Archive for April, 2014

→ A Great Way to Sample some Awesome Digital Comics Outside of Comixology

Take a look at the great books that are being offered as part of this Humble Bundle. If you pay $15, you can get the first volume of 8 of the best comic series available1 It’s a great way to start building digital comics buying habits outside of Comixology.2


  1. As well as volume 20 of The Walking Dead

  2. If, that is something you want to do. 

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→ The Daredevil Netflix Series Will Be Part Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Does this really surprise anyone?

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→ Heather Dinich’s Clemson Tigers spring football 2014 wrap

It looked fairly promising until:

One way-too-early prediction:

Clemson will lose its sixth straight game to rival South Carolina. Clemson will have the edge on defense, but if the Tigers couldn’t beat South Carolina with an all-star cast that included Watkins and Boyd, then it’s going to take more than defensive end Vic Beasley to beat the Gamecocks without them.

Ugh.

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→ FOX Cancells Almost Human after One Season

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before:

* Fox has a decent to good Sci-Fi show;
* It airs the episodes out of order;
* Despite all the screw-ups by the network, the show is good; and
* Fox cancels the show after one season.

Do what you want Fox, but you can’t take the sky from me.

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→ Advanced Mark as Read Options in Mr. Reader

Wow. I had no idea these options existed. I have been looking for a good way to “Mark items older than 2 weeks as Read” since FeedWrangler first started. Well done, Mr. Reader. 1


  1. Affiliate Link. 

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→ Quick Service fountain beverage price increases now in effect at Disney World

They couldn’t have waited until after our honeymoon to do these prices increases?

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Taking a Look at Digital Comics Profit in the Wake of Amazon and Comixology

There has been a lot of outrage about Comixology’s decision to remove in-app purchasing from its primary comic reader app.

Some of the responses, such as this one from Gerry Conway, have been well thought out:

This is a very big deal, because it strikes to the heart of what made Comixology’s app a near-perfect venue for discovering and falling in love with new comics, a venue creators and publishers have been searching for since the collapse of mainstream newsstand distribution in the late 1970s-early ’80s: it destroys the casual reader’s easy access to an impulse purchase. And that’s a terrible development for the future of comics.

But none of the responses seem to take into account the realities of the digital comics market. Before people get too up in arms about Amazon’s and Comixology’s actions, I encourage people to take a look back at Jim Zubkavich’s breakdown of digital comics profit. Jim points out just how much that 901 cents off the top of a $3 issue really impacts how much money is distributed to creators. (SPOILER: Not paying Apple its cut means that the creators could be getting up to 40% more profit per book sale.)

I full understand that it is slightly more inconvenient to have to buy comics from the website, but when looking at the numbers, I have a hard time naming Amazon and Comixology as the only villains in this scenario.


  1. As a friend of mine pointed out, it seems ridiculous that Apple is taking a 30% cut on this type of in-app, content-only sale. I have a hard time believing they are playing any more of a role than a standard payment processor in these transactions, and a payment processor would only end up taking somewhere between 2-5%. 

→ ComiXology Tries to Explain iOS Storefront Removal

Chip Mosher, comiXology's VP of marketing:

There are many advantages to shopping at comiXology.com. Because of the content restrictions our mobile partners have, shopping on the web provides even greater selection of comic books and graphic novels. iOS customers will now be able to save money with comiXology’s exclusive web-only bundles, take advantage of subscription features and enjoy eGift cards. We also made our website more tablet/mobile friendly on all devices to make the purchasing process that much easier. And in Safari on iOS, customers can easily save a shortcut to our webstore with the “Add to Home Screen” feature.

Wow. Having to come up with garbage like that must be a really fun job.

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→ Allen Barra breaks down The 4 Biggest Myths About Baseball

tl;dr – Baseball is better than football.

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→ 5 Classic Theme Park Attractions That Were Shockingly Hard to Build

If you're a theme park junkie, you'll love this.

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→ Sarah Hyland Is a Huge Disney Fan (and my new Favorite Actress)

She should come visit Elyssa and I when we are on our honeymoon.

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→ Josh at EasyWDW shows what it is like to try and Visit Anna & Elsa

Waits first thing in the morning are going to be three to four hours. You’ll see similar posted waits later in the day, but they are exaggerated, to the point where the wait around 1pm will actually be around 90 to 120 minutes, even if the posted wait doesn’t come down.

This is insane. I thought visiting Anna & Elsa at rope drop would be no problem. I was very, very wrong,

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→ Comixology removes in-app purchases from its iOS App

You’ll still be able to read comics you’ve purchased through in-app purchasing in this new version, but you will need to sync purchases with the new app via the Restore function. And if you want, you can continue to read your existing comics through the old app; you just won’t be able to purchase new comics with it.

This is kind of a bummer. Doing everything through the iOS app was just so much easier.

Count me amongst those who think this is related to comixology being bought by Amazon.

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→ The Highlight of Last Night’s Red Sox Game Was the First Pitch

This is so great. I am now a huge Meghan fan.

