Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wearing Superboy's Boots 2: Learning is Painful

(Note: Only the first image was mine -- the rest are not mine, and were taken from all over the Internet.)

Yesterday, Saturday, I was at the Toycon, at the Megatrade Halls in SM Megamall and I was happily able to buy my own action figure of Superboy (Young Justice version, still in his solar suit).

But this story is not about what had transpired in the Toycon, although I believe it is worth its own (short) entry on this blog. Little did I know that the story of Superboy would once again echo into my life in its own realistic way.

This time, I'm going to make some reference on the New 52 version of Superboy, although it is pretty much very similar to what had happened in the Young Justice version.

Before Superboy got out of his incubator, he learned what he needed to know about the world through a simulation. The simulation was like our own dreams, where we get to practice particular information we have learned about the world. In so doing, we get to learn new things -- up to a certain extent. That is how Superboy knew about the sun and the moon, reading and writing -- even without having had direct experience about it in reality.

This means that everything he has learned, in essence, has been filtered and idealized. While the simulation was created with the intention of preparing him for reality, it is never completely aligned with reality.

He was also taught that he has the ability to fly. As one can see, it was through his training that he had learned these things. But it could be said that everything he had experienced was anything but real.

As a student, I was the one who had always read books after class -- books that were not covered in the lessons given in grade school. I had little interest in things that everyone else is expected to know. I just did what I thought was enough for those things, and focused on the very things that I really liked. I knew back then that I already had some inclination toward music. But given that in my earlier years, I did not have a guitar (I did not have one until I was in Grade 6), programming was a much more accessible "hobby" or direction.

When I was in college, I thought I had met someone I could look up to. He was an amazing person, and yet at the core of it, he was somehow just like me. He must be the Superman I was looking for. At the time, it seemed that I will be able to have the abilities that he has. Wow, he was the example I was looking for!

And so, some time passed, and I got to talk to him. We became just a bit closer and had been in contact for quite some time. But because he was my hero, I had probably become too clingy to him. Eventually, he had to let me go. I lost contact with him ever since. No matter how hard I tried, he had left me. But the thought that one day, I would become like him, or someone better... that did not fade so easily.

Even in life, I have learned most of the things I know through reading books and watching programs about other people's experience. The history of computer companies, the information that I had about games -- even these things, as a teacher now-- most of them, I had learned through reading. It is impossible that I had experienced all these things myself. But one thing is clear to me: These things happen. And one it becomes relevant, I warn my students about these things, and back it up with evidence that such things really do happen.

Despite this, having grown from a very academic context, I was mostly knowledge with little experience. That is what terrified me with teaching in a school that demands basis from experience: Most of the time, what I could deliver was theory, and only a little bit of my own experiences, which was not much.

Yesterday, I was talking with a good friend and colleague of mine after a meeting. We were talking about improving the program for the subjects that I have been teaching. He has had lots of industry experience before, and compared to his, my own experience is but a tiny fraction. In fact, I sometimes beat myself up for not having experienced much. (Despite this, I find myself still doing a lot of things, and I always end up being tired and still feeling like I should do more work.)

There were a lot of things we talked about, but one thing is clear to me -- I am obviously going in the wrong direction (again). I know my theory, and these are mostly correct, but I lost in terms of knowledge about the deviations of reality from this theory. It reminds me of Immanuel Kant, who says that there are two things about our situation in morality: "What is" and "What ought to be." I am quite good with the latter, but given our field, practice is much more important. What we are teaching also has to be somewhat aligned to the practicalities of "what is." Not knowing "What is" could not possibly allow me to correct things, and it would not let me know if what I am teaching as "What ought to be" really should be the case.

At the end of our conversation, I was really happy that the discussion has changed my mind about the direction that I am taking. However, I was also disheartened because I felt that I had not done justice to the course last year-- I had not done justice to the course for the students. Some of them were right all along -- I was going in the wrong direction.

