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The Child Within – Why I will always love comics

Everybody makes up a target early on, right? I mean even a little kid is fully determined to become like his dad or the favorite uncle one day. And the next thing a few years after that it’s very much likely to become a fireman (very rugged) or a detective (a PI that is). But I guess every once in a while there comes a dreamer who doesn’t see the fantasy world like the others. Inevitably this kid goes on and sets his goal to become a superhero.

Kids reading comics thenYes, yours truly was one of such kid with a lot time filled not with baseball but the most extravagant of heroes, costumes, secret bases and epic fights. It took me a pain full time in high school and the crown of the king of nerds to realize finally, I can’t be a super hero.

There were only two paths left open for me when I grew up, I could either become a writer or artist in the comics industry (I did try that!) or go forward like the mediaeval knight, forever in love with the one woman he can’t have … and I became a comic book fan ☺

As a New Yorker it was like a rite of passage for me and my buddies to collect, read and as much as we could live in Spiderman comics. We were not discriminating, we went for both the DC and Marvel superheroes, at least the major ones as we couldn’t afford all of them. But Spidy was like a buddy to all of us. Who else is going through all the trouble of school, homework, heartache and financial crisis we all faced in our neighborhood. Spidy was like me or my friends, he just had the powers we all had in our imagination.

And when I was not daydreaming about Spiderman, looking at the tall buildings in the distance through my bedroom window, I thought about the polar opposite, Batman. He is ever. He is everything you want in a rugged, billionaire super cool detective which Spiderman is not. And of course the dark, brooding attitude always appealed to a kid who wants to be tough too.

Grown ups buying comicsBefore I knew it I was out in the real world and was making money as an accounting assistant just after my college days. And guess what was on my weekly shopping list? Comics of course 😀 I had a computer at my place, a bean bag chair and an ever growing pile of comics on my bed. Funny thing is, after all these years I am still that college kid, I am still buying loads of comics, just not anymore as crisp, paper ones, I switched to e-books as soon as they became widely available.

The best thing is, now that I am a ‘responsible adult’ with a kid of my own, I didn’t have to leave my love of comics behind. I took my boy into the fan club and now we spend a lot of time together going over endings, storylines and plot holes. You might think its baseball what gets a father and son together, but in the Baltic household, it’s the adventures and fantasies what made us a team.

The Best Hiking Trails in the US

I must admit that although a massive comic nerd that we Americans love football, yes, however, their pastime is not limited to simply watching games onscreen or live on the football field or basketball court. We also love to get up, put on their good hiking boots, go for a hike and actually sweat it out.

Yes you read right! Sometime I put the comics down and enjoy what nature has betowed upon us, in fact I’ve hiked in some of the most beautiful places in America.

 

Hiking is one of America’s favorite outdoor activities. Perhaps it gives that rush they need to get motivated physically. Hence, they are also meticulous when it comes to getting themselves the perfect pair of boots – they need to be really good hiking boots.

Here are five of the best hiking trails in the US where Americans take their good hiking boots for a workout:

Denali National Park

This is for the adventurers who are searching for a rugged and undomesticated location. This is located outside the borders of the mainland, which is characterized by mostly trail-less paths.

Denali National Park

 

For this reason, you might need some good hiking boots as you will be forging your own trail as you cruise along the path. It’s quite an untamed location for novice hikers as you may encounter a few challenges along the way, such as wildlife and streams. This is for the highly expert and adventurous hikers who have their good hiking boots ready for some action.

Zion National Park

This hiking location can be found in Utah. With its astounding cliffs and views, you will greatly appreciate the diverse nature sights.

Zion National Park is known to have the highest and narrowest of the ravines, hence it’s known as the “slickrock country”. Some trails in Zion National Park are very steep and narrow and you will need to have good hiking boots and smaller backpacks in order to get through.

Grand Canyon National Park

This tourist spot is not only good for taking souvenir photos, but Grand Canyon National Park is promising for hikers too. According to Northern Arizona University, about five million people visit this place to enjoy the grandest view of the vistas.

Grand Canyon National Park

 

For hikers, Grand Canyon National park’s trail begin with the downhill trail, hence the need for good hiking boots and other hiking equipment.

Most hikers find themselves exhausted trailing back up to where they started, so you might want to include a lot of water in your “things to bring”, obviously part from your good hiking boots. Also, since Grand Canyon has 15 trails, you need to have a good hiking plan ahead of time.

Old Rag Mountain

(Shenandoah National Park, Va.)

This is one of the famous and most visited hiking spots in the US, because of its “classic hike” requirement. Your good hiking boots will have to trail through rugged pathways and terrain with lots of rocky and uneven surfaces.

While most people tag Old Rag Mountain as popular for hiking, most hikers find out that it is not an easy trail to hike at all. Like most other hiking destinations, it is also presented with dangerous challenges along the way. It is always important to ensure safe and quality hiking equipment.

