kybearfuzz: (Mark at 43)
I was re-reading some of my Justice League of America comics, admiring the artwork by a younger George Perez, when I pulled one of the pre-Perez issues where the artwork was done by the late Dick Dillin. I loved Dillon's work on JLA. He drew over 100 issues of the comic from 1968 to 1980.

His artwork was one of the first introductions to comic books. Way back in the late 1970s, I went to yard sale at one of our neighbor's home. Among the multitude of junk was a handful of comic books. I had started picking up a few comics here and there after my cousins had bought me my first Wonder Woman comic, so I recall being excited to see them. Among them was Justice League of America #165 below. Being a huge Superfriends cartoon fan, I snatched up that comic for a dime and took it home.

JLA 165 Cover


The comic introduced me to several superheroes I didn't really know, like Elongated Man, Red Tornado, and Zatanna, and had my favorites present, Superman, Batman, and especially Wonder Woman. The artwork definitely intrigued me, as I'd not seen this kind of action on paper before.

JLA 165 Interior

I mean, Wonder Woman on FIRE! How could that not draw my attention! Art-wise, I also learned the importance of the under-boob shadow, a technical piece of cartooning that I use to this day. The story made me look for the previous issue and eventually to others.

Sadly, Dick Dillin passed away from a heart attack in 1980. He was in the middle of the annual summer JLA-JSA team-up, so DC brought in George Perez to finish it up, which was the start of Perez's run on the comic. I'd enjoy getting a piece of original Dick Dillin artwork, but from what I've seen it is pretty expensive. It makes me happy that I got the original art from Perez already.
kybearfuzz: (Me_2ndGrade)
I was acting branch director today. It was a busy one, but it flew by for the most part. I came home with the plan of going for a run. After I changed out of my work clothes, I laid down on my bed for a brief second. The next thing I knew, three hours had passed. Naps are becoming common for me, but they trash the night for me, especially when I have things to do.

The dreams were pretty cool though. For some reason I was dreaming of my old elementary school, East Ward. Because my grandmother was the head cook there, she took me and my siblings to school bright and early every day. I was there at 6 AM, long before anyone else was at school, so we were left to our own devices until around 7 AM.

Normally, we stayed in the lunchroom/auditorium. On one end of the room were the lunch tables and benches, which could be folded up into the wall, leaving the area huge for indoor recess when it rained.

On the other end of the room was the school stage. The stage was open, but had stage doors to the side, as well as steps up from the lunchroom floor. There was a piano that always needed tuning, tables and folding chairs, and rolled up mats for tumbling for rainy-day recess. The best part of the stage was the slight upper area to the left next to a very large window that let you look out over the playground and the nearby creek. I spent many hours sitting on that window sill, staring out, and daydreaming.

I don't remember the specifics of the dream, but I remember the setting well. It made me sad that I never got to take photos of the school, as a lot of details are getting lost to me as I get older. The school was remodeled in the last couple of years, turning it into affordable apartments, so the stage is now history, as is the big daydream window.

I really need to force myself to stay awake and work out.
kybearfuzz: (2011 Pride Shirt)
Besides photographs, I don't have a lot in my house from my days as a kid. One of the things I have managed to keep is a small white, dingy teddy bear known in my childhood as "Littl'un," a hillbilly truncation of the name "Little One."

Mom and BrotherThe teddy bear has a history. In late December 1973 or very early January 1974, the twin decided to get into the stuff under the sink and drank bleach (or Brasso, the story has been told both ways) and was taken to the hospital. The twin was in the hospital for several days, spending our first birthday there. This pic is Mom and the twin at the hospital. The little bear in the photo was a gift to him while he was there.

After he came home from the hospital, he seemed to have no interest in the bear. So Mom and Dad gave him to me, starting my life-long interest in bears, starting with the teddy variety then seguing into the more human version as an adult. Every year until I was 16, my mom got me a teddy bear for Christmas. I had quite a collection for the longest time, including a giant blue and white one called "76," named after a gas station where my dad bought him. It was about this time, the little white bear garnered his name "Little One."

