Monday, October 25, 2010

Wizard World Austin.

Hmmm. I'm seriously considering making the 6 hr. journey to Austin for Wizard World this year. I am an autograph collector & there are a few there that I might not get a chance to get again. Lee Majors is going to be there. You know, the 6 Million Dollar Man, the Fall Guy, Farrah Fawcett's ex. I'd love to get that one. Not only that, but Lindsay Wagner is also going to be there. T loves Lindsay Wagner.

Not only those two, but Billy Dee Williams as well! Lando in the flesh. I so love Lando. Ernie Hudson too! My favorite Ghostbuster! And Doug Jones! Abe Sapien. Also Adam West & Burt Ward (Batman & Robin). I mean, I'm not sure I can pass this up. Oh, and Gil Gerard is supposed to be there as well! I mean, c'mon, this convention was made for me. The only people missing are Lynda Carter & Linda Hamilton.
The Convention is Nov. 12th, 13th & 14th in Austin Texas at the Austin Convention Center. I'm thinking if I hit it Saturday I might be able to get them all. So tempting...

Artist to Check Out

You must go check out this artist! Dave MacDowell. He is amazing. His works are a reflection on our society & capture all of it in chariactures & surrealistic manifestations of familiar settings & things we see everyday. Most of his work is done with acrylic on canvas and he has been shown in Juxtapoz Magazine.
He also has a blog here: Dave's Blog if you want to check out his work in progress & what he's up to. He also has links to FaceBook & Myspace. Seriously, go check out his stuff. It's amazing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shopping Season

It's a little early yet, but I want to go ahead & give a shout out for all those working retail. Shopping season is already starting & the big day, Black Friday, is about a month away.

I worked retail for 8 years. 3 at a big chain toy store & 5 at a big chain book store. Both places had wonderful things & terrible things. The wonderful things generally had to do with the work. Merchandising creatively, arranging things, putting up the big cool store displays, the swag, & helping nice people find what they were looking for.

The bad parts were nasty people, constant worry about job cuts, restructuring, benefits cuts, nasty co-workers & plan-o-grams.

The really bad parts were no vacation, really hateful people, people that ignore you completely, & people that would look down on you or say really nasty things about the fact that you work in retail.

Now, many of you might not know this, but most people that work in retail have at least a B.A. in something. No, really, a Bachelor's Degree. They have spent 4 years in college to find out that to get a job in this economy & this market, they need a Master's. Thus the reason you see them working retail. That was what happened to me. I sent off letter after letter, only to get back a few telling me how great they thought I was, but that I needed this, that & the other to have the skills they require to get my foot in the door. I didn't have the money to go back to school. I was a little scared to take out $40,000 in loan money on the hopes that with a Master's I might get in somewhere once I was done. So, I went to work for a toy store.

While working at the toy store I learned things about our society & the way we treat each other. I learned many really awful things. In my time at the toy store I was cursed at, poked, screamed at, called names, completely ignored like I was a robot or something & eventually forced out of my job by a theft ring of my own co-workers & third manager. They were eventually all arrested by a swat team hired by the company, but not before putting me through hell in the form of nightly pat downs & switching my schedule to a graveyard shift & paying me for 8 hrs when I was actually working 9 or 10. Not to mention the harassment & swearing at me I had to put up with on a daily basis.

I started that job fresh out of college at a pay rate of $6.00 an hour. They would only give me a part time seasonal job to start, so I was working around 30 hrs. By only allowing me part time, they didn't have to offer me benefits or 401K. I made a 45 min. drive from my little one bedroom duplex 5 days a week to collect my $6.00 an hr. The first year of that job was awesome. I got to merchandise action figures & opening boxes was like Christmas everyday. I had an amazing manager who understood the importance of a rewards based system for employees & he gave me a very nice $1.00 raise within the first 6 months of working there as well as raising me to full-time which was 40 hrs. He always complimented something first before explaining that maybe there was a better way to do something or letting me know I needed to stop being 5 or 10 minutes late. He made me want to be the best I could be. Then the restructure happened & the new manager came in. It all changed. That wouldn't happen until my second to third year in though.

