After a bit of news watching (I'm digging the Rep. Rahm Emanuel choice as chief of staff by Obama ... big change requires a bit of political bite and Rahm brings that to the table), we transitioned into working on the site tag-team style. Katie worked on a prepping column you will see on the site tomorrow while I started working through e-mails, posting updates and generally making a ton more headway than I did yesterday.
About 1:00 PM though we decided to take some time for ourselves and have some fun. It's been about eleven months since we last turned on the old X-Box and fired up Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (nope, I don't own a 360... we're pretty old school gamers 'round here). We blew off some steam for a couple hours laughing and killing massive numbers of snow covered trolls. After that, Katie headed out to work with the horses while I settled back into the site updates. I know, I know... many of you still have yet to hear from me via e-mail, but I'm honestly trying. Every step forward seems to lead to three steps back but I'll get there soon.
I really had a blast on the X-Box though. I have ALWAYS been a fan of those classic "top down" RPG style games. I can fondly remember spending weeks working my way through the Lord British Ultima series of games back on the Apple IIe. Am I dating myself here? Probably, but those games captivated me when I was little and the desire to continue that kind of play (only with much better graphics) has evolved into a fun steam burner for Katie and I. She enjoys them as well and it was fun to just kick back.
As I write this it's 6:21 PM. My plan is to spend the next hour or two putting together a "family" newsletter (the first of it's kind) to shoot out to all the CR folks later tonight. Exciting stuff is happening and the countdown to November 15th keeps getting smaller and smaller. I CAN'T WAIT and I promise you it's every bit as exciting as we're billing it to be.
Tomorrow morning, I'll grab Brant Fowler (co-creator of the Wannabez comic series) and drive up to my favorite comic store... Comics2Games. We're going to meet up with Scott Simmons and record an interview for an upcoming Related Recap podcast. I'm also going to touch base with Darren while I'm there to help him on the programming side any way I can (which isn't much beyond theoretical design work). I really enjoy these trips north as it's great to find time to just hang out at a comic store. Comics2Games has such a comic family atmosphere. My only wish is that it couldn't be closer. Still, 70 miles isn't that far...
Until tomorrow, cheers!
Well today I felt as much side tracked as I did on track. I really needed to catch up on e-mail but ended the day only four messages better than the total I started with as the sun rose. Getting back home, it appears there was more to do than I expected and it hit me today that Eric may be finalizing the front end of CR and Darren may be polishing off the back, but I'm going to have to coordinate the move for the forum, gallery and blogs to the new site. In all the planning, I have to admit I kind of forgot about that step in the process. I laid out the ground work for that today and started adjusting a few things behind the scenes for the big move.
As some of you may already know, the launch of the new site is more than just an overhaul of the current design... we're actually moving to a new web server and a new hosting company. When the site relaunches, more than just the design will have changed. When I say nothing will ever be the same again, I really mean it!
While working away today, I caught up on Smallville, Big Bang Theory, True Blood, CSI: New York and Anthony Bordain: No Reservations. Okay, Smallville put one back in the cue which I have yet to see this evening, but I got quite a bit closer to catching up.
The HBO series True Blood is a bit of a new watch for me. Katie and I caught an episode while up in DC. It was just fun and strange enough that I had to tune back in for a rerun of the most recent episode. I'm hooked. The story details the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small Louisiana town and has just enough of a unique enough feel that I'm joining up for the ride. It's an acquired taste, but I think I'll bite...
Until tomorrow... Cheers!
I've been on the road for the better part of two weeks and tonight I am far too pleased to be home.
Cats healthy... CHECK! Horses healthy... CHECK! House still standing... CHECK! Mission control... We're good!
Time with Family
While I traveled, I was able to spend a little over five days with my family in Ohio which I haven't been able to do in years. Along the way, I saw my Mom make her way through a very serious surgery with a clear and constant courage that I could only hope to emulate should the time ever call for it in my own life. I have more respect for her that I can put into words (and I already considered her one of the most amazing people I've known). She now bears and has earned the mantle of successful cancer survivor. My pride for her knows no bounds.
Also, Turner Classic Movies is way under rates as a television channel. I watched a couple days worth of movies while hanging with the family and I sincerely enjoyed a few true classic films.
