Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eddie's Attic: The Early Days



Welcome to my new world!

I look at that pic now, and my first thought is "God, I'm fat!" But after that, I think of how much the booth has already changed. That photo was just a week ago, and since then, I've moved in a table and chair, a media rack and some more shelves, not too mention a lot more merchandise!

One of the things I've learned is that it takes a lot of stuff to keep the place running, especially at the pace things keep flying off the shelves. Not to brag or anything, but, in the week since I put stock out, I've already made most of the booth rent for next month. If things keep up at this pace, I will have the rent for next month by the end of the month.

Given that the thought in the beginning was that we wouldn't make the August rent in July because we didn't start until the middle of the month, that's pretty exciting. I had anticipated eventually being able to cover the rent with sales, but I thought it would take a couple of months.

Not to say, I'm turning a profit or on the verge of supporting myself, mind you. If you factored in my time, even at minimum wage, I'm bleeding money. But I didn't go into this to get rich, just as a hobby of sorts. If the booth can support itself by covering the rent, plus give me a little extra for new merch, then I'm happy.

Plus, it's kind of cool to see what sells, analyze sales, and plan based on that.

Anyway, here's a few pics of the early days for your viewing pleasure, if you like looking at fat guys stocking booths, that is.



It takes a lot of sorting to get it all just right.



Proper posture for applying price tags requires keeping both arms absolutely rigid!



I know it doesn't look like much here, but remember this was just the beginning. When I get the chance I'm going to do a video tour of the booth as it is now.



This guy sold right off the bat! Note to self: more Mickeys!



This was my favorite items from my first set of stock! I was actually working in the booth when the guy who bought it picked it up. He got the biggest kick out of it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some Emmylou...Just for you! (and me!)

Someone on the Emmylou mailing list shared this, and I simply can't resist sharing:



It's the poster from the Emmylou and the Nash Ramblers show at the Ryman, way back when. This is a legendary show and the live recording is one of my favorite Emmylou albums. Their version of "Get Up John" alone is more than worth the price of admission. Simply blows my mind every time.

Also, as is the case with shows at the Ryman, the print was done by the legendary Hatch Show Prints. We have two of their prints, from shows we got to see at the Ryman, hanging in our living room. Here's a gallery of their amazing work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stayed Up a Bit Too Late

Working on stuff for the booth and a few other projects and lost track of time. Got to get to bed like right now!

This should help:



Such an interesting group of performers there, but it's obvious who the star of the show is. :-)

See you tomorrow. Trying to post all week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's just call it "Eddie's Folly"

In which your Eddie-tor decides to become a junk peddler.

It's no secret that I like to shop. You don't become a collector of anything without at least a tiny bit of longing for the thrill of the hunt. Of course, I've taken it several steps farther than that. Basically, as long as it's not groceries, I love a good shopping trip.

It's not that I'm necessarily super-materialistic, per se. I don't make a ton of money, and I'm not into having tons of stuff, or the latest and greatest of everything, but I've always liked to see what's out there. And if I find something cool that I can afford, so much the better.

Still, I do try not to be wasteful. I'll hang on to stuff until it literally falls apart. For that reason, I've always been big into second hand retail--thrifts, yard sales, etc. In fact, my birthday celebration each year is a mad orgy of thrifting, as we hit every store in town that sells second-hand.

A few years ago, a friend of ours expanded her eBay business into one of the local second-hand shops. She's been coasting through, making a pretty good go at it. She tried to talk me into taking the plunge a while back, noting that I'm running out of space in the house for stuff. We explored the idea, but let it fall by the wayside.

Until a couple of weeks ago, that is. One of the Peddler's Malls in Louisville moved to a new location this month. I went out there over the 4th of July weekend and saw that they had a ton of booth space available. After talking it over with Keith for a while, I took out a contract for a booth yesterday.

I know it's not going to be easy. Our friend works at hers every weekend and evening--going to auctions, attending yard sales, etc. I'm not looking to make a living at it, though. I'm just hoping for a past time that kind of pays for itself.
And, if I clear out some of my excess, so much the better. I'm hoping to bring the kind of focus to a couple of my collections that I brought to my comics when I sold off 3/4 of the lot a couple of years ago. (Best yard sale we ever had!)

Yesterday, we did the first round of yard sale hunting as junk dealers. It was kind of fun being able to buy interesting stuff I would have always thought was kind of cool, but nover bought because I didn't have a use or space for it.

My goal is to kind of deal in quantity. I want to keep the prices low as I can and sell a variety of interesting stuff. You can still find some great bargains at yard sales, and occasionally from other dealers as well. I'm hoping it's a pricing strategy that will work in a down economy for someone dealing in definite non-essentials.

I've been pulling my first batch of inventory together tonight. Tomorrow night, I'm going over to set up. It's going to be a lot of work, but I hope it will keep my mind off a lot of the unsavory things happening around me lately.

So, if you're in the area, drop by Eddie's Attic (Keith came up with the name): Booth 62 in the Shively Center Peddler's Mall on Dixie Highway.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Why I'll Never Drink Evian....

I'm sorry, but these hairless, toothless wheeled mutant beings creep me the hell out!



Gack!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Monday Morning Folk Music: One Woman with a Shovel!

I've written before about folk powerhouse Carrie Newcomer and the comfort I get from her music. This song is one that I find to be particularly empowering. It seems these days, I need reminders about the virtues of standing up for yourself and what's right, especially against impossible odds. I find myself playing this little clip a lot and humming the chorus to myself throughout the day. Sometimes it's the only way to cope in a place where the nationally recognized get fired, those with knowledge and experience get shafted, and the unqualified get repeatedly promoted.

