Adventures Through Pictures and Words

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When I was little, the only comic book I ever remember owning was a sonic the hedgehog comic book. I really didn't get interested in comics and graphic novels till I was in high school. The first one I read was the Danile Clowes book  'Ghost World.' I remember reading it late at night with the fan on and the windows open in my bedroom. I loved it and after that I wanted to read as many as possible. Comic books and graphic novels combine two things I love, art and stories.

When I was younger, it was much more difficult to find access to certain types of popular culture. I always had to really seek things out weather it be a band I liked or a book or comic book I wanted to read or a movie I wanted to see. Now we live in the age of Spotify and Netflix and for me at least, a really amazing library system that has tons of amazing comics not to mention CD's, DVD's and of course novels. I love this. People should have access to the pop culture that resonates with them without having to jump through hoops or spend tons of money.

Right now I am in the middle of several series of comic books.

'The Unwritten' by Mike Carey


Unwritten is part playful homage to Harry Potter and other fantasy novels, part meditation on the dreariness of growing old without purpose and part rip-roaring fantasy adventure! The main character has many issues that he needs to work out with his father, and his issues drive a lot of the conflict. 
The story is about a man who grew up the son of a man famous for writing a series of YA fantasy novels. The novel's protagonist shares the same name as the main character of the comic: Tommy Taylor. When the overly zealous fans of the novels begin to believe that Tom Taylor is the living incarnate of their fictional hero, things get strange!

'Mind MGMT' by Matt Kindt


This story is a plot twisting story mixing the genres of fantasy and spy thriller. The main character of the book is a woman named Meru. More comic books need female characters (and let's face it, more fiction in general!) Meru keeps finding herself drawn to a mystery involving a secret organization. This organizations members have supernatural skills and talents. With these skills and talents, they cloak and uncover secrets upon secrets. Meru and the reader get the delight of discovering the secrets!

'Saga' by Brian Vaughan


Saga is a love story, vast science fiction adventure and a tale of survival against all odds! The two main characters, Alana and Marko  fall in love despite being on opposite ends of a battle so expansive, it is taking place on several planets. After the lovebirds have a child, they become a target for both sides of the war. They escape their enemies with help from strange beings and by traveling through space and visiting amazing planets.


What are some of your favorite comic books?

Proof of Sunny Days to Come

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The gray clouds are no where to be seen...it is officially sunny season! But before the sunshine arrived, I had plenty of photo proof that sunny season was on its way.

It all started with the leaves growing back on those bare branches.



Even better, the flowers began to bloom!



Before the sun completely takes over the sky, there is a bit of a battle between the storms and the sun. And unlike most battles which are full of carnage, storm-sun battles result in beautiful rainbows!


Every year, right as the seasons shift, I find a herd of busy ants. I think of these ant herds as harbingers of sunny days to come.



My cat Wendel knows what is up. He has staked claim at the best sun bathing spot in the apartment... the window sill!


Hooray for sun! (Even if I still have to wear a coat while enjoying it!)


Green Places and Green Children

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Here are some more pictures of my England trip. These pictures are from when I visited a market at Chelsea Gardens. I was in England around Christmas time, and I got to have a real chestnut roasted on an open fire! That part was pretty exciting. I felt like I was in a real life Christmas movie. The chestnut was good!







I recently learned about a really interesting, supposedly true story that took place in England. Once a long time ago in a small British town called Woolpit, two mysterious children appeared at the edge of the woods. The small town was known for it's wolf pits. Wolf pits are large holes dug into the ground and covered with leaves and other forest debris as a disguise. Dead animals are put inside to attract the wolves to the trap. The poor creatures then tumble downward into the hole where they can be trapped. 

 The forest children had a very odd appearance, and it wasn't just their disheveled attire and the sticks and leaves clinging to their hair, it was the pallor of their skin. These children were green. The two children seemed utterly bizarre to the towns folk. Not just because of their green coloring, but due to the strange language they spoke to each other. The gibberish was indecipherable to the English speaking townsfolk, but the little green children understood well what the other was saying. 

