Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Tidying Up


I edited all my recent posts to take out the old mailto: link for comments. I turned on the comments feature for the blog last night, so people can just leave comments here.

Now the wait begins for someone to do so...

Maybe that should be the wait for me to say something worthy of commentary.

Could be a long wait....

I could swear that adding a comments section seemed awfully complicated when I looked it up a few months ago. I guess Blogger did some updating while I was on hiatus.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Third Star to the Left


Odd thought for the evening: Ever notice how many incomplete Nativity sets you can find at thrift stores? There’s something about the thought of a solitary Wise Man sitting on a shelf of bric brac without his companions that strikes me as a little sad.

Take the Ribbon from Your Hair...

Life as I Live It

I'm growing my hair out after years of wearing it fairly short. It's finally getting long enough that a lot of the wave and curl is falling out. I kind of like it.

Today, I needed to take something to a co-worker's office. She was meeting with someone, who looked at me and said, "Is that Eddie Mitchell?" I said it was, but had no idea who she was.

It turns out that she was someone I had known for years. She was on the board of an agency I used to work for and our paths had crossed several times since. I hadn't recognized her because of her hair. She used to keep it fairly closely cropped, and now she's let it grow into a cute little poufy afro. It looks really good on her, but it completely changed her look.

I told her that I hadn't recognized her because she let her hair grow. She looked at me and said, "You know what? You have too."

Black Friday Reflections

Belated Shopblogging

We actually did the holiday madness thing on the day after Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to go with Keith. Actually, it really wasn’t too bad. We avoided Wal-Mart entirely and, other than some car trouble, didn’t really have any problems. It helped that we’ve been working on Christmas gifts since late summer. After dinner on Thursday, we got everything out of the closet and sorted it out and realized we only had a few things left to buy. From that we were able to narrow the list of places we needed to hit and that made things a lot less stressful.

This also meant that we both had more money to spend on non-holiday stuff, so we headed to Half-Price Books. I don’t totally know what to think about the idea of a national chain of used book stores. On the one hand, they’re essentially a second-hand Barnes and Noble, with all the pluses and minuses thereof. On the other hand, Louisville has so few used bookstores that aren’t totally devoted to Danielle Steele and Harlequin Romances. I think despite my anti-chain inclinations, I’m really coming to like this store a lot.

Since they constantly buy stuff, each store can kind of take on a local flavor, which I like. Stock also changes quite a bit due to the constant buying. The one here in Louisville has a lot of interesting stuff and the prices are quite nice. I can walk out with a stack of stuff for 20 bucks.

This visit, I got volumes 2 and 3 of the Mai the Psychic Girl Perfect Collections. Mai was one of the earliest translated manga to hit the US and it’s still a favorite of mine. I also got a couple of older collections of Gahan Wilson cartoons for about 3 bucks each. The store here has a pretty varied selection of graphic novels, a good cross section of titles and publishers from across the spectrum. They also have individual back issues, but I’ve never felt led to paw through those bins.

Music-wise, their main selection sucks. Heavy on Nash Vegas country and Top 40 pop, and little else. No folk section at all. On the other hand, the clearance CD shelves are like a treasure trove. Lots of stuff from small labels, local and regional artists, and others who tend to fly below the radar. I’ve gotten several Carrie Newcomer CD’s from this section. Most clearance CD’s only cost a buck or two. This visit, I found some Celia Cruz and Eliades Ochoa.

All together, we ended up spending enough to get a free 2005 Half-Price Books calendar, which has a bunch of coupons in it for next year. So, we actually got ourselves a Christmas present.

One word on selling stuff to Half-Price Books: they pay crap. If your goal is to make some cash, try another avenue. But if you need to clear off some space and just want the stuff out of your life, they’re a heck of a lot easier than a yard sale or eBay.

Another shopping note: Big Lots has the same super-hero ornaments that Walgreen’s does right now. There are Superman, Batman, and Spider-man ornaments and they look pretty cool. The ones at Big Lots don’t come in boxes, but otherwise they’re the same. Locally, the ones at Walgreens are 2 for 10 bucks, while the ones at Big Lots are $2.99 each. This has been your super-hero tchotchke public announcement.

