Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

Archive for the category “What I am thinking about today”

What I am thinking about today: 6/9/2022

1986 wasn’t a half bad year for me. I had recovered from my nervous breakdown and had completed therapy with new tools to take care of myself, moved out on my own, had three part-time jobs, a cool girlfriend, was doing college radio, and comics were REALLY good both mainstream and indy books. If I was forced to go back in time and relive a year, I could do much worse, and I wouldn’t have screwed things up as much.

Oddly enough, I was working at a college top 40 station and it was when I completely gave up on pop music since it wasn’t for me any more. My show was popular enough that they let me play and do whatever I wanted. And by popular enough, we would get two to three calls an hour, which was two to three calls more than anyone else. We did comedy bits, had conversations about current events, brought in characters and the like. I loved doing it but talking to people in radio, I knew that:

1) I wouldn’t be able to do that kind of thing

2) A local DJ I had befriended had told me the horror stories of being fired over and over until he was just working weekends on the radio and had a full time job selling computers.

Thank goodness for podcasting so I can kind fo go back to those days.

MJF did not show up, nor was he mentioned on All Elite Wrestling last night. I have to admit, I like the fact that I have no idea what will be happening with him, whether it is a shoot or a work.

I am putting together all the stuff for the latter half of the year, which seems so strange. I am setting up appointments, planning days off, and seeing if I can get away a couple of times. Hopefully down to Illinois to visit family in Late September. I’d like to take a winter vacation of being in a isolated cabin to just read, watch movies, and hit the gym with a fireplace where I read, but I always feel that is a waste of money since I can do that at home. Except for the fireplace.

I also see that Minnesota is giving front line workers a “thank you” payment of between $750 and $1500 for working during the pandemic. I will try not to waste it on comic books and….oh, who am I kidding, I will waste it on comics books.

Tonight is the first public hearing on former President Agolf Twitler’s attempted coup and the Republicans who were appalled by it (and then said it was no big deal) and in full panic distraction mode. I wonder why. It couldn’t be that it was an attempted coup with plans that had been put in place long before it happened, could it?

The incredible indifference I see about this attempt to install a dictator here in the US by the general public tells me even more that we are looking at the end of what was founded back in 1789 by our Constitution. Not a bad run for a representative democracy.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

Much love to friends old and new.

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What I am thinking about today: 6/3/2022

Just a reminder, if you leave my life without a chat to tell me why first, that door is closed. My therapist told me ages ago that if someone thinks the worst things said about you without asking for your side, they were never a friend and shouldn’t be allowed to be a part of your life any more.

My work laptop wouldn’t boot up yesterday, so I had to drive in to get a new one. When I got there, I gave it to the tech guy, and he said that my battery was bulging. And, to be honest, after a two year lockdown, aren’t we all?

When I worked in group homes for juvenile justice in the 90’s, they all had rules against Dungeons and Dragons as a hangover from the “Satanic Panic” in the 80’s. When I was asked about it, I let my supervisors know that D&D wasn’t about demons, it was math. Lots and lots of math. Endless amounts of math. And the teenagers we would get would not be nerdy enough to play the game. Since a lot of them were fundamentalist Christians, they didn’t believe me, since I was the token Heathen.

Still. Math. Maybe they were all just scared of figuring out percentages to hit.

It looks like the last drive in of the Twin Cities, the Vali-Hi drive in, has closed up. They had the “now hiring” notice on their sign, then took it down and haven’t opened yet. Their phone is disconnected and aren’t answering any questions from customers or reporters. When I moved here in 1987, there were 6 drive ins, and it was always a great time to take The Boy when he was young so we could have a cheap night at the movies. I went to Vali-Hi a couple of times a year until the pandemic, when I just didn’t have the time. They were always packed, but like the other 5 in the Twin Cities, eventually the land became worth more than the business.

I missed the “golden age” of drive ins, and always wished they would have had special events like “dusk til down” shows like in the glory days.

The Big Storm that had the local news going nuts a few weeks ago? No damages and not even a chair moved around by the winds. A quick storm rushes through Tuesday morning without a single warning from any of my devices, tree limbs down and blocking the car in the driveway. I am betting they were damaged in the Big Storm and this quick little squall was the last straw. But still.

Anytime I hear about Ron DeSantis, I have the same impression: A competent Trump. Florida seems like a right wing dream, where everyone is given a gun, gay people are being told to get out of the state, teachers are to become Marc Bolan: The Executioner, companies must bow and scrape or get financially punished, and women are to become Handmaidens. Sadly, much like Minnesota’s time having a Republican governor, the economy gets destroyed and the next governor has to clean up the mess. And he’s going to be the Republican Nominee in 2024 if he wins the Governorship again in Florida.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

Much love to friends old and new.

