May 29, 2006

The Great McKillip Move - Week Nine

It may be Memorial Day weekend, but there’s no rest for the wicked - at least not for those who blog or, as I learned, for those selling their house.

The past week we have continued to generate interest in the house from shoppers. We are still having no-shows – which is very frustrating – but we are getting people to keep their appointments as well. I’m just glad to hear the phone ringing with calls from realtors wanting to show our house.

Going into this weekend I really didn’t expect to have anyone schedule time to view the house. I figured people would be out doing the Memorial Day thing. Visiting friends, having cookouts, going to baseball games- not looking at houses. As it turned out, it was one of our busiest weekends yet.

We had a showing Friday night (which turned out to be a no-show), but then had a showing on Saturday, one Sunday morning, and the Saturday people came back for a second look on Sunday. Traffic and second-looks are good things from where Heather and I stand. Every person who walks through the house increases the chance that this could be the one who presents the offer we are looking for. Hopefully something good comes out of this weekend. Either an offer or the kick-off of more house shopping traffic with the official beginning of summer.

May 27, 2006

Who Wants To See Some Bad TV?

If I was going to be visiting Camp Hill, PA in June I'd definitely drop in. Especially if I could catch the notoriously bad Justice League of America pilot.

riot comics poster

May 25, 2006

Iron West

iron westI read an interesting interview with comic book creat Doug TenNapel over at the Comic Book Resouces website the other day. In it they discuss his new book, Iron West.

I became a fan of TenNapel's work after reading Creature Tech a few years back. His unique art style matches the inventive and one-of-a-kind stories he decides to tell.

Take for example, Iron West, his new graphic novel that puts robots in the Old West. This is how TenNapel describes the book in the interview:
"The story is about Preston Struck, a lying, train robber who is trying to rip people off even in the middle of a war against these evil mechanical outlaws. He is in love with a hooker named Ms. Sharon, who only came out west to marry Struck. He, of course, never made good on his promise, because there hasn't been a promise he hasn't broke. Struck is guided by a Mi-Wuk Indian Shaman named Two Rivers, who tries to get Struck to be a good man. They are aided by Sasquatch, an ass-kicking wall of fur and fang who hates Struck's guts."
We get robots in California right after the gold rush, a train robber in love with a hooker, and a sasquatch. How can you not love that.

Why Didn't We Sell Last Year?

I know the answer, but I can't help but keep asking myself this question as our house continues to sit on the market.

Stories like this one don't help ease my mind either: New signs of cooling housing market

The most disturbing quote I found in the story? This one:
"Inventory levels are simply out of sight," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, a private consulting firm. "Something has got to give and that is likely to be prices."
My one hope is that when we do finally sell our home for $10,000 less than what we paid for it six years ago, the next house we want to buy should be down in price as well.

Right.

May 23, 2006

Spirited Away

Earlier this year Turner Classic Movies featured the films of Hayao Miyazaki. Even though I was only able to watch one and a half of the five or six films showcased, I immediately fell in love with Miyazaki’s skill and artistry in animation and gained an instant appreciation of his storytelling skills.

spirited awayAs far as setting is concerned, Princess Mononoke and Whisper of the Heart are about as far apart as two films can get, yet they both share Miyazaki’s engrossing storytelling and lush, detailed animation direction. After seeing all or portions of his films on TCM, I promised myself that in the future not only would I be sure to watch all of Whisper of the Heart (the film I only saw half of), but that I would seek out Princess Mononoke to view again and then move on to other Miyazaki films.

In the months following TCM’s feature on Miyazaki I have had some opportunities to watch his films on television, but time and work have conspired against me. Fortunately I have a wife who not only understands my love of animation (including my growing interest in the works of Miyazaki), but also knows that sometimes the best way to find the time is to just sit down and make the time.

This past week while she was at the library with the kids, she noticed that Spirited Away, Miyazaki’s 2002 Academy Awarding winning film, was available to be borrowed. She picked it up and brought it home especially for me. She figuratively and literally put the movie in my hands. Now it was up to me.

To help work around the limited time factor, we split viewing the film up over two nights – Friday and Saturday. While we would have preferred (and enjoyed) watching it straight through, sleep was calling. And when dealing with three kids during the day, the call of sleep is not to be ignored.