Loss of Story


Last week's issue of Entertainment Weekly has an opinion piece by Owen Gleiberman about the sad fate of storytelling in movies. We live, he postulates, in an era where character-driven films are basically being neglected in favor of franchise-driven action and fantasy films. This has reduced storytelling to repetitive story arcs, where we know almost from the start of the film where (and who) the characters are going to be at the end. The purpose of these films is wish fulfillment, according to Gleiberman. We see ourselves in these characters and want to see them succeed as a form of wish fulfillment. It’s the same desire that fuels the success of reality TV, which he argues, is having the same sort of effect on storytelling on TV. To illustrate this comparison, he refers to reality TV contestants as “ready made arcs.”

This isn’t to say that blockbusters are bad, per se, but their dominance at the box office does have a downside:

“The issue is that great movies and television shows—especially great movies—invite us to enter the souls of characters who are more than just our mirrors, our walking, talking, fantasy doppelgangers. As an unending diet of blockbusters has helped spawn an audience of nerve-jangled sensation junkies, however, it gets harder and harder for subtlety to cut through the clutter, even the Godfather might now be released as an art film….If pop culture ever does lose the heartbeat of rich, deep, organic storytelling, perhaps what we’ll have really lost is the recognition that there’s something out there greater than ourselves.”

I couldn’t help but think about the American comics market the whole time I was reading it.


Soap Operas

Yes, I do tape Days of Our Lives every day. Thanks for asking.

Just some thoughts on the way things have been going lately on the show:

Okay, I know I'm slow on the uptake at times, but it just dawned on me that this castle where Tony has his captives is the same one that Bo and Billie are headed to. The constant references to Jack being home for the holidays in today's show pretty much confirms that.

Okay let me get this straight: Kate honors the memory of her "dead" husband by trying to ruin his daughter's relationship with her son, trying to break up his brother's marriage, and trying to keep his nephew apart from his one true love. (Yes I know that last bit is more Jan's doing than anything else, but Kate certainly encourages it. Ironic given that it puts her on the same side as the little vixen who could destroy her other son's relationship.)

I like the character of Kate, but she's become so unsympathetic and one-note. Her children are all adults, for god's sake! They don't need her to arrange their lives for them. It wouldn't be so annoying if we could get some reminder of her motivation from time to time. It's obvious that she's still carries a lot of guilt for the mistakes she made when her kids were young. Would it hurt to mention that?

Would any international intelligence/spy agency like the ISA have ever hired someone as unstable as Billie Reed? She'd never pass the psych exams! I know that losing a child is a horrible thing for any parent to endure, but she shows no sign of any healing whatsoever. Apparently, she's wallowed in raw, open grief for years, and that's just not healthy. In actual time, her miscarriage was about five or six years ago. On the show, they've aged the child to teen-ager status, so that puts the death at 13-16 years ago. Yes, Billie should be missing her child, but for her to still be acting like her life is completely over and saying things like "I can't stand the thought of my baby in the ground all cold and alone" is just not healthy. She needs therapy and medications!

It's a good thing that Patrick, Brandon, Lucas, and Phillip are around. Bo, Roman, and John have become so abrasive and obnoxious that the show needs all the sensitive men it can get, especially with Jack MIA again. A little while ago, Bo had no idea where to find Billie when she was at their dead daughter's grave! Of course, Patrick found her.

I just love it when Sami totally melts down and starts throwing out her wild conspiracy theories again. It's no wonder that no one in Salem other than her family likes her. If she keeps pushing it, she very well could lose the family support, too. If I were Belle, I would have told Sami in no uncertain terms to stop the trash talking about my dad ages ago. I'm finally starting to worm to Sami and Lucas as a couple too. The pre-Thanksgiving scenes were warm and funny. I can't buy Brandon as any kind of threat to their relationship, though. He's come back as someone who is too smart and mature to still be in love with an emotional wreck like Sami.

John's in a hospital bed hopped up on pain meds and hallucinogenics and he can see that Belle doesn't really love Phillip, but Phillip himself can't? He's really become somewhat pathetic and needy as a character.

Keith asked me the other day how much longer we had to put up with asshole Shawn. Here's how I think that will play out: Shawn's drinking, which is tied to the pain from his accident and surgery, will cause another accident, which restores his memory and will most likely kill Jan. As he recovers, he and Belle grow closer and she, Hope and Maggie nurse him through his alcoholism. Just when it looks like there's hope for him and Belle again, Phillip comes back from Iraq in a coma. When Phil wakes up, Belle has to stay in their relationship out of concern for his health, which will of course eventually lead to Phil faking his condition to keep her. Kate encourages him. Brady figures it out and blows the whistle. Belle and Shawn finally make it to the altar and Jan shows up, as the latest back from the dead DiMera operative.

Of course, I may have to alter that a bit based on today's show! Mimi's found the cage! Of course, she's going to end up locked in there. Everyone will think she left town. Bonnie will think it's because of her shame over the abortion and blab that to Rex. In the meantime, Patrick will find her and rescue her from the inevitable fire that will happen because young heroines about to be burned alive is so dramatic. She gets back to town and has to deal with the aftermath of Bonnie's blabbing. At least, that's my best guess about what's going to happen.

As annoying as this new personality is, it has been nice to see Shawn rave about his dad and Billie.

Everyone has been back in Salem for days now and we've only seen Alice once? Wouldn't the whole Horton clan have gathered around her for Thanksgiving? With Shawn and Jan together, Mickey and Bonnie married, and Abby not speaking to her mother, hanging the ornaments on the Horton tree ought to be interesting this year.

Seriously, wouldn't this have been a much better Thanksgiving episode for Days?

The Horton clan gathers at Alice's for a grand potluck. In the course of the day, Alice yanks a knot in Mickey's tail about Bonnie, while she consoles and encourages Maggie. She also has a heart to heart with Bonnie, telling her that she appreciates the sweet tribute that Alice's is intended to be and that she is thankful that Mickey had someone to comfort him while Maggie was gone, but that it's time for Bonnie to gracefully step out of the picture.

Next she turns to the next generations, telling Lucas and Sami to be honest and true to each other as she gives them her blessing. She calls Abby on her behavior towards Jennifer and Shawn for his general crummy attitude. She also tells him in no uncertain terms what a jerk he was to blame Belle for her "death." Doug tells him basically the same thing. Alice tells Julie that her intentions are good but her methods regarding Mickey and Bonnie aren't helping. She reminds Bo that his family needs him. Finally, she tells Jennifer to give that damn baby a name! Alice welcomes Patrick and thanks him for caring for Jennifer.

Of course there's plenty of drama from the other attendees as well. Sami reads Shawn the riot act for hurting Belle and has one of her blow ups at Bo and Hope. (Which prompts Alice to give her another talking-to.) Maggie notices Shawn's drinking, and tries to talk to him about it. When that fails, she talks to Bo and Hope. Hope asks Lucas to talk to him, prompting another one of Sami's fits. Lucas and Abby bond, and he tells her that he knows what it's like to have a lot of anger and resentment towards family members. He says he hopes she won't make the same mistakes he did when he was her age. The day ends with Julie, Maggie, and Bonnie getting into a food fight with the leftovers in the kitchen.

If I only wrote the soaps, huh?

I'm wondering if Jack will come wandering in while they're hanging his ornament on the tree....

Okay, I've tried really hard, but I just don't buy Brady and Nicole as a couple. I know they're married in real life, and I'm sure that they have a powerful attraction and great personal chemistry, but none of that comes across on TV. None. Not one bit.

Together they are boring and unbelievable. Nicole talks about how much she loves Brady and it comes off as fake. They've always tried to paint Nicole as one of those tragically flawed characters--not quite a heroine, not quite a villain--and it just doesn't work. It's the same vein of great grey characters that Sami and Kate spring from, but Nicole comes across as scheming and pathetic. She doesn't have the history and connections that Kate and Sami do, and all those attempts to give her a tragic, horrid past seem contrived. There's nothing to root for with her, which means there's nothing to root for in a Brady/Nicole coupling.

In the meantime, she's responsible for two murders (Marlena and Victor). Even if they both are still alive, she still attempted to have them killed. Besides that, she is an accomplice to Shawn's kidnapping. That's just the kind of woman I want to see paired with Brady.



I cannot count how many times in the past month or so that I sat down to do this, started it, didn't get done, and then got discouraged because stuff got to be to outdated to link to or comment about.

