Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Gift Guides: Tech

Getting the perfect gift for the technophiles in your life can be a tough row to hoe. Most fans of technology have the best available already. Here are 10 suggestions for gifts that are sure to keep the “techie” in your life enthralled until next Christmas and also won’t break the bank.

10. Subscription to Gocomics.com — More and more people are getting their news straight from a computer these days, but one of the things left out with that is comic strips. This is the perfect gift for those that live on the ’net, yet can’t go without, “Garfield,” “Calvin and Hobbes,” “Peanuts” or dozens of others. And at just 99 cents a month, the subscription won’t break the bank.

9. Desktop Robot Vacuum — Available at BaronBob.com, this little helper will clean up after anybody who spends time eating at their desk. It also works well for small tiled rooms. Only $14.95 at press time for this gift.

8. Finger Mouse — From Logisys, the finger mouse takes a regular old computer mouse and brings it into the 21st century, allowing users to operate it with just one finger. Available on Xoxide.com. Pick it up for under $20.

7. Portable USB Turntable — This little thing from ION Audio is available all over the Internet. It plugs into the USB port on a computer and allows the user to play records. Great for the music lover, or anyone who wants to edit audio and needs to digitize it from a record first. The best price I found was at Amazon.com for $84.99.

6. Oakley Split THUMP sunglasses — That’s right, both a stylish pair of sunglasses and an MP3 player. These shades can be picked up at Oakley.com for under $200.

5. Virtual Laser Keyboard — Much like the name reveals, this is a keyboard made up entirely of a laser grid. Using both infrared and laser technologies to create this fully functional accessory. Available for $199.99 at Virtual-Laser-Keyboard.com.

4. iCade Jr. Mini Arcade Cabinet — Only available for people with an iPhone, this replica miniature arcade turns cellphone gaming up to another level. Available for $39.99 on ThinkGeek.com.

3. Roku LT — It won’t play in 1080p but this machine is still a neat little media hub. This box will connect your TV to netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and many other streaming-media services. The best part is that it allows you to link in your mobile devices, laptops and other gear for viewing on the go.

2. Tech Cufflinks — Cufflinks.com offers a variety of “tech” cufflinks that plug into a computer and store at least 2GB of memory. Perfect for the Techie who saw the recently released James Bond movie “Skyfall” and wants to try a little spy action of his or her own.

1. Wii U — The next generation of console gaming, the controller includes an LED screen that can be used either as a second screen or to play from after the main TV is turned off. Already hard to find, the console retails for $299.99 for the basic package.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 Gift Guides: Top DVD’s for tech geeks

People can be very specific in their wants and needs when it comes to electronics. I know -- I’m one of them.

The next best thing to getting someone the latest piece of technology is getting them something to use their their technology with. Purchasing a DVD is the perfect way to do that, as new combo packs offer a variety of ways to view each movie, whether it’s in 3D, Bluray or a regular old DVD player, or even as a digital copy now available on many mobile devices. There is nothing better to get someone that has everything than some of the latest and greatest films.

Here are the 10 movies (in no particular order) that will be released between Nov. 20 and Christmas that will have just about any pop-culture savvy person salivating.

M.I.B. III — Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back. J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K's life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. Available Nov. 30.

The Dark Knight Rises — Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy concludes with this Warner Brothers release that finds the Dark Knight pitted against Bane, an unstoppable foe with tremendous physical and intellectual strength. Nearly a decade after taking the fall for Harvey Dent's death and disappearing into the darkness, a fugitive Batman (Christian Bale) watches from the shadows as the Dent Act keeps the streets of Gotham City free of crime. Meanwhile, an elusive cat burglar seizes the chance to strike, and a masked anarchist plots a devastating series of attacks designed to lure Bruce Wayne out of the shadows. Available Dec. 4.

Ice Age: Continental Drift — Scrat's acorn obsession sparks a continental catastrophe that sends Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary), and Sid (John Leguizamo) on an epic adventure involving a shipful of fearsome pirates, and an unexpected reunion. Available Dec. 11.

The Expendables 2 — When things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time. But that's nothing compared to the justice they serve the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. Available Nov. 20.

