Thursday, September 21, 2006


And what's happened since the last time I did a blog post....

Well, we had to take my dad down to the hospital the other night. He's gotten out there and tried to use a handpump to air up one of the front tires on his riding lawn mower. I'm sure it really didn't need any air in it, but he's old and thought it was low, and can't seem to grasp the mechanics to use the small air compressor I recently got him, and thus, strained a couple of muscles in his chest. My mom, fearful as the mother-hen as always, took him down to the emmergency room where they ran all sorts of tests on him and discovered nothing was "wrong", but kept him over-night just for observation. He's back home and the next day I went down and mowed their entire yard and did the trim work just to keep him from over-doing it again.

Let's see...I bought a 10" Emerson color t.v. w/a built-in VCR recently for my pc room. I had a little B&W model that picked up a couple channels, but not much. At least with this one it's Cable-Ready and I can watch a flick on tape while in here working around if I wish. My t.v. in the living room has both a VCR and DVD player, and I may add a DVD to this one as well sometime. I only have around 3 dozen DVD's anyway, but literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of VHS tapes (most of which are in storage 'cause I don't have room for them here; been buying them since the early 1980's).

Speaking of watching things, I bought a copy of The Transporter and watched it. Not a bad flick at all, and I think I'd like to see the sequel.

Went by a local pawn shop yesterday where I discovered they'd gotten in a few boxes of fairly modern-type comics again, the better part of which were 3/$1.00 stuff. I pulled out quite a bit of good reading material, a lot of which was from the 1980's and early 1990's.

Among all of the bad stuff published in the 1980's (primarilly rip-offs of TMNTs), there were many gems being pubbed because independent printers saw a market in letting anyone with some cash print their own comics. This was also the time when such independent publishers such as First, Eclipse, Renegade,A-V,Warp Graphics and others made their mark; many of these creators are still doing work today, of course, in mainstream books. This also allowed a greater amount of freedom for the artist and writers on their material, without the restrictions demanded by the mainstream publishers (in particular, D.C. & Marvel).

So, among what I purchased, I got such comics as Scorpio Rose #1, and Cap'n Quick & A Foozle #1, both of which had great artwork by Marshall Rogers (and a tip o'the hat to anyone who recalls which character from D.C. "Scorpio Rose" - created by Steve Engleheart - was supposed to have been a continuation of in this form).

I got a couple of books with Giffen art, such as Trencher #1, and PunX #1 And other stuff like Negative Burn #11 (with work by Gaiman, Bolland, Barr, Moore & Feazell), and Mars 1 (w/work by Mark Wheatley). Along with these I picked up nearly 30 issues of V2 of Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Marvel), 4 issues of Tales to Astonish V2 (Silver-Age "Sub-Mariner" reprints), No.1 of the first D.C. Nathaiel Dusk L.S. (from 1984), and some udder stuff. All great reading material! Don't ever let anyone tell you there's not decent reading material in comics; no matter what time period comics have been pubbed, there's always something good if you just weed thru he crap.

And...Autumn in now upon us, and it began early here with leaves from my three large trees falling over a month ago. Now they're attempting to take over the yard with a blanket of dried-brown, so it won't be long until raking time. For the present I can still mow/mulch them up, but they'll eventually get too thick for that and I'll have to make piles of them, rake them onto a tarp and haul them to the far back of the lot for disposal. Give it about 2 more weeks and they'll really be covering everything.

Finally got rid of all of the rest of the old wood I had around here. I told my wife to either do "something' with it or I was going to clean up around the shop and toss it away. big mistake, I guess because she drew craft patterns on all of it and it took me over 6 hours to cut all of them out! least that's done and gone now.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Home Improvements"

Lotta stuff since my last post.

After working on it for a good two weeks I finally finished building my gardening shop (pictured above). For the past 4 years I've had the camper top off of the old S-10 pickup truck (which has long since been sold) lying in my back yard for sale. Since no one had bought it I thought perhaps I might be able to utilize it for something else.

So this "plan" began forming in my bizarre little mind that it'd make a good roof for a storage building of sorts. I just needed to formulate exactly "how" I was to build such a thing?

I knew it needed, Number 1, support, and I had it propped up on these 1 ft. by 14" squares constructed from pieces of 2X4's. These support pieces were used to stack and seperate trailers when these were delivered at my place of work, and would have otherwise just been toss in the garbage bin, so I salvaged 4 more of them from the last shipment of trailers we received, and stacked/nailed two of them together, one on top of the other, making 38" columns.

Nailed onto these columns were 2x4 planks approx. 86-1/2" in length on the sides, and 4' on the back. I now had a framework for a shop to support the roof. (In fact, I had considered even going higher with an extra block, but felt it might make the structure too unstable.)

I then proceeded to cut plywood the size of the back & sides. These were both nailed (and screwed) on the blocks to make walls. I left the opening in front so I could later make door for it. I sat the whole structure on flat pieces of wood just behind, and even, with my garage.