Most of the time, I make my mistakes in my own world. I make a lot of mistakes in learning a programming language or game design, but these mistakes only affect my project, and not a multitude of paying clients. Thus, I find it forgivable.

When Superboy got out of his incubator, he was able to do a lot of things. In fact, his mind was clear enough and had enough knowledge in order to make the best attacks against Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad. It was all because of the theory he learned inside the incubator. By theory, he was taught that he is able to fly, just like Superman. But reality taught him that he could not fly.

Superman can fly, but why could I not fly? The man I looked up to was able to teach really well. He knew what to say, and it really felt like he know what he was doing. How is it that I could not fly?

I may know what the sun and the moon looks like, but I have not seen it. My colleague, in that conversation, brought me out of the underground laboratories, and he showed me what the moon looked like. And the realness of it was never captured by any simulation. With the strength of my eyesight, I could see that it was not as smooth as the images in my mind had me believe.

It was then, I found that I knew little. The world that I was trained for was not what I was told it would be. And suddenly, the foundations of my confidence in what I teach has been lost. Suddenly, I feel that I am in a role that demands more than I could offer. I felt that I could not teach -- that I don't know what I am saying.

It felt awkward to be in this world. It felt painful to be in this world.

And yet, I seem to remember that this was not the first time it happened.

Back in my first year in grade school, I had a difficult time understanding what was going on in class because I knew relatively little about English. During that time, I thought that I was always going to be the last in class because I don't even know something as necessarily basic in that context -- proper English.

However, I remember that I did not stop. I also kept reading books. (I really enjoyed English books because it was not always about the drama of social realism that Filipino writers seemed to have a penchant for.) And now, reading and writing in English is second nature to me. I have no problems expressing myself in this language. Heck, even this blog entry would be evidence of that. My ability in writing is one of the things that I am most confident about at this time.

But I remember the pain. The pain of inadequacy, the pain of extending the borders of one's world, far beyond one's comfort zone.

And now, I feel it again. Suddenly, the comfort zone, the organization, the direction I had for the past year has been turned upside-down. I am quite glad that it happened, as this would be my first step in becoming a better teacher.

But it has come to this. I have to learn from the persons who have actually seen the sun and the moon -- those who have actually seen that flying is not something that anyone would be able to do. I have to learn from the ones who have had never come from an incubator, matured in a matter of weeks.

Much as there is joy in learning, there are times when learning is painful. There are times when getting injured is the only way one would learn, or through the emotional damage of learning that I had been causing problems in the past. These days, I am still struggling to believe in my own words when I teach certain lessons -- especially now with the knowledge that I had been wrong half of the time.

But still, all this pain, once overcome, is a part of becoming stronger. I am still starting. I have a good idea about this world, but I am still learning from the ones who have been immersed in the reality of this industry -- this world. Maybe someday, then, once I have experienced enough, I might see the sun and the moon as these really are.

But one thing is for sure. Superman and I are very similar in a lot of respects, but I am not him. I thought I could fly. But perhaps, I was never meant to fly. Maybe, I have a unique power of my own. But I have yet to find that out, and maybe, that's what would make me the best that I can be -- as a hero in my own right.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle

Yesterday, I was looking for old issues in Comic Odyssey, and I was able to find one of the issues that I were looking for: Blue Beetle Vol. 2, #11.

Volume 2 of the Blue Beetle series featured Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle. So far, he is my most favorite beetle, given that I have not read much about Dan Garrett, and I like Ted more than Jaime. (But, for the record, I also like Jaime, and I am, in fact, following the DCnU series)

This brings me back to the time, sometime in late 2012, when I was reading through almost the entire series. I had a contact who had almost completed the series, except for certain issues. This give me a very good idea of the entire story line for Ted's own title. But, it also left gaps that left me mystified about the entire story.