Check out her guitar when you watch this. I don't think I've ever seen anyone use three capos before!



The video comes from the Wilderness Plots documentary about the album of the same name that Newcomer and a bunch of other Indiana folkies did, using stories from a book about the settlement of the midwest (with yet again the same titles) as their inspiration and starting point.

The documentary was airing on PBS through the spring. It's worth catching if it comes back around.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Thoughts on the new Days promo



I really love the new promo for Days of Our Lives, but it's also a little frustrating to watch. The things that make it a successful clip are the very things that the show could use a lot more of. If the marketing folks can get it, why can't the writing and production teams?

The show on display in this promo is one I would love to watch every day. The one I watch every day is nothing like it. If I were not watching Days, but decided to check it out based on this clip, I'd end up confused and a little disappointed.

First off, it's fun! The show has been so dark and dismal lately, what with babies dying and being stolen and people being kidnapped or poisoned and whatnot. It's just plain nice to see everyone smiling and laughing. It would be nice if that would actually happen on the show, just a little. After all, the clip does promise a "summer of fun!"

Next, the focus is on family and romance, the two key ingredients of any good soap, something Days has a hard time remembering at times. Not that the show is devoid of them, but we just don't get enough of the kind of light-hearted romantic sweetness that's on display here. People taking pleasure in simply being with each other comes from the characters themselves, not the plots. Too much on the actual show is plot-driven right now.

The clip is just full of all kinds of awesome little character bits that would enhance the show so much right now, simply by providing some counterweight to the plot-driven nature of the show. These little moments tell us so much about the characters and who they are that we don't get when we're watching them muddle through plot-decree number thirty-seven.

Simple stuff like this is what I'm talking about:


    Maggie standing arm in arm with Nathan and Lucas
    Brady stopping the swing by putting his arms around Arianna's waist
    That little look between Nicole and Stefano at the end
    Sami and Roman hugging at the table
    Bo and Hope on the little bridge
    Hell, even the little bit with Kate tossing the apple and catching it is a delightful summation of her character these days, and I loathe that whole story!


Instead, on the show, we get stuff like:


    Maggie lying to Lucas about his accident
    EJ the eternally angry emotionally abusing Nicole the eternally needy
    Bo the psychic and his stupid visions
    Kate trying to kill Chloe
    Phillip making Stephanie lie about her kidnapping, a time when she was held captive in a drawer in a morgue, for god's sake!
    Stephanie abusing pills to try and forget all of the above*
    Rafe threatening to leave Sami three days after their baby dies because he's trying to keep some dumb secret about a dead woman we don't know or care about


My favorite thing about the whole clip is that every character is featured, except possibly for the babies (and Alice), which I totally love. Due to the economics of the business of daytime, the whole cast never appears in one episode any more. Of course, when you look at the whole group in one place, it's a little shocking how small the cast is these days. I mean, they're all gathered around two or three picnic tables! It's also a little troubling to be reminded how infrequently Roman and the Carvers appear these days.

Still, despite my mixed feelings, there are some aspects of this promo that are completely positive, with no downside. For one, the damn thing exists! NBC has spent the last ten years or so tearing their soap stable apart show by show, until the shadow that calls itself Days of Our Lives is all that's left. It's completely uncharacteristic of their attitude toward daytime that they went to the expense of shooting a special Days promo like this. You simply have to see it as a positive sign and hope for a few more.

Not only did they go to the expense of shooting the promo, but they went the extra mile with it and did it as a location shoot, adding a lush, realistic feel to the clip. That's the kind of luxury soaps never get these days. I can't remember the last time the show did an outdoor shoot. Maybe the promo is a sign we'll get some location shoots on the show soon as well. That would be nice.

You can't fault the network for making a super clip, that's for sure. I just want to see some of the things that make the promo so special happen to the show as well. Time will tell if that happens.

*Not that I blame her. I'm taking drugs to try and forget the whole stupid story myself.

Elementary, old chum!

Or maybe not?



I think the Boy Wonder's been neglecting his homework while on those late night anti-crime patrols.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Fave YouTube of the Moment

In Honor of Comic Convention Season!

I haven't been to a comic convention in ages. The last one I made was APE in San Francisco the year my father died. In fact, I was there when he went into the hospital. Maybe it's about time to start thinking about that again. If I just knew for sure what was going to happen with my employment situation, the planning would be a little easier. Maybe next year? APE, MoCCA or SPX? Maybe WonderCon or Heroes World? Or NYCC? Hmmmm....

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Stop It!

Went to a training for work the other week and the trainer used this video in his presentation. Don't know that I got much else out of the training, but this kind of made it worth it. I still laugh every time I see it. Bob Newhart has never not been totally awesome, you know?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Believe it or not, kids!

Believe it or not, there was a time when you couldn't just sit down with a hankering to see something on video like, say, Steve Earle's son doing an acoustic cover of an old Replacements song and just call it up with a few keystrokes.

Thankfully, those days are over....

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Gaggle of Go-Gos!

Still trying to artificially pump up my mood using old cheesy pop songs. Still not working, but I think it at least keeps me from making drastic decisions that have consequences I'm not prepared for.

And any excuse to dig up more Go-Gos vids can't be all bad. Right?









Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Betty's Diner



Carrie Newcomer's music is like comfort music for me. It makes me feel better all the way down to the bottom of my soul. (God, that sounded hokey.) I watched the PBS documentary on the Wilderness Plots project last night and now she's been on my mind all day. Just wanted to share that. Sometimes we all need to find our own Betty's Diner.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I know I'm not perfect, but God knows I try.



I'm pretty sure I'm an alright guy too, Todd. So I can't understand why everything sucks right now. Oh well.

BONUS: Here's the original music vid for the song from way back when, before Todd started twiddling with the lyrics. How young he looks!

Monday, March 23, 2009

This one's got some nerd appeal!

Some chick from some sci fi show is in it.



Old 97's "Dance with Me" from last year's excellent CD Blame it on Gravity

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just in the mood for Rhett Miller

This was one of my fave CD's a few years ago.



"Our Love"

Let this be a warning. The likelihood of a bunch of really depressing music vids being posted over the next few days is pretty high. If you haven't figured it out from my recent tweets, I'm in a pretty rough patch and it's not likely to get better any time soon. (Keith and I are fine, though. It's other stuff.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crappy Day Antidote

It's been a crappy, crappy day. Crappy. Crappy. Just outright, totally, fundamentally, completely CRAPPY!

Did I mention it was crappy? Well, it was.

So, I need something to counteract all the crappiness. Yes I do. And right now, I can think of nothing better than...

BELINDA CARLISLE VIDEOS!














Ahhhh....Belinda singing ABBA! Life is good again!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We Have Days Yet to Live

So, if Days of Our Lives is through with cast-cutting and ready to move into the future, where does it go from here? Well, let's see what's left to work with first. At their core, good soaps are about families, so what's the score on that front these days?

HORTONS--Salem's premiere family has fallen on hard times of late. There simply aren't that many left. And those who are left make infrequent appearances.

Alice (rarely appears)
Maggie
Mickey (rarely appears)
Doug and Julie (still pop up from time to time)
Lucas
Will (Just returned)
Allie (baby)

BRADYS--In somewhat better shape. At least most of them appear on a regular basis.

Caroline
Max
Bo and Hope
Sami
Stephanie
Chelsea (soon to be leaving)
Ciara (baby)
Roman (rarely appears)
Grace (baby)

KIRIAKIS

Phillip
Victor
Brady

DIMERAS

Stefano
Tony (soon to be leaving)
Anna (I guess leaving too)
EJ
Nicole (if the wedding happens)
Johnny (baby)
Sidney (baby)

CARVERS


Lexie
Abe
Theo

FREE FLOATERS

Daniel
Chloe
Melanie
Kate
Mia (will undoubtedly be gone once the baby story wraps up)
Dr Baker (ditto)
Rafe

By the way, my divisions are totally arbitrary in some cases (such as placing Kate's sons in groupings with their father's families instead of with her). Others would probably do it differently. That's totally cool.

So, if that's the lay of the land, then what's to be done? Here's what I think.

There's still some deadwood. I think the trimming stopped a little bit early. A couple more judicious cuts could be made without affecting story too terribly. If they're not going to write for Roman, for example, they should cut Josh Taylor loose. And, honestly, would anyone really miss that whiny Melanie? For the most part, I think I could do without Dr Daniel as well, even though I'm nuts about Shawn Christian.

The veterans that are left should be played as frequently as possible, in meaty story. It's so delicious to see Victor and Stefano leading their families against each other these days! We need more of this, please. But Maggie (with or without Mickey) and Caroline need stories! I've loved Maggie the meddler throwing herself in the middle of the Daniel-Chloe-Lucas situation. Those recent scenes with Lucas in the bar, were a good reminder of what a powerhouse actress Suzanne Rogers is. More of her please.

Using the vets more often won't completely make up for the loss of John and Marlena, but it would help.

Salem needs more Hortons!
They are the show's first family and their simply too thinned out. Aging Will and bringing him back from Switzerland was a good start. Bringing back Abby would also fill a gap in the younger crowd that's going to be created when Rachel Melvin leaves the show and Chelsea Brady is no more.

I know the Jeremy Horton thing a while back was a bust, but maybe it's time to try again. I like the idea of a Horton who isn't quite so goody-goody all the time. I think that, in a good story, the character could work. Especially if his return was followed by the return of his father Mike. Salem Hospital should always have a Horton working there.

Speaking of returns, what about bringing Bill Horton back from Africa, or wherever that clinic is located? Get some known name to recast the role on a short-term contract of 6-8 months and bring the character back home with a tropical disease to die. That would give the regulars on the canvas some meaty stuff to play, while keeping the character around long enough for viewers to both get used to him and care that he's dying. Plus, it might springboard some other short-term returns. And it would give Lucas a chance to have some interaction with his father.

A few more Bradys wouldn't hurt either. Bring Eric back. Sami shouldn't be left without any of her siblings, especially since her mother is gone. (By the way, now that Sami's back in Salem, I really want to see her grappling with not having her mom around, please.) Recast Shawn and get Martha Madison back as Belle. This would fill out the age gap between Bo and Hope and Ciara, return a favorite couple to the scene and bring back one of the best young actresses the show ever had.

The show's greatest strength is its couples.
Days is known for creating legendary couples, probably moreso than any other show. Bo and Hope. Marlena and John (and before that Marlena and Roman). Doug and Julie. Mickey and Maggie. Shawn and Belle. These are couples that, no matter what happened, the viewer, and everyone else, always knew where their heart lay.

