At the end of March, there was a challenge thrown down with the hashtag #100comics. I heard about it through the ComixTribe newsletter and the Final Issue Podcast. The idea was to attempt to read 100 comics in a week. I read a lot of comics and I figured this would be an easy challenge. After a few days into it, I realized that I was very wrong. I would need to read at least 14 comics a day in order to reach the goal of 100 within a week and I was averaging half that at best. I could have inflated my numbers a bit by counting trade paperbacks as separate issues. For example, I counted iZombie: Volume 1 as a single title, but it’s a collection of the first five issues of the series so technically it’s five issues worth of content.
Having failed at the challenge, I thought I’d turn this into something to make my Data Nerd Sense tingle. I created a spreadsheet via Google Docs to keep track of all the comics I was reading including the title, publisher, type, medium, and date. This would allow me to look at things on a daily, weekly, and monthly level to see just how much I was reading. Was it as much as I thought? Or less? I don’t really know the answer to this as I just thought I read a lot of books. Although I started keeping track of this towards the end of March, I waited until the end of April to really look at the data. That way I’d have a full month work of information to parse through. For the month of April 2015, I read 199 comics.
Of the 199 comics read, 182 (91%) were single issues. The remaining 17 (9%) were graphic novels. These include trade paperbacks and original graphic novels. Highlights for April were a re-reading of Empire by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson, Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, and iZombie: Volume 2 by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred.
This shows how much I read per day. The weekend is clearly my preferred time to read comics as that’s where the bulk of the books were read. I tend to average a couple issues in the morning and the evening of each weekday, more if I go to the gym in the morning. Yes, I’m the nerd that’s reading comics on a tablet while on the treadmill.
This information didn’t really surprise me all that much. I now read comics almost exclusively in digital. As a reviewer for HorrorTalk, I get a LOT of PDFs sent to me each week. I rarely buy physical copies of books anymore as I have come to prefer the ease of use and variety available digitally through services like ComiXology so it’s not shocking for my numbers to be skewed so heavily in that direction with 94% coming from PDFs and Comixology. The 1% linked to a website was reading the first two issues of Skullkickers online as the comic has been serialized for free. It was a great primer and I’m going to pick up the trades for the series now as a result (especially since it would be a big pain for me to find where I left off on the site as I’d have to click through at least 50 pages.
In looking at this chart, you’d think I was a DC fanboy. The truth is that almost all of that number comes from Booster Gold. I recently picked up the latest series via a ComiXology sale and I was catching up on the series. I read the first 31 issues of the series in April. Actually, now that I look at the list, I didn’t include Booster Gold #1,000,000 so that puts my number up to an even 200 comics read for April. I’m not updating these charts with that now though. I’m on the last one already! The next highest publisher was Image Comics as I was catching up on a variety of titles. Otherwise I had a big variety in terms of publisher.
This was a fun exercise that I’ve continued into May. I plan on doing this for at least another month to see if there were any changes. I’m sure this will be thrown out the window when Ferg Baby #2 arrives in June. I can’t decide if this is the nerdiest blog post I’ve ever written or not, but I think it’s probably pretty close.
This morning, the day before Easter, I took Oliver to the Rockland Boulders stadium nearby. It’s a minor league baseball stadium that is pretty nice. There was a Halloween event last year that Oliver seemed to dig, plus it was free so it was cool to get out of the house for a bit and check things out. Monica stayed home as she wasn’t feeling well.
This thing started at 8:45. Oliver and I got there at 8:38 and there was already a line wrapped around the front of the building. We hopped on line with the cold wind blowing to the point where it nearly knocked us over. Oliver sat on my shoulders, wearing his Ninja Turtles sunglasses and clutching his Easter basket. He was ready. We’ve been talking about going to this for at least a week.
At long last, the doors open and we get on another line. Everyone was broken up into two groups: Kids 5 and under and kids 6-10. From this vantage point, we could see that the outfield was covered in colored plastic eggs. There was a small divider breaking it up into two sections. This was going to be a madhouse.