Resident Evil: Retribution — Awakening in a top-secret Umbrella facility as the T-virus threatens to wipe out the last remnants of humanity, Alice (Milla Jovovich) must battle her way through virtual simulations to break out of the complex and save Earth. Available Dec. 21.

Premium Rush — A crooked cop (Michael Shannon) pursues a New York City bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) carrying a mysterious package in this urban thriller from director/co-writer David Koepp. Available Dec. 21.

Arbitrage — When we first meet New York hedge fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere) on the eve of his 60th birthday, he appears the very portrait of success in American business and family life. But behind the gilded walls of his mansion, Miller is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed. Available Dec. 21.

Total Recall — The planet has been decimated by nuclear war in the late 21st century, leaving only two nations -- the United Federation of Britain and the Colony. Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker with a stable job and a loving wife (Kate Beckinsale), but upon learning that a company named Rekall could grant him the memory of the ultimate espionage adventure, he decides that a virtual vacation is better than no vacation at all. Available Dec. 18.

Ted —  The story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish ... and has refused to leave his side ever since. Available Dec. 11.

The Bourne Legacy — The fourth installment in the highly successful Bourne series sees the return of the franchise's screenwriter, Tony Gilroy, stepping into the director's seat for an entry that sidelines main character Jason Bourne to focus on a fellow estranged assassin (Jeremy Renner). Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz costar, with Joan Allen and Albert Finney reprising their roles from previous films. Available Dec. 21.

2012 Holiday gift guide: Books

I’m an avid reader and always looking to discover a new writer or book that I’ll enjoy.

I’ve never been one to stick to a specific genre or style, which makes buying for me easier, but tougher because you never know if it will be of interest to me. This shopping list is for readers like me.

Here are 10 books that have been released in the last 12 months that should appeal to broad audiences.

“Matched” (trilogy) — Ally Condie’s first book “Matched” was released in 2011 and two follow-ups, “Crossed” and “Reached,” both were published this year. The books draw strong connections to “1984” and “The Giver” as the reader is introduced a “perfect” society where every decision is made for people, from whom they will marry to what job they will have. But then there’s a glitch.

“The Mark of Athena” (Heroes of Olympus, Book 3) — Rick Riordan continues the story of Percy Jackson, which began in a previous book series. Here, Percy takes a back seat to allow other characters shine through. Riordan wrote the book for young adults, but it can be fun for all ages if you let your imagination wonder. In this series, the ancient Greek and Roman gods still exist, but their worlds are hidden from modern society behind a “mist.”

“Game On: Find Your Purpose” — Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, “Dancing with the Stars” champion and successful real estate investor, outlines the principles that helped him become a winner on and off the field. Great for football fans or people that love autobiographies.

‘Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” — Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meachem chronicles the life and times of Jefferson during his rise to the presidency. It perfectly details the man and his passions.

“Frozen Heat” — The fourth book written by Richard Castle in the “Nikki Heat” series. Castle is the world famous author played by Nathan Fillion in the hit ABC television show “Castle.” In a media crossover, the network hired ghostwriters to bring the series to life in novels. All four have been mainstays on the New York Times best sellers list.

“Gone Girl” — Penned by Gillian Flynn, this thriller could be snatched from recent headlines. It’s the story of a wife gone missing and her husband is the main suspect. But after more clues begin to reveal themselves, just how many enemies did the wife really have?

“Deadlocked” — Charlaine Harris hits another home run with the 12th book in her “Southern Vampire” mysteries series, which has been turned into the HBO series “True Blood.” Here, Sookie must look into the death of a young girl who was killed at a vampire party.

“The Book Thief” — Markus Zusak is the author, but Death is the star of this book. The Grim Reaper narrates a story about a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter and quite a lot of thievery.

“The Casual Vacancy” — J.K. Rowling’s first foray into adult literature and the first book of any kind since the end of the “Harry Potter” series. The story is set in Pagford, a small town in England, and watches how small-town politics affect life as the town tries to fill a vacancy on the town council after a member dies.

