Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Live-Blogging Hallowe'en

You all know by now that I'm a big fan of Hallowe'en, and I adore handing out candy and comics to kids who visit us the night of October 31st. I consider it my favorite holiday, in most respects. The neighborhood kids have begun to appreciate that we give out good loot, as well.

I've kept a history of our Hallowe'ens on this blog. In 2002 we went to the in-laws house and gave out comics (and pretended to give out pugs as well). It was a good year. In 2003 is was a Friday Hallowe'en, and we got 19 Trick or Treaters. I started my tradition of aiming a space heater out the door to help the kids warm up when they came by. In 2004, the year of the amazing loot bag, we got 20 visitors on a Sunday night, our all-time high. The next year, 2005, we had a low number of visitors, but the absolute best compliments so far. In 2006 we got 18 Trick or Treaters.

This year we're going to add another piece of loot. In addition to three mini-comics, one full-sized comic book, and a full-sized candy bar, we're giving out 8oz cans of Jones Soda.

Goodies Picture

I also found a handful of Pokemon trading cards that I inserted randomly in the Marvel ashcan. The flavors of the soda are "Gruesome Grape", "Strawberry Slime", "Lemon Drop Dead", and the evil one, "Candy Corn" YUCK! The candy bars are a Costco 30-count variety pack (M&Ms, Skittles, Starburst, 3 Musketeers, and Snickers).

3:30 pm: I've finished putting up the welcome signs, pumpkins in the windows, the orange lights. I've got the candy bars and sodas in bowls and the comics stacked for easy distribution. The space heater is aimed at the door. Last year's first Trick or Treaters came at about 6 pm, so I'm trying to keep myself relaxed until then. Eric will be home sometime after 5 pm, so he probably won't miss anything. With the longer daylight hours tonight, I expect many kids will wait a bit longer before going out.

5:00 pm: Lights and heat on. It's still very light out, but cloudy and looks like it might rain a little tonight.

6:00 pm: Eric's home. Still no visitors.

7:00 pm: First three showed up! Early teens, I'm not really sure what they were dressed up as, just that they were dressed up.

7:02 pm: Two more! Tiny Tim and a skater. That makes five!

8:05 pm: Nothing for an hour now. Eric had to run down to the store to get an onion for dinner tonight. But it's quiet as the grave out there.

8:40 pm: Only once have we had any Trick or Treaters later than 8:40... so I suspect that we're only going to get the five we've gotten so far this year. A massively disappointing total.

9:30 pm: Two more! Yay! They were stunned by the amount of stuff we gave out. I told them each to take two candy bars. We hardly need 20+ candy bars sitting around tempting me. Two girls dressed as French Maids.

10:00 pm: Closing up for the night. Only seven children. How depressing. Worst night ever.


Happy Hallowe'en!

Happy Hallowe'en!

from Adventure Comics #193 (Oct 1953), art by Ramona Fradon


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

I want a Kitteh!

Awesome page of original artwork, congrats Heidi!

Batman: Master of Timing!

Voting Scandal in Round One of Comic Book Idol. Oops. Voting for round three starts tomorrow.

Shipping delays on One More Day and Green Lantern. Hrm.

Shirtless men go shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch, a store that celebrates the naked male torso, but apparently doesn't appreciate customers displaying their own. Note that two guys who were in the act of BUYING SHIRTS were kicked out.

I'm a bit late on this, but Mike Sterling reports on the fires in California, with pictures. Newsarama has a roundup of reports from Comic Book folks. Has anyone heard how Eric Shanower fared? He lives in San Diego.

The Beat on a teacher fired for showing kids The Simpsons Movie. Apparently a cartoon doodle is too much nudity.

Vampire Cupcakes that Bleed. Yum!

Folded Paper Batman, but I want directions on how to do the V for Vendetta mask, personally.

Fear through the ages.

Spoiler: It's a candle holder.

Bill Watterson cartoons prior to Calvin and Hobbes.

Reverse Graffiti artist gets the government to clean tunnels.

Red Fountain.

For the in-laws: Pug Unicorn.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Thoughts

Numb3rs goes graphic... I heard about it first from Colleen Doran, then Wil Wheaton reported that he will have a part in the episode. Wil then reported from the set, which Colleen blogged. And of course, Warren Ellis also put in a thought.

Wake Up Call (for the one or two people who haven't seen this yet):

Via Cute Overload, the full history of Winston, in blog entries.

Haunted Houses on the real estate market... do realtors have to disclose that information?

Kitten Lasers Charging.

Comcast Block Bible Downloads. Yeah, yeah, they are really blocking BitTorrent traffic, but it makes for an impressive headline, doesn't it?

Do you eat your breakfast cereal so slowly that it gets soggy before you finish? Boing Boing has a bowl for you.

The days of BBS and yore, when 9600 baud was fast.

Mmmmmm, Pumpkin Pocky.

And a book to definitely see: 900 pages of Hembeck. Me want.

Doctor Who: Ghost Light in LOLspeak.

Not Safe For Work - Comic on Cancer Awareness is shut down on a university campus.

For the in-laws: Pug Paw Power! and Baroo?

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Random Thoughts

Lots of links from the land of catch-up...

Yay! More Wallace and Gromit on TV!

The Top 10 Scientists who Committed Suicide.

