Friday, February 29, 2008

Old Sensations

Got the first two DVD's of the first season of the 1980's Twilight Zone TV series in the mail today, and I have to say, it looks like it might have held up. More on this later.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shilling for Miss Glitter

I'm sure the whole point of Sony's marketing department putting Mariah Carey's new video on YouTube is to give the album a boost through viral marketing, such as having people add it to their blogs.

Well, let me not stand in her way. A good video deserves airing, I say. And it's got Kenneth. Kenneth, I say! Air it!

And, you know? I like the song...


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fat Packed

So, the transmogrification of the MacMini (the "Femputer," as it's more familiarly known) into the digital audio stronghold for Beadboard Manor has officially begun. I've decided to go with the Apple Lossless Encoder for the import - about five times the size of even the largest MP3, but still half the size of a CD and apparently, you know, lossless. Because I paid thousands of dollars over the years for all that CD quality audio, and just because the current paradigm is for crappy MP3 audio, doesn't mean I don't want to get my money's worth.

This may cause some problems with the iPod - I'm not sure if iTunes does or doesn't automatically make things into AAC or MP3 when you put them on the iPod, but I strongly doubt it. Which means that the iPod could hold maybe four hours of music, rather than twenty, unless we go through the trouble of converting before moving.

And, oy.

Anyway, the whole reason for importing is to get the CD collection out of the living room - and presumably into a nice storage box, somewhere - without losing CD quality audio, so the functionality of the iPod is just a bridge that will have to be crossed when we get to it... that is, unless I'm somehow burning that bridge as we speak.

Next up, when all this importing is done, will be some kind of wired/wireless connection from the Femputer to the living room stereo, and the smallest and cheapest monitor I can find to run it. Or, perhaps I'll run it remotely from the laptop?

This is a long-term project, so don't expect any brilliant answers from me until 2009 or so. Perhaps by that time I'll have a big ass flat panel TV that I'll hook up to the Femputer through Apple TV, or something, so the whole issue of a monitor will be moot.

I hereby solicit opinions on how badly I'm messing this up...


The Weirdest Thing Ever

Those who are not versed in the history of American comic books might not appreciate how truly, truly bizarre the subject of tonight's Rambler is. To make an analogy: imagine if you were a fan of, say, David Lynch. And you're also a fan of, say, Stephen King. Two artists with very distinctive voices that deal in many of the same themes, but with a wholly opposed set of sensibilities. And then you find out that King's next novel is going to be an adaptation of Mulholland Drive.

Jack Kirby was, coincidentally, nicknamed "The King of Comics." Over the course of his sixty-year career, there isn;t a comics genre that he didn't work in - from romance, to war, to horror, etc. - but his real claim to fame is as the man who visually and to a large degree thematically defined Super Heroes. He created or co-created so many famous characters that a partial listing will have to do: The Fantastic Four. The Hulk. Captain America. The X-Men. The SIlver Surfer.

He brought an unmatched visual dynamism and stunning design flair to comics, but he was never satisfied being 'just an artist.' After a decade of tremendous success collaborating with Stan Lee at Marvel, Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzburg, as Lee was named Stanely Lieber) left Marvel for complete creative control over his work at Marvel's chief competitor, DC Comics. There he wrote, drew and edited a string of books, where the cosmic themes he'd been developing at Marvel really bore fruit, with a saga known collectively as 'The Fourth World Saga,' where immortal gods on twinned worlds waged endless battle over control of transcendental knowledge - known as 'The Source' - and the power to control all sentient beings in the universe - known as 'The Anti-Life Equation.' Characters named Orion, son of Darksied, and the Black Racer, and Kalibak, and Granny Goodness and Scott Free (who escaped life in the terrible orphanages on the planet Apokolips) and...

...well, you get the point. Big, crazy cosmic themes. Fuck - these comics weren't just cosmic. They were Kozmic.

