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A Thank You to the Comic Book Community from Boston Children’s Hospital

Dear friends in the comic book community,

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity you have shown our hospital and the city of Boston with your donations since the bombing. We have received approximately 2,000 comics and books, and are in the process of sorting them and distributing them to sick children. The donations have been so generous, that we have contacted child life specialists from other children’s hospitals in the area (Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center), and we will share your donations with them.

We have personally seen the smiles on kids faces as we have handed out the books, and we hope getting these into the hands of children will encourage a new generation of comic and book readers. Again, thanks to ALL of you: publishers, writers, artists, and fans who are helping us bounce back from a terrible tragedy.

Sincerely,

Athos Bousvaros, MD
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston, MA

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Twenty Important Things I Learned in My 20s

I’m going to be thirty years old in a few months, and I’m psyched about it. Not in the “oh yeah, I’m so psyched to be old” kind of way, but more like the, “oh snap, I’m a grown-up lady…and I kinda like it!”

My twenties have been a non-stop Tilt-a-Whirl ride of “learning experiences” — like, discovering how much bourbon one should/should not drink in six-inch heels; that you should check that the 3-bedroom steal in Park Slope, Brooklyn is actually legal (and that you won’t be evicted); that you shouldn’t miss a train in Europe without preparing to be stranded overnight in a Rotterdam motel filled with prostitutes and drug dealers; oh, and that tattoos are permanent.

But there are more important lessons to gain by the time you hit the big 3-0, and I’d like to think I’ve gathered some nuggets of wisdom along the way. Here are twenty of them:

1. It doesn’t matter where you are — it’s how you feel and who you’re with. In the past 10 years, I’ve lived in nine apartments and six cities. Most of those apartments were pretty crappy and some of the cities were tough to navigate, but the people I kept around me made it bearable and, dare I say it — incredibly fulfilling. Drinking also helps.

2. Prepare for the future, even if you live in the now. Save a small amount of money into an account you don’t touch, every time you get a paycheck; your future self will thank you. And, for the record, my “now” self is calling my past self a whimsical idiot. Though, I really did need that pair of silk parachute pants.

3. It’s okay to eff up. There are no mistakes, only lessons learned, blah blah blah. You know it. But seriously, take away any labels of “negative” and “positive” and see it as a necessary part of figuring out who you are and what you’re good at. Jobs that don’t work out, relationships that fizzle, checks that bounce — all these things happen to propel you, better-equipped, into your next great adventure.

4. Nothing in life is certain. It’s okay if your plans don’t work out; we can’t predict or control the future. We can make confident, educated and deliberate decisions, but that’s the best we can do.

5. Be nice to everyone. It’s a small world, after all. And karma’s a nasty, nasty betch. She also works Tuesday and Thursday evenings at FlashDancers.

6. Don’t post photos on the internet you wouldn’t want your Mom or your boss to see. No explanation needed, YOU DUMMY.

7. Moisturize. Your skin won’t be this silky smooth and radiant forever. *sobs*

8. Road trips are rites of passage. If I were the Head Principal of Life School, I would require everyone to take at least one 10-hour road trip across the U.S. Not only does it remind you that other places exist outside your bubble, it shows you the ways other people live their lives (and makes you appreciate your own). Take in the landscapes, weird-smelling truck stops, cheap diner food, and be amazed by how much more everything means, even if it’s generally disgusting.

9. Be content being alone. For whatever reason you’re single, be whole on your own. Despite the words of Jerry Maguire or Dr. Evil, nobody will ever complete you — but they will compliment you. That said, I’m single and if you know any man willing to please be my boyfriend, tell them I’ll try not to cry as much as I regularly do.

10. Accept sickness and death — it will happen. I feel like most of our lives are spent trying desperately to avoid this fact. It’s not rude, inappropriate or insensitive to be at peace with the fact that nothing is permanent or perfect.

11. Let go. Our egos can be our worst enemy. If we can let go of pride, jealousy, and the need for validation, we leave energy to focus on more important things. Stop texting your d-bag, emotionally unavailable ex-boyfriend or girlfriend because you want attention (unless he or she buys you presents).

12. The food you eat is more powerful than you think. After bouts of both completely irresponsible food choices and immaculately healthy ones, I can tell you with absolute certainty that, if it’s not fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats (though some will beg to differ), it’s mild poison. Granted, I’ll still gladly consume that poison, because I like cheese, crust and marinara, and I like feeling the good feelings.

13. You always have a choice. It’s not that you can’t...it’s that you’re choosing not to.

14. Be as selfless as you can. In a society that reveres individuality and personal achievement, the “you do you” mentality has eclipsed our “do unto others.” We’re all in this together, even though a lot of people are assholes. Don’t be one of them.

15. Read books. Oh, you don’t like to read? Do it anyway. It will literally make you smarter. Plus, I’m judging you.

16. Don’t label or categorize yourself — you’re a fluid entity. You have qualities and characteristics, but you can’t be defined. Don’t pigeonhole yourself.

