Comic Book Noob

I’m a creative writer who happens to find myself working in the comic book medium. I like comic books, but I can’t claim the same life long devotion of my fellow creators. I’m also a firm believer that one must believe in their own product, or it will never sell. With that in mind, I have set out to really become a part of the comic book world.

I have to say, it isn’t as easy as I might have thought.

My day job is web development. It’s an industry full of jargon, tribal knowledge, and a mountain of new things to learn every day. In some ways, comic books feel the same way to me. Even if you just consider Marvel and DC, there are still hundreds of titles. I read that there are over 6,000 issues of Batman. As someone who likes to start at the beginning, I’m not even going to look at a series like that. Then there are variants, reboots, crossovers, alternate versions, etc. For a noob, it’s intimidating.

Fortunately for me (and for the rest of comic book fandom, in my opinion) the Internet has given us a thriving independent comic book scene. So I don’t have to pick up a story 6000 issues in. There are plenty of new books coming out every day, and from what I’m seeing, many of them look a lot more interesting than anything Marvel or DC has to offer.

For example, I recently discovered Blood and Gourd, a comic about pumpkins rising up to take revenge on humans for years of being carved. What a hilarious concept! Of course I have to mention my own work, The Black Suit of Death from Warrior Innkeeper Creative, about a college kid who stumbles across the alien bio-mechanoid suit that has been responsible for the Grim Reaper mythos. Do the Big 2 have anything remotely that original? I doubt it.

I still face the dilemma of choosing from hundreds (if not thousands) of titles, but at least there are plenty of places where I can get in on the ground level.

Let’s all joke about rape

Ever since the Subway guy was arrested for child porn, I’ve seen a plethora of jokes about “foot longs” in prison. I know they’re only jokes, and I admit I do find them amusing. But if you think about it, this is a rather sad statement about our prison system, and our society.

First, the flippant reference to the prevalence of prison rape is an acknowledgement that an American prison is little better than a sanitized version of a medieval dungeon. We may not have red hot pokers and thumb screws, but sexual torture is still common place.

Second, imagine if there were an abundance of jokes about how Jodi Arias was going to be repeatedly raped in prison. Regardless of whether or not she is a “bad person”, would we all be laughing about that? I doubt it. So why do we laugh about a man being repeatedly raped in prison?

Take Your Freak Flag Down

I think it’s absolutely inappropriate to fly the Confederate flag (or battle flag) above public buildings. While people may not all share the negative feelings that some associate with the flag, there’s no denying that was the emblem of an act of treason. That doesn’t mean it should be made illegal for someone to display it on private property, but I don’t think anyone is calling for that.

While I’m glad some states are taking it off the flag pole and putting it in a museum where it belongs, I think it’s mostly political posturing. Taking a flag down does nothing to fix the racial tensions that we just can’t seem to shake. It let’s politicians pat themselves on the back and act like they have accomplished something, while all the root causes of racial discord remain unchanged.

Watch Livestream.com in your browser without logging in

If you are interested in Citizen Journalism at all, you are probably familiar with livestream.com. One of the complaints I’ve heard about this service is that they require you to log in just to view a stream in your browser (you can apparently view without logging in from their mobile app).

Well, if you have this complaint, I have good news. There is an easy way to disable the pop-up and watch without logging in. Note: this will be passive viewing, meaning you won’t be able to participate in the chat.

Here’s how you do it in just 3 steps for Firefox and Chrome:

Step 1: Bring up your browser’s developer tools

This isn’t as difficult as it might sound. Just right click on the background of the page and select “Inspect Element”:

ff-live-stream1
Bringing up Developer Tools in Firefox
Bringing up developer tools in Chrome
Bringing up developer tools in Chrome

 

Step 2: Select the overlay tag

Make sure you have the html tag that says class=”class=”livebox_overlay login_to_watch” selected in the left side of the developer tools. This is the html element that is hiding the rest of the content.

Step 3: Change display: block to display: none

In the right side of the developer tools, you should see a style (or “rule” in Firefox) that says “display:block”. If we change ‘block’ to ‘none’ it will make the overlay tag disappear.

Just click on the word 'block' and type in 'none'
In Firefox: Just click on the word ‘block’ and type in ‘none’
in Chrome: Just click on the word 'block' and type in 'none'
in Chrome: Just click on the word ‘block’ and type in ‘none’

Once that annoying log-in overlay disappears you can close the developer tools and enjoy the streaming. On a PC you can just press F12. On Mac you can just click the x in the upper right corner of the developer tool window.

One finale note, you can use this same technique Internet explorer.

The images in this post are free of known copyright restrictions. +1 for sticking it to the Man.

The Nature of Suffering

Suffering occurs when we expect, or desire, our circumstances to be different than they are. Do you agree or disagree?

Note, I think there is a distinction to be made between pain and suffering. One might not have any expectations about the state of their appendix, but if it were to rupture one would still find themselves in pain. The suffering would occur because you don’t expect to be in pain.

To illustrate the difference, imagine you have a headache. Now imagine you have a headache that lasts for 10 or 20 years, or maybe even longer.  At some point, you would likely become accustomed to the headache. At that point, the headache would be expected, and while it might still hurt, you would no longer be suffering, or at the very least,  you would be suffering to a lesser degree.

EquinoxEntre

Avicenna’s Floating Man

The philosopher Avicenna once proposed a thought experiment known as the “Floating Man” or “Flying Man”. The experiment was as follows:

Imagine you come in to existence without any sensory inputs. You are essentially floating in a void, without feeling, hearing, taste, smell, etc. In short, you would have no sensations.

Would you be aware of anything, and if so what?

Time Travel and Predestination

Imagine you were born in a field, and lived your entire life outdoors in this same field. Now imagine that on your 20th birthday, you discover a fantastic space ship that can travel well beyond the speed of light. If you get in this ship, and travel away from Earth at several times the speed of light, you will eventually find yourself at a point where you could look back and see the light that was reflected off the Earth at the time of your birth.

Now imagine that this ship also comes equipped with a super powerful telescope, one so powerful that you can point it back at earth, and zoom in to that field where you were born. With this telescope you observe yourself living out your life.

If this scenario took place, it would mean that for the first 20 years of your life,  some future version of yourself was watching, well aware of what you were going to do before you did it.  Would that mean everything you did was unavoidable?