Anyway, the Fourth World stalled, most likely because while Kirby was a seemingly endless font of mind-bending ideas, his scripting - the dialogue and captions in comics - was tough sledding for most readers. So Kirby went back to Marvel, with the same complete creative control that DC had offered.

And then the weird thing happened.

In 1976, Marvel got the comic rights to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Kirby was the one who got the gig. Well, I won it off of eBay, it came yesterday, and I read it, and....



I honestly have no idea what to make of it. I feel the need to go out to a bar and get drunk and accost random strangers with questions and comments about it. I need to commiserate on this strange, dream-like object that I've finally held and read.

The main thing about it that comes to mind - apart from being the weirdest mix of elements I can think of - is the topic of adaptation from one media to another that most genre fans are constantly wrestling with.

It makes me wonder:

- at what point does a work pass its sell-by-date for adaptation? The film was first put into production in 1964 and released in 1968, but the comic came out in 1976.

- even those who don't like the film would have to acknowledge Kubrick as a singular cinematic artist. Kirby certainly holds the same title in comics. Can masters of two similar but fundamentally separate media have anything to say to each other in a situation like this?

- I'd have to imagine that Kirby was a fan of the film. But he definitely took liberties in his adaptation - some minor misinterpretations and changes in plot (which are understandable, given the film's impenetrability), and a wildly different tone overall. Where the film is famous for hours and hours of silence, KIrby's adaptation is captioned to death and full of invented conversations and hyperbolic dialogue. I'm not even sure how I feel about it. But it is an odd choice.

- When a work has the odd development history of something like 2001, is an adaptation into yet another media - even one that misses the spirit of the original work, like I feel Kirby did - really any kind of miscarriage? After all, the screenplay was a stitched together blend of a few Arthur C. Clarke stories, and developed those ideas further, and at the same time was being written as a novel by Clarke, which in turn has major differences from the film. It's kind of like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - sure, the radio is the original, but more people are familiar with the books or the TV show that the idea of authorial voice and intent gets somewhat lost.

I know I'm rambling, and I apologize. It's just SUCH a strange comic. Beautifully drawn - and I mean BEAUTIFULLY drawn - and I'd even say that the scripting is surprisingly readable.




Monday, February 25, 2008

Good... God...

I can't stop watching this clip. Sound up or down, doesn't matter. Under any other circumstances, this would be "NSFW," but it originally ran on daytime TV, so, there you go.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Still Nothing...

We continue the week of ellipses here at the Rambler, since I got not enough sleep last night and find myself racing the big hand and little hand as they both point vertical. Wait, that sounded odd, and kind of icky: I mean that it's getting close to midnight, I have an 8 AM meeting tomorrow and I'm still working on some stuff I need to finish for it.

So, no Rambler doesn't mean I don't care about you. It just means that I'm pretending that I'll get some work done tonight...


So, that went okay...

Played a show (on keys) with a NYC-based Pink Floyd tribute band tonight... and the audience seemed to think it went well. But I'm tired and have no idea what my opinion is. Maybe one will come to me in my sleep.


Friday, February 22, 2008

This I'll have to hear...

Something new and neat looking at the Blogger log-in page tonight:

"With GrandCentral, a free service from Google, you can receive phone calls and post voicemails right on your blog. Though GrandCentral is currently in a private beta test, bloggers can skip the wait and get a free account immediately. Sign up now

When you add GrandCentral’s WebCall button to your blog, your readers can easily call your phone or leave voicemails without ever seeing your telephone number."

I'm not even sure I get it, but it sounds pretty cool. Maybe after this weekend crunch is over, I'll give it a try.


Thursday, February 21, 2008


Now I'm over there, too. I'm not really sure if Facebook is really any kind of improvement on MySpace... and anyone who's known me for more than five minutes knows how much I hate every aspect of MySpace... but at least Facebook isn't a horrible, ghastly eyesore and extremely cynical popularity contest rolled into one. That would be MySpace.