Well not this time. Here's a batch of stuff that's popped up in the past few weeks. If you don't like your commentary slightly aged, just pass right by. I've tried to cluster newer stuff toward the top.

This is also your "long and rambly" warning.

Happy Anniversary Progressive Ruin!

If I were the editor of an online newsmagazine and a columnist included a line like this in a submission, I'd bounce them off the staff in a heartbeat:

"Once again if you possess a short attention span, a poor sense of humor and/or if you’re easily irked by rampant spelling errors and really bad grammar, then feel free to skip to 'The Verdict' in all the reviews." (Emphasis mine.)

As a wanna-be writer, I just don't get the need to flaunt one's ignorance like it's some kind of virtue. It's sloppy and lazy. It's also counter-productive. If you don't care enough about what you're writing to make it the best it can be, then why should anyone want to read it?

As an editor, I cannot comprehend such a lack of oversight and quality control. You can have your "geek in the shop" reviews without a total disregard for standards. It reflects poorly on the site, on the product they offer, and insults the readers.

It just plain looks bad. Standards for most online comics news sites are low enough as it is. Dalton Wemble at Comixpedia addresses the need for editors from a web comics point of view. I would argue that the same thing applies to comics news sites as well. (Thanks to Cognitive Dissonance for the Comixpedia link.)

Top Shelf has a holiday special running right now: 10 bucks off an order of $29.95 or more. Johanna Draper Carlson has more info, plus a list of recommendations. Top Shelf also has some stuff marked down, which can stretch the savings further. I'm thinking it may be time to finally order a copy of Mirror of Love.

Augie de Blieck has his Preview Review up. Surprisingly, several of the same books caught both our eyes. I could have done without the inane blathering about The Comics Journal though. I just saw that Johanna Draper Carlson has hers up too. I don't have time to read it right now, but it's always worth checking out.

Last week on his Bad Signal list, Warren Ellis shared this link. It's a promo for an web-animated Transmet series that never went anywhere.

Speaking of Carlson, she's been reviewing more manga. Readers looking for good places to start reading manga can find a lot of pointers in her reviews. One of the series she recently named a "comic worth reading" is Marmalade Boy, which is one of my favorite anime. I don't know why I’ve never read any of the manga, but I'll obviously have to do something about that.

But she really misses the boat with her Jane's World review. "Cathy with better art." Like Cathy ever had space aliens turn a character into a monkey or floated down a river on a mobile home or dated a woman who turned out to be a secret agent or... Okay, I'm getting carried away.

Suffice it to say, Paige Braddock is prone to some wild flights of fancy in Jane's World, and she makes it work well. This collision of the fantastic and the mundane in a gag-a-day strip is hard to pull off. Jane puts a whole different spin on the search for life, love, and happiness in today's modern world.

To be fair to Carlson, I know she has to review the issue at hand and make her judgment about the series based on what she sees there. I cannot specifically recall the contents to JW #14 off the top of my head, so I don't remember how much the side of Jane I like so well is on display. It's just a shame that this issue wasn't enough to grab Carlson, since Jane really is a great book.

My personal preference would be for Braddock to actually tell stories intended to be printed and read as a comic book, rather than just reprint her strip. I'd love to see what she could do with the rhythm and pace of a comics book, which is quite different from a strip. At least she largely seems to have gotten her impulse to try to mimic comic book pages by enlarging panels from the strip.

In other reviews, David Welsh has a nice review of Alice 19th that reminds me how much I love Yu Watase's work.

Dorian at Postmodern Barney (my current favorite comics blog) posted a link to an anti-communist story from Treasure Chest. This stuff is one of my comics fascinations of the moment. There were a handful of red scare comics like this put out during the early Cold War years, mainly by Catholic publishers. They're super hard to find and tend to fetch prices that I'm not willing to pay, so I'm ecstatic to get to read this story, which was scanned from several issues of Treasure Chest. My dream comic project would be a nice hardback collection reprinting these stories. Dorian hints that he was going to be discussing this material in the future, so I hope this doesn't make him change his mind.

