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Travelogue #1 - Watkins Glen, July 22 - 24, 2013

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Watkins Glen, NY is Gorges. I know, I know. That was groan-worthy, but I have to write about this trip while it's still fresh in my mind. Watkins Glen marks my fifth trip to New York's sublime Finger Lakes Region (Skaneateles still remains my favorite, but only by a narrow margin).

Seneca Lake is capped by two major small towns, Geneva at its north point and Watkins Glen at the southern tip. In Watkins Glen, North and South Franklin Streets are the town's main thoroughfare and it's appropriately dotted with Mom and Pop shops intermingled with some franchise restaurant chains. The downtown area looks to be in fits of revival; there's a mix of new and old that lends an overall shabby chic quality to the surroundings: a cool movie theater, a decent variety of restaurant choices, the upscale Harbor Hotel, but there are also abandoned and outdated storefronts. Overall however, Watkins Glen exudes the charm of a small hometown. 

In the middle of downtown, you come across t…

Rowing Lessons

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There are so many flaws in this photograph that I don't even know where to begin.  As it turns out, it's my favorite because it's the image I love most of my mother.
One summer in Italy, my mother wanted to take me and my sister to the more popular and attractive beach that was located on the next side of the island.  It could only be accessed by boat and not finding anyone to take us, mom rented one and began to row us there.

That's me sitting behind her. I don't remember anything about that day or how we spent it once we got to the beach. The only thing I can recall is feeling badly for her. She hadn't rowed a boat in years and was struggling to steer it correctly. She was getting tired and would stop every so often to catch her breath. Fortunately, the waters weren't too choppy that day, but she had to maneuver constantly to avoid the sharp and shallow rock beds that threatened to scrape or even puncture the bottom of the boat.

I'm endeared to this p…

Travelogue 6 - Provincetown - September 25 - 29, 2015

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This recent trip to Provincetown marks my 6th or 7th time there, I lost count. I also lost most of the details of this trip because I waited too long to write my impressions.  Then again, I really don't need to rely on memory to remind me why I love to come back to Provincetown time and again. It's the New England style architecture; the little coastal style cottages that hark back to America's colonial past. It's also the great little shops, art galleries, and restaurants that populate the main spine of Commercial Street.
It's definitely the liberal vibe of a town that used to be an LGBT vacation spot for so many decades. P-Town gets extremely crowded during the summer months. I pretty much avoid it during July, August and the better part of September.  Towards October, the weather is still amenable and the town has a chance to breathe. It's still crowded, but less so. It's a manageable chaos.

I spent my days walking up and down Commercial Street, finding…

What is it about fall?

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Who writes about their favorite season? You'd think this was a fourth grade essay assignment. Worse, that I have nothing better to do than darn socks and brush my cat's teeth. What can I say, autumn inspires me. If summer is about the sun and beach with long hot days of endless activities, then fall reminds me of the pause. The weather crisps and the leaves change into fiery colors. It's about going on road trips to fairs, hay rides, apple orchards, and hikes. It's the mark of the harvest season and better still, ushers in the holiday trifecta of Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving with the culmination into Christmas.

You have to start dressing in layers. Some people swear by the heat, but I've always hated it. Best yet, fall means tons of photographic opportunities. For as long as I live on the East Coast I won't pass the fall season without a ritual road trip to New York's Finger Lakes region. Skaneateles, Ithaca, Hammondsport, Letchworth State Park... I…

The Smell of Old Yellow Paper

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Earlier this month, I donated my entire comic book collection to charity. It's a 33-year old collection that dates back to one of my first books, Uncanny X-Men #171, the issue when Rogue first joins the team.  For 60 cents, I was hooked, and the cover still gives me a thrill: Rogue running from the rest of The X-Men with the tag line stamped, "Welcome to The X-Men, Rogue...Hope you Survive the Experience!"  Eventually I went on to collect other titles in the Marvel and DC canon like The New Teen Titans, SpiderMan, Alpha Flight, Justice League and many more.

During inventory, I noticed most of the titles dated back as early as 1983 to 1986/ '87, after which everything stops cold. Even my collection's chronology tells an unlikely story about me; because that was around the time my father, in one of his black rages, ordered I never collect comics again. I still remember how he sealed the demand with a crack across my face. Not to veer too far off topic, I'll jus…

Travelogue 5 - Bora Bora!

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Bora Bora  •  January 15-23, 2015 When I told friends and family that I was going to Bora Bora for my next trip, I have to admit I drew some pleasure in the announcement. I heard the response so often that I was able to mentally mouth the words, "You're going to Bora Bora!? I hate you, that's on my bucket list".

It was an expensive trip, but not nearly as expensive as some would think. The huts floating over those powder blue waters are Bora Bora's visual calling card. Mostly located on the motus (islets) that surround the main island proper, the huts snake into the waters like bacteria sprouting in a petri dish (it's an awful simile, but if you ever see an aerial view, that's exactly what it looks like). Instead of lounging for a week in one of these hovering fantasies, my friends and I decided to rent one just for an afternoon.

Still, it was generally agreed that the choice to rent a modest condo on the main island proved more rewarding. Saving a ton of…

Get Your Ass to Portland

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I've never been to Portland.  And I never met Steve McCall.

Never.

Over the years, Steve and I became cyber friends, first through Epinions and then through Facebook. I grew to respect him as a writer primarily because of an article he wrote about Sedona. It was a piece that was so unpretentious and beautifully written, that it inspired me actually to visit this place. Years later, I'm seriously considering Sedona as the place to retire.

Between now and then, I still have miles to go and Steve recently managed to write a traveler's guide to his home city, Portland. I really hate him because my traveling budget can stretch only so far.
No surprise it's a quick, great read and it proves what I've long suspected about Portland - that it deserves a visit.  My poor wallet.
Steve's book is available through Amazon here.

Movies Adapted from the Comics

I was rummaging through some articles I wrote for Epinions and I came across this jewel that I published three years ago. I'm pretty proud of this list. With the exception of possibly adding "X-Men, Days of Future Past" and "Man of Steel", I still stand by this list of my favorite comic book movies.

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This is a countdown of my top 10 comic book action movies.  While movies adapted from a comic book don't have to remain 100% faithful to their source material, they should still embody a generous portion of the spirit from which the series is based.  In addition, excellent action and adventure, and realistic human drama would be the next crucial criteria behind all the choices listed herein.  The title says it all, so I'll list some honorable mentions and we'll start the countdown.

Honorable Mentions:
Superman (1978), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Watchmen (2009), Amazing Spider Man (2012)


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