The Appendix isn't so useless after all.

Colleen Doran on the Schultz biography.

The Library of Congress uses the Wizard of Oz to Promote Literacy. Cool.

Do you sort of want to keep people off your lawn, but more just want to have a fun excuse to set up an automatic spray system? Here's the site for you.

Sewing Machines Turn Drudgery Into Pastime!

The rule of thirds using Photoshop. I'm not sure I entirely understand it, but there's some photographic truth there that I almost grasp...

The Life and Death of Jesse James, an internet love story with guest hero Harlan Ellison.

Parents are critical to the success of their children in school. Without parents, teachers cannot accomplish much.

Simon Pegg as Scotty??!??? I just cannot wrap my head around it. Sorry.

How to Wash Your Hands.

Shipping Containers as Housing. I actually wouldn't mind a shipping container to use as a garage for a second car. I suspect I couldn't afford it.


Chronicle of A Japanese Funeral.

Diversity begins at home, says the creator of Unshelved, as his family is featured in a Seattle Times article.

For the in-laws: Funniest Pug Contest Winner.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hey, More Links

Still trying to catch up...

Fighting Spam and digitizing books. Check out reCAPTCHA, including the ability to start adding words too.

Keith Topping's Doctor Who Fan Phrasebook Part 2.

Ah, funny ads. But even better than the ads themselves was the coverage on the local news station, that decided to make their own "overreacting weather reporter". It was great.

School Libraries. I don't know about other folks experiences, but my High School library sucked pretty hard. I spent hours in both of my Middle School and Elementary School libraries, but only entered the High School library when required.

Roomba owners love their robots. But then, I name my cars and computers, so I can't really talk.

LEGO Endless are very cool.

Sputnik - One Man's Dream. Also, read Laika by Nick Abadzis if you can. It's excellent. Checked it out from the local library.

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #123, Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #124, Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #125, and Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #126.

Wil Wheaton talks about an asteroid.

Handbags of Horror. Expensive and Ugly.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

More Links

Still trying to catch up with my blog reading and links.

Dan DeCarlo is Betty's Favorite Artist, or at least, he WAS.

A first-hand account of the fires.

The Placebo Effect, it can reduce pain, but not much else.

Watch the animation as a comet's tail is ripped off.

If this article is correct, I ought to eat more chocolate. Hmmm, 45g a day. That's a LOT.

Don't eat less, just change your plate? Might work for some people.

This Spiral-cut potato looks really good. I'll take one of those for my lunch, thanks.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Car Update

It didn't die. They still aren't sure what the problem is. So the car is back with Eric with the hope that the wires they tightened will fix the issue.

And my car is waiting for parts.

I'm still in a fog, so nothing actually interesting is going on here on my blog. Sorry.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Continuing Opera of our Car Woes

So... Eric's shop couldn't determine the problem this morning. The car refused to die. They flushed the fuel system and were able to rule out bad gasoline. Otherwise... they just don't know. So one of the mechanics plans to take the car home tonight, with a full toolbox, and see if he can get it to die while he's driving it today or tomorrow morning. Let's all hope he manages to get the car to die.

In the meantime, my car needs to go to my shop tomorrow morning to fix the problems we knew about when I bought the car. So Eric gets the loaner tomorrow, and I finally get my own car back, yay!

What we really need is another car to replace Eric's, but despite my careful work getting mine, we can't afford another one.

The stress has caused a fibro flare-up, which has resulted in a mental fog, which is why I'm not doing more proper linkblogging or Aquaman reviews. I just can't think. I'm just barely managing to keep the car mess sorted out.


Is California Sinking Burning?

Is California Sinking

My best wishes and hopes go out to everyone in San Diego and the other affected areas.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pardon Me While I Scream

Eric had a high school job this morning, so he was headed out the door while I was just getting up and ready for work. Just after I'd made my morning pot of tea, Eric called. His car was dead again. And he wanted me to cancel his job so he could take the car down to his shop and figure out this problem once and for all.

Instead, I suggested that he take Cody to work while I dealt with his car. He agreed, as he makes more money than I do so it frankly makes more sense for ME to miss a day of work than him.

So I got down there, the car was in our local QFC parking lot partially blocking the exit. Eric took Cody, after we attempted to push Eric's car further out of the way and didn't get very far. The steering wheel was locked, so I tried the engine. It started. GRRRRRR. I pulled the car out of the way, then attempted a few turns in the parking lot. The car died a couple of times.

Eventually, thinking wistfully of my pot of tea sitting under a towel on the counter at home, I decided to risk a drive home. I called AAA and canceled the tow, then nursed Eric's car home. It died three times on the way, but made it.

I had my tea (still warm!) and a quick shower, then called Eric's shop to let them know. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to risk the drive (14 miles) to the shop, or if I should call AAA for a tow. I'm leaning towards the tow. Updates when I get back...

Update: I must be nuts. I decided to try to drive down to Eric's shop. And guess what? That's right, no problems. The car made the whole trip just fine.

Once there, we had a little discussion, with the first question being "what sort of gasoline do you use?" Apparently that was asked in big letters across the top of Eric's car's record in the computer. Well, usually we fill up at the local Chevron, but lately we've been filling up at Costco to save money. Well, the mechanics had another theory as to why the car was misbehaving, and it had to do with temperature, gasoline quality, and clogged valves. They decided to keep the car overnight to run full diagnostics in the morning, since that seems to be when the problems usually happen.

