Log in

One man's journey...
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in K Garcia's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
10:20 pm
A Kickstarter campaign to find American on the road
And now for something completely different.

Yeah, I'm trying a Kickstarter campaign.

The goal is to reach as many cities and towns as possible in a road trip across the Southwest, looking for the weird and the personal, the historic and the simple. Trying to find and collect interesting stories to be published online, and later in print.

This is a pretty big project, and I really need all the help I can get. More information can be found at Monomythic.com and Kickstarter.
Saturday, February 4th, 2012
12:47 am
Woken by lightning
Posted this on Facebook, but it seems like more of a LJ thing.

I dreamt I was watching a movie on TV with friends and family. The main character was a middle aged woman, looking through the peephole in her door at a middle aged man who wanted to see her. She was surprised at first, but suddenly remembered acting in a TV show when she was younger, opposite the very same man. As she reached toward the door, unsure of what to do next, the power in my house suddenly blinked out. TV, lights, everything was black.

The next instant I was awake in my hotel room - apparently awakened by a bright flash of light. A few seconds later there was a sharp shrill shriek from a woman down the street, then the strangest explosion sound I'd ever heard. It was short and sudden.

Getting up I looked for smoke or any other indication that something had happened. Seeing nothing, I laid back down. Then another flash. Then another strange bang. It quickly dawned on me that it was lightning that had woken me. A few seconds later, another flash. Another bang. Then another, and another. Then a heavy, heavy downpour.

Now, sirens.

Fun night.
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
1:09 am
DC is rebooting... what would you think if Marvel did?
So, this is the new DC Universe, starting (apparently) from the ground up, much as it did in 1986:

Now, let's ponder for a moment... what if Marvel did that?

Marvel kind of tried this once in 1961, when they scrapped their previous super-hero set (after a failed continuation in 1953) and introduced a new generation of characters, altered the history of Captain America and the Sub-Mariner, and introduced new versions of 1940s heroes like the Human Torch and Vision. Sure, this eventually became part of cohesive universe including the 1940s and 50s adventures, but it was a big departure at the time.

What if they did something similar now? Possibly re-imagining the current universe (like the Ultimate line) or introducing a new generation of heroes, allowing the current heroes to be heroes of the past (like they did with MC2), or maybe something else entirely.

I wonder... how would such a move be received?
Monday, January 24th, 2011
10:52 pm
Print is not dead, but it must evolve.
Wizard is dead. Long live Wizard.

Look at newspapers and magazines with the onset of radio: they drastically changed with larger headlines, larger images and shorter stories. When TV took off, they became the focus of in-depth pieces looking behind the scenes at what TV could only touch on. Now the internet makes traditional media seemingly superfluous with the constant and instantaneous updates of bloggers.

If print wants to survive it has to adapt.

First, maintain integrity. Newspaper typos have gone up in recent years and magazines focus too much on paparazzo. Readers already have bad grammar laden rumors on the internet, they don't need print for that.

Second, move to less often printings: daily papers need to be weekly, weekly rags should be monthly, and monthly magazines should be quarterly. This would allow more in-depth pieces to be written about subjects that non-paid bloggers can only put partially-informed snippits of. This has already worked for publications like Time and Life. Breaking gigantic stories could call for more immediate printings, like the afternoon editions that were printed on 9/11.

Third, you can't charge the customers, instead charge the advertisers. Things survive today on word of mouth, look at the rash of indie films that have succeeded based on positive feedback in social networks. Can this work for print? I've said before, it already does for magazines like the Austin Chronicle. Everyone I know who visits Austin, reads the Chronicle, but none of them go out and buy a paper.

Fourth, and here's where it gets painful: go digital. Print is eternal, in the sense that we preserve and laud thousand-year-old manuscripts, 200-year-old first editions and 60-year-old comic books. We need print, if for no other reason then our cultural history. But, that doesn't have to be the be all and end all. Publish online, or better, publish to a specific (and purchasable) app, but make it worth people's while. If the stories aren't good, if the details aren't there, if customers have to be nickel-and-dimed every week, it won't catch on. It should cost something in some way: free news on newspaper websites is killing newspapers, but charging memberships is pointless as long as the same information is on a competitor's news site. Find the unique angles with quality writers, then have year-long, inexpensive memberships. It may be a drop in the bucket for the company, but remember what I said earlier: charge the advertisers.

