I was going to write something silly about the rain today, full of all kinds of jokey jokes about Rihanna and burning train tracks.
But then I got home and found out my Grandma Rhea passed away unexpectedly this morning.
Needless to say that dampened the desire to write anything jokey or superfluous, even if what I had is mostly finished and waiting in my draft folder.
I thought really hard about not doing anything Blog-wise tonight out of fear that the social media machine would think I was cynically using the 85-year-old’s passing as some kind of grab for sympathy or attention.
But honestly, part of my intent when creating this blog in the first place was to keep milestones of my life marked down.
That means the good and the bad milestones. I feel like I owe it to my grandmother to at least say something about her tonight.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it can be anything too profound right now. I quite literally found out about a half hour ago and the wound is still much too fresh.
It’s hard to explain exactly how I feel. I need time to gestate on the thought with my family, and whether or not I mention the subject again in the future will really vary on how I collect those thoughts.
I would like to write a sweeter in memorial for her eventually, but I can’t promise it would be soon.
I can’t even promise I’ll write anything at all soon depending on how much of a funk I get into. But that said, I might shift tone completely and write about happy things, just because it’s a better distraction.
Even if I seem indifferent as a result, I can assure you I’m not. I’ll just need time, as I imagine we all do when confronted with something like this so suddenly.
I’m not out asking for sympathy, just understanding as I take the chance to sort this all out.
Good bye Grandma Rhea. I love you, and I wish I saw you more recently to tell you again.
Sometimes you really don’t think about how much of an impact a person has had in your life until you see that name pop up on an obituary.
That happened for me when I saw that Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, passed away from ALS complications at 57 today.
Spongebob hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind for a number of years now. If anything I’ve grown to be more resentful and dismissive of the Nickelodeon classic the longer it lives in prime time, because I’m one of those snobs that loves to go on about how the old episodes were great and the new stuff is trash.
Which is objectively true. But I digress.
Just because the modern run of the show isn’t fantastic doesn’t mean the blockbuster of a series didn’t becomea classic for nothing.
Almost immediately after Spongebob aired in 1999 (almost 20 years ago — yikes), he became the face of Nickelodeon. Anyone who watched the network at any point in the early aughts would recognize the yellow sponge in everything.
The show has been nominated for and won over 100 awards in its runtime according to imdb, and I would say it’s hard to find a more recognizable voice talent than Tom Kenny in the field of animation.
That scene was so iconic to me that I wanted to capture even a glimmer of its majesty in a medium I’d almost never done anything with before. The project never went very far, but I distinctly recall using the Spriter’s Resource to cast Mario from Superstar Saga as a drummer using a drum set from the Scribblenauts series.
That’s how much of an impact the show had on me.
Just thinking about Spongebob drudged up that old part of me, which also helped me remember the Smash Bros.-themed desktop wallpapers I created.
I’ll have to see if I can find those to show them off, but that’s a post for another day.
I also couldn’t help but think about the Nicktoons Unite game I played on the DS back in the day, namely because it was the Spongebob level I could never beat.
Funnily enough when I tried to look for that game in my collection, all I was able to find were these two Spongebob games that I don’t even remember owning!
The day that I’m writing this, Nov. 27, is Giving Tuesday.
Originally I was going to write something promoting the Gladeo donation campaign, but in honor of Stephen Hillenburg I think it would only be right to point out some ALS charities for everyone to donate to.
Unfortunately I don’t know who’s reputable and who isn’t, so I’m going to default to the ALS Association. Go support them in honor of that iconic character living in a pineapple under the sea.
With all that said and done, I can’t think of a better send off for Stephen than this tweet.
SpongeBob: Isn't he beautiful? Patrick: How high's he going to go? SpongeBob: All the way, Patrick, up to the great beyond. Goodbye, friend. Patrick: Happy trails! SpongeBob: He's on the other side now. Patrick: Yeah. He's in a better place.
I don’t know that I had anything planned to talk about today amid a storm of homework I’ve been putting off. But once I saw this news come through, I knew there was really only one thing I could do: Pay tribute.
Within the last hour or so, rumors began to trickle around Twitter that the great Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee had died today at 95 years old.
Having seen a few celebrity death hoaxes in the past, I didn’t want to succumb to the emotions that came with that statement at first.
But once I saw the Associated Press confirm it, I has to accept the truth.
BREAKING: Family attorney says Marvel giant Stan Lee, the architect of the contemporary comic book, has died at age 95.
Since then I’ve honestly been walking around seemingly like a shell of my former self. Hell, I haven’t felt inspired to write a tribute in death for a celebrity since Carrie Fisher passed away, so you know this one must have hit hard.