After waiting on this line for a few minutes with the wind still barreling down, we were ushered onto the field itself. Me and at least a hundred other parents crowded around the field, holding back kids that were anxiously awaiting to grab some eggs. Oliver kept pushing forward, ready to go. He didn’t understand why he had to wait. The eggs were right there! He had no idea what was inside them. He just wanted to grab them.
At this point, there was a guy with a microphone walking around, reminding everyone of where to line up and plugging the corporate sponsors. Boulder Bird, the team mascot popped up and even he was having trouble with the wind. Oh, and there was an Easter bunny. They were all trying to keep everyone entertained until the crowd could file down the stairs and get to the field. This was going to be fast and if you weren’t on the field when the whistle blew, you weren’t getting anything. Microphone guy gave the one minute warning. Things were about to get under way.
Then it happened. A lone kid ran out onto the field in the 5 and under section. His mom ran after him but it was too late. The damage was done. The flood gates were opened. A horde of screaming kids and parents came bolting onto the field. Oliver and I ran out there. We got a few feet out with me urging Oliver to pick up the eggs before he got the hint. He grabbed one or two as people passed us by, going for the eggs deeper in the field. Then Oliver became an egg-grabbing machine. He had a mission and that was to get as many eggs as possible. We had a nice little area where we weren’t really being bothered. The older kids had run by us already and the real little ones were still putzing around at the line. He nabbed five eggs and then one more that he basically took right before another kid could claim it. Just like that, it was over. I looked around and there was not a single egg left on the ground.
I picked up Oliver and had a look around. He was shivering from the cold so I held him close. He showed moderate interest in Boulder Bird for a minute but didn’t want to get close enough to actually get a picture with him. After circling the mascot for a few minutes, we head out. In the car, Oliver was eager to check out his winnings. After opening an egg, he bit into a fun size Snickers without taking the package off. It was 9:30 AM.
Hello to everyone that arrived on this blog post expecting some sort of erotic Spider-Man fan fiction. I’m sorry to disappoint you, as that’s not what this particular post is about.
As mentioned previously, Oliver has developed a great working nerd knowledge. He enjoys watching the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show (which is pretty great) as well as Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, along with a handful of Disney Junior shows that are less entertaining to me. He can correctly identify a number of comic book characters and I could not be prouder. Then we get to Spider-Man. Just in case you didn’t know, Spider-Man is my all-time favorite comic book character. I’ve stayed by the wall crawler through thick and thin, including the lows like the Clone Saga and One More Day. While Oliver can point out Spider-Man in a picture, he can’t quite say his name. Instead, he says “Penis.”
That’s right. My 2 year old son calls Spider-Man “Penis.” I’ve tried countless times to get him to say it properly, even sounding it out. He’ll repeat each syllable separately — “Spi – Der – Man” — but when I roll it together and say it all at once, he just spouts “Penis.” I’m starting to think he’s just messing with me.
I have no idea how he developed this. He knows the word for penis and happily yells it at me nearly every time that I change his diaper. He does have some trouble with certain words. For example, Superman comes out as something like “Sup-re-sam” but you get the idea. This is just far out there. I can’t bring him to a Spider-Man movie for fear of him yelling “Penis!” at the screen. At least it makes for a great story.
This June, Oliver will become a big brother. He doesn’t fully grasp this yet but he understands that Monica has a baby in her belly. If you ask him “Where’s the baby?” he’ll point at her stomach. It’s adorable. This news was dropped in a few different ways. First, it was revealed to Monica’s family on Christmas Eve. The last gift opened that night in front of everyone was a DVD case in which Monica had inserted some Oliver artwork in for the cover art. When Monica’s mom opened it, she found an ultrasound picture. Awww!