The wide-eyed fearful children looked in great need of nourishment. Their green skin, hallow cheeks and hungry eyes all seemed to beg for a home cooked meal. But the children refused every food that was offered to them except for beans. Beans, they ate with great gusto.

The strange green boy did not thrive in the lonely new town he and his sister found themselves in. The little boy's heart was heavy. He probably dreamed of happier times when the people around him understood him and thought of him as one of their own. The boy grew sicker and sicker and could not heal. He passed away, leaving the little girl on her own in the new scary world.

The little girl had more success in her new life. She slowly assimilated to the Woolpit, English culture. Her skin lost its green tint. She learned the new language. She grew appreciation for food besides beans. Once the girl was able, she told the story of her homeland: St. Martin. 

St. Martin was a town of perpetual twilight. The sun always hovered just high enough in the sky to create the dim, blue light. In St. Martin, the children were not unusual because everyone was green. From St. Martin, they could see another land, glowing in the distance, across the expanse of a great river. The green people of St. Martin didn't know what the other land was, but they wondered. They probably made up stories of the land beyond the river.

 The little girl and little boy arrived in Woolpit after getting lost herding sheep. One moment, the children were surrounded by the comfort of their sheep. The woolly creatures with their gentle eyes and the low jingle of the bells around their necks were all so familiar to the children. But somehow, confusion and chaos took over and they were separated from their sheep. They found themselves in complete darkness, but followed the sound of chiming bells. They emerged out of the darkness from the mouth of a cave. All around them was bright, bright sunlight. They had never witnessed such sunlight. They were in awe.  The children rested for a while right outside the cave, but they became fearful that they were being pursued by something sinister, so they got up and ran. This is how they found themselves in Woolpit.

The girl grew up and got married in another town. She was said to go by the name Agnes Barre. She never returned to the real or mystical land of St. Martin. But she probably dreamed about it. Everyday at twilight, her heart would tickle with a sense of familiarity. When she saw the color green, she probably felt a stronger sense of peace...the color of her childhood providing comfort in a world of colors. 

There are many theories about the green children. Some of these stories are wondrous and fantastical, delighting the speculative imagination. Other of these stories are more rooted in the plausible and logical.

One theory claims the children were aliens. Green is often the color that aliens skin is described as. People looked to the children and saw such oddities, then looked to the sky and thought..."I wonder......"

Some say the children stepped through a tear between worlds. Maybe they were from earth, but not OUR earth. They were from an earth living parallel to ours. Maybe all the lost children of our earth had stumbled through a similar door between worlds. They were somewhere in that world, surrounded by helpful green folks, feeding them bowls of beans under the twinkling twilight sky.  

Some say they arrived here from an underground city. The inhabitants of the underground city commingled with the moles and earthworms, having no idea of the glorious world that prospered above their heads. 

Another, less whimsical theory was that the children were Flemish immigrants. There was a Flemish town nearby called Fornham St. Martin. The children may have become lost in the woods and then followed the sound of church bells to Woolpit. 

There are also theories to explain their green coloring. One being that the children's caretaker poisoned them with arsenic. Arsenic can change a color a persons skin. The caretaker took the children deep into the woods and abandoned them, expecting they would succumb to the poison and pass away. 

Another theory about their skin was that they were suffering from iron deficiency. There is a type of iron deficiency called chlorosis that can cause skin to transform to a greenish tint.

Of course, some people think the entire account is fabricated. That it is a fairy tale that was mistaken for truth after hundreds of years of retelling. But amazing things happen everyday, so it doesn't seem too far-fetched that two lost children emerged from the woods, mystifying the locals and inspiring the imaginations of generations to follow. 


Sources:

Haughton, Brian. "The Green Children of Woolpit." Brian Haughton.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <http://brian-haughton.com/ancient-mysteries-articles/green-children-of-woolpit/>

Schneider, Caitlin. "The Mystery of the Green Children of Woolpit." Mental Floss. Mental Floss, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <http://mentalfloss.com/article/62878/mystery-green-children-woolpit>.