These methods won't work for every publication, but that's kind of the point. This is the time for two types of publications: major, reputable publications that people want to return to again and again, and smaller, indie presses, who can promote themselves worldwide with the web and print on demand for customers.

Print can survive, but it has to want it.
Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
11:18 pm
News and a plea for support (nothing too serious, but hey)
First.. hey look, my uncle's on CNN now. It's funny though, they editted him in such a way as to make him sound hopeful about this guy's designs, but the truth is, he debunks such fusion attempts almost weekly.

Second... if you haven't already (and why not?) please order a copy of Namor the First Mutant #1, hitting stores August 25, 2010.

I'd rather not say why just yet... but I'd consider it a personal favor...
Sunday, November 29th, 2009
10:43 am
It's nice to be recognized.
Check out the credits box of this image:

Apparently this comes out Wednesday. I had no idea I'd get a mention.

Pretty cool.

(By the way, my site is under reconstruction right now, I am taking suggestions)
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
1:15 am
My uncle was on the Colbert Report
Huh... well it seems my uncle Bob Park was on the Colbert Report yesterday... and I missed it.

I didn't even realize it until I was talking to a friend of mine about him and he said he'd heard of him - from Stephen Colbert! Funny thing is, I was watching part of that episode but changed it right before he introduced his guest! Freaky.

As a reporter I utilized his expertise once or twice.

Cool guy... and not mentioned on his Wikipedia page is the fact that the guy is a triathlon competitor. Even at his age, he's healthier than me.

One of my few family members on Wikipedia. Useful site for it's purposes, but I still don't trust it as far as I can throw it...
Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
11:27 pm
My dogs had kittens (and other cute animal photos)
Since I'm putting cute kittens on Monomyhthic.com, I figure I'll put some cute animals here.

A few weeks ago the wife and I went out of town, and the morning after we came back we were awoken by strange howling from our smallest dog. I went to go see what the problem was, and this is what I saw:

Knew we should've gotten her fixed already.

More cute (and some bloody) animal photos below the cut.Collapse )
Sunday, May 17th, 2009
9:25 pm
Japanese Spider-man, now (officially) available online!
Holy nutballs! I can't believe this... the Japanese Spider-man series (or at least an episode or so) is available on Marvel.com!

Now, if only I could get my friend to give me back my bootleg DVD copy he "borrowed" four years ago...
Monday, April 6th, 2009
9:05 pm
Introducing Monomythic.com

I know I hardly post on my own journal, but to be honest, I hate writing about myself. A few years ago I wrote reviews for PopMatters.com, and I loved it, but my offline life took up too much of my time, and my work there suffered. A year ago I was writing pop culture columns at SciFiObserver, but that site - sadly - is no more.

Needing an outlet, I went ahead and created one. Monomythic.com is (for now) a blog about the science and nature of heroes, in the broadest sense of the term. Superman, Gilgamesh, Indiana Jones, Samus Aran and Arthur Dent are all fair game for commentary, analysis and review.

I don't plan to update multiple times a day, or even necessarily on a daily basis, but I do plan to have regular features.

Every Monday I'll spotlight a different obscure Marvel character.

Evey Wednesday I plan to look at an aspect of mythology or history not usually touched upon by others.

Every Thursday (for at least the next several weeks) I'll repost the robot-based spotlights that used to be up at SciFiObserver. If so inclined, I may continue this after the inventory articles run dry.

Every Friday I want to re-examine some little known aspect of science fiction or fantasy, or try to raise awareness for a classic book, radio play or movie that might be overlooked by popular culture.

The site is fairly blog-like (for now), but I'm hoping that changes overtime.

Oh, and as for why I'm doing this: the wife made me.

