The W Curve According to Wolverine and Spidey

Whenever I hear or learn about the W curve, it reminds me of Spider-man and Wolverine. This post is a compare/contrast of these two characters. Why?! Because no two college students are the same! Your experience will be different from your roommates, from the guy sitting in front of you in class, to, well, anyone at your college campus! I know I have talked about Spidey a lot recently, but he makes my point! Wolverine is new to this discussion and I am glad I can involve him.  The W curve doesn’t just relate to college. You will go through the steps of the W curve through almost every aspect of your life. Your first job, buying a home, traveling, having kids, it all relates back to the W curve.


The W curve begins with the Honeymoon stage. For the first time in your life, you will be on your own. No one will be telling you when to go to bed, what to eat, if you should go to class or not, all the decisions are yours! You are free to be your own person, and that is awesome! Like Spider-man, who was ecstatic, confused but ecstatic, he did all he could to feel the freedom and rush of having his new powers! As will you. You will test your limits and boundaries, discover who you are.

But, the Honeymoon stage cannot last forever. For some, the honeymoon stage lasts for a couple weeks, others a couple months, and for some they never experience the honeymoon stage, but rather go straight to the Cultural Shock stage! The latter of the three reminds me of Wolverine. Looking past Wolverine’s time in Weapon X (when he was experimented on) or his time in the Canadian Wilderness, but rather when he became a resident of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and a member of the X-men. He has hit by culture shock hardcore! Being in a place such as that, it was new, disorienting, and something he was unfamiliar with. Spider-man also was affected by Cultural Shock when Uncle Ben died and he began to fight crime. Entering into this new terrain can be frightening and after the Honeymoon stage, after being away from the familiarity of your hometown and family, the cultural workings of college can be stifling. But here is the thing about the W curve…none of the stages last forever!

After a while, after meeting friends, getting involved, doing well in your classes, the next stage of the W curve occurs: Initial Adjustment. Everyone goes through it sooner or later, even superheroes. Spider-man and Wolverine both acclimated to their new lives and responsibilities. It takes time and effort. It isn’t the type of thing that will shift overnight. It would be cool if it did, but it doesn’t happen that way. Easiest way to adjust to college or any new experience? Get involved, ask for help, and know that you are not alone!!!  There are so many people around you who are going through the same thing. You have friends, family, and other loved ones who want to see you succeed. Spidey and Wolverine had their own support systems which made the adjustment easier (Aunt May and MJ for Spider-man and the X-men/Professor X for Wolverine.) Don’t think you have to do it on your own.

Of course, with any W, after the first up there is a second down. The mental isolation stage. This is when you feel the most alone, and in my personal opinion, this is the hardest part about the W curve. You start wondering “Is college for me?” “Would I be happier doing something else?” The thoughts that you are the only person who feels this way, that no one understands the stress and strain you under. (For most people this occurs right after Thanksgiving Break). Everyone goes through some degree of this isolation. Peter Parker gave up being Spider-man at one point because he couldn’t stand being the only person that knew he was Spider-man and Wolverine, well Wolverine always found a way to isolate himself from others, there were just times in which it was worse. Like all the stages before, this too will end. How?! Talk to family, talk to friends, make sure you are INVOLVED!!! I cannot state that enough! Getting involved makes all of this so much easier! And don’t be afraid to ask for help or even take time for yourself if need be.

And of course, the W curve does come to an end with Acceptance and Integration. By the end of all of it, you will feel like a member of the community, a part of the bigger group! Whether it be a part of the group, the campus, the team, or whatever you have been involved with. You may even begin to call your campus home. For some, this can take just a semester to feel accepted and integrated into the community, for others it can take the entire academic year. Why is there such a difference? Those who get involved earlier and stay involved are able to acclimate to their new accommodations easier than those that do not! So even more than just talking about Wolverine and Spider-man and the W curve, the biggest thing I can say is GET INVOLVED!!!

 

The 3 F’s of Life


When I was five I started liking superheroes, not in the reading comic books kind of sense, I actually didn’t pick up a comic book until I was 13. No, at 5 I started liking superheroes because a friend of mine liked superheroes. I could not tell you his name, because I do not remember it for the life of me. My parents could probably tell you, but again, that is beside the point. When I was five I started liking superheroes because a friend of mine liked superheroes and he had a Spider-Man costume.

So you have to be asking yourself, is this blog post about peer pressure and how you shouldn’t give into it?! Not at all, people are going to influence you for your entire life, it’s how the world works. What this blog post is about is simply why I like Spider-Man. I have made some allusions towards Spider-man in previous posts, but haven’t done one just on him.

So why do I like Spider-man? Well Spider-Man was the first superhero I ever liked, but as I got older and started reading comics the web-head grew on me. Peter Parker was 15 when he was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him the abilities to become Spider-Man. And at 13, I really connected to him. He was like any teenage kid. He had his problems at school, he struggled with girls, and he wasn’t like other superheroes who were rich and/or successful. He was just a kid from Queens.

As I grew older I found that I could still connect with Spider-Man because, like myself, he had experienced the 3 F’s. What are the 3 F’s you ask?! It is something that everyone experience at some point in their life, most experience it in college. The 3 F’s are Fear, Failure, and Falling. There are so many instances in which Spider-Man lived through the fears, failures, and fallings of life. He has found himself disappointed, hurt, and on the ground. He could have given up, told the world he had had enough and stay on the ground as he mended his wounds. But rather, the got back up and told those who wished to strike him down,”I will not disappear into the night, hide from my fears and my advisories.” When his family was threatened, when his friends left his side, when Gwen Stacy died and his marriage with Mary Jane was irradiated, he found himself back on his feet for he could not, would not give up.

