Comikaze 2016 is well underway

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It’s that time of year again! Comikaze 2016 is open for purchasing tickets and planning your stay for the Los Angeles Convention Center. This years event will take place October 28-30. You can click the following link to purchase: https://www.showclix.com/event/comikaze2016
Since the event has continued to grow over the past five years, there are more rooms in the convention center that the Stan Lee expo covers! Last year was quite a whirl wind when trying to get across the building to be present in time for whatever special event or panel you want to get to, so be prepared, wear good walking shoes, have lots of snacks hidden in your travel bag and be prepared for fit bit overloads as you’re guaranteed to walk miles if you’re as into this pop culture event as we are!
The past two years have proven to make Comikaze an amazing place to take your kids out for Halloween.  Fitting right in with all the cosplay wandering through the convention center all weekend long.  Stay tuned for the list of special events that take place. Like previous events, lots of cast members are present for autographs, lots of artists and once in a lifetime autograph opportunities. People stood in line for hours for last years autographs. Visit http://comikazeexpo.com/ for more information.

 

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Highlights of Stan Lee's Comikaze 2014 by Anne S. Hall of Syrenia Imagery.

Highlights of Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2014 by Anne S. Hall of Syrenia Imagery.

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Highlight images from Comikaze 2015 by Anne S. Hall and William Walbourne of Syrenia Imagery

Highlight images from Comikaze 2015 by Anne S. Hall and William Walbourne of Syrenia Imagery

 

The Romantics hits Harrahs Resort and Casino in Valley Center

Image provided by Glass Onyon PR

Image provided by Glass Onyon Public Relations

Mike Skill, Wally Palmer, Rich Cole and Brad Elvis will be touring together through 2017 to help promote their new album released this June from K-Tel Records, “Up From the Rubble.” They will be performing with Rick Springfield and Loverboy at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Vally Center on Sunday, July 17, at 7 PM, for their hot Night of Flashback Favorites. Tickets start at $45. For details of my exclusive interview with the lead singer, visit http://www.times-advocate.com/ or pick up a printed copy July 12.

For more information about the band and tour dates, visit http://www.romanticsdetroit.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/romatnicsdetroit

I found a fun video of the bands official interview for American Bandstand with Dick Clark on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfLUTkf9myw

 

4 Color Fantasies celebrates 10 year anniversary

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Regal Cinema’s Edwards Theater in Ontario CA

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is a great way to start off the celebrations for 4 Color Fantasies festivities as their annual free comic book day continues to wow and draw crowds in from all over the west coast.  Not only will they be celebrating their growing popularity, but this years event marks the comic shops 10 year anniversary in Rancho Cucamonga.  4 Color Fantasies owners, Chris Brady and Nat Leamwongnukul, have the only premier night packages that allow comic fans to view their favorite characters on the big screen for a set price that allows them to receive customized t-shirts featuring local artists, fandom art on patch work for every movie hosted, goodie bags and more.

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Not only has 4 Color Fantasies been growing in fame from the great deals they offer in store, along with the space for customers to interact and play table card games and such at their store location, but they help to support local artists as they contribute to the events that these guys host throughout the year.  People have come from San Diego, Arizona, and Nevada to attend these special events.  Some learning about the store and its popularity through mass media and others just being lucky enough to accompany family and friends.

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This free comic book day, visit 4 Color Fantasies and help them to celebrate their 10 year anniversary in style at 8045 Archibald Avenue,
Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Be prepared to stand in line a while as there is a lot that is offered throughout the day and the crowd steadily organizes through the artist booths and shop to browse, network, and purchase items.  Food is always available.  But if they ever run out, there is an awesome Chinese place in the same parking lot, along with a yogurt shop that is worth giving a try at least once.  I can definitely say that various San Diego residents have made the trip just to experience the 4 Color Fantasies highly acclaimed Free Comic Book Day festivities and have not been disappointed.

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This years festivities will feature a costume contest where attendees decide who wins.  All participants will be collecting tickets from people attending the event and whoever has the most at the end of the day can win from one of the two categories: 13 and up or 12 years old and younger.  Every year a blood drive is held at the venue.  Featured artists for the day include Kenneth Rocaford (artist), Whilce Portacio (artist and co-founder of Image Comics), Danny Miki (artist), Dean White (colorist), Mick Gray (Eisner Award winning inker), Mat Nastos (artist and writer), John Narcomey (writer and artist), Jimmy Purcell (artist and writer), James Ninness (writer), Luis Escobar (writer), Dean Rulan (illustrator and co-creator of LET IT BURN), Jay and Chris Salce (together artist-writer and co-creators of BloodRed), Justin White (artist), Danie Whitfield (artist), AJ Herrera and Geo Brawn (just about a do it all kind of guys), Patrick Scullin (Illustrator), Gavin Andazola (writer and creator of The Stone Legacy).  Theres so much more to do and see.  If you’re really into comics definitely plan on being there more than an hour!

