Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brainstorm - I Has One

I've been struggling with what to do with the 5,400 or so comic books that I've collected over the past 25 years, that are now occupying over 15 long boxes in my home office, with another 25-30 coming in every month. There are probably a 1,500 or so that I have no intention of getting rid of, but the other 4K are just taking up space. I did give a jam-packed full long box to my nephew for his birthday a few years ago - a couple of years each of Avengers, Captain America and Fantastic Four - that was unfortunately lost in my sister's house fire last fall but I pretty much have every other book that I've ever bought.

A few years ago I could have sold a bunch of them to the local comic book store for 40-50% of their value in store credit, but I never got around to it and most shops aren't even buying anymore. I've looked into eBay and there are certainly a lot of comic sales going on there, but then I think about the hassle and time to grade each book (which is pretty subjective despite some well-accepted guidelines), photograph or scan then and post them on eBay, board-and-bag them then ship them out for probably no more than the shipping charges. Not worth my time. I've also thought about the comic marketplace function of, whose software I'm using to catalog everything, but that really doesn't reduce the hassle factor.

So while I was riding into work today I had a revelation. I don't want to just start throwing books in the trash without some attempt to find homes for them, but I don't want to spend a lot of time and effort and money making that attempt, so why not give them away via the Interwebs? My initial thinking is that I'll set up a blog specifically about the comics, list the books in lots on the blog a few at a time and on a first-come, first-serve basis send 'em out to first responders for the cost of shipping. No boards, no bags, just a padded envelope and US postage. If you're local, arrange to meet me and buy me a beer at Tyler's Taproom or Top of the Hill and they're yours. If there's no interest in a particular lot, then the landfill is probably the right place for them anyway. And I won't have to worry about some geekboy arguing that the Incredible Hulk #294 that I sold him as NM was only VF because of some microscopic chip out of the spine.

I've got some prep work to do (setting up the blog, doing some publicity, updating my PayPal account, checking on shipping costs) that will have to take a back seat to getting ready for the Meadowmont street fair (selling photography, not comics) but I ought to be ready to get going by late August, if not sooner. I've got some pretty good stuff that I'm willing to let go of, like the Grant Morrison runs of Doom Patrol and Animal Man, the Peter David run of the Hulk, other good stuff. The only titles that I'm pretty sure I'm not parting with are the X-titles, including my almost-complete run of New Mutants and some of the landmark 80s stuff like Dark Knight, Elektra:Assassin and the Watchmen. And Flaming Carrot - nobody gets the Flaming Carrot. Or the 4-issue Frank Miller Wolverine mini-series. But pretty much everything else will go, one way or another.

More soon!


Monday, July 14, 2008

Vantage Point

Via BoingBoing. Those more literate than myself are refering to this as a real-life Rashomon moment - I'll admit that I had to look up what the hell they were talking about, but I'm a doofus.

First Jeff tried to order what he wants from the Murky Coffee in Arlington and when the barista snootily won't let him have it his way, he creates his own solution to the problem, makes a bit of a scene and then blogs about it.

I just ordered my usual summertime pick-me-up: a triple shot of espresso dumped over ice. And the guy at the counter looked me in the eye with a straight face and said “I’m sorry, we can’t serve iced espresso here. It’s against our policy.”

The whole world turned brown and chunky for a second. Flecks of corn floated past my pupils, and it took me a second to blink it all away.

“Okay,” I said, “I’ll have a triple espresso and a cup of ice, please.

He rolled his eyes and rang it up, took my money, gave me change. I stood there and waited. Then the barista called me over to the bar. I reached for it, and he leaned over and locked his eyes with mine, saying “Hey man. What you’re about to do … that’s really, really Not Okay.””

Then we hear from Carl, another patron who was at the Murky at the time, writing in his own blog.

After the customer left the counter, the barista was fuming and told his coworker, “I almost told that guy not to come back.”

Thanks, Nick, for hiring such helpful young people who uphold basic tenets of customer service. Where would the world be if customers could get what they wanted? This young fellow did a good job protecting the ignorant customer from cold espresso.

Barista guy - get over it. It’s just coffee, not a matter of safety or health, and the guy knows how he wants it.

Of course, Nick, the owner of the Murky, has to get his two cents in on the store blog:

Okay, we don't do espresso over ice. Why? Number one, because we don't do it. Number two, because we don't do it. Mostly for quality reasons. Also, because more than half the time, it's abused (Google "ghetto latte").


No modifications to the Classic Cappuccino. No questions will be answered about the $5 Hot Chocolate (during the months we offer it). No espresso in a to-go cup. No espresso over ice. These are our policies. We have our reasons, and we're happy to share them.

There's much more, including comments in some of the above blogs from additional vantage points and Jeff's stupid comment about coming back with kerosine and matches (not smart to even joke about) being taken as a threat by Nick. Gotta say that I'm with Carl. It's just coffee. But then I delight in going into Starbucks and insisting on ordering small, medium or large. What the fuck is a "vente" anyway - is that medium or large? Why should I have to remember that? It's just coffee.

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Don't know what it means when you go to a sleep clinic and don't sleep. That's not entirely accurate - instead of falling asleep within 5 minutes of head -> pillow contact, I lay there in the dark for well over an hour (it felt like at least 5 hours, so I'm assuming it was an hour or so) before I eventually did fall asleep. Only to dream of being in a sleep clinic, but this one was in a rustic farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and of mistakenly driving down the wrong side of a divided highway.

The tech that conducted the study woke me up around 5:40 and removed the contacts (including a solvent to get the goop out of my hair, so I apparently had a better tech than K). I honestly have no idea if they got enough data or not and probably won't for another couple of weeks - I assume I'll do at least one more sleepover, either to gather more data or to see how I do on a CPAP.

Honestly it was not an unpleasant experience and I have no idea why I had so much trouble falling asleep, unless it was lack of beer (it's certainly possible that I've become somewhat dependent on having a couple of pale ales to get to sleep) or the fact that I was sacking out an hour and a half earlier than usual.

Getting to work an hour early didn't start my day off right either, but I did use the time to catch up a little bit.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wired Up

Arrived at the Sleep Clinic just before 7pm. Had a few minutes to put stuff away in the room before the attendant came in to go over the procedure with me. Had time to watch most of an episode of "WKRP" on WGN before she came back to wire me up, which unfortunately preempted the "Tornado" episode of said WKRP. I'll probably watch the tube for most of the rest of the evening (The Simpsons for the moment) but I'll try to check back in before bed.

No beer on a Sunday and no coffee after noon has made for a weird day. But at least I don't think there's any chance I won't get to sleep tonight.