"Trapping Pit." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trapping_pit#Pits_for_trapping_wolves>.




The Children Travel with the Great Snail

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     In the valley, all the children began to disappear. They were still there, but they were invisible. They still chattered, made whirl winds of messes, climbed trees, and broke windows with stray baseballs. But no one could see them. Parents recognized their child by the sound of their voice and the feel of the child’s head when they pressed their palm against the invisible spot. It was an epidemic.

A child would be born and visible for three days before they started fading. For several days after the children began to disappear, they were still slightly visible. But you could see right through them. You could look at their face and see their brain underneath and underneath that the blue blanket with stars and lambs they were sleeping on. You could look at their chest and see their little hearts beating. The parents knew they had to do something. There could not let more children be born and then forced to live an eternity of invisibility.

The parents talked to great physicians and world renowned scientists. They talked to witch doctors, magicians, and mystical hermits. No one knew what to do. But all of them, even the respected men and women of science, alluded to the great snail. The great snail grew up in a cemetery. He lived with a family of snails, but when he began to grow larger than the rest, he made the other snails nervous. Soon he was shunned. Once he was the size of bus, he knew he could no longer live in the cemetery. He slowly started his journey away from his home. Unlike most snails that create slime trails, he created a grand river. The ghosts living in the cemetery were dragged into the river. They splashed and grasped for their headstones, but the current was strong and they were carried away in the snail’s river. They bobbed and tread water as the river rushed.

Eventually the snail found where he wanted to live. He saw it from a distance. It was a grassy meadow right by the sea. He finally stopped moving. During his entire journey, he hadn’t noticed the dozen or so ghosts bobbing along behind him. But when he got to the meadow, he turned around to see them. They were no longer ghosts. Their hazy blue, almost invisible bodies had transformed into flesh. They were whole people again.

The snail realized he had quite the gift! He could bring the dead back to life. But the process was exhausting. When he got to the meadow, he had never been more tired. He fell into a deep sleep. In his dreams, he had an epiphany. He was destined to travel the world, finding worthy ghosts to bring back to the life. But he could only make the journey once every five years as it was so exhausting.
When the people of the valley heard the legend, they knew that no one was more worthy then their invisible children. They hired a private investigator to find where the snail was. After discovering he was back as his home by the seashore meadow, they sent two town advocates to talk to the snail. They told the snail of their troubles and the kindly snail agreed to help.

All the children in the town were prepared. They were lined up by age. The newly born babies were to go first. They still had their form. The parents could say goodbye to them while looking into their eyes. But the mothers did not want to say good bye. They looked into the children’s eyes and worried they would never see their babies again.  Last to go in the river were the oldest children.  All of them had their own small boat to sit or lay in while they drifted down the river. When the adventure down the river started, no one knew if it would work. After all, they were not ghosts. They were still alive, but invisible. The children could feel the transformation. They watched as their hands started to have color again. They looked behind them or in front of them at the other children on boats and laughed as they saw their friend’s faces again.

While the children floated on the river, the parents began their own journey. They walked from the valley, following the river, dreaming of finally seeing their children again. They knew they would all meet at the valley soon. 





Carkeek Pt. 3: Extraordinary Animals

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While on my walk at Carkeek, I saw several amazing animals. First, I saw an adorable chipmunk scamper across the trail! In Seattle, we have many squirrels frolicking around the city. They swirl around trees, chasing each other, daintily prance across telephone wires and stroll across fence tops. The squirrels in Seattle are brave and brazen. They perch on nearby fences as we walk past and look at us with cute but defiant twinkles in their eyes. 

The next animal I saw was an itty-bitty black mole! It was an amazingly cute little creature. I've never seen a mole in the wild. They are really interesting animals. Their fleshy long noses and big paws make for an interesting looking little creature. Moles are often described as blind, but they can indeed see. They just have bad eyesight and are color blind. They rely more on the scent receptors on the end of their noses to make sense of the world. (A)

The last amazing creature I saw while at Carkeek was a bald eagle. The bald eagle swooped through the trees with a tiny wriggling animal in it's mighty beak (I really hope the wriggling creature was not the chipmunk or mole I saw.)

