14 June, 2008

One of " " days, not “those”

Today has been a day. I dare not say that it was one of “those” days on the basis that “those” days are never good days, until long after and the day is seen through a bit of wisdom learned on another of “those” days. Today, regardless of what I may say in times hence, has been a very good day.

To begin, it began literally at the beginning: a midnight reading of the first few installments of James Robinson’s epic Starman. Now, if you haven’t picked up a comic book since you were but a wee lad, or since the dawn of never, I feel you are missing out. Every day, we immerse ourselves in worlds not our own, from the fictional lives of friends we don’t know to the heroic deeds done on a screen that we could never fit in our house, and of course, ever always to the places that can only be described adequately with the printed word. There are three comic books that I have vehemently recommended as being those, from my experience, that elevate the funny books to classics.

The first: Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman. I picked up this book near the end of its run, and quickly returned to the beginning as soon as I could. Gaiman crafted not just a world, but a universe of possibility, literally a dream. It was not only an epic tale, but there is such intricacy, the comic book could be the only form to do it justice.

The second: Kingdom Come, by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. Pick it up. It will change the way you look at people in capes swooping in to save the day.

The third: The Long Halloween, by Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb. The detective story. The film noir. The one where everything you need to solve the case is there and if you read it as comic, you still enjoy it. But if you truly enjoy it, taking in every panel, every line, every shadow, you will truly read it.

And now that there is a definitive collection, I have a fourth: Starman by James Robinson. Robinson is a storyteller and this is an epic, but not in the sense of bright costumes and gaudy villains. This story is finely crafted gem and more than anything, it is a story about the characters. Most of the time, superhero books are all about the time spent in soaring through the air, looking for adventure. This is that at times, but more importantly, it is about the everyday life of a man who happens to be a hero.

So that brought me to one in the morning and blissful sleep.

The second beginning was a little rougher. Up early and out the door before breakfast, mostly because the internet always seems a little crisper in the wee hours of the morn. Regardless, I was off volunteering for 53rd Annual Show put on by the Art Directors club of Denver. I wasn’t judging. They brought in masters for that. I was a grunt, and I don’t mind. I had the opportunity to see how judging goes, how work that must have taken hours of blood, sweat, and toil to create, in the blink of an eye, is passed over for another piece. I also got to see how quick over 500 entries can be whittled down to a fifth or less of that number by simply counting beans (a cup is placed by each piece and the judges are handed beans and should a cup go beanless, it sadly goes). As it turns out, as it always seems, I get singled out as the grunt that can logistically run all manner of dread machine (computer, for those who are fond of such namesakes) and I ended up cycling all of the media entires. In short, I went through loading an assortment of media on about 20 computer, be it radio adds, slideshows, video commercials, websites, etc. The judges would then go computer to computer viewing the material passing out beans as if they were the gods of beans. When they were done on a computer, I cleared the beanless and loaded the next and so the cycle went.

I haven’t had a rally good focused volunteer opportunity like that in while. The one that stands out the most, though it was far from recent, was working with Circle K International to convert rooms into libraries for headstart programs. Very few opportunities have had that focus and resulted in such a sense of satisfaction at its conclusion.

Well the day didn’t end there. From there it was off to Golden for the Wild West Auto Round Up. I didn’t go because I am particularly fond of auto shows, but because I have a Zoomie that needs shooting. It felt good to be out shooting at an event, though technically I was shooting product while I was there. The challenge didn’t come from getting the angle I need. I’ve shot enough toys to know how to get that. The challenge was in not burning myself as I lay on the exceedingly hot asphalt. Just so you know, the first Zoomies shot, I got rained on and spent the day shooting lying in puddles of water (there’s potential in those shots, though I feel today’s fit the subject better).

With the shoot done, it was time to spend the remainder of the evening sprawled out with Starman (I don’t curl with good books. I find it uncomfortable) and vinyl playing in the background. I very good end by any definition. Now, I think I shall truly close up the night with a classic root beer float ( the adorable cashier today tried to convince me that I need chocolate ice cream to truly make a root beer float. I argued the classics of the old ways, and I imagine in her eyes, resigned myself to an inferior root beer concoction).

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