“The Fault in Our Stars” — John Green writes about Hazel, a 13-year-old girl diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer. She was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrinks the tumors ... for now.

CAUGHT IN THE WEB: I wanna write about me!

This was written for the Dec. 9, 2012 editions of The News-Herald Newspapers.

This is the final time that I will write this column

If a prediction by the ancient Mayan culture is correct, that is. I only write this column every couple of weeks due to a rotation with our other Web-centric workers here in the office. That means my next turn isn’t until after the time the Mayans have predicted the end of the world, which is scheduled for Dec. 21. But hey, if the Mayans are right, the people I didn’t buy Christmas gifts for won’t be mad at me.

Not that I buy into that doom-and-gloom scenario of the end of the world. I mean, it’s silly, right? Ah well, at least I’ll get to see my birthday (which is Thursday for any adoring readers who want to shower me in praise and well wishes).

Then again, why is a birthday something I should celebrate; it’s more an accomplishment for my mother than it was for me. I mean she did all the work, right? Maybe this year I’ll get her a gift for my birthday.

Being that this could be my last time writing this column, though, I want to write about me. I mean, normally, I like writing about you, usually, but occasionally, I wanna write about me.

When you started reading this you thought I was going to ramble on about what we did on the Web this week. Don’t worry, I’ll get to that later. But now, more about me. It’s the subject that I am the world’s foremost expert on, after all. Like did you know that I am an only child, but I have three sisters who are blood-related. Or that when I graduated from high school U.S. Sen. John Kerry was our keynote speaker?

OK, maybe you knew that last one, but did you know that I’m an avid science-fiction fan? No matter the medium. Star Wars or Star Trek? I’m not choosy; I’ll take them both.

I suppose that’s enough about me, but I reserve the right to revisit the issue if it turns out that I’m right and the Mayans were wrong. Now it’s time to talk about my co-workers and all they have brought to you this week on the Web, and, in turn, what you, the readers, have enjoyed on our website and social media accounts.

Our top stories this week include one by Alan Burdziak out of Southgate about the potential closing of three schools as early as next school year due to financial troubles facing the district. Not only was this our most popular story, but it also was one of our most commented on, both on Facebook and on TheNewsHerald.com, as parents, students (both current and former) and many other people weighed in on potential solutions to the problem. People also discussed problems that might arise from closing the schools. However, a decision is likely to be made quickly in order to let the planning for next year move forward as smoothly as possible.

The second most popular story blew up Wednesday morning when it was posted. More than 4,000 people read Andrea Blum’s story about Rich Pyle, who is on the truTV reality show “Hardcore Pawn,” about a Detroit pawn shop. Pyle is a Woodhaven resident and is in a band that is releasing it’s second album soon. We did not expect so many to read the story so quickly.

The next couple of popular stories, both from David Komer, came out of Taylor. A police officer, Christopher Cates, was making a routine traffic stop when the driver grabbed his shirt and attempted to drive away while dragging the officer with him. Cates was uninjured and the driver was later arrested in Wyandotte.

Komer’s second story was tragic. Thursday morning a mobile home caught fire, causing the death of a 73-year-old woman who was visiting her son. Investigators believe the fire was caused by a space heater, but the investigation is ongoing.

A story out of Riverview rounded out our top five most popular stories last week. It was written by a former News-Herald reporter and longtime contributor, David Gorgon. It was about Riverview Community Schools dedicating a tree in memory of a student who died in a car crash in Monroe County over the summer. The story wasn’t about the horrific crash, but about the beautiful dedication ceremony with family and friends that will allow Amanda James to be remembered as students and staff walk past the tree on a daily basis.

As many of you already have discovered, our high school sports coverage moved to a new website (MIPrepZone.com) at the beginning of the fall season. Tens of thousands of you have moved over there to find the source of prep coverage Downriver, but now for our Twitter audience: Just this week, the sports department started a strictly prep Twitter account, and they promise to be using it as much as possible in the winter season. Follow them on Twitter @MIPrepZone_NH.

I guess until next time, I’ll see you in the inter-Web; check us out daily.

