The Green Lantern Diet!

Hello everyone!


I usually like to keep this as a writing/media commentary blog, but I figured I do something a bit different. In fact, this post was on my original Livejournal (now defunct) as it was originally typed in anticipation for the Green Lantern Movie. But without any further ado…

The Green Lantern Diet!

At New York, New York casino in Las Vegas

At New York, New York casino in Las Vegas

I remember when I weighed just about 375 lbs (170 kg, 26stone). I was 24 years old, and I SHOULD have been in the prime of my life. Truthfully, it was one of the lowest. Bad diet decisions, mixed next to little activity and denial (“I’m not heavy, I’m active!” or “I wear it well”) turned me into a recluse. I had friends, but I took comfort in solitude. I could eat what I want, I didn’t have to worry about how clothes fit, and I could ignore the prospect of dating along with it.

The truth is, when you’re that heavy your whole mindset changes. If I asked you to join me at an amusement park, most people would think about their spending money and carrying a bottle of water. As for me, I worried about my stamina, being able to fit on rides…heck, to this day I still have a slight aversion to turnstiles because of this time in my life.

I was always a comic-book reader. My childhood mentor/tutor gave me Archie comics as an incentive to finish my work on time. To that I thank him, because comics opened up my world and eventually saved my life. As a 90s kid, I loved superheroes en masse. Batman? Cool. Superman? Even cooler. Iron Man? I wanted to be him. But when it came time for me to make changes in my life (to essentially prolong my life) I turned to one, Green Lantern.

Man, gotta love that theme song.

The “Green Lantern” Diet isn’t just about eating things that are green (although that certainly helps). It about digging deep, understanding that you are in charge of your destiny, and “willing” the change. Ah yes, willpower. Power source for the Green Lantern Corps and a virtue oft-quoted in self-help and weight loss books. Honestly, the concept historically felt vague to me.

“Willpower? Is that like elbow grease?”

Sure people who had “it” did well for themselves, and I was tired of people assuming I didn’t have any because of how I looked. But in the pages of a comic, through the panels of the Green Lantern Corps, the power of will was illustrated to do great things. A Green Lantern is commissioned with a ring. A ring that is the strongest weapon in the universe but it is only as strong as its bearer.  As a young adult, the correlation instantly clicked. John Stewart (my personal favorite Lantern) dug deep on a monthly basis, banishing threats to his home planet, galaxy, and universe. The strain on his face was drawn with agonizing detail, but his efforts always came through in the end. Why?

He was tough. He never backed down. He never gave up.

He had a cool logo!

He had a cool logo!

I remember it like it was yesterday. On February 26, 2009 I signed up for an all-night fitness center. It was the kind that never closed, so I had no excuse to not go. I didn’t know much about nutrition, so I started my “healthy-diet” with fast-food sub sandwiches and salads while I continued to learn about my own body. Training sessions were intense, but for the first time in a long time I didn’t quit. That last rep, that last mile, even going back that next day even when I felt “tired” changed the way I looked at life. I was improving my stamina and strength yes, but I was also improving my will.

Once learning how many hours it took on the track to work off a cheesecake, I was less inclined to have that third slice (Haha, I love food–sue me!). The “sensible adult” side of me knows its kind of silly to pull inspiration from a fictional character, but it’s a good thing I don’t listen to that side of me all of the time. That’s what these heroes are: inspirations. Symbols, even.

I’ve lost about 150 pounds since that fateful day at the gym. No word on whether a ring is going to fly in my window. :-)

The Summer In Pictures

What’s going on everybody? Now that the unofficial last day of summer has passed, I guess we can look forward to falling leaves and shorter days. Growing up, autumn was my favorite holiday but sine moving to the permanent summer known as Los Angeles, I appreciate the warmer season that much more.

My summer was semi-eventful. Take a look at all the hijinx I got myself into.

Here I am behind the actual MLS Supporters Shield.

Here I am behind the actual MLS Supporters Shield.

With this awesome gift from Emme, I will finally learn to make Jell-O!

With this awesome gift from Emme, I will finally learn to make Jell-O!

Visit her blog at:

I take this shot every time I'm in Vegas. Birthday 2013

I take this shot every time I’m in Vegas. Birthday 2013.

