Friday, October 14, 2005

I've taken way too long to put this up, and when I got a second package today I figured now's the time.

A few weeks ago, not long after this blog went up, Peter Rios of the site e-mailed me and offered to get his site's fanbase to jumpstart my comics collection. I debated it for awhile, because there really are people out there who have less than me and my girlfriend do, but ultimately I decided to take him up on the really beautiful offer. And Susannah, you were right. Receiving help does make you feel good.

About a week and a half ago I got a package from Jason Ragle of L.A. Here's what he sent:

There's also a copy of BITE CLUB that I forgot to include in the photo. I actually had both of these books before the flood, so it's great to have them "back." I'd really liked DEAD WEST, so it's nice to be able to read that again, and Warren Ellis is one of my favorite writers, so the LAZARUS CHURCHYARD is great too. I really liked Howard Chaykin and David Tischman's AMERICAN CENTURY, so the BITE CLUB will be well received, I'm sure.

And speaking of Warren Ellis, Jason also sent along an original promo poster for TRANSMETROPOLITAN. You may remember I had that poster on my wall at my old place, and was actually able to take it. But the one that Jason sent it way cooler for this reason:

Fantastic. I'll be looking for a frame to stick it in. Jason, I still can't thank you enough.

Today I got a package from Shawn Rathbone (I think that's the last name, I couldn't quite make it out on the box) of Auburn, New York. The package included this:

I've always wanted to read PREACHER and never got around to it, so this is great. I'm also a big fan of Whedon's run on X-MEN, so having the entire run of ASTONISHING back is another good deal.

Shawn, you're awesome too, and expect a card in the mail from me soon.

I'll tell you, just when you get inundated with the crap people can shovel at you, stuff like this comes along and reminds you that not all people are in it for themselves.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

After Jason and I went to Kenner, we stopped back at my house so I could see how the gutting was going. I didn't expect our house to turn from this:

To this:

In only a couple days. Wow. There's only some sheetrock and a few straggling comics out front, along with some washers and dryers (I couldn't find ours, I wonder if someone took them?), water heaters and other trash. I have to admit I have to wonder where the rest of my comics and stuff went. Were some salvageable that I didn't know about and the gutters took them? I hope it's just me being paranoid and no one meticulously went through that pile of wet stuff and picked things out.

Anyway, progress is progress, though, right?
The other day I brought Jason to the yard where his car was towed after the accident. Here's what he and Pedro walked away from.

Weird, isn't it? If the drunk guy had hit the car closer to the front, Jason would have gotten the brunt of the impact. They're lucky it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

My hatred of drunk drivers grows every time I think of this car and what could have happened.
I decided, after hanging out with Noah this weekend, to finally get the ball rolling on official AntiGravity business. I heard through the grapevine that our printer, Dixie Web, isn't going to reopen, so I've been contacting printers both in the N.O. area and Baton Rouge about quotes. One in B.R. looks promising, and the prospect of driving there once a month to pick up magazines isn't so bad. I can simply do our distribution there and in Lafayette before heading back to New Orleans to finish up.

Once I get the quotes back and actually pick a printer, I can settle on format. We were printing on 50# offset paper, but I may start up with newsprint just to keep the cost down at the beginning. I've always been a proponent of starting small and growing when possible. I'm not about to drain what little money I do have by dropping it all on a magazine that won't sustain itself in the short term.

After format is settled, I can then set up our new advertising rates. We'll approach the businesses already open in N.O., the music clubs in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, and our good friend Chris will talk to record labels.

I'm optimistic, really, that things will start rolling. If in the process we convince some displaced N.O. people that moving back is not only possible but easier than they think, that's great. Hopefully we'll at least entertain those people here and in the surrounding areas.

It's nice to be optimistic for once, after seeing so much destruction, ambivalence and pessimism.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Michelle left for Virginia this morning. We left for the airport at 8, was stuck in traffic until 8:45, and got checked in in time for her to board the plane at 9:30. She called a bit ago to let me know she's in Richmond, Virginia, where she's visiting her dad for six weeks. She comes home November 22nd.