When you come to college, even later in life, you will experience the 3 F’s. In high school there were many safety nets to keep you from feeling disappointment, fear, and pain. Some of you may have experienced failing a class, some of you have have had a failed relationship, and some of you may have never failed, never fallen, never feared. You had parents, teachers, advisors, and friends by your side helping you to stay on your feet. But now that you are entering college, many of those safety nets are being taken away, making it more inevitable that you may fear, fail, and fall. You will still have professors, advisors, friends, and family who will support you along the way, but their job is not to keep you on your feet, but help you back up when you need it.

The 3 F’s are not something that we want you to experience to be cruel or humiliate you. The point of failing, fearing, and falling is not there to say “you failed”. The point of the 3 F’s, the reason I bring it up today is not to talk about what happens during the 3 F’s, but what you do after. These moments are what my father would call character building moments. When you fail, when you fear, when you fall, (I say when because they will happen) you have a choice. You can either lay in the dirt and wait for someone to pick you up, or you can get back on your feet and face the next challenge that approaches, while remembering the lessons you learned from the last.

The 3 F’s do not just pertain to classes, but work, relationships, friendships, internships, and more. You may never fail a class in your entire college career, you might fail a test, but college is more than just classes and grades. It is about the things you learn in and outside of the classroom, while also growing as an individual from the successes and failures you insure.

The Unbalance in the World and How to Straighten it

For the past month or so I have been watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer with my fiance. This is my first time watching it through (probably her twentieth) and if you have never seen Buffy, let me give you a little heads up…the first season sucks, but it gets a lot better after that!! It is a lot like the newer seasons of Doctor Who! But I am not writing this to write about why you should or should not watch Buffy, or Doctor Who for that matter. What I want to focus on is something that I noticed while watching Buffy. (And yes, this does count as a superhero!! There is not only at TV show, but also a comic book series, therefore, she is a superhero…lawyered!)

So what have I noticed while watching Buffy? Unbalance. What do I mean by that? Like many students, she has school, work (we will call her slaying vampires and demons to be work), and the want to hang out with friends. However, because she has put her focus so much on her work and wanting to hang out with friends and puts her education on the back burner, however she has such great potential.

Thus, she is unbalanced. It is kind of like the college triangle. I don’t know if you have ever heard or seen it, but here it is. The way it works is simple: when it comes between good grades, a social life, or enough sleep, you can only pick two. Because Buffy is so focused on her work and have a social life, she has chosen her two. But this is what I have come to learn…you really do not need to choose two! College, life, anything you do, you do not need to choose only a certain number of things because someone has said that is how it works. Whether referring to college, work, or life, you can make it work. It is all about looking at your priorities and what you find to be important. Just looking at college, if you want to get good grade, have a social life, and get enough sleep, you can make it work. All that it means is that there are certain things that you may have to give up. Maybe you cannot party every day of the weekend, maybe you only get six hours of sleep rather than eight. The point is, you make sacrifices, you do what you need to do to get the things you want to get done.

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The point is, the triangle means nothing. It is more like this: pick what you need, pick what is important to you and what you want and need and then go get it. Don’t let someone else tell you that you cannot have all that you want, because that is horse crap! Yes, you may have to sacrifice sometime and some things, but that does not mean that you have to give up anything that you want and/or need. So go forth and accomplish all that you want, make the world a better place and have a wonderful time in college. While Buffy is very unbalanced, that does not mean that you have to be or even give up anything that you want. But hey, Buffy the Vampire Slayer still is a good show, so she does have that going for her!

The Psychos of Arkham

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So I have decided that this blog post should be about Batman, since the new Ben Afflack Batman photos have just been release. However, instead of focusing on Batman, I am going to talk about his villains. . Batman’s villains are unlike any others. The villains that Superman, Spider-man, or even the X-men fight for world or universal domination, power, fame, respect, or mainly to kill the heroes we love. While most of Batman’s villains are searching for the same things, what drives them is what makes them so interesting. With this blog post I want to talk about the push, the urge, the motivation the villains of Batman have within their own psychotic minds. Think about it…Mr. Freeze, obsessed with saving his wife, Nora; Killer Croc considers himself and looks to be more animal than man; Two-Face, a man who is fixated with the odds as well as perfect symmetry that with every decision he makes he feels obliged to flip a coin to seal the fates of others; and of course the kicker of them all…The Joker! There is too much to say about the Jokers psychosis to even begin…

With every other superhero, Marvel or DC, the hero beats up the bad guy and than takes them to jail. It is only with the Batman that his villains (super or not) are taken to an asylum. So what does that say about the villains of Batman? They have something more than wanting to be rich or famous or powerful that drives them (though that is an added perk). What makes them commit the crimes they do is the fact that they feel that they have to, they are forced into this life because it is the only thing that makes sense to them, and everything else is arbitrary. Take the Riddler for example; the Riddler, also known as Edward Nigma is fixated with riddles, puzzles and word games (as his name suggests). Why do all of his crimes revolve around riddles, puzzles, and word games? Because he is trying to prove that he is the intellectual superior to the “World’s Greatest Detective”. He thrives on trying to outwit the Batman, making his crimes ever so flamboyant and ridiculous just to do so. As many of you know, he is not a psychopath, but does suffer from an intense obsessive compulsion which is why he is so fixated on riddles and outsmarting Batman. He is such a smart guy, with an IQ of 187. Imagine if he was able to focus his intelligence and energy into controlling Gotham, he could have it done in a matter of hours and no one (except Batman) could stop him. Or how about the Arnold Wesker, the man “behind” Scarface? The thing that makes him such an interesting villain is we never really know if Wesker is the one controlling Scarface or if the puppet is the one calling the shots. Why we don’t know who is in charge is because Arnold suffers from multiple personality disorder, putting his aggressive tendencies within Scarface as Arnold is a very passive and submissive man. With a character like Arnold/Scarface it is difficult to know who is the real threat is.