My cousins and I went to Fully Booked at The Fort just yesterday, and found that Comic Odyssey now has a place there. However, this branch is mostly useful for getting the latest issues. In fact, during that day, I was also tempted to buy some new issues, particularly the rebooted Nova (Sam Alexander). Although, at this point, considering that most of my collection is made up of trade paperbacks, I am better off waiting for that to appear.

Even so, the middle section was devoted mostly to comics, old and new, nicely arranged alphabetically. It was here where I found one of the issues that I was missing.

Before this, I never really understood the thrill of finally finding one of the missing issues in one's comic collection. Most of the time, I am excited to find a trade paperback that I have been waiting for. But this time, it brought me back to my Blue Beetle collection. Now, I only have four missing issues left, and I would be able to complete the entire run of Ted Kord's own title.

I think I will find myself re-reading the entire series sometime. Given my collection of comics, there are lots to re-read, and I think it I would still find them all quite interesting.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Free Comic Book Day

I celebrated Free Comic Book Day at National Bookstore, Quezon Avenue. I rode the MRT up to Quezon Avenue station and walked to the venue. Actually, the distance is pretty walkable, it's not at all that tiring to get there. Maybe I'll get used to it more often when I do go there.

When I got to the venue, there were a lot of people and lines were pretty long. I think that is understandable, since everyone is waiting to get a bunch of free comics. It is pretty cool to see lots of people actually going to this event. I can not say for sure if this means that comics are becoming more and more alive again, but I can just take this as a good sign.

Since I enjoyed the venue so much, I would like to set aside my critique of the event. I think there are some points that need improvement:
1) The venue is pretty large, but I do not think it was ready to handle the heat of such a large crowd. I was there in the morning until lunchtime, and while the venue was spacious (a welcome change to the usual Bayanihan Center squeeze-in, squeeze-out nightmare), eventually the place got warmer. In fact, I think I only  saw one air-conditioning unit attached to one of the supports in the area. While some transients might not have problems with it (some would just buy stuff and leave), it might become a problem to some people who are staying at the venue.

2) Perhaps, in preparation for next time, Castle Geek and NBS should be more prepared with the amount of people who will be arriving. The event ran out of free comics before lunchtime. I got mine, but I have a few friends and contacts who were not able to get theirs. And also, I hope the artists were given free comics by default, since their very presence is also meant to support the event anyway. Although kudos to Castle Geeks for giving the indie artists free tables!

Ok! Now that I have set those things aside, let's go back to talking about how much I enjoyed the place. :)

I was able to meet some of my indie friends again, although sadly, this time it never occurred to me to take pictures. As to why, I really do not know. Maybe I was really enjoying the place. XD

I was able to talk to Giosdesk Guiao (creator of Lakan at Makisig) about comics, stories and cosplayers. He actually has a project that is directed toward a more mature audience. Unfortunately, I forgot the title. >_<

It is pretty much heavenly to be in a place where the ultimate concern is comics. From place to place, there were tarps of Aquaman, Deadpool, Superman. NBS were selling trade paperbacks at 200php each, and there were some that were discounted at 20%. The Indie Komiks table were filled with approachable and friendly comics creators. All in all, it is great to be in a community that share a common interest – comics. Of course, there were some people with bad behavior and attitudes but those little cracks were too small to break the entire wall of happiness during the event. While I was in line to get my three free comics, I kept looking around, seeing all these people – and I felt that it is a great time to be in this field.

During the event, or pretty much during all the comic conventions that I have been, I kept dreaming about the next step these conventions could take. I don't know how I could start, but it might also be great to experience organizing these things – choosing the appropriate venue, making things efficient and comfy for both the artists and the readers...

After I got my free comics, I went around the NBS area if I could find any gems. I was tempted to get a copy of Green Lantern Secret Origins but they are selling the version that has Ryan Reynolds on it. I really don't want to see him on another DC thing. >_<

Because I am a fan of Richard Rider, I bought the next two volumes of Nova (This is not the Marvel NOW version, obviously, but I am beginning to like Sam Alexander, too). I already have the first volume, and so it was great getting those two volumes for 200 bucks each – that's one-fourth of its original price. Now, that's what I call a bargain.

And also, to that guy who cosplayed Kyle Rayner: You did a good job with that GL costume and... you also looked cute without the mask. ;-)

Until the next convention, guys!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Summer Komikon 2013

Aaaand here we are again! It's been quite a long time since I was at any convention, and I am happy that I am able to go on this one!

I decided to go early this time, since I did not want the sun to beat down on me on the way there. And so, I brought my recyclable shopping bag, folded it up and put it in a smaller bag so I can walk faster along Shaw Boulevard. You can never be too careful even during daylight.

When I got there, the line was already a bit long. But thankfully, the wait was not that long. I can't say this for everyone, though, since I can only speak from my own experience.

The people were very cooperative and everyone fell in line, even with the excitement of entering the venue. That, I can say, is what I appreciate of most komikon goers, then.

Once I got inside, I quickly checked my list and looked for everyone who were on that list. I made sure that I had money for the ones that I really wanted to get and then I can go explore some more after that.

The first artist I saw, who was also on the list, was Ner PedriƱa. He is one of the people who inspired me to push through with what I plan to do with my own comics. He is the creator of the superhero group Sanduguan, and of my two favorite characters, Sandata and Bato. And so I was able to pick up a couple of issues more, (and hopefully I will be able to get my reprint for #3 next kon!) and of course...

my reserved Sandata plushie! I plan to make little sticks for him. And he stands up by himself! Aww! :)

Mike Ignacio is the creator of Boy Ipis. His character has been an instant hit for me ever since I saw him in the Bayan Knights issues. This time, he and his time are selling a trade paperback, which is a reboot of Boy Ipis' story. All I can say is that it's terrific! (WHAT?! No picture with Mike? Aww man. :( I really thought I had one taken with him.)

And then next stop was Giosdesk, the creator of Lakan at Makisig. I got a copy of his most recent collection, "Kartoonland Adventures." I had actually read almost every strip of it on his website, but it's good to see them all collected in one little book.

After that, I was able to see Gio Paredes, the creator of Kalayaan. His work is one of the first few that I have been exposed to since last year. It's great to see him again since we only meet during cons. :)

Unfortunately, I was not able to reach Gilbert Monsanto. Gio told me he's going to be late. But I had to leave early. So... aw, next time na lang ang Bayan Knights :D

I stopped by By Implication's booth, as some of my friends were also there. Hallo to Wil, Thomas and Jim! Phi also gave me a demonstration of their new indie comics platform, Storylark. I might get my stuff up there sometime.

 Lastly, I stopped by E. Recto, in which a friend of mine is a member! So yeah, hello to Ding! I bought one of her bookmarks, and it's really well made. :)

All in all, I had fun. This time, it was even better because I met my friends and also got to talk with the artists. I have said it before and I will say it again: it seems that there are more people now than before. Hopefully, I will be able to show up as an artist by October Komikon 2013.

P.S. Ikotron Studios should show up next time! :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A thousand views

I do not think any of my blogs has ever reached more than a thousand views, except Graphite Leaves, which is an old blog that I no longer update.

This blog used to be have the address But given that I no longer respond to the name, Nick, I have decided to change the url. I picked the name Noah Verus because it means "The Real Noah." I am Noah, and this is the real me.

For many years I felt as though I am always someone who was under someone else's shadow. I felt that even if I was so different, I had no identity. Of course, this is no longer true, and I want this period of my life to reflect that.

I only know a handful of people who follow this blog. And well, the audience that I am getting is a lot more than that. So, whoever you are, thank you for checking out this blog.

I am not really interested in maintaining too many blogs at this point. Most of the time I will be posting here. It helps to have a single source of official information from me. This blog is sure to chronicle my writings online.

To be fair though, I also maintain a blog on reflections, There and Back Again and also a blog for my webcomic, Noah no LRT. I also have another blog, Bitwise Ops, but I don't really know if I'm still going to update it, as I am planning to post my technical writing here instead.

I am still in the process of writing the next part of the Nostalgia series. But I will have to find some less busy time.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nostalgia Part 1: The World of DOS

I am writing a series of blog entries called "Nostalgia." I will try to recall my experiences with computers throughout the years, from since I touched the first desktop our family had, up until the time when I was introduced to the world of open source and taking computer game programming much more seriously.

Below is the first part of this series -- at the time when DOS was king.

The World of DOS

When I was in grade school, I used to like the idea of working on code late at night. Maybe because the idea of coding was such a funky thing for me as a kid. I did not know anyone else who really knew how to code and who really does it outside of class. (Of course, later on, I discovered that people who were "like me" studied in other schools.)

I have been looking at screenshots of old Windows programs and also how they started up and how they shut down. I think I focused on that because that's when it became more visually interesting. But my experience of computers was much more antiquated than that. There was a time when after the boot screens appear, the computer waited for me with a quiet and unassuming DOS prompt. There wasn't anything else happening. All I saw was that blinking cursor waiting patiently for my next command. And then, shutting down the program meant typing "park" and then pressing enter.

I used to play with WordStar back then. I used to type a lot of things, but they never were my own compositions. I knew how to read and how to spell things, but I never really was the person for composition. Of course, now is a different story. I tend to write a lot. But back then I used to type down lyrics of Christmas songs and whatever comes to mind. While my mom used to write papers, letters and books with it, to me, WordStar was an amazing example of how you could press a key to make something happen.

The most complex program that I have ever seen at the time was a game called OutRun. The game had this first-person perspective with a pseudo-3d effect. In fact, all of these things were sprites moving toward the player. Back then, it was so amazing. Instead of a screen filled with white text on black background, it showed me just how much the computer was capable of. Graphics were the thing back then. I used to play the game on mute and listen to my favorite music instead. Apart from the bleeps that the computer makes, at the time, it was luxury to have audio that plays like the real thing.

The idea of escape was amazing. It felt like I was able to experience travelling to places that did not exist in my neighborhood. It was never boring. The children outside playing their street games felt hollow and uninteresting. This virtual world, on the other hand was interesting.

That was also the time when I really felt in control. The command prompt makes one feel that the computer will not do anything that you did not authorize. Programs only ran when you said so and they always exited to the command prompt. The system might have involved a lot of typing, but remember that the keyboard was the only thing I had back in the early 1990s. Keyboard input was the only way to do things for me back then, and so I did not see the typing as inconvenient. Rather, I saw it as necessary. It was also so simple.

This was also the time when I had no idea what programming was. I did not know what I needed to use to make my own programs. Funnily enough, it felt like that kind of technology can only be had by the big companies. These were tools that were not available to the everyday person. Of course, these days, I understand that I might have been brought up with the proprietary perspective of software -- in which, most of the time, I am the end user, but never the writer of software.

And then came that fateful day. I was at my uncle's house, and my aunt knew that I was bored. And so, she, with her husband's permission, let me use the laptop. My uncle turned on the system and then ran something. It was a very simple game: There were two gorillas on top of the building in the city. The goal is to make the other gorilla explode by throwing an exploding banana at him. However, several buildings are between your gorilla and the enemy gorilla. You stay stationary, and you have to specify the angle by which the banana will be thrown (0 degrees being parallel to the ground). So there are times when you will hit the building if the trajectory of the banana doesn't cross with the location of the gorilla. But when you are successful, you win. However, if the enemy gorilla gets the right trajectory and makes your gorilla explode first, then you lose the game.

The premise was pretty simple, but it was enough for me to really get into it. It probably was the most exciting thing I've ever seen (apart from Outrun). I was only around 5 years old and it was 1992.

