened up about my philosophical outlook on society, politics and more. I had heated debates with relatives and basically opened up. The election is over so, I won’t bore you with the details of my politics. But I may bring it here in the future, so be forewarned.

Soccer season started for my oldest son. What had been a horrible start back in July turned into a wonderful experience. He loved soccer. He made friends. His coach was a childhood friend of mine and I saw many old friends there as Soccer moms and dads. Good times! My son likes playing goal. I would go practice with him in the yard and encouraged his love of the sport every chance I could get.

He also started 1st grade and has impressed me with how well he does in school. He makes friends with ease, is smarter than I was and still has the innocence of youth that makes him enthusiastic about going.

Work got crazy! Our department finally started to come together at work and soon would be growing with new staff members. For now it was me and my supervisor and we were very busy.

Doctor Who and Alphas, not to mention Hell On Wheels, Grimm, Person of Interest, Copper, Elementary and yes, Revolution were all being watched or DVR’d to watch. I was in front of the television WAY too much.  I became a bit of a couch potato for the next few months.

October held yet another birthday. It wasn’t a milestone so it ain’t much to talk about.

I had many more political debates. I was offended and probably did the same to others, no matter how civil I try to be. Politics is ugly. Really ugly. We have lost compromise and balance. Everything is black or white. No grey. No middle ground. No civility. Somehow, I want to try to bring that back. I may be fighting a losing battle but some battles must be fought.

Walking Dead & Comic Book Men were on and even more free time was lost. I LOVE the Walking Dead! No really. It is the best show on television. Talking Dead is a little rough. I love the concept but it is really hit or miss. If you have not experienced this amazing show, than close your browser and go watch it. NOW!!!!!

The end of the month was to be a personification of the word END for many people in our area. Because the End of October was when Hurricane Sandy laid waste to New Jersey!

IDL TIFF file

What? Did he just end it here?

YES I DID!

Just like any good multi-part story, I misled you into thinking you were getting the good stuff, but really, this is just the boring interlude to all the action which will arrive in a  later film and get even more money out of your pocket. Did anyone pay to see Deathly Hallows Pt 1 and walk out of the theater saying it was money well spent? How about Breaking Dawn Part 1?

Anyone?

If only I could charge you $15 to read the next blog, I would have made……………..

$15!

Maybe $20 if I could write this in 3D.

Cyber Trout will return in………

My Year In Review: Part Three There! I’m Back Again.

My Year In Review: Part One A Somewhat Unexpected Journey


2012 was one heck of a year. I had a wild ride. Some good times and some bad. Many of my friends seem glad it was over as they look forward to better times in 2013.  Before I get to my busy year, I need to explain this amazing three part tale. I learned something these past few years. One is not enough to tell a good tale. From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to Twilight – Breaking Dawn and now the Hobbit, why tell my story in one run when I can milk it for two or even three parts. So here is part one. I hope you enjoy.

January started off with a bang!

SOPA

SOPA dominated my thoughts in January. Over 7,000 websites joined forces and had a service blackout, to raise awareness that the Stop Online Piracy Act was so poorly written that it would allow, among other things, law enforcement to shut down entire internet domains due to infringing content in a single blog post. That was scary and the internet revolt was an amazing thing to see! I watched twitter and Facebook as well as numerous other sites. I wrote politicians and encouraged my friends to do the same.

This was also the first time in years I had fought for something. Truly fought. When I was younger, I fought for the environment, got politically active in a  small part and helped protect historical sites in my community as well as many other causes. Then work and life caught up with me. I was busy with other things and jaded. I had tried previously with Syfy cancelling some great shows but that too had failed. After the protests to the Iraq War to Occupy Wall Street, I was starting to worry that Americans didn’t have the voice we used to. I am glad that I was wrong. It inspired me to believe that we can still accomplish something as a people. This would lead to me speaking out a bit more and got me back out of my funk. As you will see, it shaped my year.

The first thing I was speaking out about was political candidates and the BS that they were spouting. The Republican Primary was long and ridiculous. So many foolish candidates. I would get caught ranting in the wrong places and at the wrong times. I also found many wonderful websites. Here is one of my many favorites.