(I'll still post on LiveJournal as much as I ever did)
Saturday, February 28th, 2009
10:33 pm
Time to update your Googles
Paul Harvey passed away today. Sad to see him go, but he had a good long run. He was one of the last old-time radio personalities, from back in the day when news and advertisements blurred into on presentation from a faceless, fatherly voice.

I listened to him (and his son, who sat in for him often and could take over for him) all the time, but I'll always remember a line I heard from him about three years ago:

"It's time to update your Googles."

I have no idea what it means, but it seemed like pure genius.
Monday, January 12th, 2009
1:30 am
If print dies, where will will the real news be?
Spending eight years of my life as a reporter, and now teaching journalism in high school, it breaks my heart to see what's happening to the print medium.

americanbeetles mentioned on her journal that one of Seatle's papers could be shutting down. And, of course, they aren't alone.

They say print is dead, and it does seem to be inevitable, but the phrase "evolve or die" keeps popping in my head. I know newspaper-style reporting, editorial, and yes, cartoons, has a place in our world, but it needs to adapt in order to survive.

Blogs are not the answer. They are a new beast, just as television and radio are similar but very different.

I keep thinking of the Austin Chronicle. Here is a weekly paper that could just be another tabloid or indie rag, but along with all of the commentary and sarcasm are real news stories and in-depth features.

And yet... it's a free paper.

So how can they possibly survive? Simple, the advertisers are guaranteed an audience as the free paper is often the first thing people pick up when they enter a restaurant or stop at a gas station.

Admittedly, this kind of reputation needs to be earned and cannot be gained overnight, but that's where quality comes in, and to be honest, a lot of news outlets just aren't trying as hard as they should be.

Case in point, the Power Rangers murderer.

Here's a guy who's accused of killing three people on a yacht.

As a child he walked through a scene in one episode of Power Rangers, just a background character. And yet, I'll bet that moment defined his life. The Power Rangers were the bee's knees (that's right, I said it) in the 90's, so as a kid, he probably told everyone "I was on Power Rangers." As a young adult, failing to find success in acting or anywhere else, he probably continued with "I was a Power Ranger." And when the cop's arrested him, he probably said something along the line's of "You can't arrest me, I was a Power Ranger!"

I say this, because as a reporter, this was just the sort of thing I would read in police reports.

Now, it's not the police officer's job to fact check the ravings of a suspect (unless it's relevant to the case), but I imagine some reporter was reading that police report and said, "Hey, this guy was on Power Rangers!"

If I had been said reporter, I'd have checked this out. In fact, when I heard about the story I immediately did a quick web search and found out about this guy's "cameo." In fact, I'll bet the only reason it was on IMDB was because he put it there himself. It took me all of 30 seconds to learn he wasn't a Power Ranger or even a "child actor."

Apparently, the actual reporter did not fact check, so he turned in the story.

The editor (or editors, as most papers have stories go through several editors before they hit the page), could have done the same, but they did not. In fact, it's usually the editors that write the headlines, so I'll bet it was an editor that put "Power Ranger" and "Murder" in the same headline.

One of the editors sent the story to a news wire.

The news wires, like the Associated Press or Reuters, sift through thousands of stories a day and send them out to news outlets across the nation. Apparently no one at the wire bothered to fact check it.

Then someone at CNN saw the story. They put it on their website and even reported on it at Headline News (I'm sorry, HLN). They did not fact check it either.

Very quickly, a mountain was made out of a molehill.

What should never have been more than a local story got national attention.

Sure, the next day they had a "follow up" that described his "cameo" on Power Rangers, but the damage was done.

I'd link to the original story, but somehow, magically, there is no reference to any "power rangers" "murder" on CNN's database... they seem to have removed all related stories.

How hard is it, really, for reporters and editors to be as tech savvy as their readers? How difficult would it be to adapt to the changing technology of the world?

Pretty dang hard, I'm sure, but it needs to be done.

Newspapers have been an institution since the printing press was developed, and I do not believe it should die on our watch.

If you want newspapers to survive, make better newspapers.

Already television news has changed, although not entirely for the better.

