Happy Fifth Week! Typically, the fifth week tends to be fairly slow, but I picked up 10 books, including last week’s monster tome that was Batman #50. That’s right, I’m still testing those DC waters for something fun and interesting…still waiting for it…
It’s been a never-ending supply of snow, ice, and wind here on Long Island for the past few weeks and today is yet another snow day with the kids at home.
Thankfully, though, I made it to the comic shop this week and I’m back on the updates! Here we go!
I have reached a disturbing milestone in my life as a comic reader. I have done something — something that I once deemed TOO TERRIBLE TO EVER DO…
I sent comics to the CGC for grading.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the CGC, or Certified Guarantee Company (not Comic Grading Company, which I’ve always stupidly thought), is one of the largest (THE largest?) comic grading companies out there. What they essentially do is take your comic, use a standardized method of describing the condition of your book, give a score of 0.5 (poor) to 10.0 (gem mint), and then (here’s the scary part for me) encapsulate the book in a clear container (to quote their website) “through a combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration”.
Anyway, my big problem with the whole CGC grading/slabbing is that the comic becomes no longer readable. To me, collecting comics has always (for the most part) been intricately tied to reading. I like having my runs of titles, going back into the long boxes, and rereading old stuff, discovering interesting things that I may have missed. I get that we live in the surging digital age of comics, where finding a book is as simple as going onto Comixology and downloading it to the iPad, but — call me an old man — there’s something about holding the book.
So why this time? I came across two comics that I have relatively no interest in reading but — I’m no dummy — I understand their importance in comics history —
Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 are the cameo and first full appearance (respectively) of the future X-Man, Wolverine. Granted I am a HUGE X-Men fan and, therefore, having these issues are fun for me, but I am NOT a Wolverine fan. These issues, while I love the original whiskered-Wolvie, are not special to me. I don’t know if I’d ever sell them — and I’m convinced that people who slab their books are primarily interested in resale value — but I could part with these (over most of my collection) and be fine with it.
I will give the CGC this — I’m really excited to find out what grade they get.
Things at the house this past week have been pretty chaotic. This year marked the first big Seder (the Passover meal) at our house and my overachieving wife wanted to prepare everything herself. The Boy wanted to make the Seder plate though:
Yup, the contents of the plate are all courtesy of Toys R Us by way of his play kitchen foods. Anyway, we had 12 adults and 4 children at the Seder and the night went without a single argument or food fight, a great achievement if you ask me. And the food was excellent!
Besides Passover, this past Monday was my wife and her mother’s birthday, which means planning some kind of night out. This has become more difficult to do as our schedules have gotten busier. Oh, and since the addition of those two other humans living in our house. Thankfully, Dawn is in agreement with me that adults shouldn’t need birthday presents (especially those who have the means to get their own things) so I don’t have to worry about the gift hunt like I used to, but getting the kids to behave in a restaurant on the first night of Passover? I’d almost rather panic while searching Zales.com…
Basically? Tiring week.
And for the non-Jews out there, Happy Almost Easter!
This past week marked my return to work after a week vacation, which of course, leads to something that looks like this:
Yeah. A stack of labs to go through so large that it took me all freaking week. Blech.
Meanwhile, besides working this week, comics came out. That’s about it — getting back into the swing of things after time off has always been a difficult task for me. Though almost as a reward, X-Men First Class, the best superhero movie made (go ahead, bring the debate), has been on TV almost non-stop this week.
Let’s start off this post with an adorable picture of The Boy. Yes! Relish in his cuteness! Soak in that Spider-Man pajama suit! Be distracted that I am behind two weeks!!!
So, the first picture is obvious evidence that I’ve so far successfully brainwashed Jacob into becoming my comic protegee. The Boy has really taken to his new role and is slowly amassing his own (and stealing my) superhero toys. It’s even started to infuse into his reading habits. Every night before bedtime, we read two stories — the routine since he was an infant. Now that he’s picking out the stories himself, it’s been a pretty consistent 50% superheroics rate. We’ve been into this one, an anthology book with about 10 or so different stories:
Looks like a great story, huh? Classic Avengers (including, as Jacob calls him, the Huk) beating up on the obnoxious Namor, which in about 2 pages leads to the dramatic reveal of the frozen Captain America. My kid? Focusing on this panel:
Oh, and so as not to show my obvious Marvel bias, he’s also learning about Batman and his rogue gallery, such as The Cat Lady (Catwoman), Two-Man (Two Face), and Crocodile (Killer Croc). He’s getting there — give him another week.
Since it seems I’m blabbing a bit here, so I might as well go off on an even crazier tangent. I need to vent on something that drives me absolutely crazy. There’s no good place for me to do this but here, so if you don’t want to read the ramblings of a rabid lunatic, you can just skip ahead to the jump.
Plastic. Clothing. Tags.
Yes, those pieces of thin plastic that hold tags onto your clothing. I don’t know if they have a better name — I really don’t care if they do. All I know is that they are ALL OVER MY FREAKING HOUSE. The floors, the couch, the table, floating weightless through the air — they are EVERYWHERE!!! I haven’t bought new clothes in about a year, so I am EXTREMELY confident that they are not from me. Dawn, the primary buyer of new clothes, and the kids, the primary wearer of said clothes, are my obvious archenemies. Without fail, I’ll come across at least one piece a day. I don’t think that there are even that many new clothes around to support this many tags! There must be some, I don’t know, plastic clothing tag gremlin or something roaming the house in the dead of night, giggling and grinning while he (or she, hate to be gremlin-ist) plants them like crappy Afikomen at Passover (though both matzah and plastic have a similar flavor).
THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. I AM LOSING MY MIND.
Courtesy of (AKA stolen from) Paul Layzell
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!! If Santa was really that cool, maybe even I’d get a tree?
We’re still recovering from holiday-time toy overload. Holy Good God, the house is bursting with new toys (admittedly, not just for the kids — I got the Loki Break Out Lego set, amongst other comic related joys). I always get a little frustrated, though, because with all the new stuff, all those old toys that we spend so much money on tend to get forgotten. Thankfully though, The Boy is still very much into his ponies.
On the work front, things have been very busy this past week. Six months of straight service with no vacation time may have been a bad decision in retrospect. I had to add two photos to my desk to cheer me up on those down days…
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK! I’ve been here for years! Well, actually much less than a year total, but let’s not split hairs…
Look who’s still here! Yes, by no demand whatsoever, The Weekly Haul is determined to survive! So, since I know that you’re all on the edge of your seats and don’t have time for cute pictures of my kids:
or what I’ve been up to in the break:
let’s get right to it!
It’s been a very busy few weeks at home and at work, so my regular updates had to take a back seat for the past two comic book store trips. I’m not going to backtrack and talk about those weeks (boo hoo, I know) for the sake of time, but never fear! There’s this week’s floppy-covered wonders of joy to talk about!
All the activity at home has really stemmed from the continuing rearrangement of the house and who calls which room theirs. Jacob is finally in his brand new room upstairs (the old office) and, even though I hate the trips up and down the stairs to put him to bed, he’s really enjoying all the space.
The office (formerly The Boy’s bedroom) has now, under the gracious advisement of my beautiful and wonderful wife, has been transformed into a great place to showcase my
overwhelming addiction that I need professional help for comic collection. Gone is the poop-colored brown that covered the lower half of the walls (what an accidentally dumb choice that was), replaced with a soothing grey (yes, spelled as in Jean — even my spelling has been influenced by comics). In all honesty, this too was an accident, although a fortunate one this time. The original plan was to paint the entire room, destroying all traces of a little boy who once slept there (cue: wife’s tears) — a light grey above the chair rail and a dark grey below. I started with the dark grey after spackling the nail holes in the upper part of the walls and found myself stumbling into a really nice, soothing color combination. Dark grey and blue-green it is!
Oh, a little tour, you say? I’m really exposing my comic-ness, here. Sure…
Here’s my lovely Ikea desk that Dawn and I have had since we “furnished” our old apartment. Sure, it’s just a large piece of wood (term used loosely with Ikea furniture) on four legs, but it’s MY piece of wood on four legs. Above the desk is my Age of Apocalypse poster, which was the inciting event (1994) that really started me into regularly reading and collecting comics, and my Colossus original art by Dave Cockrum (RIP), a piece that was given to me by my old camp counselor and current comic editor, Jeff Newelt. What a good guy, huh? (Bet he forgot all about that…) On the desk? Currently it’s covered with Things To Hang ©, which grows and grows; Dawn and I have come to an agreement to not figuratively wallpaper the walls with stuff, so I’m trying to edit down the collection of art and posters. This is obviously a difficult task.
Again, I’m trying to keep the walls on the more open and airy side at the request of my wife. If I was left to my own devices, I tend to fill up most floor and wall space with stuff — open spaces are unnerving to me. But that’s why I live in New York, right?
I love this piece of furniture; it really ended up being a great way to have books out on display, plus a place to have out some fun stuff on top, which currently include some superhero Lego sets, Marvel/DC Matryoshka dolls, my Homestar Runner PVC figures, a bunch of X-Men metal figures/Kubriks, and my Jewish comic star Heroclix:
I’ve got a place for sci-fi and comic-related novels and such, plus the ever present and necessary medical bookshelves:
Of course, I’ve also got a place for all my single issues, which were last seen (in my last post) sitting in the middle of the living room. Now, most of the boxes are in the office closet, camouflaged behind my brand-new in house Michael Craft Store.
Have I mentioned Cuddle Me Crochet recently???
Yes, I know it’s almost 2 weeks after that date up there in the title. Call me terribly ashamed. Who knew fellowship would be busy?
As if starting fellowship wouldn’t be enough on my proverbial plate (I’ve now survived a month of service and my first week/weekend on call!), Dawn and I, in our infinite wisdom, decided that it would be a great time to go full force into our planned three-way room swap (not our planned three-way, though that would be interesting material for this blog, huh?).
Our lovely house (typed with a dash of sarcasm) has four bedrooms, two upstairs and two downstairs. We moved into this house the month before Jacob was born, because, again, we like to be frantically stressed. The two downstairs bedrooms easily became our master bedroom and his nursery/bedroom. The larger upstairs room was originally destined to be the office, but once my delusions that we needed an office dissipated, it became the 50% Crochet Castle and 50% Comic Book Room of Doom. The final room? Well, the “guest room” never became much of a room for guests. Sure, there was a nicely made bed in there, but it was buried with unopened boxes, old clothes, books, and a ton of odds and ends.
Now that there’s a second kid (I know because she rarely stops crying and screaming), the big plan is to make the two rooms upstairs into their bedrooms and bring the office into Jacob’s current room. Of course, this also means I’ve got to paint three rooms and recarpet two of them (read: the Home Depot guys have to recarpet two of them).
After a week of working after working, the two rooms upstairs are empty(ish) and Emma’s room is painted.
The trade off is that our living/dining room looks like an episode of Hoarders.
In order to move quickly onto last week’s books, I’m going to try to keep my blabbering short in what was ultimately a light week.