How do you quantify the life of a man that has affected culture so much? How do you live in a world that, in its innate cold-nature’s cruelty to our mortality, will just keep moving forward in time without him?
Obviously this isn’t a “surprise” beyond the fact that it’s happening somewhat unexpectedly right now. The internet has been talking about Stan Lee’s inevitable passing for years, lamenting the possibility of the older man disappearing now that he has become a ubiquitous part of our movie-going culture if nothing else.
In fact, take a look at any of the stories that have already come out about Lee’s passing and you can tell they’ve been written and on the back burner for a long time, ready to update once the day came.
Personally I really like the piece Variety put out. It captures a lot of the good and the bad of Stan Lee’s life in a degree far better than I could as an arguably fledgling comic book fan.
To be honest, that’s kind of the craziest thing about my feelings toward Stan Lee’s death right now. I’m not even a huge comic book fan — so I can’t imagine how terrible other people must feel.
While a much younger Jason had a vague appreciation for certain comic book animated shows like Teen Titans or Batman the Animated Series (both DC properties I know, but that’s beside the point), it wasn’t until the Marvel Cinematic Universe boom began with 2008’s Iron Man that I started to steep myself in the world of comics.
Also, I guess you could count “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” from the mid-2000s as part of my early exposure to Stan Lee. But I feel like that old show is a topic for another day.
I’ve seen almost every movie put out by the studio since their cinematic universe project began (outside of, say, Iron Man and Thor 2). Having grown into my own as an aspiring writer alongside its release schedule, I’ve come to really appreciate the way they create such an extensively connected story, one that makes me more and more excited for each entry to see where it can go next.
Sure, I know the films are somewhat formulaic and arguably predictable for anyone who knows the comics… But like I said, I don’t really. Only since the movies have grown in popularity have I personally started to research different famous comic book arcs and find YouTube channels dedicated to comic book stuff so I can educate myself on the matter, like NerdSync or Nando v. Movies.
Both of whom have also become regular parts of my life through binging their podcasts on my long commutes to-and-from CSUF.
So the Marvel movies have really been my gateway into comics. And all of them have one unifying thread.
A creative giant who has a cameo in all of them.
From what I’ve read there are a few more Stan Lee cameos pre-recorded for Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 at least, but they’ll certainly be more bittersweet than ever before.
Though not any more bittersweet than never seeing him cameo again after, even if Avengers 4 seems like as poetic an end point as they come.
Rest in peace, Stan Lee. A man who will truly live in forever in his creations.
So obviously I don’t do this kind of thing a lot, but as a fan of just about all things geek, this feels especially poignant to at least mention.
After suffering a heart attack last Friday on a flight from London to Los Angeles, 60-year-old Hollywood Actress Carrie Fisher died at 8:55 a.m. this morning, Dec. 27, 2016, according to the New York Times. Though it’s hard to imagine anybody has not seen at least one branch of the legacy it spawned, her most renown claim to fame came from playing Princess Leia Organa in the 1977 phenomenon “Star Wars.”
Though playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise from Episode 4 in ’77 to Episode 7 in 2015 (with somewhat of a cameo in the Episode 3 to 4 transitional film Rogue One that came out earlier this month) has been her most famous role, Carrie Fisher also has at least 110 other credits for either acting, writing, producing and performing in various movie and television appearances, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Fisher has also written a number of books, including a recent memoir titled The Princess Diarist published on Nov. 22, 2016.
In a year which has also seen the deaths of quite a few other highly acclaimed celebrities, including Prince, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder and David Bowie to name a few of the many, this loss in particular hits pretty hard for science fiction like myself. It’s rather hard not to echo the general sentiment that 2016 has been a hard year for many at least in part because of such a largely star-studded death toll.
However, her titular role as the princess of a destined-to-be-doomed planet by the hands of a black suit-clad Sith Lord will likely live on longer than any of us and keep Fisher’s memory alive for a long, long time – much like many of the aforementioned stars who have also passed in the last year.
On July 22, 2016, Star Wars Episode 8 director Rian Johnson confirmed that principle photography for the next movie was completed. Thus, the film series that jump started her carrier will likely hold Fisher’s last film credit as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a memorial to her at the end of Episode 8, and if anything I’m looking forward to seeing it so I can get emotional about it all over again. With New Year’s Eve in less then a week now, here’s to 2017 hopefully being a little less cruel to our Cult of Celebrity than 2016 has been, even during its home stretch.
Rest In Peace Carrie Fisher, and may the Force be with you. Always.