Agent of Change

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

Archive for the category “Personal”


This is your annual reminder that the holidays is not a Hallmark movie for everyone.

I worked in juvenile justice group homes for almost 20 years, and the holidays were awful. I came to dread that time of year. Clients would act out more often and more violently for a LOT of reasons.

In a dysfunctional home, the holidays are a time of stress. Alcohol and drug abuse goes up, kids are inundated with images of families and things they don’t have, and abuse rates skyrocket. Add to that that the clients would build up their expectations for the holidays so high there was no way they could be fulfilled, and sometimes, parents don’t’ even show up for them.

We did everything we could do to keep things low key, and when I was a supervisor, I helped the staff understand why the holidays were hard, and how not to build it up as “the most wonderful time of the year”.

I worked hard to make sure that my staff could have the day off, usually working the day on my own, and to make the day special for the clients who had to be at a group home on Thanksgiving or Christmas, I’d set up a great meal, bring in movies, and video games and let them relax and hang out like teenagers.

I keep seeing “Shame these businesses for being open on Holidays”, but hospitals, group homes and the like don’t close. When I needed a place to go get a meal on a holiday, I was grateful for the restaurants that were open.

I have worked at and attended movie theaters on holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas are insanely busy days at movie theaters) and so on and so on.

And the stores wouldn’t open if there wasn’t a demand for them to offer a supply.

Not everyone has family to spend the holidays with. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Not everyone has a job that can afford to take days off. And some people need that extra income from working on a Holiday in order to make ends meet.

The holidays are a good time to step into someone else’s shoes and show empathy and kindness, which is the gift we can all give each other. I am spending a lot of time thinking about what we owe each other lately, and I think that making each other’s lives be less stressful is a good start.

Much love to friends old and new, and Happy whatever you celebrate.


What I am thinking about today: 11/28/2019

What I am thinking about today:

Saturday night, I was working at the group home alone, with all of the clients either in bed, in their room, or snoozing in a chair. It got incredibly lonely, and I’d like to thank you folks on the Facebooks for posting things to make me feel like I was connected. I really love reading about your lives, your creations, your jokes, your memes, seeing your selfies, looking at your meals, and everything else. I was able see what people were doing all over the world, and I will never ever not be impressed by this.

The new American Godzilla movie from this summer is in a DVD two pack with the American Godzilla movie from a few years ago. I am thinking that it didn’t quite meet financial expectations.

I am shocked that the people of DC and Baltimore were mean to the President after he said repeatedly that their city was a rat and roach infested trash heap. It’s like they thought he was insulting them or something.

Much love to friends old and new.


What I am thinking about today: 10/25/2019

What I am thinking about today:

If you want proof of our priorities as a country, we have pulled troops away from protecting our allies in Syria because they only paid in blood and lives. We are moving troops into Saudi Arabia because they pay cash, and to protect oil fields in Syria because that pays in oil. Message to the world: We don’t’ give a damn about anything but oil and treasure. Alliances and promises are as worthless as a contract with a Trump company. I realize that other than voting next year, nothing is to be done about the above, but it is disturbing to me. In the past, we were just as horrible, but we tried to cloak it in good intentions, or attempt to mitigate it with other assistance or aid. Now, under Trump, we’ve become the caricature the world had about the US at its worst, and he brags about it openly. Reagan, who was as dirty as the day is long, and never met a 3rd world country his people didn’t think needed to be taken over by right wing thugs, said we were a “shining city on a hill.” Now, we’re third rate thug with a thumb ring.

I am thinking that Pumpkin Spice Flavored Wine would be to “Live, Love, Laugh” women like “75% off graphic novels” would be to me.

We just got Marvel’s January solicitations yesterday, and they are dropping information about their February books today. Slow down, buddy. I know you’re excited, but how about hyping the books you’ve got coming out next week instead?