The show needs to get back to this concept. Stop splitting up Bo and Hope for stupid shit. This is a couple that should be facing all their obstacles together.
Not only has the show stopped creating couples like this, they've been actively torpedoing some of the couples that should and could be of that caliber. Why are Lucas and Sami not together? Why are Brady and Chloe not together?

As far as creating couples go, please, please, please, find someone for Max who is not his niece! I'm sorry, but adopted Brady or not, that's creepy! Darin Brooks is a cutie pie, a strong actor, and needs to be part of a fantastic coupling. Otherwise, I guess he'll be paired with Sami next!

It's time for Salem to become a little less hetero.
Both As the World Turns and All My Children have done a good job of integrating gay characters into their core families. I'm thinking an Eric Brady-Jeremy Horton coupling would put the perfect gay spin on the classic Brady-Horton romance. In addition to fleshing out two characters that are relatively blank canvases at this point, it would also add story possibilities to their suggested returns.

Don't forget the connective tissue!
It's the friendships and family ties that make soaps work. In between all the couplings and drama and big story, we have to see these little bits that remind us how the different characters are connected to each other. Please don't "island" characters in story so that they only interact with the same characters day in and day out. I know it's a cheaper approach, but the show is better when we see Stephanie having a heart to heart with her grandmother Caroline or Aunt Maggie getting involved with Lucas or Hope.

This also means that absences have consequences.
Sami and Marlena were close. Marlena's departure leaves Sami with no immediate family in Salem, except for Roman. I want to see this worked into Sami's story so badly. She needs to miss her mother and commiserate with her father over it. Bo and Hope need to invite their niece over for dinner, so she won't be so lonely. I'd love to see Brady and Sami talking about missing their parents for a couple of scenes. There are all kinds of possibilities here. Hey, it would give Roman something to do!

Give Kate a life. Or at least a love life. I love the way she's playing Chloe right now. It's much more subtle than she's been in the past. But, now that her cancer scare is over, I'd really hate for her to go back to doing nothing but meddling in her kids' lives again.

There's a lot of real talent on the show now.
With the departures of Drake Hogestyn and Stephen Nichols, Days has lost two members of the macho bluster-snort-glare school of male soap lead acting, which is a good thing. With Josh Taylor's Roman currently without a storyline, that leaves Peter Reckell as the only b-s-g actor with lots of screen time, which is a lot easier to tolerate. For once, the show is populated with a lot of folks who are both good-looking and decent actors, with only one or two exceptions. This, of course, is a very good thing.

NEXT: Are there really Days without Marlena?

Monday, March 09, 2009

So how did I do?

Well, the results are in, and, as I feared, this was my worst time ever for the 5K. Still, I've let myself go so much over the last year that it's kind of surprising I could even finish at all this time. I've managed to drop a few pounds over the past several weeks. Not much, but it was enough to enable me to do the walk without being uncomfortable, over-tired, or overly winded. Still, I'm nowhere near where I should be or even where I used to be, in terms of physical shape.



Still, this is one of my best overall rankings. Typically, I end up in the bottom 500 or so participants. I can consistently walk a 15-16 minute mile when I push myself, which is a pretty good clip, but when 75% of the participants are runners, well, there's no way I'll ever be in the top 50% of the finishers. So, I'm pretty tickled to move up about 300 in the overall rankings.

My ranking among men is pretty much what it usually is, as is my ranking in my age range. I'm always on the tail-end of both groups. Whatever my reasons for doing this, it's certainly not to be the leader of the pack!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Some thoughts on the 2009 Anthem 5K

I've been doing this for several years now, and it's just dawned on me that I have no idea why. Initially, I started walking the Triple Crown races as a fitness thing, but I don't think that's really the reason any more. I never seriously train.* I only participate in these races, plus the Derby Festival Mini-Marathon, never any of the others that go on throughout the year. My times never improve. I'm still just barely dragging my ass across the finish at the longer races. And I'm still fat. So fitness as a motivator is just right out.

The races do raise money for a worthy local charity, which is nice. But surely it's a lot easier just to write a check than to shell out 35 bucks, get up at the crack of dawn, wander aimlessly through the streets of Louisville, sweat profusely, and spend the next day nursing aches and blisters? Surely.

So, for the moment, I'm leaning towards a combination of Spring fever, temporary insanity, and possession by evil spirits to explain my behavior, but while I ponder this mystery some more, here are some thoughts on this year's Anthem 5K, the first leg of the Triple Crown of Running.

The race started 30 minutes earlier this year, and I was almost late. I got there with no time to stretch or warm up, which explains today's extremely achey calf muscles.

I rode the back up bike downtown to the starting line. It's not that far from our house, and the combination of closed streets for the race, plus limited parking downtown, makes the bike a good choice. My bike has a flat, hence the back up bike, which, I discovered en route, has no rear brakes.

The race had a new route this year, which was both good and bad. I loved walking through one of the older neighborhoods down by the river, but one of the things that keeps me moving for the last half of any of the races is knowing what's coming up. When I'm getting tired and running out of steam, knowing where the mile markers are and which streets we'll be taking helps motivate me. I can only make it through the last three miles of the mini by counting off the streets in my head.

There was a woman at the starting line waving what looked like a plastic version of Thor's hammer. I'm still pondering that one.

One of the discouraging things about being a walker in the 5K race is the realization that by the time you reach the first mile marker, the fastest runners are crossing the line.

I had on of my worst times this year: 51 minutes. Usually, I'm at least 5-6 minutes faster than that.

But I did cross the finish line in time to get a couple of Cinnamon Crunch bagels from the Panera booth. Sometimes they run out of them before the walkers show up.