A Few Thoughts on DC
You all can read below for details on the second half of my trip (Washington DC). As I traveled back home (8.5 hour drive), I listened to station after station of talk radio. What yesterday's election meant to many within our country and the way it already appears to be changing opinions around the world is amazing. I think I teared up more times over the last 24 hours than I have in years and that is a VERY GOOD thing. Being in a crowd of political minded people as they literally screamed as Pennsylvania was announced last night is just one of those moments I will not forget.
Okay, now back to Comic Related business...
I have a busy four days ahead of me before returning to work on Monday. Tomorrow and Friday is all about the e-mail. As I make it home tonight, I have 509 e-mails sitting waiting to be answers. That's goal #1. After that, I have some work to do around the site to continue preparing for the transition on the 15th. After that I have a "behind the scenes" e-mail I plan to write for the CR family bringing everyone up to speed on the next couple week's plans. On Saturday, I'm heading up to Comics2Games to meet with Darren on the new site and record an interview with Scott Simmons and Brant Fowler for an upcoming podcast. Sunday, I hope to find a few hours to breathe before jumping back into the day job meat grinder I plan to call Monday morning.
It's a four day decathlon run... HERE WE GO!
I stand inspired!
I stand inspired to take the steps within my own life to change the world for the better. I have never been prouder of my nation or more fully realized the sense and power of hope. For the first time in a very long time, I feel like tomorrow will be a better day and I am ready to do my part to make it happen.
Nope, sorry... I'm not talking DC Comics with this blog entry. I've been up in Washington DC since last Saturday and I thought I would share just a little about what has me staying here at the nation's capital.
My day job, as many of you may know, is in grant and contract administration for the University of Kentucky. I've been doing work in this area for 15 years and I'm pretty much the senior staffer at my office. As part of my job, I get to attend national conferences related to my profession. When there isn't some ultra-cool destination, I usually head for the NCURA (National Council of University Research Administrators) National Conference which always coincides with the first Tuesday in November and takes place Washington DC. I've been attending this conference, off and on, since 1993 and I've actually spent the last three elections (counting this current one) here in DC and this year marks the 50th anniversary for the organization.
So that's what has me here with several thousand other attendees hanging out at the Hilton Washington. Katie's with me as well (thank goodness for house-sitters) as she works in the same office I do and we usually get to attend conferences together. Tonight, there is a massive election celebration planned for the evening featuring a mix of live bands (one room for jazz, one room for classic rock, etc). There are also several rooms set aside for election coverage filled with wide-screens, comfortable places to sit and food, food and more food. There is also an open bar and beverages of all types. As a group, we ring in the selection of the next President together and it's typically a blast.
We also get some A-list guests at these events. Not to name drop, but on Sunday evening, Darrell Hammond of Saturday Night Live stopped by our dinner and did a stand-up show for about an hour. On Monday morning, Steve Squyres of Cornell University gave a talk about the Mars Rover Mission which he heads (possibly one of the most amazing presentations I've seen in years). This morning, not to be outdone, James Carville and Mary Matalin dissected the current election and their own relationship to kick off election day...
They are tremendous fun and have become a bit of an election tradition as well 'round here as they were also on hand with us for the previous Bush/Kerry election in '04.
All in all, it's been a great convention. It's also been a bit of a challenge to keep up with everything and keep the main site updated each day. That said, have no fear though... I get back home late Wednesday and will have a four day weekend (I don't go back to work at my day job until the following Monday) to catch up on e-mail and really gear the site up for the relaunch on November 15th. Just 12 days left... Man I'm excited!!
If you've e-mailed and haven't heard back, I'm not ignoring you. You're just in a holding pattern with the other 416 messages that have arrived since last weekend. Look for a reply no later than Thursday or Friday.
We stand on the verge of an amazing election (and, yes, I'm beginning to blog once again). Yesterday, I was at the National Portrait Gallery here in Washington DC when I stumbled upon a quote. Originally from 1862, it rings as true today as it ever has before...
"The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation."
- Abraham Lincoln, annual message to Congress, December 1, 1862.
I'm ready to see that light passed on this November 4th. No matter who you support or what you believe, please vote and make sure your vote gets counted!