Among others that I explored, my  favorite was Pinterest. This site created an addiction that I have not beat, and quite frankly, don’t want to. Pinterest is such an amazing site. Many of my friends have harassed me for using a site that they claim is “A Girls Site!” but they don’t know what they are missing. The Force Board we have created is my pride and joy. It is a collaborative board with thirty six other contributors who have pinned over 3,500 pictures. We have over 1,200 followers.

Television was a bit disappointing at the very beginning of the year. I tried Alcatraz and was on the fence. Nothing else was truly exciting yet. But February and March would improve. I did find the movie Tucker And Dale Vs Evil. It was a blast of cheesy horror and comedy.

February brought back many great shows. Walking Dead was by far my favorite. However all that February brought paled in comparison to the 3rd Anniversary of my marriage. My  wife is amazing. She tries her best to keep me sane. She gives me breaks from the kids. She tolerates our game nights and my need to get to opening night at the latest geek movie. She loves me unconditionally.I won’t get too mushy but I am truly lucky to have her.

Astrophotographer Jeff Berkes snapped this amazing view from outside Philadelphia, Pa., of the glowing clouds at the edge of space created by NASA’s ATREX mission, which launched five rockets to deploy a chemical that created the clouds for a jet stream study on March 27, 2012

March and April were a blur. Busy at work and at home. We moved in March and we couldn’t be happier. The place we moved to has much more room, is less expensive and has property for my kids to play. I enjoyed Game of Thrones, the final season of Eureka and much more. Right after our big move however, came a rare and awesome treat. NASA had a planned study of our upper jet stream. They called this mission ATREX. I was excited to see it since it would happen right off the New Jersey Coast. My good friend Jesse and his brother agreed to go. We met up at his house and then drove into Avalon, NJ. NASA had a live internet feed of the launch so, using my wonderful phone, we drove to the beach and waited, and waited, and waited. We watched the live feed of the launch site and continued to wait. The police drove by half a dozen times and finally confronted us. After explaining that we were simply geeks waiting for rockets to shoot gas into the atmosphere rather than drug users or thieves, they left us alone. We watched the night sky and talked about Star Wars for hours. Finally, at nearly 4AM, we gave up hope. Jesse had to be to work at 8:30AM and couldn’t wait any longer. I kept the live feed going on my way home and sure enough the launch went off at the last minute. I could see it from my back yard and it was amazing.

April was too busy to do much else but get in an occasional moment or to for playing on the web. During that time I found the GoPro Camera. Not only is this camera and the gear that comes with it amazing, the company has a spectacular daily contest. Go check them out, you won’t regret it. I also discovered Get Glue. It was a wonderful app and website. I have a decent sticker collection already and enjoy logging my favorite shows.

May was a whirlwind of a month. First was of course the Avengers. What a spectacular movie. 

Seriously! How amazing was that film? Joss Whedon got it. Like no other director before him, he just got it. But don’t just take my word for it. Try my friend  Evil Chicken for starters. Or just look at iMDb. It is on the top 250 movies of all time. If you have not seen this film, please crawl out from that rock and rent it, buy it, whatever is needed!

May was when my gaming group began playtesting Dungeons & Dragons. My regular gaming group began trying the new version and we were excited. The concept of players helping to create the perfect game seemed a fascinating one. We jumped in with enthusiasm but it quickly fizzled as the system did not fit well with our group. I wish 5th edition the best of luck. Our group will not be part of the building process. What our brief foray into D&D Next did, was make me realize, while I like change in many things, the gaming world and its constant changes are just marketing and quite frankly, we are happy with using the hundreds of books we already have. Don’t get me wrong, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons was a great leap forward from 1st and 2nd edition. But when we realized 4th was not a good system we backed off. Deadlands evolved into Savage Worlds and that too was an improvement.

Vampire and the World of Darkness was not. Regardless of all that, I personally have over twenty Vampire books from the First and Revised editions. I can match that number in Deadlands. As for D&D, I have nearly eighty books from 3rd and countless from 1st and 2nd editions. When do I stop purchasing the new edition and continue to play what I already know and love. We still play Pathfinder/3rd edition and we have a great time. I may have to get a new system when my kids start playing them but until that time, we will stay old school!

The end of the month gave me and my community a surprise as well. Apparently our local zoo, which we all love and is quite the tourist draw, was rated #3 in the country! When you are in the area, stop by and see for yourself. For a free zoo, (donations are accepted) it is simply spectacular. From snow leopards and zebras to bald eagles and camels, you won’t be disappointed.