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What I am thinking about today: 5/24

-I did 13 and a half hours at the group home job Sunday, over half of it was alone. Everyone was quiet and happy to watch TV, snooze, or having me read to them (A chapter of a Travis McGee story, since they don’t quite grasp the story, just like the attention and time). I even made green beans that people wanted to eat, which is a feat in and of itself. I got home and just zoned out until I went to bed due to being spent.

-I have not seen the new George Carlin documentary yet, but anyone who knows stand up knows he was amazing. He constantly reinvented himself, never relied on old material once he had a new set., and invented a number of comedic styles. The only time I saw a bad set from him was his last HBO special where his anger and cynicism overtook the comedy, and for a long time comedian, that’s a great track record. A few “smart” comedians I used to like became angry old men, yelling at kids, or disappeared up their won ass as they moved into the later years of their career.

-I don’t think I have ever been as disappointed as when I saw Dennis Miller in 1998. Mitch Hedberg opened for him, and he was shook by how good Hedberg was, mentioning it as he started his set…and he did what a lot of comedian do when they get shook, fell back on tried and true material. The problem was that Miller’s act was based on current events, so he was making jokes about events from 3 to 8 years before, and he rushed through the set as if he was double parked. He must have done that a LOT, since he fell out of the Theater tours.

-One of his writers said he looked at his options as his gigs quit selling out, and the most lucrative one was the casino route, but he would have to appeal to the over 60 crowd, so he turned hard right with his humor. It cost him his HBO series, but he got a radio talk show and a Fox News gig, so less touring and he could let go of his writers to save money.

-And if you didn’t know stand ups have writers, boy, have you got a lot to learn. I even did some ghost writing for comedians in the 90’s. My NDAs mean I can’t say who, but you wouldn’t know them anyway.

-How many of you folks remember the Weekly News Update parody email I did from 1996 – 2006? Yeah, that’s where they bought the jokes from.

-I watched part of a USFL game this weekend and they didn’t have fans in the stands, but they did pipe in crowd sounds. Even the AAF and XFL had fans in the stands. However, unlike both of those spring football leagues, this one looks like it will finish its first season. The next version of the XFL just announced a huge deal with Fox, and with The Rock behind it, I have a feeling that it will do OK, since he’s smart enough to find smart people to run things.

-I read an article about how, since the pandemic, offices have stopped doing the “mandatory fun” stuff like happy hours, team building exercises, and the like. As an introvert, I couldn’t be happier. I just want to show up, do my job, and go home. And, with working from home, I LOVE that I don’t have to take part in group activities. My personal life is my personal life. ANY time I have forgotten that and allowed myself to blur the lines between work life and personal life, it’s not been pleasant. I work to pay for my personal life.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool. Much love to friends old and new.

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What I am thinking about today 5/16/2022

-I got called in for a sleeping overnight Saturday night at the group home. Then, since I had to be at another house at 7 am, I left at 6 am, and when I got to the other house I was called back to the first house due to a staff now showing. Then, I worked until 6 pm instead of 3 pm due to staff not showing. So, 21 hours in three houses overall. I was home less than 5 minutes before I was called and asked if I could come back. I turned it down because I was pretty much exhausted.

-Reports are the Marvel is losing the Conan license for new books (but will keep doing reprints) and the current rights holder wants to create the comics. While I have loved the work Marvel has done on Conan, the sames haven’t been great. The books, which used to be a must stock in book stores, seem to have faded as well. Even the books by modern authors faded by the mid 90’s. Much like Tarzan, IMHO.

-Many of these long running characters have moved to niche products with small press books and the like. In many ways I don’t think “Why aren’t they more popular” so much as “I’m happy we get anything at all.” Even the 70’s Men’s Adventure” pulps like The Executioner, Blade (the book series), The Death Merchant, Able Team, and the like have faded to the point where nothing new is coming out with them.


-Most of my wrestling friends have talked about Tammy Sytch, the former Sunny, and her ongoing legal issues and criminal charges. She’s been putting people in danger with her drunk driving for years and finally caused the death of a man in a crash. Hopefully, this finally locks her up so everyone around her is safe. She’s been given endless chances and times in rehab, and none of it has worked. And, when she is finally locked up, I hope never to hear about her again because we only hear about her when she’s done something illegal.