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Not only does Batman have to deal with villains who are mentally imbalanced  but also with villains who understand the human psyche and love to exploit it. Dr. Crane, aka Scarecrow, THRIVES on exploiting the fears of others and studying them. He uses the fears of others to get what he wants, whether it be power, wealth, or just knowledge. Crane, one of Batman’s very intelligent enemies, having a PhD in psychology allows him to access the mind of his advisories. He knows how to manipulate the human mind so well that he actually had two men commit suicide just by using his words, so imagine the power and terror he can cause with a bunch of fear gas!! The other doctor who uses his intelligence and knowledge of the human psyche is Dr. Hugo Strange. Lead psychologist at Arkham Asylum, Dr. Strange is just as his name suggests…strange! He is probably the smartest guy in all of Gotham (besides Batman). Why do I say that? Well he is one of the few villains to be able to deduce the secret identity of  Batman as Bruce Wayne. Not only is he smart, but he is manipulative; capable of convincing the inmates of Arkham to do his dirty work, playing to their weaknesses. He works with them and uses his mastery of psychology to convince them to do his dirty work as he stands in the background, playing puppet master. He sees through the petty gang wars that many of the other super criminals felt obliged to fight, bringing them together for a single goal again and again…attempt to kill Batman. I LOVE these types of villains, the ones that use the human mind for their own advantage instead of using all muscle or cheap tricks to get the job done.

Looking back at what I have just written it seems as though I am breaking my word a little when I said I wouldn’t focus my energy on single characters, but instead on the whole picture, so let’s see if we can’t get back to that. Let’s look at the complicated relationships that Batman has with several of his villains, characters that he struggles to deal with every time he encounters them: Two-Face, Catwoman, and Ra’s al Ghul.  While this isn’t quite so much about the psychotic state of the characters, these three have just as much of an interesting relationship with the Dark Knight as the “loonies”. These three have an interesting connection with Batman, mostly because of their connections with Bruce Wayne. Take Ra’s al Ghul for a moment. In Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman Begins Nolan presents the idea that it was Ra’s that taught him the skills to become Batman. While this was not the origin story of the comics, it is one that follows with their morals, for both men want the same thing: peace in Gotham…but they differ on how to achieve that peace. Ra’s al Ghul wants to achieve peace by killing over 1/3, if not more, of Gotham’s population, something Batman cannot bring himself to do or be apart of. Another great connection with the richest man in Gotham is Harvey Dent, Gotham’s DA and hopeful future…a future that is soon lost when he is scarred into Two-Face. Harvey Dent was one of the few allies Batman had, one that the Dark Knight cherished greatly, but once he became Two-Face, Dent was one of his greatest and most vicious enemies. What makes Two-Face such a formidable villains is the fact that he has split personality, flipping between DA Harvey Dent and crime boss Two-Face (as seen in Batman: Arkham City).

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Of course, my favorite of the three was saved for last…Catwoman! Now she makes every relationship in comic books and Hollywood seem simple. One of the best known Antiheroes, Catwoman teeters back and forth between assisting Batman defeat the villains of Gotham and joining them herself. To make matters even more complicated her and Batman/Bruce have had an one off relationship for years. Obviously it makes it difficult to fight and send your lover away when she is breaking the law…therefore making yet another relationship of Batman’s that much more complicated.

While there are so many other characters of Batman that I haven’t talked about in this blog. Many of them deserved praise and recognition and did not receive it, but who knows, maybe they will be brought forth in the near future. I know this had nothing to do with college or the struggles that you may face in college or afterwards, but I think it is important to look at what drives a person, what makes them tick. What makes you tick? What do you want to get out of life (probably not as twisted or strange as Batman’s villains), what do you want to accomplish?!

How The Superheroes Do It All

So I know it has been a little time since I last posted anything to the blog, and if you are a reader, I apologize for that. Just had to take some time to grieve the end of How I Met Your Mother! You understand right?! Well now that I am back and the grieving period is over (for now) I figured I should get back to talking about superheroes and college. One question that I have begun thinking about recently is this: how the hell are superheroes not more messed up? Think about it, Batman’s parents are killed when he is a kid, Spider-man’s uncle dies in his arms after being shot, and Superman’s entire planet is destroyed. All of them have a defining moment in which they could become nothing more than a catatonic vegetable, suffering from grief for the lose of their loved ones. And yet they don’t. They find a way to serve those around them, protecting and serving their communities. So I ask the question again…how the hell do they do it?

Well I think I figured it out…they were never alone. Batman had Alfred and later his various sidekicks, Spider-man had Aunt May and his various girlfriends, Superman had his “parents” and Lois Lane. They had support to make it through the toughest times in their lives and they continued to have that support after the initial pain subsided. Because they had that support they were able to save those around them and fight evil. How would any of these characters be without that support?

This same idea goes for not only college students, but every single human being, but let’s just look at college students for now. Here is the honest truth…College can be hard! There will be times when you are stressed, anxious, feel like you are drowning in all that you have to do and that it is not possible to get through. You may feel this from your classes, family issues, relationships, issues you have with friends/roommates/classmates. No matter what you do in college you will feel this at some point, at least once (only once if you are really lucky, but that just isn’t life).