Contact Video Coordinator Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 or dherndon@heritage.com. Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Look at this Instagram


Quite possibly one of the best parodies ever written. And yes, that is a picture of me as I watched the video for the third straight time. Flippin' hilarious.

New comic book releases Dec. 5, 2012.



Gary Banac, the manager of Big Ben's Comix Oasis in Allen Park discusses some of the newly released comics for Dec. 5.

Telephone: # 313-382-0700

Fax:# 313-382-0772

Email: bigbencomixoasis@aol.com

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Castle - Secret Santa, reviewed

Castle season 5, episode 10: Secret Santa. In a Castle holiday episode, when a bearded, rotund man in a red Santa suit with an ID reading Kris Kringle falls from the sky in Central Park, Castle and Beckett are on the hunt to find the person who killed Santa. But everything isn’t holiday cheer, as they discover St. Nick may have been more naughty than nice. Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett prepare for their first Christmas together. 
The episode is one of the strongest of the season, and includes something for every fan of the series.

Captain Gates is becoming a real character, rather than just the curmudgeonly boss, Javier has some great scenes, including a fight with a group of Santa Claus' a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Jingle All the Way," and there is some key developments for both Alexis and Castle and Beckett's relationship.

Overall it's a solid A.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New comic book day 11-14-12




Gary Banac, the manager of Big Ben's Comix Oasis in Allen Park discusses some of the newly released comics for Nov. 14.

Telephone: # 313-382-0700

Fax:# 313-382-0772

Email: bigbencomixoasis@aol.com

Monday, November 12, 2012

Star Trek TNG Season 2 Blu-ray Theater Event Set For Nov. 29

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Two will arrive on Blu-ray on December 4, and that can only mean one thing: fans will be able to check out two episodes on the big screen as part of a special in-theater event entitled Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Celebration of Season 2. NCM Fathom Events and CBS Home Entertainment are teaming up to present the one-night-only event, which will be held in select theaters nationwide at 7 p.m. on November 29. The fan-favorite second-season episodes “Q Who?” and “The Measure of a Man” will be shown, with “The Measure of a Man” not only upgraded to HD, but extended with the world premiere of 13 minutes of never-before-seen footage.

Further, fans will be treated to never-before-seen interviews with the original cast members and a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the artists who created the original FX elements and photography. Also on tap: an exclusive look at the extensive season-two restoration effort and an emotional, laugh-filled reunion of the original TNG cast members, captured in December 2011, as they celebrated 25 years of TNG.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Star Wars officially sells out

I'm still not 100 percent sure how I feel about this personally. Expect a blog with my opinions on it soon.
I did however come across this video on Youtube.

George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of Lucasfilm, discuss the future of Star Wars movies. 

Lucas, who created the franchise, will serve as a creative consultant on the new project, with Kennedy, running the show as executive producer. Kennedy will also take over the role of president of Lucasfilm, reporting to the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and become the "brand manager" for the Star Wars franchise.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Clark Kent leaves the Planet

   That's right sports fans, err comic fans, media aficionados etc. The world of journalism lost one of its own this week.
   Clark Kent got fed up with entertainment reporting, bloggers and citizen journalists, all things that my own company tends to be pushing toward, and he quit. In the latest edition of DC Comics "Superman" title, which hits news stands today, Kent told longtime editor Perry White that he couldn't take it any more and he left.
   Speculation tends to point that he will start his own website, vis-a-vi the Huffington Post but nothing has been confirmed just yet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Third annual FanFare kicks off Friday



   DEARBORN  — Pending a last-minute deal, the Hyatt Regency could shutter its doors at 11:59 p.m. Oct. 31, but that won’t stop the Detroit FanFare from rocking out there this weekend. Starting Friday and running through Sunday the hotel will host a convention that is open to all ages that will celebrate the comic book industry and pop culture as a whole.

   The third annual FanFare is a throwback to the Detroit Triple Fan Fair which was the nation’s first ever annual comic convention beginning in 1965 running through 1978.

   “We are the resurrection of the original Detroit Triple Fan Fair, which was held in downtown Detroit in 1965 at the Book Cadillac Hotel,” Tony Miello, co-promoter the Fare said.