Me at the legendary "Lion's Share" slot machine in Las Vegas

Me at the legendary “Lion’s Share” slot machine in Las Vegas.

Learn more about the legend here:

I got to visit  the beautiful Petco Park (aka Citi Field West) as part of my first Comic Con weekend

I got to visit the beautiful Petco Park (aka Citi Field West) as part of my first Comic Con weekend.

At my first Nerd HQ, Comic Con weekend

At my first Nerd HQ, Comic Con weekend.

I actually got a chance to meet my favorite comic book artist, Shawn Martinbrough

I actually got a chance to meet my favorite comic book artist, Shawn Martinbrough.

Check out his website over at:

Me at Summerslam 2013 (my second!)

Me at Summerslam 2013 (my second!)

Trying homebrew beer for the first time. Results pending.

Trying homebrew beer for the first time. Results pending.

Let’s see what the fall brings!

Near Hollywood Tours: Coming Soon

Hey everyone, Flobo here. This week, I want to do something a bit different.  This past weekend I  was a part of the LA 48hr Film Festival Project. As the name suggests the goal is to create a film from start to finish in under 48 hours. This was my second shot at a 48hr film this year, with the first being KATANA

This go -round the film is called “Near Hollywood Tours” and it is told in the vein of a Mockumentary (a la “The Office”, “Modern Family”, “This Is Spinal Tap”). I was the screenwriter.

Premiering August 14, 2012

Near Hollywood Tours is about a former athletic coach turned tour guide gives a hapless group a tour of Los Angeles they will never forget.

The weekend was intense. Here’s some still images.

Producer/Second Unit Camera Daniel Reyes (l.), and Director Rolando Joseph Herrera.

Special shot out to Monster Energy Drinks, the official sponsored beverage of the LA 48hr Film Project. (Which is good, because “Monster: Absolutely Zero” is my  personal energy drink of choice)

With editor Matt Crawford (l.)

Submitting our packet on time and getting two complimentary passes to the premiere…

Me (l.) and director Rolando pass out after submitting our flick. #TeamMonster Wristbanded Solidarity!

If you are in the Southern California Area, feel free to stop on by and VOTE for “North Hollywood Tours”.

All of my screen and publishing efforts come under the Leatherback Labs banner.

Check out director Rolando Joseph Herrera’s production website, Scrawny Strange Productions here.

One of the best things about being a writer is writing for different media. I’ve written a novel, countless short stories, and in 2012 at least two screened short films! Something keeps telling me this is my “gift”, despite the troubles. Who knows though? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I’m going to get some sleep. I feel like a zombie.

Character Spotlight: Defending Superman

Hey everyone, Flobo here!

As it is one of my more visited posts, most people who read this blog know how much I DISLIKE the Caped Crusader  in Batman, click the link to allow me to count the ways. Today (since I’m such a DC comic junkie) I want to do the Herculean Task in defending the Man of Steel while discussing what it all means for your writing. Ready? Let’s do this.

Superman’s new “Relaunch” costume is amazing. It kind of makes forget about his red undies..

When most people (especially those who are not comic fans) think of the word “superhero” (Sidenote: A joint trademark from DC Comics as well as Marvel) they think of Superman, or a variation thereof. You know, super strength, flight, and a cool costume is all part of spectacle. Seriously, a web image search for the word superhero yields a bunch of Superman Clones. The Reader’s Digest version of the story goes like this: Last son of a dying planet, young Kal-El is shipped to Earth Moses-style and is adopted by a young couple living on a farm in Smallville Kansas. There, after learning about the customs of his adopted home-world, he becomes Superman in his adult age, a champion for the people he’s sworn to protect. He’s got strength, speed, invulnerability, ice breath, heat vision, and a moral code that we all could look up to. He was all about truth, justice, and the American Way!

And all was well.

Ask a comic book fan (or any fan of entertainment) about “Supes” and they would roll their eyes. “He’s too goody-goody,” I would hear some say. “He doesn’t get hurt,” others would chime in.