When these stressful hardships come up you have one of three options. The first is that you can ignore it. You can pretend that none of it exists and move through life never looking it in the “face”. Unfortunately, in life, most things don’t go away if you don’t recognize them. The second option is that you can deal with them on your own. This works for some people, but over time they begin to feel beat, as though they can’t keep going because it is just too hard. This option may make you feel strong and independent, but in all honesty, you are just alone. The third option, the one that I personally like, is to get support from those around you, those who really care about you and your welfare. They may be a friend, a professor, an advisor, your significant other, or even a counselor. You may even go to your parents for this support and that is perfectly fine. Some people may look at this as being a sign of weakness and I feel sorry for them. I think knowing when you need help, when you recognize that you cannot do something all by yourself and need help is a true sign of strength. The reason we make connections with people is so that when they fall down, those around us can help us back to our feet.

In the place that I work (where I am writing this blog) I always like to say that we can talk about our problems to one another and we genuinely listen, because when it comes someone else’s time to deal with a problem, they know they have some place to go to talk about their hardships. Since they listened to me when I needed it, I will listen to them when they need it. That support, knowing that you are not alone when shit hits the fan (excuse my French) is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

So here is my point to all of this: Don’t be ashamed to ask for help! Don’t think that you are too good or that asking for help is a sign of weakness. If you ask for help when you need it you will go so much further in life and will honestly be happier. Don’t be the superhero who goes at it alone. Be the superhero who has the support of those around them to keep them strong.

 

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I am going to take this time to not to talk about superheroes, but something else that is very dear to my heart: How I Met Your Mother. If you have not watched the Season 9 Finale, DO NOT READ THIS!!!! This is going to be filled with so many spoilers it will ruin it! With that said…I want to…

The Last Forever, Our Final Farewell

I am going to take this time to not to talk about superheroes, but something else that is very dear to my heart: How I Met Your Mother. If you have not watched the Season 9 Finale, DO NOT READ THIS!!!! This is going to be filled with so many spoilers it will ruin it! With that said…I want to talk about the controversial end to one of my favorite, if not my most favorite, television show.So much happened in the series finale, I feel like I should split this post into the key, main things that occurred.


Barney & Robin:

The entire 9th season we spent leading up to the wedding of Barney and Robin, and it was a very good season with a lot of laughs and great memories. However, in the first part of the one hour series finale, Barney and Robin get divorced, something that frustrated many fans on Monday. People commented on this event in the show, expressing their frustration, that if you really love someone you work through it, you just don’t give up and take the easy way out. And I would agree, but that is not real life. To think that people just work through their problems and do not get divorced is naive!! I would love to live in a world where divorces don’t occur, but they do!! Sometimes couples that we think are amazing just don’t work, they fall apart, they want different things, they may have even realize that they made a mistake and no longer wish to be married. Yes, Barney and Robin loved one another, but they were unhappy in the relationship, thus it makes sense why they would get a divorce. We had seen the entire 9th season leading to this event, to Robin and Barney ending their marriage. They were both lone wolfs, doing what they needed or wanted to do and not involving the other. We had even seen their relationship in the 5th season, and it ended horribly! They were both unhappy then and in 2016. While I am 110% for Swarkles (Swarley and Sparkles) I understand why they would end their marriage.

You also have to think, this show has an underlying tone of realism, of real life. Yes they joke around and laugh and make fun of each other, but there are moments that are sad and heartbreaking. Some examples?! Marshall’s Dad dying, Ted being left at the altar, Robin finding out she can never have kids, Barney confronting his father who abandoned him, Lily wanting to leave in the middle of the night and not be a mother anymore, and the divorce. All of these are sad and hard to swallow, but they are real life and they are what made this show so good. We knew these characters, they are our friends, our family, our neighbors. We knew them because these things have happened to them, they may have even happened to you. That is what made this show so great.


Barney:

Thus, with the marriage over, Barney was again single. And this made people even more upset than the divorce. A friend of mine commented on Facebook, “Why? The finale was a complete character regression and rejection of canon developments!” And I can see why she would be frustrated. Barney goes back to banging chicks, pulling off plays, and almost pretends as though he was never married. But if you think it, that is all Barney knows. When we first met him, he was a playboy bachelor who was going to be awesome and having a ton of sex until he was 80. Yes, he did regress to who he was before, but this time it was different. Rather than just having meaningless sex with woman because he was awesome and wanted to add to his list (or in his case scrapbook), he used this meaningless sex to move on from his divorce.


He was hurting and this was the only way he knew how to move on. We have seen him do things like this before. When he and Robin broke up the first time, Barney was back in the game that very night. In previous break ups, he would have the gang to smack him over the head and tell him how much of an idiot he was. He would give a long winded speech about how he was too awesome for that, but deep down, we knew that they had gotten through to him, if only a little. This time, with everyone moving on with their lives and he had no one to help him through the divorce. He had to figure it out on his own, more or less, and he did it the only way he knew how.

It wasn’t until the birth of his daughter that he realized what he wanted to make him happy. With when we first met Barney, nine years ago, he was the bachelor, playboy who was never going to get married. When he was with Quinn, they almost had that happily ever after, but neither of them trusted one another. He almost ruined his relationship with Robin because of that very thing, but promised to be honest with her (after telling a butt load of lies!!) The point is, he grew as a person with each relationship, but he wasn’t willing to give everything that we was to any of them, until Ella. For the first time in his life he had something that meant more to him than money or woman or even suits. He had the most beautiful girl that he could hold in his hands. So while Barney did regress as a character, it needed to happen if he was going to progress as a father.