   The festivities will kick-off with a 5 p.m. Zombie Walk outside of the convention entrance. Anyone dressed in zombie attire will get into the opening night of the convention free. Undead of all ages are welcome to participate.

Michael Jai White
A re-issue of Black Dynamite #1 will
be available.
   The convention will also feature more than 100 comic creators, panels, discussions, seminars, auctions and a costume contest among other things. Michael Jai White, who starred in the 2009 film “Black Dynamite” and 1997’s “Spawn” as well for doing several voice acting roles in animated superhero TV series and Sam Jones, from 1980’s “Flash Gordon” will be the two big movie draws along with David Prowse who was the man inside the Darth Vader costume during the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

   Among the weekend's featured activities are Blood 4 Comics and Sci-Fi Speed Dating. Stop by the Detroit chapter of the Red Cross on the convention floor to donate blood and get a stack of comics free. For those attending the convention stag, stars of the TLC show Geek Love will be at Detroit FanFare for some rapid fire love connections. Preregistration is required for the speed dating event.

Black Dynamite
   “Our aim is to pay tribute to all those in the comic book industry who came before us,” Miello said. “And to acknowledge the importance that Metro Detroit played in the industry's history.”
   A weekend pass for the convention is $15, children 12 and under are $5 on Saturday or free on Sunday for kids day. Tickets include admission into Friday night's preview party from midnight to 2 a.m. in the Marquee Ballroom, featuring music by the Buddy Black Band. The official convention party takes place Saturday, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Marquee Ballroom. The party will feature a Best Costume Contest. The parties are only for ticket holders over 21-years old.

   The hotel is located at 600 Town Center Drive.

   For more information, visit detroitfanfare.com. Visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/detroit.fanfare.

   Contact Video Coordinator Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 or dherndon@heritage.com. Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Destination Star Trek: London

A woman dressed as the Star Trek character
 'Leeta' (C) and man dressed as 'Rom' (2R)
 arrive to attend the 'Destination Star Trek London' convention
 at the ExCeL centre on October 19, 2012 in London, England.
 The three-day convention, which opened to the general public today,
 will be attended by all five actors who played captains
 throughout the 46-year-old series. 
   Damn, I REALLY want to be there for this.

   I may be mistaken but I think that this is the first, and potentially last time that all five actors to have captained a ship in the Star Trek Universe (at least on TV, sorry Chris Pine) have been in one place at the same time. I suppose it's not "all" since the actor that played Capt. Pike isn't there, but it's as close as we can otherwise get.
 
Actors William Shatner who plays Captain James T. Kirk the original
 version of Star Trek and Avery Brooks who plays Captain Benjamin Sisko in Deep Space Nine
 arrives at the Destination Star Trek London event in London October 18, 2012. 
   The problem we have here, is that the convention in is London. I have no way to get there. The heart is willing, but the body is unable. (As is the pocket book...)

   Maybe I could get my boss to finance a trip as long as I filed reports from there next year? That's totally something that a bi-weekly community newspaper should cover right? Many more photos at the link.

Check out about 20 more pictures here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arrow premiere leaves lots for improvement

Tonight's premiere of the CW's Arrow left a lot to be desired in the eyes of this comic book fan.

There were just way too many changes to the origin of the character and in key aspects for a long time fan to enjoy.

The action sequences were the only thing worth sticking around for in this one.

Monday, October 1, 2012

MANCHILD REVIEWS: Castle Season 5, Episode 2

    "Cloudy with a chance of murder," opens up with Beckett heading back to work for the first time after her suspension.
   Castle joins her and the rest of the team in trying to solve the murder of a local weather girl that is on the wrong side of 30.
   Beckett and Castle work to try to hide there blooming romance, and are relatively successful. Overall a solid episode.


MANCHILD REVIEWS: Star Wars, The Clone Wars: Darth Maul Returns

   I love the Clone Wars cartoon, and with this collection the series stays just as strong as it ever was.
   The voice acting from Sam Witwer as Darth Maul is fantastic, and the animation is on par with the great stuff from the rest of the series.
   This is edited together to for a director's cut "feature film" presentation that stays as strong as the episodes were individually.