Watched all at once or broken up over multiple nights, there is no denying that Spirited Away is a masterpiece of animation film and film in general. The story is simple. A girl and her parents are transported to a strange spirit world, and when her parents are horribly transformed into hogs, the girl must call upon courage and strength she never knew she had in order to free her parents and return them all to the regular world.

What makes the film so extraordinary is how the simple story is used to explore all sorts of themes of love, friendship, and nature. And how these themes are brought to life with some of the most imaginative animation and visuals I have ever seen on the screen. It is breathtaking to see what Miyazaki and his animators are able to accomplish with simple 2D hand-drawn animation. I could watch Miyazaki’s films even if there weren’t English dubbing of the dialogue. It is joy enough to watch his animation unfold in front of me.

Just as with Whisper of the Heart and Princess Mononoke, I was impressed with Miyazaki’s ability to let the story unfold in its own time. Nothing is pushed or forced. There isn’t constant movement from one big scene to another, or an unending barrage of action or cheesy songs. Miyazaki takes the time to let his characters take in the scenes they are in. Allows us to understand and connect with the characters not only by way of what they are saying, but also in the quiet moments when we can sense them “feeling.” It really is quite extraordinary. I find the quiet scenes are some of my favorites from Miyazaki’s films. They certainly are some of the ones that stick with me visually.

It was a wonderful film to watch and I would very much like to watch it again. In fact, I think I could stand to start adding some Miyazaki titles to my growing DVD collection.

May 22, 2006

Superman, Superman, Superman

DC and Warner Brothers have all their marketing guns firing this summer to cash in on the new Superman movie. Case in point, they've launched a website dedicated to promoting all the different versions of Superman available on DVD. They even have a timeline of when everything is coming out on DVD this year - even Superman Returns.

superman returns logo

One interesting little tidbit I learned from this site is that this winter the first season of Jutice League Unlimited will be released on DVD. I am a big fan of the animated Justice League show, but felt the "Unlimited" incarnation was much better. That's the collection I'll be looking to add to my already overloaded DVD shelf.

The Great McKillip Move - Week Eight

At the beginning of last week we lowered the asking price on the house. We were reluctant to do it, but traffic had dried up so much that we felt that something had to be done to spur interest in the house.

The change did have a positive effect. We had three new showings last week. There were showings on Wednesday, a surprise one late Friday afternoon, and finally a showing on Saturday morning. It was good to have people coming through the house again, but so far the result has been the same. No offer immediately forthcoming.

It’s looking more and more each day that this will be a waiting game that we end up playing. Heather has done a considerable amount of research into listings for similar sized houses in our school district. We are priced at the low end of what is currently available. So it doesn’t look like we are being unreasonable in our expectations as far as asking price is concerned. People just aren’t buying right now.

The fact of the matter is that we are beginning week eight and all signs in the market show that houses just aren’t selling. Luckily, as much as we would like to be out of our current house and in larger, more accommodating quarters, we aren’t in any rush to move. There isn’t a job pulling us out of state or the pressure to be settled in before the school year begins. If we have to wait four to five months for the house to sell, then that is what we might just have to do.

That’s not to say the situation won’t continue to become more and more stressful each week the house sits on the market. It takes a lot of work to constantly keep your home in “show” or “30-minutes from show” condition. That will be one of the biggest benefits of finally signing a contract for selling – letting the inside of the house return to its organic state once again.

May 17, 2006

Comedy 101

Ian has been trying to tell more jokes recently. Not the standard knock-knock or silly little kid jokes, he’s trying to make up his own original funny comments or jokes about situations.

The problem is that he’s only six-years old and his jokes are a bit lacking in the “funny” department. It’s really no fault of his. Outside of doing something just blatantly silly or something by accident, how many six-year olds do you know that can make a grown adult laugh out loud. It takes experience and time to build up a sense of humor that can be put into practical application for making others laugh. Somebody doesn’t have that sort of experience at age six.

comedy professorUnfortunately, that doesn’t stop Ian from getting frustrated when Heather and I don’t laugh at the jokes he makes. It was after one of his comedy bombs was dropped last night that I found myself in a conversation with Ian that I never thought I would ever have. I was explaining humor to him.