I know people are wary of smart speakers, and some with good reason, but I adore mine. I have put together playlists, routines to give me information in need in the morning, set it for reminders and more, which helps in dealing with juggling two jobs, one of which is fairly mercurial. I feel bad for people who are “covertly listening” to me, as they will quickly realize how incredibly boring I am.

My only group home shift this weekend is Saturday night, so I have broken my promise not to work Saturday nights. I will also be doing extra hours at the office job, or evenings at the group home all next week. So, check-ins are appreciated, as is pie, obscure crime and detective novels from the 5-‘s and 60’s, phone calls from the Netherlands and offers of asylum.

Much love to friends old and new, and I hope you are able to do something wonderful over the weekend.


What I am thinking about today: 10/24

What I am thinking about today:

Lately, I have been buying an extra package of socks when I go to Target or Wal-Mart to donate to the new homeless shelter in my area. Everything I read is that the one item of clothing always in demand is socks, and people rarely, if ever think of it when they donate clothing. I also saw that internet pal and friend of many of my friends Ely Mattson does kind things for others on her friend’s birthdays, so I will be packing up that baton and doing some kind things for people as someone who drifted out of my life has their birthday.

I am four weeks into doing coverage of AEW for I do the play by play recap and an audio hotline that you need to buy a membership to listen to. It’s always a rush to get it written in a timely manner, since the show doesn’t have a lot of rest holds or commercials. It’s tiring but exhilarating at the same time and like no other writing I have ever done. Hopefully, I am halfway decent at it, since there isn’t a lot of time to polish or wordsmith.

Much love to friends old and new.


What I am thinking about today: 10/23

What I am thinking about today:

For the longest time, I have meditated on the question, “What do we owe each other?” This seems like a complex question, and delves to the heart of community, society, and kindness. Now, I am going to start asking, “What do I have to do for me?” Not in a selfish way, but what I do I need to do in order to hit Maslow’s highest plateau of self-actualization. It would be easy to point at time in the past when I was insanely productive, in a relationship that felt effortless, or was incredibly fulfilled by work, but those things are all transitory. It’s a mix of finding the best self-care, being productive on what I feel is important, and communal responsibility. This will keep my mind occupied more than it probably should.

I’m thinking that waking up and getting out of bed was the incorrect choice today. Not because it’s a bad day, just that I am exhausted. OK, and they have put me on yet another client at the office job, but only for a few days because they under-estimated the demand for phone reps.

A friend of someone I used to know is posting pages of books she reads with relevant passages highlighted. I think I will start doing that, as it’s a cool way to spread the ideas and prose I am reading.

I have been reading articles about how American discourse has been made angrier, and they lay the blame at the feet of Trump. I will say that Trump’s bully-boy, tough guy, lowest common denominator pandering to the worst of his base isn’t helping, but I still say that in politics, it all goes back to the end of the Fairness Doctrine in the 80’s. That ushered in an era of political talk radio that was more akin to Sports radio. This then bled into a politicized form of TV news so that other than a ridiculously few examples, cable news is just people who disagree with each other shouting and name calling. Of COURSE this would eventually become how we do politics because for over 30 years, this is how we are shown to discuss important issues about how to solve shared problems.

Much love to friends old and new, and I hope that today, you are able to put aside some time for a single moment of bliss during your hectic day.


What I am thinking about today 10/22/2019:

 It’s entirely too clear that I should not have worked every night last week at the group home job. I still exhausted, irritable and feel like I am months behind on things. Could it be I am getting too old to put in 60 to 70 hour weeks? Nah, it’s got to be something else.

It’s about time for, National Novel Writing Month, and I’ll be taking part again. I even have a keyboard for my tablet so that I can write pretty much anywhere. I like November for writing, even though it’s our busiest month of the year in the Benefits world because it helps me focus on the writing. I know it’s hard to believe, but with two jobs and multiple podcasts, I find it hard to put aside time for writing and usually only do it a couple of times a week during the rest of the month. All I want to say about this year’s novel is that the theme will be how hard it is for groups to stay together and the cost of bad leadership.

