Significance of Dreams

I just have to share this it a long story but be patient:

I dreamed I was attending this boring research symposium where student stood next to their posters in the library. What was odd was that I saw student from my high school standing around. I saw the president of my college and was wondering how to approach him when I was still mad at him for kicking a grade out of a building. I then saw my U.S. History teacher from high school and I asked how he was and he said he was doing well and he was proud of his the accomplishments of his students and we made more small talk that I can't remember.

I woke up and remembered that this history teacher died last Tuesday.

You can see my blog on the afterlife but what I am curious about is, what do dreams tell us about ourselves ? Are the Freudian? It has nothing to do with Oedipus and more to do with how we describe the dream to other people. There are parts of my dream that I don't want to mention because they are tedious to explain. What about the concept of de ja vou? There are moments where I get the sensation that I dreamed about it just as I am about to experience it in real life. Dream researches say that part of the sleep cycle where your mind is the most at rest is when you dream, an that is why you don't remember dreams most of the time.

If I am being scientific about: My dream was an amalgam of a conference I attended and a benefit where I last met the teacher. What he said sounded a lot like a quite a quote I found in a yearbook.

Have fun writing your experience. Just please be nice.


Captain America, Thor, and Green lantern who was the best?

Spoilers ahead.

Feel free to disagree with me. I took a screen writing class and learned a little about the elements that make a good movie. There are also a couple super-hero movie cliches I'd like to address. X Men: First Class is not included because it has multiple lead characters. In order from best to worst

Best opening sequence: 1. Thor-Asgard looked awesome you really could feel the energy of it.

2. Green Lantern: It had a Top Gun vibe that liked and kind of hated myself for liking.

3. Captain America: I spent the whole movie wondering when Steve was going to crash into an iceberg.

Best female lead who is supposed to presented most realistically as equally bad ass but still falls in love/danger with the hero: 1. The Carroll Ferris in the Green Lantern movie: She was more mature than the hero, could fly planes, and there was a slight chance that she could be realistically work in a board room.

2. Captain America: I have no idea how a woman could rise in rank WW II and her roll was never explained except that she could fire a gun and order men around.

3. Thor: What woman sane woman who looks like Natalie Portman would let a stranger she found in a desert find out where she lives?

Best atmosphere, or use of exotic realm: 1. Captain America: I loved the music, the clothes, it felt like a magical period of history.

2. Thor: They kept bringing the action back to Asgard when the rest of the movie was dull.

3. Green Lantern: It had one big scene in space and I could care less if yellow monster ate the city, the name of which I can't recall.

Best evolution of character: 1. Thor: The guy passed the test to become worthy of his hammer (I don't feel like spelling out the name).

2. Green Lantern: The guy grew up a little and learned to face his fears. They are simple goals but he achieves them.

3. Captain America: My major complaint is that he did not change that much. He was the guy you wanted to bring home to meet your parents at the beginning of the movie and was the same guy in the end except he became an ice cube.


Comic writers writing novels and novelists writing comics

The common stereotype is that graphic novels are for kids and most adults will avoid comics except maybe when a movie comes out. But what happens when novelists cross the line to the other side of story telling? Are people who read novels willing to follow their authors into the realm of graphic literature?

The most common example I can think of is best-selling novelist Jodi Picoult. After her novel the Tenth Circle, that had portions of it being drawn by an artist, she was invited to write a story arc for Wonder Woman. To be honest, her story arc was not that memorable and it felt like she was writing to follow an outline given by D.C.

There is a whole section of best-selling thriller authors who have written graphic novels. Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, I could go on. Here the "catch" to these authors writing graphic novels, I don't particularly like the authors so I am not inclined to read their books.

I have never tried reading novels written by graphic novelists. Does anyone no any good writers? Sometimes I think Batman R.I.P. would easier to read in novel form because the book looks like it was done when someone was on a drug-related trip

There is also this gray area where some authors were originally novelists but became famous for the comics he or she write. Neil Gaiman comes to mind.