After I left for college, my teddy bear collection was put away. After I graduated, I moved to Cincinnati then Kansas City. Mom and Dad moved out of our old house because of Dad's health and the house fell into a horrible state. On one of my trips home from Kansas City, I collected a few things of mine from the house, including Littl'un to make sure nothing happened to him and he's been in my custody ever since.

When I had that nasty bout with blood clots a few years back, my sister and twin came up to see me at the hospital. They stayed at my house overnight and noticed Littl'un resting on the bed in the spare bedroom. They couldn't believe that I still had him. I can't imagine why they'd think I'd NOT have him.

He's more off-white, than white. His paws are worn. He is missing an eye, most of the nose, etc., but it's how I remember him from my childhood. He's been drooled on, peed on, dragged outside and back. In reality, he's probably a toxic wasteland of baby germs. I'd throw him in the wash, but I don't think his body would hold up to the agitation. I've given him a thorough dousing with Lysol though.

He's a huge part of my history. It's strange how we imbue inanimate objects with so much of our lives. Like a kid, I worry about his comfort, which is why is sleeps on the spare bed and not on a shelf. I'm happy he's still here with me.

Little One
Littlun in His Natural Habitat
kybearfuzz: (Me_2ndGrade)
It is that time of year again. While I never remember the exact day, I know it was mid-January of 2003 that I looking into a mirror and finally admitted to myself that I was gay. I'm surprised that I don't recall the exact day. You'd think something so monumental would have branded itself in my mind. So, I'm thirteen years gay, I guess.

326 - BracesThere are days I look back on things and I often wonder how my parents or my siblings didn't figure it out first. I wasn't great at hiding it, as evident from the teasing I encountered in junior high and high school. Often I wonder if I wasn't the invisible kid in my own house, the teenage antics of my sister and twin brother, both good and bad, garnering so much of parents' attention that they didn't have to spend much on me.

There were many instances of my admiring the hairy and/or bearded in TV shows and movies. I sometimes drew such men, but made sure to rip up and discard them before anyone else saw them. If anyone paid close attention they could have figured it out. I tried hard not to make any public demonstrations of my desire for these guys, but there was one good instance I recall where I slipped up.

I was the 5th grade and my mom and sister loved to read horrible rags like "The National Inquirer" and their ilk. I admit that I enjoyed reading them at times too. One such "issue" had a story about a pencil drawing that was being circulated publicly of Tom Selleck, that he supposedly didn't want seen. He was in all of his shirtless glory, chest hair for days, and that wonderfully wry smile front and center. From an artistic perspective, it was absolutely spot on (I tried to find it online and couldn't... drat). I used to stare at the drawing with the intensity of a stalker, admiring every curve, every shading, every nuance, getting a pre-puberty boner in the process every time.

Pride 2015 - Final DesignOne day in class, our substitute teacher was giving us a biology lesson. It basically was talking about how animals tend to have fur, which thickens in the winter time and thins in the summer. She was explaining how the fur helped keep the animal warm in the winter time. In the midst of the discussion, the teacher had said this didn't happen in people.

As if on cue, I raised my hand, asking "What about Tom Selleck? He's pretty furry!"

I felt it was on honest question, but I recall wishing I hadn't asked it almost immediately. The class turned and looked at me with this "WTF" stare and the teacher stammered that she didn't think it was the same thing. I clearly caught her off-guard. It seriously embarrassed me, which is why I remember it so vividly.

At least now, I can openly admire such furry beauty and make these comments without worry for the most part. And obviously, I draw what I like and post them publicly.

It's a good place to be.
kybearfuzz: (Me_2ndGrade)
From 6th grade to my senior year in high school, I was part of an afterschool program called SOAR (Students with the Optimal Ability to Reason). Essentially, it was a chance for the smart kids in school to take a class in an odd or innovative area outside their normal school work. It met on Monday afternoons for an hour at our high school and usually involved some outside work between SOAR meetings.