-I read a DEEP dive in to Republican Madison Cawthorn on Politico, and it just made me shake my head. He was never qualified for office, has been a weasel for as far back as there are records about him, the Republican party is firing at him with everything they can find and he’s still leading in the polls. I swear if you have an R by your name in some places, they’d elect you from jail.

OH WAIT, THEY DID: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/indiana-man-charged-murder-death-wife-wins-republican-primary-jail-rcna27638

Stay Classy, Indiana.

-One this I miss about the height of the COVID lockdown was not hearing about a new mass shooting every day. I wonder if most people in the US know that other countries now don’t recommend their citizens come here for tourism due to the prevalence of mass shootings and police brutality.

-Kind of a downer today. I’m tired and a bit down myself and should have avoided the news like the plague this weekend. I also lost most of the time I set aside for taking care of things in the house, so I feel like I didn’t get a real break over the weekend.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool. Much love to friends old and new.

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What I am thinking about today: 5/6/2022

It’s perfectly ok to be angry. We are told by people all the time that anger is a negative emotion. Emotions, on their own, as neutral. It’s how we react and what we do with them that makes the negative or positive. Anger can be a catalyst for change is channeled properly.

We have a person we support at the group home with Covid. She’s young, vaccinated and boosted. She doesn’t understand why she’s sick or why she’s restricted to her room, but is sick enough she doesn’t want to pace and wander like she normally does. The staff at that house are back in full PPE, but it looks like she will make a full recovery.

We do have a person I support on hospice care in the house I work at most often. He has been on hospice care since late last year, and a lot of his medications were removed, which in many ways improved how he was reacting to the world around him. Hospice changes how people are cared for in that everything moves from recovery to comfort. This was a hard mindset for me to get into when I started in group homes for DD adults. It’s still not an easy mindset, but I do try to do all I can to let the person do and have things they enjoy.


I am taking the weekend off from the group home for Free Comic Book day and still making sure I still have a complete day for relaxing and doing things around the house. I even have tonight off from the group home and I literally can’t remember my last Friday Night off.

I am almost done with the second Terry Brooks book in the Prequel trilogy for the Shanarra books, and a few things have struck me. First, his prose is easy to read. It’s simple, descriptive and moves the story along. None of the pretentiousness that puts me off fantasy novels. Second, after the first book being filled with lore, world building, and subplots, this one is focused on a single plot and it is a vast improvement. Third, the “mystery” is painfully obvious. Fourth, we have a lead character who has magic and never uses it. The author tries to handwave away why it isn’t being used, but the truth is that if she used it, the story would be 20 pages long. If it’s hard to put your powerful character in danger, MAYBE DON’T MAKE THEM POWERFUL.

“Cory!!, why are you so hard on novels that are clearly meant to be light entertainment?” Because when I am editing my own work, I am ruthless at attacking plot holes. Anything that can throw the reader out of the story and feels like writing is a pet peeve of mine.

Two episodes left for me to watch in this season’s Star Trek Discovery, and I have generally enjoyed the season. The bridge crew still is under developed, the seasons are too short and too focused on the overarching story (I’d like a few episodes of exploration) but overall I like New Trek. I know some people don’t. Plus ca change Plus c’est la meme chose.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

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What I am thinking about today, 4/25/2022

When Elon Musk buys twitter, he will claim he invented it after a few months.

I was called in for a sleeping overnight late on Saturday because the overnight staff called in. When I got there, one of the supervisors asked what I was up to on a Saturday night when I got the call. “Watching a documentary on the sketchbooks of Orson Wells.” Because I am a party animal like that. And the other staff they had contacted were at the bars.

Sunday was super quiet at the group home. My Buddy was excited for the first half hour or so, and then settled into his chair to watch soccer. He sat in the chair like a teenager, slumped down and twisting his head a bit, and during commercials he would play the game where he would look at me until I noticed, then look away. I did the same thing, and he would clap until the game was back on, and then he was engrossed in that.

Oh, and the Orson Wells documentary was wonderful. I knew little about his art, but the documentary took the form of a letter to Orson asking about his drawing style connecting to his film style as well as his life. I know when a lot of people think of Wells, they think he peaked with Citizen Kane, but his other movies are incredible as well, he just either didn’t get to finish them himself, or they were so low budget they didn’t have the sheen of Kane.