A couple of weeks ago, Augie de Blieck asked an interesting question, kind of a "before they were famous" type thing. He calls it the "Others," as in the "other" books that mainstream comics "names" worked on that never got huge levels of attention. Last week, he published some of the answers he got. I'm only dimly aware of who is supposed to be "hot" in mainstream comics right now, but I can tell you that my favorite Kurt Busiek series was called Jonny Demon, which came out from Dark Horse about a gazillion years ago, well before Busiek became a "comics name." In fact, it can go on the record as the only KB comic I've ever liked! Apparently, I'm the only one who remembers this one, because no one else mentioned it.

Someone does mention Valentino's A Touch of Silver, prompting Augie to wish for other stuff in this vein. Valentino did a couple of autobio comics for Renegade back in the 80's which have been collected by Image, if anyone is really interested in more of this kind of material. It's much better material than ATOS, which veered too much toward the maudlin in my opinion. My vote for "Other" material from Valentino would be the Myth Adventures-style stuff he did for Warp and Apple.

As annoying as it is to find books I bought for full price a couple of years ago on sale for just a buck, is a good way to try out some manga titles. (Thanks to Shawn Fumo, and a ton of other people for pointing this one out.) If you haven't read Joan, I highly recommend it. The art is beautiful, with lovely color throughout. It's a historical novel about a young girl (raised as a boy) who finds herself following in the footsteps of Joan of Arc, who died several years earlier. The book's protagonist finds herself interacting with the same people that Joan did and following the same path as the warrior saint. It's a good read that explores the intersections of faith, politics, gender and identity.

Finally, comics newsmagazines tend to be so mainstream and super-hero oriented that it's good to see interviews like this recent one with Charles Burns, even if the questions do seem a little weak. And again, pointing to the need for an editor: What is the purpose of repeating a quote from the second paragraph of the interview in the opener? There's no reason for it, nor is there any other text that might support its use and actually turn it into a proper introduction.

Well, that clears off my plate. Hopefully that wasn't too intolerable for a bit of slightly aged, but hopefully still tasty morsels. I hope that tonight I can put some more current stuff up. Maybe I won't reference Johanna Draper Carlson so much!

Monday, December 06, 2004

I think he’s an all right guy.


Todd Snider held forth with his usual mix of wit, wisdom, and all right guy commentary to a packed house at Headliners on Friday night. Snider tends to attract an interesting audience. There’s always a large contingent of partying frat boys screaming for him to play “Beer Run.” And then there are the rest of us, a little older and more settled, who like everything else he plays and realize the “Beer Run” is actually making fun of the guys that keep screaming for it.

The problem I’ve always had with his shows (particularly those held in bars) is that the guys screaming for “Beer Run” are so wrapped up in themselves and their version of a good time that they really spoil things for everyone else. “Beer Run” is a good song. It’s clever and funny, but it’s not the only song he’s written. When we’ve seen him in the past, he’s played to that part of the crowd, which has made for a good show, but one that felt a little unbalanced.

This time around, it was different. It wasn’t that he ignored the Beer-Runners in the crowd, but he balanced the songs that appealed to them with the rest of his tremendous catalog. So we got “All Right Guy” and “Double Wide Blues” mixed in with a huge helping of stuff from his newest CD, Nashville Skyline, and a lot of great older stuff that often gets ignored, like “Horseshoe Lake.”

And he didn’t play “Beer Run.”

Ignoring what is arguably his signature song could seem like a risky move, but it worked. It felt to me like he was saying to the crowd “I know you like that song, but I’ve got a whole lot of other good stuff. Come along and give it a try.” And they did, right through the whole night, plus three encores. And the last one was a real encore. The house music had started back up, but the crowd was still asking for more, so Snider came back and gave a little more.

It was an awesome evening, opener Will Kimbrough played a great set of his best songs and then came back to play with Snider, along with a bass player. All three of them were obviously having fun together and that feeling encompassed the crowd as well.

“Beer Run” or not, I doubt anyone left the show unsatisfied.

Bardstown Road Aglow


The Highland Commerce Guild held their annual holiday festival on Saturday. Bardstown Road Aglow attracts people from all over the area to one of the most eclectic shopping corridors in the city, Bardstown Road. Merchants offer specials and serve refreshments, while musicians play and Santa roams the street. It’s always a lot of fun.