The first Shopping Season, or just Season, as retail workers call it, was amazing & terrible. The work was fast, but mostly enjoyable. The amount of theft by customers was flabbergasting. We weren't only responsible for helping customers, but shelving as fast as possible, answering phones, and policing the store that was full of hundreds of people all cramming their way into every available space & all wanting "Tickle Me Elmo". Yep, I worked "Tickle Me Elmo" Christmas at a large chain toy store. On Christmas Eve, I had a lady come in & ask for one. I apologized & told her that we had been out since the last week of November. She was irate! She swore at me & went on a rant about how freaking stupid it was that we didn't have any. She mentioned it was the most popular toy of the year & that we somehow should have known this & been able to predict that this particular toy would be the one thing everyone wanted. Her actual words were, "Great. What the hell am I supposed to do now? My kid asked Santa for a G*ddamn Tickle Me Elmo. Am I supposed to go home & tell him he wasn't good enough? This is f*cking ridiculous". Of course, my jaw dropped & I was shocked. The woman had clearly been drinking, she reeked of it, and had waited until an hour before we closed on Christmas Eve & thought that she would be able to get the #1 wanted toy of the season? I explained to her that even the factory in China was out. No one had any inclination that THIS toy was going to be the one thing everyone wanted. How could we? She continued to swear at me. My manager came over & tried to calm her down, but she just continued to throw expletives around in a toy store. Eventually he had her removed.

Now, part of the point of my story there is that I want all of you to realize that NO one has any idea what is going to be the #1 thing that everyone wants. NO ONE. Retail chains & retail workers do NOT have a magic crystal ball nor are they psychic. If you want something, I suggest you go get it now. If you know your children, nephews, nieces, etc. want something & they have already told you what it is, go get it RIGHT NOW. Get it well before the TV stations start telling everyone what the thing to get is & you risk it being the thing that someone wanted. The supply is not endless. They made MILLIONS of those Tickle Me Elmos, but more people wanted them than anyone could have ever guessed. Those poor underpaid Chinese workers, were forced to work overtime in the factories to try & get more out for a rabid American public. Think about that. While millions of Americans sat full of Christmas meals, opening gifts & being overjoyed with all the material possessions they had just acquired, halfway around the world children, women & men were being forced to produce more Tickle Me Elmos with no break in sight, in deplorable conditions, hungry & tired, so that we might be able to get some by mid January to satiate those who didn't get one for Christmas.

Pretty Disgusting.

As a retail worker, I got to see a very dark disturbing side to the holidays that I had never witnessed before. A hollow, meaningless, sacrilegious side. Christmas didn't have anything to do with faith or belief. It was about one upping your neighbor or your in-laws. It was about getting the most stuff you could. People were mean, hateful, & treated us like scum no matter how friendly or helpful we tried to be. Nothing we did was good enough. That was true of 98% of the customers we dealt with. Every once & a while you get someone who truly got it. They were so nice. They treated you like another human being. They said Thank You.

So, when you go out to shop this season, remember all of this. These are people. Just like you & me. Most have degrees & are educated, smart individuals. They have bills & families to feed, just like you. They are making min. wage, which I believe is now $7.25 an hr. Most are employed as part time so that they can not get benefits through their company or a 401K. Most are renters & have a car that is 10 years old. They have enough stress in their life without you coming in & treating them like they are about as worthy as a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe. They are not proud of their situation. Working retail was not what they had planned to do with their life. They had dreams & goals just like you, but they had to make money somehow. They got a job, the one they could, and they deserve to be treated with respect & dignity just like anyone else. If they don't have anymore Tickle Me Elmos, swearing at them won't help. It isn't their fault. In fact, it isn't really anyone's fault. If it were it would be the rabid follower consumer's fault. Sure, sometimes you come across a bad retail clerk, but don't let that make you into an asshole who treats every retail worker the same. Generally speaking, they want to help you. They want to sell you anything you want. They do not hide stuff in the back. There is not some secret little place they've stashed the last 5 Tickle Me Elmos & they just won't let YOU have one. Stop being hateful & paranoid, America. Treat people like you would want to be treated. Or as some guy whose birthday falls on Dec. 25th said, Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done To You.

I'll write more on this as we get closer to Season & share some of the other insane things that have happened to me in my retail experience. For now cheers, & all my love to those who have to make it through another season. Good luck. You're gonna need it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Go check this out!

The Frog Pond

My friend Ryan pointed me in the direction of an Artist named Phil Lewis. He works mostly in markers, but man are his works amazing & beautiful.

Go here: Phil Lewis and check him out!

Thunder, THunder, THUNDERCATS...hoooooo!

Here we have the Lord of the Thundercats 6" limited edition polyresin statue available at Entertainment Earth.

The price isn't too bad at $59.99. Thundercats collectibles are hard to come by, and this one looks really beautiful.

Lion-o is on a really well sculpted 3rd Earth base & is clutching the legendary Sword of Omens.