So do you read novels and graphic novels by an author.


How often do you write?

I did the blog quest and realized how important writing regularly is. As a journalism major, I had to write in this generic format that is good practice, but boring as Hell. Since I have been writing on this site, I feel like my style has improved. I love using adjectives. It felt so good to complete a story, I feel ready to attack my screenplay.

So my fellow fic writers, when and how often do you write? Writing is a passion for me and now it feels like I can't breath without writing a note or e-mail somewhere.


Thoughts on the afterlife?

For those not familiar my avatar, the character is Death from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. She is the person appears after you die and leads you to what happens next. Gaiman never directly addresses where Death takes people.

History has shown as the cultures are obsessed with the concept of the afterlife. Egypt is probably the most opulent example. They built pyramids, prepared special meals and entombed them in gold. In Ireland there are these tombs that look like green hills mounted on boulders, that are older than the pyramids (I have been there a couple times I love it by the way). In South America Christianity it is blended with old traditions of honoring the dead. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

So the question is: If all these cultures devoted so much of their resources to preparing people for the afterlife, isn't there a strong possibility that it exists?

I have been raised to think that I will see Jesus when I go to heaven (as long as I don't commit any mortal sins before that time, but that is a whole other discussion). I believe I will welcomed by my family there.

It should be noted that the Chinese do not believe in the afterlife, which is an even harder concept. My eccentric (see my other blog) Chinese sociology professor basically said "when you're dead you're dead."

This subject is on my mind because one of my favorite history teachers from high school died. R.I.P. Henry Even, you were a terrific character.


Memories that you like to re-live

It can be said that the people who come to this site are passionate about worlds that do not exist in physical realm. To open any comic book is like opening a door to another world where people with special talents struggle with ethical dilemmas and balance kicking ass with maintaining intimate relationships.

My question for today is about memories that we like to revisit. When you are tired, bored, or frustrated, is there a physical "place" you like to escape to mentally? It can be a scene from a book or it could be reliving seeing something special such a child. If you have seen "Inception" this question might make a little more sense as it deal with dream buildings.

My examples: Sitting on a travel bus watching the sunrise in spring in Washington D.C. during my sophomore year. It is as old memory, but I liked all of the people on the trip and I did not worry about much of anything. Other favorites: Mentally wandering through the graveyard in Neil Gaiman's the The Graveyard Book. Wandering around Dublin. Laying under a tree next to a friend in a graveyard during a hot summer day.

So what are your favorite places?


Things students don't think they need to know after school

Congrats grads of 2011! You just proved you could memorize enough stuff, paraphrase spark notes, and show up often enough for class to earn some sort of diploma. But there a surprise waiting for you once the party balloons pop and you burn through the money you got from the graduation parties. You do not know the exact time or the place but it will hit you: You will need to remember some of the stuff you learned from school.

Before we go further I'd like to explain that I am not an expert on the subject. I am a college student a semester away from getting a bachelor degree of liberal arts in journalism. My knowledge on the subject comes from getting a part-time job at a library and learning that I still needed to remember a number of things from High School. Here the top things that every human needs to retain after throwing their caps in the air.

1. Spelling: Even in today's increasingly computerized society, there is not going to be a red squiggly line under every misspelled work. There are going to power outages and there are going to be times when hand-written notes are easier to spot than e-mails in a work place. If you can't spell a simple words, it doesn't look good.

2. Math: Not that crazy geometry involving logs and powers, simple cash register math. You may think that is what your cell phone is for it will take more time than remembering you multiplication tables.

3. Any random fact you ever learned: Quick story: I found out my boss's grand daughter was born three months premature. I was able to ask about how scary it must have been to see her grand baby wrapped in tubes. I remembered what the premature baby nursery looked after visiting one as part of a science club field trip. The whole point of school is to get a broad base of knowledge to use at the most random times. This doesn't just apply to school stuff either: sports, books, if you can make conversation about with some one, you can show competence.