The walkers were sequestered up an alley this year, in order to allow all the runners to start before we did. Thanks to this arrangement, it was eight minutes after the start of the race before I crossed the starting line. and despite this arrangement, there were still runners trying to bulldoze their way through the walkers. (And complaining because we were in front of them.)**

It's beyond me why the rules say no strollers allowed, but the race marshalls never say anything to the folks who bring them. Last year, I was almost run down by a woman running with her racing stroller in front of her.

It was a gorgeous day for the race. Sunny and warm, it felt like the long winter has ended at last.

When I crossed the finish line, the DJ was playing (and I'm not making this up) "It's Raining Men!" Fitting.

I certainly enjoyed participating again this year. I just wish I knew why I did it.

Next race: Rodes City Run (10 K) in a couple of weeks.

*Well, I did join a training group last year, to somewhat less than satisfactory results.

**I get tired of the complaints about walkers I hear. I pay the same fee as those guys do to be there. I try to start as far back in the crowd as I can. But there's always somebody back there trying to push through. I'm not sure what else one can do.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

These Are the Days of Our Lives

I pulled the latest Soap Opera Digest out of the mailbox last week to find the news that Days of Our Lives has let another popular veteran couple go. This time it's Steve and Kayla, played by Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans. Adding insult to injury, instead of a send-off into the sunset of happy soap-couple land, the characters are going to simply stop appearing. In fact, their last scenes have already aired.

I can only imagine the outrage on the soap internet over this. (I have to imagine it, as going to soap sites and boards scares me even more than going to the comics internet. Some of those people are looney!) But as far as I'm concerned, it's not a bad move.

Most soaps have spent the last couple of years bringing back favorite characters from the past in desperate attempts to boost ratings. It's a problematic approach. For one thing, it's not cheap, and most shows are pretty cash-strapped these days. For another, once you bring someone back, you need to write for them and use them. Unfortunately, most shows only have the idea for the initial story to bring the characters back (and usually it's a 'big event' kind of thing), but very little idea how to fit them into the existing canvas afterward, resulting in very expensive supporting characters and fans who feel like they've been deceived by the promise of old characters who rarely appear.

As far as I'm concerned, bringing back Steve and Kayla a couple of years ago was an ill-advised move made during James Reilly's last disastrous turn as head writer. As the ratings continued to plummet, the show started going crazy bringing back old faves, only to sideline them in some of the lamest stories, doing nothing but rehashing things they did on their original runs.

Look! Frankie Brady's back! What's he doing? Well, he's kind of trapped in a really dumb story that's trying to recreate his teenage love story with Jennifer Horton! Oh, and there's Carrie and Austin! Doing what? Recreating their endless romantic rivalry with Lucas and Sami. Yay! Just what we wanted to see! And so on and so forth.

Even though Steve and Kayla's recent run was mostly handled by other writers, thus avoiding the Reilley re-run run around, it pretty quickly became obvious that no one knew what to do with them. Once Steve the mind-controlled killer suddenly became Steve the loving husband again, there went their story. Everything else fell way flat. Kayla preggers? Please! At her age? Ava, the mobster moll from Steve's amnesiac past? Yeesh!

Where they seemed to work best was as supporting characters--parents to Stephanie, siblings and friends to Bo and Hope. I do think the show will be poorer for cutting out yet another bit of connective tissue that binds the families together, but these are characters with too much history and too much potential to be reduced to that role alone. It's better that Days cut its losses and move on.

According to SOD, Executive Producer Ted Corday has said that the cast-cutting is over. The show is now in its lean, mean fighting shape for its fight for survival on NBC. I'm not sure that Days really has a fighting chance here. NBC over the past decade or so has demonstrated that it is more than willing to give soaps the ax, even shows with 40+ year histories like Days. And fan confidence in the show is pretty low right now, largely due to the firings of Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn. For too many people, John and Marlena are Days of Our Lives, and those people are pretty pissed off right now. All in all, it's going to be an uphill battle.

NEXT: Some thoughts about what the show needs to do now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cashing In

Roger's post last week about Johnny Cash reminded me that I had been saving up some Cash videos in my drafts waiting for a chance to turn them into a post or two. Reading his reflections brought to mind a few of my own and finally prompted me to put my own Cash post together.

(You can call it riding Roger's coat tails or copying his inspiration, If you insist. Me, I call it synergy!)

Cash was pretty much a standard musical presence in my house, it seems. My mother was always particularly fond of Southern and bluegrass gospel tunes. I have a lot of memories of her singing with the radio or by herself, especially when she was doing the dishes.

One that she sang quite often was "Daddy Sang Bass," usually the chorus. When I was about five years old or so, or so the story goes, I hit the age where I was too old for the nursery at church. They didn't have children's church at that time, so I had to go to "big church" to sit with my mother and grandparents. Knowing my mother, I'm sure that I must have gotten many lectures reminders about the importance of sitting quietly in church and behaving and all that. Knowing my grandmother, she probably had a purse full of mints to keep me quiet.

So, the first Sunday in "big church" comes around, we're all assembled. In good Baptist fashion, the first hymn is announced. Everyone stands. My mother helps me to find the right page, so I can be like the adults. And everyone starts to sing.

Now at this point, I'm an early reader at best. Mastery of the hymnal with it's strange layouts and musical notes is probably beyond me. Not too mention the fact that I'm not familiar with the music in "big church." Nonetheless, Mom notices that I seem to be singing along with everyone else.