My decision to drive to the shop, and the fact that I had no problems once I did so, strengthened the theory that it's some sort of clog in the system. If it was a loose wire in the ignition, which was my favorite theory last week, the car should've continued to have problems this morning, and I shouldn't have been able to drive it to the shop. But it's difficult to say for sure. Any time a car dies for no apparent reason then behaves once it gets to the shop... well, that's when it gets hard to figure out what's going wrong.

In the meantime, I was stuck, as Eric has my car. So they gave me a loaner car for the duration. It's not the best solution, but at least I'm not vehicle-less.


Monday, October 22, 2007


This blog is a bit like an onion. I try to peel back the bits that people don't want to read, and put them elsewhere, leaving just the sweet tasty core. But despite my best efforts, it sometimes just stinks. At the moment, things are a bit stinky, thanks to me being about a month behind in my blog reading and linking...

Interview with Eric Shanower.

UFO buzzes Weird Al concert, pilot is then invited on stage by stormtroopers.

A copy of Detective #27 found?

Phil and Kaja Foglio show how it ought to be done.

Brian has a story about Steve Epting and a non-existent contest. Whereas Mark Bagley's contest was real.

The House on the Hollywood Freeway.

The plane can take off. No, really. Unless the conveyer belt is more than just a normal conveyer belt, and can somehow cancel out the force of the jets/props of the plane, the plane will take off. The problem doesn't state that the conveyer belt is magical, though... so the plane will take off.

Dalek Cufflinks.

For the in-laws: Sheldon on pugs.

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Five Years...

...and counting. October 22nd 2002, October 22nd 2003, October 22nd 2004, October 22nd 2005, and October 22nd 2006.

The goal of this blog was originally just to get me to write or express something every day. I think I've accomplished it. Now I'll just keep it going.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007


Tomorrow marks five years since I started this blog. I'll have to pull together a blog entry with some thoughts... but that's tomorrow. Tonight... sleep is good.

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The Name of the Car

The minivan, of which I've complained bitterly about here on this blog, was named "Vincent" for obvious reasons. Despite my complaints, Vincent was a great van that lasted a long time and served me very well for many years.

Our other car is named "Benny", which is technically short for Bernadette. Benny's middle name is "Surprise!" like Bernice Summerfield in the Doctor Who books... because she was a bit of a surprise.

Benny replaced Wanda the Honda, who belonged to Eric's mother before being passed along to Eric.

Other named cars in Eric's family include two volkswagens named Victor and Victoria, two pickups named Henry the Goer (until it broke down and became Henry the Stopper) and Clanky Franky, and two vans named Cliburn and Morrison. Eric also had a Fiesta he wanted to name Paco, but it came to be known as Fester instead.

So we wanted to come up with an appropriate name for my purple Chevy Cavalier and continue the tradition. I got a lot of GREAT suggestions here on the blog, but none of them seemed to fit. So it was with a little surprise that, while driving the car today, I blurted out the name "Cody" in referring to it. I have no idea where the name came from, but it really sounded right. And the car didn't seem to object to it, either.

My car is now named "Cody the Cavalier". And hopefully that's all you'll be hearing about it on this blog for a good long time.


Saturday, October 20, 2007


Have I mentioned how nice it is that we can get movies from the library so we don't have to rent them?


Friday, October 19, 2007

I Got It

So, now my question is... what do you name a Purple 1997 Chevy Cavalier?

Update: How I Got My Purple Car.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Storm

The first big windstorm of the season, the remnants of a typhoon, is moving in right now. I can hear it outside as the wind builds. We've been told to expect power outages and all the usual. Assuming I don't have worse problems tomorrow due to the storm, I plan on going car shopping then. In the meantime, if you don't hear from me... it's probably just a power outage...

Update: two power outages so far. I can see and hear transformers blowing in the area. I wonder if this will keep on?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cheers To Tad!

I didn't think anyone could possibly wrap the current Aquaman storyline up to my satisfaction... but Tad did it. So, maybe it's not the note I wanted the series to go out on, but it tied the entire series together, fixed a couple of continuity problems, set the Sword of Atlantis on a quest, and left the character open for other uses as well.

Now... is the Sword of Atlantis going to be in Outsiders, or not? I'm getting definite "NOT" vibes from DC.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rental Return

Ok, the rental is back, and yes, they gave me a ride home (thank goodness!). I now realize I was much more stressed about having a rental than I realized, as I feel like one weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Ok, so I'm stuck at home with no transportation, but at least I'm not responsible for taking care of a rental car.

I've been checking out bus routes. Seattle has a lousy transit system, but it can be made to work. Unfortunately, the timing is extremely bad on the bus routes I would consider taking. And pretty much all the routes require me to walk at least a half mile (up to a mile and a half) to get where I'm going. It's not an attractive alternate, but other people have it worse. I'm counting my blessings.

Eric's car continues to have problems. There is clearly a bad wire in the ignition system somewhere. Eric used my trick to fix it, and it worked. The thought makes me slightly ill though, as David Oakes put it: "There is rarely anything wrong with a delicate piece of electronics that violently wrenching side to side won't fix." I feel like there's a good chance that it'll break something else...

