Friday, September 14, 2007

Fair Week: Produce

Of course there's more to the fair than the pigs and sheep. The produce exhibits are another place we always try to go. Until we started gardening, I went because it brought back good memories of my grandmothers and their gardens. Now that we're growing stuff, I also like to compare what's on exhibit with our own.

Now, these would make lots of yummy salsa!




Some large melons. How large?



Seriously large!



I thought this pair of squash looked cute for some reason I can't quite explain.




What a lovely collection of gourds!


You may think that these are large pumpkins....


....but this is the largest pumpkin!



I'm not kidding!




It's just not the Kentucky Fair until you see the bluegrass:


And finally, I'll leave you with my new favorite phrase, courtesy of one of the category tags:


Missing Townes

We watched Be Here to Love Me, the documentary about the late Townes Van Zandt, one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced. (And one I can relate to a lot sometimes.) And, of course, once I get Townes in my heads, he's there for a while, so you all get to have some of him too.

This is a clip from the Austin City Limits tribute episode, which featured artists who were friends of Townes and those who had recorded his songs. This segmentt features Emmylou Harris duetting with Steve Earle and Willie Nelson on the Townes songs she made famous, If I Needed You and Pancho and Lefty. I consider Pancho to be one of the greatest songs ever recorded.

If you ever get the chance to catch this ACL in re-run on PBS, do it. It popped up here again a couple of years ago. It also features Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith, among others. I keep hoping that New West will release this one as part of the fantastic series of ACL videos they've been doing. They missed a truly fabulous opportunity by not doing it in January to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Townes' death.




If you haven't seen Be Here to Love Me yet, I highly recommend it. Here's the trailer:



Fair and Sales later!

PS to New West: You're also waaaaaay overdue to do an Emmylou Harris video release!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

True Tales of Yard Sales: Two Bucks!

There was a yard sale listed on Craigslist several Saturdays ago that included comics in the listing. The listing said it started at 8, so we made plans to start the weekly run of yard sales and errands there.

Having sold quite a bit of my own collection at our yard sales, I’ve gotten to know the other geeks in town who hit sales looking for comics. There are two or three of them for whom the mere mention of the word “comics” will just about guarantee their presence. And they tend to be the most annoying kind of yard salers—the early birds!


For those of you not up on the parlance, an “early bird” is one who shows up at a sale before the advertised start time—often while set up is still going on. They’re typically dealers of one kind or another trying to cherry pick the best stuff before anyone else gets there. Collectors tend to be early birds as well, and the specific mention of something like comics (or salt/pepper shakers or oven mitts or manhole covers) can bring them out. There are also folks who show up early just because they’re yard sale junkies and the thought that someone else might find something cool before they do drives them nuts.


Many times ads will say “No Early Birds” in an attempt to try and stem the tide, but it usually doesn’t work. What are you going to do? Shooting them isn’t legal, after all. Plus, they do have something you want, namely money, which they want to give you in exchange for your unwanted junk. So early birds usually win.


I find them so annoying at our own sales that I try not to be one whenever possible. Yes, I do want the money, but it’s hard to get everything set up and ready for the rest of the day when you’ve got people going through your boxes before you can get them unpacked. And I want to make money (and get rid of crap) all day, which means having a good set-up from the start.

Nevertheless, when there’s comics involved, I bend my own rules just a bit. Technically, I won’t early bird, but I will try to get there right at the advertised opening time.
Like Isaid before, it’s been a surprising year for comics at sales. This one was like the third or fourth listing that specifically mentioned having comics, and I’ve come across small lots of them at a few other sales. Granted, my collecting net is drawn so tightly these days that the chances of finding something that falls in my target range* is pretty slim, especially at an affordable price.

Still, the thrill of the hunt
is part of the game, and I cannot resist the call, so at 8:00 we were sitting in front of the house looking at a bunch of empty tables. That’s empty as in “not set up,” as opposed to “all sold out.” Not only that, there was no one in sight, and no sign of life, motion, or activity inside the house. In other words, a clear violation of Prime Yard Sale Rule #1: BE READY AT YOUR ADVERTISED START TIME!! You’re totally set up for failure if you don’t. Even the most diehard “gotta buy someone else’s junk cheap” yard sale junkie is not going to wait for you to haul your ass out of bed and start dragging stuff out. I know I certainly won’t!