SOAR Schedule 86-87


My mom found the original course schedule from the first year and gave it to me over the holidays. I was part of the program from the beginning, taking a school bus from my elementary school to the high school by myself every Monday. I was the only student from my elementary school to go that I remember. It made me feel very grown up to go to the high school. The only class I recall taking that year was typing.

[livejournal.com profile] aceofspace and I were both in the SOAR program, though our participation dwindled a bit when we were juniors and seniors in high school. By then, other activities like the school newspaper and the yearbook seemed to take precedence. Still, we took rocketry or something for the third or fourth time I think. My high school diploma has a seal on it from the SOAR program.

It was a neat program. In looking back, I wish I had taken other classes, like German. I swapped out of the Media class because it involved speaking in front of groups, which terrified me at the time. This particular Media class was taught by a man named Roger Marcum, a tall kind man with a thick black mustache, who intimidated the heck out of me for some reason. He tried to get me to stay, recognizing that I needed to get out of my shy shell I think, but I dodged him quickly. In the few classes I had with him there, he walked around with his fly open for a good ten minutes, the class snickering until he figured it out. He laughed about it, asking why no one had told him. The guy eventually became the chairman of the Kentucky Board of Education, so I know he knew his stuff.

I’m not even sure they still do this program, but it was a nice taste of college for me, getting to pick and choose different courses to take for fun. I’m surprised my mom still had this to be honest.
kybearfuzz: (Me_2ndGrade)
One of the things that came up during my 25th high school reunion is how the twin and I ended up in separate grades. It made some people automatically assume I was older (more than the three minutes I actually am). If folks knew about me and my twin brother, they appeared to assume that the twin flunked a grade. One of my classmates admitted that she thought he had failed and fell behind. Ironically, her grandmother was my first grade teacher, the grade I skipped, and was one of the people responsible for sending me forward.

TBT - 2nd Grade
The Devious Smile of a 1st/2nd Grader



The twin and I started together in Mrs. Breeding's first grade class in the Fall of 1979. If I recall correctly, the school day consisted of the typical "A is for apple" criteria, to teach students the alphabet. We'd print the letter and then draw the corresponding object that started with that letter. Our math work was done through a large workbook with tear-away sheets that you would turn into the teacher. We'd read aloud from the "Dick and Jane" series. The best part of first grade was the naps.

Thanks to my watching too much television, a large chunk of it consisting of "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," I already knew how to read, drawing was fun, spelling was a competition, and basic addition/subtraction was easy. When we had time to do math work, I would do the sheet assigned and move on to the next, then the next, and so on, until I had the whole book finished the first month I was there. I would tear out the sheet to turn in, have nothing else to do, and become a complete nuisance to Mrs. Breeding. I don't recall specifically what the twin was doing during all of this, but it probably consisted of playing and being a smart@$$.

About six weeks into the year, Mrs. Breeding told me that I was going to be going to Mrs. Moore's class in the afternoon. Mrs. Moore taught second grade. So for a couple of weeks, I spent mornings in first grade and afternoons in second. I was learning handwriting in second, which I didn't particularly care for, but everything else seemed to fall into place. At the end of two weeks, Mrs. Breeding told me that I was supposed to go to Mrs. Moore's class all day from that point forward. I didn't really question this. I wasn't asked, I was told to do it. I just thought it was normal. What I didn't know was that the teachers had been talking to my parents and they had all agreed to push me to the next grade.

So, now in second grade, we were still reading, still doing the spelling words, still doing math in those tear-away books, doing the practicing of writing (also in booklets), and odds and ends. Then the same thing started happening. I finished all the math in the tear away books, began turning the long-completed sheets in when asked, and started bugging the crap out of Mrs. Moore while everyone else was working. From what I remember, I also started working ahead in the writing book too.

Mrs. Moore sent me to the "special" reading class in the afternoons. I was the youngest kid in there. The rest of the kids in there were in the next couple of grades ahead of me. I knew a couple of them were not the brightest kids in those classes, so I think it was a mix. I now get it -- I was reading ahead of my class, they were reading below theirs, but at the time we were reading at the same level collectively. We read comic books, worked on writing assignments, etc. It was strange to be pulled out of class like that, but again, I never questioned it.