Tracy:

First of all, I love, love, love Cristin Milioti as well as Tracy McConnell. She is awesome! She was the character that each member of the gang needed at their lowest points during Season 9. She was funny, witty, and super cute. She really was the perfect girl for Ted, and we saw that perfection between the two of them. But I have seen something in other reviews, opinions, comments that makes me shake my head a little. People are saying that they “killed off” the mother, that we spend nine years only to learn that she was dead! And I am going to come back to the same thing I said earlier…How I Met Your Mother is a show based in reality and in real life, spouses die! It sucks, I know, but it happens!! To wish that life could be this perfect place in which nothing goes wrong and everyone lives happily ever after is not real!! Life isn’t Disney.

That being said, we got a sense from earlier episodes that Tracy was going to die. During “The Time Traveler”, when Ted rushes to her apartment and expresses his love for her and how he wishes he could have those extra 45 days with her was the first indication of her fate. The second indication we get is when Robin’s mom shows up for the wedding. Tracy says, “well of course she was going to show up, what kind of mother would miss her daughter’s wedding?” Ted gets a somber expression upon his face. And as the shot pans out, the song playing in the background is “If You See Her, Say Hello” by Bob Dylan. The writers did not just throw this idea upon us at the last minute. They have been building to it for a while. I agree, it does suck that she dies, but Ted got 11 wonderful years with her. They had two beautiful children together, and for the first time in his life, he had the real thing. While 11 years is not long enough, those were some of the best 11 years of his life.

Robin and Ted:

This is the thing that I think got most people upset. The common consensus of those who disliked this ending said that  Ted moved on to quickly, that they killed off the mother so he could end up with Robin. Someone even said that the show should have been called “How I Met Your Step-mother.” And I get why people would be upset, I really do. But, Ted waited the appropriate time to do anything (half the time of the relationship: 6 years) and was even hesitant about it initially. We had seen Tracy give Ted permission to move on with his life in Vesuvius when she said, “I just don’t want you to be the guy who lives in his stories.” She knew she only had a select amount of time left and didn’t want him to spend the rest of his life mourning her death. As for telling his kids this story, he was, in a way, asking for their permission.

And with Ted’s grand, romantic gesture, with the blue French horn, have come to two separate scenarios that could occur. The first is that Robin and Ted end up together, but never get married. The reason they failed the first time was because they wanted different things. Robin wanted to travel the world, Ted wanted to have kids. They both were able to get that and could now live their lives, happy to be with each other. The second scenario, the one I like the best, is that this launches Ted back into dating in hopes of finding someone as amazing as Tracy. I mean, this exact motif is how Season 1 of How I Met Your Mother began. Either way, what the show was attempting to demonstrate to us, with Ted’s gesture, is that life goes on and you have to keep on living it, even if heartbreak hits you hard.

Things I Would Have Changed:

While I loved everything that the cast, crew, writers, and anyone else involved in the making of HIMYM, there are a few things I would have liked to see changed. The first is the name of Marshall and Lily’s third child. We never get to know that and I wish we did. We also never learn what happened to Marshall and Lily. Do they move to Queens or what?! The second, I wish they would have slowed down the finale. We went through almost 20 years of events in the span of an hour, and because there was so much information to get through we didn’t get enough time to be excited or mourn, or wonder, or even reminisce about the past 9 years. While I loved everything that Craig and Carter gave us, I wasn’t able to let it all in because as soon as I did, we had moved on to the next thing. The third and final thing I would have changed is the kids’ reaction at the end. They kind of sounded douche, like, “Mom has been gone for six years. You and Aunt Robin are awesome together, just go for it.” It seemed as though they didn’t have much respect for the death of their mother. How I would have liked to see it would have been something along the lines of, “Dad, Mom has been gone for six years. We know you loved her, but she would have wanted you to be happy and keep on living your life. We know and she knows that you still love her and you going after Aunt Robin doesn’t mean that will change.” Small things that I would have changed, nothing super major.

Why Does How I Met Your Mother Matter?

If there is something that Ted has taught is over the past nine years, that all of the characters of How I Met Your Mother has taught us, is that life can be hard, it will often kick you down and try to keep you there. But you cannot give up. With friends by your side you can make it through anything. They can help you laugh, they can help you through tough times when you mourn. They can make fun of you, sometimes when you don’t want it, but in the end you know they love you. More than not, your closest friends become your family and those are the people who make everything in ones life special. As Barney Stinson said, “It isn’t legendary unless your friends are there to see it.”

What I want to leave you with:

I figure I should leave with not my words, but the words of Ted Mosby himself. Thank you How I Met Your Mother for the past nine amazing years. Thank you for the laughs, the tears, and the slaps. It has been an amazing journey that I would not have traded for the world.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9Q-rW433l0

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

I am sure that most people know Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corp, or at least GL from Ryan Reynold’s depiction of the character in the movie Green Lantern (which we won’t be talking about because it is an awful movie.) But while many people may know about Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corp, what they may not know is that there is a slew of other Corps in the DC Universe, varying in meaning and message. To be exact, there are nine Corps in total, including the Green Lanterns. These Corps are as follows: Orange, Indigo, Red, Yellow, Violet, White, Black, Blue, and of course, Green. And as each Corp has a different color, they also have different ideals that empower them.


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Orange: The Corp of Greed, those who seek power for themselves and only themselves. The orange light of avarice will be discovered and manipulated by a being whose greed knows no bounds” Because of the nature of greed, Due to the nature of greed, only one being can wield the Orange Ring at once, any more would cause infighting among the Corps members, as they’d be unable to share the power.

The Oath of the Orange Lantern Corp: This power is mine, this is my light. Be it in bright of day, or black of night. I lay claim to all that falls within my sight, To take what I want, That is my right!