Right now Entertainment Earth is having a buy one & get the second one 50% off. Head over & check it out: EE Statue Sale.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Aspergers & Asshats

I have Asperger's. My close friends know this. If they don't, they haven't been listening or perhaps they just haven't been around when I've explained it. Having Asperger's makes it hard for some people to understand me sometimes. It gets really frustrating when you explain things to them & they just discount it, ignore it, don't believe it & continue harassing you. This makes things worse. One of my reoccurring issues is with my facial expressions. I constantly have people commenting on my expressions. This generally happens most with people that are new friends or acquaintances. They sort of know me, have hung out a couple times, & so they feel the freedom to point out how weird or strange I am or ask me if I'm okay constantly. "Are you feeling okay?" "What's wrong?" I usually explain that I have some social anxiety problems & that I have a form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome. I give them a brief explanation. It's not something I enjoy talking about unless someone seems really receptive. If they continue to keep asking me every day I start to get very frustrated & anxious about seeing them. I know they are going to ask me & I explained it to them once. YES! I'm OKAY! QUIT ASKING ME! GO AWAY!

Some of the main characteristics of Asperger's are: problems with non-verbal communication, including the restricted use of gestures, limited or misinterpreted facial expressions, or a peculiar, stiff gaze. Their facial expressions are not typical. People find their expressions and non-verbal communication weird.

At one of my past jobs, the facial expressions thing resulted in my manager constantly asking me, at least 5 times a day, if I was alright, ok, feeling ok, mad, doing alright, etc. I was constantly confused & frustrated by his continued need to ask me if I was alright. I was being efficent & getting more than expected done, so I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the hell he kept pestering me. It took me forever to figure out why the hell he pestered me all day. Finally, he mentioned that I looked mad or upset when I was shelving or merchandising. I realized that he was misinterpreting my "thinking" or concentrative look. I went home & talked to T & she reaffirmed that my thinking face is very similar to a typical persons frustrated or a little bit angry face. So when I am concentrating or working or thinking, people think I am pissed off. Great.

This guy at work has been dogging me for months now. It's pretty much what spurred on this blog entry. The guy got to sort of know me by knowing T & then I got a job in the department. We have spent less than 15 hours total together since I met him. On & off at various places. Work, a couple times at my house, & at a restaurant/bar. None of these times was it just me & him. T was always there. As soon as T moved to across campus, this guy started in on me & my face. He has continually harassed me about looking mad or grumpy or pissed off. I told him that I have Asperger's. I even explained it to him. So did T, but he refuses or is incapable or gets some cheap thrill out of continuously comparing me to the old receptionist who was always pissy & bitchy about everything. I told him it wasn't funny, but he continues.

I can't fix this. I'm 35. My expressions are my expressions. Most people tend to understand, once I explain to them. I still have many that do not. People constantly think I am angry with them. It gets both tiring & frustrating. Some people are so insecure with themselves, that they just can't handle it. I think that is part of the problem with this guy at work. He constantly self-deprecating & self-hating. I've never met someone who constantly hates on themselves that way. It's sad really. He usually one a week comes into my space, calls me buddy, and tells me to "SMILE!"

Asperger's people don't generally smile. It's not that they aren't smiling on the inside, it just that being happy doesn't fire those little neurons that tell the facial muscles to lift & show teeth. I seem to always get along fairly well with non-Americans because they don't put so much value on constant smiling.

Here's another Aspies take on his experience with facial expressions: FACE

I'm not sure where to go from here with this guy. I liked hanging with him this summer, but the more I've gotten to know him the more negative, pessimistic, & bullying he seems. I really just don't want anything to do with him. I have no idea what to do. I have to see him almost every work day.

Another characteristic of Asperger's is: peculiarities in speech and language, such as speaking in an overly formal manner or in a monotone, or taking figures of speech literally. Asperger’s people tend to take your words literally and make interpretations concrete. They tend to use phrases they have heard and committed to memory, although they frequently use them out of context. Speech peculiarities - they are not so expressive in their tone of speaking. They are monotonous, i.e. without any pitch or tone, rigid, cheerless and can be unusually fast or loud.

This is also something that causes me quite a bit of embarrassment & frustration. I almost always take everything literally. I talk very monotone & also tend to mumble quite a bit. I constantly have to repeat myself. When I am excited or happy about something I lose my volume control. I have no idea I am speaking loudly. Most of the time people ask me politely to lower my voice, but every once and a while someone will shush me like a 3 yr. old. I hate that. I understand it, but I find it terribly rude to shush an adult. I get so embarrassed. People also misinterpret my excitement for panic or fearfulness. I get told to calm down, not to worry, stop freaking out, etc. This always causes awkward confusion for me. I can't understand how they don't understand that I am not panicked, simple extremely happy & excited. Oklahoma storm season always brings this one out. I get so excited when it gets all tornadic outside.

