I Haven’t Changed All That Much

I wrote this in 2009 for some sort of Facebook chain letter type thing where I had to type in 25 things about me. 2009 Paul isn’t too different from 2014 Paul. I was probably a little smarter back then, but on the plus side, I HAVE seen Saving Private Ryan since writing this, so…accomplishment!

25 things, the product of the sleep patterns of the elderly

February 1, 2009 at 8:28am

1. Back in the day, while IM’ing several girls that I liked, each on a separate occasion told me how funny I was and that I should do stand up. However, I have crippling, crippling stage fright so thats out of the question. Also I’m very anti-social around people I don’t know. So if I could become a stand-up comedian through intant messaging, I’ll do it.

2. It would probably be a good gimmick. Some might call it “avant garde.”

3. Any big words I use, I’ve learned from comic books.

4. Comic book and pop culture facts have taken over most of the space in my brain. I was a really big history student in high school. I would finish my test first most of the time. Now? I can quote lots of obscure stuff and recommend films and shows that most people still won’t take the time to watch.

5. I like to believe that Robert Altman would have done an amazing superhero film if he ever considered it or had the chance.

6. Scorsese or Coppola, too. Especially Marvel characters. Angst and loneliness all around.

7. Films that people are shocked I’ve never seen: Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, almost any film that was up for an Oscar in the 90s.

8. I never drank in high school and assumed that most of my friends didn’t.

9. I was very naive in high school.

10. Drunk me takes pride in the fact that when I get sick, I never leave a mess. Sober me quietly takes pride in this as well.

11. Cooking relaxes and excites me. Especially when I’m trying out a new recipe for a group of friends. I’d like to have a restaurant someday.

12. Moreso, I’d like to own a movie theater that completely rips off the conecpt of the Alamo Draft House. A theater that shows old, obscure movies as well as new releases, that serves food and beer while you view a film.

13. I think The Wire lives up to the hype.

14. Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are the same exact film. 2-3 hours of nostalgia and sentimentality with a gimmicked protagonist. And I was underwhelmed by both.

15. Like most of you did, I had a dream where I could fly as a child. It was so real. I wish I could have that dream again.

16. If I was a billionaire, I would put money into developing an Iron Man-type suit. I wouldn’t really want to fight crime myself, but on the other hand I would worry that the person I gave the suit to would turn evil.

17. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a pro wrestler.

18. I think I’d like to believe in a religion based on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

19. I am constantly disappointed by the lack of futuristic stuff that was seen in movies that took place in the 2000s. Where is my flying car, my robot butler, and my suit made of tin foil?

20. Catholic School wasn’t so bad. I didn’t mind wearing the same thing everyday.

21. I’m not good at keeping in touch.

22. I am easily distracted.

23. I don’t think Travis Bickle belongs on the AFI’s top villains list. They should have an anti-hero category. Douches.

24. I love the word “douche.”

25. I use ellipseses and expletives far too much in my writing. The 40 “fucks” Rob removed from the Frank and Barry script can attest to that.

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2013

Prior to this year I hadn’t participated in any real physical activity since 1998. That’s the last year I played soccer, and it was followed by four years of doing the bare minimum in gym class, and many years of sitting on the couch and not going to the gym.

You could count how many times I went on one hand. Unless you’re missing fingers. Then you could count how many times I went on two hands. Unless you don’t have any hands at all, so then you should probably use your toes to co- I’m getting away from the point here. It was a minuscule amount of time.

Last year, my mother-in-law Michele asked the whole family to join her for a St. Patrick’s Day fun run. I agreed, but complained. To anyone who would listen. I would go on Jerry Seinfeld-ian routines about running and how crazy the idea of it was.

It was a 2 mile run and I shambled through it, only speeding up when my patience with slower “runners” in front of me wore thin. But I did it, and was satisfied that I got to have a few beers at the end.

But then Michele ran a half marathon. She ran a freaking half marathon. I was impressed, and dammit, I was inspired. So I decided to see what I could do.

I downloaded the Zombies Run training app on my phone in the beginning of April. This got me on a routine that got me used to running, and started me in training for a 5K. I then signed up for my first 5K through NYC Runs, the Firecracker 5K, which was held on the 4th of July on Roosevelt Island. I was joined by Michele as my coach, with her wife Colleen joining us as well, and my wife Chrystal waited at the finish line as our pit crew.