From that point forward, my siblings were staggered one class apart -- my sis a year ahead of me, my twin a year behind. A few years ago, my mom told me that the school had actually come to her and Dad to discuss pushing me from second grade to third that same year. Because I had repeated the behavior of working ahead in my class work, the teacher had wanted to move me on. I guess she could also have gotten tired of my being bored and being a pain in her butt. Because of my age and concerns about my maturity, Mom and Dad decided that a move to third was not a good idea. I'm also guessing that they didn't like the idea of my sis and me being in the same class.

... And I still love reruns of "The Electric Company." It served me well.
kybearfuzz: (Comic Book Bears)
Lately I've been binge-reading "The New Teen Titans," and the other day I was wanting to read a comic my dad bought me years ago. I couldn't find it over the last couple of days. Today's rainy day project was to look through my comic books and try to weed out some issues to sell or give away. I was also hoping to find the comic in question.

I did a fair amount of reorganizing, but not a lot discarding. I need to work on that as my donation box is not even near full.

Luckily, though, I found the comic -- Teen Titans #37 (February 1972).

My history with this comic is a good one. When I was a kid, back in the early 1980s, my dad was a truck driver who hauled gasoline from place to place. One of his regular drop off points was a closed gas station on I-25 between our hometown of Corbin and the nearby city of London. On occasion, I would go with Dad and we would stop at the flea market in front of Ridener's, a rapidly aging motel from back before I-75 stole all the thoroughfare traffic in the early 1970's. We'd stop there so I could look for comic books.

One of the few finds I found there was this comic book. I was probably ten years old. The guy selling the comic wanted $6 for it, which was a lot back then. My dad balked at first, but with a bit of begging on my part, he caved. With the surge of popular of the New Teen Titans comic, this original Teen Titans comic became a grand find in my mind.

The story was good, the artwork older and less sophisticated. I read the comic book to near shreds and I have no idea where among my collection it is sitting. The copy I found was bought at a convention a couple of years ago. Still it brings back good memories of the original one I had.

Teen Titans 37 (Feb 1972)
kybearfuzz: (Biker Surprise)
As I was digging around in photos last week looking for something to post, I came across this photo. At first I didn't think it was THAT old and then realized that it was from 1998, some ... wow... 16 years ago.

Mark in 1998


I was living in Overland Park, KS, working as a chemist for Uncle Sam in a food testing laboratory where I did metals and pesticides analysis on the stuff everyone loved to eat. It was a dreadfully boring job at times, but it kept me busy. Being in the closet and having no real interactions with people outside of work, I decided to stretch myself and volunteered at the local county library. I had a disastrous first day shelving books. An angry circulation desk witch, who mistakenly thought I was a criminal working off some community service, lambasted me for not having my "papers" with me. After I flipped her the metaphorical bird, I went to the volunteer coordinator who moved me to a volunteer-run used bookstore in one of the other branches.

The bookstore was operated by a diminutive, elderly spitfire named Opal and her henpecked hubby "Shorty." My job was to empty the garbage cans that were full of unsellable books, sort donated books, restock the shelves, and run the cash register. Usually around 7 PM to closing, I was on my own in the shop. I bought a ton of books from them over the two years or so I volunteered there. I helped out during the annual book sale, even taking off work to do that. And there were a couple of hottie regular customers who came into the bookstore that I often fantasized about.

Opal and I got along for the most part. She showed me the proper way to box the books so they'd stack without crushing. The problem is that there was no method to her madness and every time I boxed them, even if I followed her directions perfectly, I never got it right in her eyes. At first, I was fine with that, as I was sure my main job was to move things and babysit the shop at night.

My tenure as a volunteer came to a conclusion after a bi-monthly book sale in 1998. I was boxing up books after a long day with all the other volunteers. Opal, being ever the control freak, started shrieking from behind me "NO! NO! NO! LET ME SHOW YOU AGAIN!"