I mentioned before how cable news went from reporting to commenting, but the epidemic has only gotten worse. Now even the regular achors are putting their uninformed opinions where they don't belong. Other than Chuck, can anyone on cable news give an unbiased report without adding their personal perspective?

The internet, as a whole, is not the answer. Yes, it is a new medium. Like radio and television before it, it has become and will remain a form of news and entertainment. But there are no filters on the internet, no way to tell a reporter from a guy-on-the-street. Just ask Steve Jobs.

I realize this has been a rambling rant, but I'm just a bit frustrated that a) people aren't allowed to make their own decisions about the news, and b) the one place where unbiased news is supposed to exist is now heading to extinction.

Someone should do something about this...
Thursday, December 4th, 2008
1:04 am
Dear lord.
I make it a practice to (almost) never post videos for their own sake, but dear lord...

Ah. Can't wait till the new movie comes out.
Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
8:28 pm
My Twilight connection.
I just had a strange revelation.

I'm not a fan of Twilight. I tried a few chapters and found it uninspired. My students love it - and anything that encourages people to read can't be all bad - but I didn't realize I had a minor connection to it.

I Interviewed the director.

It was a few years ago when she did Lords of Dogtown, but there ya go.
Thursday, November 20th, 2008
10:41 pm
History Time: More fun stories from Japan
Posted again at History Time. This one covers the first car (crash) in Japan and some other little known facts of Japanese history.
Monday, November 3rd, 2008
11:59 pm
A last minute endorsement no one cares about.
Before I begin, I should establish a few things.

First, I keep this journal to speak my mind on a variety of subjects, none of them consequential in the grand scheme of things. I don't talk about that funny thing my cat did, I don't complain about domestic disputes, I don't dish about co-workers or gripe about life.

Second, I have trained myself not to publicly talk about my political leanings over the past decade. First, as a reporter, I felt it was inappropriate to show bias by talking about my own leanings. I applied this when writing about politics and religion. I never said what my religious leanings were and I never, ever said who I would vote for. I have continued this trend as a teacher. I refuse to tell my students who to vote for and who I would vote for. When they ask who I'm casting my ballot for, I always have the same response: "The president." If they press further I add: "The one who wins." I do, however, encourage them to vote and said any student with a valid voter registration card could leave my classroom to vote in the lobby. I've also done my best to keep them apprised of the current political climate, the pros and cons of both candidates and the major economic, military and educational concerns of the country. And yes, I do all this in the context of an English class.

Now, that said, I have been fighting the urge to talk about my political leanings, though in private I have done so now and again.

This being the eve of probably the most historic election of past half-century (regardless of who wins), I feel the time is right for me to talk about my thoughts on the presidential race. Ironically, it was Colin Powell's last minute endorsement that encouraged me to do this - I say ironic because his endorsement was a coup for Obama's campaign and no one really cares what I have to say, but I'll say it anyway.

I voted for Barrack Obama.

This should be no surprise as I have many Liberal-leaning philosophies, but what many may not so obvious is that, had McCain been the Republican candidate in 2000, I would have voted for him at that time.

You see, I traditionally vote as a Democrat, but I've long believed that any good president should be above partisan labels and slanted decision-making. Sounds like a lot to ask, I'll grant you, but look back at some of the most respected presidents of history. Clinton made decisions, or approved decisions, that might go against liberal ideals, but he did so when the country needed it and he spun it in such a way that it sounded good at the time. The same could be said for Reagan, Bush Sr., Kennedy, FDR and, yes, even Nixon (when he had to).

I maintained this belief until George W. Bush took office. Within months of taking the oath, he had approved religious, environmental and health-related decisions that I would have thought completely against the "middle of the road" politics a person would need to maintain in order to be re-elected. I even said to my friends, "they only way this guy could get re-elected is if there was a war." Then there was a war.

My personal belief is, a good president needs to do two things: inspire confidence within America and respect from without. I fully believe McCain could have done this in 2000. I voted for Gore, and I knew he was technically capable and could gain the respect of other nations, but I didn't think he could inspire confidence. Bush, I felt, had the confidence of the people, but could not easily earn the respect of other nations.

That was then, this is now.