I'd like to think that, at any rate. Is it possible that now that MySpace is in decline and with Facebook ascendant that Facebook could generate its own, say, Tila Tequila? Possibly. But even though both sites are fundamentally built on the premise of (shudder) social networking, something about the basic design of MySpace allowed it to mutate from a fairly clever band promotional tool into the ultimate high school yearbook signature collector's wet dream - a seemingly never ending parade of acquaintances that you can collect and tally like pogs.

No doubt, Facebook is too cute by half - and anyone who's signed up on it with any 'adult' goals of career advancement or any shit like that is seriously deluding themselves. My sister, possibly the most directed and career-minded person I know, has a page for her fucking cats. Which should give you some indication of what it really is - just a nicely tricked out, simply designed place for people to have a place to hang out online. Yesenia has put it to good use, finding friends she hasn't seen since high school, which is both a tribute to the easy search functionality of Facebook's networks, and also a comment on the unworkability of sites actually dedicated to keeping classmates in touch online - such as, oh, what's it called... Classmates?

But so what if people want to engage in a little trivial quiz about which Desperate Housewife they might be, and then post the results for everyone else to see? Really, the impulse behind it is no different than what I do with the Rambler every night. "Here's what I'm thinking about! Whee! Look at me, everybody!" In other words, it's a place to relax and play and just be a kid again. And what's wrong with that?

That's probably the big difference I see between Facebook and MySpace. The latter is, as noted, deeply, deeply cynical about human nature. What more proof do you need than the fact that it's now owned by Rupert Murdoch? But Facebook seems to be blissfully free of pessimism. Sure, it's goofy. Sure, it has little opportunity for genuine creativity. Sure, the way people trick out their pages with 'just whatever' has the potential to shade into cloyingness. Sure, it's probably another networking fad that will fade and be replaced by ',' but so what? It's all oddly sweet.

Anyhow, the best I could hope is to find a couple of more people to speak to as well, like Yesenia, since I seem to be running out of friends everywhere else. I wonder why?


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Great Things that Suck*

- Cold chinese leftovers when you're under the weather
- Pets that always need to be on top of you in the winter
- Hot girls
- New technologies
- Vintage instruments
- Freaky nightmares that you can't quite shake
- Uno
- Very, very, very, very spicy Lamb Vindaloo
- A Big Mac meal
- A Whopper meal
- A Wendy's Single meal
- Veganism
- Being an obsessive fan
- Expectations
- Sneezing
- That expectation you get before sneezing
- Gil Gerard


*(Apologies to Terry Laban for stealing his title)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Hidden Giant

Since the first incarnation of the Rambler over at the old Copper Man band site, for years - literally - I'd been threatening to do a large, long post about the band I consider to be the best of all American rock acts, The Byrds. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought I'd get to it, even recently toying with the idea of dissecting their catalog album by album, ala my (still incomplete, but it shall return) Pitchfork-inspired revisit to Pink Floyd.

But something always stopped me - and it's all right there in the first sentence of tonight's Rambler: "...the best of all American rock acts..." Well, that very simple statement right there requires a hell of a lot of parsing. For starters, the Byrds were rarely, if ever, an actual rock band. Sure, they have a couple of genuine straightforward rock songs in there, but for the most part the rock was just a coloring for their folk style, or psychedelic style, or country style, or whatever it was they were doing that week.

Sure, a lot of other bands from the 60's dabbled in all those genres - the Beatles leap foremost to mind - but even when the Beatles did something in as straight up a country style as they could muster (Ringo's take on Buck Owens' Act Naturally, for example), it was clearly a rock band playing at doing country. The Byrds probably found it harder to rock than anything else (not merely the fault of drummer Michael Clarke, who had never played a kit before joining the band), and given that most of the original members came out of folk and bluegrass, rock was not their native language and only something that was arrived at as a way to be a successful band.