Being chastised like a naughty child in front of everyone embarrassed me. I remember my face feeling flush and my anger rose. I knew that no matter what I did, I'd never have it packed to her satisfaction.

"You know what," I growled, "I don't want to be shown how to box books again, now or ever, as I'll never do it right according to you! So you and the rest just box them up and I'll do what I'm good at, hauling the heavy things back to the storeroom!!"

And that's what happened. They packed the boxes and I dragged them away. Everyone was a bit stunned into silence by my outburst, but I suspect they'd all felt Opal's fury at one time or another. As I recall, I didn't speak to Opal before I left. I was angry. Opal was a library employee, I was a volunteer and I didn't like the condescension.

I went to the volunteer coordinator the following week and gave her two weeks notice. Honestly, I was getting tired of it anyway and the incident was the last push I needed. From what I remember, the coordinator did not seem surprised, so I believe she had been informed by other volunteers about what happened. Opal never apologized. Sweet as she could be, she was never wrong. Never. I said my goodbyes to her and her husband two weeks later on my last night in the bookshop. No fanfare or anything.

After finding this photo, I decided to look on the web to see whatever happened to her. Opal passed away back in 2004 at the age of 75. I imagine she passed away while sorting books, likely after she hurled a 3-inch 2001 tax law book into the trash can from across the room. She had great aim and rarely missed, her last bit of moxie used up doing something she enjoyed doing.
kybearfuzz: (Biker Surprise)
Just the odds and the ends so far:

  • I caught up on my DVR last night, watching an episode of the 1960's show "Thriller" hosted by Boris Karloff and last Sunday's mid-season premiere of "The Walking Dead." Both shows were good. No spoilers in case people haven't seen the latter yet.

  • Now that Maggie the Cat is the sole kitteh in the house, I've noticed her changes in attitude. She seems to crave more affection, but she also is getting strangely playful. She's still no where near the playful that Murphy the Cat was (oh such a good kitteh), but little bursts of kitten-like behavior appears to be creeping in. The blanket on my bed is fraying in spots and those loose strands drive her crazy. She will paw at them repeatedly when they aren't moving. It makes me wonder if there was indeed some odd hierarchy in the house, with Murphy being the dominant cat, Maggie next, and, of course, the human (me) dead last. Maggie is now in charge and she appears to be enjoying it.

  • The other day I thought of Margie Ison, a meterologist (formerly "weather girl" I'm sure) I used to watch on WBIR out of Knoxville, TN. She seemed to be the favorite in my household when it came to the weather and I remember her voice clearly. There was an incident where she appeared to go on TV completely drunk, slurring her words and flailing her movements. Now why someone did not stop her that night, I have no idea. She retired soon after that. On a lark, I looked her up and found she's still around and looks good for someone in her 70's.
kybearfuzz: (Wow)
In addition to my liking horror movies from the 1970's, I happen to be a fan of 1970's television. I was a television junkie from the get-go, whining so much about being able to watch what I wanted that my parents bought me my very own 13-inch, black & white TV at the age of three. I developed the skill to tell my parents what channel the TV was on based solely on the amount of static the channel had. Yeah, I watched THAT much TV.

So this weekend, I watched a fair amount of 1970's TV shows. Friday night, I watched an "The Incredible Hulk" episode on Netflix. I'd forgotten how cute Bill Bixby was and the amazing hotness of Lou Ferrigno. This particular episode was the one starring MacKenzie Phillips as the glam rocker who tried to commit suicide on stage because she felt guilty about her music and its influence on her audience. Bill changed into the Hulk twice during the episode, which, like Wonder Woman's costume spin, were very exciting moments. It wasn't well-written, but none of them were particularly deep then. I threw the show in my queue so I can watch more of them.