Now, for the first time in a long time, I feel we have two candidates that, on their own, could easily be adequate presidents and have the potential to be great presidents. They can inspire both confidence and respect, both within and without.

I feel the same could have been said of primary front-runners Hilary Clinton and Guliani, but unlike McCain and Obama, I do not feel they can put their own beliefs aside enough to listen to dissenting voices in the worst of times, because honestly, when the times are harshest, it is your critics you need to listen to. I wish Bush understood that.

However, what seporates these two candidates, aside from the fact that I agree with a lot more of Obama's platforms than McCain's, is that McCain is not the "maverick" he once was. Over the past several years he has worked hard to gain the support of the Republican base, something that helped him win the nomination but damaged the image of integrity he had, up to that point personified.

I still feel, as president, McCain would make the decisions that need to be made for the country, but they would come at the cost of hardline base Republican beliefs, like those promoted by his running mate.

This is not so much a condemnation of McCain as it is a call for the Republican Party to take a good, long look at itself. What does it mean to be Conservative? The term once meant sticking to what it says in the Constitution and not trying to read between the lines. Liberal, by contrast, meant assuming what was implied by the wording of the constitution. In that respect, assuming marriage needs defined or how religion is implimented in science class have nothing whatsoever to do with Conservativism (indeed, that's a rather liberal reading of the Constitution), yet, there they are as major concerns for base Republicans. Or so we are lead to believe.

By contrast, Obama is everything I've been hoping for in a president.

To get the race issue out of the way: yes, I would like to see a black president. Not because I feel it is a long time coming, but because I fully believe that any American can be president (as it says in the Constitution). In fact, I wish Colin Powell had run in 2000. He was a Republican in name, Liberal in beliefs and an honorable, respected man at heart. Apparently his wife asked him not to run, possibly out of the very real fear that, as "the first black president" he would be a target for the marginal fringe of our society that would see such a person as a target. Now Obama, often described as "well spoken" when he first hit the national scene, is black (despite what some Hilary supporters had said, see Colbert v. Dickerson). But the truth of the matter is, he is also white. In fact, he is as much a white Kansan as he is a black Kenyan. As the product of a bi-racial family myself, I understand what it is like to have different labels depending on the group labeling you. I don't like it, I would rather have nothing to do with it. I would much prefer Obama be considered just another human being as president than as the "first black president," but that isn't going to happen.

More important than race, much more important, is the fact that he is "well spoken." More than that, he is a damn good speaker. Think about it, when was the last time we had a president that we could quote without doing so sarcastically? Reagan? Kennedy? I want a president who not only inspires confidence, but inspires me. Obama does that, and I do not consider myself easily inspired.

A word on experience: lack of experience does not mean lack of ability. I do not know of Obama will be a great president, but I do know he is every bit as qualified as the next candidate. He has legal experience, legislative experience and he knows how to handle himself under pressure. McCain has that, Bush did not.

Much has been made of religion, and like Powell I believe it shouldn't matter if he was a Muslim. A few weeks ago I talked with two elderly Mexican immigrants who wanted to vote for Hilary and were, to be honest, scared of Obama because "he's Muslim." I could have argued with them, but instead I deflected their statement and responded to it. "Well, he is Christian, but he was raised with Muslims. He spent his formative childhood years surrounded by predominantly Muslim neighbors and playing with Muslim children. Who better to deal with people who are seen as 'our enemies' than someone who understands them?" They agreed with me. He grew up surrounded by people of every conceivable ethnic and religious group. For Obama, Muslims are not a strange novelty, they are human beings. McCain believes this as well, of course, but I can't think of someone better qualified to represent America on the world stage in today's political climate than a person who grew up exposed to and surrounded by the beliefs and traditions of other countries.