I tried to define what a “pun” is, and why they are considered a bad joke, but a bad joke that people tend to like. This lead to a discussion of “groaners,” those jokes that are so cheesy that people groan when you tell them the joke. Again, I explained to that people will call “groaners” a bad joke, but it’s really bad in a good way. Generally people will still have fun hearing a pun or groaner from time to time.

We finished up our first lesson on humor with an explanation of the “inside joke.” How it can only be funny to those people in the know or within the circle of knowledge, and everyone outside of the circle wouldn’t get it. The joke would fail. I used the discussion of inside jokes to bring in the larger topic of being funny. Namely, that it takes some time and experience to figure out how to be considered funny by others and that the subjects for your jokes need to be based on commonly shared experiences. Inside jokes will only get you so far.

What’s strange (other than having a scholarly discussion about humor with my six-year old son) was that I think Ian understood what I talking to him about. He might not have understood puns completely (I was hard pressed to come up with any good examples on the spot), but he clearly grasped the idea of the inside joke versus telling jokes about things everybody has done. I also found myself thinking about all the movies/shows/comedy albums I had watched/listened to as a kid and how they shaped my sense of humor and was wondering how I to give Ian that same comedy education. That’s going to take some more work.

Will my first comedy lesson stop the obscure jokes about Bionicles? Probably not anytime soon, but I think it may have put us on the right path.

May 16, 2006

At Least They Don't Show It Too

Heather has a very funny post about the dangers of teaching children the anatomically correct terminology for the parts of the body.

I have experienced what Heather described first hand, but I don’t get to hear these conversations nearly as much as she does. It’s the goofy stuff like that I miss by not being at home with the kids more.

Grant Morrison and Batman

This is why I can't wait for Grant Morrison's run on Batman to begin. From the DC Comics solicitations for products shipping in August 2006:
cover to Batman 656What do you get when you add one Batman, fifty Ninja Man-Bats and the British Prime Minister's wife? Welcome to a glittering night of mayhem among the rich and famous, as Batman faces down a whole army of winged horrors in a no-holds barred, bone-crunching superbrawl among the treasures of London's Pop Art museum. And when the Dark Knight's done, an even greater shock awaits, as we finally meet a startling NEW addition to the Batman family in "Man Bats of London," - Part 2 of the 4-part "Batman and Son," by comics legends Grant Morrison (ALL STAR SUPERMAN, SEVEN SOLDIERS) and Andy Kubert (Ultimate X-Men, 1602)!

Ninja Man-Bats and the Prime Minister's wife. Who else but Morrison would combine those to elements into a superhero story and make it kick ass? Nobody. And if anyone else tried, they would fail.

son of the demon coverInteresting side note: I think the suprising new addition to the Batman family is fairly obvious, considering the new printing of Batman: Son of the Demon that is hitting comic shop stands the same month. Son of the Demon is a classic Batman tale that has the Dark Knight teaming up with one of my all-time favorite Bat-villians, Ra's al Ghul. In the story, Batman learns that Ghul's daughter Talia may be carrying his unborn child.

My understanding is that the story is never definitive in stating whether Batman and Talia actually had a child together. However, that hasn't stopped the possible Batman/Talia love child from playing into storylines from time to time in the years since the books publishing. It looks like; however, that the combination of the new printing of Son of the Demon at the same time Morrison's Batman #656 is coming out, DC might be taking a stand on Batman's paternity. Interesting indeed.

May 15, 2006

Mother's Day Addendum

Over on her blog, Heather wrote up a nice recap of Mother's Day at our house. I must admit, the day turned out a lot better than I thought it would. Hell, seven days prior to the holiday the only thing I knew for certain was that my Mom was coming over to eat a meal at our place (I didn't even know if it would be lunch or dinner). The fact that we had gifts, breakfast organized, and Ian came through with his "Mom Olympics" slightly amazes me.

As fun and enjoyable as Heather's telling of Mother's Day 2006 may be, she left out one of my favorite parts. The day before, the kids and I were wrapping Heather's gifts. Few things are more fun then having a 6-year old, 3-year old, and 2-year old help you put tape on a wrapped gift. They all want to fold and cut, but in the spirit of limiting waste and cut fingers I usually limit their involvement to helping tape the package up. They can slap it on thicker then whale skin. Our house could have blown up that night but those two gifts would have been safe within their cocoon of transparent tape.

But that's not the funny part.