The happier & care-free I get, the more animated & a little loud I get. This generally tends to embarrass people I am with. Their embarrassment usually ends up causing me to feel ashamed & weird. So being extremely happy always seems to come with some sort of consequence. Except when I am with my brother, or when I am with Turayis. She gets me & she has learned how to deal with me without causing me to feel ashamed or embarrassed. I'm so lucky that way. The guy from work never seems to understand this & has made fun of me for what he calls "overreacting" or getting freaked out or tweaking. I get his POV, but for the life of me, T nor I seem to be able to get him to understand. And I'm the non-typical one here?

Many children with AS are highly active in early childhood, and then develop anxiety or depression in young adulthood. I think this is due to the lack of understanding by friends & peers. It gets depressing when people constantly think I am angry or frustrated & then when I am happy I get made fun of for my over animated responses or excited volume & am told to stop or shushed in front of peers or friends. I get compared to children & people laugh & make fun. It sucks. It sucks that adults can't find a nicer way to express or relieve their embarrassment. It sucks that this is part of my condition. Still, Turayis NEVER makes me feel any negativity when it comes to my Asperger's. She really is the reason I am not constantly depressed & a complete hermit. She makes me be social & helps explain to people when I have my Aspie moments. I am so fortunate for all her patience & understanding.

So, I guess I just wanted to express some frustrations & try & help some people out there to understand Asperger's. Every Aspie is a little different here & there. Honestly though, T is a freakin' WONDER WOMAN. Thank you T.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For all the dreamers out there.

The Earthquake of 2010

Cue disaster music.

Hahahaha. So, today I got to experience an earthquake. A real live 4.3 shaker. It was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. It felt like someone had put a giant vibration machine under the ground. At first there was a large, "BOOM!", then the windows shook & then everything shook.

Sure it wasn't a California sized quake, but it was enough I felt the earth move under my feet in a way I never had before.

I get really excited about these types of things. Tornados, sand storms, floods, giant hail stones, blizzards, Ice storms, etc. I like experiencing things that 1000 years ago & beyond, people thought were gods or monsters. I never thought I'd get to feel a real earth shaker, small or not. I've been in 2.0-3.0 before but couldn't tell. This one I was very aware of. Stuff fell off the walls at home & it was fun going around the house to see what had moved & how far.

Ironically, I had just put two really heavy large items in the attic 3 days ago & joked about how they'd be fine as long as there wasn't an earthquake. LOL. Luckily, they didn't fall through the ceiling.

I was amazed at the amount of silliness I witnessed after the quake in a place of higher education. I am constantly amazed how little removed we are from those superstitious folks thousands of years ago. PhD's & MA's walking around talking about bad omens & superstitious hogwash. It's a geological occurrence. We know how this happens. There are no gods or monsters making it quake. C'mon people. Really?

Secretly I was hoping for aftershocks. Now I just can't wait for the next one! What an amazing & wondrous planet we live on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jedi bath robe

Oh boy. This is a must have for any Jedi (or Sith, they make a black one as well). A Jedi Bath robe. Find them here: BBTS

$99.00 plus shipping & handling.

Tron Legacy Motorcycle suits. Geekgasm!

OMG. So this company, UD Replicas has created TRON: LEGACY Motorcycle Suits for sale exclusively online. The TRON: LEGACY jacket, pants, gloves and boots can be purchased separately or as a complete set for $995 (U.S.) for the male version and $899 for the female version.

The TRON: LEGACY Motorcycle Suit is made from hand-crafted leather that features a silicone hexagonal print that you will see on the suits in the new film. They incorporate removable CE-approved body armor in the forearm and elbow, shoulder, along the back spine, and in the knee, shin and thighs areas. The suits also feature extremely light-sensitive reflective material that puts off a glow that captures the glow of the suits in the film.

They are limited to 1000 pieces world wide.

Payment may be split into three equal installments by following ordering instructions at

These are frakking fantastic. If you are a Batman, X-men, Wolverine, or Iron Man fan, I suggest you check out their site for some other AMAZING offerings.

This is high quality stuff & extremely limited.

Baseball & waking up late & Beautiful Women.

