Monday, April 12, 2010

Mad Joan

Mad Joan
By David Atchison

I've heard what they say about Joan McLean. I've listened to the snickers and seen how people cut their eyes when she gets worked up. They look at her like she's crazy.

As I've known her all my life, I'd like to lay to rest any assumptions about Joan McLean:

Joan is NOT crazy... She's mad.

Seriously, "Mad Joan" is positively out of her mind and I have proof.

While still in high school, Mad Joan got pregnant with her first child. Being young and with little family, she and her boyfriend got married and moved into housing projects where they proceeded to have three more children. By 21, Mad Joan's husband was gone, leaving her with four children and no high school diploma.

In the 1950s, Mad Joan sat in the middle of the projects with four hungry children and no substantial means of providing for them. Any rational person could see that Joan had lost before the fight had started. Her decisions had relegated her to a life of government assistance, low income housing and low expectations for her children. But Mad Joan isn't rational. Mad Joan is mad.

Between mothering her four children and work, she threw herself into school, first earning her high school diploma and then nursing license. Mad Joan was a strict disciplinarian, stressing to her children the importance of education, morals and God. While she had little, she did her best to expose them to higher culture through music lessons, libraries and museums. She impressed upon them the value of education and how hard work was an equalizer. It didn't matter where they came from, what mattered was what they did when they got where they were going. While most say these things, Mad Joan lived them. She eventually moved her children out of the projects and into a home of their own. A two story home in Jamaica Plain, Boston, that SHE purchased.

Mad Joan, the pregnant teen. Mad Joan, the single mother of four. Mad Joan, the Nurse. Mad Joan, the home owner.

Any rational person would have thought that was enough. Mad Joan had pulled herself out of abject poverty, bought her own home and insured each of her children had graduated from high school and went on to pursue higher eduction. But Mad Joan isn't rational. Mad Joan is mad.

When her kids had moved out, she opened her own nursing home and pursued a degree in the clergy, eventually becoming an ordained minister. Mad Joan, the entrepreneur. Mad Joan, Deaconess.

Teen Pregnancy Statistic. Single Mother. Nurse. Business Owner. Deaconess.

Mad Joan raised a teacher, a veteran, a grant writer and a doctor.

What she accomplished was not rational. What she did, most sane persons would find impossible, but Mad Joan isn't sane or rational. Joan McLean was driven mad with love years ago and she's been "Mad Joan" ever since. Sometimes she's hard to reason with, often times she won't listen and stubborn doesn't even begin to describe her resolve.

Sitting there in the projects with her children, surrounded by poverty and adversity, Joan McLean snapped. She lost "it." "It" being everything that told her to accept her circumstance. "It" being everything rational people use to make excuses for why they don't have what they want. Sure she made mistakes along the way, but my life and the life of my brothers and cousins are testaments that she was right more times than she was wrong.

A mad woman in a sane world, mad with love for her children, herself and future generations who benefit from her sacrifices and example.

I know this to be true because I grew up in a middle class, two parent household due to Joan McLean's madness. My upbringing was vastly better than my mother's because of the influence Mad Joan had in her daughter's life.

When I decided I would create a comic book and sell the film rights, I was told by "rational" people I was crazy. When I decided to run a marathon, I was told by "rational" people I was out of my mind. I wasn't crazy, I was mad, just like Mad Joan. I'll keep striving and each time some "rational" person will be there to tell me I'm crazy, but I'll correct them. I'm not crazy. I'm mad, just like my Grand Mother Joan McLean

You see, "madness" runs in the family.

Long after she's gone and I'm gone, her memory will live on. Her sacrifice and achievements will be retold for generations to come, driving future members of our family to "madness." They'll tell stories of Mad Joan, who looked at a sane world with odds stacked against her and did the craziest thing of all: she succeeded.

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

Mark Twain

Monday, March 2, 2009

I learned from Jim Royal

In my time of knowing Jim Royal he was one of the most accepting individuals I've ever met. There was almost a childlike quality about the way he cared for people. It wasn't naiveté or innocence, but a lack of pretension and societal constraint. Jim didn't really care about the value others placed on people like that. He loved people because he loved them. He loved to his own personal "Jim Limit" and there aren't many of us who can say they do the same. He didn't need qualifiers to accept someone.

Growing up, my father often told me "you can learn something from everyone: you can learn how to do something or how not to something." Sadly, Jim's life taught me a little of both.

Jim was a free spirit. In his passing I've seen the profound effect he's had on his friends and family by just being himself. At his wake I saw old grudges being cast away, people who often never speak to each other finally opening up to one another and a lot of fun being had. That's Jim. That's what he would have wanted for us. That's what his “will.” He left us good will. But there's an irony to all that.

Jim loved everyone more than he loved himself. I don't know the man well enough to articulate his demons, but it was apparent there was something eating at him that he couldn't let go of. Watching the way he cared for others and the way he cared for himself was odd. If Jim were his own friend, he would have never allowed the things he did to be done to that friend. That's the other thing I've learned from Jim. You've got to be a friend to yourself. You’ve' got to love yourself as much as you love other people.

Jim, we always loved you man. We always will and I don't think you had a problem seeing that. I only hope that those you loved so much will begin to love themselves as much as you loved them too. In the end, that's all you ever wanted for any of us and really, that's all any of us ever wanted for you.

Jim's friends were protective of him and that can be attributed to the level of friendship he put out. If anyone finds my words offensive, I apologize in advance. I thought the world of Jim and don't think he would take offense to what I've written.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why Canada is safer than your nation

No one ever has an accident in Canada. Why? They have horrific PSAs to remind them not to mess up. It's like Final Destination for TV:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Taking the Hulk apart

he Hulk is an examination of repression and expression.