We did the same thing for my family except we did it just with my parents, brother, and sister because we knew that my mom would start crying instantly (we were right). We hadn’t figured out how we were going to break the news to my extended family though. After reaching my aunt’s house and spending about an hour or two there, I was struggling to think of a way to make the announcement. Then, while sitting in the living room, casually chit-chatting, my aunt provided the absolute perfect segway. She smirked and asked sarcastically “So when’s the next one coming?” (ATTN: New or soon-to-be new parents. This is something that you will be asked about a million times, regardless of the age of your child. Once you have one, even if the kid is like a day old, people will ask you when you plan to have another child. I don’t understand it, nor do I endorse it, but in this case, it was perfect.) Without missing a beat, I turned to her and said “June.” and looked back at whatever I was doing. My brother on the other side of the room started cracking up. She asked “What?” and I again replied “June.” Success!
As with the first kid, we wanted to find out what we were having. There was a momentary discussion where Monica and I actually debated whether or not to find out the sex of Ferg Baby #2 but this was a surprise we didn’t want to deal with. Settling on one name is hard enough. Picking out two, only to have to discard one seems like a pain in the ass. We made an appointment for an anatomy scan ultrasound and found that our second kid will be peeing standing up. Oliver will have a little brother.
After the scan was finished and the ultrasound lady had finished taking pictures of the various body parts of the kid, we were getting up to leave. Monica sat up and began to get her things together. She looked directly at me, gestured at the tech, and then grabbed her nose like she smelled bad. I had to inform her that the tech was not responsible for the smell. I had been dropping farts in that little room for the better part of a half hour. I don’t know what I ate but there were plenty of SBDs laid during the exam. I can only imagine what the tech thought. At any age, farts are funny. When mine are blamed on a stranger, they’re even funnier.
Well, I turned around for a minute and suddenly five months have gone by on this little blog of mine and there’s nothing but cobwebs and a stack of WordPress updates waiting for me. In that span of time, Oliver has almost reached the two year old mark. I’m well past the time where I rattle off his age in months. I gave that up after 18 months. For a bit, he was “1.75 years old.” Now when people ask how old he is, I just say “He’ll be 2 in March.”
The kid’s vocabulary has been growing leaps and bounds. He seems to come out with new words every day, some of which I actually understand. It’s funny because Monica and I work as translators for him sometimes. My brother was over the other day and Oliver would say something that may sound like gibberish to someone else, but we understand what he’s trying to say from being with him all the time.
I’ve been trying to expose him to some good nerd stuff as of late. He loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and can correctly identify half of them (Raphael and Donatello. He still has trouble with Leonardo and Michelangelo.) He can say “turtles” but when he asks for it, it comes out as “hyung-ya.” I don’t know why. I will be impressed if that turns out to be “turtles” in Chinese or something. When corrected, he’ll repeat the word correctly. We’ve watched both the original cartoon and the new one on Nickelodean which is surprisingly good. He has also developed a new found appreciation for pizza as a result of the shows which I’m totally OK with.
In addition to this, Oliver has developed a fascination with the Incredible Hulk. I don’t know why, but he absolutely loves the big green guy. He’s had an Avengers sippie cup for ages but only recently seemed to notice the characters on it. He can identify most of the characters, but Hulk is the only one he can really name. (For the record, he can also correctly identify most of Batman’s rogues gallery.) This love for the Hulk spawned one of my favorite pictures of Oliver ever. Unbeknownst of this Hulk fascination, Monica’s aunt got him a few little Mr. Potato Head super heroes, one of which being Big Green. Check out the look on his face below. It’s pure and absolute joy.
Needless to say, I’m so friggin’ happy that he’s digging this kind of stuff. I’ve been able to share some of the things that I loved as a kid (and as an adult. Who am I kidding?) with him. I’m looking forward to digging through some of my old comics and other shows and movies on DVD to see how he takes them in. He already loves reading the “My First Batman Book” and “My First Superman Book” so I can’t wait to get him into actual comics. I just wish there was more of a selection when it came to kids funny books.