Alright! The Giants beat the Braves. Hooray! The Phillies swept the Reds, which for T I feel bad, but man the Phillies are fun to watch. Great ball team right now. Boo to the Yankees advancing & it's a nail-biter with Texas & the Rays right now. For my friend Ryan, I hope Texas wins. I'd love to see the World Series end up with Texas vs. the Giants or the Phillies. NO YANKEES.

On a completely unrelated note, I can't get up when it is dark outside. It is absolutely impossible for me to get up & go to work when the sunshine is not shining. It can't even be breaking, it has to be up. It's Tuesday & I have been 30 minutes late or later both days this week. I really dislike morning darkness. I love 3am, but only when I get to stay up that late. I have no idea how to fix this. I have been this way since birth. I was four days late being born. This morning my alarm clock went off & I reached over & turned the thing OFF. Not snooze, but turned the whole damn clock OFF. I don't remember doing it, but I know I did. How do you fix something like this?

To switch subjects yet again, I sure have a whole bunch of really attractive women friends that I would love to draw. Most of them have no idea how beautiful they are. Asking people to model for you is always sort of a weird uncomfortable thing. I'm always afraid they might take me wrong. I used to draw people in college all the time. We'd be hanging out & I would just grab the sketch pad & pencil & go at it. I have several really great portraits of "she who will not be named" who used to be my best bud in college. I did a painting of her roommate & she (the roommate) seemed really uncomfortable about it. She told me I could, but then told "she who will not be named" that she thought it was weird & asked if I was obsessed. I wasn't, she just had one of those faces that screamed "PAINT ME!", so I did. I see people all the time that I would love to walk up to & ask them if they would model, but that one weird experience in college kinda tainted it for me. It's the same for those people that I know, but haven't had the time to really get to know as well as I'd like. I feel very awkward asking them to sit for me. I really need to figure this one out. The beautiful women around me need to be captured on canvas. They inspire me.

One more thing. This year has sucked. I do NOT like it. I will be very glad when this year is over. 2010 can suck it! Luckily, we are almost in Scorpio, so hopefully things will get better. For all of us.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Baseball, Allergies, commercials & blah

Baseball playoffs. I love Baseball. I know, I know, the whole rest of the country thinks Baseball is lame. Whatever. To each his/her own. For me, Baseball is my favorite sport to watch on TV. You can cook, clean, read comics, write a blog post & watch baseball at the same time. You won't miss anything & if you do, the commentators will get all excited & you can look up & catch the instant replay. Baseball players also have great butts & nice builds. There is something about a guy that can swing a club. If we were back in barbarian times, you'd want a baseball player over a basketball or football player any day. It's like a civilized caveman sport. I'm really glad the fad of steroidal home run hitters is over. The only really crappy thing about Baseball now is the Yankees. I can't stand the Yankees. Of course you are going to win every year if you buy all the best players. Boring. The real World Series winner is always the second place team. NOT the Yankees.

I myself am a Mets fan. I was lucky enough to get to see them in Cincinnati against the Reds during Mike Piazza's last season. They won in the bottom of the 9th with a home run. I jumped up in excitement & screamed "Yes!" I also almost had to walk home. I was with T & her family, who are from Ohio, and are big Reds fans. I couldn't help myself. T understood.

I'm really happy to see the Phillies doing so well. Of course, they are doing so at the expense of the Reds. Halladay is an amazing pitcher. I also like seeing the Giants.

I wish Oklahoma had a Major League Baseball Team. I'd have season tickets. The Oklahoma Tornadoes, or the Oklahoma Bible the Oklahoma Buffaloes, or the Bison or the Cougars or the Horned Lizards. I don't know. I just want a team.

Allergies. I still have them. Good lord. I can't remember having allergies this bad ever. I think I am finally feeling better, but I still feel like I'm only at around 93%. I've had them, T has whatever I had now, & the poor dog has had them. We are one big house full of sneezy sniffly coughy achy crying girls. Man I want to be well. I want to just feel well for at least a week this year.
Let's hope it's almost over.

Watching baseball, I inevitably end up seeing many commercials. I don't generally watch much TV, so watching the play-offs, I get to see commercials that I am not privy to via the web. I just have to say that there are some really annoying commercials. The first ones that come to mind are the State Farm Commercials. OMG, I can not stand their douchbag spokesguy. What an asshat this guy is. Seriously, I want to punch him in the mouth. He comes off so haughty & full of himself. The Allstate commercials with the "Mayhem" aren't much better. I am convinced Allstate will ensure any act of stupidity, which totally explains why they are so outrageously expensive.

I don't have much else to say right now. I'm bored, but still not well enough to feel like doing much, and I'm not sure what to do with that. It makes me restless.