I asked my uncle if I had anything like that on my computer. He told me that the game was written in QBasic. I was just told to run 'qbasic' on the command prompt, and then load the file 'Gorilla.bas.' I was able to try that out at home, and happily I played with it until I was told that it was time for bed.

QBasic. At that time, I had no idea that it was a means to program something. I did not realize that the very tool that I was looking for was right in front of me. That was so close. I will not start coding in QBasic until five years later, 1997.

During that time, DOS was the only way to do things in my context. And, as a little kid, I thought it would always be that way. It was exciting to look into system files that I am told not to touch. There was a certain mystique in computers when dealing with the command line. It was as if it was just a little lens through which you have a limited view of the system. It felt a lot like spelunking. You try to explore the cave, but you are only armed with your flashlight. You don't know what will be in around the corner, unless you've already been there before. You could screw up the system if you do The Wrong Thing. But every little video game, or text editor or word processor, was like a little room where you can play and do no wrong. It was a safe place.

Windows 2.0 was still mainly a front for the DOS interface, and even then, we didn't have that on our systems. There was Windows 3.1, but I will not hear of it until a year later. I was unaware at the time that people were going crazy over Wolfenstein 3D. Myst was still being made by the brothers Robyn and Rand Miller -- to be released a year later. SimCity 2000, like Myst, was being created at Maxis, getting ready for its 1993 release. The first of Sid Meier's Civilization games was being marketed for its late 1991 release.

And there I was, just a little kid, still not aware of the game industry that was beginning to get taken seriously by both fans and critics of video games. I did not know that I would be playing these emerging games in some form or derivative sometime in the future. But for sure, I was aware that I would want a career that involves computers, but I did not have much in terms of direction just yet.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wearing Superboy's Boots

(Note: The following images are taken from many different episodes of Young Justice, Season 1. Property of Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment)

You might find it funny, but I am quite like a not-so-straight Superboy. I never really got into girls so much that I would date them, although I do find guys hot. What is not so funny, though, is the rest of the story. One reason why I find myself interested in Superboy is that he and I share a lot in common.

For those who are awaiting my essay on Superboy, this is not it. This is more of my similarities with this character, and as to why I find him interesting.

If this comes off to you as not interesting, or weird, I would suggest moving on and reading something else. This blog entry is not meant for you.

As for what version of Superboy I am talking about, I will focus on the Season 1 of Young Justice, since that is where I found most of the parallels. Besides, I had to say it since this version does not necessarily agree with the real continuity.

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time alone. I had some friends, but I did not really hang out with them. I like to draw, create worlds, learn computer programming, make music -- pretty much any act by which I could spend time alone.

I learned a lot of things during this period. Perhaps, that is one perk of being an only child. Since no one is disturbing me, I am able to do things myself, make my mistakes alone and learn things. Most of the time, I learned things without the help of others. Ok, the Internet helped. But in terms of computer programming and a lot of other topics, I really did not have anyone to talk to about it. Heck, I was in grade school at the time. I did not know anyone else who knew how to code at the time.

I relied on the Internet to be in contact with people with like interests. There were forums, and there were lots of websites with resources on them.

In all these times alone, I felt that I was living. However, I was living in my own world. It was a world that I chose to see. It is an almost ideal world. I was able to do what I wanted, but it felt very, very lonely. Sorta like how the genomes are bombarding knowledge in Superboy's brain, huh? Or more like the virtual reality simulations he "lived in" at the rebooted New 52 version.

This spilled over to high school. During the entire time, I was very dissatisfied with the world around me, that I lived in a world of my own. It was still in touch with reality, but I did not let anyone get in my way. I leave if I want to leave, I shut people out if I want to shut people out. And believe me, during that time, there were lots of people that I wanted to shut out.

During college, however, things changed. I met friends. They were different from I am, and I found that cool. They knew I was also different, and they accepted me for it. At that point, I felt so awake. I felt so alive. It was this time when it felt like it was the first time that I actually saw the moon, but I knew what it was the whole time. I had concepts in my head, and now I see them in reality.