Yosemite National Park

This national park is located in California and has garnered the title as the most spectacular national parks in America. According to NPS.gov, Yosemite National Park has the size as Rhode Island and that it also has about 800 miles of hiking trails which makes it exciting for hikers.

You will encounter lakes, rivers, rich wildlife and mountains formed from glacier as you tread through the park. Much like other hiking destinations, you will need good hiking boots to get you through the hiking experience.

Whichever hiking destination you choose, the advice you will get from your research for preparation will be all about some common things – good planning, good equipment and resources and above all, good hiking boots.

Insurance

Life as an insurance salesman is exciting. It’s not in every business that most of your customers are pretty negative to indifferent to begin with but along the road becomes strong supporter of the service you provide.

Multicar pileupWhen I was a kid, my dad didn’t want to bother about insurance policies. We had a decent home and a family car and pretty calm life. One day coming home from work he got into a multi vehicle car accident. Luckily his car was the last in the pile up and lost only its front bumper. But the cars inside the mound of wreckage, those were gone! And the owners were no better.

My dad came home, he was very quiet the whole evening and the first thing he did the next day was to get a life insurance for him. You see, he was suddenly afraid that something might happen even during a boring drive from work to home.

Happy family under umbrellaI am not saying this is what we should wait for. Fear is never the correct motivation. But we have to be careful and be prepared. That’s what I try provide for my clients, preparation. A tiny foldable umbrella for the inevitable rainy days of life.

So what I try to do is to create a friendly environment for my clients to relax and see what they need to be a little more prepared about to tackle any trouble that is likely to come up. We need a health insurance to afford more complicated medical treatments and medication. We need an insurance for our car. And if we want to be cautious about our home and everything valuable in it, it’s logical to go for a home insurance. As the economy is getting more and more diversified, our insurance policies are doing so too. You wouldn’t believe what people get insured these days. There are many athletes with insured limbs!

The bottom line is, it’s absolutely possible that nothing bad is ever going to happen to you and you won’t ever need an insurance. But it’s equally possible that something just happen. So in plain words, you are actually buying a happy place for your mind to relax. So if you are curious about the whole mysterious insurance thing, don’t worry, there are several super cool websites and apps to guide you through this. And if you really want a friendly voice to help you out, why don’t you drop me mail and I will be more than happy to assist.

Making the Switch – Comics on my iPad

I am a comic book fan lover living the world of tablet computers and 3D holographic technology. Ha! It sounds like a dream come true that, I can buy a lot gadgets my childhood heroes used just off the self in the nearest shopping mall or even just order on amazon. So I did got a little carried away and bought a  ton of useless replicas and memorabilia (to be honest I still buy those as a gift for my 12 year old son, though I am equally enthusiastic about his basement museum of Awesome). But the best thing I got for myself is definitely my shiny new iPad. As a well-known character out of a well know book might say, it’s my…. Precious 😀

Comics on iPadSo I just bought a new iPad and was going through all the HD buttons and app store goodies with glazed eyes and just then BAM! There was a comic book app hidden among all others. Imagine my surprise, it was like Christmas came early! I instantly looked over a lot of other comic book apps and digital versions of the latest issues I was yet to buy.

Remember it was the beginning of digital comic days. It was not so popular, tabs were not yet as sleek as the ones we use today and people are still finding the transition a little troublesome, mostly because we comic lovers are creatures of habit. After I got into a few forums of fellow e-book fans, I saw that a lot of people are discussing the same thing, “which one is better?”

I am environmentalist, I am not an activist despite the urge of saving the planet sometimes like Captain Planet. And as such, I gladly took the trouble of changing my reading habit of from paper to digital. With the new apps coming every few days, it became easier and easier to read and enjoy the digital comics as I did the paper ones.

There are several apps available for the serious comic reader. And a few general e-book reader which are good for a more versatile reading experience. You can have the latest and favorite comics saved on your iPad, for the rest of them, if you want a neat and light experience keep them on iCloud. But if you are a hoarder like me ☺ you can have your entire collection on your device.

You are definitely going to miss the feel and smell of new, fresh comics just out of the oven. But think of the ease you can carry your entire library in your iPad! I had a considerable pile of comic books collected from my childhood and what if I wanted to read an issue about a decade old? I would have dive into my store room and spend an hour to just get hold of it. But now! I can just log into my cloud and start reading.

A lot of people says they miss the feeling of accomplishment of collecting the books. Yes that’s an issue when you read digital books. You don’t get the satisfaction of holding your 100th book or more likely the 1000th one. But you are still able to own them, collect them and flaunt them in the face of the other collectors.

And as I said, just collecting them doesn’t cut it, you also need to be able to read it whenever you want. You can read your digital comics virtually anywhere. Going to office on metro? Whisk out your iPad and grab a new issue. Waiting at the dentist? Why bother with stale magazines when you got the favorite Spiderman issue on your iPad. Got to kill some time while waiting for someone? Out comes the iPad to rescue you from boredom. Even in the middle of the night, lying beside your wife who is none the wiser 😉

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