When we were done Emma informed me that we needed to hide the gifts so Mom wouldn't see them.

"Where do you think we should hide them?" I asked her, waiting for what I was certain would be a fantastic answer.

"I know the perfect spot!" she declared. "But first I am going to cover them with my pink blanket so Mom won't know what they are."

Emma drapped her pink blanket over the top of the pile of gifts and then lifted everything up together. She turned and walked into our bedroom, turned, and placed them inside the walk in closet Heather uses for all her clothes and shoes.

"Perfect!" Emma shouted. "Mom will never see them there."

Hiding The Gift


Putting the gifts in the closet made sense to me. It's a good hiding place. The blanket I could never figure out the logic for it, but I think in this case it works regardless.

That night, before going to bed, I warned Heather about going into the closet to get her robe. I didn't want Mother's Day to be tarnished because Heather had tripped over her gifts in the middle of the night, crushing them and sending her to the hospital with a sprained ankle. While it would have made for a memorable Mother's Day, I kinda prefer the one we ended up with instead.

Wheaton Christmas Bakery

I know all my talk in this blog about comic books and cartoons probably paints the picture that I'm a rough and tumble sort of guy. A real man's man. And who am I to argue with that preconception?

So this might come as a bit of a shock. I like collecting light up Christmas houses. In particular house from Department 56's Dickens' Village series. Got quite a collection too. Learned a few years ago that you can pick up really high-end quality stuff on Ebay for cheap. I had to self-impose a buying freeze because frankly we don't have room to display anything more at this time.

However, that doesn't mean I don't like to keep one eye on what new pieces are coming onto the market with hopes of picking them up at discounted prices down the line on Ebay in a year or two. A particular piece I will be watching for is "Wheaton Christmas Bakery."

Every year there is a limited number of houses that are only in production during that calendar year. "Wheaton Christmas Bakery" is one of those for 2006. This piece is from the New England Village series - not technically the series that I enjoy collecting, but stylistically it is close enough to fit in with my other pieces. Plus, I can't pass up on owning a building sharing the name of the town I spent a considerable amount of time growing up in, Wheaton, IL. Even though I didn't move there until I was in seventh grade, I still consider myself being from Wheaton. So being able to add this to my collection would be kinda fun.

The Great McKillip Move - Week Seven

Week seven is beginning and there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. The offer we were expecting last week didn’t pan out, so we still have a house for sale.

Frankly, I’ve become rather depressed with the whole thing. It’s amazing how quickly our spirits have fallen. Five weeks ago people were coming and looking at the house. We were hearing good feedback. A credible offer seemed like a given. Things were good.

Then all the people slowly went away. I don’t think we have had a new showing in the last two weeks. It’s maddening.

Today we figure on making an “adjustment” to our listing to see if we can’t generate more interest in the house. Hopefully a modest reduction in the asking price will help get more people to take notice of the house. We don’t want to drop too much because we still believe that the house is fairly priced for the market. But with price being the biggest driver after size (which we can’t really control), I’m not sure what else we can do.

Of course, if the market isn’t biting then who is to say Heather and I are correct in thinking that our house is priced correctly. I guess time will tell.

May 13, 2006

Bookpedia

bookpedia screenshotI love to read and have got books everywhere in this house. So many that I'm not sure of what I have or don't have anymore. Luckily computers can help you keep track of this stuff. Bookpedia is an application that allows the book lover to track all of the books in your collection. Besides just title and author, it will store covers, summary, reviews, publisher information, genre, and much more. You can organize you collection in all sorts of ways. Plus, Bookpedia grabs information from librarys and Amazon to give every entry a comphrensive set of data. It even lets you track who (and when) you've lent the book out to a friend - and whether they have returned it.

And best yet - it only cost $18 to download.

If this application works out nicely, I'll probably consider DVDpedia, the same application but for DVD collections.

Batman Swinging

I've never been a big fan of Ryan Benjain's artwork, but when I saw this the other day at the Sun of Gelatometti blog, I really thought it looked pretty cool.


Benjamin made the point that he always sees Batman drawn swinging through the city like his rope it attached to a cloud or something. He thought that Batman should really be swinging closer to the ground - kinda like Spider-man, so that's how he approached this piece.