17. Always take risks. As the wise performing artist Drake would say, YOLO. And, as my fortune cookie says, “You only need look to your own reflection for inspiration. Because you are Beautiful!” What?

18. The blue pill is always an option. You don’t need to know everything. I sometimes find myself tortured by the need to always know what’s going on — what’s that person thinking? Why would they do that? What’s going to happen? Always stay curious, but pick and choose your mental battles.

19. Some friends you’ll have forever; most of them you won’t. As we change, the people that fit into our lives do, too. Solid friends are there whether you talk to them every day or once every couple of months, and aren’t phased if it’s the latter. Be the kind of friend you want in other people, and you’ll get some good ones — and be able to filter out the ones with no bro code.

20. Everything is going to be alright. It really is. Just let it.

The bounty.

The Several-Month Comic Book Hiatus.

Today, I instituted an active “forced-hour-of-reading” rule, in which I would make the time to indulge in my favorite past-time, one hour per day. To prepare, I brewed some chamomile in a favorite clay mug, grabbed my lip balm (a necessity), lit a candle and curled up on the couch with one of the many novels piling up on my “to-read” shelf.

That hour consisted of a metaphorical WWE fight in my brain between Broca’s area and the right hemisphere, my eyes glazing over pages of text while my brain ticked off things I should be doing instead of sitting there. Work: update the analytics spreadsheet. Send that email. Pick out what you’re going to wear to tomorrow night’s event. Shopping list — I need milk (Lactaid), whole wheat bread, egg whites, tomatoes. Sharpen your eyeliner pencil.

So, maybe the long work of fiction wasn’t going to work for me today. I turned to my ever-climbing pile of single issue comic books  — all #1’s of new series — that I had purchased in one of my comic book shop fits (where I black out and end up with a receipt for $150 an hour later), glaring at me from my night table. I tossed them onto the couch, took a happy breath, and began.

So, I’m reading today. Together, the art and words have done the trick, allowing me to engage the parts of my brain needed to distract me from those looming responsibilities. Next stop will be back to the comic shop for the #2s (and so on), which I have made a personal promise to not leave collecting dust for six months.

Then again, I can always wait for the trades.

_____________________

In case you’re wondering, here’s what’s in my bounty:

  • TMNT reboot, #1 + #2
  • Batwoman, Zero Issue (Jan ’11)
  • The Infinite Vacation, #2
  • King, #1
  • Bendis & Bagley’s Brilliant, #1
  • R13, #1C
  • Batman: Gates of Gotham, #1
  • Green Wake, #1 + #2
  • Drums, #1
  • Scarlet, #1-3
  • Last Mortal, #1
  • Philip K. Dick’s Electric Ant, #1 + #2
  • Abe Sapien, #1 (of 2)
  • Ultimate Comics: X-Men, #1
  • Nether World, #1
  • Butcher Baker, #1 +#2
  • X-Men: Giant Size, #1
  • Batman: Arkham City, #1
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Do They Speak “Awesome” in Costa Rica?

Well, it’s official: I’m a spoiled brat. You all may have known this before, and my parents have been well aware of this for years – but it has reached a whole new level with this latest development: I just received an all-expenses-paid, 8-day, 7-night trip to Costa Rica from their Tourism Board.
It’s called The Million Dollar Gift of Happiness, and they’ve gifted lucky bloggers and social media people like yours truly with an opportunity to experience Costa Rica in all its beauty. And they don’t just send you there and say hasta luego – they pack each day with incredible adventures: an aerial tram tour over the rainforest, tours of small towns and organic cocoa + banana plantations; Caribbean cooking with the locals, rides down the Yorkin River in a dug-out canoe; and visits to an exotic animal rescue center (where you get to play with MONKEYS!!!1!!!) . And don’t forget beach lounging and spa-going at the 4-star resorts.

So…see the sloth guy up in that picture? He’s my new best friend. We’ll be bunking together. I’ll make him little hats out of scraps of my clothing, and I will see how long it takes for him to rip it off his head and gauge out my eyes with his sickle-like hands.

Thank you to the wonderful Alana Brooks for making this happen, and, of course to Visit Costa Rica (@Visit_CostaRica) for this insane opportunity.

Where Have the Good Men Gone, Kay Hymowitz? Change Your Definition of “Good.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s most recent “Saturday Essay” from author Kay S. Hymowitz (the WSJ acting as pimp-in-the-white-tie for Hymnowitz’s upcoming book, “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys”) has caused quite a Twittering over the past few days. Men are offended by Hymnowitz’s small-minded approach to today’s 20-something man:

…and what is expected of them:

While I agree with Hymowitz’s analysis of our economy, the shift of the 20-something man’s priorities (to find a career, be happy – not to just subsist in the world) is palpable. But it has been quite similar for women – in a world where we have so many options, and women don’t necessarily need to get married for survival, we question its very necessity.

Thus, what this article completely lacks is a commentary of the women on the other side of the spectrum, reveling in this “new” breed of man: the woman who refuses to marry unless she happens to meet a person who matches her intentions, who compliments her faults, strengthens her weaknesses, and she his own.

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