On that day TEAM BEER AND CUPCAKES* was formed. Michelle, Colleen and Chrystal got me through that first run, and have been a part of each subsequent run in one way or another, whether it was by running, or just providing pre-race advice over the phone.

I then did a race per month: The Brooklyn Bridge 5K, The Color Run (5K), Zombies Take Manhattan (5K), The Channukah Gelt 5K (aka The Oy Vey 5K), and The Hot Chocolate 10K. My sister Sara teamed up with me for The Color Run, the Oy Vey 5K and the Hot Chocolate 10K, joining TEAM BEER AND CUPCAKES, but also forming the team of “TEAM WHATEVER HILARIOUS NAME I WANT TO PUT ON FACEBOOK.” 

I’m grateful to the people who’ve run with me this year and that have encouraged me to run this year. It’s something I’ve come to enjoy as a group activity — not only with my teammates but with the hundreds that have shown up for each run. I also appreciate running when I’m on my own. I’m just able to lose myself in it. It’s a good way to get away from everything and every ounce of stress disappears. I’m sticking with this. And whether you’ve run with me, or liked a photo of me running on Facebook, you’ve been a part of helping me to keep going. Thank you. Thank you so much.

I didn’t think I’d ever run in my free time let alone enjoy it.

Thank you, NYC Runs for organizing so many of the races I’ve done this year.

Thank you, Colleen and Sara for being awesome teammates. Sometimes I outpace you (usually when you’re injured), more often you outpace me, but you help me keep going!

Thank you, Chrystal, for being my wife, encouraging me, and making sure I have a big bottle of water and a smiling face at the end of each run.

Finally, thank you Michele. You really inspired me this year, and you’re the best coach I’ve ever had.

Here’s to 2014. There’s a lot of beer and cupcakes to run for, and a half marathon to tackle in about 6 months.

* Team Beer and Cupcakes celebrates a successful run with beer, cupcakes, or a combination of the two. These celebratory items are consumed in addition to making sure we re-hydrate with water.

 

“Comic Con, I’m a Comic, Khan” – Unused Kanye West Lyric About Comic Books

“Comic Con, I’m a Comic, Khan” – Unused Kanye West Lyric About Comic Books

So, I went to New York Comic Con this weekend, courtesy of my BFF’s (their word, not mine…I use full words like BEST FRIENDS 🙂 ::HUG:: ) Seth and Erin. Seth was in Germany, doing German things, so I accompanied his lovely fiancee and soon to be wife. This is her in front of “Artist Alley.”

Artist Alley is probably my favorite part of any comic con. It’s where you can meet artists and writers directly, to see their work, buy their wares directly from them without the auspices of being marketed to by any of the big publishers. But I will come back to this. I have other reactions to things to run my mouth about.

There’s a dichotomy at comic con. Between the innocent.

Aaand, stuck together sheets. I don’t mean this in a prudish or conservative way. Purely as metaphor. There are people who come into comic con with an innocent love of characters, simply wishing to express that love in innocent ways of innocence through cosplay (dressing up as their favorite characters) or by buying up ever piece of merchandise with that character’s face on it (I have an extensive Deadpool collection).

Then there’s the folks who are total nerds, angrily masturbating ALL OVER THE PLACE. I apologize to anyone offended by that imagery. Well, no I don’t, cause it’s still part of the harsh truth. For every kid, for every person who is either sincere about a Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or Super Hero character, or the medium of comics, there is an equal amount of pervy pervy people. I saw a vendor with sheets decorated with naked underwater women engaged in all sorts of acts. Do you know who owns those sheets? No, I’m not going to go with “fat nerds who live with their mothers.” That’s easy, and that’s a rather glossy description of PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAD INSIDE. People who have lots of sex do not own those sheets. People who have the ability to love things do not own those sheets.

The other thing. The other thing that gets to me about comic con is the selling. Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, all the other comic book publishers. They’re there to sell the “Next Big Storyline That Will Change Everything.” Video game companies, along with a smattering of movie and television studios also join the fray. It’s obviously part of it, yeah, the selling and the marketing. But they’re losing focus. It’s a criticism that’s been lobbed at the San Diego Comic Con, and it’s something that’s becoming true of the New York Comic Con. DC gave away one comic book. For Arrow. A show based on a comic book. A show based on a comic book called Green Arrow, but apparently color adjectives don’t translate well to television so we get Arrow and a comic called Arrow to help promote a television show based on a comic book. It makes my brain hurt. The comics exist. Just throw in “Based on the comic _______” and see if people come. Don’t try and make one thing like the other, don’t try and be everything to everyone.