Curious, she leans down to hear what I'm actually singing:

Daddy sang Bass
Mama sang tenor
Me and little brother would join right in there

At which point, she says she had to sit down to keep from laughing loud enough to distract everyone else.





That was the Statler Brothers and the Carter Family singing along with him, in case you didn't know.

When I was in middle school, I had to have surgery. It had to be rescheduled a couple of times because I kept getting sick right beforehand. My dad was stationed in Germany at the time, but we were living in Kentucky. When the surgery finally happened, he came home for a couple of weeks on leave. He brought my a stack of 8-tracks (God, I am old) to listen to while I was in recovery. The two that I remember most were greatest hits collections--Beach Boys and Johnny Cash. I played both of them over and over and over.

Both of these next two songs were on the Cash tape. I've always loved both of them because they showcase his sense of humor, an attribute that I think gets overlooked a lot of times when people are discussing his life. I do have to admit, though, that I really didn't "get" the second one until I grew up and started voting. When I was a kid, I thought the line about the Methodist was pretty funny.





I'm not sure whether either of them truly qualifies as a "hit" per se, but they were a part of that particular tape. Until the internet came along, however, I couldn't get Keith to believe in the existence of either song! They're just not what people think of then they think of Johnny Cash, but they're among my favorite Cash tunes.

Another much disputed song in my house is this one. For years Keith tried to tell me that I was getting confused about the old Kenny Rogers song "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)." As if!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

January is the cruelest month...

Actually, the quote is “April is the cruelest month,” but, for me, as far as 2009 is concerned, April is going to have a long way to go to make up for January. I’ve been sick twice, for several days at a time, which stole large chunks of the month away from me. Plus, for the past several days, we’ve been exiled to a hotel due to a power outage caused by winter storms. And now, the month is over and I’ve not been able to do half of what I planned on doing, including that the weekend trip that the aforementioned storms scuttled. So you can see I’m not that enamored with the month at this moment. Oh well.

The whole storm thing has been fascinating in many ways, annoying in some ways, and terrifying in others. The weather started getting bad last Sunday and Monday, with the first snowfall. By Tuesday, we had graduated through snow and sleet to full-fledged ice storms. Wednesday, we awoke, along with much of the city and a good part of the state, to no power.

Keith went to work, but I decided against showering in a freezing house. We called the vet as soon as they opened to see about boarding the cats. Luckily the vet’s office did have power. Bennie is 16 and doesn’t handle the cold very well at all. We wanted to get her some place warm, if at all possible. They called back after ten and said they could take them. Keith didn’t even have the car dug out at this point.

He kept digging and I went on a hunt in the dark for the cages. I only found two, so the boys had to share, which normally causes problems, but they were so freaked out by the cold that they just went instantly still and quiet in the cage. Bennie was so freaked out by everything that she didn’t even run when the cage came out, which is her usual behavior. I was thankful for that. She’s fat. She’s old. But when she wants to get away from the cage, she’s fast. Running after her through the dark house would not have been fun. I’m old. I’m fat. And I’m slow.

She did however, immediately commence her cries of protest at being in the cage. And she didn’t stop until we got to the vet. Honestly, for an old lady, she sure can curse.

After finally getting the car out (which took several more minutes after the cages were loaded), we discovered that the easiest routes to the vet were blocked by fallen trees. At this point, none of the streets were cleared of snow, ice, or debris, so the five minute jaunt to the vet took half an hour. At one point, we were actually stuck half way up a huge hill with an SUV barreling down at us. The one slightly clear lane up the hill zigged and zagged around piles of fallen branches. Avoiding the SUV (who never stopped or paused once), cost us our momentum on the hill, so we ended up backing down the hill, around the branches and back to level ground. And all the while, Bennie kept up her monologue of profanities.

After the cats were dropped off, Keith went to work and I went home. After spending the day constantly adding layers and blankets, I told Keith there was no way we could stay in the house. Coming home night after night to a dark house was bad enough when the power was out in September. There was no way I was even going to consider throwing freezing cold into the mix. Especially since, based on past experience, it could take several days for the power to be restored.

I packed several bags with clothes, computers, munchies, medicines, and reading material. When Keith came home, we loaded up and headed out. While we were loading, our neighbors were packing up too. We had no idea if we could find a place to stay or not. We checked out a couple of extended stay motels, but one had no power and the office at the other one was closed. Then we passed a Red Roof Inn with a sign advertising weekly specials.

Just as we were walking in, a woman was turning in her key. Her sister had called her and reported that the power was back on at her house. When we asked for a room, they gave us her key and told us it was our lucky day. They’d been turning folks away for hours.

Incidentally, there’s a Waffle House in front of the place, and it just happens to be the same Waffle House Keith and I went to the night my father died. Coincidence?

The room isn’t much, but it is warm. It’s been interesting trying to fit both our plus-sized persons on one full-sized bed, but we’ve managed. We’ve been kind of treating it like an unexpected vacation, so it’s been a fun change of pace. The only downside is missing the kitties.

We’ll be checking out tomorrow and heading back home. The power is on and there’s lots to do back there. Plus, we’ll have three petulant felines to appease. The temp's rising and everything is melting!


Fascinating things about the aftermath of an icestorm:


Seeing all the trees bent over double from the weight of the ice. It’s beautiful, creepy, and dangerous all at the same time.

The way everything is encased in ice. Not covered, but more like coated all the way around.

Hearing the ice crack and pop when it starts to melt.

The sky was grey for days! Combined with all the ice coating everything, it was like living in a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale or a Little Nemo comic strip.