Now I'm trying to break out of my depression, but not even good old Silver Age Aquaman is doing the trick for me. Hunting for viable used cars is a draining effort.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Frankenvagen Disaster Update

I have to return the rental tomorrow. I'm also going to have to apply for the car loan soon, and see if we can even get it. To make things just a little worse, I'm getting really sick now. And I'm not sure how I'm going to get back from returning the rental. I hope they'll give me a ride.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

I've Got Nothing To Say

So go read some funny signs instead.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh, What A Week

Time to sleep.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Frankenvagen Disaster, Day 6 - GOOD NEWS!

Hi, gang. Eric posting here, while Laura writes thank you e-mails to all of our kind friends. And there's actually some good news to report on the whole situation. I took my car — the one that died in the driveway Sunday morning and changed the whole situation from unfortunate lack of a vehicle to a disaster — into the shop today to see if they could offer an explanation and/or repair. The first bit of good news is that I was actually able to get it to the shop, under its own power, with no breakdowns or loss of power or anything of the sort. In fact, it all seemed frustratingly normal. Go fig. When I checked their progress that afternoon, they had done numerous tests and couldn't replicate anything. Between my mechanic, me, and Laura (on the cell phone), we deduced that Laura twisting the wheel when it locked up the other day may have actually gotten all the contacts in the ignition system all lined up again. I was tempted to leave it there the rest of the day and let them try a few more tests, but they didn't think anything would turn up. So I paid them for their time (a very nominal amount, and worth it for the peace of mind) and went on my merry way. The drive home was also uneventful, even with a few stops, so I'm going to chalk up the troubles to a quirk of having just gotten a new cable and battery, and all is now good, until it decides to conk out on me again.

Long term? Laura needs a new car first, but once that's under control, I want a new one, too. Mine is a 1992 Accord, which doesn't sound that old...until you do the math.

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Unrelated to Anything Else

Today's morning weigh-in shows that I've lost 100 pounds since I started my efforts on June 10th 2006. I guess that huge lunch on Wednesday wasn't as much a setback as I was expecting it to be.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Day of Rest

I've spent the entire day forcing myself to relax. I had a visit from a friend to help cheer me up, otherwise I've had as slow a day as I could manage. I'm now eyeing the comic books from the last three weeks and considering diving into them. Tomorrow is going to be a big day, with the tow of Eric's car and me returning to work for the first time since the weekend. I've had some promising news, so things continue to look up. Maybe I'll even get back to Aqua-blogging soon. But today... today I rest.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Frankenvagen Disaster - Day 4-ish

Today was supposed to be the light day. Basically: let my sister come up and retrieve her car. She called in the morning to let me know that she would be out at 11:30 with my mom, and that they planned to take me to lunch. Ah, operation cheer-me-up!

They arrived about the time they said, with a prepared dinner for hubby-Eric and I tonight. Then the three of us went to lunch downtown, then the bakery for some sweets. My diet is officially set back by about three days by how much I ate. I don't care. I haven't eaten out in awhile, and it was great!

Then my mom went home, but my sister hung around to take me out to pick up my comic books. I'll note here that Eric and I prepay for our comics, and roughly half of the comics we read anymore are paid for by a friend who lets us read them first. Thus I just needed to pick up comics for this week. Part of me isn't sure why I'm bothering, as I haven't actually read a new comic book in three weeks due to depression. But then, Eric's been keeping up with them, so I guess it's all good. We also stopped by the grocery where my sister paid for a couple of needed items I had to pick up.

Then, because Automax is really good at fixing cars but really bad at calling people back, my sister drove me to my shop to check and see if they had gotten the CD player out. YUP! I settled the bill with them, and took my player with me. They also urged me to bring any used car I was looking at by the shop for a check before purchasing, and suggested I don't buy anything older than 1996 (I was thinking of avoiding anything pre-2000, myself). I saw the van in their yard attached to a tow truck, about to be towed to the scrapheap.

For the rest of the afternoon I've been putting together a list of "needs/wants/would be cool" for my replacement car. So far the only things on the "needs" list are heat and reliability. Theoretically it shouldn't be hard to find a car with those two attributes. My "wants" list is a lot longer, and I'll try to get some of those in my vehicle as well. I suspect none of "would be cool" will make it, unless I get really lucky. While we still don't know how we're going to pay for it, we at least are in no immediate danger of being unable to pay our bill for the rental and repairing Eric's car, thanks to the help of folks on-line.

As for the cyberbegging, it's soul-reducing and painful. While the help is much appreciated, the fact that it was needed is humiliating. Which is why I plan to keep track of the money exactly and pay it forward like any other debt. At the moment, I don't believe we need any more. I think we're good, unless the problem with Eric's car is much more severe than expected. I'll leave the original post up, but any more money will go into reserve to help pay for the replacement car. After I post this, I plan on hiding the Frankenvagen bit from the sidebar. I thank all the folks who contributed. The response humbled me, as I really wasn't expecting it. I am in your debt.

