Monday, October 27, 2008

Behold, The Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer and Galactus from

I have loved to read ever since I was very young. I first mastered One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss, in the first grade and became completely hooked on reading.

I encountered comic books long before I could read. I had a few children's books, but comic books were much easier to come by. Older kids always had some laying around and comic books could be found at every drug store, 7-11 and all of the finer grocery stores.

I loved the pictures. The action packed illustrations told a story all by themselves. When I was able to put the words and the pictures together it made the experience so much richer. I could feel the action and sense the emotions of the characters in a way that even television could not match.

I would save my allowance up every week and hit the comic book racks. I knew what day the new issues would come out and I would eagerly give all my money up so that I could buy four comic books. I would run out of the store and search for a nice quiet place to devour every last page of the comics I bought. Balancing the desire to savor every word and image while simultaneously attempting to read as fast as I could, was a unique form of bliss.

All good things must come to an end, and in no time I would be finished with my new comics and plotting my next series of purchases. This went on for a quite a few years of my youth.

In December, 1979, I was 13 years old. My awkward teenage years had begun and I felt the normal isolation that sets in at that fun time of life. I was still reading my comic books, but I hid that piece of information from my friends who did not share my interest in such kid stuff. This was when the re-issue of the Origin of the Sliver Surfer series came out.

Fantasy Masterpieces Re-issue Number 1, from -
I had heard of the Silver Surfer before, but as a superhero, he was hard to figure out. He made very few appearances and he was kind of a loner.

Once, when I was going to a summer camp, my mom told a counselor that I was a loner. You know, in that way that adults speak in front of children like they are not present. There was no malice in what she said, only a desire for another adult to understand me.

I identified with this character. I couldn't resist this new comic book. I paid 75¢ for that comic, which was more costly than my normal 50¢ comic book. Soon after, I found my favorite superhero.

There are many reasons why I have been drawn to the Silver Surfer. What color is cooler than chrome? The Surfer can fly through the cosmos on a surfboard faster than the speed of light. And we should not forget that the Surfer can shoot cosmic rays from his hands. Awesome!

In 1987, I was a in college when Joe Satriani's disc Surfing with the Alien came out. It is safe to say that I may have listened to it a couple of times.

This is the cover art for Joe Satrini's Surfing with the Alien disc, from

Marvel has a fairly complete biography of the Silver Surfer. Of course, Youtube has a video, or two (part 2 of the same episode) starring the Silver Surfer.

Perhaps it is clearer now why I would attempt to create such a costume for Halloween. It is not as appropriate as it might have been when I was younger, but it was a challenge. I like challenges- even if they make me look completely ridiculous.

My Silver Surfer costume has been in the works for over a year. It is now complete. I wore the costume Saturday to a neighbor's Halloween party, and even engaged in some Karaoke as the Surfer.

This is me in my Silver Surfer Costume.

My Mother-in-Law cut the face portion out of the silver Zentai suit, so I could breathe. I purchased silver running shoes, silver socks, and a silver mask. I also bought silver basketball shorts because the skin tight costume left nothing to the imagination. Amy was very pleased that I wore the shorts.

I made a large surf board out of cardboard (4 layers) and spray painted the entire thing silver. Then I purchased silver duct tape and taped the edges up so you don't see all of the layers of cardboard when looking at the board from the side.

The suit was very tight. It was almost like wearing a snug blood pressure cuff over your entire body. It was a very strange feeling. Another odd note- drinking while wearing a suit like this- is not a great idea. Going to the bathroom is not easy, or convenient, and it requires help to get into, and out of, the suit.

If you are not doing anything in particular on Halloween and you happen by my neighborhood, you might just see a silver guy walking around with a silver surfboard watching after some kids on their candy collection rounds. The highly reflective nature of silver is perfect for this Halloween duty...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I am happy to say that my recent battle with Post-Birthday Depression (PBD) has officially ended. I just turned 42. It really wasn't that bad this year. It only lasted two days and it started after the big day. Bonus on both counts for me!

When I turned 30 I went into a spiral of depression for about two weeks. I think it was because I knew my childhood was over (maybe chronologically, but not mentally). Now, I am only down to two days of sluggish melancholy - awesome!

It seems so terribly self centered to become depressed over a birthday. What reason could I possibly have to be upset? Because I am a year older if my age should come up in conversation? Or is it because I have gone yet another birthday without receiving my dream gift (a Porsche 911 Turbo- for anyone who might be wishing me a belated birthday with a gift)? As unreasonable as birthday depression seems to me, it was a real experience.

I know I am not the only person who goes through this, am I? I would be interested to hear some feedback about this question...

In any case, it is all over now. Thank goodness! I wonder, what will happen next year?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Saturday, October 4th I ran my first 5k race.