The latter isn’t quite true, because classically Superman was vulnerable to kryptonite as well as magic, and this doesn’t include the limitations lead inflicts on his X-ray vision (or a red sun on his powers wholesale). You could argue that Superman’s popularity came with the public’s perception of the country of which he landed. In the golden and silver age of comics, public opinion of the USA was pretty positive. We were established as a World Power, and the era of Pax Americana was in full swing. The conflict in Vietnam started a change with the public questioning our leaders about the decisions the government made. Of course this wasn’t the first time John Q. Public had issues with Uncle Sam, but  this was the television age (before the Internet and Social Media) where dissenting opinion could be broadcasted nationwide. What happened to media in general was that there was more and more cynicism added to the works of the day. For the record I’m not saying this is a “bad” thing, but for example “Taxi Driver” would NEVER would have been made as a television movie to follow “Leave It To Beaver”. Comics were no different, and we saw a rash of new characters with flaws and challenges that made Superman look like a cartoon character in comparison. The public at large were aware of the legend but didn’t find him “relatable”. It would be like trying to convert people into worshiping Zeus all over again. Guys and dolls raised eyebrows  at the “American Way”.

Another Superpower: Breaking Up large blocks of text

I think the people at DC Comics are trying to remedy this problem in the new line of Superman comics, but don’t take this post as an outright advertisement or anything like that. To me, there’s always something about Superman that people tend to overlook. Here is a child that got shipped to a far off land, and not only was he accepted by the public, he became a hero and role model for the denizens of Metropolis. This hits home for me as a first-generation American. Contrary to popular belief, America is the land of opportunity, but not promises. Success is not guaranteed, but I always pulled from Superman’s journey to “the top” as a sign of the possibility of social mobility in this country. Beyond that, Superman is damn near invulnerable but his struggle is more about how much influence does he inflict on the people he protects. You show up to handle every single conflict, and people depend on you to handle all of their problems. Do the opposite and pull back completely, and folks will lose faith (if not succumb to the situation at hand).  In the cartoon “Justice League”, Superman was chided by his teammates for not trusting them to handle a crop of bad guys, where as good ‘ol Supes claimed that his invulnerability served as the best “human shield” for the brunt of most attacks.

You just can’t win.

As a writer, one of my many challenges I have to do deal with is making heroes and villains entertaining. In the case of Batman, I would say it is very easy to write a story for a vigilante who puts on a cape because his parents death made him all weepy. Superman, from a writer’s standpoint is a tad more interesting. The questions I ask (What can bring down a superhuman? How much force should he use? How to make an entertaining story without destroying the character’s integrity?) are intriguing jumping off points, especially the former. Superman is prime to be one of my favorite character types in that he could be an  anti-villain. It’s one of the hardest types to pull off, but I think those kinds of stories are the most interesting. Having a character doing something that is considered good, but having other characters react to it as if it were evil is the stuff magic is made of. There are some comics that follow this route, and those are the most engaging. Then as a writer, to be able to turn that back on the audience, (e.g. showing how flawed their moral codes are) would just make me giddy. It’s always your goal as a writer to offer some sort of spectacle for someone’s hard earned cash, and that is definitely one way to do it.

For those of you who write characters in a series, we’ve talked before about making your characters “evolve” throughout each volume. In essence, your main characters have to “grow” or change. Sometimes however, after a couple of entries your characters may become “too big for their britches” and a reboot (or “back to basics” or “life-altering event”) is necessary. Like the creative teams on Superman, you are going to have to decide which aspects of your characters you want to keep, and which new elements you want to introduce to keep your heroes and your stories fluid.

Just don’t forget to remove the red underwear…

As always everyone, Happy Writing.


The Comeback Kid

Everyone loves an underdog.

Coming up through the ranks and achieving the impossible is going to be a staple of books, movies, and television shows for decades to come. Why? Well, there are a lot of reasons. A lot of us average Joe’s think we are just that, average. So seeing someone “dig deep” to reach the peak of  Challenge Mountain is equally satisfying for the character and the audience.  But what about, comebacks?


You know, the promising main character is already written up as one of the best of what they do, then BAM! is sent rocketing back to earth with a giant slice of humble pie (or cake, I don’t discriminate). They now have to scratch and claw their way back up to the top (or at least to their previous level). Why is this interesting? Well, for one, it happens in fiction as well as real life. Take this guy for example:

Bro, I dropped my cell phone.. Can I use your flashlight?


