Showing posts with label helping hand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label helping hand. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Be Super: Let's Help Houston

I do not expect most people to understand Houston.  I don't get it, and I go there pretty often and have friends there.  Lived north of there myself back in the 1990's.  It's easy to write-off as a city in dumb 'ol Texas that's probably getting what it deserves.  Look, Houston, like any place on Earth, has its issues.  But it's not some backwater redneck town.  At least it hasn't been since the 1980's.

Houston is not just a well-populated metroplex - fourth largest in the country - it's a multi-ethnic, international mix of people with a vibe all its own, a place of genuine opportunity, and full of fine, hard-working people of all stripes.

It is geographically huge.  Because so much looks the same in the shots they're using in the news footage, that's difficult to get, but what considers itself "Houston" covers roughly fifty to seventy miles across in any direction.  These days I don't know when you quit saying you're out of "Houston" when you go up I-45, but it's all one corridor til you leave Conroe, so that's more or less an hour and a half on the road that's all one town.  And it does the same going East/ West.

And all of it's in trouble.  Since my last post on Houston, I've seen footage of the area where I went to high school under varying levels of water.  For some reason the thing that broke me was seeing St. Ignatius Loyola, the Catholic Church I only stepped in once, submerged under 3 feet of water, at least.  St. Ignatius was the church of many of my friends, it's a positive force in the community, and I don't recall them ever receiving flooding before.

I've heard stories of a colleague who was canoed out of her home with her two children and husband, another colleague's parents who were also rescued.  Another friend's mom (who just lost her husband a year ago) is staying with a friend as her house is flooded.  It's everywhere.  I don't know how we can expect a city of millions to recover.

And as a double-hit, I know a lot of Katrina refugees wound up in Houston.

So, as too few of us own boats or helicopters, I'm suggesting we do a little something to give.

I guess it's people being people, but already we're seeing articles complaining about various charitable organizations trying to help out Houston.  We're going to ignore that and provide a menu of folks who can provide a direct line of help:

Houston is nothing if not stubborn and resilient.  As much as I believe in the spirit of Austin, I recognize and appreciate the heart that is Houston.  Good people live there.  There's a kindness to the city that's genuine.

Just as Houston is a city of people who can fight their way back.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fighting Cancer and a Chance at Prizes!

As we've been promoting in our sidebar this month, we're supporting Max's efforts to raise some dough for cancer research and treatment.

The way it works is - you donate to one of Max's charities of choice, email him the receipt, and you're entered into a raffle for a wide selection of comics-related goods.

Here's the instructions.  Clicky Click.

I have no idea if any of you guys are doing this.  I certainly hope you are.  It's a good cause, and you aren't just helping to make the world a better place, you've got a chance to win some loot.  And, hey, Max has gone to a lot of effort to make this both a good cause and fun.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Join In and Help Max Fight Cancer!

We're about a month out from the drawing for the big raffle Max Romero of Great Caesar's Post is planning over at his blog.  

It's super easy to participate in the raffle, and nothing would please me more than knowing a few of y'all kicked in a donation or two as part of his effort.  Those donations can include either a straight donation to a charity on Max's list, or - if you're the creative type - you can donate an item to Max's raffle for the raffling!

Consider it good karma.  Consider it paying it forward or putting some money in now so you can help develop a cancer treatment for yourself or your loved ones down the road.

At any rate, I hope you'll support Max's efforts and join in with a donation.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Join Max in Kicking Cancer's Ass

I'm going to share this link with you here and again at the end.

Writer, blogger, reader and Austinite Max Romero is putting together a project I think you'll like.  I know I'm thinking about this pretty hard.  And, I ask you - both of my readers - to think about this as well.

Max is a cancer survivor and he's now about three years out from when he had surgery to remove the tumor.  To celebrate the past three years and pay it forward, Max is going to be collecting items from his readers, friends and family and he'll be raffling them off.  Proceeds, obviously, go to charity.  Quite directly.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby! Design Aesthetic

One last shout out for The Kirby4Heroes/ Hero Initative event today in honor of Jack Kirby's legacy.

Nobody did it like The King.  Nobody before and nobody since.

More Happy Birthday to Jack Kirby - Marvelous Marvel

A friendly reminder that in honor of Jack Kirby's birthday, you can donate today to the Heroes Initiative, an organization that helps freelance comics folk with financial support in times of need.

Click here to donate and see what else is going on today thanks to the Kirby4Heroes Campaign.

So, Jack Kirby more or less made up about 90% of the Marvel Universe that anyone cares about.  He didn't do Spider-Man and had limited contributions to Iron Man, but he drew up a whole lot else.

Way back before World War 2 and his own enlistment, Kirby went ahead and made-up a superhero to throw a punch at Hitler as a proxy for the slug Jack would have gladly thrown himself.

Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby! Some Favorites from his time at DC

Today marks Jack "King" Kirby's 98th birthday.

Jack's granddaughter runs to Kirby4Heroes Campaign, which is an annual event focused on raising money for The Hero Initiative.  The Hero Initiative raises money for freelancer comic artists and creators who may need some financial assistance.

Let's honor Jack Kirby by donating today!

And what better way to celebrate the man and artist than with a glimpse of his amazing work.  We're doing more than one post on Kirby, so look for two more today.  But we're starting with DC as I first went from "that's Jack Kirby" to appreciating Jack Kirby, specifically via his Fourth World work and that era of DC output.

Let's start with one of my favorite DC characters, and an original Kirby creation...

Monday, February 2, 2015

Artist Norm Breyfogle recovering from stroke

If you're anywhere near my age and you read comics in the 1980's, then you know the work of artist Norm Breyfogle.  Norm Breyfogle and Jim Aparo were some of the definitive 1980's Bat-artists - Aparo leaning more to the Neal Adams illustrative mold and Breyfogle's work more impressionistic and visceral.

Breyfogle's lines in Batman evoked energy and action, something he also brought to page layout and panel management.  He has a keen sense of design that even the better illustrative artists couldn't always bring to the page.  It's something a lot of artists could stand to study a bit.

a pretty awesome 2-page spread

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monkeybrain Comics Does an Amazing Thing

Full disclosure, I have, of course, met Chris Roberson and Allison Baker.  You are unlikely to find two more decent folks in any setting.

A while back, as iZombie was wrapping up (a series you can and still should pick up in trade paper back format), Chris made a statement about wanting to see companies do right by creators, and that he did not feel that was happening in mainstream comics.

Of course my fandom for Superman feels increasingly tainted by the ongoing litigation between the Siegels/ Shusters and Warner Bros., who own and operate DC Entertainment.  And you don't have to look further than Steve Ditko or Bill Finger to see how credit and financial compensation rarely goes where it could or should in the realm of intellectual property.

Chris and Allison understand the change in access and the opportunity presented by digital comics and platforms like Comixology.  They also understand fair agreements with creators.  They launched Monkeybrain Comics not so long ago in order to provide a home for creators where they could have a shake at publishing their own work with a fair deal in place and be on the digital shelf with other books.

Very cool.  I was excited, and I'm a fan of a large chunk of Monkeybrain's output.

Now, however, Chris and Allison took it up a notch.  For the month of November, they're giving all profits headed for Monkeybrain to The Hero Initiative.  I'll let their press release describe what this is and what it means, but I will say:  It's nice to see the rare opportunity for comics folk on the business side do something far above and beyond what business is usually willing to do for their own contributors, let alone contributors who never worked with or for the company.  Monkeybrain is supporting the folks who gave us, as readers, the stories and characters we've loved since childhood by supporting The Hero Initiative.

This is what heroism looks like.  Other publishers, especially those who have built their companies upon stories and characters taking steps beyond human to help others, who became empires built on the work of those they never offered anything beyond the next check for the next story...  they haven't quite sorted this out yet.  I imagine a legion of attorneys advises against any acknowledgment of contribution.  In any case, they aren't famed for stepping up and doing the right thing.

Monkeybrain is a new publisher.  This decision should tell us all a lot about what they value, and that they've built a moral compass directly into the DNA of their company.

Below the jump: the press release

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today is the 60th Birthday of Christopher Reeve

Today would have been the 60th Birthday of actor and activist Christopher Reeve.

Like most people, I am most familiar with Reeve thanks to his work in the four Superman movies and then his work around spinal cord injuries following the equestrian accident which paralyzed him.

If you've ever discussed Superman media with me, you know the esteem with which I hold Reeve's performance in the Superman movies.  I still find his take to be my touchstone for how I think of the alien who finds the joy in putting on the suit and helping others and who can never understand the forces that drive men like Lex Luthor.  I could go on, but suffice it to say, I'm a fan.

Reeve passed in 2004 after a valiant battle with his paralysis and associated ailments.  He became the premier voice for spinal cord research in the United States and his foundation is still active today.  Reeve had a dream of walking again, and I don't  think I was alone in believing he might just pull it off because he so believed it was possible.

For all of us who grew up thinking of Reeve as Superman, to see him take on the challenges dealt to him was an awe inspiring sight, and while you always know that's just an actor wearing the cape, it was a Superman who turned adversity into inspiration.

You can donate to The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and help keep the memory of our own Man of Steel alive.

In addition to his work as Superman, I quite like:

Somewhere In Time (1980)
Noises Off (1992)
The Remains of the Day (1993)
Village of the Damned (1995)
and his role as Dr. Virgil Swann on TV's Smallville.