Then there's the economic issue. I am no economist. I'm not even good with numbers. I am, however, a student of history. Based on my knowledge of history and the state of the country following the invasion of Iraq, I said repeatedly that the country was headed for a major economic down turn. I compared it to the Great Depression, though I never believed, and I still don't that we could reach that exact level of crisis. This will, however, be a bad one. I said then that the cost of the war, the excessive spending, the unchecked market - yes I even brought up the housing market (I was buying a house and noticed the ridiculous number of houses foreclosed ranging from $60,000 to $4 million in value) - all meant a major downturn in the economy was coming. I figured it would come just before or after 2009. If it came before, the next president would need to step up and meet the challenge in much the way FDR did in the 30's. If it came before, the next president, regardless of culpability, would be blamed for it just as Hoover was the Depression. I honestly expected intelligent candidates like Obama and McCain to avoid this election for that reason, but I'm glad they did not. I also believe that Obama's Liberal leanings are best for the economy at this time.

The next crisis to hit the nation - barring some unforeseen event like 9/11 - will be education. Right now we are headed toward a major crisis in education, but this is a silent crisis. Teachers see it, students feel it, parents are understanding it, but until the entire educational system collapses in 2013, it might go unnoticed. I can only hope the next president acts before that happens. This is not some magical prediction by the way, it is written into the current educational system, and it is a ticking clock.

On top of all this, the nation seems to realize this is a historic election (no matter who wins). In my own county, nearly twice as many people participated in early voting, and in the next county over the number was more than double. Nationwide people are turning out to the polls in record numbers - so much so I would not be surprised if the results surprise the pundits. Not because the results will be different from what is predicted, but by how different the changes are. People who have never voted, or thought they would never vote, are voting. Many of these people are likely voting "straight ticket" rather than examining each of the candidates in each non-presidential race. I would not be surprised if several traditionally red states turn blue. If this is the case, I can only hope people are encouraged to continue voting - bot because people should always vote for Democrats, but because the more people stay informed and involved with the workings of our country, the better off we will all be.

Earlier today Obama received some shocking news. His grandmother, the one who raised him for much of his adolescence, passed away. He was supposed to speak in the evening to encourage supporters to turn out to the voting booths. I fully expected him to pass the speech off to a surrogate, a Clinton or Bidden, even his wife. But, he showed up on time and as scheduled - a politically smart move to remind voters he means what he says, but an emotionally taxing one. Regardless of tomorrows events, I'm sure he wanted his grandmother to be there to see him reach this milestone in his life.

He went on anyway.

I'm glad I voted for him.

(I wonder if anyone will bother to read all of that)
Friday, October 31st, 2008
9:51 pm
History Time: Frankenstein, vampires and ghosts
Posted another history_time entry, this one about the origins of Frankenstein, vampires and local ghost stories.

I also included an update on the unfortunate Sgt. Weigert, should anyone care.

It's fun investigating the strange nooks and crannies of history.
7:53 am
All Hallow's Eve isn't what it used to be.

I had less desire to celebrate Halloween this year - my favorite holiday - because costumes were banned at work. The announcement was sudden and meant the cancelation of a costume contest I was running.

Ah well.

Halloween isn't what it used to be.

(Had to turn off autostart. To play the video, click the words at the bottom)
Sunday, October 19th, 2008
1:11 pm
I've been drawn!
americanbeetles drew me!

Personally I think it's pretty cool... plus it shows me navigating the Tokyo Metro, which was, to be honest, a blast.

And because turnabout's fair play...

I drew her, based on her graduation photos, complete with lollipop of achievement and what I'm told is a Kabuto-mushi rhinoceros beetle.
Sunday, October 5th, 2008
12:11 pm
Reading mugenhunt's amazing post on history_time reminded me that I promised to give more information on the history of kabuki as told by Mark Oshima.

As he explained it, the female performers were a problem, because samurai watching the play would "call dibs" on who they got to have after the show - then fight over it when more than one man wanted the same girl.

Then they had adolescent boys with youthful long hair styles performing kabuki, but samurai watching the play would "call dibs" on who they got to have after the show - then fight over it when more than one man wanted the same boy.

Eventually the performances were outlawed for a time, then they could be performed, but the performers had to be adult males, shaved to look ugly.

Gives a whole new perspective on the beautiful tradition, doesn't it?
[ << Previous 20 ]
KevinGarcia.com   About LiveJournal.com