Saturday, June 04, 2005

Last of the DC Comics May 1974 ads!


dc_05_74_4
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's what I believe is the last of the ads of interest from DC's cover-dated May, 1974 books...

And man, they don't make house ads like these anymore, do they?

Jon

Friday, June 03, 2005

My "Rules" for Selling on eBay!

OK, here's the follow-up to my rules for buying on eBay... these are the rules I follow for selling on eBay! Feel free to use these if you are selling, or plan to sell on eBay!

1. ALWAYS have a photo of the item you're selling. I can't stress this enough! I won't bid on an auction without a photo, and I won't put an auction up without one. You can either take a digital picture, or (if appropriate) slap it on your scanner, but have a photo! Two or more, if necessary.

2. If you don't have a photo of the actual item, say so in the auction description! I recently sold a bunch of Alex Ross DC Heroes posters on eBay, and mine were still in the original wrapping. I didn't want to take them out and unroll them to take pictures, so I hit up an Alex Ross website and got pictures of the posters from those, and I definitely stated they weren't the actual posters in my description!

3. NEVER sell anything you make yourself that uses copyrighted characters or content. The only exception to this would be original artwork. But don't make customized lightplate switches with Pepe Le Pew on them, or scan movie posters and print them out on your printer. If you do, and you're lucky, eBay will just shut down your auction. If you're unlucky, someone's lawyers will be sic'ed on you!

4. ALWAYS determine the postage cost before putting up the auction. Know how you're going to package what you're selling, and have the necessary supplies on hand. Use the UPS or USPS website to calculate shipping in advance, and err on the side of caution. I only sell to US bidders so I can ship Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation, and I use my old zip code in Wisconsin for calcuating postage... and it's very accurate.

5. NEVER overcharge for postage, especially by adding an insane handling fee. If you have to pay for shipping supplies, fine, pass the cost on to the seller. But be reasonable about it! You can even add a buck if you're using the free supplies from the USPS. But if you charge a ridiculous amount for shipping, that'll cut down on your bids. My rule of thumb is, no more than $1 in handling charges... and that's not repeated for each item in a multiple-win auction.

6. ALWAYS ship some way that allows you to track the package. As I said, I use Delivery Confirmation with the USPS, whether I ship first class, priority, or media mail. It gives me a record of when a package was received, as well as a way for things to be tracked down if lost.

7. ALWAYS describe the item completely and honestly. When in doubt, choose the next lower grade to describe the condition. When I've sold comics in the past, I very rarely claimed anything was near mint... very fine was usually the best I'd claim.

8. ALWAYS keep track of your expenses to eBay. Every auction you submit, eBay tells you what your cost to them will be. Don't let it get out of control, or you could be in trouble!

9. START SMALL, and gradually — GRADUALLY - work your way up. My current goal is no more than 10 auctions up at any one time. Any more could be difficult to keep tabs on... and any less would be difficult to encourage multiple wins by the same bidder.

10. NEVER get someone to do a "shill" bid for you. "Shill" bidding is when an accomlice places a bid on your auctions to artificially drive them up.

11. ALWAYS check your email regularlly, and ALWAYS answer questions promptly. The longer you wait to answer questions, the worse the chances are you'll lose out on a bid.

12. ALWAYS print out shipping labels on the computer... never hand write them! And use all-caps... the post office is happier with that. And print your shipping labels on adhesive paper if you have it handy.

13. DECIDE when you'll leave feedback. Some sellers (myself included) like to wait to leave feedback on a buyer until they've first left feedback on the seller. I used to leave feedback on my buyers the same day I shipped their items, and I just got frustrated at all the feedback ratings buyers were getting, while not leaving any in return. Let your winners know your policy so they won't be asking you about it later.

14. ALWAYS email your winner to let them know when you ship.

15. ESTABLISH how long after receiving payment you'll ship. My policy is no later than the first business day after receiving payment.

16. DON'T TAKE PERSONAL CHECKS. If they bounce, you could get a $20 or more fee from your bank, and collecting can be hard. I only accept money orders or PayPal.

17. IF you use a reserve on an auction, either state what the reserve is in your description, or be ready to reveal it to anyone who asks. I don't use reserves myself.