MANCHILD REVIEW: Marvel One Shot, Item 47

   This is the first film of its kind, and hopefully not the last.
   I absolutely love the concept, and the execution of this film. It was well planned and well thought out. I'm glad that the executives at Marvel were willing to take a shot on this.
   Hopefully it goes over well and we get to see more in this series.




Sunday, September 30, 2012

MANCHILD REVIEWS: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) pilot

   Wow, not a lot I can say about this one right now, other than it was bad.

   I grew up a Ninja Turtles fan, and remain one to this day. I've loved most everything turtles related, a few notable exceptions along the way.

   But this is just reprehensible garbage. From voice acting to character design, there are few redeeming qualities here.

MANCHILD REVIEW: The Dark Knight Returns part 1

  Starting this out quickly, I don't understand the title since the entire graphic novel is presented here.
   I didn't care for Peter Weller's voice work, and the animation style was a bit off for my tastes.
   That said. I loved the movie as it was a pretty direct translation of Frank Miller's fantastic book.





Monday, September 24, 2012

MANCHILD REVIEW: Castle season 5 "After the Storm"

   Castle is one of the best shows on the air today. The season five premiere has been long awaited for fans such as myself.
   The answer to will they or won't they is finally answered, and now we get to see how the dynamics of the relationship will change, or not.
   Plus we get a great cameo from Jack Coleman, the infamous HRG from "Heroes" fame among other shows. Overall a good episode, I gave it a B, but perhaps I was too harsh? Weigh in in the comments below.

MANCHILD DISCUSSIONS: The Dark Knight Returns

Dave Herndon and David Komer discuss their personal relationships with the Frank Miller classic while awaiting the release of the animated movie.


MANCHILD REVIEWS: Green Lantern #0

A week after getting the chance to talk with creator Geoff Johns, I finally got a chance to read Green Lantern #0. It was everything I had hoped for, but still missing just a little something. I'm looking forward to the next issue though.


Friday, September 14, 2012

A case of the Thursdays ...


Many people claim to “hate Mondays,” well after the last few weeks, I hate Thursdays.

A recent Thursday started off great, I got to sleep in a bit because I had a 10:30 doctor’s appointment meaning that I wouldn’t be heading into work until after. Since my doctor’s office is only four miles from my house, I didn’t have to get up before 7 a.m. Like usual.

It was all downhill from there.

I woke up about 8 a.m. Only to discover that my ap-pointment hadn’t been logged by the doctor, so I wouldn’t be getting the “good” news in the form of test results from my doctor.

I decided to make the best of it, and made a quick ap-pointment for my border collie/chow mix at the veterinarian because she’s having skin issues.

The good news is that my vet was able to help me get her issue under control; the bad news is that I was out about $95 and now have to figure out how to get her to take pills multiple times a day.

Then it was time to head off to work, but first I needed gas. Of course, had I filed the tank the night before it would have been nearly 30 cents cheaper per gallon. When you drive 40 plus miles each way to work, those pennies add up quickly.

Thursdays are typically a late night at work for me, and starting off three hours late in the morning didn’t leave me thinking I’d be heading home anytime soon.

But wait, there’s more. I had forgotten that I had promised a colleague at the Dearborn Press & Guide that I would help him with doing play-by-play for the opening night of the high school football season, meaning that I had to take another three hours or so out of the evening.

It was the first time that the P&G had ever done a live Web stream of a sporting event, and he was nervous — though he’ll never admit it.

I have a background in radio, and I love football, so it was a good fit, but I had totally forgotten about it being that day.

On my way to the game, I received a call with news from the doctor. He told me that I have diabetes. Not a shock, but not something you want to hear on the phone either.

The broadcast went well, but that forced me to work until after 2 a.m. by the time I got the rest of my work done.

I don’t mind the late nights every now and again, so that wasn’t a negative.

Normally when I work late, I stay with my dad and step-mom. They live in Gibraltar, so it makes it nice to have a place to crash sometimes.

They hadn’t received my phone call that I’d be by really late, and locked the door. That wouldn’t have been an issue, but several months ago I misplaced my keys to their house.