This year, we decided to expand our participation. Typically, we stick to the most heavily traveled stretch of the road. This time, we took the free trolley down the road a bit to the shops on Baxter Avenue. We started at Lonesome Town Records, which is a small labor of love this man operates out of the front of his house. He specializes in bluegrass and old-time music. His selection is small, but surprisingly deep. I found a live CD from Old Crow Medicine Show there that I had never heard anything about. I made a note to pick it up after the holidays.

We then headed across the street to this kind of New Age/Pagan shop. The incense smelled really great in there. They let us take some pictures of their altars, including the Voo Doo and Buddhist altars. Unfortunately, they were about to close, since they weren’t participating in Aglow.

Lots of churches open for Aglow too, as it’s a great outreach night. We stopped in several this year, something we really haven’t done in the past. First up was the Episcopal Church of the Advent, which has a beautiful Rood carving. I got the first cup of cider there.

Just up the street, we saw he first caroler, and then ran into the bagpipers for the first time. Part of the fun of Aglow is going in shops that we wouldn’t normally visit. If nothing else, it’s good for the refreshments. Since a lot of the shops are small the crowds can get a little annoying, but it’s fun to pass through anyway.

Art Beat, a small gallery, is one of those kind of places. They had some unique objects, a guitar player, and some great art work by an artist named Cynthia Yeager. Her pieces were all patterned after medieval altarpieces and were just incredible.

We seemed to keep running into the bagpipers. The Louisville Bagpipe Society was wandering the road. Half started at one end and half at the other. They met up in the middle and did a short performance. It was pretty cool.

I ate a quick supper at Baja Fresh, but the place Keith wanted to eat at took their buffet down before we got there, so he got Chinese take out when we were done. We priced trees in a lot, but I thought they were high. We ended up going into three more churches, including the Highland Community Church, which I’ve been curious about. I thought their sanctuary was much smaller than the outside of the building would indicate. They have a lovely old building. After stopping in a Christian Church, I realized how boring Protestant churches are in general. So many of them have such great exteriors and bland, generic interiors. But St. James gave me plenty to photograph, including the Eye of God. Catholic Churches usually don’t fail to be interesting.

There are several antique dealers on Bardstown Road, but David Friedlander is my favorite. He always has the most interesting stuff, including small icons and comic books. (Which is, of course, why he is my favorite.) He’s never open for Aglow, though. But his window this year is pretty neat. I loved this doll-sized church/schoolhouse. Of course, I had to get my picture taken with the penguins!

We always make the point of stopping in All Booked Up during Bardstown Road Aglow. They always have a special sale. Things in my price range (under fifteen dollars) were 50% off this year! I found several old Pogo books, which were already a bargain at 10 bucks. With the sale, they were five bucks each!

I made a quick run in Ear X-Tacy to look at the used CD’s and ended up with the last gift I needed for Keith. He reads this blog, so I can’t mention it, but I know he’s going to love it!

We wrapped up this year’s Aglow with hot cider at Heine Brothers. All in all, it was a great night. The weather was fairly mild and we had a good time. But we never saw Santa!

If you want to see all the pics at once, here are mine and Keith’s. His of course are much better than mine.

Human Kindness Is Overflowing

Life As I Know It...

I had one of those experiences today that just has to be shared. As everyone except hermits living in caves knows, lines everywhere increase in length this time of year. The Post Office is one of the worst places to try and get in and out of right now. I made my daily lunchtime walk to the PO to get the mail and had to maneuver around a couple of women addressing their packages to even get to our box. There was a package slip in the box, so that meant I had to get into the line for the main window.

Our PO is split into two small rooms. One has the boxes and the other has the counter (main window). In the main window room, there are two tables where folks can get their stuff together. One is in the back of the room and the line usually extends past it, even when there are people standing there addressing mail or getting packages together. There was one gentleman at the table trying to shove a bunch of stuff into an envelope that was way too small to hold it all. Then there was a gap, and then the end of the line. I stepped past him and got into the line, only to hear a really disgusted “Excuse me,” behind me. Turns out dude is trying to stand in line and get his stuff together, even though the line had moved at least three feet from where he was standing. I wasn’t in the mood to argue, so I let him in front of me, thinking evil thoughts the whole time. I mean, who gets in line when they haven’t even gotten their crap together?