18. RESEARCH what you're selling -- yes, I'm writing these rules out of order! Before you put an auction up, do a search on the same item, both current and closed, to see what that thing is going for. You can then decide what your starting bid should be, and what you can expect to get.

19. Use BUY IT NOW cautiously -- Let's say you're going to sell, oh, I don't know, a Superman Super Powers action figure. You've determined that this same figure in the same condition has sold in the recent past for $25. Now, you could consider starting it at $5 with a BIN of $25... and maybe someone will snap it up at that price. However, from personal experience, I can tell you that BIN prices work best when they're below the average selling price. However, you can't whine later on if you use a BIN and someone instant wins it for that price, and later you see another auction for the same thing closing for much higher. BIN prices work really well for items that are plentiful on eBay, especially if your BIN is lower than the starting price of other auctions.

20. Last rule -- at least for now! -- DON'T sell anything you don't personally have on hand! Putting auctions up for items you don't actually have is, in my personal opinion, slimy. Sure, you have someone promising they'll get this to you by the time the payment is received by your winner... but why take a chance? Only sell stuff you actually have.

I hope these "rules" of mine are helpful to those of you considering selling on eBay!

Jon

DC Comics Ads, May 1974 anon!


dc_05_74_3
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's a two-pager that appeared as the center spread, for Haunted Mansion model kits, based on the classic Disneyland attraction! The same company also produced kits based on Pirates of the Carribean, and both series of kits had Zap! Action to them!

I always wanted these, but never got 'em... and personally, if anyone ever got around to reissuing them, I'd gladly pay $10, $15, maybe even $20 each for these!

God only knows how much original kits go for these days... I checked on eBay, and there weren't any current auctions on these... but closed auctions revealed two... one had a Buy it Now! price of $19.99, and wasn't Mint in Box... the other closed for $78.77, unassembled and partially painted!

No auctions, current or closed, appear in a search for the Pirates kits.

Anyone out there have one of these? How well did they work?

Jon

Another May '74 DC Comics Ad!


dc_05_74_2
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
One more post before I head off to work...

I remember seeing ads for these things in all sorts of DC comics in the early 70s (truly, one of the best times in history for collectors of comics-related memorabilia, just 'cause there was so much of it!). And I always wanted these stickers... but never got 'em.

Now, I understand those stickers were not nearly so big as one would think, from this artwork... I mean, sheesh, that Superman sticker would have to be two feet tall, wouldn't it?

Did anyone reading this get these things? Are there any websites that talk about them, or show them at all?

Jon

dc_05_74_1


dc_05_74_1
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
I used to do a website called "Comic Book Covers and Ads of the 1970s," one version of which is still around in cyberspace somewhere... in which I celebrated the comics of my youth. I had big plans for the website, but kind of abandoned it after a while (I think my freelance transcribing for TwoMorrows ended up taking the time I needed for keeping that site up, as well as the auctions I was doing on Yahoo, and later, eBay).

But I still have a fondness for those funky ads you'd see in those books... so from time to time, I'll be posting some of them... like this house ad that appeared in DC Comics May 1974 cover-dated books! Enjoy -- I'll have some more of these during the weekend for ya!

Jon

Final Guardians of Justice picture (for now, anyway)


guardians3
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
And here's a page of panel-by-panel stuff I did a long time back, with the Guardians being called upon for help!

The first panel shows Jason O'Brien, who's an agent of SAFE (a SHIELD-like organization who's more of a secret than SHIELD was... I think the acronym was Secret Agent Forces of Espionage... and yes, that's pretty lame, and I need to come up with a better name for it). He's being threatened by the Death Squad, a group of goons working for Death's Head. In the remaining panels, you should be able to recognize most of the other guys, with the exception of the super-speedster... and that's Tornado, well before I came up with Slipstream!

Jon

More Guardians of Justice!


guardians2
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's a cover idea that, frankly, didn't quite work as well as I figured it would.

In the foreground you have Titan and Micron, whom I believe I've mentioned here before (if not, someone give me a yell, and I'll fill you in).

In the background, Battlestar is being double-teamed by two villains you haven't heard about yet... Torpedo and Roller King.

Torpedo is basically an armored dude with a jetpack who plows into people, while Roller King is an inline skater dude who can reach very fast speeds, and also likes plowing into people and things with his sharp, pointy helmet.

Roller King is named after a skating rink in Tacoma that I'm not sure whether or not they're still open!