When Cable started, they didn’t have ads because you were paying for it. Eventually they started adding ads because they weren’t meeting growth projections. The same thing is happening with streaming services now that every company seems to have a service. The other thing that is following cable’s growth is that when it started, they would do all sorts of crazy crap to see what would work and what wouldn’t. Old movies, weird comedies, concerts and the like. Streaming started by being experimental, but is pretty much coalescing around the same entertainment models as broadcast TV and cable. Let’s hope streaming can keep some of the experimentation and weirdness.

The election in France is concerning in that the Fascist candidate got 40% of the vote. We are dealing with a wave of fascism across the world as people seem to want totalitarian leaders. They call for absolute control, racial purity, military strength, and a promise that THOSE people won’t be allowed to have any political power. They want THOSE people to know their place, be invisible or just not exist. I don’t know what is bringing about these things, but it reminds me that as smart as we think we are, we are still the same scared hairless apes that are scared of anything different and break into angry tribes at the first chance.

“Generation Z is being told to come back to the office and are quitting instead.” Good for them. The last two years have proven that the idea of coming into an office is an outmoded idea, and young people don’t have the years of equity in those jobs to put up with things they think are stupid. If I would have had to go back to the office, I would seriously consider finding a different job, and I hate job hunting with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

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What I am thinking about today, 4/14/2022

Every so often, I remember that the only person left from the original EC comics crew is Angelo Torres. The comics EC put out between 1950 and 1955 were the best drawn comics line in history. I love Kirby and Ditko, but the lineup they had was incredible:

Wally Wood

Jack David

Graham Ingles

Jack Kamen

Harvey Kurtzman

Bill Elder

Al Feldstein

Johnny Craig

Basil Wolverton

Al Williamson

Bernie Krigstein

Joe Orlando

And that’s just off the top of my head without looking. Angelo recently had a series of stories in the Dark Horse revival of Creepy and Eerie that were as good as his work on the Warren mags in the 60’s and 70’s.

There is a Russian professional cosplayer I follow on the internets. At first, it was because “Hey, she’s pretty when she’s dressed like Gwen Stacy”, and she also did a lot of shoots with anime and video game characters. She sells photos at conventions, have professional photo shoots and the like. Yes, I like looking at pretty women. About a year or so ago, she posted a bunch of videos and pics from a protest in Moscow she had attended. She does videos on Twitch and Instagram where she talked about what was going on in Russia, and I must admit I am a person who loves that sort of content so that I can see what people’s lives are like all over the world.

About two months ago she had to leave Russia quickly. No details, but lots of apologies that there wasn’t new content, and stuff about supporting Ukraine. Now that she is in Istanbul, she has gone pack to posting pictures of herself in costume and being at conventions in Europe, but she also posts about how most of her team is still in Russia, how to help people in Ukraine, and how sad she is that she can’t be home any more.

There are three things I think about this:

1) How gut wrenching it is that these sorts of things can happen so quickly.

2) Here is a young woman who makes a living being pretty and dressing up in costumes who is trying to help people by using her influence to push people to do something. THIS IS WHY CELEBRITIES TAKE UP CAUSES.

3) How, when used right, social media can bring us into other people’s lives and connect to help people we otherwise would know nothing about. To most people, the conflict in Ukraine is something in a country far away that we see on the news, but seeing the actual toll on the people affected makes it more tragic and compels us to take action more readily.

I have internet friends all over the world. Here on Facebook, many of the people I am “friends” with are comics fans or wrestling fans. But through that connection, I get the see into the lives of people all over the world so that I can understand their lives better. Through those connections, I can embrace our differences in culture, language, and thoughts. In doing so, I grow and learn. Thank you to ALL of my friends outside the US.

Be kind, be courageous and be cool.

Much love to friends old and new.

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What I am thinking about today, 4/5/2022

My daughter-in-law posted that she gets to enjoy their vacation more because The Boy has planned everything for them. I am incredibly happy about this for a lot of reasons, but the big one is that my marriage fell apart because I was so worried about us not having enough money to get by that I worked so many hours between the two jobs, I didn’t have anything of myself left to give anyone. He has learned from my mistakes while taking my propensity for planning. I have a lot of reason to be proud of him, but this one is what I am thinking about today.

I cannot stop thinking that the Professor who oversaw the college newspaper when I wrote for them would be pleased that I FINALLY am doing journalism. And then when he found out it was writing about Professional Wrestling, he’d put his head in in hands. He kept pushing me to go into journalism, but everything I wrote was opinion based, so I knew there was no way to jump directly into that. And now, newspapers are pretty much dead.

The group home clients like watching the old shows on things like Antenna TV and MeTV, so I saw the old show “It’s A Living” being shown, and I didn’t think it lasted long enough to be syndicated. THE SHOW LASTED 6 SEASONS!!!