I realized recently that every single day I ask my son “What are you doing?” This is because he is constantly doing strange things. At least, they appear strange to me. They may be perfectly normal for him based on his current understanding of how the world works. For example, he went through a phase in which he would take a big sip of his milk and then just open his mouth, letting it all flow out freely. This was something that was entirely unpredictable. It could come at any time during the feeding process. Other odd things include, but are not limited to:
- Hitting the television
- Putting a USB plug in his mouth
- Playing with the toilet paper
- Knocking over his car playset
- Eating crayons
- Spitting out a piece of half-chewed food in favor of trying something different
- Throwing all of his books on the floor
Kids are weird. Although these strange things can be frustrating (to me anyway), they are very fun to watch. Yes, I have to clean up after him, but Oliver is a fun kid. He keeps my life interesting by constantly surprising me. I never know what he’s going to do or say next.
Speaking of saying, Oliver’s vocabulary has exploded over the past few days. He is repeating everything but his own name. For some reason he won’t even try that. While Monica is spending her time teaching him colors, I’m getting him to say “poop” and laughing like a lunatic every time he says it. He makes it sound fancy, with a little flourish to it. I clearly have my priorities as a father. I want him to know how to say the basics.
My son Oliver is now 17 months old. For those counting at home, that’s almost a year and a half. I recently told Oliver’s age to a colleague at work and she responded with a confused look, asking why I was still counting months. I didn’t really have a good answer and I still don’t. It’s weird. I don’t tell people that I’m 366 months old. That would be weird. So why do count months in babies?
I thought this counting months thing would stop after Oliver turned 1, but we kept going. On a recent play date (Yup, those are happening), a fellow first time dad said that he’d stop after his kid turned 2. I’m thinking it’s a compromise and I’ll stop after 18 months. Then he’ll be a year and a half and then two and that’s it.
Truth be told, I think the month counting is due to the changes that occur at such a rapid pace during this time frame. Oliver at 12 months was way different than Oliver at 17 months. He’s like a completely different person. He’s now walking, talking, climbing, and getting into all kinds of mischief. He started walking at 11 months and now he runs.
Watching Oliver grow, learn, and change has been one of the parts of being a parent that I love. There are so many things that we take for granted. Things like eating with a fork or putting on a shirt are second nature to us, but a child has to learn how to do every little thing. It’s a whole new piece of knowledge that he has to develop.
Yes, I’m writing a blog post about Christmas in the first week of July. That’s how far behind I am on this thing. Anyway, I started this here blog after being inspired by Kevin Smith’s My Boring Ass Life. If he could do it, why can’t I? So, for the year of 2008, I wrote up a post about what I did every single day. There were days in which nothing much happened aside from me getting up, eating breakfast, and watching some DVDs. Fortunately, 2008 was actually a pretty eventful year for me. I was laid off after the company I worked for went out of business. I was unemployed for about three weeks before starting a new job. A stranger sent me porn. Monica and I moved in together and then we got engaged. Not bad.
I was surprised to find that people actually read the thing. It was like a morning paper for some friends and family. They may not read every one, but if they caught it either here or on Facebook (where the blog began), they read it. At my high school reunion, I had a friend whom I hadn’t seen in close to ten years tell me that he knew all about my life for that span of time due to it. I think that’s both creepy and comforting.
After awhile, I got tired of doing this every day and wanted to write about specific events such as the story of my first Rubik’s Cube and the posts became fewer and less frequent. I thought a cool idea would be to compile all of 2008’s blog posts into one big file and print it up as a book. I started this project in my spare time but quickly forgot about it. The blog posts are all here and/or on Facebook so I could go back and read them if I ever wanted to. I just didn’t.