Oh, and sneaking up on Titan and Micron? That's the female Starburst, before I redesigned her costume. At least, I'm pretty sure that's the female Starburst... it could be the original Dynamite costume, I suppose (forgieve my failing memory on these things). I'm pretty sure it's Starburst, though, given the energy effect on her fist.

Jon

Guardians of Justice: The Coming of Cosmos!


guardians1
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
If you were following the posts on my original characters, this drawing might be a triple treat for you (at least, if you enjoyed those posts!).

Here you see my concept for the issue of GUARDIANS OF JUSTICE in which Cosmos becomes the newest member of the team. Who is Cosmos? More on him in a bit.

First of all... you can clearly see Electron on this drawing. If you'll recall, he was a character created by a friend of mine, who's since lost interest in comics (except for playing City of Heroes online), and since we've drifted apart in ways other than that, I have since replaced Electron with a different character.

Secondly... you get your first look at Avian here! You almost didn't... when I was preparing to scan this, I discovered that, for whatever reason, I never finished inking it... I'd done everything else but the Avian figure! So I decided to ink it before scanning.

Avian is, I suppose I'd have to admit, my own take on winged heroes such as Hawkman and the Angel, although he owes a bit more visually to the Vulture in many ways. The wings are part of his costume, and are built of beryllium-alumninum alloy. When not in use, they can fold up (each pinion is actually rigged so the outer pinions collapse into the inner ones, and then the whole magilla sort of folds back into a relatively thin "back-pack" of sorts). In addition to giving him manueverability in flight, as well as gliding capabilities (thrust is provided via a jet-pack), the wings are also edged, and can cut through just about anything, given enough thrust behind them. Avian can swoop past a fleeing car, for example, and slash the tires off from one side.... or just as easily slice through the turret of a tank. He doesn't use his wings' cutting abilities on living targets, naturally!

His helmet and costume are lightly armored, and the helmet's lenses provide protection for his eyes. Additionally, the cybernetic controls in his helmet control the jet-pack as well as collapsing or expanding the wings.

Finally, although you can't see them here, his boots actually have talons built into them, which can open or close, letting him perch like a real bird, or grab onto things.

One idea for the future development of Avian was to either have something very dramatic happen to him to make him darker and more violent... or use that for an alternate Earth version of him, and calling him Raptor. I'll probably go with the alternate Earth idea if I ever get a chance to publish!

OK, now to Cosmos! So far, he's my only African-American super-hero (although he wasn't originally created to be that, to be honest). I created him back in the fall of 1981, when I was bored during my very short time at voc-tech school learning computer programming (before I realized it was a huge mistake).

Cosmos was an astronaut, one of the best. He'd flown a few space shuttle missions, and was chosen to be part of a top-secret manned Mars mission, to further investigate details of what unmanned missions had found. However, before reaching Mars, something happened to him... something wonderful. He was approached by Destiny, one of the personifications of beliefs that exist in my comics universe, and presented with an item called "The Ring of the Cosmos," which would bestow upon him great power. Destiny would not explain why he was chosen, nor did he explain the origin of the ring. He does that kind of stuff, you know... very enigmatic, and most of the time, once he's left one's presence, there's no memory of him being there.

Upon donning the ring, this astronaut (yep, I've forgotten his real name, and don't feel like looking it up right now) felt his body super-charged with strange energy. He used his new powers to create the costume you see here, and tested them out further by leaving his spaceship and flying out into space... reaching Earth in a very short period of time.

Naturally, NASA went nuts when they realized that his spacecraft was no longer manned, nor could they reach him.

Cosmos found himself reaching earth in the midst of a battle between the Guardians and a group of villains, and stepped in to lend a helping hand, turning the tide in the process. He was invited to join the team, and accepted... and then realized there was a spacecraft out there he was supposed to be in!

He returned to his ship, and completed the mission (taking time out to enjoy his new abilities every now and then). Upon his return to earth, an investigation ensued to find out what happened... and he had a hard time explaining it himself, for he didn't want to reveal his powers.

Eventually, however, things were worked out... but I won't tell you how or why! Hee hee...

Jon

And Thirdly... like I said, it introduces Cosmos!

Just a Short Note...

Well, it should be short, anyway...