Today, while folding laundry, I found myself watching "The Brady Bunch." I admit that I was never that big a fan, but my sister was. I watched a lot of episodes to appease her. This particular episode was special because it was their trip to King's Island here in Cincinnati where Jan's Yogi Bear poster got swapped for her dad's plans for the park. Hilarity ensued as the family raced all over the park to find it. This episode was filmed in the summer of 1973 when I was only a few months old. I went to the park myself for the first time in 1977 when I was four. The park hadn't changed much by then, so it was fun to reminisce (for what little I could recall) about the park during that time frame. The Eiffel Tower and fountains were there, as were the Racers roller coaster and some of the smaller rides. The pizza place is still there too. A lot of the older rides were a bit carnival-like compared to what they are today. I do miss the Hanna-Barbera characters walking around. In 1977 I got a hug from Scooby-Doo and it was a thrill for me.

So, I'm sure I'll be back into the horror movies this week. Hope everyone had a great weekend!
kybearfuzz: (Pride Purple 2013)
I was reading Wikipedia's entry on "South Park" earlier this morning. I do that sometimes. Not specifically the "South Park" page, but often I'll pick something at random on Wikipedia and take a spin through it. I did similar things as a kid with encyclopedia volumes, just grab a volume and flip through it. I got to the section of the entry regarding how the four main characters often use profanity amongst themselves. The show's creators say that it demonstrates how little kids talk to each other when there are no grown-ups around.

There is a lot of truth in that. When the twin and I were about that age, we were experimenting with cursing. Both of our parents cursed in their usual banter, but moreso when they were angry or excited. Neither of them ever said the "f-word" that I can recall as a kid, but everything else was fair game. Even Mom and Dad had a limit I guess.

As kids, the twin and I would "trade" cuss words, meaning "if you say one, I'll say one." It was an interesting situation, as by each vocalizing the word, we put ourselves on a level playing field. The twin couldn't turn me in, as I could turn him in, and then we'd both be in trouble. So we threw out the occasional "shit" followed by a "hell" or a "damn." Then we'd giggle at the naughty we'd just done.

Once, the twin turned me in for saying the "f-word." It was written in orange crayon, followed by the familiar "YOU" in HUGE letters above the bathroom urinal wall at school. And honestly, I had no idea what it meant. One day, the twin irritated me to the point of yelling, where I belted out "F#@K YOU!" at him. Stunned, he threw his hands over his mouth like he'd witnessed something horrible, and then proceeded to run to Mom to tell on me. Little shit thought he had me good, but I confessed truthfully to Mom that I had no idea what it meant. I didn't get in trouble, as she believed me. She warned me not to say it again, but refused to tell me what it referred to.

Later, in junior high school, I let my filthy mouth roam free. Being a kid, I realized that it garnered me attention, so I used it among the students when the teachers weren't around. One day I lamented profanely about leaving my bubble gum at home. A nearby student, a better-than-you teenager named Becky, told me that she hoped that I died in my sleep that night so I would go straight to Hell, because that's where people who used that language would go. I was bad for using curse words, but Becky was being a good Christian by telling me that she hoped I'd died soon.

Becky always was a bitch.

However, that moment did strike a chord with me and I toned down the language for more practical uses, like arguments and storytelling. When I went to college, I kept my mouth in check because of my born-again Christian roommate, moreso out of respect for him and not because of my memory of Bitch Becky, who could douche with Drano for all I cared.

As I've gotten older, I guess I've gotten crankier. At work, when something that is so simple goes so wrong, I find myself tossing the "f-word" around when among my familiar co-workers. It's not the most professional talk I could use, but the word often conveys a feeling that many other words just cannot match.

However, I am trying to use the language less frequently, especially in a professional setting, as its appropriateness isn't always there. I said less frequently, because I certainly don't believe in turning it off completely. The words definitely have their place and sometimes you can't help but need that vocabulary.

There is something about a good, old fashioned "F#@K YOU!" that just sends the needed message in a split second, especially when you haven't the opportunity to add gestures.
kybearfuzz: (Opus Flying)
"... God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson, Heaven holds a place for those who pray..."

The Mrs. Robinson in this instance wasn't a seducer, but a math teacher, my math teacher from 7th grade Geometry. Her name was Alex Robinson, which was probably the first time I encountered a woman with a man's name. In my mind she was old, but then I was 12 and she was in her early 50's. It's always the perception of the young.