Now allow me to lean on you all once more. Besides my desire for happy stories, if anyone has any advice on what sort of car to get or what kind to avoid, let me know. Yes, I'm looking for opinion. I'm also working on a budget, if anyone has any idea how much I should expect to pay for a good used car (as opposed to a junker), please make a comment. I know, I know... costs range all over... but I'm not entirely sure where I'm starting. Buying a car is a new experience for me.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Happy Stories Wanted

Ok, I need some serious cheer. The donations have helped on the financial side, and the aching heartburn of fear is dying down. But the depression is just getting started. If you can think of one, post a cheerful story in the comments. A goofy slice of life. A dumb joke. Something light-hearted and inoffensive.

I don't have much to give myself, I'm afraid. But there is one tiny thing I found amusing about the whole thing. The tow truck that came to pick me up on Saturday after the van broke down... when he reported in I found out that his truck number was my lucky number.


Frankenvagen Disaster - Day 3-ish

When I woke up this morning, I knew what t-shirt I was going to wear today. I know, that's a pretty strange introduction, but what can I say? I have the perfect shirt for it. A long time ago, on Zazzle, I created a t-shirt that reads: "I'm blogging this." with my blog's URL. So I'm putting the folks I'm dealing with today on notice. I AM blogging this.

I also designed a new t-shirt for these trips: "Be Nice or I'll Blog about you". Can't afford to buy it, but it amuses me greatly. I think it would be great with a blog's URL on the back. An aside: originally I used any money we got from Zazzle for our monthly "eat out" meal. Now it all goes to paying the bills.

Anyway, after getting dressed, I started calling around to see if I could find someone to help me push Eric's car up into the van's old spot in the driveway. I want to be able to put the rental car into the garage, but Eric's car is in the way. We're going to have it towed back to his shop on Friday, but for now we just want it set aside. I'm blogging while I wait for a call back from some of the locals that I know who might be home.

At noon I'm going to go get the rental car, then I'm off to my shop to sign over the van and empty it of anything personal. I know there's not much in it, but I do have a couple of things I want to recover, including my CD. I hope they'll pull the CD player for me, but I'm not counting on it. After that, I need to contact my parents and see if they can come and get Lisa's car today, or if we should just wait until tomorrow. The trick with getting Lisa's car is that we'll have to go to where Eric is working to pick it up, then I'll have to wait and drive Eric to his other job or home, depending on when we do the transfer. Ug.

As for the cyberbegging, which I really hated to do, my friends - you've come through for us. We have enough now for the rental and the tow, and possibly for the repairs on Eric's car (hopehopehope). There were several little donations and one big one, and between them all, they've lowered my blood pressure to an acceptable level and made Eric smile for a brief moment. We will either pay it all forward, or if you wish, pay it all back eventually. We expect better days to come again someday.

We're still not sure about replacing the van. We both feel that we ought to have a second vehicle, but the problem is figuring out how to pay for it and what to get. If money was no object I'd get a hybrid or a mini (oooh! a hybrid-mini!), but those are pipe dreams. I've been researching used Kia's at the moment, since they seem to be relatively inexpensive and Eric liked the Kia he drove once when he had an insurance-paid rental. I suppose I really ought to just get out and pound the pavement and test-drive a few cars. But until we know what's wrong with Eric's car, Friday some time, it all feels a bit futile.

When I get home, I'll update this entry. In the meantime, I've got lots I ought to be doing.

Update (1:10 pm): There's a bright red Chevy Aveo sitting in my garage. The van no longer belongs to me. And Eric's car is being obnoxious.

So I tried to get some help to move Eric's Honda out of the driveway, up into the side spot. While I waited for the help to arrive, I annoyed myself by trying to start the engine up. I tried a few times, got out of the car, walked around it. Spotted the guy who was going to help coming up his own driveway. Got back into the car, said aloud, "One more try!" and turned the key once... nothing... twice... nope... third time... the engine roared into life. I sat staring at the dashboard in disbelief. I almost turned it off to try again, then thought, what am I THINKING? I need to pull it up into the spot now! So I did. Then I shut down the engine, and went over to talk with my friend about it. Then I went back to try to start the engine again. NOTHING.

See. Obnoxious.

The gal from Enterprise Rent-a-Car had a little trouble finding our place because my directions were confused. She drove me down to the office, which is almost within walking distance from my house. I filled out forms, inspected the car with her, told her the stories of our car woes. She gave us an extra 10% off because, she said, that's standard for people who have a car in the shop. I turned down the insurance, because I already checked with my insurance, and we're fully covered while driving rental cars. Besides, even with the on-line money help, I wasn't sure we really could afford the extra bit (if I calculated right, it was nearly $20 a day extra! On a rental that is basically $20 a day!).

For my inaugural trip in the rental, I drove to my own shop, Automax, to sign over the van. The drive was a bit of a learning experience, while I tried the lights and wipers and got used to the brakes. I'm so used to the van's clumsy handling that I nearly threw myself out of the car the first time I stepped lightly on the brakes!

To complicate matters, Automax is right in the middle of Kenmore's major construction, and I had some difficulty getting there. Luckily, the construction crews were happy to guide me into the only spot I could park in.

At Automax, I asked if they could pull the CD player, which they attempted and failed at. They promised to get it out somehow, then call me back. But I took the frontpiece of the player, and signed the van over. Hopefully they can get the player out and hand it over. Who knows? I won't be out too much if they can't, as the player was a free replacement for a player I bought many many years ago. I just hoped I could get it, since it's perfectly good and might fit into my next vehicle.