The Super Console X I purchased is a bit quirky, but I love that I can fire it up and play old arcade games, old NES games, and I am starting to branch out into games I never got to play “back in the day”. I tend to fire it up 2 – 3 times a week, and wallow in video game nostalgia.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

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What I am thinking about today: 4/4/2022

I took a few days off from the office job to cover wrestling shows over Wrestlemania week, and thankfully, I didn’t draw any Death Match shows. The Indy shows I watched were fun, many of which had people who did their best to entertain a crowd they normally wouldn’t have (since they have the shows in the same city as Mania to get those people). The New Japan Pro Wrestling show I covered was head and shoulders about all of them since New Japan is a full time company with excellent management. I know a show is great when I quit writing what I see and just enjoy it, and isn’t that why I started watching Wrestling?

Go check out the coverage at PWInsider.com. They did an incredible job covering shows over Mania week, and I don’t just say that because I was a part of it.

Trump’s “Truth Social” alternative to Twitter and Facebook for conservatives is crashing and burning, and the funding is under investigation by the SEC since he did it through issuing stock. What they (and all of the other conservative social media attempts) is that Conservatives don’t’ want to talk to each other. They want to troll other people. Even in interviews about why people aren’t using it, they talk about how liberals aren’t signing up, so it’s not as much fun as “pwning the libs”, which is all Conservatism is since Living YouTube Comment Section Trump took over the party. Until they figure out how to put that into their social media, they will continue to crash as hard as Reaganbook did.

By the way, this is your reminder than I am little to the left of Bernie Sanders. The US version fo left and right have become utterly skewed. Clinton, Obama, and Biden are a bit right of center in how they govern, and anyone who calls them “Socialists” can be ignored as clueless.

I took a LOT of time over the last week to sort, box and put away comics/books/graphic novels/omnibuses and my living room is as cleared as it is going to get while I live by myself. I also took the time to get other things under control (fridge was completely cleaned, etc…). Kind of proud of myself on that front. Working two jobs, freelance writing, recording podcasts, and sleeping takes so much time that I often wave my hands at things and say “I’ll get to it later.” Having three days off was later.

Comics I have read lately that made me happy:

The Big Spider-Man “Beyond” storyline

Jason Aaron’s “Wolverine and the X-Men
Asterix Omnibus 6
Batman: Penguin (a trade paperback with a sampling of Penguin stories over the years)

Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 35
Avengers: The Initiative Volume 1

Inkblot Volume 2

Much love to friends old and new.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

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What I am thinking about today 3/18/2022

-I am amused by my silly post about complaining about going back to the office got a few “care” icons. I was giggling to myself the whole time I wrote it, thinking how privileged it was. I have two jobs I am good at, they pay well enough I have a roof, a car, more comics, movies, books, and video games that I have time for. Working from home has been wonderful for me, but I do understand that in some jobs you need that collaboration. I just go through reports and take phone calls and can do that anywhere it’s quiet and has an internet connection. Hopefully, I get to keep working from home for my office job.

-Have felt out of sorts this week, upset stomach, headache, general unease, and the like. Probably didn’t help that I ate something that disagreed with me on Tuesday. Thankfully, this is the first Friday I have had off from the group home in a LONG time, so when I am done with work, I’ll hit the treadmill, cover the AEW Wrestling show, and try to finally get my living room under control.


-The Kray Z Comics and Stories podcast I do with Kray is being moved to Wednesdays, same day as new comics come in! This gives me some extra breathing room, since it’s been late the last few weeks due to work stuff. As I put together the episodes, I like how easy going the show is, and it’s what I always wanted it to be: Two old friends talking geeky stuff, helping people navigate a market filled to the brim with new material, stuff about the history of comics, but never becoming a “Everything new sucks!” show, and enough silliness to give a chuckle as you listen.

-I am not a big horror fan, but I will say that the online fandom for horror movies is 150% less filled with jerks than the big SF movie franchise fandoms.

-I watched a Marvel online event where they interviewed Spider-Man creators where they gave away an NFT. I mentioned that I had watched it on Twitter and have been inundated with Cypto-bros wanting to ask me about the blockchain. So, I did just that. Blocked them.

-I’d like if Marvel scanned and put their western comics up on Marvel Unlimited in full. After the hero books took over, they (and the romance comics) were used for new talent to try out and get their chops before going onto the superhero books. Plus, I haven’t read a lot of them, and they ones I have read are decent enough fun.

Much love to friends old and new. Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

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