Category Archives: Personal

My Friend Mark

I guess the universe was trying to tell me something.

Yesterday I was trying to find something to watch. Lately, heck not so lately, how about for the last year, I haven’t watched many new things. I’ve been going back to old tv series, shows where I find the characters comfortable and like old friends, so I’ve binged watched so many things I was running out of stuff to see. I decided on a documentary on Steven Spielberg, mainly because I couldn’t figure out anything else and I wanted to watch something while I ate my dinner.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T.; these were movies that made me think of my friend Mark. I’ve talked about Mark recently passing from COVID, but I’ve put off thinking too much about him. Mark was one of my oldest and probably one of my best friends. We hadn’t really talked a lot in more than a few years. We used to live next door to each other. I moved, he moved, he got married, I moved again. Life happens and sometimes it’s hard to stay as connected. But for twenty years at least Mark was huge part of my life.

I remember seeing these movies with Mark. I can still remember coming out of the theater after ET, it was a cool evening, I remember, and how excited we were after seeing the movie. We ended up at Shoney’s afterwards, that was our end of the night place to go, pig out at the breakfast bar and recount what we had just seen.

In those days, and for the next twenty years, it was me, Mark and Sal. Others came and went with the group, but there was always the three of us. We were always together. Years later when I went to Atlanta and saw old friends Jason and Claire and their son, who I hadn’t seen since he was probably a year old and now he was 17, he said to me that he felt like he knew me, that it was always “Sal, Mark and John” whenever his parents talked about us.

Movies were such a part of our lives than. Every weekend we’d go see at least one, sometimes more, and than discuss to death. If we didn’t go to the movies we would rent movies. This was the days of Blockbuster, we’d go rent a couple movies, go over one of our houses, mostly it was Marks, and order a pizza and spend the night eating and watching movies.

I remember one night, I think at Mark’s parents house, we spend the night playing toss across. It was the three of us and Jason. I mean we spent hours playing this game, throwing those bean bags at that huge board.

Every movie that was discussed in the documentary made me think of watching it with Mark and Sal. Then last night I went to bed and dreamed. Of course the dream was of Mark and Sal. I rarely, almost never, remember my dreams. I wake up and it’s a wisp of smoke, my dream vanishes into the ether. But this one I remember, it didn’t make a lot of sense, but then dreams don’t always. I remember though Mark and Sal were in it.

And finally coming home today, after work, I plug my phone into the car and turn on my music. What comes on, but Foghat. Fool for the City. The first real concert I ever attended was, of course, with Mark and Sal, at the Warehouse in downtown New Orleans and was Foghat.

The universe is trying to make me remember my friend. Like I could ever forget him. We spent too much time together. He meant too much to me.

We’d take vacations together. We traveled to DC together. We took a train to Montreal. We traveled Florida from Jacksonville to Key West back up again. In Florida, after leaving Disney, Mark was driving, he turned on the highway and right after getting on the road we realized we were on the wrong side, it was one of those divided highways and we hadn’t realized it. Mark pulled over right away, we were about to turn onto the right side, when on the hill ahead of us some guy in a truck stopped, why I don’t know, we weren’t coming towards him anymore. But another guy on a motorcycle came over the hill behind him, didn’t see the truck in time and ran into the back of it. Luckily no one got hurt, but Mark ended up getting a ticket because technically he was in the wrong. But if that other guy hadn’t stopped, nothing would have happened.

Or the goats attacking Mark in Bush Gardens. It was a huge petting type zoo. Mark opened the feed for the goats while walking among them and within minutes they were all over him.

I could go on and on with the stories. It’s hard to believe he’s gone and I won’t ever talk to him again. I hadn’t talked to him in a long time, but part of me always assumed that I would one day. There was no way I wasn’t going to talk to him again. It was Mark, one day we’d sit down and talk about movies, or music or something.

Mark was my friend and I miss him.

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Filed under Movies, Music, Personal

Day 1

I keep going back and forth on it, managing to keep it up for awhile and then putting it off. I’ve been really bad for the last six months, maybe even longer. What am I talking about?

Exercise.

But today is Day 1. A new start. I just spent about an hour exercising and hoping to continue this on a regular basis now. When I bought my new home, I wanted an extra room that I could turn into an exercise room. I bought a treadmill, a bike and all in one gym so I could have no excuses. I’ve tried memberships in gyms before, but they never last. I go for a few months, slowly going less and less until I’m not going at all. So I thought having a gym in my own home would give me no excuses. The problem is that there are always excuses to be made if you want to make them.

So no more excuses. I’m putting this out there in the hopes that I’ll feel like I have to keep up with it now.

So we’ll see.