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Months that Lasted Years

Two months ago, I knelt at the side of Interstate 95, wondering if the girl I love was going to die in my arms. In eight days, she is going to walk down the aisle and become my wife.

I met Elyssa in law school. Her red hair and big smile brought energy to something as dull as income tax class. We started dating soon after exams and were engaged to be married about a year and a half later. She is why terms like “love of my life” and “soulmate” exist.

Fear and Waiting

As our last pre-wedding trip, Elyssa and I registered to run the Enchanted 10K at Disney’s Princess Marathon week. Our training had slacked some in the winter months, but we were ready and excited to visit Mickey and to run the race. We left Raleigh after work on Thursday, February 20th, and drove to Santee, SC to spend the night.

On Friday, we woke up early, prepared a few waffles in the hotel waffle-iron, and got back on the road. The first few hours were uneventful. We chatted about recent events in our lives, we sang to the radio, and we planned what we were going to do when we finally made it to Orlando. We never even made it to Georgia.

As we were approaching the bridge that divides South Carolina from Georgia, Elyssa had a seizure. Though, looking back, the seizure probably only lasted a total of thirty seconds, it felt as though ages went by. The images of my fiancé shaking will forever inhabit my nightmares.

The rest of the day was a blur. It consisted of CAT Scans, MRIs, and blood tests. It involved eight hours in the emergency room, and a six-hour drive back to Raleigh. Two words, however, stood out: brain tumor. Elyssa, almost surely, had a brain tumor.

The weekend was brutal. Not knowing how we were going to deal with the tumor felt even worse than knowing the tumor existed. Thankfully, through the efforts of some of our friends, we ended up meeting with the neurosurgeon on Tuesday, only four days after her seizure. The neurosurgeon confirmed what the ER doctor had said: brain tumor. On his recommendation, we decided that we wanted the whole tumor removed as soon as possible. Surgery was scheduled for the following Monday.

We had five days to wait before the surgery. Since we had no idea how to spend that time, we tried to approximate some level of normalcy. We went to dinners, we had friends come visit, and we tried to spend as much time together as possible. Elyssa went to bed earlier than normal, since she couldn’t worry when she was asleep. I went to bed later than normal, since I didn’t want to endure those few moments before I fell asleep, time when I would actually have to be alone with my thoughts.

Elyssa was particularly strong during those five days. She proactively cut off her hair so she could donate it to Locks of Love, instead of having it simply left on the operating room floor. She built a bear, fully outfitted in scrubs, to take with her into surgery. She listed cool things she wanted to say when she first woke up from surgery. She promised me that she was going to be okay and that she was going to be there in eight weeks to marry me. I told her that I would hold her to that.

Surgery

The morning of Elyssa’s surgery was surreal. Her family had arrived the previous day, and we all met at hospital that morning. We had been told on Friday that Elyssa’s surgery would be at 9 a.m., but when we arrived on Monday morning it had already been pushed to 11:30 a.m. Around 11 a.m., one of the doctors told us that there was a chance Elyssa would not be able to have her surgery that day at all. Furthermore, we would have to wait until 1 or 2 p.m. to find out what was going to happen. Elyssa tried to deal with not being able to eat or drink anything for a few more hours. I went to the hospital’s Starbucks to get a snack to hold me over. We both tried to hold back any thoughts of having to return to the hospital on Wednesday.

At about 11:30 a.m., I returned from Starbucks and walked into the waiting room. Elyssa was called into surgery two or three minutes later. They had found an open operating room.

Elyssa and I were taken to a pre-op room while we waited for the doctors and their staff to setup the operating room. We talked to her various doctors and nurses. We discussed the wedding to-do list. Elyssa finally decided that the first thing she wanted to say when she awoke from surgery was “I know Kung Fu, ” and she began repeating it to herself so she would remember it. She was positive and smiling the whole time we were together. I kissed her one more time as they rolled her to the operating room. I could hear her chatting with the doctors as she rolled down the hall. I cried all the way back to the waiting room.

The neurosurgeon had told us that the surgery would take about four hours, but that one of the nurses was going to call me every two hours to let me know how things were going. I got the first call about 90 minutes into the surgery. Things were going well. At the three-and-a-half hour mark, I started looking at my phone for the next call. The call never came. Instead, about four hours and fifteen minutes after Elyssa was rolled back to the operating room, someone came and told us (1) Elyssa was out of surgery, and (2) that was all he knew. He said the doctor would come see us in about forty-five minutes.

The neurosurgeon was pretty much on schedule. He explained that things had gone well with the surgery, and that he believed that they had gotten all of the tumor out. He explained that Elyssa would have some left-side weakness as a result of the surgery, something he had warned us could happen, but that it would go away with time. He said I could see her.

One of the nurses led me to the ICU. I came around the corner to see Elyssa lying there. Her head was wrapped in bandages, an oxygen mask was over her mouth, and her eyes were open.

“Hey babe,” I said. “How you doing?” Elyssa mumbled something in response. “What did you say?” I ask, as I leaned in. “I know kung fu.”

I smiled. I cried. She had it made it through the surgery. She may have looked like a giant Q-Tip, but she had made it.