We haven't been apart for more than a weekend for two and a half years.

It's weird already.

I've gotten to the point where I'm periodically realizing things that were ruined in the flood. It's not cool.

The other day, Dre called me to ask for help with sentence diagraming, which I'd taken a couple years ago in college. My first thought was that if I didn't know the answer, I could always go look in my textbook. Wrong. That was on my bookshelf. That realization made me remember all my old Journalism notes in a box, which I'd always keep for reference. Gone. Which made me remember about my "box of ideas," where I'd put notes for short stories or other pieces I always meant to go back to. Gone.

The weather in N.O. got a bit cooler the other day, cool enough for a light jacket at night. I wanted to grab my Dickies jacket, the one with all the cool pins on it that I got for free from our Miller High Life rep when I was doing the Leighties night at TwiRoPa. Nope. Gone. Which made me remember about the heavy jacket my mother bought for me years ago, which made me remember about the long leather trench coat given to me by a family friend. Gone, and gone.

I'd come to terms with losing all my comics and that kind of stuff. It's moments like this, though, that make things rough sometimes.
Also yesterday, Michelle and I went to Barnes and Noble. I decided that I'd buy a couple books to restart my collection, so I got Bill Simmons' NOW I CAN DIE IN PEACE, which is about last years's Boston Red Sox championship run, Neil Gaiman's ANANSI BOYS, which I'm not quite sure the plot of, and rebought Michael Chabon's KAVALIER AND CLAY. Simmons is a favorite writer of mine who, oddly enough, came to my attention a few years ago when, in an ESPN column covering the 2001 Super Bowl, the city of New Orleans bashed him for saying that Bourbon Street stinks. Which it does. KAVALIER AND CLAY is one of my favorite books, so I figured rebuying that wasn't so bad.

Of course, I immediately kicked myself for not rebuying my favorite book ever, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. My well worn copy was ruined in the flood, and I seem to reread that book every couple years, so it wouldn't have been a bad purchase. Next time.
Yesterday afternoon, Pedro was released from the hospital. The kicker is, to make a long story short, his arm is still in the same sling it was in the previous four days. Before they moved him from ICU into a room he was taken off of the IVs and blood transfusions, so the only thing left was to cast his arm. They decided not to cast it, and a tighter sling wasn't possible because of the pressure it would put on his still healing spleen, so they left it the way it was. Which means he was in the hospital for four extra days. But he's out now, so that's good.

I'm WAY overdue for an update, so here's the weekend as I saw it. Quickly, so I can get to today.

Friday night Noah and Eden came in. Noah's the Senior Editor on AG and they've been in Florida since about a week after Katrina hit. Eden's going to UF this semester for law school and they're coming back to N.O. once the semester's done. It was really nice to see them again and, sure enough, Saturday morning the previously rusted-shut cogs in my brain came to life again and I actually brainstormed editorial and design elements for AG. It's a wonder how seeing a familiar face will get you going.

We had dinner Friday night on the Westbank and Saturday we had the AG barbecue at my parents' house, which was also a good time. The beer flowed freely and we cooked up sausage, chicken and burgers. Besides Noah and Eden, AJ, Jason Songe, Santos, Brian Jones and his wife Chris came over. We had tons of good conversation, and later that night we wound up at Noah's to move their fridge out of the house.

On Sunday Jason and I went back to the hospital to watch the Saints game with Pedro. We got our asses whooped 52-3. It's the worst loss I can remember, and that's bad. To make matters worse, Deuce McAllister, pretty much the Saints' best player, blew his MCL and is out for the rest of the season. We're officially the shakiest 2-3 team in the league.

Sunday night Michelle and I met up with Noah and Eden for dinner at Port of Call, which was great. It's cool to see so many businesses opening up, even if they're not at full speed. All PoC had was burgers and potatoes, and they were on plastic plates, but the burgers are still huge and the potatoes loaded, so what else can you ask for?

Noah and Eden left to go back to Florida early Monday morning, so that's a bummer, but overall it was a pretty good weekend. I may drive to Florida soon for a weekend, just to hang out with them.
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