Ryan Benjamin Batman

May 11, 2006

A Project For Ian and I To Do Together

batman underwear walletNow that Ian is getting older (and taller!), he's on the verge of outgrowing all his character-themed underwear.

What to do with all those pairs of Batman, Scooby-Doo, and Looney Tunes unerpants?

Let's make wallets!

Craftbits.com shows you how to make a wallet out of a pair of Batman underpants. It seems sort of complex, but I'm sure Ian and I can figure it out. Maybe we'll make my Dad one for Father's Day.

May 10, 2006

The Great McKillip Move - Week 6.5

A little mid-week update to the selling the house saga.

As you can see by reading Heather's blog, things are getting even more stressfull.

While it's great that we are getting people to look at the house again, it isn't so great when they surprise us with a showing and thus prevent us from getting the house in showing shape we're comfortable with.

And then, in following with the pattern that has been developing since we put the house up on the market, our place is the buyer's #2 house.

Adding insult to injury, the buyer's #1 house is the one across the street from ours! Same floorplan, same bedrooms, same bathrooms, but with a vaulted ceiling and an extra $5,000 to the pricetag.

Argh!

I'm not losing the faith yet. But every day it is getting a little harder to stay the course and not think about trying something radical.

May 09, 2006

Make Way for Magic Trixie

magic trixieJill Thompson has enjoyed a considerable amount of critical and financial success as a comic book creator. While working on a number of different projects, I know her best as the creator of the Scary Godmother series of graphic novels.

I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t read any of the Scary Godmother books. I have heard nothing but good things about them. The art snippets I have seen look fantastic. Plus, there were two animated shows that were produced from her Scary Godmother works that I got to watch last October and really enjoyed. I really need to pick up a book or two and give them a read.

After that I plan on checking out her new project that was just announced. Thompson signed a four-book deal with HarperCollins to produce a series of graphic novels for young readers starring a young witch named Magic Trixie. From the write up at the Publisher’s Weekly website:

Magic Trixie is a first-grade student at the Spectral Park Monstersorry School, and her friends are a sort of "monster Little Rascals," according to Thompson. The supporting cast includes a pair of vampire twins; Loupie Garou, a werewolf girl who excels at everything; Stitch Patch, the Frankenstein boy next door; Princess Nefi, a mummy who's the rich girl in the neighborhood; and Magic Trixie's little sister, Abby Cadabra. Their teacher is Ms. Spectre, a ghost who "haunts their brains with learning."

Considering that the first book will be about a first grade girl and isn’t scheduled to hit shelves until 2008, Ian might not be interested. But knowing how much Emma enjoyed the Scary Godmother TV shows we watched and the fact that Emma will be hitting first grade in the fall of 2008, she might really enjoy Magic Trixie.

This book will be something I’ll need to keep my eye out for.

May 08, 2006

This Is What I Meant To Say

On Friday, while talking about Free Comic Book Day, I tried to make the point of why I ultimately think Free Comic Book Day is a silly event for the comic book industry to sponsor.

While reading Tim O'Neil's The Hurting blog at lunch today, I see he did a much better job of spelling out why FCBD fails as a promotional device for comic books.

Tim writes:
Giving away free comics with the hopes of attracting new business sounded, to me, a bit like giving away free model trains in the hope of creating new train fetishists: most people, if pressed, are loathe to turn down anything free, but one plastic caboose will not turn someone into a lifelong trainspotter, anymore than a free issue of Ultimate Spider-Man is going to inspire them to open up a subscription at the local neighborhood comic shop and start dropping $50 a week every Wednesday.

THAT was the point I was trying to make!

Tim then takes on the argument that FCBD is geared towards bringing people into stores so that they can see what things are like. Surely that will turn newbies into regular comic book readers.

There's a difference between making your field open and accessible to outsiders and novices, something the comics field has never excelled at, and acting like an overeager puppy-dog desperate for affection, or, in this case, public affirmation that they are not social outcasts and that their hobby has great intrinsic value to the world at large. Has an influx of new readers, inspired by free comic books to become more regular customers, prompted once-lackadaisical retailers to make their businesses more accessible to novices? Anecdotal evidence (the only kind we can really depend on in this instance) tells us that the retailers who profit from FCBD are those retailers who are already situated well ahead of the curve in these regards.