Turning on the national news and hearing stories about Kentucky. For some reason all the coverage centered on the little burg west of here where I grew up. Nothing is more bizarre than seeing Leitchfield, Kentucky on CNN! (By the way, I still cannot reach my mother. Been trying for days.)

Driving through familiar areas at night. Between the lack of power and the ice everywhere, even places that I know like the back of my hand were strange and unfamiliar. It’s really unnerving to drive down a street and realize that the only light for blocks is coming from your headlights.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

DAY ON!



Today is the only national holiday that is also officially recognized as a day for national and community service. I'm getting ready to head off to a clothes closet for kids who need assistance just being ready for school. I've worked in some form of social services all my life, but this is the first time I've ever consciously taken part in an MLK Day service project.

Part of it is my new job. Community service is what we do. Members of my team are all over this town today, helping out. Several of them designed the projects they are working on. I'm really proud of all of them. In the short time I've been with this position, I've learned so much and grown at least a little.

I was raised with an understanding of my responsibility to the world around me and to the other people who live there. When I was still a part of organized religion, one of the conflicts I frequently had was with the idea that all we had to do was offer Jesus to others and everything else would be okay. I knew too many people who were content to save souls, but leave the bodies to starve.

In my time, I've organized marches and rallies, sat on boards, raised money and awareness, worked in shelters, planted trees, given out food, written letters to the editor, and a whole bunch of stuff I can't even remember. But, somehow, for the last ten years or so, I've been content to go to work, rationalizing that, since I was doing social service work, I was giving something every day and nothing more was really required of me. Maybe it was burn out. Maybe it was middle age malaise. Maybe it was whatever happens when you settle down with a partner and have a mortgage. Maybe it was just hibernating.

Coming out of it now, is, as I said, at least partly due to the job, but it's also the timing. We have a president who values community service enough to make today a part of the inaugural activities--a president who believes that we are strongest when we help each other and our communities. It's taken a while to get here, but I'm starting to get in touch with that spirit within me again. Maybe I'm starting to see, that for all the good work all our social service agencies do day in and day out, that something more is needed to make real change--something that taps into the spirit of who we are and what we can be.

Or maybe I'm sounding too much like an advertising slogan or a sermon. I was afraid I was going to end up going that route and get carried away. Regardless of the rhetoric or the flourishes, this is a day to help. A day to give. A day to serve. If you don't have anything lined up for today, go to the MLK Day web site and see what's happening in your local area. It's not too late.

And to close, let the Indigo Girls say it better than me:

Friday, January 09, 2009

In Canse You Were Wondering...

This is my favorite Iris Dement song:



Seems kind of fitting for a Friday. Maybe there'll be some romance for someone tonight?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Forgot the camera, but still have some things to say about the flea market

Finally felt like crawling out of the grave and deciding to live on Monday. Just in time to return to work. Oh well. It's a living, as they used to say in the old cartoons. Still playing catch up, but do want to dash a few lines off about the flea market.

Despite my best intentions, I managed to get out the door on Friday without a camera, so this is a somewhat photo-less flea market report.

Flea markets and the like have always been in my blood, it seems. In the little town where I grew up, there was a flea market every Wednesday at the county stockyards. In fact, we always referred to going to the flea market as "going to the stockyards" which confused some of my friends. During the summer, I'd hardly miss a Wednesday. Surprisingly, that flea market still takes place, every Wednesday, even thought the spot where it does is now the Wal-Mart parking lot.

The main attraction for the flea market in those days for me was as place where I get get older comics cheaply--usually for 25 cents or less. At that point in time, there was no comic store in my life, no conventions, no mail order, certainly no Ebay, so what I had was the local flea market and my two little legs to carry me there.

I remember one time the local paper did a feature on the flea market and mentioned in passing a "young man looking through piles of old comic books for a quarter." I was totally convinced they meant me, so I clipped the article and kept it for years.

As I got older and moved away, I discovered other flea markets, along with other ways of dealing in second hand goods--thrift stores, yard sales, used book stores, etc. One of the best avenues in Louisville is the monthly Kentucky Flea Market, which is held at the state fairgrounds. I go at least once a year with my mom and try to talk Keith into going as often as I can.

Since this was New Year's weekend, the show actually had two halls full of dealers, instead of the usual one. I always like those, because the second hall is typically just antique dealers and I really do like to go look at that type of stuff. I could browse in a good-sized antiques mall for hours, without ever buying anything, and be quite content.

Typically, when we go to the flea market on a Friday, it's not that crowded. In fact, that's my favorite time to go, because you can take your time and really look at stuff without having to fight the people. I don't know if it was the holiday or what, but the place was packed this time. Packed full of people. Annoying people. The kind of gather in clumps in the middle of the aisles, not moving one way or the other, totally blocking traffic in both directions. The kind of people I have made a resolution not to kill or belittle or knock down this year. ARRGH!

ASIDE: I'm not a kid person, I admit. I don't have them and am kind of glad to be in a state of life that they're not going to be a part of. I understand bringing your kids to things that they'll enjoy, but I don't get all the people who bring all the kids in strollers (some as young as six months) to something like this. The kid cannot possibly be having fun surrounded by a forest of legs and not being able to see anything. The parents can't be having fun having to push the kid through the madness. And I'm definitely not having fun trying to maneuver around the one in front of me while the one behind me keeps bumping me in the ankles! Isn't that what sitters are for?