The day before the race, I looked around the house for my new running shorts I bought just for this special occasion. I didn't want to stand out and not look like I belonged. The shorts are made from a very light breathable fabric and they have their own built in underwear. Tight and pinchy- kind of like man's swimming suits. Light, uncomfortable, but what I was sure everyone else would be wearing. I couldn't find them anywhere.

I asked my wife Amy if she had seen them.

"No." she said as she is looking through our first grader's backpack.

"Did you wash them?"

"I haven't seen them." She said with a little bit of attitude.

"Well you had to have seen them because I hung them up on the closet doorknob in the living room. I didn’t move them, so I know you moved them," I said accusingly.

"Al, they were dirty and smelly, and we had people over last Sunday, and yes I moved them! They were disgusting!"

"Ah, ha!" I shouted. "I knew you moved them. So where did you put them?"

"I don't know!" she yelled, and then ever so quietly she followed it up with, "Idiot!"

"What did you say?"

"Nothing," she said as she pretended to have forgotten about the whole thing and dove back into the never-ending book bag.

The next day, at seven in the morning, I am still fixated on the shorts that I can't find. I get out of the shower and see a dark pair of shorts on top of the dirty clothes basket. I grabbed them and ran downstairs.

"See! I told you that you moved the shorts! Because I didn't take them upstairs," I said with triumph like I had just made a major point in a nationally televised debate.

Amy is sipping her morning coffee and watching some cartoon the kids have on the TV. This is where Amy proved, without a doubt, that she is superior to me. "That's great honey. I am glad you found them. Are they dirty or clean?"

I didn't think about where I found them, I just looked at them for a second and went completely blank. "I don't know."

Amy was already two steps ahead of me. She knew that there is only one way to tell if the shorts were clean or not. Without thinking, I did it. I smelled my own dirty shorts. As my own personal funk hit my nose, I knew that she had gotten me good. I could not hide the instant revulsion I felt. I thought Amy was going to hurt herself she was laughing so hard.

I showed up to the race wearing my clean basketball shorts. Not authentic running shorts.

The race itself was hard. I have no hills in my neighborhood, but the race had these slow rolling hills and it made it very difficult. I did not like the sun in my face either. The important thing to me was that I finished the race and I ran the whole way. I did it. I came in 94th place. There were a few hundred people there so I have no idea what that means outside of my personal goal of completing the run.

I may run another 5k someday, but dirty or clean, I will never smell my own shorts again.

Friday, October 3, 2008


It is funny how we go through life kidding ourselves about our true intentions. Today I realized that my recent health kick- exercising, and eating better- has had nothing to do with me wanting to be a healthier person. I am not doing it for my doctor, or my family, or even myself.

I have been driven to this health thing because of Halloween. Funny thing was that I figured it out Twittering. Condensing your thoughts down to 140 characters does have benefits.

That is correct. I have been running and eating salads and doing push ups so I can wear my Halloween costume this year with pride. I am such a dork!

I have always loved Halloween because I can dress up as someone else and get into the character. One year I was Captain Kirk and memorized phrases and mannerisms. I became James T. Kirk for about 4 hours.

Another year, I was a Klingon Warrior and wore the full costume with makeup, and a really funky curved knife that I purchased just for a party and returned the next day. I justified the knife to my wife by explaining that item was a key to the whole costume. After all, what is a Klingon Warrior without a weapon?

I was also one of the Three Amigos for another annual Halloween party. I must admit that this costume was really just an excuse to hang with a couple of friends all night and talk in a really bad Spanish accent (We did not stick to the movie of the same name. We were more like outlaws or something. And we drank tequila.).

Last year I purchased a silver Zentai tie suit so that I could be the Silver Surfer. Zentai is type of skin tight outfit that is a lot more revealing than clothes I normally wear. The only problem was that the suit came way too late.

I saved my suit, waiting for this year's Halloween throw down. I just found out that my wife and I will be attending an adult only Halloween party, and a few days later the whole family will be going to a kid friendly party. I am excited that I get to wear my costume twice this year!

The other day as I considered the healthy changes that I made in my life, the first thought that popped in my head was that I will look good in my Silver Surfer suit for Halloween. How wrong is that? I have been rationalizing my behavior at the very least, and at the worst, I have been completely delusional. Somehow the realization of why I have been healthy has made the outcome less meaningful. And I really find that quite funny.

I believed that I was immune to taking myself seriously. Whatever. I should just accept the fact that I am shallow. No matter what, I am going to look like an idiot in my costume and I don't care. I have been waiting over a year to wear this thing. I will not be denied.

Amy is preparing to mock me in a way that she has never attempted before. When I mention the costume her eyes roll back in her head and you can just tell that she is going drop me off on a corner somewhere and leave me standing there all shiny and silver with a big surf board.

Yes, I will post pictures. I am sure Amy will take them whether I want her to or not.

I tried the outfit on. It will be perfect after I cut a hole in it for my face. Then I need to lose 10 lbs., find a silver mask, silver running shorts, some silver shoes, and make a silver surf board...