Robert Downey Jr., shown here playing my favorite billionaire superhero Tony Stark/Iron Man was considered “un-insurable” in Hollywood in the ’90s when battling his personal demons. For those of you that don’t know, movie studios will not hire actors (who are essentially contract workers) who cannot be insured by bonding agencies. In short, if the film cannot be completed for any reason, the “completion bond” kicks in, defaults the film, and is designed to give the investors most  (if not all) of their money back. Bad news? There’s no FILM for one, and people in Hollywood don’t make films and seek investors to break even. Long story short, “RDJ” had to claw his way back into fold by doing smaller independent roles to prove to investors that we was stable enough to insure. This all worked out in the end, because I for one love his new “cocky, funny” persona. Movies like “Iron Man”, “Due Date” and “Sherlock Holmes” really rested on Downey’s charisma.

As opposed to “US Marshals”. Allow me to  blog about that film one day.


Anyway, this isn’t a Hollywood Gossip Blog (although I swear there isn’t one on the Internet these days) I am just illustrating a point.  Comeback kids also happen in fiction, and what better example to use than the “Italian Stallion” himself, Rocky Balboa? The original Rocky is still the best, but I have a soft spot for Rocky Balboa (aka Rocky VI). Stupid naming convention aside (Why couldn’t they just call it Rocky VI?), the story was really about a past his prime Rocky trying to prove himself after years outside of the ring because a computer simulation said he could beat another boxer who was in his own prime at the time.

What could have been a disaster if they presented Rocky as a total threat, actually became a touching story about redemption because Rocky is seen as washed up and frankly, old. For him to even get into fighting shape at he (and Stallone’s) age was remarkable. I mean look at this!:


Hey, somebody wanted a washboard? Jeez


I’m kinda/sorta/lotta jealous right there.

There is something always appealing about the comeback kid. It’s an archetype you can really play around with. Too often we play the “couldda, wouldda, shouldda” game in our lives. In fiction when writing our characters, we can give them an opportunity to actually have another shot at redemption, instead of playing that terrible game.


Happy Writing,


Human Comic Books… Pro Wrestling and The Justice League

Hey everyone, Flobo here!


I like pro wrestling. I like comic books. No, I’m not incredibly socially awkward.  (OK, that last one was a lie). Anyway, I can tell you that even though they look different on the surface, the two media are closely related and that they can BOTH help you with your writing…

Don’t believe me? Fine, but this guy loves a challenge! Take this picture for example:

If they are all here, who's protecting the Earth?

This is DC Comics’ JUSTICE LEAGUE. Without going on into full geek territory, here are their names and powers from left.


Aquaman: Ruler of Atlantis. Rocks a pretty awesome trident and empathizes with the underwater animal kingdom
Green Lantern: Has a nifty ring crafted and powered from the Emerald Light of Willpower.
Wonder Woman: Strength, flight, an awesome lasso and even better hair.
Superman: Strength, Speed, Heat Vision, Ice Breath. The superhero gold standard.
Batman: Errr. Aww, who cares?
The Flash: Super Speed, control of the “Speed Force”
Cyborg: Half man, Half Robot. All action!


The point I’m trying to make is that every particular hero has a certain set of attributes. Moreover, since they are a team their abilities differ enough from each other in that they COMPLIMENT each other, making the stories involving them that much stronger. Also, instead of beating up the villain of the week, the avenue is open for internal conflict as well. This makes the characters more relatable to your reader. Who wants to read a comic book (or in your case read a novel) about a bunch of characters who think and act the same? You laugh, but it happens a lot more than you think.


When you’re writing your characters the vocabulary, syntax and  and dialect should be unique to each individual character. For example, you know what I look like (my ugly mug is on the upper right hand corner of this blog in case you were wondering) but what if I started posting like this?


Flobo 1: Salutations lads and lasses and other pupils of the pen! Thank your more inquisitive part of your mind for venturing to my humble abode on the web!


Flobo 2: Yo, whuz gud? Dis my blog, good looks for chekkin dis out right chea.


Two completely different people. Well, what does this have to do with wrestling?

I could tell you who these are, but you wouldn't care

Like comic books, professional wrestling is made up of two camps having the heroes (or “faces”) taking on the villains (or “heels”). In ring, the performance amounts to little more than theater for the common man, but there are elements at play here that can be ascribed to any other medium with ease. You see, in an ideal situation each wrestler has their own distinct “voice”. Whether its by the moves they perform, or the words they use when given microphone time, or even their on-screen personality (in the form of gimmicks), each athlete puts their own spin on the wrestling profession and thus have different abilities then their contemporaries (like the superheroes).