Indigo: While some people might argue that indigo is just another shade of blue or purple, in this area, indigo is its own entity. Those of the Indigo Lantern Corp are actually members of an indigenous tribe of nomads. The ideology that empowers these nomads is that of compassion. The Psychology of Superheroes, describes compassion as being able to have empathy for someone while maintaining enough distance to understand their motivations.

The Oath of the Indigo Lantern Corp: *Note: This is a fan translation* In sorrowful day, in misfortunate night, We help those, who need our might, with the Lantern power of Abin Sur, we rid your misery…with compassionate might!


Red: Rage, that is what gives those who follow the Red Lantern Corp power. Geoff Johns describes the Red Lantern Corps as likely being “the most violent of the Corps […] based on violent reaction driven by emotional eruption – rage – instead of any clear-cut plan of war.” Those filled with rage are unable to think clearly, unable to think intelligently, that the only thing that remains is an animalistic sense surging through them. (Interesting enough, some of the characters from the Red Lantern Corp were based off of characters from the movie 28 Days Later).  

The Red Lantern Corp Oath: With blood and rage of crimson red, ripped from a corpse so freshly dead, together with our hellish hate, we’ll burn you all—That is your fate!


Yellow/Sinestro: Originally a member of the Green Lantern Corp, Sinestro founded the Yellow Lantern Corp. Based on fear, the Sinestro Corp is the archenemies of the Green Lantern Corp. They believe that fear is more powerful than willpower. Many of the main villains of the DC universe are members of the Yellow Lantern Corp, from Mongul, Cyborg-Superman, and even Scarecrow, believing that fear is their greatest way to control others.

The Yellow Lantern Corp Oath: In blackest day, in brightest night, beware your fears made into light. Let those who try to stop what’s right, burn like his powers…Sinestro’s might!


Violet: The power that emanates from the Violet Lantern Corps’ rings is that of love. This is not the sappy, Disney fantasized, ‘true love’. The love of the Violet Lantern, is the idea of what keeps a married couple together for 50 years. Love is one of the strongest emotions that feeds off of the wearers state of mind.

The Violet Lantern Corp: For Hearts Long Lost. And Full of Fright. For Those Alone In Blackest Night. Accept Our Ring and Join Our Fight — Love Conquers All — With Violet Light!


White: Those who are members of the White Lantern Corp follow the ideals of life. They get power from when the wearer embraces life, given them more power. However, the power from the white ring is unable to bring those from the dead back to life.

*Currently no oath for the White Lantern Corp*

Black: The Black Lantern Corp is one of the few Corps that can actually be considered to be the antagonists of the Green Lantern Universe. Why? Because they are the masters of death. They are given power by the death and demise of those around them. (Which is probably one of the creepiest things in comic books…or in the DC Universe at least)

The Black Lantern Oath: The Blackest Night falls from the skies. The darkness grows as all light dies. We crave your hearts and your demise. By my black hand… The dead shall rise!

Blue: The Flash was a member of the Blue Lantern Corp, and there is one thing I know about Barry Allen (the true identity of the Flash) he is empowered by hope, the same thing that empowers the Blue Lantern Corp. When all things seem impossible, he and the others of the Blue Lanterns, fight through with hope to get them through their darkest days. They were created to bring hope to the future in the light of so much destruction, when good faces overwhelming odds.

The Blue Lantern Oath: In fearful day, in raging night, with strong hearts full, our souls ignite. When all seems lost in the War of Light, look to the stars, for hope burns bright!


Green: The Green Lantern Corp, home of many heroes in the DC Universe, such as Hal Jordan and Jon Stewart. Like all of the Corps, the Green Lanterns are fueled by a great emotion: will power. They are powered by the Green Lantern and the Guardians of Oa. The Green Lanterns are intergalactical peacekeepers, each one being based on a different planet across the universe. What makes this Corp different from the others is that, instead of the Corp selecting its members, the ring chooses the wearer.

The Green Lantern Oath: In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!!!


Okay, so I know that was kind of long, but it was worth it in the end! So looking past what these Corps stand for, what their message is, the question must be asked, like I have asked so many times before, why does it matter? What is the point? The point is this: there are so many different emotions, so many different ideals that we often do not stop to think about what it means. That is what this entire blog has been about, making people stop and think about what they think and why!

Like the Lantern Corps, people allow different emotions and ideals to lead their lives, even if they don’t think so. There are those who come to college, telling themselves they will work hard, study vigorously to succeed (willpower). There are others who study for a test because they are afraid of failing the test and the class (fear). There are those who wish to live their lives to the fullest because they are afraid of death (death). There are those who use compassion in their everyday lives to help them forward (compassion).   

Now none of these ideals are better than the other, they all lead people throughout their lives. For some people, many of these ideals are brash, corrupt, and even immoral. To others, the more brash ideals get the job done that others may not. But this is not about good and bad, best and worse, it is about what works for each individual. Many people follow a variety of these ideals, not just one. However, just knowing what ideals directs one life is not enough. Asking why is the most important thing. Do me a favor: take a moment to think about what emotions and ideals you let direct your lives and why!

So while you may not wear a power ring or speak an oath, the ideals of the Lantern Corps are applicable to our everyday lives. Just remember to ask the questions that so many people brush over, never really thinking about.

Take A Moment to Smell the Roses

I’m not sure what is going on in the world. What do I mean by this? I just heard about a man from Florida who stopped at a gas station, next to an SUV filled with teenage boys playing their rap music at a very high volume. The man asked them to turn down the music, which they did, only to return it to its normal level. Therefore, in his frustration, the man proceeding to fire at the SUV, killing a 17 year old boy inside. The SUV drove away, as the man continued to fire at it. He was arrested, but was not sentenced for killing the boy, but rather for shooting at a moving vehicle. Another man shot at a car full of teenage girls who had egged his car as a Halloween prank, killing one of them. Now my point is not to depress you as you read this, my point of bringing up all of these horrific acts is to ask a question: how have we come to this? How have we come to the point in which we are so angry, so cruel to one another that if someone goes against us, they must be “punished.”  