The Byrds also become hard to define even as a band, with four of the original five members gone pretty much in the same number of albums. Anytime a strong songwriting voice came to the fore - chronologically Gene Clark with the first two albums, followed by David Crosby, and then Chris Hillman - they promptly left the band after only having just figured out what they wanted to say as writers.

The most well-known voice of the Byrds, Roger McGuinn, was always the least inspired of the writers, although he wrote well enough - but it didn't matter, because the Byrds of McGuinn were not a band of writers, but a band of interpreters. And every time a strong musician or writer left, a new voice came in to fill the gap, starting most noticeably with Gram Parsons...

...who himself left after only one album.

Anyway, I'm not here to praise or bury the Byrds, because I find that simply an impossible task. They were too good and too varied and too unique to perform any kind of compare and contrast with. The reason for this post tonight: I've been following Onion Music Critic Noel Murray's excellent Popless essays, wherein he's not listening to any new music for a year, and instead going through his entire record collection and seeing what he loves, what stays and what goes. I'll admit, I was waiting with baited breath for his Byrds evaluation, and was a little afraid that he'd skip them - but:

"...[The Byrds are on my] list of the greatest “American” bands of all time, with the parameters for inclusion being enduring influence and indigenous sounds ... In the world inside my head, no one argues about “The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones” without throwing The Byrds into the mix as an upstart contender."

And that about says it all. He does say a little more, and I encourage you to read the entire post - and I encourage anyone, ever anywhere who loves music to make the effort to know this band. It will be an effort, at first - lousy mixes and strange overdubs dog their albums the way decay and ignition dog nitrate film stock. But it will be worth it. The Byrds are the voice of America to me, going back all the way to the Carter Family and Woody Guthrie and affecting critical favorites Wilco and REM even today. Sure, they're responsible for the Eagles, but we'll forgive them for that.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

They Keep Pulling Me Back In

Well, it's official: got my invitation to my 20th high school reunion, today. Of course, just to show how much the world really has changed since 1988, it came in the form of a group email, with a link to a page on Jim had received it, and - being the only member of the local group who signed up with Classmates - forwarded it on to the five or six of us he knows who are not on.

And the response? Not so positive, by the looks of it. I definitely intend to go - hey, I've got the hot wife, now... how can I not go? I think it's like an obligation for formerly obese geeks with shapely spouses to turn up at these things. But the problem is that given my living, eating and exercise habits for the past eighteen months, I'm not so much 'formerly obese' as I'd like to be for this occasion.

But the date is set, and the gauntlet has been thrown. Can I lose twenty-five to thirty pounds between now and November 28th? If it were anyone else, the answer would be, duh, of course. But I'm me, and am very much a creature of lazy, recalcitrant habit. And nothing makes me want to do something less than feeling like I have to do it. You know?

Still. No matter how great my wife's boobs are, the effect will be lost if I show up with my own boobs.

To the gymnasium!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Suffered That You May Be Entertained

I guess I can't really blog about it in anything like giveaway detail, but I participated earlier this evening in the filming of a reality show. A goldurn prime time, network reality show, which goes against my core beliefs on so many levels that the fact that I paid $35 for the privilege and will most likely look like a pompous ass if I do make it on air will be the karmic comeuppance that I deserve for so cavalierly tossing my standards aside to participate.

Anyway, I signed some kind of non-disclosure thingy, so I guess I'll hold off any mention of what it was until it airs. Perhaps I'll be lucky, and the scab of the recently popped zit on my forehead will cause the editors to leave all my footage on the floor. Perhaps not.

So, that was my night. The day that prefaced it was spent mostly filing, which is something I abhor even on my best days. Yesenia as well, which means that we have literally almost a year's worth of bills, statements, and other fileable things stacked up all over the house, and stuffed randomly into paper bags. I made a substantial amount of headway, and even kept going after I found the missing tax document that prompted the filing frenzy in the first place.

Still, there's only so much decision making I can handle in one day, so I knocked off after a couple of hours. The rest of the week will be spent sporadically hacking away at what remains, and (if I'm lucky) firing up the shredder on the detritus of an earlier year to clear room in the filing cabinet.