Eric's car coming to life again makes me almost certain that its problems are related to the electrical problems from a couple of weeks ago. In fact, my suspicion is that they didn't actually find the root cause of the problems, just fixed the obvious issue. As they are usually a most excellent shop, this is quite a surprise. We'll just have to see how it plays out. But at least we have one reliable car now, and Lisa plans to come out tomorrow and retrieve her car from us. Life isn't quite good yet, but it's definitely looking up.


Monday, October 08, 2007


I cannot define depression. I know, vaguely, what it's like to not be depressed, but I can't explain depression because it's my natural state. Can you explain what being alive is like?

I have a metaphor for depression in my head that fits the descriptive words we use for it. I stand on a cliff in the fog. I can see the cliff, and I know I will die if I go over it, but I can't see much else in the fog. Sometimes I get near the cliff, sometimes I sit on the edge and look into the fog. Sometimes I stay away from the cliff and it barely registers to me.

The fog is the annoying thing. I can't see clearly. Every once in a great while the fog will lift enough that I can see a person, or a building, or sometimes even the sky. But most of the time it's just endless drab fog. It's not a mysterious fog, or a comfortable fog. Just endless ugly gray.

I imagine that normal people have no fog. They can see everything, experience all their emotions, clearly. Sure, every once in awhile the fog will creep into their lives, and they will become depressed, but most of the time they don't have the fog.

They think I can make the fog go away by pure willpower. They tell me to "get over it". Can you change the weather outside just by thinking? I cannot change the fog inside me that way. It simply is. I can pretend I'm seeing clearly, but the fog is always there.

I haven't got the words to make people understand. I haven't got the eloquence to truly describe what it's like. I only have a very simple metaphor.

Today the fog is thick, and I'm very near to the cliff.


In Desperation

I don't want to do this, but should any of you wish to help with the cost of a rental car until we can either get me a new car, or the cost of the tow and repair to Eric's car, please feel free to donate to us through one of the methods below.

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If you don't, I apologize. I find it painful to ask for help, and totally understand any desire on your part to dislike me for it.

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Van Update

It's completely busted. Not worth repairing. The mechanic said it would cost a couple thousand dollars to fix, and even then there would be no certainty that something else wouldn't break. It's almost 20 years old. It's impressive that it still ran at all.

Now I need to figure out how I'm going to afford a "new" car.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Down to None

Hubby-Eric was going to take me to work today. We pulled out into the driveway, and his car died. Exactly the same as my van. It's dead. We can't get it started. My boss is going to send someone to pick me up.

We have no working vehicle now. And Eric has to go to work early tomorrow.

Update: My father came out to see if he could get the car started. Nope. He's lending Eric his car for awhile, until we can get one of ours fixed.

Update: Eric decided to run some errands tonight. When he tried to come home, the car would not start. That's right. The one we BORROWED would not start. We have managed to get THREE CARS to die on us. In just over 24 hours. Apparently we are cursed.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thank Goodness for AAA redux

I had a long day at work today, working for my store at the Northwest Brickcon. I don't do well with crowds, but I managed. I was tired, hurting, and all I wanted to do was get home and run a hot bath and eat dinner and go to bed.

The van got me just past Lake Forest Park, almost into Kenmore. It died while I was driving down the road. No warning. No indications. It just died. I managed to steer over into the bus lane, and tried to start it again. The engine turned over, but wouldn't start. I put on my emergency lights. I tried for a couple of minutes, then pulled out the cell and called AAA.

I sat there, watching the cars zip by at extreme speeds, and began to feel extremely tired and cranky. I got out of my van for a moment by sliding over to the passenger side and getting out where it was somewhat safe. I popped the hood and lifted it.


The blur in the background is a car zooming into the shot.

After getting out of the car I realized I felt considerably safer out of the car, although colder. I stood for a moment in indecision, then a cop pulled up. He was friendly, but he took my license and went to do the usual checks, I'm sure. I told him about AAA sending a truck, he said he'd wait until the truck arrived unless he was sent on another call. With his patrol car behind the van blocking me from the oncoming traffic, I felt safer inside my van.

I noticed that the cars were now passing me at a much slower pace.

Eventually the truck arrived and I got towed to a nearby shop, which was of course closed. We dropped the van off in front of the shop, hoping that it wouldn't get in trouble. The area we parked it in was marked No Parking Mon-Sat 8am to 4pm. Unfortunately, I don't think the shop is open tomorrow. We may have a problem with it needing to be moved early.

In any case, I'm now at home. I want desperately to rest for a very long time. But I have to go back to work tomorrow. We're down to one car again.

I was just beginning to feel good again. It seems I'm not allowed to feel good.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 172

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #249 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #249 (June 1958) - Wanted - Aqua-Crook

Aquaman loses his memory and is convinced he is a secret agent.

Quotefile: Topo (yes, Topo), "Attention, fighting forces! Board our battle-craft! We must rescue our beloved monarch!"