The morning was very busy, as I figured... then I forgot to take the eBay package to the post office! I ended up running it there during my lunch break.

Krypto is up to just over 33 lbs... he gained 6 lbs. in 10 days, if you can believe that! He's going to be a big boy when he's full grown.

Worked late tonight... didn't leave until 10:15... so after getting home, I've pretty much had time to just read the new comics (just finished them a few minutes ago). I should get to doing mini-reviews during the weekend, and have some other things to share, too!

Jon

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Busy Morning Today!

Fortunately, the dogs woke me up early, as I have a busy morning ahead of me!

Once I finish writing this blog entry, I'm jumping in the shower, getting dressed, and putting KO in the bedroom. Then Krypto and I are off on a few errands! First a stop to the smoke shop (yes, I do smoke... I know it's a terrible habit, but one life-change at a time, okay? As I'm closer to my weight loss goal, I'll seriously consider quitting the smoking), and then to PetSmart, where the Bamford Veterinary Hospital is, so Krypto can get a follow-up exam on both that lump on his shoulder (which is gone now) as well as his neutering. Then, it's off to the property management company to give them back $400 of the $700 deposit refund I got yesterday, so we'll have finally paid the pet fee on the current house! Then, I'll bring Krypto back home, and grab the eBay package so I can put it in the mail on the way to work.

Maybe... just maybe... if there's time in there, I may also stop at the comic book shop. Maybe. It largely depends on traffic and how long it takes at the vet.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of the other posts I've made last night and this morning!

Jon

Bat-Birth Announcement 2


batman2
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
So, where was I? Oh, yes, the production technique I used on this project.

First, I took the script and broke it down into thumbnail format, so I'd know what images I needed. Then, I went through the aforementioned publications to see what photos they had that could be somehow adapted to fit. I had developed a technique at a previous job that worked well to take photos and create good line art from them, so I used that, to wit:

1. Scan photos into computer in grayscale, blowing them up to fit on 8 1/2 x 11 (I did this with all the panels you see).

2. Print photos out on laser printer (which I had available at that time for my freelance work).

3. Take marker pens and draw over the printouts to help bring out the lines I wanted to use in the final line art.

4. Place tracing paper over the printouts, and using a very crude lightbox (and this one was very crude, believe me... I still don't own a lightbox, and I threw out the makeshift one a long time back), redrew the artwork, first in pencil, then inking it and erasing the pencils.

5. Scan the newly inked artwork into the computer again, and add grey tones in PhotoShop.

6. Assemble the finished panels in PageMaker, adding the balloons and lettering.

Yeah, it was a very involved process! If I were to do it again today, I'd probably do it differently:

1. Scan photos.

2. Import photos into FreeHand (I use Illustrator at work, but prefer FreeHand at home), and redraw the art in FreeHand.

3. Arrange FreeHand panels in Freehand, and add the lettering and so on.

Much simpler, right? Well, I may have done it that way back then if I had a more powerful computer, as well as more experience drawing on the computer back then. Heck, these days I might even leave the photos as is, and do it fumetti style!

Jon

Bat-Birth Announcement


batman1
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's the first part of a rather unusual project from about 7 or 8 years ago... before I moved to Wisconsin to be with my first wife, I lived in an apartment complex in Spanaway, WA (which is just east of Lakewood, which is itself just south of Tacoma... if you care about such geographical things, it really has nothing to do with this, but just in case you were curious), and there I met a man whom I became best friends with, Glenn King. I've mentioned Glenn before... he was my co-conspirator for the Champions group I used to host at my apartment.

Anyway, he and his then-wife Jaime, were expecting their first son, and as a surprise to Glenn, Jaime asked me to create the birth announcement. She wanted it done like a Batman comic, and at first, she wanted it done in a current Batman style. However, when she wrote the script up that she wanted, it was very much influenced by the 1960s Batman TV show, and I suggested that I should do the artwork in that style.

At the time, I had a much bigger book collection than I do now... I had at least one book just on the Batman TV show, plus Adam West's autobiography. I also had an issue of, I believe, Model & Toy Hobbyist (or something like that) which featured an extensive article on the Aurora Batman models, including the diretions on how to build their Batmobile model.

Armed with the photos of those, I started preparing this birth announcement... and I'll tell you more about the technique I used with the posting of the final pages!