So. Artists Alley. It’s my favorite part. In the past, I’ve gone there and bought some independent comics, or some original art. I only bought a few things there this year. Part of it is, I buy digital comics now. The other part was, the focus seemed to be more on selling mashup art (Two recognizable pop culture things blended into one t-shirt or poster. Example: Family Guy + Walking Dead = hundreds of prints sold to people who think that’s hilarious. Full disclosure, I am a sucker for Lost/Gilligan’s Island mashups). There were people selling their books, but the vibe to me felt more like “buy my print” than “buy my book.” Here’s a sampling of what I bought.

A print of a Shining poster, along with posters for Monster Squad and Friday the 13th Part 3. I also bought Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees figures. None of these are comics or comic related. I bought a bunch of horror stuff, and while Comic Con can easily encompass a number of geek and pop culture things, I personally find it troubling that I didn’t really buy any comic book related items.

I had fun with my friend. And I saw some cool stuff. But I didn’t leave feeling excited towards anything comic related. I went into the day completely cold, hoping to find something new and exciting, but most of what I saw was more of the same. I’m not saying I won’t go next year, but I will likely need to plan things better so that I have a better chance of stumbling upon something. And that makes me feel a little weird.

But despite any bit of negativity to this post, I heart Lego Hulk so much. So do these childrens.

Kevin Smith Funded A Movie With His Collection, I Got Fifty Bucks

Kevin Smith Funded A Movie With His Collection, I Got Fifty Bucks

My title is bitter, but I’m not. Maybe a little wistful? Definitely rambly. This is a rambly, introspective-y post about my comic collection and how I sold it.

Moving makes you appreciate how little space you have. It also, in my case, made me appreciate how friggin heavy comic books are. Especially when you have a couple thousand of them.

The picture you see above? All gone. All of them. “Taken off my hands” for fifty bucks by a comic shop on Long Island. I wasn’t reading them. I wasn’t going to move them to the next apartment. I wasn’t going to break them up into lots and sell them on eBay.

To paraphrase Jesse Ventura, “I ain’t got time to (sell my comics on eBay)!”

I bought a lot of those comics for fun. For love of characters.

I also bought a lot because collector focused magazines published in the 90s told me they were going to be worth something some day. There was a point where I BOUGHT EVERY SINGLE X-MEN COMIC THAT CAME OUT IN A MONTH 3 MONTHS IN ADVANCE BECAUSE IT WOULD GET ME A VARIANT COVER. Ahem. Sorry for the all caps. But much like the times that I blew a portion of my savings on an expensive guitar, and another portion on a semi expensive (and instantly outdated) video camera; I really ponder what I was thinking.

I posted this photo on Facebook a few months back, when a local shop owner was supposed to stop by, make me an offer, and take them off my hands. The reactions, even from non-comics fans were “ZOMG! You can’t sell/get rid of those!”

But I could.

It’s weird to think that there’s been a culture built up around investing in comics. It’s not supposed to be about that. Comics are art (though I suppose people invest in art), but comics are also entertainment. Who purchases or views a film with the expectation of a profit? Or does so with a book?

This culture arose because there weren’t reprints of comics. People were nostalgic. They wanted the comics that were a part of their childhoods but had been lost. And they were willing to drop a lot of money to get them back.

But now, not only are there affordable reprints, some packaged beautifully and recolored, there are also digital comics, making issues of comics like Jack Kirby’s Kamandi available at a mere 99 cents an issue. It’s pretty awesome, but it also means that most comic readers my age who are hoping for any kind of profit on their collections are probably shit out of luck.

So there’s no need to be a comic collector anymore. You can just be a comic book reader. There’s no need to “complete the run” and keep buying a comic you hate. You can keep and buy the comics you want to.

I kept two long boxes. Plus a bookshelf and a half of hardcovers and trade paperbacks. Aaand the hundred something comics I’ve bought digitally. I’m still reading comic books. But I’m not hanging onto the past anymore, or hoping for a comic to get better simply because I love a character.

I’m reading and buying what I want to, and telling you about it here.