On the upside, if the comic book geek-hawks had been there before me, they would have seen the same empty tables and gone on. We decided to hit a couple of other sales in the area and then come back. Which we did about an hour and a half later to find Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High slowly hauling stuff out of the house and stacking it on the tables. Suddenly, it all made sense—the Craigslist ad, the late start, everything.



At this point, it’s well after the announced start time. Stuff is still in boxes. There are no comics in sight. Honestly, I started to feel a bit sorry for Spicoli. He’s not going to unload much stuff or make much cash at this rate. Still, he’s friendly enough, so we ask him about the comics. He vanishes into the house for several minutes, during which another couple comes up and starts looking at stuff. They even ask me how much stuff costs, like it’s our sale.


Now, I’m not holding much hope for the comics. The signs are all pointing to a box full of stuff I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, but since we did ask and he did go to get them we hang around until he gets back. Eventually, he comes out of the house with a long box and plops it down on the table. I take a look inside and confirm my worst fears. It’s half full of mid-to-late 90’s X-men related titles. Sigh!


In the meantime the guy that came up while we were waiting asks Spicoli how much the videos are. “
Two bucks!” is the answer. I decide to at least be polite and thumb through the box before leaving. While I’m looking, this conversation takes place: Other customer: “Will you take fifty cents** for this CD rack?” Spicoli: “I was kinda hoping to get two bucks for it!”

Well, much to my surprise, I find these in the back of the box:




That’s a few Simpsons comics, a Simpsons trade, along with an oddly incongruous pair of Silver Age comics: an issue of Mandrake the Magician and Strange Adventures 197.


Now, I’ll read the Simpsons stuff every so often, but it’s not anything I’m wild about. I got them mainly because I really didn’t want to leave empty-handed after all the wait. I figured they’d be fun reads and then I could dump ‘em at Half-Price Books and sell the trade to my LCS. The other two were right up my alley, but I was a little afraid Spicoli might be asking more for them than I wanted to pay. Nothing like a beat-up old comic to give someone visions of impending wealth, after all.***

Still nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I hand him my small stack and asked what he wants for them. He looked through them and said “How about
two bucks?” So I hand him two ones, thank him, and Keith and I turn to leave. As we are walking off, we hear the following exchange with the other customer:

Customer: “How much is this?”

Spicoli: “
Two bucks!

We get in the car, and Keith says, “Well, we know how much his favorite brand of beer costs.”


It was kind of like wandering into that Subway commercial where everything at the yard sale is $2.69 (including the cat) because that’s what the daily special at Subway costs. (I tried to find a video clip of it, but no luck.)


*Eddie’s target range=weird, wonderful, obscure, or somewhat esoteric. There’s a post in that description that’s dying to be written. Now isn’t the time, though.


**Yes, he really offered fifty cents for a nice tall CD rack that would hold at least 200 discs. Cheap bastard!

***A phenomenon that’s way too common at yard sales and thrift stores, unfortunately.

Fair Week: Piggies!


Pigs napping.


BIG pig napping.


BIG pig privates!


Poop! (Remind me not to wear sandals to the animal barn again!)

And now, here's to your health! (All these years I've been going to the fair,
this is the first time I've ever seen a sign like this.)

Must have.....

Cannot believe this slipped under my radar:



But this drops on the 18th and there ain't no way I'm missing it:


Info and some song samples available here.

This has been your Americana-booster moment for today. I'm running late, so the Fair Week posting will be going up tonight along with the Yard ale Week posting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

True Tales of Yard Sales: I Don't Give a Damn!

A Drama in One Act

Scenario:
Our intrepid heroes, Eddie and Keith, are driving through their neighborhood one Saturday morning en route to yet another yard sale. As usual they are engrossed in conversation.

E: I wonder why there aren’t that many yard sales in our neighborhood?

K: Would we go if there were?

E:
Of course! Got to support the local folks, you know.


Suddenly, they come upon a sale not too far from their house.


K:
Should we stop?

E:
Do you want to?

K:
It’s up to you.

E:
Got to support the local folks, you know.