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Mom and Dad

I missed this when I was posting about my family before. Not sure when this was, but early in their marriage. They look so young.

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Family

I’m on a roll with posting on this site after so long ignoring it. Hopefully, it’ll extend to more than just these few days.

These are some pictures I’ve found on my computer that I don’t think I’ve posted on here of my family. My Dad, my Mom, my sister, and brother.

My Dad retired as a Chief in the Navy after twenty-something years.
This is one of my favorite pictures of me with my Mom and Dad and Sheba.
My brother and I with my Dad.
My Mom and Sister when we went to Nashville last year.
My sister and Mom with me at Shiloh National Park.

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Covid 19 Personal Update

While on Facebook I have been talking a lot about the political side of this outbreak, I haven’t discussed how it’s affected me on a personal level very much. Part of it the reason is that how I feel changes not just day to day, but hour to hour, much like the news we get up the virus itself. Like everyone I’ve gone from bitterness and anger to hope and every emotion in between.

I’m sitting here in my office eating a fried bologna sandwich with Chicken in a Bisket crackers and an unsweet tea from Sonic I’ve decided to tackle this subject a bit.

I work for a company that is considered essential and has remained open during all the panic and beyond. I have to admit that when the state first announced that all businesses that were not considered essential I assumed we would be closing. What’s considered essential is a multi-meaning definition now. While I’m not sure how really essential we are, we have stayed busy and sold a lot of stuff that is making people’s self-isolation a little better, so perhaps we are essential in that regard.

Still, I was a little angry at first. I thought we would be closing. Part of me was kind of wishing we were and I would get a couple of weeks off. I think at that time I was figuring we’d be closed a week or two and then reopen, maybe a month tops. I figured I could handle that if that was the worst as far as finances go. I don’t know if the company would pay us if they closed, but I do have PTO and even without that, I was ok for a little while with my savings if worst came to worst.

Also, I was a little scared. I’m at the age that has a higher risk of death if I get it. Even though I still think what I went through at the end/start of the year was this, I can’t be 100% positive and even if it was there are no guarantees that you can’t get it again.

As I see more and more companies closing and with the very real possibility of quite a few of them never re-opening I’ve come to be thankful that I have a job still. Eventually, I may not and I have no idea how long that could last, what was once thought a month or two may drag into months or longer and looking at where I could end up money wise is a lot scarier, so every dollar I can add to my savings now could be a big help later. Who knows if the company I work for will survive? I’m too old to be looking for a new job, or having companies want to hire me at my age.

Yes, it’s very frustrating when we get customers that are “only browsing” and just coming to us because they’re tired of being cooped up in their homes and want to get out. I see parents bringing their kids, even babies out shopping, and wonder how smart they’re being. They could be exposing their kids to the virus, they could be exposing those of us in the building to it, there is no guarantee that the kids don’t already have it. It’s scary. At least when the other shoppers are coming in for a specific item, they get it and leave as quickly as possible. I know there’s just as much chance that they could be infecting us as anyone else, but it just feels a little better when they’re not just wandering around.

Stay at home isn’t going to work unless they put more enforcement into it. Until then people are going to come out and shop. They get bored and until it happens to them or someone in their family most people just don’t think they’ll get it.

There are so many emotions involved with all this. Stress is always there, wondering who has it, who may get it, who may transmit it to others. What happens if we close? How long can I survive? I’m lucky enough to have some savings to help get through some of this, but I don’t want to spend everything I’ve been saving up for on just surviving. Will I get it? My Mom and sister live in another state, I worry about them. I wish I was there to help them get groceries and what they need, so they didn’t have to go out.

There are no easy answers. We don’t even know all of the questions to be asking. Looking at what’s happening and how the government is, or isn’t in a lot of cases, reacting to the pandemic is scary enough, but on a personal level, it’s even more frightening to think about what may or may happen.

On a daily basis, I go from wishing we were closed and I was sitting home without anyone near me to being thankful I have a job still and income. Heck, on an hourly basis I go back and forth sometimes. I’m thankful for my co-workers that have stepped up and done an outstanding job dealing with all this madness. I’m thankful I still do have a job. I’m thankful that I’m healthy still. And in the end I guess that’s got to be enough for now.

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Wayback Machine Part 2

Now the date for these pictures is not going to be quite as exact. It would have been the early 2000’s, probably 2004 or 2005 I think. The goal was to get a picture with as many characters as possible.

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Wayback Machine

I was about to try to figure out when this was exactly from when I just glanced at the picture and realized I didn’t have to think too hard. This is from May 14, 2000, when I took my first and only cruise so far. I know in the last few years cruises have taken more than a few lumps, and rightly so, but I had no issues with my cruise. It was also my first trip to Alaska, which I am happy to say was not the one and only time. I had a good time and fell in love with the state.