A shorter lady with dark short hair and glasses, she was funny, but stern; witty, but explosive; good natured, yet terrifying. Her class was often fascinating to sit through. Not only did you learn, but you were entertained by her. If a student turned his or her back to her to talk to the person sitting behind, the room would get silent. She was like a tiger ready to pounce. Her favorite schtick was to throw chalk or a dust-filled eraser at the student. She would get in this stance, check third base over her shoulder, wind up the pitch, and let it fly. With the keen instincts of a military sharp-shooter, she rarely missed her target. The overall effect drew shock from the student and laughs from the class.

Nowadays, she'd be up on charges of assault and possibly harrassment, but that's just how times have changed. No student was ever hurt, just a bit humiliated, and even then not always. Some wore the chalk dust impression on their clothes as a badge of honor, like a war wound you couldn't help but show to your friends.

Sometime during junior high I made some wise@$$ crack to her in an effort to be funny and Mrs. Robinson got mad at me for a little while. I don't recall what I said, but I have always regretted getting on her bad side, even for a little while. Kids do stupid things, and I admit that I learned a valuable lesson from it. And maybe that was her point in being angry with me.

I read on an online blog from my hometown last night a story of how a student's mother had gone to her and complained about her son's grades. "How could he have gotten a 'C' on this test?" the mother asked. Mrs. Robinson took a step back and exclaimed, "Well, what do you expect!!?" I wish I had that on tape to show some of the parents I know who would have foolishly asked the same question.

A couple of years ago, I saw her at Wal-Mart. She looked very much the same as I remembered her, a little grayer maybe. She told me of her grandkids, her sons, etc. She seemed to be a very happy person. Ironically, my brother and I were reminiscing about her to his neighbor just last week while I was home.

I'm sad she's gone, passing away last week from cancer. It's a sign of getting older, I guess, when the fanciful people from your past start to fade away. I am proud to say that I was one of her students. I wish I could throw chalk at a young person right now in her honor.

God bless you please indeed, Mrs. Robinson.
kybearfuzz: (Enjoy the Day)
Today marks my seventeenth anniversary at work. This one is fun in a sense that it hits on the exact day of the week when I started. It seems so long ago, yet it doesn't.

In the Lab - Big Ugly Glasses and Cheesy Mustache
Geez... I can't believe I'm posting this...


I thought about it a lot yesterday. Seventeen years ago yesterday, I had moved into my one-bedroom apartment with nothing more than a bed I'd just purchased, boxes of my stuff and a small, 13-inch color TV with no cable. I had a seven-year old Pontiac 6000LE that I'd bought earlier that week in the parking lot. The ink on my bachelor's degree was almost dry. I was 21 years old. To say I had just started my adult life would be an understatement, definitely humble beginnings.

My first professional job as a chemist started the next day. I was apprehensive, having no idea what I was in for and getting very little sound advice from my parents. I had already picked out the clothes I was planning on wearing, jeans and a button-up, which I had observed the chemists in the lab wearing during my interview. I had bought groceries, mostly junk food, and ordered a pizza for dinner I think. I popped myself down to watch whatever TV my antenna would pick up and found nothing on but news report after news report about a stupid white-Bronco chase on the west coast. Yeah, OJ had covered the airwaves all day and would continue all night. I turned the TV off.

I went to bed early that night, curling up on my bed in my living room, my alarm clock sitting on a couple of boxes within arm's reach. I had trouble falling asleep because of my nervousness, but eventually conked out. The next day I'd walk the tightrope without the safety net of school beneath me. While the next day was a comedic day of errors, I got through it, starting what has turned into a very fruitful career.

If you would have told me then what I would go through the next 17 years, I'd have not believed you -- leaving the lab, moving to Kansas City and back, traveling overseas by myself, teaching computer courses, coming out of the closet. I've done a lot of growing up in those years. I'm happy to have a house of my own, a car that I bought new (my first), and four televisions about the house with cable. I still have that bed I bought back then, it's in my spare room and is still very comfortable.