The yard is empty, except for tables full of stuff for sale. No one else is in sight. No home owner. No yard sale proprietor. No one.


Suddenly, from within the house, a very loud, very enraged voice booms out:
“You can’t fucking hit someone with that! What the fuck is wrong with you?"

This is followed by an equally loud, equally enraged voice:
“I don’t give a damn! I’ll do it if I fucking want to!”

A dialogue of sorts ensues.


VLVE Voice:
I’ve got customers out there.

ELEE Voice: I don’t give a damn!

VLVE:
You need to act right!!

ELEE: I’ll do whatever I fucking feel like.

At this point, a small woman comes out on the porch and says:
“If you have any questions, just let me know.”

She is apparently oblivious to the fact that our leading men are standing there with their mouths hanging open in astonishment. She goes back in the house and the drama continues:


VLVE (who is in actuality the small woman):
I said you can’t fucking do that.

ELEE:
I don’t give a damn! I’ll do what I fucking want!


This goes back and forth a few more times, then the small woman comes back out on the porch and says:
“You have to excuse her. She’s young and kind of messed up. You know.”

She’s still oblivious to the fact that our heroes have expressions on their faces akin to those people have upon landing on other planets. She goes back in, and the fun ensues once more.


VLVE:
I said I’ve got customers out there, dammit! Keep your goddam voice down! (Said without a change from the previous volume and completely without any sense of irony whatsoever.)

ELEE:
I don’t give a damn! You can’t fucking tell me what to do!


Eddie (grabbing Keith by the arm):
Let’s go before they get the guns out!

K:
I want to see how much this is.

E:
It’s broken. It’s ugly. It’s dirty. You don’t want it. We don't need it. I’ll buy you a new one. Come on, now, before they start shooting!

K: What about supporting the local folks?

E: I didn't mean the crazy local folks!


K (as they drive off): Well, now we know why there aren’t more sales in our ‘hood!

CURTAIN

Fair Week: Caped Crusader!

I'm Baaaaaaaa-tman!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And Now....Yard Sale Week!

It’s been a fun summer for yard sales. It usually is, but what makes this one different is three things: camping stuff, comics, and practical yard stuff.

The camping stuff is probably the wildest of the three. Earlier this summer, Keith decided he wanted to start camping on a semi-regular basis. Within a month, he’d set himself up with three tents* of varying sizes, an air mattress, two sleeping bags and a ton of various outdoor cooking and other camping implements. All purchased at yard sales. All in excellent condition. And all for less than a hundred bucks total.

In terms of comics, it’s been a plentiful summer for sure. There have been more yard sale listings than I can ever remember that mention comics, plus a whole lot of sales that I’ve wandered upon with a small stack of comics on the table or a couple of gn’s for a couple of bucks. Not that everyone of these sales had something I wanted, but it’s fun to see. When I was a kid, I used to see and buy comics at yard sales all the time. It’s kind of a nostalgic kick to see so many of them this year.

The selection has ranged from the older couple with two boxes of old DC 80 page giants graded and priced accordingly to the dudes—yes, there have been more than one—with a long box stuffed with dozens of copies of one 90’s “hot” book or another. The saddest one was the dude with a long box full of Adventures of Superman 500’s still in the polybags. Judging by the sign on the box, he’d started out trying to unload them for a buck a throw. By the time we got there, he’d given up on that, tried 50 cents each, given up on that, and was down to a quarter a piece. And the box was still totally full. It was kind of sad. Not only were the things not going to put the kids through college, they're not even going to leave the garage!

My take has been some manga, a few gn’s, and a great stash of old Treasure Chests, plus a few single issues here and there. It’s not the proverbial stash of golden age DC’s some little old lady found in her attic, but it’s been enough to keep things fun and interesting. I've got a couple of stories about a couple of these finds I'll be sharing this week.

Practical yard stuff actually brings a utilitarian bent to the whole yard saling endeavor--something we can actually use around the house. In other words, it helps us justify checking out people's old junk every weekend. I've picked up some nice planters, a plant stand, a wooden chest I'm using as a mini potter's shed, and a half barrel planter, for about twenty bucks total.

Gotta love the yard sales, folks!