Anyway, Keith and I kept getting separated by the crowds, which made things a lot less fun for both of us. It's hard to point out stuff to each other when you're not together. And since one of us, who shall remain nameless*, forgot his cell phone, we were out of touch a lot, which led to lots of waiting and wondering, especially since the nameless and phoneless one is prone to easy distraction and can take quite a while to work through things.

We spent some time later trying to figure out what kind of effect the economy was having on the flea market. It seems to me like there were as many people as usual there with carts full of purchases, but that may not mean anything. According to the paper, some dealers said there sales were back up after a bad summer slump due to gas prices, but were still off from last year. But, Keith overheard a couple of dealers of the "As Seen on TV" crap who said that they were selling out of things with two days left to go.

I know in the antique wing lots of dealers were offering specials, but I still saw a lot of sales taking place too. There seemed to be fewer of the "banana box" dealers--those folks who buy out of date and near out of date goods in bulk (in banana boxes) and sell stuff at a buck or so a pop--but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Row after row of that kind of stuff becomes old fast. And the ones that were there had tightened up considerably, so it didn't look like they had taken over the place.

In terms of my purchases, I had a pretty good day. The antique wing yielded some inexpensive additions to my collection of religious paraphernalia. And surprisingly, I was able to get some nice comics in both the antique and non-antique wings at reasonable prices, including several issues of Little Lulu and Sugar and Spike, which made me happy! i also got a couple of Dennis the Meance giants from the 60's in beautiful shape for a buck each!** Plus I got a couple of very early Rhonda vincent CD's, from the days when she was still part of the Sally Mountain Show.

My own comic shop always sets up at the flea market with some quarter boxes of comics and overstock CDs for sale. One of the many many things to love about my shop is the music selection. Since there are two branches of the store in Nashville, they always have some great folk and Americana selections, especially since every few months the stores swap out their overstock.

I spent a little bit of time there talking to the store manager, since she was working the booth alone and it was a little slow right then. I made sure she got some of the holiday goodies I left at the shop for the staff and told her about my new job, since it will enable me to actually begin placing orders again.

We also talked about how the economy is affecting the store. I had been a little concerned because I knew that they had stopped buying stuff from people for a while. She told me that they had to do that because they got flooded with people selling stuff when the gas prices were so high, so now they're basically overstocked and need to let that thin out for a bit.

But she also said that, overall, they had not been as badly affected by the recession as they thought they would be. Sales are a little off, but not as bad as they could be, which was nice to hear. I've been concerned about them, since a) small/local businesses get hit hardest by economic downturns and b) contrary to what some may say, they're not selling necessity items.

Still, I was surprised to hear that someone had started a rumor in town that they were going out of business. It hasn't seem to hurt them, but that's not the kind of thing they need to have happening right now. One thing that I do think will help them weather this storm is their history. They've been around for over 30 years now. I first shopped there my senior year of high school, when I was 17. They've obviously got staying power and a pretty loyal customer base. It was good to chat with her for a bit.

And, finally, I can think of nothing better to wrap this up than this little ditty by Mexican pop group Flans about finding true love at a flea market:



All together now:

"Entre cuadros y revistas,
camisetas, discos y jeans,
Entre cuadros y revistas,
camisetas, discos y jeans"


Some of my favorite shopping experiences in Mexico City were in settings like this.

*We must protect the innocent, you see. And I tell you, this person really is innocent. Forgetful, but innocent. And quite charming too!

**Which is not to say that there weren't dealers asking outrageous prices for mediocre stuff in even worse shape, but I'm focusing on the positive and not the asshats.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

When the dead walk, the content sleeps

I'm just a bit under the weather: aches, cramps, fever, stomach issues and the like. I'm thinking the sweet sleep of oblivion might be preferable to trying to sit up and actually trying to do something productive. (Although there is so much to do right now...)

See you on the other side.

In the meantime, here's the opening sequence to my all time favorite telenovela, Preciosa:



Wow! That was on the air like ten years agi. Where does the time go?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happiest of the Newest and all that somesuch...

Okay, I made it mostly through December posting, until after Christmas at least. I'm not claiming any of it was especially rich or meaningful, but it was content. I also learned the value of the Blogger post-scheduling feature. Unfortunately, the streak ended when I went for my annual post-Christmas house-sitting venture. I've never had problems with internet access over there before, but I couldn't get online this time to save my soul.

So, after that, I took a couple of days hiatus, but I'm back. it's time for one of my favorite New Year's weekend activities: The Kentucky Flea Market! It's a two-winger this time, which is always good for finding some cheap comics and other stuff. I'm trying real hard to remember my camera, so I can photo-blog this.

I'm on forced leave without pay today, like all of my colleagues in this recession-riddled city, but that's actually turning out to be a good thing, since I've got a lot to do at the house and I wanted some extra down time before I "officially" start my new job on Monday.

Thinking blogically, I've got a bit of an idea about what I want to do over the next couple of weeks: some cheesy DVD reviews, a couple of graphic novel reviews, my take on the best (or at least my favorite) music of 2008, my goals for 2009, stuff I'm looking forward too, and a couple of regular features I'd like to unleash once my scanner gets hooked up again. Oh yeah, and I have some bleated gifts for a few bloggers, plus a rundown on the holidays here at chez Evans-Mitchell.

But for now, the flea market awaits, as does breakfast, so I must hie me hither!

2009 might actually me the year I become a real blogger. It only took five years, but I'm somewhat of a late bloomer.

So here, celebrate 2009 with some classic Linda Ronstadt:



Ever notice how her best stuff was also her saddest stuff?