Well it turns out his stuff won’t fit in his tiny envelope. So he turns to me and says “You can have this space after all.” (You have to imagine a real pissy tone, like he was still miffed because he thought I tried to cut. But, hey, I get my shit ready before I go to the PO, you know.) He got out of line to look for another envelope.

There are still five or six people in front of me and one guy behind me now. We have this great postal clerk at our PO. Keith and I get a lot of packages because we do a lot of mail order. Whenever we pop up in line, it’s usually to pick something up. So, whenever she sees us, she’ll go to the back and get our stuff, if she can. Well, someone stepped up to her counter still filling out address labels. (What is it with people these days? Some day, I’m going to end up in line behind someone still trying to wrap their presents.) So, she left them there for a second went to the back and came out with two packages. She called out our box number and another one.

The guy behind me and I stepped over, grabbed our boxes, thanked her, and left. We went from the end of the line to out the door in just a few seconds! I consider it karma for being polite to the clerks and always being prepared before I get in the line at the PO.

As we were leaving, the other guy said “Nothing like personal service.” I told him I was just glad there was someone else at that branch who got so much mail the she knows him on sight. I was also glad there were two of us, just in case the envelope-stuffers and label-addressers started to riot.

Now Playing....


Nek: La Vida Es

Latin pop is my guilty pleasure music.



Okay, so I realized right after I sent that last post this morning that Blogger is adding permalinks. Geez! In my defense, I don't think they were doing this when I last blogged.
I didn't have time this morning to cop to my idiocy.

Learning Curve


Things I gotta learn to do:

  • Create permalinks
  • Create a comments section
  • Create a blogroll

I know none of it is going to be that hard. I just have to take the time to do it.

Your patience is appreciated.

Where Have You Been Anyway?

Personal (some music)

Someone may be wondering exactly what I’ve been up to that’s kept me from blogging for most of this year. (Okay, so I realize that no one really cares, but humor me.)

Part of it is of course the combination of being lazy, procrastinating, and dealing with depression. (Mostly the first two, but I know that my on again off again depression plays into things somewhere. My real struggle is to keep from blaming all my faults on depression and never doing anything to improve.)

But, there have been other things going on. For an idea go here, and click on Projects to see some of the things we’ve been doing around the house. Shirtless fat gay guy warnings should apply, though. The garden was a source of peppers, tomatoes and beans throughout the summer, and was lovely to look at to boot. The flowers were just amazing to watch, even as I learned exactly how much I don’t know about gardening. The Mary statue, alas, has joined the list of Eddie’s great unfinished projects. (See paragraph 2 above.)

We’ve also spent quite a bit of time traveling and going to concerts. Some photo overviews:

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco
Eddie’s Shots of Churches and Other Stuff in SF
Keith’s Shots of Other Stuff in SF
Kris Kristofferson in Nashville
Eddie’s Shots of Nashville
Emmylou Harris in Indianapolis
Kris Kristofferson in Chicago
Indigo Girls in Louisville
Darrell Scott in Louisville
Patty Griffin in Louisville
Guy Clark in Chattanooga

All the good photos are by Keith.

Return of the Grievous Angel


It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with this blog. I’ve had the best of intentions, but you know how that goes. I’ve finally decided that maybe I need to give it another go, for a couple of reasons. The bottom line is that I like to write, or at least blather on about things. I always have, but don’t get nearly enough chance to do it. This blog gave me a regular outlet for my love of writing, and I really miss that.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past several months reading other blogs. Thanks should go to Johanna Draper Carlson, not only for her own blog Cognitive Dissonance, but for her great blogroll. Through her, I’ve discovered such treasures as Progressive Ruin, Postmodern Barney, Irresponsible Pictures, Fanboy Rampage and several others. I’ve been starting my day with them to see if I had the time to stay abreast of other bloggers and to see if I have more to offer the comics blogosphere than yet one more set of links to other pages.

Checking out other blogs does take some time, but it’s an activity that I enjoy rather than a chore. I’d be doing it even if I weren’t blogging, in fact. Where else can one get the occasional dose of rejected breakfast cereal mascots, Hawk and Dove, and Silver Age Lois Lane? The jury is still out on what I have to offer. I do know that I frequently find myself saying “Yes, but what about….” when I’m looking at other blogs, which means that I’ve got something I want to say. That’s a good starting point, at least.

So here I am trying again. Let’s see what happens.