While I'm posting, here's a fun image to play with (also from the National Portrait Gallery)...
A couple news organizations ran segments of this video prior to tonight's debate between the Presidential candidates. A light hearted segment from the Batman series, but a little spooky in its similarities...
If the economic, political and social feel of 2008 had a theme song as we wind our way out of the dark cavern that has been the Bush years...
Originally release back in 1965, it's amazing how relevant these lyrics are still today. How little the world changes. That said, I'm ready to believe the world can be better. I'm ready to believe in change and you better believe I wouldn't miss this vote for the world!
I will be lucky enough to be in Washington, DC for this election. I will be standing within view of the Washington Monument on November 4th. I will say my thanks for the right to vote, the right to believe and the right to request change. Every vote matters and I'm glad I can cast mine.
Over the last week, I have been blown away by the depth of friendship offered by some of the writers and contributors here at Comic Related. When it comes to friends, my life is admittedly a busy one and it doesn't always lend itself well to having a ton of time to socialize. That means I spend much of any given day either at this laptop I'm typing on now or with the person who means the world to me... my wife Katie. I check on family, but don't get to see them enough (or as much as I should).
That said, I have found some true friends through doing this website and for that I am thankful. Personally, when I find a friend, I tend to be FIERCELY loyal to that individual and those who are reading this and who I either drive 70 some miles to visit on a fairly regular basis or talk to almost daily with via e-mail... I thank you and hope what I've said rings true.
Here at Comic Related, we have been building a great little community behind the scenes. Certainly, our forum is strong, but there is also that undercurrent of contributors that has grown steadily in strength and number. This is something that I think sets Comic Related apart from many websites and I've been talking about it literally for years. This isn't so much a business on any given day as it is a family. Well, it's time to meet your cousins...
I have a blast digitally hanging out with many of the contributors here and I think it's time everyone got a chance to join in the fun. This desire to build an even stronger community coupled with the fact that there is SO MUCH happening behind the scenes at Comic Related right now has me writing. My working plan is to start sending out a weekly e-mail behind-the-scenes newsletter to the contributors of the site. The first order of business is to make sure that everyone has all the contact information for everyone else. From there I plan to continually layout the plans I have, current and future for Comic Related so everyone can share feedback and play a part in the evolution. We all raise and fall together and that is true inside Comic Related as well as outside in the comic creator community.
I'm continually working to make this site better, bigger and more dynamic. If you're part of the CR family (you know who you are), you can expect to hear from me next weekend as we grow the community just a little and I introduce you to a few contributors you may not have met yet...
Until the next blog post... CHEERS!
11/4/08 ... 4:48 PM - This hasn't fallen off the radar or been forgotten. I had a bit of a family situation arise that derailed plans here for the time being. That first e-mail update should go out later this week then fall into a comfortable every-other-week schedule. I don't want to floor your e-mail boxes, but I want to keep everyone updated. I think every two weeks should work out well.
I tip my hat to Raichal, Bill and John! There's no better way to spend a weekend than with friends...
[Left to right: Chuck Moore, Raichal Gladman, Bill Gladman, John Wilson]
I had a BLAST this last weekend. It was a busy blitz of action and conversation (you're going to hear the lion's share of that audio starting this evening) and I found myself wishing it were a three or four day show from the very start. I have to tell you, I LOVE having a spot to call home at these shows. In the past, Comic Related did a really good job of talking with creators, but this dual level of exposure introduced the site to a lot of comic readers. It's the real advantage of having this kind of setup. It gave me the chance to talk to a lot of show attendees which was a change from years past.
There are a lot of tales to tell and, like Bill and John, we're going to start writing about everything through the website. In the meantime, this blog update is a collective "whew" from me as Mid-Ohio-Con is behind us. 2009 convention season plans are ALREADY coming together and I'll share an update on that soon as well.
Yesterday I picked up a few new toys I'm looking forward to playing with at Mid-Ohio-Con and at future shows. Basically, Comic Related now has a mini-mobile sound studio ready to take on-site interviews up a couple notches. Thanks to a kind birthday gift from family (I have the world's greatest parents), I was able to purchase both a second SURE dynamic microphone and a new ALESIS Multimix8 USB mixer. This will make face to face extended interviews a whole lot easier and allow us to do some interactive podcasting at the shows. I'm really excited to put this to use!