Speaking of our busy time, the Overtime for the office job has been coming every week, despite them saying that there will be no overtime. Now that we are hitting the busy time of the year, there is even MORE of it. I pretty much take it since I live by myself, don’t date, and can schedule podcasting around it. So…there’s that.

I was reading through some older comics last night and it struck me just how good Robert Loren Fleming was. Of course, Thriller was ground breakingly brilliant, but his Ambush Bug scripting still cracks me up, and his work on the mini-series Underworld as well as the Ragman revamp from the 90’s. A damn shame we don’t have more work by him. I’d also love to get that pitch his did for Thriller, since DC Editorial at the time said it was the best pitch they had ever received.

Much love to friends old and new.


Podcast schedule

I am putting together my Podcast schedule for the next 6 – 12 months, and so far I will be doing:

Kray Z Comics and Stories every Monday where Krayz Joe Rider and I talk comics every week.

Novelcast every other Wednesday (quiet, I mean it this time) Where I turn the novels I have written into podcasts.

Series in review at least once a month and maybe more. This is where I, and sometimes someone else, give DVD commentary on comic series of the past.

Solo podcasts on an ad hoc basis

I am still working out when the podcasts I do with Dan Mohr and Adam Vermillion will be updated and moving. I didn’t plan on taking the summer off from the other stuff I do, but it just worked out that way when the Group Home job needed me every night.

Now, they don’t, so I can get back to the stuff I love. Hopefully, there will also be a revamp of my long neglected webpage to become a hub for all of the audio goodness and other things I do, rather than the leftovers from my website from the early 2000’s.

My other plans for the rest of the year are work, paying bills, watching TV, going to the art galleries in the Twin Cities, driving in the snow, and cursing at my alarm clock every morning at 6:20 am.


Why is Cory!! tired?

People often ask me why I am a bit overwhelmed and tired.  Today, my study materials arrived for the second stage of my certification, and I am planning on taking the test in late May.  So, this means that, for this year, I am: 

  • Working a full time job
  • Working a part-time job that demands full time hours (albeit many of those hours are “sleep” shifts)
  • Creating a weekly 90 minute comic book podcast
  • Creating a bi-weekly podcast turning my fiction into audio books
  • Taking said books and converting them to eBooks for purchase on Amazon, and I would like to have one new book available per quarter
  • Creating a bi-weekly comedy advice podcast
  • Creating a 2 – 3 times a month solo podcast with interviews and experimental topics.
  • Creating a 2 – 3 times a month podcast giving “dvd commentary” style analysis of comics series
  • Writing said novels with a plan of writing 2 – 3 per year
  • Editing said novels into shape for use as audiobooks and eBooks
  • Going to the gym 3 – 5 times a week
  • Doing yoga at home 3 – 5 times a week
  • Getting 10,000 steps a day
  • Reading for podcasts as well as for knowledge and pleasure
  • Take a Master’s level class through independent study
  • Connecting more often with friends and family
  • Meditation a couple of times a day, albeit 15 – 30 minute sessions
  • 4 small vacation style trips so as to relax as well as expand my horizons
  • Eat healthy (which means cooking more and spending more time making meals)
  • Running my house, paying bills, cleaning and the like
  • Volunteering

 Other than that, I don’t have all that much going on this year.  And you?


