Tag: aspiration

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Flickr a Day 231: ‘The Courage Wall’

First looking at the photostream of Dan Reed, I puzzled over the perspective and subjects, which are unlike anything else yet featured in this series. He shoots streets, buildings, and such from vantage points that are atypical. Then I read his bio. He’s an architect and city planner. Dan looks at things with a dramatically different eye than I would; he sees things in another context that is refreshing and revealing.

Dan shares his insights at blog “Just Up the Pike“, which refers to Maryland Route 29, or Columbia Pike. Our daughter was born when we lived off 29, just outside Silver Spring, which is Dan’s hometown. 

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Night at the Park

Sometimes San Diego delights most unexpectedly. Yesterday, I entered an alternate universe—a lovely neighborhood that could have been from a 1980s Steven Spielberg movie. Kids played everywhere. Freely. The clang of metal baseball bats rang out from the park, where parents cheered and encouraged their middle-school players. Pretty homes, none too different from another, lined clean streets, from which the sound of playing children created intoxicating atmosphere.

My journey started with a request: Provide transportation to the Rebelution and Sublime concert at the Sleep Train Amphitheater. My soon-to-be 21 year-old daughter asks for rides so infrequently now, I couldn’t refuse. But given heavy traffic around the venue, 27-km distance drive, and her plan to return in two hours or so, I figured to stay in Chula Vista rather than roundtrip. But where to hang out—from the commercial-property isolated locale? 

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The Heroes Are Us

Tomorrow night begins my seventh sojourn to the greatest geekfest and pop-culture event on the planet. Imitator shows are everywhere this Century, but none commands character and class like the original. San Diego Comic-Con is an amazing amalgamation of hopes and aspirations—and the grandest storytelling—where, for four days and a Preview Night, tens of thousands of people can be themselves—fit in, rather than feel oddball—or be whom they would want to be by dressing up as beloved superheroes or villains and by adoring the storytellers and actors behind them.

The first, full three-day event took place from Aug. 1-3, 1970, at the U.S. Grand Hotel, with about 300 attendees and sci-fi luminaries, including Ray Bradbury and A.E. van Vogt. This week, 130,000 attendees will storm San Diego Convention Center to enter an alternate reality, where the social rules binding them everyday no longer apply. 

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A Life Lesson

For three summers during high school, I participated in federal assistance program Upward Bound at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. My parents divorced when I was 13, and my then 31 year-old mother chose to raise four children alone. Jobs were scarce in Aroostook County during the early 1970s, and mom couldn’t earn enough. We were poor, by most American measures.

That circumstance and college plans qualified me to spend summers in Southern Maine and someday to attend a school like Bowdoin (I didn’t). The program has expanded such that if I were a high school student today, my UB participation would be at the University of Presque Isle branch rather than the one at Bowdoin. While closer to home (next town over), the benefits wouldn’t be as a great: Getting out of the County’s confines, experiencing life on such a prestigious college campus, watching Shakespeare at the Theater at Monmouth, or traveling—even for a day—to Boston. 

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Departure

They say the end is only the beginning. Today’s installment ends serialization of my ebook Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth. On July 8, 2015, after my current commitment with Amazon KDP Select ends, the tome’s release into the public domain begins—as promised. I plan to make copies available here, from Bunny Bows Press, and most likely Smashwords. I am still working out final logistics. Free also means removing the book from Amazon, which doesn’t permit the option. I am exploring a one-cent alternative.

A week ago, I posted the last of the dozen profiles, in order of appearance: The Dark Knight, The Fighter, The Collectors, The AcademicThe Nerd Culturist, The Writer,The Bicyclists, The Heroine, The Time Lord, The Volunteer, The Vendor, and The Millennial

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SDCC 2015 Open Registration Success!

In theory, I will go to San Diego Comic-Con this year—as a paying customer. For that I am most grateful and for the ease of the Open Registration process. From 2009 to 2014, I attended as registered press, but for some reason my status wasn’t re-certified. There was no formal rejection, just no approval during the typical “within 6 weeks” period after verification document submission.

SDCC’s streamlined process is a grabbag of chance. If you have an active ID on the system (before a cut-off date) and attended the previous year, you receive a code to participate in the registration process. That means using the number and last name to enter the waiting room between 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. PST. Anyone in the room when sales commence at 9 o`clock can be randomly chosen to purchase passe(s). Chrome refreshed me to the buying queue about 20 minutes after sales started. 

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Flickr a Day 23: ‘What I Wish For’

Searching Flickr for “what” churns up more shots of people’s bags, and what’s inside them, than you can imagine. It’s my strangest pic-peek voyeur experience yet. The look-see also reveals today’s selection—one of 11 related images spotted among the backpacks, messenger bags, and purses—chosen for what’s behind: The story and the photographer’s impressive portfolio.

Jorge Quinteros comes from Jamaica, Queens, New York, but lives in Brooklyn, where he shoots some of the best street photography portraits I have seen on Flickr. Today’s chosen pic isn’t representative of his style, which captures character in vivid photographs. Many street shooters are discreet. The self-titled “What I Wish For” series is what happens when a creative mind gets up close to his subjects,, engages them, rather than captures images from a distance. 

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Now This is Different

Last night, I moved this site from hosted WordPress (at Media Temple) to WordPress.com. This is the first post at the new locale, which is both strange and familiar. I considered one of two Cyber Monday deals: From MT, moving my two sites from the service’s standard Grid Server to three-blog hosted WordPress—half off for $145/year and substantial savings over my existing setup. WordPress.com offered free, one-year themes package with $99 Premium upgrade, which I would have paid for regardless.

Tipping the decision: Difficulty migrating within Media Temple versus promised ease exporting/importing to WordPress.com; the value of the premium themes, which I will play around with; two-factor authentication; and potentially-improved community connections, among other considerations. I presume there will be some SEO hit, which matters little to me, as readers rather than pageviews are the objective. I don’t use many plugins, and so their limited-availabilty also isn’t a concern. I would want more control over URLs, perhaps, and that’s something sacrificed. 

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What Will Be the Returns?

Today’s New York Times column “An iPhone Changed My Life (Briefly)” hits at the device’s fundamental problem: Hype. There was too much of it—and not really from Apple—that may have over-raised many people’s expectations. The issue Michelle Slatalla raises is one of returns. Will she return her iPhone? She writes, “I have started thinking seriously about returning the $599 phone, despite a 10 percent restocking fee. It hasn’t really changed my life in the ways I’d hoped”.

But she may have started with overly unrealistic expectations, which the runaway hype helped foster. The name includes “phone” for a reason. Apple didn’t promise a device that would cure cancer or feed the starving. 

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No Class, No Reunion

My 30-year high school reunion will take place this year—if it hasn’t already. But, sigh, I have no high school where to return. During my junior and senior years, my mom moved the family from the town where I grew up to Maine’s second-largest city in the south. While other kids wallowed in the memories, I walked the hallowed halls like an odd duck. I was a stranger among strangers. I left my memories and friends 300 miles away, in the town where I was born and there the school system that educated me. No memories. No prom. No graduation parties. No fun.

I regularly cut classes in the new school, which was quite unusual for me. I had bulked up on extra classes through junior year and was one-quarter credit shy of graduation going into my senior year. I only needed to sustain grades for college.