Aqua-Exclamations: "Suffering Seaweed!" "Great Catfish!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman is hit by a missile (luckily with no warhead) and loses his memory. He later hits his head on the steering wheel of a car by braking too hard and regains it. Of note: Topo is also knocked out by the missile, but doesn't lose his memory.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides Topo. He uses a lantern fish to illuminate the spilled gems. He uses hammerhead sharks to shape a magnetic lodestone, then has a whale pull the suits of armor up to the surface. Topo realizes that Aquaman has lost his memory and decides to do something about it. Aquaman has electric eels replace the spark plugs on the car engine, and drives it to the surface. Topo gathers an army of fish: a whale, lobsters, seals, giant sea turtles, flying fish and swordfish. Seals "shell" the bad guys' boat, and swordfish torpedo it. Flying fish drop lobsters on the gangsters, with the predictable results. The turtles act as tanks, and Topo ties up the bad guys. A whale tows the boat to the coast guard. Aquaman rewards Topo by making him a Five Starfish Admiral in the sea kingdom.

Another amnesia story! Aquaman lost his memory in Adventure #127, and was convinced to work for bad guys. Not quite the same, as Aquaman served as the lowly cook on Black Jack's ship in that tale, and in this one he's convinced he's a secret agent! Another amnesia story: Aquaman was hit on the head and forgot how to talk to fish in Adventure #176.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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CameraPhone Zen


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 171

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #248 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #248 (May 1958) - The Traitor of the Seven Seas

Undersea explorer Jim Ward is surprised to find Aquaman capturing fish for aliens to get a great reward.

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Flying Catfish!"

Glove Color: Yellow.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Quotefile: Old man reading newspaper report, "Shiver my timbers-- I never expected to read that Aquaman would someday turn on his sea subjects!"

Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman is threatened with death if he doesn't help the aliens, and promised a handsome reward if he does.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman battles and captures a monkfish. An octopus is already in the alien tank. In a flashback, Aquaman rides on Topo. Aquaman captures two swordfish by making them run into a bell buoy. Aquaman uses a chain of electric eels to allow him to capture a torpedo ray. The fish in the tank also include a seal, shark, and electric eel.

We never actually see the aliens in this story, only their ship. Aquaman describes their communication as being by "some telepathic device".

As is so often the case in these stories. Aquaman's actions are reported to the newspapers, who waste no time in tarring his name. I'll note that in a story less than a year previous, Aquaman is also accused of abusing his fishy subject. For all that the folks in the DCU seem to like Aquaman, they really don't trust him deeply.

Jim Ward, the diver who witnesses Aquaman's capture of fish and is basically the narrator of the story, hears Aquaman say that the aliens want Aquaman to help them or die, but focuses on the point that Aquaman will get a reward. C'mon, man! The aliens threatened to kill Aquaman! Aquaman even told you that!

In the end, of course, Aquaman is really being a good guy. The only fish that actually goes with the aliens is an "adventuresome" octopus by the name of Lopo, who Aquaman says wanted to be the first fish in outer space. So Lopo isn't Laika, but his fate is probably better.

More hostile aliens! Aquaman himself was collected for an alien aquarium in Adventure #234. Aquaman also met aliens in Adventure #196, Adventure #216, and Adventure #222. The tally so far is three hostile alien races, and two friendly. Two were collecting specimens, one was invading, one needed help to get home, and the first aliens were actually visited by Aquaman.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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It was 50 years ago that Sputnik rocked the world.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 170

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #247 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #247 (April 1958) - Aquaman's Super Sea-Squad

A nuclear projectile designed to explode in outer space lands in the ocean, and Aquaman must deliver it to the Army before the timer runs out.

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Quotefile: Aquaman, losing hope, "It... It's a losing battle! Unless I find some way to cover the last few miles faster than I or any creature can swim! I won't get there in time! I -- I must think!"

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides on Topo. A group of octopi carry the missile off the ocean floor. Two whales tow the missile for many miles. Electric eels build up a charge and create a channel for Aquaman. Giant lobsters carry the missile over miles. Swordfish carry the missile on a platform. Whales tow it again with phosphorescent fish indicating the whales' place in the fog. A giant clam squeezes green pigment over the missile to disguise it. The sea monster carries the missile to its nesting grounds. Octopi lift the missile onto an ancient catapult in the Sargasso Sea. A whale prevents the missile from being jolted when it lands.

I love discoveries like this: Aquaman describes the Maracot Deep as a bottomless pit that descends from the ocean floor. He knows that a sea monster lives in the pit. But over here in the real world, The Maracot Deep is a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle written in 1929... about the discovery of Atlantis!

Aquaman has to go through an area with "a terrible whirlpool on the right... and to the left, a strong backwash that would smash us into those rocks!" In other words, the Scylla and Charybdis. Well, sort of. Eh, I was amused at least.

There's something really pleasant about three Army soldiers terrified to see a nuclear missile that they launched headed right toward them. I almost expected Aquaman to chew them out for letting such a dangerous bomb land in the ocean. Instead he simply talks about how wonderful his sea friends were for coming through and getting the projectile safely to the Army base so it can be disarmed.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 169

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #246 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #246 (March 1958) - The Town That Went Underwater

Aquaman opens an amusement park in Beachcroft, and insists that EVERY citizen go underwater to experience it.

Quotefile: Mayor of Beachcroft, "Aquaman sure has been barking it up great! Half the town is here!" Aquaman, "Only half, Mr. Mayor? I'll double that figure! I want the whole town underwater!"