Who knows what will come next...
kybearfuzz: (Comic Book Bears)
Ad for JLA 166 (1979)When I was five, my older cousins Stephanie and Debbie bought me my first comic at a grocery store, a Wonder Woman comic that my brother and sister eventually turned into kites. However, this one comic started the collecting that has now gone on for more than thirty years.

This ad appeared in the comics for one of my first Justice League comics (JLA #166). I remember the ad vividly because of the placement of favorite heroes, the look of terror on their faces, the list of the members names at the bottom, the 40 cent price, etc. The issue has always been one of my favorites. Last night, I dug out my older copy to re-read.

Chris ([livejournal.com profile] chrisglass) asked the other night if I collected comics and I told him I did. He then asked if I actually read them and I do. I don't think I could just wrap them away and never look at them again. They are for enjoyment, not for museum purposes. I'll never get rich from them as they are in a "well-enjoyed" state for the most part.

On a side note, I will confess to what happened to my very first stack of comics. One Saturday morning in 1979 (I think) I got up and thought of how cool it would be to have superheroes on my wall. So I removed the glossy covers from several of my comics, cut out the heroes, and taped them to my bedroom wall. When Mom woke up and saw what I'd done, she wasn't pleased with her six-year-old child. Sadly, my first copy of JLA #166 was one of the victims. Luckily, I now have two other copies to enjoy with covers attached.
kybearfuzz: (Dahhling!)
Third Place TrophyAfter dinner at Qdoba last night, Tim and I were having a discussion about math and what we took in college. I liked math until I got to college and even participated in Mathcounts, a mathematics competition in junior high with [livejournal.com profile] aceofspace.

I enjoyed puzzles and word problems and I liked Mathcounts and then of course came the competition. I was a "mathlete" before the word was coined.

The rest of the story -- cut for the uninterested )
kybearfuzz: (Cartoon Mark)
Sensor Girl[begin comic geekery]

In 1984, DC Comics decided to launch their direct sales, Baxter-paper editions of the "Legion of Super-Heroes" and "The New Teen Titans." I really enjoyed the Legion stories from this time frame. It was during this time that Karate Kid was killed off (becoming the fourth Legionnaire to die in action) and Projectra, his wife, left the Legion and the dimension.

In issue #14, the Legion opened up tryouts for new members, the first time in years of stories that they did this. The cover showed many of the applicants, including a flying blonde and masked hero that only appears in the final panel of the story. The masked hero was called Sensor Girl. Masks were an oddity for the Legion as they had no secret identities, but other than her name, nothing was revealed.

Over the next year, we readers were given many clues to her real identity. I remember greatly anticipating monthly issues to see what they would reveal. She could fly, appeared to be physically powerful, had superhuman senses, and could create odd effects, like red illumination in the dark. All signs pointed to Supergirl, which was just really too obvious as she'd been killed in the recent Crisis at that time. It was something like a soap opera for comic geeks and I loved it. The team was becoming divided over her mysterious identity.

After 12 issues, during a battle with the Emerald Empress and the Fatal Five, in the last splash page of issue #25, her identity was revealed. I remember turning that last page slowly, to reveal that Sensor Girl was a returned Projectra. I admit that I was snowed. She became one of my favorite Legionnaires, which was strange as I never really cared much for her as Projectra. The new, grittier and much better costumed character was easy to like. I was happy to see her in this guise again during the Final Crisis and look forward to her reappearing with the LSH.

[/end comic geek moment]
kybearfuzz: (Plumber Mark)
Some time back, someone on my friends list posted that they had passed by the boy scouts selling their popcorn and stuff and had refused to buy any of their stuff because of their anti-gay stance. I personally applaud that idea.

Tonight, I was chatting with [livejournal.com profile] cincycub tonight, where I found out Brian was a cub scout for a year. I told him that I had lasted all of two weeks myself. I'll recount the reason why in this PWE (pre-journal worthy entry).

Mark the Cub Scout -- cut for the uninterested )

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