Agent of Change

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

Archive for the month “February, 2017”

Sunday Morning Musings

Sunday morning, at the group home for developmentally disabled adults, my primary task was to make breakfast. Seems simple, you read the menu and give people what is on the menu:  Oatmeal, toast, juice, milk and coffee.

However, some people don’t like oatmeal, some are on a diet, some have extra things they get with breakfast, and they are taking their morning meds at the time, so some people need their meds before they eat, some after, and some take so long to eat that if they don’t get their pills first, they will be late because they take 90 minutes or longer to eat.

On top of juggling all of that are the people who have a specific cup they use, or a way they want their toast, or what they want ON their toast and so on…and many of them don’t ask for it, since they have pretty much the same thing every morning, they are used to it Just Being Done The Way They Want It. That means, if you miss something, they may pout, or stare at their plate, or leave the room, and not tell you why they are upset.

It sounds goofy when you write it that way, but we all have a little of that in us. We want things the way we want it, when we want it, and how we want it. And at our worst we get upset when those needs aren’t met, but we don’t tell the people involved why we are upset.  How many times have you said, “They should KNOW,” when it comes to a disagreement.

That’s just it, we don’t know. Maybe we haven’t known you long enough to know, maybe we are too wrapped up in our own head to know, maybe we are doing what we fee is the right thing and it’s taken the wrong way or maybe communication isn’t very good.  I once had a GF mad at me for a week because I’d done something in a dream that made her question my honesty (for the rest of the relationship she keep asking what I was hiding from her).

So, start asking people what they want. Start telling the people you care about what YOU want.  Don’t leave the room and hope we’ll figure out you want jelly on your toast and not cinnamon sugar, or that we don’t like pineapple juice or that we feel alone and just want to hear that things are OK.

Much love to friends old and new and I hope that today, someone you care about is able to ask for what they want, or YOU are able to ask someone you care about for what you want.

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7 Kray Z Years

7 years ago, I finally figured out how to record Skype conversations and Joe Rider and I fired up our computers and talked comic books for an hour or so and called it a podcast. I called it “Kray Z Comics and Stories” to bring in the references to a mini-comic about Joe called “Kray Z Rider, Comics Retailer” and “Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories” to let people know that it would ALL be comics.

For the first two years, we were just doing it for fun, the show came out when we had time and we slowly figured out what the hell we were doing. Now, we are about 3 months from recording our 300th show.

We wanted to do a comic podcast, and because we wanted it to be different than others, we brought our years of experience in comics retail, running comic conventions and decades of collecting, as well as other influences to make something we hoped people would like. From there we spun off a solo podcast for myself and then Joe, a podcast where I am turning the novels I have written into audio books, a new podcast where we talk about comic series in review as if it is DVD commentary of the comics, and other podcasts.

But, every Monday, we drop a new episode. We’ve had guests, co-hosts, new segments, and over 700 hours of audio since then.  Not everything has worked (conventions), some people didn’t quite work on the show (not giving any names) and some were amazing, but every hour was a joy where we got to talk about the things important in our lives.

In doing so, we’ve helped people find new comics to read, learn about creators and companies they may not have known about, had a companion on trips and at work and I have gotten e-mails from people who say that the show is an important part of their lives. There have been lots of changes in our lives, in the show and in the comics industry itself, and we’ve done our best to make all of those things make sense even if they don’t SEEM to make any sense.

7 years is a long time, and a lot of podcasts I loved have faded, didn’t last that long, or ran out of steam. We are still growing (over 800 downloads in the first week after a new episode drops), still trying new things, and still looking to have fun every week for 90 minutes. .  I always say we’d do this even if no one listened (and for the first year or so, I don’t think anyone did), but knowing that people like it makes it worthwhile.

So, I want to thank Joe for putting up with me, the co-hosts we’ve had over the years (no matter our current status), the incredible guests who have agreed to speak with us, other podcasters who have given advice or helped promote the show, anyone who has EVERY said anything kind about what we do and the listeners. And for the cuppa haters?  If we had a dime for every hater that made us slow down we’d have ZERO DIMES! (How you doin’?)

We’ve got cool stuff planned for the coming year, we’ll always be looking for new ideas and it always comes back to the core: Friends talking about comic books and telling stories about their lives.  As long as we keep the core, nothing can bring us down.

Thank you so much!!

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Themes

I was asked again “How do you have time to do all the stuff you do?”

The idea is simple, the reality is more complicated. I work two jobs, have a buttload of podcasts and write fiction.  The way I get things done is to put my time where my interests are.  I am not a “goal” person.  I don’t have goals.  I have themes and they are how I decide how to spend my time.  My themes are simple:

  • Help people
  • Tell stories
  • Don’t die

My full-time job is in benefits where I help people get and understand their medical coverage and other things related. I admit it’s a bit of a stretch, but after 20 years in Juvenile Justice, with the last 6 of them being in that field full-time, I have to have a job that offers a career and decent pay.  However, I still work part-time in social services at a group home for developmentally disabled adults.  It’s not a job you’re going to make money at, but it’s a great side hustle and it helps a population that we don’t think about much.

I’m there a LOT because they have sleeping shifts. Since I live alone and have no significant other, pulling those shifts makes extra cash, gives the clients security, and helps everyone involved.  I may complain about not being home, but last night, I helped a client who was FURIOUS with the other staff working calm down and go back to bed at 4 am.  That’s the good thing I did last night.  That’s what keeps me going.

So, the podcasting and writing are where I tell stories. In order to be good at those things, I need to be well-read, knowledgeable and getting information that I can churn into the stories.  So, I read, I listen to podcasts and watch documentaries (NOT reality TV shows) to get more information and see how people construct stories.  Wanna write?  Ya gotta read.  Please listen to my podcast when I post them, if you’re interested, because they are incredibly important to me and I think you’ll like them.

I am back to losing weight and getting back to the gym to keep healthy. I post food things because I enjoy cooking and like to cook healthier.  I’m going “non selfie” for a while in order to focus on getting healthier like I did a year or so ago.  I also try to THINK positively, as that helps with your health.  I may push myself hard, but I know too many people my age who haven’t taken care of themselves and talk endlessly about how the world is falling apart and so on and so on.  I embrace the things I love, celebrate the people I care for and am fighting my anxiety to be a better person.

So, how do I get it all done?

I focus on my themes. I push myself to be better.  And I don’t waste time on things that aren’t working.  If a story or as podcast or a relationship becomes negative or doesn’t work?  It doesn’t fit the themes.

What are your themes? How do YOU focus your time?

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