Dad gets up early for work, so I decided to sit in the driveway for the two hours until he would get up rather than waking him early. He can be kind of cranky after all.

So I parked at the end of the drive, and fell asleep in the car. Apparently the next morning he didn’t notice me in the car and left for work, locking the door once again behind himself.

That left me heading off to a 9 a.m. meeting with the new principal at Arno Elementary School in fresh clothes, but sans a shower.

Fast forward a week … I was finally able to get in to see the doctor, but wasn’t made aware of the appointment until Wednesday night, so I hadn’t been able to plan for it.

The appointment went OK, though I had to wait about half an hour, which wasted most of my morning by the time we were done, and I got more pills to take for various medical issues.

I’ve always been relatively healthy other than my weight issues, so all of these pills are bothering me, but I’ll learn to manage.

After that, I ended up working until after midnight again, though this time I didn’t try to stay with my dad.

Problem was, I spent most of the rest of the normal work day waiting on people to call me back for stories, which never happened.

I didn’t get a single comment on the record all day.

Such is the life of a journalist, I suppose.

Contact Video Coordinator Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 or dherndon@heritage.com. Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Geoff Johns returns home to promote new Arab-American comic book character

DEARBORN – Geoff Johns appears to be at home when he's telling stories, whether its helping a group of children create “Dr. Tomato” or telling a room full of people a story involving his mother and a Boba Fett action figure he is obviously very comfortable telling a story.
It's even more evident when you look at his career, Johns is the most prolific comic book writer in the modern age of comics. He also writes screenplays, video games and for several TV shows.
Johns told a lot of stories during a visit the Arab American National Museum Saturday.
He held a seminar on creating comic books for kids in the early afternoon and then hosted a question and answer session for the community at large in the late afternoon.
Johns, who grew up in Metro Detroit and graduated from Michigan State University, returned to his home state to promote the launch of his newest character in the DC Universe.
The character – Simon Baz, is the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps and the first Arab-American superhero from any of the major comic publishers.
Johns shares many similar traits to Baz, both have a strong Lebanese heritage. When asked how much of himself he put into the character, Johns said that he and the character are very different.
“He's a very different type of character,” he said. “I never stole cars.”
Johns said the creative team behind DC Comics wanted diversify the universe, so it was the perfect time to introduce the first Arab-American character.
To their credit, DC Comics publishers, Dan Didio and Jim Lee never questioned the move.
Diversification isn't a new concept in the comic book world, in the 1970's several characters were created during the blaxploitation era that reach most of the decade's pop culture.
Most of comic characters of that era are looked upon poorly by modern audiences. Johns said that he doesn't think Baz will have that type of legacy.
“I'm working with the Arab American Musuem to make sure the scripts are as real and as made up as possible,” he said. “I I just don't think that is going to happen. I hope it doesn't happen.
Johns is looking forward to introducing his character to the rest of the DCU. One detail that he let out about the upcoming arc in the Green Lantern book is the first time that Baz meets the Justice League. According to Johns the meet-up doesn't go as smoothly as one might hope, culminating is a stand-off where the League must decide if he is friend or foe.
Johns also wrote the recent Justice League #12 which sees Superman and Wonder Woman start a fledgling relationship for the first official time in the DCU.
A relationship between two of the tent pole characters of the DCU is made possible due to some of the resets with the DC New 52. The New 52 was a universe wide reboot that happened just over a year ago that allowed the creators of the comics to reset pieces of continuity that as they saw fit.
Johns first broke into the entertainment field as an intern and later a personal assistant to film director Richard Donner.
Johns worked on both 1997's “Conspiracy Theory” and 1998's “Lethal Weapon 4” while working for Donner. During that time he also began selling stories to both DC and Marvel Comics.
The first character Johns sold to DC was Stargirl, whom he said was based largely on his sister.
All of Johns works from DC Comics were donated to the museum library to be included in permanent collection. The “Geoff Johns Collection” contains more than 600 pieces.
“Green Lantern #0” is available at comic books stores everywhere.
Contact Staff Writer Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 or dherndon@heritage.com. Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter.