Burned Batgirl 35

Reading through Batgirl 35 (DEC2014) over the weekend gave me a mixed feeling. While Batgirl is one of my favorite characters—I especially enjoyed the Oracle character as well, but I guess there is no going back there, at least for a while–this book takes the character of Batgirl in a different, less dark direction. I’m not quite sure I’m in favor.

No, I’m not against a little bit of light hearted reading. My concern is that the character—who recently killed her own brother (kinda) and went toe to toe with James Gordon himself, suddenly is the sorority girl next door. It just doesn’t make sense. The storyline and tone change may have been too quick for me, I guess. I seems that the storyline went to Archie Comics overnight.

Another concern I have about the book and the following books is the lack of detail on the development of a certain costume. The only speculation I see in the book regarding the new costume is that there is a fire in Black Canary’s apartment where Barbara has stored her Batgirl gear and now Dianna is sleeping on Barbara’s couch. It simply doesn’t make sense that they would leave so many details out. I’m hoping that in the near future those details will spill out.

With all of my negative talk, I don’t want to leave the impression that I hated the book. I don’t. In fact, I actually like it and the story it tells. My main criticism was that it didn’t quite meet my expectation and took me by surprise in a negative way.




Hiking Mundy’s Gap, El Paso

This afternoon’s hike was absolutely wonderful. The temperature reached 90 degrees while I was walking down the trail and at the higher elevations there was a slight cool breeze. It was the perfect day for an afternoon hike. The chapel service I attend finished at 10:45, which gave me time to drive to the Franklin Mountains State Park, change, and eat a quick lunch before heading out on the trail at about 11:45.

The hike is about two miles up, or four miles round trip. Usually, it takes me about an hour to hike up and less than 45 minutes to hike down. The trail is steep in some places—steeper than I remembered. It has been about six months or so since I last was on that particular trail, so it seems that there have been some changes. Some of these changes have been repairs from wash outs during monsoon season (August-September). Some others, seem to have been scraping of the trail.

Along the trail, there are beautiful overlooks along the course that kept me motivated as I continued to climb. The higher I went on the trail, the more I saw of the West Side of El Paso. There was also the opportunity to see different types of rock features and canyons. It was not only a wonderful day for me to hike there were many other hikers along the trail so, while there were times of solitude, there were also times of saying hello to others as I passed or as the descended.

Upon reaching the top of the Mundy’s Gap trail (where it begins the North Mount Franklin Trail) there was the opportunity to rest a view the east side of El Paso and East Fort Bliss. It is a delightful reward for the climb.

How to make Yo-Yos a Thing

For years, off and on, I have dabbled in the world of yo-yo’s. Yo-yo-ing is a “thing” with me. It’s definitely not a hobby and it’s also not simply an interest. If I had time to devote and energy and patience and skills…I would become a professional. But, I don’t have any of that, so it is simply…a thing.

I have a couple of books about yo-yos. I once picked up the Klutz yo-yo kit, which came with a wooden yo-yo (which I think is really classy) and a fairly well written and achievable book. Sadly, the book has been discontinued—but I would recommend picking a yo-yo book up from Barnes and Noble the next time you see one. I also have the Duncan Yo-yo Trick book from Duncan—the Original Yo-Yo company. I would add that there are awesome videos on the Duncan Website, if you are interested in learning more.

I own a couple of wooden yo-yos, several Duncan Imperials, and the Duncan Butterfly yo-yo. But, my favorite is the Duncan Pro-yo—whose package comes with the yo-yo trick book at the time of my writing, from this link. I like the way it spins. It is light and balanced. I also like how it can be disassembled and reassembled easy; in those cases I want to clean it. It also has a slim design, so there is no problem placing into a pocket. It is a great practice yo-yo and will give you much enjoyment. If you are looking to make Yo-yo’s a thing, or even “YOUR” thing—go out and find a yo-yo you like, take the time to find a book to work through, and take the time to practice.

Like anything, mastering the yo-yo takes time and practice—if you are looking for a hobby to simply fiddle with, go for yo-yos. They are a great way to enjoy the time and you will always amaze you friends!

Fried Social: Three Symbols You Need to be Successful on Twitter

I’m always amazed at how our minds make the unfamiliar things complicated. I was speaking to a Soldier about Twitter and how he really needs to get a Twitter account. He said; “I don’t understand all of the symbols–@, #, RT.” I realize that sometimes, these new “languages” are hard to understand. However, they are simple to figure out after you allow your brain to remove the block. So today, I’d like to clear up these three basic symbols to help you understand Twitter just a little more—and, if you use them, you can soon be successful using this social media powerhouse.

@ First, I’d like to introduce you to the “at” sign. The “at” sign or “@” is simply they way to address someone specific on twitter. If you are addressing me, it is as simply as @chaplainandrews. The message then will show up in my “notifications” que and I will find it there.

# Now that we have the message addressed, I want to introduce you to the hashtag. The hashtag or “#” (the number sign) is a little way that people on twitter will “tag” their message in order to find it later. When having a conversation with other people it is also a good idea to hashtag the conversation, enabling you to track the conversation in the search field.

RT Finally, we come to the “Retweet” message. The Retweet sign is “RT”. This is used when you simply desire to repeat someone else’s message. If you like something that someone said Retweet it to the other people that are following you to see—this is called sharing….and sharing is caring.

So there you have the three most used symbols on twitter. You may use at least one in every message. Using these symbols frequently will help you address, track, and repeat the messages that you send and follow on Twitter. As always please, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @chaplainandrews and ask me any further questions that you may have—or even simply try out your messages.

(Photo: Unsplash)

Union Depot El Paso

Deep inside downtown El Paso, there is a tower that stands out above the city. Obviously historic and impressive from a distance, the building is a must visit when in El Paso. Today, I had the opportunity to mark this off my list of places to see.

The Union Depot “was designed by architect Daniel Burnham, who also designed Washington D.C. Union Station. It was built between 1905 and 1906 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.” (Wikipedia) The tower indefinitely catches my eye every time I pass by. It is important to note that “it is said that Pancho Villa used the bell tower of Union Depot as a lookout during an attack on Juárez during the Mexican Revolution.” (Union Depot, EPCC Library) I enjoy seeing old architecture, especially when they are as preserved as this. This building, in fact, is used by area colleges to teach architecture.

Outside the building, there are stark reminders of the days when thousands walk through its doors.

And inside is a sight to see as well. With the marble flooring and wall covering. To the wooden fixtures, stairways, and pillars. While some were not able to be photographed, it all brings the visitor back to a time in history.

While Amtrak maintains a presence and operates from this station, the El Paso Transit Authority uses the building as a bus depot as well. It is a beautiful historic building. I am grateful that I had a chance to quickly visit and would encourage everyone to see this treasure. Maybe one day, it would be nice to even board a train from there.

Pick of the Week: No Stress Chess


Several years ago, I received a No Stress Chess set for my birthday. I had placed it on my Amazon wish list after I saw it at Barnes and Noble once. It has gotten much use with the kids and the game is definitely an enjoyable way to teach the basic of chess.

“No Stress Chess” is designed around a deck of cards that describe the moves of each of the chess pieces. Each player takes turns flipping through the cards, one by one. At each card, the card tells the player the moves that each piece can make as the player moves across the board. To play by the rules, the players allow the cards to move through the entire game. This not only helps the players learn to play, but also introduces strategy as well.

The game’s premise is a very simple concept but it provides a great way to repeat and reinforce the basic moves of chess. The game provides instruction on where to place the games pieces on the board to start the game and the direction of travel. There are also different variations of play in the instruction manual. I will also add that the pieces themselves are also very nice. The makers could have used cheaper material but the pieces are heavy and stable.

We have used this game extensively to teach my oldest girls to play chess and will use the same technique to teach the other two as well. For that, I fully endorse this pick of the week!