You can see my comments on the day of his death in 2004 here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to Jack "King" Kirby

Today would have been the 95th Birthday of Jack Kirby, the greatest comics creator of the 20th Century.

Kirby's family is supporting The Hero Initiative, a non-profit that helps support veteran comics creators facing tough financial times (there isn't much of a retirement or healthcare plan for freelancers).

We recommend checking out The Hero Initiative website and maybe donating a bit to the fund.  Make Jack proud.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Post-Walk Wrap Up

So, today we rose at 6:30 and were at Lake Pflugerville by 8:00 for a 9:00 walk.

We finally kicked off around 9:15 or so.

Many would leave, not all would return

The girl of the hour leads the way!

The National Kidney Walk, Fundraising, and Faith in Humanity Restored

I don't really remember when Jamie mentioned that her dialysis clinic was participating in a charity/ fund-raising walk for the National Kidney Foundation, but I do remember saying "Oh, yeah.  That sounds NIFTY!  Count me in."

I pitch in when a friend is participating in races, walks, etc..   My brother has a couple he does, I've kicked in for the Terry Fox run, for the Austin Children's Shelter, and I try to give when I can if folks are going to the trouble or raising a few dollars for a good cause (seriously, hit me up.  I'm a soft touch.)

But fate had not seen the day when my path and the path of a charity walk would intersect.  Until this spring.

Its not that I believe my friends uncharitable, I know they're generous when they can be.  But I also don't like to bug folks too much, and if nobody is giving, there's usually a reason.

My original goal for the walk was $200.  It was a somewhat arbitrary number, and, frankly, I thought a wee bit high and presumptuous.  I figured if we got to $150 (maybe $10 - 15 from 10 -15 people) we were doing okay.

Late one night I put up my profile, placed a notice on Facebook, and went to bed.

In the morning, the storm hit.  I think we had more than $600 on day one.  And it kept going.

The Walk is Saturday morning (today) and as of my writing, we're at the $1490 mark.  Just absolutely astounding.

The donations have come in from friends from all over the continent (thanks, CanadianSimon!), from people I know from all aspects of my life, be it pals I see every weekend, folks I know entirely online, co-workers, extended family...    There are even a few donations from people I don't really know, but friends of Doug I met once in San Francisco.  And none of this is to mention that Jamie raised almost $750, Jason, Amy, Doug, J, The KareBear and The Admiral all raised money, too!  Its CRAZY.

I can't thank you enough (and I'm sure The National Kidney Foundation would like to thank you, too).

Many of you know Jamie's story, or something basic about her health situation, so you know we take all of this personally.  Which is why, when you donate, I think we take that personally, too.  It feels like support for Jamie.

the face you can put on your kidneys!  Wait, that's wrong...
So, basically:  Thank you.  Our most sincere and deepest gratitude.  We are humbled by your generosity.

It's been an amazing few weeks as we saw your support come in.  Sometimes you can think less than great things about humanity, and then you have times like this that you remember that people are actually really pretty great.

Edit:  The final tally was $1530!  We did great!  Thanks to everyone who chipped in.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Just a couple of bucks for a good cause?

Hi, y'all!

In a couple of weeks, my family is coming together to take part in the Kidney Walk for The National Kidney Foundation.

  1. I walk around a lake
  2. You show your support for me or Jamie as a walker by donating a few dollars
  3. The money goes to The National Kidney Foundation
Most people don't think of The National Kidney Foundation immediately when it comes to fund raising.  The NFL does not have a "Kidney Awareness Week" where everyone wears a kidney bean on their helmet or anything fancy.

But chances are, if you know a diabetic (and you do), or you know someone with other kidney diseases (like Jamie), or you have kidneys (that's most of you, but not Jamie), then The National Kidney Foundation is your friend.

I'll be honest, many of you have already chipped in, and now I'm just getting competitive.  So if you've already given, thank you!  But...  Apparently there's a trophy at stake for the team that raises the most cash.  Our team is doing really well, but we could sure use your support.  Ie:  I WANT TO WIN THAT TROPHY.

Just FYI:  I am kicking ass in the fund-raising department, and I want to keep the momentum rolling.  I may actually be the top fund-raiser in Austin at the moment.  And I do not want to fall behind.

So, if you have a few dollars to spare, we'd really appreciate a donation for a good cause: ME WINNING.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Signal Watch Goes All Out (walks a mile or two) For Kidneys and Charity


Longtime readers may know that Jamie, the better-half and brains of the outfit here at Signal Watch, has some serious kidney dysfunction.  She has a disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. It is not as much fun as it sounds, and its pretty serious stuff. Even Wikipedia says so (she fell under "none" under that treatment tab).

What are we doing about it this week?  We're raising money for research and whatnot through the National Kidney Foundation.  .