*Tent usage varies based on the campgrounds he’s going to, who’s going with him and how much hiking he might do.

It's Fair Week and It's All About the Animals!

Our first stop at the Fair is always the Animal Barn. Since we didn't get to go until the last weekend this year, most of the animals were gone or leaving. Still, I did get a few shots.

I took these two for Bully:






And then, it was on to the sheep:


Sheep snuggling.

Sheep snacking.

Sheep on parade.

Sheep incognito.

But why is there such anti-sheep discrimination in this world??

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Plethora of Miscellanea! (Some Happy, Some Sad)

Yesterday was National Pet Memorial Day. In honor of that, I present to you Basil (who died two years ago this month) doing one of the things she did best, namely sleeping:



And Brianna, whom we lost five years ago in July:

They're still very much missed!



I added a buncha stuff to my sidebar the other day.

In the Why Didn’t I Do This Sooner? Department, I added The ISB to the comics section, along with Batfatty, and When Fangirls Attack!

In the They’re Both Such Nice Guys That It’s Not Surprising That They Know Each Other Department, I added Joe Fludd’s new Quantum Blog, which I learned about from the inestimable Roger Green. It’s always kind of wild to find out folks that I know online know each other. If you are at all interested in the Fantastic Four, you have to check out Joe’s blog. I know for a fact that he has been officially named the world’s greatest fan of the world’s greatest super-team!

And finally, in the Dorian Wright Is My Hero! Department, I added a link to Mr. Wright’s newest project, Comics Gays.

And since there’s more to life than comics, I created a section for yard saling and thrifting links, then proceeded to add Yard Sale Bloodbath and Yard Sale Queen.

I’ve got some music links and local links to add, but I ran out of time the other day. Maybe I’ll get to that this week.








A great big hunk of slightly belated thanks to Greg Burgas! In response to a comment I left at his blog a while ago about the band The Horse Flies, he sent me a copy of their Gravity Dance CD! Many thanks, Greg, for the unexpected musical treat!



Musical news that makes me really sad: Kentucky fave ZoĆ« Speaks has called it quits (although they will be releasing one last CD) and Nickel Creek is taking an indefinite hiatus. The saddest part of all this sad news? I just found out about it! Not only am I bummed about the music, I’m also way out of touch!



We performed a cat rescue this weekend for Zeppelin, who had taken up residence in our front yard for the last several weeks. He’s an indoor cat who had been abandoned after his owner was evicted. The new residents of his old house fed him from time to time but wouldn’t let him in and he never quite understood why. We started regularly leaving out food and water for him, so he moved into our yard.

He’s just a total sweetheart and obviously needed to be someone’s indoor cat. (For, one thing he’d been declawed.) The stress of being outdoors was starting to tell on him, especially in the heat we’ve had this summer.

As worried as we were about him, we just could not take another one in. Three is the most we can handle, and I think Bennie would have gone on strike if had we introduced another boy into the house! She just wants to live out her old age in peace.

So our good friend Sharron got an unexpected furry birthday gift. Now, we didn’t just dump him on her. We felt her out on the subject of a new cat and invited her over to meet him. We figured she’d fall in love with him, and we were right. (I told you he was a sweetheart.) I picked up food and water dishes at a yard sale to top the deal off. She says he’s made himself right at home in her place. Like I said, he badly needed and wanted to be indoors.



Musical news that makes me happy: Hoots and Hellmouth will be here in a few weeks! Also, the new Linda Thompson CD, Versatile Heart is really good. She effortlessly shifts from traditional folk tunes to honky tonk weepers to sensitive singer-songwriter stuff, all in her incredibly expressive voice. It’s just a tad on the depressing side, though, but that suits me just fine these days.








I’m going to try and expand my blogging horizons this week by doing my first ever theme week. In fact, I’ll actually be doing two theme weeks at the same time. The morning posts will be dedicated to one of my favorite summer past-times, The Fair! The good old Kentucky State Fair just wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve finally finished sorting through my pics enough to have some ready to post.

Then, in the evenings, I’ll be adding some posts about another of my favorite summer (and spring and fall) past-times: Yard Sales! It’s been a really fun year for buying other people’s junk, including lots of comics and comics related stuff.

Stay tuned for all the fun!