Saturday, April 24, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I've been vicariously following this saga for a couple of weeks and am completely outraged that anyone would do this!
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." (Albert Einstein)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
(Note: The above link is just part 1, please refer to YouTube for the rest of the show!)
Did anyone else happen to see this episode of "Destination Truth"? I was thinking about that audio recording from the crematorium all last night! Usually this program does a really good job of debunking the "paranormal" but there seems to be absolutely no explanation for that recording. (That is, excluding the notion that it was faked.) Too weird!
Do you believe in ghosts? If so, what do you think they are exactly?
Do you think they're really the tortured spirits of the departed who just aren't ready to "move on"? Here's a bullshit theory that I made up once that has absolutely no basis in fact: What if there's actually a parallel dimension/alternate reality and the encounters we have with "ghosts" are just points where that dimension and ours happen to intersect...? You'd really have to get your tin foil hat on to accept that one, I know... but who can say for sure?
I'm not sure that I believe in the supernatural but I do enjoy stories about it on the level of really entertaining fiction. I do believe in the possibility that certain creatures/phenomenon might exist, and I'm open to hearing compelling proof if anyone could ever come up with it. And occasionally I enjoy being freaked out. Men in Black absolutely terrify me (no, I don't mean the Will Smith movie) and I find the idea of Bigfoot plausible and creepy. There's a lot on this planet that we just don't know about yet so I'm open to the possibility that such things could exist (but that doesn't mean that I think they do exist).
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Saturday, April 10, 2010
When I think of what makes a great comic shop is a combination of nostalgia and the "underground" factor. This is one part the "musty, dusty" stuff and one part cutting edge. By "musty, dusty", I'm sure you know what I mean: basically what you might describe as "the old curiosity shop". Prized golden-age and silver age comics lining the walls (something to drool over and aspire to one day buying); rows and rows of long boxes of alphabetized back issues (for treasure hunting); and the "museum pieces", ie, assorted collector's items from by-gone eras like baseball cards and old toys (ie, things you wouldn't want to buy but enjoy looking at). The really good "old school" comic shops generally have this same look (kind of worn and dingy, downtown storefront), and yes a distinctive smell (very dusty and slightly moldy!). On the flip side, a good comic shop also needs an underground or "cutting edge" factor too. By "cutting edge" I'm referring to items that were more modern and had a quirkier bent to them. In this category are the "indie" comics, photocopied zines, strange import books, fan magazines devoted to really obscure topics, etc. These are the types of materials you'd never see anywhere else but a comic shop. You'd never be exposed to this type of stuff in a "mainstream" place like a drug store comic rack or a flea market table. These are what you might call the skeezier items: either too racy/controversial/violent or too obscure and fan-specific to be palatable to the casual consumer. With these items lay the possibility of discovering something new and interesting...or it might go completely over your head.
Finally, a third characteristic of a great comic shop is the "Cheers" factor. You know, a place where everybody knows your name. I touched on this earlier with Mad City and Gamezilla, but a comic shop tends to be a hangout for like-minded individuals (ok, "geeks") and there's a social aspect to shopping there. Any given time you visit the shop you're bound to see someone you know there. The workers know you, remember your tastes and interests, and they're usually free to sit behind the counter & chat. The best shops invariably have a character, a distinctive personality, that everyone associates with the store. In the case of The Sorcerer's Stone, it was Joe Harris. So, a great comic shop can be a kind of clubhouse, where you might go just to seek friendship not necessarily to buy anything. Even when you visit a comic shop in another city, you tend to see the same thing. You can almost spot the "counterparts" people have in other cities!
In Halifax it's Strange Adventures. In Bangor it's Topshelf Comics. In Toronto it's The Beguiling. No matter where you go, the feel is pretty much the same. Here it used to be The Sorcerer's Stone, and although there are some worthy successors, nothing has truly replaced it.