Jon

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

An Ace Cover


acecover
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Well, since I can upload graphics again, here's one for you!

This Ace drawing was done quite some time ago, obviously... and if I remember correctly, I think I intended this to be a concept drawing for a trade paperback cover, reprinting the as-yet-unpublished (only plotted) origin of the Ace... in fact, it may have been intended to be the back cover!

Jon

Sometimes, Things Just Go Great...

So, today's been an interesting day for me.

I went to the rental office to pay the rent for the house, and asked when I'd see the deposit refund on the old place. At first, they reminded me they had 14 days to get that to me... but then, they said they were trying to deal with it faster, and if I had a few minutes, they could get it for me.

I could've already been an hour late for work, and I would've told them I could wait.

So I waited, got the check, and deposited it promptly. I even called Jessi to let her know I got it (she must've been busy at work, as she couldn't answer her cell phone).

Then I got to work. Now, as I've said before, I work for a newspaper, doing the layouts for advertisements. Last night, about an hour before the end of my shift, I noticed this one ad came in... and it was late. This ad was for a local branch of a national department store, and the manager of said store doesn't like paying for the color circulars provided by corporate, so instead, he goes for a half-page black and white ad, which I've been building.

Unfortunately, the artwork he provides is very low-resolution (from a screen preview of the circular), and I've taken on the task of finding higher-resolution images when possible to replace the low-res ones. Usually, I get the insertion order for the ad before it goes to our scanning department for toning, so I can replace items on the scan ticket. This time around, however, the person doing the toning didn't know that I find better versions of these graphics, and started toning the bad ones. Fortunately, I spotted this happening, informed them of the procedure we've been doing, and took the insertion order from them and proceeded to find better images.

Before leaving, I laid out the entire ad, placing the untoned images in, figuring that the night crew would tone the images, and this morning I'd just open up the ad, update the links, and send a proof out by 11:00 a.m. (I'm usually at work by 10:45). Of course, you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men... night crew didn't do the toning, so I had to wait for day crew... and it didn't get done until about 2:15 pm... or, to put it another way, three and a half hours after I got to work today! Sheesh...

But the day went up again when I got home on my lunch break, and found that the single winner of my eBay auctions paid for them already, so I can ship the posters out for him tomorrow (Friday)!

Unfortunately, the day took a downturn when I got back to work again... I'd completely misunderstood one last-minute correction the other day, and had to meet with the department manager and assistant manager (fortunately, they don't want to think about what it would be like if I wasn't there, as I'm a very productive employee). We did discuss a few ideas to prevent this from happening again.

Ended up working until 9:00 pm tonight... and headed home, with a short detour to the grocery store! As I write this, Jessi should be leaving school any minute now, and should be home by 9:45.

I still have to get something to eat for dinner (have some leftover spaghetti from this weekend, but I already had some of that for lunch)... and then tonight, after Jessi goes to bed, I've got to print the label for the eBay package, as well as do a few other things that slip my mind at the moment.

Jon

This 'n That Has Risen From the Grave!

Time for another assortment of stuff!

1. THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR 42 -- My comp copy arrived in the mail yesterday, and while I haven't completely read it from cover to cover, I can tell you that it stays up to the very high Twomorrows standards... if you love Kirby's work, you'll love this! The current issue is a focus on Jack's JIMMY OLSEN work, and includes coverage of the Golden Age Newsboy Legion stories, as well as some other cool stuff!

2. EBAY -- Remember a few weeks back when I made the mistake of bidding on an eBay auction for a "vintage" Superman animated cartoon poster? Well, the "poster" arrived yesterday, as well... and wow, it was just as I suspected. This guy obviously just scanned in an original poster -- or, more likely, a more recent reprinting of it -- and printed it out on photo-quality paper from his computer. There's image cut off from three of four sides, and I can even see some moire patterns. The guy also charged $8 for shipping, and it was shipped first class -- he also required insurance, but there's no sign on the shipping label that insurance was even purchased. I'm guessing he justified the shipping because it was mailed in a cardboard envelope... but for less than half the cost he charged, it could've been sent Priority Mail in a flat-rate envelope.

I did contact the seller about this situation, to give him a chance to make it right... and did point out that he'd sold a bootleg/counterfeit item... but I also notice that this person is listed as no longer registered on eBay, with a number of recent negatives, so my hopes aren't high that he'll make it right. I'll give him a few days to respond before I add my own negative to the others (may as well be complete, right?).