To raise money, I will walk side-by-side with an army of dialysis patients around a lovely man-made lake somewhere in Pflugerville.  One assumes the walk isn't very far because, you know...  dialysis patients.*

Somehow kidney disease does not have the prestige and glamour of other diseases.  Awesome people who are not Jamie have kidney disease, too, but you rarely hear about it.  Sean Elliot of the San Antonio Spurs has FSGS, as does Alonzo Mourning.  Curiously, Jamie never played NBA basketball, but she also contracted the disease.  We're still looking into why she never got a contract with the Denver Nuggets.

Anyhow, if you can, please give just a few bucks.  We'd certainly appreciate it, and you'd be helping what I assure you is a very very good cause.  Kidneys.**

*What are you, some kind of monster wanting to see how far you can make those people walk?  They're ill!  What is wrong with you?

**you have them, too, and frankly, we're worried about how much sugar you've been eating

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Someone at DC Comics realized you can use the images of heroes to do more than sell t-shirts

Something that has long bothered me about superhero comics and their fans (and very often their creators) has been how disconnected the industry is from doing anything that isn't completely self-interested.  Its an oddity of superhero fandom that this genre, which began with the concept of someone using their talents altruistically so infrequently seems to capable of leveraging the ideals of their characters in either their own business or in public dealings.

Of course the media-saturated generation of which I suppose I am a part has decided the way to help is to become a costumed crime-fighter/ person who wears a costume and parades around (aka: The Reals) instead of just cutting a check to the Red Cross.

The only person I have personally met who has merged the two ideas is Austin's Jarrett Crippen, aka: The Defuser, who used his win on Stan Lee's Who Wants to be a Superhero? to promote his charity work with groups like Scare for a Cure.

Well, DC Entertainment apparently has signed on to work with a program called We Can Be Heroes that is an umbrella project to work with several groups fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa.  You can see the site, but be aware that music will play automatically (and, curiously, not the Bowie song).

Giving now will mean DC Entertainment will match your donation by 100%.  I tip my hat.

Yes, cynically you can say that DC is looking to promote their characters, but whatever the case, they are trying to do something other than just turn a dollar.  Its a step toward remembering that these are characters who represent goodwill and assistance for others, and that you don't just punch away every problem.  If putting Superman and Aquaman on a coffee mug is what it takes to promote awareness and drive funding for the organization, I'm all for it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Helping Hand

Hey!  It's the Holidays!

It's the time of year when movies and TV tell us we learn important life lessons about the real meaning of Christmas.

This can mean family, giving, whatever TV and movies seem to say, I suppose.  In the case of Die Hard, it means blowing up Alan Rickman in a spectacular fashion.

Things are rough out there, of course.  Nobody is saying it isn't.  But it can also be a time to step back from buying that one more $15 present and putting that money toward something that will help somebody who actually needs the money more than you need one more package under the tree to make things symmetrical.

If you give to any charity this year in the spirit of the Holidays, why not send me a message so I know what you've been up to, and I'll post a Signal Watch Holiday Honor Roll.  You don't have to say how much you gave, but we'd love your name, who you gave to, and if you feel like saying so, why you gave to that organization.

Superman helps out with more than a donation

You can also mention any groups that you regularly give to, especially if you have someone you give to monthly.

I'll give an example:
I give monthly to Capital Area Food Bank, which provides food to local families in need.  
If you have an organization you give to (that I won't find creepy), just send it our way via our email or click the contact tag on this website.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Red Cross is a Good Idea Today

This Spring has seen its fair share of tragedy due to horrendous storms which cost hundreds of lives.  The pictures coming out of Joplin today are every bit as heartbreaking as those from Alabama a few weeks back.  At The Signal Watch we're regular donors to The Red Cross, and we like to encourage you to join us in chipping in a bit more when the need is sudden and great.

You don't have to be from Alabama or Missouri to want to help.  And you don't even need to get up from your computer.  Please visit today and consider a donation.  Its a super sort of thing to do.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our Thoughts are with Japan

As you have no doubt been alerted, Japan has suffered a major earthquake and tsunami.  I did not see the televised footage until about 10:00 AM today while waiting in line for a cup of coffee.  Like you, I was horrified at the sheer loss.

What can you say after seeing the footage except to express concern, wishes for the wellbeing of people you don't know, and to be one of many voices asking that you consider providing some financial assistance to the organizations that will be responding today and in the weeks to come.

CNN ongoing coverage is here.

The Red Cross alert website.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

We've been watching the tragedy unfold in Christchurch, New Zealand via news reports and social media. 

While we're also watching events unfold in Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere...  and we're trying to keep up with it all, in the morning please see if you can't send a few dollars to the Red Cross to assist with the situation unfolding in New Zealand.  Right now the NZ wing of the Red Cross site is down, but it may be up by the time you're up in the morning.

Click here