For more information visit their Facebook page here

Steam Powered Giraffe charges through the States

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From left to right: Hatchworth (Samuel Luke), The Spine (David Michael Bennett), Rabbit (Isabella “Bunny” Bennett).

Taking their weird to the next level; Steam Powered Giraffe transformed their array of talents to fit todays generation of success. Twins, David Bennett and Isabella “Bunny” Bennet; along with their long time friend, Samuel Luke, have spent the last eight years evolving their band and their brand. What that brand is jumbles together to form what fits extremely well within the Steampunk culture. The bands music has a robotic sound that goes along with their old school robotic moves; hence, the metallic paint and jazzy retro robot appearance.

“Putting our costumes together was the easy part. Now it’s just tedious,” said Bunny, while signing autographs for her children’s book, Pudding Bat’s Big Night Out.

These characters are musicians, writers, artists, computer tech’s, and business men. They’ve been invited to perform on America’s Got Talent numerous times but have declined in order to keep their business manageable within their own constructs of operations. Performing entirely as independent performers, they have already released seven albums and are currently on tour for various conventions and fairs across the country. The group will be back home in San Diego for the Del Mar Fair. Performing on July 3, at 8 pm.

“We never really quite fit in going to school, so it was always nice to have a twin to get along with and do things with. We work well together even though we bump heads at times. We found an odd talent doing the robot in performance classes at Grossmont College. It just made sense to get into business together,” said David, as he was addressing a crowd of fans during a meet and great during the fifth Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention in Old Tucson (Tucson, Arizona) this past weekend. Working as computer programmers coming out of college, they have found their happy place establishing the performance group.

The Steam Powered Giraffe have been seen in various iconic places around San Diego, like the Del Mar Fair, San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and LEGOLAND. The band truly enjoys having the one-on-one interaction with people. Samuel Luke has an energetic personality that draws attention to his strength in never breaking character as Hatchworth. Visit steampoweredgiraffe.com to read the bands backstory and get more information about where they’ll be next. I will never look at green rock candy the same way ever again.

The Future of San Diego

sandag.org/priorities

                        sandag.org/priorities

The population of San Diego County is estimated to grow beyond 40,000 households in the next 15 years based on prior years expansions. With that in mind, the community has been working with SANDAG and TransNet to decipher what the best priorities for our local communities are in hopes of meeting the needs of such a population growth. SANDAG projects that by 2050 the county population would exceed 4 million.

These projections have established a great deal of contract work for housing and transportation and many members of the community who have been made aware of these plans have already begun acting towards the inquiries and foreseen projections on development. To help keep San Diego beautiful and to have your voice heard about the many progressions that will be taking place in the next few decades SANDAG and TransNet are urging people to participate in the conversations taking place.

 

Currently, there are three ways to participate:
Join a Telephone Town Hall Meeting
These meetings will be hosting conference calls about the many important projects and developments that are hoped to take place near your area.

North County Coastal and North San Diego will take place on Thursday, January 28, 6-7 pm.

North County Inland and East County will take place on Tuesday, January 26, 6-7 pm.

Central San Diego and South County will take place on Wednesday, January 27, 6-7 pm.

Spanish/Espanol will be available on Monday, February 1, 6-7 pm/Lunes, 1 de febrero de 6-7 pm.

Simply dial into the call at (877) 229-8493 and enter access code 112664

Another option to voice your opinion would be to “Select Your Priorities Online” by taking a survey at sandag.org/priorities

Lastly, simply attend a public meeting!
Provide your opinion and take an active part in person.
All meetings take place on the 7th floor in the SANDAG Board Room at 401 B Street, San Diego. Friday, February 5, 9 am: SANDAG Transportaion Committee meeting
Friday, February 12, 10 am: SANDAG Board of Directors meeting
Thursday, March 10, 10 am: SANDAG Board of Directors Retreat (which will take place at Barona: 1932 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside, CA 92040)
Friday, March 25, 9 am: SANDAG Board of Directors meeting

Community members are highly encouraged to attend as we will all shape the future of our beloved community together. Find out more about the planning and operations for San Diego County at sandag.org

Opinion piece on Legislation

One of my favorite photographers in history: Lewis W. Hine.  Portrait photographer of laborers and our way of life.