I have higher hopes for the ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN VOL. 1 that I recently won and paid for... because the seller already left positive feedback on me, and let me know it's shipped already.

My own auctions ended last night... all the Alex Ross posters sold, while the Crisis promo poster closed with no bids. I'm hoping to get some more auctions put up tonight, with more Alex Ross posters... and if I can figure out the shipping cost, I'll start putting up the limited edition prints I've got, too.

Sometime in the next few days, I'll post a follow-up to the "Rules for Bidding" that I wrote a while back, which will be my "Rules for Selling."

3. JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED/TEEN TITANS -- I did see the Teen Titans episode "Troq" this weekend, and it was a good episode. The Titans meet a superhero from space who's prejudiced against Tamaranians, and "Troq" is what he calls Starfire the entire episode... "Troq" translates as "nothing." I have two JLU eps taped I haven't watched yet, but I'm hoping to get to them before too many more days!

4. HAPPY JUNE! -- Yep, it's a new month, and as such, I'll be able to post some new graphics with my posts soon, especially as I upload some new stuff! I still have some of my own artwork to share, and I've been thinking of doing some posts celebrating the advertisements from 1970s comics, as well.

5. CURRENTLY READING -- When I'm taking a break from doing computer stuff at home, and Jessi's either at work, school, or asleep, I'm currently reading Heinlein's PODKAYNE OF MARS. After I finish that, I'm on to THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON.

That's it for now! I'll likely post some more stuff later tonight.

Jon

Monday, May 30, 2005

Curse of This 'N That

A few thoughts to wrap up this holiday weekend with...

1. Memorial Day. I've noticed a trend (moreso last year than I've seen this year) to have Memorial Day being not just about remembering those who gave their lives in defense of this country, but also to remember all who have passed on.

And to be honest, I really don't like that idea. If the US wants to come up with a holiday to remember those who have died, regardless of the circumstances, that's fine... but Memorial Day is about honoring those who served and paid the ultimate price for serving.

Now, I'm not completely fanatical about keeping this just for those who served in the military... I would wholeheartedly embrace the notion of expanding Memorial Day to also remember policemen and firemen, or any other occupation in which someone is helping to serve and protect our citizens, whether at home or overseas, who lost their lives in that cause.

2. Cover Stories #3. The third installment of my weekly column posted yesterday at World Famous Comics... and after you've read my column, check out the other great stuff they have to offer!

3. Mini-Reviews Status. As I believe I've mentioned before, I didn't have the available funds to hit the comics shop last Thursday, which has delayed by biweekly mini-reviews. I'm hoping that I might get lucky and hit the shop this coming week... which leads me to...

4. My Old Apartment. This weekend has left me a bit frustrated with that situation. Just to recap for those who came in late, I moved out of my old place into this house with Jessi in late April. Now, the lease on the old place was through May, and I understood I'd have to pay that rent (which I did... nothing like paying rent on a place you don't live in, eh?). Both this house and my old apartment are rented through the same company, by the way. We did the move-out inspection on my old place way at the beginning of May, and I was expecting to see the deposit returned on that place two weeks later. Instead, I got a letter stating (at least, when I called for a translation, this is what I found out it meant) that since the lease still ran through May, regardless of the fact that a) I'm no longer living there, b) We did the move-out inspection, and c) I don't have the keys to the place any longer, they feel they had to keep my account on that place open until the end of May.

Now, it's May 30th. It's a holiday. The rental office is closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. I know that they don't have anyone interested in the old place, because it's still listed on their web site (when I first put in my application, they took it off immediately). Tomorrow's the last day of May, so there's no chance that anybody's going to move in there before the month is out (they told me if they found a new tenant, they'd refund part of that rent... I figured that money was gone anyway). It's been four weeks since I've even driven by the old place.