Glove Color: Yellow.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Finny Friends Report: Topo hands out tickets while a swordfish holds up the roll of tickets. Aquaman rides Topo. A giant octopus becomes an underwater whip ride. Porpoises slide along tracks made of eels as a roller-coaster. Aquaman uses a whale to hide a treasure chest. Seals hold up signs, while Aquaman rides a giant tortoise down the street.

Aquaman gets the news of the problem at midday, and immediately sets about trying to get every citizen of the town underwater. Before that, the whole amusement park was just a promotion for a future mechanical underwater amusement park the city intended to build. That all changed when Aquaman got a phone call.

A twist to the story is the various disasters/pirate attacks that Aquaman ignores in order to continue running his amusement park.

The science of this one really sucks, as is often the case in Silver Age tales. The Army officer tells the people of Beachcroft, "At 12 noon the Meteorological Bureau in Washington alerted Aquaman by phone that the tail of a comet would pass through BeachCroft a 2 P.M. sharp! The gases in the comet's tail would poison Beachcroft's atmosphere!" Oooh, how many errors are in that explanation? And the illustration is even sillier, showing a tiny comet racing through the town just above the surface of the streets (luckily not hitting any of the buildings). The plot isn't bad... Aquaman getting an entire town's inhabitants to go underwater to protect them from poison gas without causing a panic... but a comet?

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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Trying to get back into gear, here's a little linkdump for you...

ComicMix now has online comics. They've started the second part of their initiative. It was a good sight with just the articles and podcasts, it is now getting better. The first offering: "GrimJack: The Manx Cat".

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #122.

Greg Hatcher looks at witches in comic books.

Katie Cook has a great gallery of her artwork up, which includes this wonderful Aquaman and Tempest from a card set:

Aquaman and Tempest Cards

Via Blog@Newsarama. Be sure to check out the rest of the gallery. There's some good Doctor Who stuff there, too.

More on the Eightball flap. I checked out Ice Haven from the library, and didn't see anything that qualified as porn in it. Disturbing, maybe even disgusting, but not porn. I think that girl's parents are just a wee bit oversensitive.

Morgan on Sarah Jane Adventures. I loved it. It's definitely aimed at children, but that's a positive in my book. I love Doctor Who. I like Torchwood. And Sarah Jane is great as well.

Saving a Seattle Denny's Restaurant. I just drove by that Denny's the other day, noticed the land use proposals, and felt a pang of regret that we would be losing this great goofy building. And on a similar note: Free Ballard! (links via Vintage Seattle)

I don't know how to categorize this story, but I found it worth reading.

Why Knockoffs are good for Fashion.

Way cool Baseball Stats Slide Rule ad on Polite Scott's blog. By coincidence, Slashdot had an article on Slide Rules recently.

More on the Peruvian Meteorite.

Oooh, Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device.

Darn. I wanted to get one of these, but I won't have enough money in time to get one. Maybe they'll make the offer available again later.

Mark Twain wanted to defeat copyright limits, but his plan was intelligent and useful, instead of the Disney way of changing the law.

Vintage Seattle shows off the Seahawks in the Kingdome. Cool!

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Four Kittens and a Coca Cola Box

Thanks to Ringwood for reminding me of this great vid.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 168

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #245 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #245 (February 1958) - The Sorcerer of the Sea!

When Aquaman tells Jason Deeter he's a phony and needs to clear out of the shipping lanes, the sorcerer gets revenge by controlling Aquaman and making him look like a fool.

Aqua-Exclamations: "Leaping Catfish"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman is apparently under Deeter's control for much of the story.

Quotefile: Deeter, "Eny-o-tahal-eetyo" "Siddi-Fo... Ralvo... Sirada... Fo..." "Eny-ota-wadda-lo-ka!" "Etyo-- Siddi-Fo... Talu-no-wa!" "Siddi-fo-ralvo-- Etyo-Kalu!"

Finny Friends Report: Two swordfish leap out of the sea and cross swords, apparently at Deeter's command. Aquaman rides on Topo. A whale blasts the gun out of a pirate's hand. An octopus punches two thugs at once ("That octopus is the only one I know who can throw an uppercut and a roundhouse at one and the same time!").

Deeter's hair is made of seaweed and he has sharpened fingernails. He wears a blue business suit with a red cape. His first outing is on a barge in the waterway, but after Aquaman tells him to clear off, he casts his magic from the shore. He tells Aquaman that he has "Voodoo power". He recites a lot of unusual "mumbo-jumbo" as he casts his spells, which turns out to be important to the plot. Deeter also has a cool Aquaman doll (the voodoo doll), and an octopus doll as well!

Deeter's tricks: He forces Aquaman to act like an octopus and become the propeller for a stalled ship. He has Aquaman put a sword in his mouth and act like a swordfish to carry lost cargo back to a ship. Then, after the pirates are involved, he makes Aquaman rob gems from a ship.

As is usual, the press gets ahold of the story right away. We see three headlines: "Sea King Dethroned" "Aquaman Meets His Match!" and "Aquaman Under Voodoo Control!" As is often the case with Aquaman, he's willing to destroy his own reputation to get the crooks.

The ship that Aquaman is forced to rob is the Santa Anna, and this is the fourth time a ship with that name has shown up. Either it's one ship that really gets around, or the writers really liked the name. Three of the Santa Annas, including this one, were robbed. One of them was a smugglers' ship.

The artwork is truly lovely in this tale.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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