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Goodbye to 2018

Well, I can’t say I’ve done a very good job at keeping this up to date.

2018 was a strange year for me.  It followed the previous year where I was left broken and wondered if I was going to recover.  Like most cases of heartbreak, I managed to go on.   As bad as I thought it was I realized I could and would survive.  Still, this wasn’t an easy thing for me, and even into this year, I was affected.  If I’m honest I have to admit that I still share residues of it.  I know it’s over, but sometimes the thought of her still hovers around my conscious like an unwanted ghost.  It’s hard to explain.  I’m not sitting around wallowing in grief, most of that is finally, at long last gone, but there’s something like an old toothache there, the memory of what might have been and what was that intrudes on my thoughts when I least expect it or want it.

My plans were that this year was going to be a big year for me as far as my writing and publishing.  While I can point to some things getting accomplished it was nowhere near what I was hoping for.  Part of it I can blame for the overall malaise I’ve felt all year long, but some of it was for more practical reasons such as money.  2015 I self-published 12 comics.  I went to at least one convention almost every month.  At the end of the year, I realized I had spent a lot of money.  And unfortunately not brought in a lot from my writing.  Now I have a decent job where I can afford to put a certain amount of money towards my writing without having to worry about an immediate return.  But I realized that this year I would need to be a little more frugal.

I have to say that I am proud and happy to get my Lizards series back in print.  I’m more than thrilled to have three issues printed this year and the fourth just missing being printed by a few days, as it should be done by the end of the first week of the new year.  In addition, I’m started new stories with the characters and plan on continuing the series beyond the five issues of reprinted work.  This is a series that I’ve always been very fond of, so I’m happy that if nothing else this year I’ve managed to get it back in print.

So while I can’t say 2018 was a great year, I won’t list it as a complete wreck of a year.

As I mentioned, there was just a certain malaise I’ve felt hanging over me for most of the year.  I’ve felt like I’ve been in a sort of limbo.  Some of it is me trying to adjust to what I see my future being now, something I’ve always thought and not worried about, until Kayla and I saw a different path, something I’ll write about more in a different post.  The good news is that I’m feeling like I’m coming out of the fog and seeing daylight.  I have big plans for the new year and am going to work my best to accomplish them.

I don’t want to make any promises that I’m going to be updating this on a regular basis, every time I’ve tried that this year I’ve failed miserably, but part of my plans for the coming year does involve more involvement with this site.  This is the site that I’m directing readers or anyone that shows even just the slightest interest in my work, so I need to be more timely with what I write here.

This site isnt’ just a what’s coming out and what I’m writing.  This site is meant to be a look at my life as I continue to create new work, so that means you’ll get posts like this where I moan and crap about my life, but hopefully more posts about what I think is good in my life too.

So here’s to seeing 2018 off and looking forward to a new, much better year in 2019.

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A Year Later

Okay, it’s not quite a year, but close enough since I last posted here.  This is supposed to be my as daily as I can make it place to post.  It’s where I direct people to go when I am at conventions.  It’s where  you’re supposed to be able to keep up with what I’m working on.  It’s where you’re supposed to be able to go to just see what I’m up to on a non writing basis also.

Needless to say I’ve been very, very bad at this.  The last year or so has been, let’s say eventful for me on a few different fronts.  Nothing like getting your heart broken twice by the same person.  I could sit here and give a lot of reasons for why I’ve been MIA for the last year, but none of them are very good.  I’ve done some writing in that time, not a lot.

Even when I’m not writing I’m thinking about what I want to write.  My problem the last year has just been sitting down and doing the writing.

I don’t want to make promises that I don’t keep.  I feel like I’ve done that a few times on this page.  What I will say is that my plan is to try to get back into the swing of things.  i will try to keep this site updated.  I will try to get back into my writing.

So let’s hope for the best.

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I’m Back

Sorry, I was in Memphis at the Comic Expo and when I wasn’t there I was relaxing at my Mom’s.  My Mom lives about an hour and a half outside Memphis in a little town called Saulsbury.  She’s somewhere in the area where all the Walking Tall stuff happened, but not sure the exacts of it and really never cared enough to find out.  She lives in the clicked one red light town.  She’s on part of the land that my Grand Father, her Father, once had his farm on.  When he died it was divided up between his two sons and three daughters.  I love it there.  I can sit on the porch and see rabbits and groundhogs and deer.  In fact, when we were coming back from the Expo on Sunday we turned to drive up towards my Mom’s home and there were a doe and her two babies standing in front of us.  They were considerate enough to hang around long enough for me to park and try to get a pic of them, even though I couldn’t get too close.

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Filed under Conventions, Personal