Then Christmas 2013 came. Monica and I don’t usually do big gifts for each other. I’d be happy with a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran and an Amazon gift card from just about everybody. So, it was surprising when Monica presented me with a one of a kind, two volume set of my life in print form. She had painstakingly copied every single blog post, formatted it, and had it printed into two books (January – June and July – December). This is one of the many reasons why my wife is awesome and I love her dearly. She knew I would never do this myself and went ahead and did it for me. She had done something like this for me once before, early on in our relationship. She bought me an iPod, knowing that I wanted one but would most likely never buy it. I still have that and it still works. It has my name on the back and the words “Poop Marble” which I assure you, is not her pet name for me.
The books now stand proudly on a shelf in our living room, away from the copious amount of books that we have filling up shelves in the newly formed office / library downstairs (more on that later). They signify a slice of my life in which some important and some not so important things happened to me.
A couple weeks ago I became the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S5. This was an upgrade from my S3 which has now been handed down to Monica. I’m a big fan of Samsung products, also having a Galaxy Tab and convincing Monica to buy a digital camera from the manufacturer. I absolutely love the phone and everything it does. I’m still exploring some of the features, but it’s a pretty awesome device.
Imagine my dismay when I picked up the phone on Sunday morning only to discover that the camera lens on the back was completely shattered. It looked like a little spider web. I have no earthly idea how this could have happened as I handle this phone like it’s a baby. I spent the morning searching online to see if anyone else had this problem and what I could do to repair it. It seemed like a simple enough procedure to fix it. All I’d really have to do is pop the old lens out, still held intact by the lens protector (LOT OF GOOD THAT DID) and put in a new one. It can’t be more complicated than changing an iPod battery and I did that a few years ago without issue.
Unfortunately, I found that it’s a little more complex than that. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof for up to 30 feet I believe. That’s great if I was having a water balloon fight with Aquaman and Namor the Sub-Mariner which is something I would totally do. As a result, there’s a lot of special adhesives and stuff used to secure the lens to the phone to make sure that it’s a water-tight seal. Additionally, parts for the device are not as readily available just yet as the phone is brand spanking new.
I called both Verizon and Samsung to see what I could do about having them fix it. Verizon could do nothing, but Samsung could repair the lens for $70. Yes, it would cost me $70 to get a lens replaced that’s the size of my thumbnail. Plus, it would take up to two weeks to get the phone back (2 business days to get there, 5-7 business days for them to fix it, and then 2 business days to get back to me). Can I really survive that long without a cellphone after having one for so long?
That’s what I intend to find out. I packed and shipped my phone out earlier today. At the time of this writing, I’ve been without for approximately 12 hours and I’m already going through withdrawals. I’ve had numerous moments of panic after I put my hand on my leg over my pants pocket where my phone is usually kept, only to find it empty, thinking I’ve lost the device. I’ve been cut off from communication so while I’m not in front of a computer, I have no idea what’s going on in the world. I took a crap today and was bored out of my mind.
I’m honestly not sure how long I will last like this. There are so many things with the phone that I depend on. Directions, contacts, quick look-ups of who starred in that one movie with that guy. I’m carpooling to a meeting tomorrow and realized that I have no way of telling my friend that I’ve arrived. I’m curious as to how long I will hold out before breaking down and hooking up my old old Droid X that Monica was using up until a couple weeks ago. What did people do before cellphones?
So if you need to get in touch with me, send me a physical letter via snail mail. Otherwise, send me an email and I will get back to you eventually. Alternatively, you could try smoke signals, carrier pigeons, or telegrams.
Since Oliver was born, his hair has been slow growing. He barely had any when he came out and since then, he’s been very slowly getting more. He’s now almost thirteen months old and he’s got a bunch of hair. It’s just not all over his head. It’s patchy and a little thin and reminds me of Bill Murray. He’s got this curly thing going on too.
There are worse people that he could remind me of, I guess. Hopefully it grows in soon. I think he’s going to look like a completely different person when his hair comes in.