Just four more days until we hit the highway for Mid-Ohio-Con!
I've never been a fan of reading those "I know it's been a while since I blogged" kind of posts, but here tonight I find myself building one. I know it's been a while since I blogged, but life has been CRAZY BUSY. Here's what we're working on for you right now...
-- Mid-Ohio-Con Preparations
Things are coming together nicely. We'll have handouts, CD's offering samples of the podcast, comic creators doing signings, live podcast recording during the show AND CANDY... lots of CANDY. I'll give you one guess which of these items will probably make us unbelievably popular at Mid-Ohio-Con. Yep, candy.
Please consider joining us October 4th and 5th in Columbus Ohio where we'll have a table in the Creator Commons (featuring Kenn Minter and a rotating mix of comic creators) AND over in our Exhibitor Booth (where we'll be sharing information about the website and recording audio for the Related Recap podcast throughout the day).
We're working to have power set up for the booth. As that comes together, I plan to swing over by Guitar Center early next week and pick up an additional microphone and a full mixing board to run audio at this and all future shows. We continue to get more and more serious about podcasting and thats a really great thing!
-- Site Redesign
Work on the site continues behind the scenes. I'm hoping to see the new front and back end of Comic Related go live within a couple weeks of the close of Mid-Ohio-Con.
Fingers crossed that this post leads to me gaining steam on blogging once again.
Talk to you soon (and cheers),
I'm looking forward to hitting the highway this weekend, grabbing new comics, recording an interview for next week's podcast and checking in on the next phase of Comic Related. Mostly though, I'm looking forward to hanging out with good friends!
This video kind of sums it up...
My weekend had it's stumbles, but watching the footage from what happened in Texas, I know I cannot complain about a thing. I feel for those who have suffered personal loss and I found myself living the weekend with them through CNN and a special channel DirecTv tossed up without much fanfare. That channel, set up partially at the request of the federal government, provided a live feed from KHOU, the CBS affiliate in Houston, TX. It was on the air around the clock offering a commercial free look at what was happening before, during and following the storm. I felt like I was there and, before the end of the weekend, in my own small way I was.
Jump forward from Friday to Sunday afternoon, Ike had already run up the country and crossed Kentucky. Obviously, we didn't receive near the same impact from the storm. That said, even after crossing all that land it shut down a highway outside Louisville draping electrical lines across the road and left over 600,000 people without power in Cincinnati. In my own town, it downed trees and pushed us around as we moved from house to barn to care for horses.
I spent much of Sunday afternoon glancing from the computer to my front window and watching a mix of trees in my front yard bend and sway in the massive wind. They all held, but I have neighbors who lost both trees and roof tiles before the afternoon was done. It was fierce at my house and I cannot image what it felt like when it hit the gulf coast of Texas.
Sure, I had a forum go down over the weekend that caused me no end of tech headaches. It's also true that this forum crash derailed a fun trip I had planned to head north to meet up with friends. Certainly, I lost power more than once. Taking all that into account, I have nothing to complain about.
I wish those who fared far worse a much better day... today, tomorrow and the next. I've never had to rebuild in the way people have after Ike and Katrina. I take so much for granted each day and it's at times like this that I'm reminded exactly what it means to be thankful.
Today I got a chance to sit down and watch End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones. The documentary clocks in just a little under two hours and was released back in 2003. During the show, filmmaker Michael Gramaglia gives us a sweeping overview of punk rock legends, the Ramones.
I am a complete fanboy when it comes to rock and roll documentaries or even fictional rock and roll movies. Almost Famous remains one of my favorite films of all time. I've blogged about that film before and why it hit home with me (link to that entry) a few months back.
This film did not disappoint. A lot of ground is covered in short order and the interview footage is solid. From the early days to the more recent deaths, this was a film I enjoyed and further solidified the just how likable Joey Ramone was. I knew a lot of the Ramones story going into this film, but the documentary gave me a bit deeper look into some of the aspects of their lives and personalities that made them so influential, yet prevented them from being the chart topping band they deserved to be.
We'll worth a watch...