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of any of the animals I witnessed, but I did get pictures of a bunch of beautiful scenery! 














One thing I love about Carkeek park is the way I can be so immersed in nature while still being in the city of Seattle. It was especially fun to see wildlife. I love animal sightings! Even in the more city-esque parts of Seattle, I've had cool animal sightings. At least once a week while waiting for the bus in the morning, I will see a rat dash across the street. I know people dislike rats, but they are super cute! If I saw one rummaging through my lunch I would not be happy (but I don't like it when my cat Mue Mue rummages through my lunch either!), but out and about in the wild...they are darling! Another common animal seen in Seattle are raccoon's. I love raccoon's! They are one of the cutest animals. Plus, I am charmed by their mischievous nature.

Raccoons are more otherworldly then we give them credit for when we see them rummaging though garbage or lumbering across the road in the wee hours of the night. When raccoons are hairless, they transform from an ordinary (yet adorable) animal to an unexplained creature.

In Texas, a couple found a strange creature in their cornfield, peacefully munching on some corn. The creature was bizarre and unlike any they had witnessed before. They suspected the creature was the Chupacabra! (B)  Everyone seemed to be amazed and awed by the chupacabra raccoon. Raccoons already have it tough in the admiration department, as many see these charming and mischievous creatures as little more then garbage mongering nuisances. And hairless animals also tend to make people uncomfortable with all that rough skin exposed, and none of that furry fuzz that cloaks most animals with an immediate appearance of 'cute'. So this raccoon, against all odds, inspired bouts of fanciful musings and hopeful speculations. The little guy wasn't suspected to be an ordinary animal, but something more, something of legends and ancient tales.

Sources:
       A. Bradford, By Alina. "Facts About Moles." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016 <http://www.livescience.com/52297-moles.html>

       B.Krebs, Natalie. "Experts: The Texas "Chupacabra" Was Definitely a Raccoon." Outdoor Life. N.p., 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016. <http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound/2014/04/experts-texas-chupacabra-was-definitely-raccoon>

Carkeek Pt. 2: Washed Ashore

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I love to collect beautiful objects from the beach. Broken shells, barnacle covered rocks and gleaming peices of sea glass are all amazing seashore treasures! I use to fill my pockets with these seashore treasures an put them in jars to display in my house. But I live in a small space and don't have room for even more clutter, even if the clutter is beautiful! I will still sometimes take home something I find on the shore if it is especially amazing. But now, I will also take pictures of the beautiful things I find and leave behind. This way I can still admire the seashore treasure when I am away from the shore.

















Over the years, I have found all sorts of beautiful and interesting things washed ashore.I have found sea glass, shells of strange creatures, beautiful rocks and once even the tiny dried remains of a little octopus (by little, I mean the size of a fingerprint!)

Here would be the top things I would love to discover on the beach, besides a genie lamp or a treasure chest.

  1. A message in a bottle. I wonder how many bottles with letters are bobbing around the sea right now, just waiting to wash ashore and be discovered by some eager stranger, itching for a mystery.
  2. The washed up remains of a never-before-seen sea monster. Ideally, it would be either s sea serpent with huge yellow eyes, scales, and spikes ridging across its back or one of those sea-brontosaurus types of monster with long necks, a pudgy body, stubby fins and a long tail. It would be even better if the sea monster was alive so we could assist it back to the sea where it could live out her life in the peace of  churning waters.
  3. An alien spaceship, covered with rust and barnacles. Discovering an alien spaceship would be awesome and scary at the same time. The implications of true evidence of aliens is hard to imagine. In movies though, aliens sometimes bring humans together. 
If I never find any of these, I am happy to continue finding beautiful rocks and shells at the beach. 

What do you want to discover washed up on the seashore one day?
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