It is as though we need some catastrophic event to bring us together, to allow us to be respectful with one another. I remember my Dad telling, after 9/11, telling me how people around each other would be courteous in every aspect of their day. When driving, people were not honking, forcing their way to their destination. People were not always angry with one another, not in a rush. It’s terrible that it takes something so terrible as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Irene, or Sandy to bring us together.

Now again, my point isn’t to make you feel terrible, or to say that the world an awful place filled with awful people. My point is to make you start asking those tough questions, to make you stop and think about what is going on in our lives. We are so focused on go, go, go, “it’s all about me” type mentality that we stop to ask the questions, “WHY?!” We are so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives that we think everyone is in our way, that everyone else is the problem.

So how does this connect to superheroes and college? Like any superhero, or college student, there are those moments when we can rush in “guns blazing” or we can take a step back and take a moment to think about the decisions that are before you. Think about Spider-man. After his Uncle Ben was killed, Peter Parker hunted down the man who killed him, got the revenge he thought he deserved. In the end, after killing Ben’s murderer, all he got wa pain and heartache, regret for the decision that he had made.

So this is what I ask of you, that I want you to think about as you go through your days: take a moment to slow down, smell the roses, as they say. I’m not saying that you can’t be angry or get frustrated at those around you. There are days when people just aren’t thinking straight, but don’t go around blindly as so many in our society do. Think about the decisions and choices you are making. And please, do not think that I am speaking down to you, that I think I am so much better than you. I am still the guy who screams at people as I am driving! I too am trying to figure this out. My point in writing this is to get the conversations started and to have you stop for a moment and think!

 

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!

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I am spreading my wings a little bit here, but it connects to superheroes, so I think it is good! I saw The Lego Movie last weekend and it was AWESOME!! It was my childhood jam packed into a movie. It brought back memories of my older brother and I creating new ideas from the little blocks. It made me laugh, it made me reminisce, in short, it was awesome. Maybe because the main theme song of the movie was called “Everything is Awesome.” But other than the fact that the movie’s theme song was awesome, the movie focused on two very interesting and important ideas, in my mind.

Now while this movie is advertised towards kids, it can be enjoyed by everyone, and everyone can learn something from it, even if you didn’t play with Legos as a kid. And what can be learned from it? The two ideas that the movie focused on are creativity and that everyone is important, everyone is special.

The main character, Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, is just a normal guy. To those around him, there is nothing spectacular about him, he just blends in with the crowd. He doesn’t even consider himself to be special, he doesn’t crave to be special. But that is not how life works. There are two kinds of people, in my opinion, those who are born for greatness and those who are forced into situations in which they can become great. And while some people would rather ‘build’ as the instruction manual directs us to, what we do can lead to greatness. (I am not saying that those who follow the rules cannot amount to greatness, far from it).


And while there are those who follow the rules, live as the instructions tell them to, there are those around him, people who one might call rebels, who do not build by the instruction manuel, who take pieces that they see around them and make whatever they can out of them. It is something that any kid who has ever played with Legos knows. The first time you get a box of Legos they follow the instructions to build whatever is in the box, but after that first time, you use your creativity to build whatever you can imagine. Maybe you will build a robot or a blaster gun, maybe you will build a huge skyscraper or a spaceship. All you know is you can build anything as long as you can imagine it. And that is just it, Legos, The Lego Movie, all of it, teaches kids, adults, all of us, that there are endless possibilities as long as we can think it up in our heads.


So what is the point? Why should you care? Why should you have read this blog post or see this movie? Like superheroes, like Lego characters, like you who is reading the words I am typing, everyone in the world is special. We all have something that makes us unique, something that those around see as being spectacular, even if we cannot see it. You are special, because you believe you are, because people around you see that you are special. And that is the point of everything, of superheroes, college, Legos, of this blog. What you make in this world, be it from a box of Legos that only you will see, or something so great that the world gets to bask in it, it was from the imagination that only you could have conjured.


So before I end this post, I want to leave you with somethings to think about:


Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” -Steve Jobs


So, be creative, be special, be you, and go see The Lego Movie.


Fear is the Mind-killer

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Possibly one of my favorite lines from Dune, if not all of science fiction literature. We all have fears at times, and will continue to have fear in our lives. What do you do to get past the fear and get done what must be done?


Making the Tough Choices

One thing that I have always loved about superheroes, especially when I was a kid, was they always do the right thing. When a tough choice comes barreling down towards them, they stand fast and take the decision head on, doing all they can to save those around them. We have seen heroes do this time and time again, often saving those they love, and others who have been victims of loss. I think we all can think back to the Death of Gwen Stacy. Spider-man tried to save Gwen, but in the end was the one who caused her death. So why do we continue to love Spider-man? Idolize him after such a tragic event? Because he TRIED! He fought to save her. But one character who just has never sat well with me was Dr. Manhattan.