Harry Potter as a social movement

This is this the story of a unique individual who is shunned by those around him because he has special talents. He is then found by a mysterious means and goes to a school with other uniquely-talented students and learns to use his powers with responsibility by a wizened old man. The old man's nemesis wants to people use their special powers to enslave the people who hunt them.

So it this Harry Potter or the X Men?

A lot of people think that this will be the last big event Harry Potter fans to celebrate. I kind of disagree in that the magic was over for me four years ago when the last book of the series was published. The movies make Harry Potter appeal to larger audience the same way movies they make comics more appealing. They take a small portion of what is most unique yet understandable, and put it under a magnifying glass.

Harry Potter may have his name on the book but I don't think that character is what makes the series "magical" This is a story about being shunned by society and finding a place that is beyond the realm of our understanding. Personally, I think the best character in the series is the school, Hogwarts. Who doesn't want to go to a place with a snake wandering petrifying students? Who doesn't want to be late for class because the door started crying? I really have no desire to ever meet Harry Potter, but I'd kill to go to Hogwarts (not the Universal theme park).

Harry Potter is about finding a place to fit in, in this society. The message has become warped as Harry Potter as counter-culture became pop culture. Most of my friends on facebook are going to a midnight showing yet no one invited me.

I got into comics because I needed a new obsession. The great thing about comics is, there appears to be no end insight. I have found a new place where I feel like I belong in some small way.


Why the DC relaunch matters more than Casey Anthony Murder Case

Oh I can't wait to see the comments on this one.

Yes I know there is all ready a thread on this topic but I would like to bring some fresh perspective on the subject.

This case is getting special attention because:

The kid is cute.

The mother is young and not bad looking.

The city for the setting is glamorous.

Where were the cameras and the passionate talking heads when a mother and son who brutally tortured and killed their mentally disabled daughter, was put on trial in Buffalo, New York? You might have seen a blurb somewhere in the news cycle but this was a case that needed attention because warnings signs were ignored and disability services failed to rescue this woman, who is not photogenic.

Getting back to comics. More lives will be affected by the changes DC Comics is making. Comic shops are going to have to prepare for comics going digital more quickly. Kids and adults who squirrel away money for what many still think is a juvenile habit will have rethink their buying choices as 52 issues come out in September. People who were inspired by DC's commitment to having Barbara Gordon in a wheelchair will have to wait and see what happens next.

This is a story about about one woman accused of doing a heinous act. A jury has already decided her fate. Right now this is just water-cooler discussion. Time to move on.


Fireworks and Persepolis

Fireworks. A term glorified or destroyed by Katy Perry, depending on you music preference. It is common knowledge that the Chinese invented them and Europeans came and redesigned them as an effective way of killing people. Feel free to correct me.

Atheist or not, observing fireworks is like a religious observance during the Independence Day weekend. You can't escape their allure if simply because everyone you are living with are watching the light show. It grows boring at times, but watching dangerous chemicals being thrown into the atmosphere with people you care about is one small thing you can do that involves staring into the relatively clear sky that we take for granted.

I am not a big fan of holidays these days. They typically involve helping prepare a special meal and a lot of cleaning up afterward.

So what am I proud of? The lyrics of "Proud to be an American" come to mind until I realize it has become an over-used stereotypical cliche from the wave of post 9/11 patriotism.

Then it smacks me in the head just now. I have been reading Persepolis, a graphic memoir of an Iranian woman during the 1960s. It is on my reading list for the fall semester, but being attracted all things graphic and cheap I ordered it and read it early. I have volumes one and two and love them. It blows my mind how complicated their history is. My neighbors could have been arrested for the party they are throwing right now. The black and white intensity of the scenes depict stark contrast of freedom versus confinement in that world. I highly recommend both volumes and plan to see the movie as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Persepolis gives me some perspective I probably wouldn't have had today. So what am grateful for today? To be able to write on this site for fun and having a loving family, a nice home, a cute dog and all that Jazz... and one heck of a good education that has taught me how to write coherently.