All of which means that the next couple of Ramblers are going to be either dreadfully dull - really, is there any human endeavor closer to the empty-soul life of Limbo? - or excitingly inspired in contrast.



Monday, February 11, 2008

Three in a Series

Okay, my last half-assed post for the month. Promise. All following Ramblers for the month of February will be pure fat-packed chunks of greased wisdom from the fry-kitchen of my soul.

Curiously, while I've been barely grazing double-digits in my word count the last three nights, fellow bloggers Karl & Bubba have been (comparatively) writing up a storm - an odd occurrence, given their usually sparse posting schedule, but less odd when you consider that Karl is facing down another birthday, and Bubba has been house-bound with sick children, and there's only so much World of Warcraft that one man can handle. But if that one man is Bubba - and he can handle quite a bit of WOW, I assure you - the fact that he's blogged twice this past week really should indicate to you the depths of his boredom.

Go visit these fine gentlemen online now - their links are handily posted in the column to the left. And come back here tomorrow to see what I've been cooking.

Mmmmm. Smells like the subway!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Everyone I Know

Hey, you all were there. Write your own damn blog about it. I'm tired.

And Karl: post pictures, won't you?


Friday, February 8, 2008


A clean bill of health from a doctor's appointment when you specifically made that appointment because of some nagging condition is really about as mixed a blessing as you can possibly get in this life. Certainly, it's great to visit the optometrist and be told that - at the age of 37, even! - your vision is perfect and your eyes are disease free and come back in two years, why don't you? But it's not so great when the weird pressure in your left eye that's been there for about six weeks so far remains, and the best the doctor could say is, 'try some sinus medication.'


Twenty Years = One Giant Chasm of TV Standards

Yesenia & I are up to the end of season five of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and there are a few episodes I haven't seen - or, if I've seen them, they've totally slipped my mind. Most likely it's the former, because TNG is one of those things that wrote itself into my RNA. It's like muscle memory for me.

Anyway, last night had the oddest and creepiest episode I think I've ever seen of any Trek. Called "Cost of Living," I don't think I can really do it justice, but the gist of it is that hot-to-trot older woman Luaxana Troi comes on board to be married, and instead keeps taking Worf's five year old son to take naked mud baths. Really, as far as I can tell, that's both the plot and the theme: oversexed cougar obsesses about getting a young boy naked and sitting in a hot tub full of mud, along with some jugglers and acrobats. Really, it's creepy, and I have no idea what they were thinking.

There's some kind of vague b-plot about a life-form on board that's eating the ship, and I kept waiting for it to interact with the child abuse story, but nothing. It was such a strange episode. It's almost like I dreamed it. But no, there it is above: photographic evidence.

And the happy ending is that Luaxana decides that she's going to test her uptight fiancee, by showing to the ceremony starkers, which is the BetaZoid custom. But it's probably just because Alexander was there, and she wanted him to get one last look at her, just to really make sure that there's no hope of him growing up sexually well-adjusted.

And then the younger, hotter Troi (Luaxana's daughter Deanna) and Worf's disembodied head get into the mud with Alexander, Luaxana, the jugglers and the acrobats for the happy ending. Please don't ever let me watch that again. Maybe it's all the mud, but I feel really unclean, now.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Like a Record, Baby, Right Round

More of the same today - stacking, sorting, cleaning and generally enervating around the house. That's right, 'enervating' is used that way now. Welcome to 2008.

I did get out and vote in my first primary, which I guess is technically 'something different,' but not really.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Everything Might Go! Pt. IVa

I'd intended to write on the social aspects of the con tonight, but I'm feeling somewhat stuck in the theme of what impact the decision to winnow the Kopperman Collection has had on me, and the broader implications. To begin, I'll share Bubba's observations on my desire to remove something from my life that still has emotional meaning to me, from the comments section the other day.

