Thursday, February 28, 2013


Journey of Life, Shirley Oxborough
i recently wrote a short letter to friends, family, coworkers, and former professors who in some shape or form touched my life in a positive way. the response has been overwhelming and i'm glad i took the steps to let them know how it is they've helped me along on my journey of life. despite setbacks, obstacles, and hard times -- i am blessed.

Dear friend,

Early this morning, during my usual three mile jog, I had the notion to send a brief note to all those who have done something special for me in the past. You may have encouraged me when I was down, given me a smile or hug when I needed it most, laughed at one of my bad jokes or stories, given me a place to stay, shared advice, given me a job, taught me an important lesson, or inspired an idea that lead to something great. For any of these reasons I love you and appreciate your friendship.

Thank you. x


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Superman does not stand for homophobia!

a former student brought this to my attention.

as an art teacher, i stress that my classroom is a safe space for all, without fear or persecution. i have posters on the walls of superman and wonder woman proudly declaring they stand to protect everyone.

dc comics should not publish work from a known homophob. please sign the petition so that superman will continue to fight for truth, justice, and the (every) american(s) way!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Graphic novel review

Deathstroke: Legacy is interesting in the fact that it's based on a super villain. title character, deathstroke, aka slade wilson, is an aged veteran who became superhuman through government experiments and later an infamous mercenary. in, Legacy, the villain constantly finds himself besieged by upstarts, hoping to make a name for themselves as the person to have killed the master assassin. meanwhile, wilson's health is slowly failing, but his pride refuses to allow him to retire and give up his spotlight.

as the volume progresses writer, kyle higgins, proves over and over that deathstroke is badass, but more complex then readers might expect. when wilson kills a would-be competitor, her wealthy family vow to eradicate deathstroke by hiring a long list of contract killers, each one tougher than the last. for every new killer, wilson comes closer and closer to loosing and begins reflecting on his past and the events that lead him to his life of near solitude and menace. higgins sets up his star to imagine himself a twisted type of samurai warrior, with a defined code of conduct. this later comes back to bite deathstroke, but it's not made clear if the lesson truly sinks in. towards the end of Legacy, karma does create a feasible rival for wilson, who slaughters through several wanna-bees most of the graphic novel.

Deathroke: Legacy is a lot like an inane quentin taratino movie where there's plenty of action for mayhem's sake. it would have been more enjoyable to see deathstoke battling worthy foes, rather than b or c level criminals. especially chapter after chapter of the same thing. though the absolutely epic art of joe bennett, art thibert, and eduardo pansica is worth every penny of this book! neither artist is afraid to show every gory detail of deathstroke's many slaughters and higgins is not afraid to point out that wilson is with few redeeming qualities. what i found most interesting with Legacy was the final chapter, which truthfully had little to do with the main story, but does provide a final clue that led deathstroke to become such an evil man. had this bit been plotted out more thoroughly throughout it would have tied each chapter cohesively. if you don't like violence, if you don't enjoy carnage, and expect intricate stories, this is not for you. rather this a fun romp of what it's like to be the baddest of the bad.

Graphic novel review

i've been a long-time fan of nightwing, aka dick grayson, aka the first robin, famous sidekick to batman. this collection of the first six issues of the new Nightwing series reminded me why grayson is such a likeable hero, but it didn't bring enough interest for me to fully invest in nightwing's latest mystery and adventures. be warned, i tried simplifying this review as much as possible, but well --

Nightwing: Traps and Trapezes starts off with dick returning to his heroic identity after serving a stint as batman. it's not explained why dick was standing in for his mentor. dick has set up a new headquarters in gotham city and eagerly looking forward to a life of his own again, away from the batcave. unfortunately, dick is immediately faced with a bit of drama when it's explained that the circus he was raised with before meeting batman has come to gotham city.
dick decides to face his fears of the ghosts and memories that have haunted him since he left haley's circus after his trapeze performing parents were murdered. much to his surprise, many of his old friends have either remained or returned to the circus over the years and all are pleasantly pleased to see the adult, grayson. meanwhile a sinister newcomer has come to gotham to eradicate dick grayson, "the fiercest killer of gotham." in rapid succession dick encounters his newest enemy, saiko, in both his civilian identity and as nightwing. saiko is just as trained a fighter as nighwing, and perhaps more deadly. also, raya, dick's first crush from his youth, leads the hero on a mysterious path to become the sole owner of the ailing circus when the original owner dies in nightwing's arms, leaving him with a cryptic message.

it quickly felt like there were several separate stories running at once through NTAT, but slowly, very slowly, several of these mysteries and events tie together. unfortunately, the flow of nightwing's owning the circus, searching out the identity of whoever is framing dick grayson, his rekindling relationship with raya, traveling with the circus while he seeks out mr. haley's killer, and saiko's involement -- gets interrupted by the arrival of batgirl (another old girlfriend) and the random attack of a demon controlled by the ex-wife of one of the circus performers. it's later explained that saiko's attacks, the murder of haley, and raya's interest in dick, tie loosely to an adventure batman underwent in his own series. this revelation totally upset the story, it seemed too coincidental. if this was the plan of writer, kyle higgins, there should have been more clues laid out for nighwing (and readers) to piece together on their own. 

while higgins pens a realistic average joe, dick grayson, not hampered by the trappings of being adopted by bruce wayne, his expert superhero, nightwing, is a respected veteran and confident in his mission to do the right thing. though if you don't know basic batman mythology, i'm not sure this book would necessarily be easy to understand. the art of eddy barrows, eduardo panisca, and several other fill-in artists escalate nightwing's acrobatic escapades to thrilling heights. a minor qualm i had with some of the choreography of the fight scenes was when a character was trapped, he or she miraculously escape off panel to deliver a devastating counter attack. i'm not sure if it's lazy work on behalf of the writer, or anyone one of the many artists.

you can't help but like dick grayson who constantly has the odds stacked against him, yet never loses sight of the end goal and somehow manages to persevere. you thrill at his triumphs and lament when the good guy finishes last with romance or a disagreement with batman. disappointingly, dick does not show the prowess of a trained detective. it's obvious almost immediately that raya knows more than she's willing to explain, but dick doesn't even allude to his mistrust of a woman he's not seen in nearly two decades. Nightwing: Traps and Trapezes is fun, but confusing, expecting the reader to trust that clues will turn up or understand past events without much explanation. and again, the wrap was too simple, even with its complexity. i appreciate that NTAT ties into Batman: Court of Owls, as it shows that nightwing is firmly involved with the bat-family, but it should have been introduced earlier, instead of all at once. as it, it made it seem like a final chapter from Batman, not Nightwing. ultimately i would have preferred the start to a new series focused more on nightwing's new role in gotham city, rather than his past with with the circus. nightwing's future remains to be seen either under the big top or with the city of his heroic origin.

February's blizzard

The Amazon Mutt started to help dig the car out! 

the snow storm last month was nothing compared to the two day blizzard that raged through the weekend last friday! even with warm temperatures the last few days, there's still so much snow and two days of no school. transportation has been a mess, even a five minute walk around the corner to the gym. quite honestly, i'll be glad when winter is o-v-e-r.
The beginning, early 2.8.13.
The morning after, 2.10.13.