The store I shop at does a marginally good job at making itself accessible to people unfamiliar with comics. They certainly have gotten better over the last five years.

Tim finishes up with what should be behind the drive to bring more people into comics:

The best way to turn a friend into a comics fan is still the same as it's always been: give them a comic book you think they might like. Don't just give them a pile of free crap and ask them to wade through them all in hopes of finding a gem that will inspire life-long devotion.

The Great McKillip Move - Week Six

I released the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune from the bag it is delivered to our house in. There on the front page, above the fold no less, the Chicago Tribune was telling me things I already knew – the real estate market in Chicago was coming back down to “normal” levels. The story presented all sorts of facts to point to this post-boom correction the market was taking – things Heather and I were already feeling in our gut by selling our house. Namely the growing disparity between asking prices and final selling prices and the length of time inventory is remaining on the market. According to the Chicago Tribune, it has officially become a buyer’s market.

So where do we go from here? Nowhere really. We just hunker down and reassess our expectations I think. When we started talking with our agent a few months back, he maintained a plan for getting our home sold in 30 to 90 days. He was upfront even then say that he sensed that the market was turning – starting to slow down from the previous four to five years – but he was still believed if priced right the house would move briskly.

However, I think it is now becoming apparent that even with a house that is priced fairly (which I, and our agent, continue to believe our house is), the time on market is going to be longer than one would expect. There are just getting to be too many houses available for sale. The Tribune article showed stats of five to eleven months worth of inventory in different parts of the Chicagoland area. So even with a great house priced right it could take four to five months for a buyer to decide on making an offer. From a buyer’s position, why rush into anything when you know the homes are going to be there?

In fact, that is the situation we find ourselves in right now. A couple of weeks ago someone came through the house and really like it. However, they said any potential offer would be contingent on the roommate getting a change to see our house also. They were suppose to come during week four, but ended up canceling at the last minute. It wasn’t until this past Saturday evening that they (including the roommate) were able to return for another visit. Will they make an offer? Possibly. But who really know at this point. We should find out today or maybe Tuesday morning.

A benefit of the market changing the way it has is that all these houses Heather and I have seen that we would be interesting in buying once our place is under contract are still up for sale three, four, five weeks after we first saw them. We just have to get over the hump of being the seller and then the tables will turn. We’ll be in the cat-bird seat, taking our time and picking out the exact house the fits our needs, interests, and price.

May 06, 2006

Superman Returns Trailer

I watched the new trailer for Superman Returns this morning.

Wow!

My interest in the movie has only been mild. I've always liked Superman, but as is pretty clear from my usual writings here in the old blog, I'm more of a Batman guy. But after watching the trailer I am really pumped at seeing this new movie. The films looks cool and stylish, and pulls enough from the old Richard Donner helmed Superman movies from the late 70's to to give it some continuity without making it difficult to follow.

I am really going to want to see this in the theater. And even despite the PG-13 rating, maybe I can take Ian along with me too.

superman logo

Ain't It The Truth

beer and hot dogs

May 05, 2006

Free Comic Book Day

free comic book dayNot sure what you are doing on Saturday, but if you are looking to get some free stuff to read then I recommend finding a shop to pick up some free comics.

Free Comic Book Day is an event that was started about four years ago. The idea was stolen by the comic book industry from Baskin-Robbins of all places. Every year Baskin-Robbins has a free ice cream day where anyone can stop in and pick up a free small scope of ice cream. It's great for Baskin-Robbns. Almost everyone likes ice cream, and word of mouth for something like free ice cream is so strong that the ice cream franchise's stores are full during these promotions.

Comic book retailers figured that they could use this same concept to help their business. Give away free comics so people can get a "taste" of what comics are all about. It would be like giving that first taste of heroin for free. Get 'em hooked and they'll be readers for life. (Or, so the prevailing thought went.) So publishers started printing up special "free" comics for the stores to hand out and the first weekend in May was eventually decided upon for holding the now annual event.

Personally I've never understood how it could be a successful marketing tool for the comic book industry. Everyone knows ice cream. There aren't any educational barriers there. However, plenty of people still think comics are something "nerdy" or "only for kids." There are plenty of preconceived notions of what comics are. So just because you have free comics doesn't mean newbies will come flocking to your door. A need has to be created first. And that need, or value, to read comics has not been created for Joe Public.