Bubba wrote:
"I'll tell you 2 things.

1. Looking at those old star wars comics made me drool. I remember reading those when they came out. Going to M&M comics in Nyack, reading the Ronin in the corner, checking out the d&d modules on the shelf. I can understand not wanting to get rid of those things.


2. I can understand getting rid of those things. There is something to be said for a neat and tidy space. I think we share that in common. Not that my space is neat and tidy, but i desire it to be so. I don't have the need to horde and collect things. But I do hang on to some things for nostalgia. I would be perfectly happy to have everything in my life digitized. Movies, music, all form s of printed matter. Maybe a magazine sized viewing device that is able to call up anything I need."

I'm a little less thrilled at the digital revolution than you. I like my real media, but I'll admit that real media does require space. Both of our houses (yours and mine, that is) were built before the age of home entertainment libraries, so there's no space built in for anything, anywhere.

In fact, the only library in my house was built out of the original back porch, back in the '60s. I'm guessing that a lot of staring at woodwork was going on back in 1915, because that's all this house offered at that point.

I wish I liked reading digital comics, but I don't. It's a hassle no matter what device I'm reading them on. I strongly doubt there'll be any technology that can replicate that feeling of holding a comic and turning the pages. Although that's being rendered an obsolete experience even before the digital age fully impacts the industry, since more publishers are heading into a trade paperback only model.

Plus, and here's the bit that ties it back to the comicon - the age of the all-digital library will put an end to things like my being able to sell Amazing Spider-Man #300 for $20 ... because things like Amazing Spider-Man #300 will stop being produced.

I hadn't even realized that the whole real vs. virtual media debate was lurking behind my discussion of the Kopperman Collection over the last few days, but there's no denying that I've been thinking about strategies for best importing my CD library and getting those CDs out of the living room, where they seem both out of place and out of time. Perhaps the desire to purge the comics comes from a similar place. But while I've come to terms with the age of the MP3, it should be pretty clear that comics will never be able to work for me fully in a virtual environment. Maybe that's because their physical, 'pamphlet' form is much more an icon from my childhood. Who knows?

Still, my vintage records sound better than my CDs, and the MP3s only sound worse. I don't think it needs to be that way (and I am contemplating importing everything as uncompressed audio), but how far are we willing to sacrifice quality for convenience? I swear to God, more than Iraq, Gay Marriage, the Mortgage Crisis and Immigration Reform rolled into one, that's the real issue facing the American People today.

An interesting side note you may not know: I worked at M&M Comics for a year or so, maybe when I was 16.

How about you other riders? Any thoughts on the pros and cons of traditional media? Can you see yourself with a kindle and an iPod Pico and feeling the same level of contact with your music and your reading? At what point do the things you own turn the tables and start to own you?

And, perhaps the biggest unspoken question behind the shift to virtual media - which seems to entail reducing every item to pure information: which is more important to you - a memory of the thing, albeit a perfect one, or the thing itself?


Everything Might Somethings Did Go! Pt. IV

Comic Storage "Long Boxes."
Note: image lifted from Mike Manley's blog about the 2006 Baltimore Comicon.

Sorry the no Rambler Friday or Saturday nights - the combination of the sheer effort involved of digging through decades of unsorted comics and the tension of Thursday's accident took a lot out of me. But, mercifully, after all that, I had a really good time doing the convention - it was relaxing to hang out after two solid days of crap.

My initial approach was to make four sections - a longbox of random comics for ¢.50 a copy, a longbox of $1.00 comics, which were sorted by title, and a longbox of $2.00 comics, also by title, with some of the slightly more desirable stock. Lastly, I compiled some of my 'big ticket items' into a single short box (holds about 150 comics), which prices I would decide on the spot, with a little research in advance to guide me.