*Side Note: This is not a review of the new Watchmen Graphic Novel! This is a critique of Dr. Manhattan as a character!*

My cousin, an avid comic book lover, like myself, brought this personal vendetta against the character into the lime light. If you have never seen the movie or read the graphic novel, Watchmen, first of all, you need to change that! For those of you who have either no idea or only a slight inkling to whom Dr. Manhattan is, let me enlighten you. But before I dive into who Dr. Manhattan is, and what I have against him, let’s take a look at the entire Watchmen series. Watchmen is based during the early Cold War era. It is a depiction of an alternate history in which these characters assisted the US in winning the Vietnam War. After the war, freelance vigilantes are banned and most of the heroes have gone into retirement or are working for the government. The story line focuses on the main characters deal with an investigation into the murder or a government sponsored superhero. Any more would ruin the awesomeness that is Watchmen. So that is the story of Watchmen, and now we can look at why Dr. Manhattan is one superhero who takes the easy way out.

Dr. Manhattan, named after the Manhattan Project (the creation of the Atomic Bomb) and based on DC’s Captain Atom, was originally a physicist by the name Jon Osterman who was transformed into the glowing blue man by Intrinsic Field Subtractor in 1959. Basically all of his atoms were torn apart and he was than put back together as a nuclear mess! Make sense? If not, I understand…I didn’t completely get it either! By the time the story begins in 1985, Dr. Manhattan has all but removed himself from the human race. He still has many human habits, such as wearing clothing and interacting in personal relationships, like the one he has with Laurie Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre a former superhero). But as time progressed, he found it difficult to continue to live a mundane life. He with drew from the human race, going as far as to go to the surface of Mars to try and understand how humans think. The guy sees the past, present, and future all happening simultaneously, so I can see why he is so detached from the human race. While everyone is living their lives for today, he is living his life in every single day that every was or will be…it is kind of a lot! It is a little odd, I know, but to each their own.

But that is not where my problem with him lies. So many superheroes have had moments in which they leave the battlefield, throw in the white flag and call it quits. Spider-man did it, Captain American and Iron Man  both did it, so did Batman and the Flash at one point (though only for a short time). I have no problem with heroes leaving the night life, the save the world life. It is a hard life, I get it! What I cannot understand is a decision Dr. Manhattan decided to make, one in which he thought would be best for humanity. While it was Ozymandias,  the man behind the plan, who did create an abomination of a plan to rid the world of its evils, it was Dr. Manhattan who did nothing to avert it. Ozymandias’ plan was simple: use Dr. Manhattan’s powers to destroy New York and in doing so, World War III between the US and the Soviet Union would be avoided. Instead of attempting to kill one another with nuclear weapons, they would be more focused on their new common enemy: Dr. Manhattan.

So what is my problem with Manhattan? He sits back and does nothing. He takes the blame and leaves the planet, returning to Mars once again. Again I ask, what is my problem with him? Here is the problem…Any other superhero, one, would have continued to be present during any hardships. The first time Dr. Manhattan left Earth was because it was believed that he was the reason people whom he cared about were getting cancer. He fled to avoid his problems (in my opinion). My second problem with him is the fact that he more or less gave up. He condoned the deaths of millions to avoid the deaths of billions. I understand that is admirable, but any other superhero would have found any other way to save not only the billions, but also the millions. They would have done whatever needed to be done to keep people from dying. In my mind he took the easy way out. Whether he thought he was doing a benefit for the world, keeping others from being injured, or just avoiding a future that had only consequences, I don’t know, but there are so many other decisions that could have been made in order to avoid Armageddon.

So alas, when it comes to superheroes, Dr. Manhattan is one that doesn’t hit as high as others. To recap, it is because of his detachment from humanity and his final decision that set him aside as a lesser superhero. While I LOVED the Watchmen graphic novel and am super excited to read Before Watchmen, I cannot consciously give praise to a character such as Manhattan. What do you think? Was Dr. Manhattan’s actions just? Did he have any other option? If so, what could he have done differently?!


The Things Breaking Bad Teaches Us

Like any good story, there is a good guy and there is a bad guy and we can usually tell who is who. Sometimes it turns out that the bad guy was the good guy and the good guy was the bad guy, but that is beside the point. But what do we do when the main character starts out as the good guy, has good intentions, but because of his actions, turns into the bad guy? I know I am asking you to think in a black and white world, which we most certainly do not live in, but how do we comprehend this? The best example that I can think of, in most recent years, is Breaking Bad. A high school Chemistry teacher, Walter White, is diagnosed with an aggressive strain of cancer and is given less than a year to live. Having a teacher’s salary, he will be unable to provide for his family once he is gone, so he has to find a new form of income. And he found that new income very quickly: cooking meth.

Okay, so here is why I am writing this post, it is not to just tell you to watch an amazing show. One of the biggest morals of the show is drawing  the line. They ask the question time and time again, how far would you go? Now I am not saying that, at any point in your life, are you going to have to cook meth or anything of that severity. But the question must be asked, how far are you willing to go? There will be so many times in your lives, not just in college, in which you have to make decisions. Some of these decisions will be harder than others, some may even seem impossible to make, but the point of this, the point of asking this question is to consider: how far would you go?

Some people would be fine with going that far, I know I am one of them. If push came to shove and I had to take care of my family through any means possible, I would do what needed to be done. Others, however, have drawn their line much sooner and would find any other way, through was that were less drastic. The important thing is to find out for yourself, where do you draw the line? It is something that each person must learn for themselves, and each person has different limits.

Now this is the first post that I have put up that does not include superheroes, probably won’t be the last, but it does connect to something that I talked about in some earlier posts. When you make these decisions, it often reflects upon your morals and your moral compass. Often when people make decisions that are questionable, like Walter White cooking meth, it is often because we stray away from our moral compasses, what we know to be right and wrong. So, while you may never have to make a decision so drastic as seen in Breaking Bad, do remember that the person you are today has gotten to this point by following your own compass. When the tough choices do come up, and they will, make sure you keep following that compass. More than not, it will point you in the right direction.