What I am thinking about today 1/8/2018

What I am thinking about today:

  1. Chris Jericho dedicated his WrestleKingdom match to Eddie Geurerro and Chris Benoit. The whole Benoit story is devastating to me, since I just keep thinking about how I would react if someone I had known for years did something horrific. It’s a tough question, and I can see why Jericho dedicated his match to Benoit, and I can see why people are upset by this. In the end, it’s not my call.
  2. We are about the see an avalanche of political books after Fire and Fury made a bajillion dollars over the weekend. And months from now, they will be sold to used books stores and stocked on tables, mostly unread like all of the other “big political books” of the last 25 years.
  3. I am reading about how comic shops are faltering and in trouble, while articles OUTSIDE the comics industry talk about how sales are higher than ever. To me, this shows that the terrible distribution system created in the late 1970’s that saved comic book publishing is in need of an overhaul. I also wonder about the viability of the monthly comic book. The next few years will see profound changes in this industry.
  4. The pace of events seems to be speeding up even more over the last two years. More and more people are feeling overwhelmed, overstressed, and that things are out of control. When this happens, it’s OK to step back, slow down, and disconnect. Social media, politic battles, shifting marketplaces and the pace of work continue if you are attuned to them or not. It’s important to note how many people are trying to go back to cooking meals, playing board games, coloring, and the like. It’s not nostalgia, but an attempt to slow things down. Take that time, recenter yourself.
  5. I have known people who constantly are throwing chaos into the world, and while you are in it with them, it’s thrilling, and exciting, and you feel important, but it also keeps you from examining if you happy or satisfied while in the whirlwind. Things don’t have to feel chaotic in order to be important. Just breathe for a bit and enjoy your burrito..
  6. You’ve got to love everybody and make ‘em feel good about themselves.


No goals for 2018

I don’t do “goals.”

Goals are black and white. You either succeed or you don’t.  It doesn’t allow for exploration, for sidetracking, and for finding out what is along the path.

Bruce Lee said that if you focus on the finger pointing at the moon and the moon itself, you miss all of the heavenly glory inbetween. Neal Peart said in a song lyric that the point of a journey is not to arrive.  JRR Tolkien said that not all who wander are lost.

So, I don’t have goals. I have themes.  When you have a theme, you can explore, find out what works for you and grow as a person, rather than have a goal that you either meet or fail at.

My theme for 2015 was health. I had been diagnosed with extremely high blood pressure and, with medication, exercise, meditation and changing my eating habits, I brought it down to where my health is pretty damn good.  My other theme was service.  A person came back into my life who asked that I assist them with getting their life back together.  Along the way, I learned that I am pretty damn good at helping others, and made it a major part of my outlook.

The theme for 2016 was growth. I wanted to grow my podcasts and get better at getting the word out.  I tried a lot of things, live broadcasting at conventions, adding three new podcasts (two of which have stuck) and expanded my social media reach.  I quickly learned that I no longer cared for going to conventions, that one of the podcast additions was harmful to our long-term growth, and that I had made mistakes in who I trusted, so the theme for the rest of 2016 was fixing what had been broken.

Going in to 2017, the theme was recovery. I had a full-time job with decent pay for the first time since the great recession, and benefits for the first time since then.  I had a LOT of dental work done, replaced by beloved old car, finished up a wonderful therapeutic program for my anxiety issues, and build up my finances better than they have been since the glory days of the 90’s.  As other things fell into place, my theme became exploration.  I took road trips, I visited places I hadn’t been before, I got involved in subcultures other than the comics ones I have known, and am starting to explore even more.  I will be blunt, I do dislike going places alone, but you have to look at places to see where you belong.

So, for 2018, what’s the theme? I have a few.  First is to continue to explore.  We have a lively classic film society here in the Twin Cities, a wonderful arts community (actual art, not crafts, which is its own thing), and one of the most active theater communities around.  I want to start going and doing more.  I want to see indy wreslting, art openings, open mike poetry readings, grindhouse film showing and the like.  I want to get in my car and see where it takes me and learn everything I can stuff in my head.  I also want to create more finished content.  I want to put out at least two podcasts a week, get my novels up on Amazon, and bring a notebook with me everywhere I go.  Will I do all of it?  Probably not, but I will have fun exploring what happens along the way.

Much love to friends old and new, and if you can only do one theme this year, do the one that I have done since 1999: Be kind. Always be kind.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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