Recovery

The neurosurgeon may have undersold what “left side weakness” meant. When Elyssa first woke from surgery she could hardly move her left arm or leg. For me, as an observer, it was scary. For her, as the person whose limbs would not respond, it was terrifying.

“Will I be able to walk down the aisle at my wedding?” was the question Elyssa asked every nurse, doctor, and therapist she saw those first few days. Most were positive, if non-committal, while others were less encouraging. Each day, however, brought some positive signs. One day it might be twitching toes, another day it might be the ability to move her left hand as a mirror to mine. The progress felt slow, but it was definitely there.

After a single night in the ICU, and a few days in the neuroscience recovery unit of the hospital, Elyssa was moved to the hospital’s rehab unit. It was a large step-up in comfort, but it also allowed Elyssa to have three hours of therapy a day. The hope, of course, was that this would increase the speed at which her left side recovered.

The first day she met with one of the physical therapists, four days after her surgery, she got out of her wheelchair and started walking with a cane. Things progressed well, if slowly, from there.

When Elyssa was awake, she spent nearly all of her time trying to get her left side to respond to her brain. She would raise her left arm and then work to bring it back down. She would roll her left ankle, or try to move a towel on the floor with her toes while keeping her heel in place. She would work herself until she was exhausted, sleep, and then start working again.

By Tuesday of the next week, one week and one day after her surgery, Elyssa was able to walk on her own. She was progressing so well that when her doctors met that day, they scheduled her discharge for Thursday. She celebrated that news by jogging down the halls.

Back Home

Elyssa was discharged from the hospital’s rehab unit ten days after surgery, on Thursday, March 13. Our first stop was at our local comic book store, and we followed that up with her first meal outside of the hospital in almost two weeks. During those first few days Elyssa was home, fatigue was her biggest limiting factor. She was able to be active mentally or physically for an hour or two, but would then need to rest for three or four hours.

Even without daily physical therapy sessions, Elyssa worked hard to rehabalitiate herself. She lifted 3lb dumbells while on the phone, she practiced balancing on one leg while we made dinner, and she started doing short jogging intervals when we went on walks. At that point, only three weeks removed from her surgery, there was no doubt that Elyssa would be able to walk down the aisle at our wedding.

Of course, Elyssa wanted to do more than just walk. She wanted to get back to where she was before the surgery. We started training daily. Walks, runs, and even classes back at our gym. On Friday, March 29th, a little less than 4 weeks after Elyssa’s surgery, we ran the Tap-N-Run race here in Raleigh. Elyssa jogged more during that race than we had in any of training sessions up to that point. She made it look easy.

Future

Thanks to the hosts of the Mickey Miles Podcast and the folks at runDisney, Elyssa and I are already registered to run the Enchanted 10K at Disney World next year. With the amount of time we have before that race, we should have no problem running it. In fact, I would not be surprised if we decide to try a half-marathon, possibly the Wine & Dine, next year as well.

Lastly, and most importantly, Elyssa and I are getting married on May 3. The last two months left us without much time to worry about whether or not everything is ready for the wedding. At this point, however, neither one of us really cares about the napkins or the song for the cake cutting. We are just focused on experiencing the moment together.

→ Summary of Upcoming Fastpass+ Changes

It is almost exactly what was rumored a few weeks ago: You can now use a kiosk to make an additional Fastpass+ reservation after you have used your other three reservations.

I think this is a solid first step, and, hopefully, is just a stop gap until you can use the various MyDisney apps to make the additional selections.

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→ Goodbye, Net Neutrality; Hello, Net Discrimination

Tim Wu, writing at the New Yorker:

“The answer is yes,” Obama replied. “I am a strong supporter of net neutrality.” Explaining, he said, “What you’ve been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and the various portals through which you’re getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different Web sites…. And that I think destroys one of the best things about the Internet—which is that there is this incredible equality there.”

If reports in the Wall Street Journal are correct, Obama’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Thomas Wheeler, has proposed a new rule that is an explicit and blatant violation of this promise. In fact, it permits and encourages exactly what Obama warned against: broadband carriers acting as gatekeepers and charging Web sites a payola payment to reach customers through a “fast lane.”

People in the tech industry are now starting to realize what everyone who opposed Obama said from the start: nothing he said on the campaign trail was true.

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→ Nick Young of the Lakers threw out an awful first pitch at the Dodgers game | Big League Stew – Yahoo Sports

That was not even remotely close.

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→ Bring on the Pine Tar-nished Headlines!

As usual, the Schadenfreude post on Joy of Sox was particularly enjoyable this morning.1

My favorite quote, however, might come from David Schoenfield:

In the annals of illustrious moments in pitching history, I’m not exactly sure where Michael Pineda’s pine tar on the neck ranks … but suffice it say it was one of the lamest attempts at cheating you’ll ever see.


  1. My apologies for the headline, I have read far too much about pine tar this morning. 

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→ AJ Lee scheduled to return to WWE during European Tour Next Month

I am so ready for the Paige v. AJ Lee feud. Bring it on.

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