The month of May led to some amazing finds in apps. My work led me to them and my favorites, by far were Access My Library  and Goodreads. Access My Library is a wonderful series of apps. It is not only available for public libraries, There are also college, school and a Special Edition for military branches. They are amazing resources.

Goodreads is a great place to keep your reading history and share your reviews with everyone. It is also the perfect place to search for new books. I have been slowly adding my history and continuing it as I go.

June was a somber month. We lost Ray Bradbury and my NJ Devils lost the playoffs. Facebook began the big push to sell itself and soon would go to Wall Street. It was also the last month I worked with my boss Donna. She would retire on July 1st and one of the best working relationships I have ever had. She taught me a lot. Not only making me more confidant at my job but also about how to approach teaching technology. We still keep in touch and she is currently enjoying retirement.

It was not all bad. I had a great camping trip in Elk Neck State Park. That was a good week. It could have been a great week if it were not for the virus that hit each of us for 24 hours or so, but that was short lived.

We all enjoyed Matthew “The Oatmeal” Inman’s feud and amazing charity event when someone stealing his work decided to sue him. Yes that is right. However, his collecting $20,000 for charity turned into over $200,000. It turned into an amazing story and the good guy won!

Oh yeah, I also helped send Pitbull to Kodiak Alaska.

The first half of 2012 had highs and lows but it was definitely a more positive time than a negative one. Will the second half of the year be my Empire Strikes Back?

Stay tuned True Believers!

Wall Crawler Turns 50! Question Remains – Hero or Menace?


Spider-Man turns 50 this month. While my friends know that my favorite comic book character is Wolverine, “ Snikety Snikt”, I don’t usually run around touting my love for that menace Spider-Man. That web head gets a bad rap with me and he shouldn’t. He is the guy that got me into comics.

He’s got a few years on me so I come into his Timeline a little late. It was 1974! I was possibly the first generation to grow up with the TV being the babysitter. And in 1974 I saw Spider-Man vs. the Yeti.

You might question that by saying, “The first Spider-Man cartoon was in 67!”

You are correct! My introduction to Spider came from PBS. The Electric Company in 1974 was my first run in with Spidey and quite frankly was the first time I wanted to read.

I wanted to know what he was saying. How did he defeat that Yeti? Spider-Man’s great responsibility was apparently, to teach me to read, and he did. I dove into reading so much that my mom bought me comics. My first comic was Giant-Size Spider-Man Vol 1 #2 Spiderman and the Master of Kung Fu. From there I was hooked on reading. In a year or two I was reading books, comics and more. It was all due to Spider-Man.

In 1978 Spider-Man came alive with the live action show in 1978. Looking back on it now, it was bad. REALLY BAD! However, at 6 or 7 years of age, I loved it. It led me on a journey through various cartoons, movies and tons of comics.

I have read the stories of Peter Parker and his wall crawling alter ego for almost forty years! I have followed Spidey’s life, marriage, conquests and tragedies. I’ve seen him side with X-Men, Avengers, and many others. I have watched him fight Super-Man, The Sinister Six, Magneto and more. He saved the world from the Tri-Sentinel (with a little help from Captain Universe.) I have seen him get his black suit in the Secret Wars, that would later become Venom. I recall his McFarlane run with that amazing webbing. He gave homage to the Batman movie in 1989 and his reboot in Ultimate Spider-Man was great. He also did something that no other comic has been able to do in issue #36 of Amazing Spider-Man. His tragic suffering and descriptions of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 made me cry.

He has graced the big screen numerous times. Most recently, this year in an epic battle versus the Lizard. Spider-Man is truly Spectacular, Amazing and much more.

His most important contribution to my life has been none of these things though. With all those memories he is still not my favorite comic book character. He barely made the top five! He is, however, the favorite superhero of my oldest son.

Yes, he likes Cars as well!

My 6 year old son loves Spider-Man. He can’t get enough. From the classic cartoons, comics, movies and books, he consumes the stories. I have to constantly tie and untangle string to the wrists of his action figures so he can swing in and save the day. Roland’s imagination, creativity and entertainment are in some small part yours and your responsibility.

I hope you remember what your Uncle Ben said fifty years ago. Roland sure does.