Let’s play a game. Pretend you don’t know anything about wrestling. Do you think this guy:

Mark Henry...


Would have the same moves, spoken word presence, and attitude as this guy?:

CM Punk

When you are making your stories, it’s very easy to have every character to speak the same. After all, they all were born out of the same mind. It’s to your advantage however, to make each character that much different by giving them different “abilities” in the form of voice, characterizations, and actions.



As always, Happy Writings!



Batman: What My Least Favorite Superhero Has Taught Me About Writing

Hey, Flobo here!

I know you are all ready to stuff your face for the holiday season. But before you do, spend some time with little ‘ol me while I talk about inspirations and all that jazz.

I’m sure by now you know about my almost unconditional love for my favorite superhero, but let me talk to you about my LEAST FAVORITE superhero in Gotham City’s Batman.

Oh, just look at him! Pompous jerk.

Batman has one of the most vocal fan-bases in all of comics. He’s considered one of the smartest minds in the DC Universe (his comic publisher’s home) and people will discuss the time(s) ol’ Bats smacked around (and defeated) Superman  in battle ad nauseam. Not bad for the billionaire who keeps kryptonite in his utility belt.

But you see, Batman (and his mild-mannered alter-ego Bruce Wayne) doesn’t really have any super powers so the term “superhero” is a misnomer. Fans would argue he has “genius level intellect”, but that hasn’t been confirmed in the pages of the comics. (For my geeky opinion, I consider Lex Luthor, a pre-relaunch Oracle, and Mr. Terrific all smarter than the Caped Crusader but that’s another post for another time. I do peg him as the best detective, even though I have a soft spot for Elongated Man….and Detective Chimp.)

My hate for the character doesn’t end there. I’m sure you’ve heard of the origin story: When Bruce Wayne was a kid he witnessed his parents being murdered right in front of his eyes. Taking that, he vows to rid the Gotham City of crime as The Batman, a symbol of fear. There’s a lot of things wrong with this. Besides the fact the character was inspired by/taken from Zorro, and that multi-billionaire corporate big wigs have no right (or time) to be vigilantes, to this writer it seems tragic that Bruce Wayne is pining for vengeance thirty or forty years after the original horrific event. That doesn’t seem like somebody who’s healed from the traumatic stress at all, and it definitely doesn’t seem like someone who should be given free reign to “protect” a city. Many writers from the comics know this, so they try to keep putting him through the wringer so the Batman character can be justified. (Jason Todd, anyone?)

Okay, so I bashed the guy enough. What could I possibly learn from a character I personally do not care for. Well, the writing of course!


You see, there’s no denying that some of the brightest minds in comics, television, and film gave our friend Bats some of the greatest stories in modern history. Sure, if I sat you down on the corner and talked about a guy who walked around town in a overgrown Bat-suit doing  things only the police should be involved with, you would laugh at me. However, everyone “believed” in the character in the film “The Dark Knight”. The  90s “Batman: The Animated Series” cartoon was one of the greatest of all time, and I’m sure that the “Knightfall” comic book story arc would be taught as literature in some English class of the future.

What I learned most from Batman is this: Sometimes if the story is good enough, the audience would look past the inherent flaws in that character. This is not to say to create weak characters from the start, but if the audience is sympathetic to the character’s plight–well, as sympathetic an audience can be to a multi-billionaire that employs underage children to be his crime-fighting partner(s)–and if the story is strong, they will most likely ride with you. People don’t cling to the fact a man in his 30s more or less lives in solitude save for a couple of people, they grasp on the notion that a young kid decided to fight back against the blight of his neighborhood.

What if a roach crawled in his house first?

“The Dark Knight” made a BILLION dollars at the box office, and Batman is one of DC’s most popular characters overall alongside Superman and Wonder Woman so of course this is just one man’s opinion. I will say, that I learned something from my least favorite comic book hero: It isn’t the beginnings that make you a hero, as much as it is your journey.

Now if you’re asking who’s my favorite billionaire smart guy who fights crime? Iron Man. Easy.