Plus, the promotion of Free Comic Book Day seems to be confined mostly to where people who already read and enjoy comics will see the ads. What good does that do? Talk about preaching to the choir. I already love reading comics. I don't need to be enticed with free issues. If I were to stop 10 random people on the street - hell, I could stop 50 people - I would be shocked if anyone of them had heard of FCBD. But I bet they would have heard about Baskin-Robbin's little giveaway. I don't think news of the event is getting out there.

Regardless of these gripes about FCBD, I think comics are great. They are inexpensive, entertaining, can be a lot of fun, very profound, or very moving. If you want a little taste, find a store and stop in on Saturday.

May 03, 2006

Winner: Worst Design Award

what the hell?
Don't know who thought that was the right place to put a slide on an elephant, but it's both sick and funny when you contemplate it. And how do you get in to slide out?

Thanks for sharing Ed.

May 02, 2006

Madness, Madness I Tell You

About a month ago I noticed that Cartoon Network had begun airing live-action movies. Not only were the movies not cartoons, but they were crap like DUMB AND DUMBER, ACE VENTURA 2 and HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS. Probably some of the cheapest films available for sale out there.

The other shoe dropped last week when I read that CN will start airing re-runs of Saved By The Bell. Sure, I thought Peter Engel produced a hell of a kids show back in the day, and I don't mind catching up with Zach, Screech, and Slater on TBS at 6am while I eat my breakfast before work, but I don't want to see their smiling mugs on Cartoon Network. CN is for animation.

Is CN hurting so bad that they can't even afford cheap Japanese animation rejects? Now they gotta buys the dregs of American live-action TV and film? It's a sad day to be a cartoon loving American.

Typical of the web, someone started an online petition to let the folks running Cartoon Network know that fans of animation don't appreciate all these live people showing up on the network. Will it make a difference? Probably not. But then again, I don't think CN will stray too far into live action. They will stay close to their cartoon roots.

May 01, 2006

The Great McKillip Move - Week Five

This is starting to get really frustrating.

Last week we didn’t have any showings. One group called for a showing and then never showed up. The people I talked about in last week’s post who wanted to come back did schedule something, but then called to cancel about an hour before the showing was suppose to take place. They told our agent that they want to buy the house, but any deal is contingent upon “a potential roommate.” Whatever the hell that is supposed to mean, I don’t know. Neither did our agent - and he even talked directly to the people.

The one encouraging thing – if you want to call it that – is that the agent of this potential buyer told our agent that if we did receive an offer that we should call them immediately.

That’s great. So now we know that if we get an offer we might have somebody out there ready to make a second offer on the home. ALL I WANT IS A FUCKIN’ FIRST OFFER! Is that too much to ask for?

The pressure to do something to keep our listing from getting stale is mounting. Of course, the only things you can do to keep you listing from getting stale in the MLS is 1) switch listing realtors or 2) change your price.

Our agent hasn’t given us any reason to dump him, so Heather and I are talking about changing the price on the house. What bothers us is that we know from looking at what is listing and selling right now that our home is priced right. The home around the corner from ours that is roughly the same size but without a basement lowered their price to $2,000 less than our asking price after being a few grand higher than us.

We are seeing the market correction that was inevitable after the four to five year real estate boom that griped the country until recently. I am concerned about how much of a correction we are looking at. My fear is that we dip so far down that we end up with a potential profit similar to the situation that made us decide not to sell two years ago. Before Zoe was born and when prices were fantastic in real estate we considered selling. But the equity we had in the home at the time made the prospect of how much cash we could walk away with look not so good. So we decided to wait to build equity and ensure that we would have the cash to put down on a bigger house when we did sell.

Gaaa! It puts a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. Like I don’t have enough stress in my life right now as it is. What looks like a falling real estate market – at least in our neighborhood – is that last thing I need.

Heather and I have talked about things. We will probably go at least another week – maybe two – before we consider changing the price. There isn’t a rush to sell the house, but who wants to be sitting on a listing that has been on the market for 60, 90, or God forbid, 120 days? A long time on the market doesn’t help make a house look more desirable to a potential buyer.

I know we are a long way from being a stale, 90 day listing. I just don’t want to come close to that. We’re starting week five and I just wish there a better prospect than some guy and a potential roommate.