Since I didn't have the time or inclination to decide the fate and price my entire collection, I picked three titles that had some sales potential and led with those. They turned out to be: Hellblazer 1-50 (which the film Constantine was based on) the Transformers comic from the mid-80's, and Amazing Spider-Man 230 to 320 or so, with issues 298 up featuring the art of Todd MacFarlaine (best known to those outside of the comic and toy world as the crazy guy who bought the balls from the Magwire/Sosa home run derby) and featuring the first appearance of "Venom," a character familiar enough to anyone who has seen the third movie.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the three most highly-valued comics are the ones that tie in to successful movies. The desirability of these things are driven more by things like that than by anything resembling artistic merit. In fact, I rather preferred the art of Ron Frenz, a skilled and dynamic draftsman, over that of MacFarlaine, who replaced him. I liked MacFarliane's exaggerated, thin-lined cartoon style for a little bit, but month after month of it turned out to be too much for me, and this dislike was the reason I stopped buying the book at the time. Which shows what I know.

I noticed after a little while that while my instincts were on for the ¢.50 box, and the $2.00 box showed some movement, no-one was particularly interested in anything the $1.00 box had, so I grabbed a few titles from it, and some of the extra boxes I brought to sort and made a ¢.75 box. That did the trick, and some of that started to move.

Altogether, I think I grossed around $50 - that's $20 for a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #300 and then mixed sales from an amiable goateed guy about my age (another dealer, in fact) who made two trips through the cheaper boxes, adding up to another $30. So, minus the $12 for the (shared) table, I pulled $38 - $7.60 an hour (I started at 10), or just a little over NY minimum wage. Not thrilling, but encouraging enough. Hey, it's five Subway lunch combos!

One sorry kid came back to the table about five times, pawing at the Transformers comics in a less-than-careful way, but his dad never even enquired about the price, and the kid just kept making comments like, 'whoa, this is cool' to no-one in particular.

Jim, who shared the table with me and bought himself another one to cover his mixed collection of sports, film and comic merchandise, fared far worse, only getting about $8.00, and having to pay for the other table by himself. Still, the event was successful enough for the Church that hosted it, bringing in about $1500, so they're going to run another in April. Hopefully, they'll advertise a little more heavily this time around. I'm definitely up for another one - the next time I'm going to make less room for the $1 & $2 boxes - maybe compile them in one box, and then really punch up the ¢.50 and ¢.75 boxes.

I may also mix up the big ticket items I brought, to see if my complete run of Sandman or some other things move better.

That make be the trick - rather than thinking that it's going to be some major profit-making venture, just minimize the expenses and bring stuff that you really want to unload, to the point that you're willing to undersell and not have an anxiety attack about it afterwards. It helps that my desire to just get rid of the crap outweighs my belief that I can make any real money off of it by a wide margin...

That's enough on the economic angle. Tune in tomorrow for my sociological observations.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Collateral Trauma

I should blog about this at length, but I'm beat. Briefly: in slow traffic on the Cross Bronx, reached the bottleneck and it turned out to be a van stalled in the right lane. I was in the center lane, and there was a tractor trailer (minus the tailer) perhaps one car length ahead of me.

Then, some bright spark in the right lane decides to cut around the van. Not get in the middle land, mind you - just fit in between the truck and the van. He doesn't. Instead, the truck pins his car against the van and drags it along...

...just as the van owner comes around the front of the van, carrying a gas can...

...gets plowed over by the car, flips over and lands head-down on the pavement.

Meanwhile, the truck manages to stop, but the car has now (through some odd law of physics) completely jackknifed in front of the truck, and there they stop, t-boned.

I pull up ahead of the van and run out to offer what help I can. The guy is in seriously fucked up shape, clearly in a lot of pain, blood streaming down from his eye. The truck passenger is trying to help him. I break out the cell phone and call 911. Meanwhile, other, smarter people are setting up flares. First, an off duty EMT turns up. then the EMS, and a small army of (frankly, the rudest ever) firemen. I wait for the police to take my statement - after, of course, the ambulances head off.

The dick in the car? Just fine, thank you.