Here's where it gets frustrating, on three fronts:

a) A friend of ours recently separated from her husband... or rather, her husband separated from her. If they'd asked us for ideas as to where he could move to, I'd have been able to recommend my old place (which would've been perfect for him), and I could've not only got that deposit back, but I also could've gotten some of that rent back. But by the time we heard anything, he'd already taken a new apartment... and as it turns out, it's in the complex Jessi used to live in.

b) It's possible that, since Washington law provides landlords and rental agencies 10 business days after move-out before mailing a deposit refund, that I might have to wait two weeks from Wednesday before they'll even *mail* the check. However, I'm going to ask them about it when I go to pay the rent on Wednesday, since it's been more than 10 days since the move-out. I may have to do a little research, and even stop by there on Tuesday to see what I can argue.

c) Half the deposit from my old place will be given right back to the same company to pay the pet fee for the first place... and they knew when we signed the lease we had to wait for that deposit to be returned before we could afford the fee (hasn't stopped them from sending us a reminder notice, however).

So... like I said, frustrating!

Jon

Sunday, May 29, 2005

How the weekend's going...

So, looking over Saturday and Sunday, and comparing it to what I'd mentioned in the previous post:

I said before: Temperatures around here are in the 80s during the day...

Today: Temperatures were much lower, in the 60s to 70s, and cloudy!

Saturday morning's Weight Watchers and dog walk plans went as scheduled... but Ned and Jane had to cancel on breakfast. I made French Toast anyway. Afterwards, I ended up going to the Farmer's Market with Jessi, where we got some starter veggies as well as a potted selection of carnivorous plants (which go in my kitchen... and that's cool, because, y'know, they used to advertise Venus flytraps in the comics). I tried to mow the lawn when we got back, but although I could start our new (well, new to us) mower, it wouldn't run more than a few mintues before it quit.

Larry and Sibyl did come over for dinner (I made homemade chicken strips and fries), and Larry tried to fix the mower... turns out the engine's not getting any fuel, and we'll need to take it somewhere for repairs, which should cost about $45-50. However, the mower, which we got for free, retails for about $250 or so, so we're still coming out ahead!

Sunday morning, walked the dogs again. We didn't go on a bike ride, despite my having lost another 4 lbs (which I told Jessi was the minimum I had to lose to do another bike ride this weekend). We still haven't seen Star Wars Episode III yet. I decided for dinner tonight, I'd make my chicken spaghetti sauce with homemade garlic bread. I'd just gotten the sauce started in the crockpot, and was getting ready to get the bread dough going when our neighbors (not Ned and Jane, the other ones, whose names I can never remember) stopped by to give us six trout they'd just caught.

Six uncleaned, unprepared trout.

I've never cleaned fish before... heck, when I get fish, it's ready to be marinated and cooked! So I found a website that claimed to show how to clean trout... and, well, it didn't work so well for me. I think I ended up with a cup of usable trout meat by the time I finished mangling the six trout. What to do, what to do? It wasn't enough to use for a meal, and how would I cook all those little pieces, anyway?

Then, inspiration struck (as it tends to do with food-related matters). I remembered I had this "home smoker bag" kit, which basically is a double-layered foil bag, with wood chips inside the two layers. Put your meat or whatever in the bag, bake at 400 for however long it takes, and voila! Smoked meat. So, I smoked the trout pieces (first preparing a seasoning for it of lemon juice, Johnny's Seasoning Salt, red wine vinegar, and some Sugar Twin brown sugar substitute). While that was cooking, I made up the bread dough and let it rise.

I got to thinking what to do with the smoked trout once it was done, and I decided to make a pate out of it to serve as an appetizer tonight. Picking the remaining bones out of the cooked fish, I put it in my food processor, added some non-fat mayo and a bit of pickle, and let it go to work. Came out pretty tasty (at least, Paul, Brigitte and I thought so... Jessi didn't really care for it that much).

Krypto was a real pill when Paul and Brigitte got here... they'd brought their white boxer, Claude, whom Krypto and KO both adore, and love to play with at the dog walk... but for some reason, Krypto was feeling territorial! I think since he's been neutered, he must be overcompensating. More than a few times, he had to go into his crate to calm down.

The evening went really well, though... despite the fact that the low-calorie "strawberry pie" I made for dessert couldn't be made according to the directions (it called for cook and serve vanilla pudding mix... I bought instant, but I reworked the recipie, and it tasted great). We had a nice visit, and we're looking forward to having them over again!

And now it's Sunday evening, with another day left in the weekend! Hope my readers are enjoying this long weekend, and I'll be back with another entry tomorrow, and possibly there'll be some comics-related content to it!

Jon