Bruce Banner represents the timid, shy person we can all be at times who conflicts with the loud, uncaring industrialized modern world. The Hulk represents that breaking point where we've all had enough and we snap.

The Hulk's "child like mind" is a a metaphor for the shunning of social graces, because the action of losing one's temper isn't perceived as mature. When you lose you temper you don't think about societal convention and political correctness. You explode and say what you really feel and sometimes act without forethought. That's the Hulk to the nth degree. He's what happens when a man let's go fueled by a scientific radioactive phenomenon.

As for why he's so strong? It probably has less to do directly with the gamma radiation and more to do with the auspices under which he was created. Remember- Bruce Banner is a mixture of Dr. Jekyll (repressed Scientist/ mad beast-man), Einstein (quiet, timid scientist who wore the same clothes every day while working on the atom bomb- like Bruce used to with the tacky purple suits) and Robert Oppenheimer (built the hydrogen bomb in the dessert and it was tested there like Banner's Gamma Bomb).

When Oppenheimer's bomb went off people say there was a "crack" in the sky. Like reality itself had been broken open. Bombs of large magnitudes do crazy things. It's my thinking that the Hulk is so vastly powerful because of a mixture of three things that could have created three separate mutations in one person.

1. Exposure to vast amounts of gamma radiation. This mutated his cellular structure. He instinctively wanted to survive and therefore tapped into the energies unleashed by the explosion.

2. Said energies which do not normally exist on this plane were channeled through his body in the form of mass, strength, and healing properties. His body is able to withstand this change because of the mutative properties of the radiation.

3. The phenomenon or mutation also allows him to tap into the rest of his brain power. Not necessarily to make him smarter, but to channel the energies in the rift.

It's probably like a valve. The mutation is triggered, he taps a bit of this power and becomes bigger and stronger. As he gets angrier- he instinctively taps more and more thus making his strength go up. Kind of like how the body releases adrenalin when a person experiences extreme emotions. As his rage begins to subside, the valve closes and he mutates back to his original state.

Two halves of the same coin.

And just so we're all on the same page. It's been shown numerous times that Bruce Wayne is the mask Batman wears. "Bruce Wayne" actually died along with his parents and his innocence. Batman was born from that. He has no life outside of the Batman persona. He can't even maintain a network of friends together because he's never been socialized. He can diffuse a bomb but can't make a cheese sandwich. Bats would die w/o Alfred or Robin to keep him sane.

Batman has the mind of a god in the body of a man. He was raised away from regular people, isolated and allowed to fully indulge his obsession with vengeance.

Supes is a man in the body of a god. Raised by regular folks, socialized and later found out he wasn't normal.

If anything they would probably be jealous of one another and resent the each other because they each possess what the other wants. And ironically enough, they both Superman and Batman maintain certain moral codes that stop them from getting what the other has.

People commonly make the argumentSuperman should have five beautiful girlfriends and lots of money and rule the planet, etc, but by that same logic, why wouldn't Batman invest his vast fortune into more sci fi gadgetry or even super powers to make his job as Batman easier?

Batman's line he won't cross is using his money to augment himself to a place where his pursuits as a hero aren't "fair". Superman has the same line about using his powers to enhance his normal life.

Being Clark is the real challenge for Superman. That IS him. All the super powers are superficial and it makes life easy. As Clark he has to really make an effort because he's in the real world. Moving a mountain is great, but it doesn't speed up the line at the DMV. Sometimes working with an asshole boss can be just as strenuous as battling Metallo. Clark Ken illustrates that.

At the end of the day, Clark wishes he could have the life that Bruce has if Bruce were to retire. Bruce could be normal in a heartbeat and lead a great life as a family man. On the flip side, Bruce resents Clark for not shedding his Clark identity and not serving mankind full time. Bruce's only limit is his physical and Clark doesn't have that.

Clark's limitation is his need for emotional intimacy and Bruce doesn't have as much of a need.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Alan Moore's Advice for Young Artists

Good talk from one of the best to ever make comics and arguably one of the greatest artists in current popculture.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

List o' Links #1

Here's a list of links I've been checking out:
Bionic Six - "A family, brought together by faith and given super powers through the miracles of modern science" eps. 1-65

John David Garcia founder of the Society for Evolutionary Ethics (SEE), taught an enlightened vision of ethics and human purpose via four books, dozens of articles, lectures, seminars and attempts to found schools based on his ideas. He did these things mainly in the US, then in Chile and Mexico.

A self-described moral protagonist and scientific generalist, he sought to advance human evolution through increased moral awareness and creativity. (Creativity = Intelligence * ethics). He viewed the evolutionary ethic as a "rational alternative to death" and devoted his life to learning, teaching and creating.

Gumby seems weird when you're a adult

All the South Park Eps.

The Marine Water Survival Manual
is attached. You never know. If something happens and you end up in a large body of water... you're covered.

Head explosion time: New Kids on the Block and New Edition did a song together:

Have You Fallen for these 7 Negative Attitudes Pushed by the Media?

How to dial straight to someone's voice mail w/o calling:
You dont even have to register.
1. Dial 267-SLYDIAL (267-759-3425) from any landline or mobile phone.
2. At the voice prompt, enter the U.S. mobile phone number of the person you want to slydial.
3. You will be directly connected to their voicemail. Leave them a voicemail, sit back and relax.

The Beauty of Capoeira

Foreign Big Budget Super Her Films:
Mercury Man