One of my favorite photographers in history: Lewis W. Hine. Portrait photographer of laborers and our way of life.

Once again, job security is in question for our American way of life. As a former service member, and growing up as a military dependent in a saturated family full of service members, it was a known fact that benefits to serving your country included financial security as long as you were responsible and invested wisely in your financial endeavors. This article was recently shared by a friend of mine regarding the new policy for retirement and pension benefits for service members as of 2016:
http://www.militaryfamily.org/featured-news/the-fy16-ndaa-whats-in-it.html?referrer=https://www.facebook.com/
Much like union benefits I went over with my husband for his blue collar career, it now appears that service members will have even less of an ability to retire at the age of 40 when separated from service for their average 20 year retirement rates and be more likely to see the end of the labor tunnel closer to their 80’s.

Most service members separate from their duty with disabilities and physical conditions that limit their ability to work as hard and efficiently as they would have if they maintained their life as a civilian. To consider the fact that they would have to continue their years of employment extended for a considerable amount of time beyond their separation from service is frightening.

Currently, I am in my 30’s. My generation will not see Unemployment benefits at the rate that it has been distributed. With this percentage, all service members currently below the age of 40 will eventually separate with this retirement plan to look forward to; no assurance of senior living assistance and social security upon their years of seniority because most benefits that exist presently are based around a person over the age of 55’s income directly earned from social security; hopes that the stock market didn’t destroy whatever savings plan they did invest in considering TSP and 401k’s revolve around personal choices in stock market investments that are only protected up to a certain percentage.

At the current rates of market sales in economic development in the past couple of years and the lack of improvement in cost of living and actual full time employment of society another “great recession” is going to hit much worse than the last. People are again being placed in housing with high interest rates and incomes that do not meet the demands of the costs of living. Companies are primarily still hiring part time and temporary positions above any full time employment, so a strong majority of people are opening up small business versions of larger companies in order to create a means of employment rather than rely on big companies to hire, while those big companies are still outsourcing to foreign countries for cheaper labor.

I don’t know how it can still be considered a “great recession” just because people continue to spend money. Growing homelessness and starvation is what it is regardless of what media wants to call it.  This generation is the first in existence to be estimated to not outlive their generation before it.  Granted, our lifespan may be reduced in years: but that quality of life we’re forced to live while we are able is forced to exist, not as living, but as working much like the poor souls fighting for labor rights during the industrial revolution.

http://ehstoday.com/safety/remembering-our-past-photo-galleries-look-back-time-work-and-workers#slide-0-field_images-37371

 

Veterans Day 2015

© Anne S. Hall of Syrenia Imagery  Published on www.behance.net/syreniaimagery

© Anne S. Hall of Syrenia Imagery             http://www.behance.net/syreniaimagery

As a US Coast Guard Veteran who was forced out of service due to MANY issues that were deliberately overlooked and ignored for the sake of saving a buck, along with many of my brothers and sisters who were treated the same way over a 4 year span within all branches of service, I took this photograph on Veterans Day. No one will ever know the trauma that all of us have endured in our own ways. Some will never heal. We’re given companions to try and take our minds off the sorrow. They help, but I can’t help but think that they suffer with us to an extent.
I have been lucky enough to overcome my greatest of burdens. I am still working on recovering from them. It’s been more than half of a decade. Piece by piece and year by year I find a new accomplishment and a new goal to appreciate. I’ve been told “no”; I’ve been knocked down; I’ve lost many friends who didn’t want to understand; I’ve helped others like me; I’ve admitted the truth; I’ve healed myself spiritually because of that realization of truth, and now the physical shell that has maintained this tattered soul is very slowly finding its form for what it was. Hopefully, one day, this body will come close, if not exceed what it once was in it’s prime.
Giving in to asking for help and letting go of shame or pride is the first step I took to finding a better way. I’ve learned to ask for help when I really need it in the hardest way possible!
To all the others who sometimes feel that they’re invisible being wanders this world alone with their special companions at their side to drown out the things that make us weak and weary. So many of us know one another’s pain even though no two are the same. For all that you’ve given and continue to give: Thank you!