College was a lot more real to me. I felt happy, and I felt sad. I felt angry at the world, and I felt affection. I felt disgust, I experienced jealousy, and envy... I experienced victory and defeat. I felt the "aster."

All of this was happening so fast. Back then I was a person who never really had a clique and I spent my time mostly alone. And suddenly, I was so alive -- I still felt like a kid, but I was already almost a full-grown man by then.

There were those who stood in my way. But with friends, I was able to pass them by. I was able to conquer them. For once, I felt that I was part of a team. I have friends. They care. Heck, I'm not sure, but I'd like to believe I also cared at that time.

 However, I can't escape the fact that sometimes, my temper really gets the best of me. I know some of my old friends know that. I have also been known to be angsty, and have drained more than enough friends with my own emotions. Well, sorry if I acted selfishly back then.

I am still angry with a lot of things in the world. My sexuality, my abilities, my dreams and where I am right now -- all of these make me feel so different. I am trying to appreciate it, but somehow it always feels like no one will understand. I feel happy and yet I feel so angry about being myself. I remember a good friend of mine telling me, "Parang lahat, nasa iyo na." (It seems like you're a perfect guy!) I think she meant it regarding my intellect and abilities. I will also not deny my physical strength. And I have had my share of sincere compliments about my looks-- much as I didn't really appreciate them back then. Sorry. (Also, I know that came off as "not really humble, dude" but please bear with me. I have been denying these things myself so that I would not feel too good about me.)

I was happy and I was mad -- I have never really seen myself as an angel. I am not perfect. But I try my best to be as caring as I think I should be. Lately I have been thinking that I am sort of God's anti-hero, if there is such a thing. Parts of me have become corrupt, and I am hoping to be whole once again. But I still believe I can do something good. I am not pure. I have the makings of a sociopath and yet I empathize with a lot of people. It's killing me.

I have a happy family, at least during those times when we're together. I'd like to think that my mom took care of me well. But somehow, it feels like my father does not really know what is important to me. I could understand why, though. I am old enough to understand why. It is just disappointing.

Superboy once said in his own New 52 title, "I did not choose to be created." Somehow, that line really hit home with me. I did not choose to be created, and yet I am here. Most of the time, I grew up on my own, in my own little world. I spent time with my parents, sure, but I am not sure how much of that went into play of my growing up. I don't think they are bad parents, though. I am just stating facts.

It has always seemed like I grew up in the outside world. There, the people are less caring, but you do find some nice people along the way. That is where I grew up -- in a competitive world. Sink or swim. I am sometimes terrified of it, but somehow I find myself always getting into brawls with reality. Somehow, though, I always find the strength for it. But I do not really know the extent of my powers.

I recall a time when I thought I had found Superman. Someone who is more like me than anyone else I have ever met. He has been here longer than I am. He is more experienced. And I am quite happy that he is a hero. People appreciated him. I thought I would find someone to guide me. I thought I would find someone who would understand. I thought he was someone who could help me know myself better. Somehow, at least someone to guide me and accept me for who I am. Someone who knows what is important to me. A man who actually cares for the young one. I am not as good as he is, nor am I as pure. But he is as close as I can get to. An older brother, perhaps?

As I have said, I remember a time when I thought I had already found him.

 I didn't.

And, I don't know if I ever will.
Part of me has given it up, actually.

Until then, though. I have my family and friends. I have been gone for quite a while, frankly. But I am glad that they are there when I (sort of) came back. 

We've been in all sorts of messes before. We made it through and won, even if the entire building from which we came from is now leveled to its foundations. Such is change, I guess.

Batman wasn't happy, but we stuck with it through and through. I do not know how long this will last, but for now I am happy that they're still here. Somehow, they saved me. And somehow, that may well be the reason why I am still alive at this point.

Still, someday I hope a certain Kryptonian would understand.