Then I painted the entire outside, measured and cut another piece of plywoof for the door which I attached with hasps and hinges, and put a lock on it. On the interior, I built a few shelves and added large screw-in hooks.

Then I sat the camper top atop the structure and drilled holes thru the edge bases and attached it firmly again with both nails and long screws. I made the door a few inches taller than the opening so that the door on the camper top itself could not be opened unless the wooden door was as well (just to keep someone from simply opening the camper top door and reaching inside).

It had first come to mind to simply use this as a storage shed for my mulch, but after setting it to one side I discovered I still had a great amount of space left over. I was also able to neatly store all of my gardening equiptment (hoes, rakes, shovels, trimmers, lawnmower and gasoline can, clippers, various loppers,etc.) within this space, and still it's not over-crowded. In fact, I still have some room for other odd misc. items. The hooks I placed inside on the 2X4 support planks helped a lot as I was able to hang several of the longer items. The entire structure measures around 6' tall and a bit over 7' in length.

It is, however, a stationary structure and I'm not about to break it all back down and take it with me if I ever move from this location.

And on to other topics...this past Labor Day weekend was a torture for myself and the one other guy that pretty much did all the work the whole weekend. If it wasn't one thing screwing up, it was another. I had gone to the bank for change for the registers on Friday, and even borrowed EXTRA money from the wholesale side just to make sure we had enough (especially since the banks were closed the following Monday), but even so, we ran out of one dollar bills Sunday afternoon. After calling around a half dozen other businesses I finally went to the local McDonald's and the manager there was nice enough to sell us an extra $60., which finally made it through the day.

Then I hurt myself that afternoon loading an engine hoist (or, cherry picker for those familiar with the term). Someone bought one and I went to load it, putting it on a two wheel hand-truck and pulling it out of the front area, backwards. Unfortunately I had forgotten that the boss had put all of the mulch on special for the weekend and had sat a pallet of mulch directly in front of the entrance gates. I tripped backwards on the pallet and fell. The mulch was soft, but I narrowly missed having a three inch stalk of wood (that had penetrated one of the bags) stab me in the sholder, and the hand-truck took the blunt of the cherry-picker, but still the 200 lb. object came down on me pretty hard. I had to have some people help lift the thing from me, and I proceeded to load it. I got pretty banged up from the thing. In fact, it broke the little finger on my left hand right at the top joint, on which now I'm wearing a finger splint. Otherwise I'm sore and a little brused, and just lucky that it didn't crack open my skull.

My former son-in-law came by for a short visit with the grandkids Sunday as well. My how they have grown. The oldest, Garrett, it 13 and taller than me, and the youngest, Madison, is nine, and just a little bundle of sweetness! It was great to see them again as they live down in Tennessee, well over a hundred miles from here, and our visits are scarce these days. Charles (my son-in-law) has finished 3 tours of duty in Iraq. He "thinks" maybe now he won't have to return there (which is great news).

Finally heard from a seller on eBay about a couple of lots of The L.E.G.I.O.N. I had won back over a month ago. After three emails without replies I called his phone number. He discovered they had never been mailed. He searched for the lots and found one of them, but not the other. But he emailed me today saying he would send that one lot he did find, along with a refund for the other, and even a refund for my postage costs, so now, all is well with that.

Items I have gotten in are copies of The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1 (from 1982; this was one of the designs used for this year's DC Postage Stamps), 4 misc. issues of Marvel's Jungle Action (from the 1970's featuring "The Black Panther"), a high-grade copy of Action Comics #323, a copy of Superboy V1 #171 (which is where he first meets "Aquaman" as a teenager), and a 1969 issue of Charlton's Jungle Jim #22, which was the first Charlton issue and has some really nice work by the team of Wally Wood & Steve Ditko(or, visa versa).

The guy that supplies misc. back issue comics to our local bookstore came this week and left some interesting stuff at a buck-fifty a pop, so I picked up copies of Gladstone's Uncle Scrooge Adventures #13 (with a new Don Rosa cover and a nice Barks reprint), a Disney Donald Duck Adventures #1 (with both a Rosa cover and a new 12 page story by him), #'s 6 & 7 of the V for Vendetta Limited Series (written by Alan Moore, of course), and a copy of the Topps' title, Silver Star #1 (created by Kirby) that was still sealed in a bag with some trading cards, so this has been a good comic book day for me!

Also I'd like to give a new comic creator/publisher a plug here. James Matthew Banks Jr. under the Leviathan Comics banner has published a new title called Doctor Leviathan and can be had from him by visiting his web site here. So visit his site, check out his work, and order a copy of his comic you cheap bastards. Yeah. Like a few bucks are going to make or break you. ( I'm a sucker for helping out new comic creators. Guess they remind me of myself all those years ago *heh*).

Take Care and Keep In Touch.