Mittwoch, 30. September 2009

One Year of the CKT: Comics We Loved

There certainly were a lot of high quality comics published during the Cool Kids Table's first year of existence, which is an excellent thing for those of you who like to read about things other than Kiel's musings on giant Gundams and my man crush on Matt Damon.

I had the boys send me the stuff they truly loved from the past year and added it to my own to create this visual smorgasboard to what we consider the goods in comics over the last twelve months.

Want bonus points? Try to guess who picked what (a word of warning: some picks were selected by two or even all three of us).

Detective Comics #393 (On Sale: September 30, 1969) has just a really ineffective cover by Irv Novick. The Batman figure seems squeezed in under the massive logo and it is hard to tell exactly how old Novick thinks Robin is. Ugh, I just don't like this one.

"The Combo Caper" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella and although the cover scene does sort of happen in this issue, it is basically the last panel, so in that way this cover is sort of a cheap "come on." as the captioned question, "Why?," is never addressed. We begin with Batman and Robin noticing while on patrol a light on at the Winslow mansion. They knew very well that the Winslows are vacationing at their beach front estate next to Bruce's in Ocean Point so they enter and surprise an thief in mid caper. Before the thief escapes in the Batmobile no less, Robin lands a right jab to his covered face. The thief didn't have enough time to crack the Winslow's safe, but left behind a clue, an aluminum pop-top with the two sets of safe combinations scratched into its surface, the Winslow's and one other.

The next morning, after retrieving the abandoned Batmobile, Bruce, Dick and Alfred head out for Ocean Point for a little R & R. On the way they pick up Skeet Callum, an under-privileged teen in crisis that Bruce is attempting to mentor for the Civic Conscience Council. Skeet has an attitude the rub Dick the wrong way, and he also has a shiner and an addiction to Kool-Up soda, in the aluminum pop-top cans.

Once at the beach, Dick and Skeet run into Deena Winslow, who is also sporting a shiner and a Kool-Up addiction. That night Bruce, Dick and Skeet attend a big bash at the Winslow estate where they are introduced to world-traveler and yacht-owner Aristide Naxos. The teens all head out for a party on the beach where Skeet and Deena have an argument and Skeet takes off alone.

As the night wears on, Aristide makes his exit to his yacht and Mrs. Winslow tries to hit on Bruce, resulting in Bruce going upstairs to fetch her wrap, only to discover that the Winslow's safe here has been robbed. Looking around Bruce finds another pop-top with this safe's combination. Bruce remembers that Skeet is always drinking Kool-Up and tells him that if he robbed the place he can still give the jewels back, no questions asked. Skeet runs off and later Bruce laments that he may have pushed Skeet towards crime by accusing him. This sends Dick out to find him, which he does lying unconscious on the beach. Skeet says that he found Deena digging in the sand and that she was being signaled from Naxos's yacht and when he tried to ask her what was going on she decked him with her surfboard.

Later Dick rides out on a surfboard toward the yacht, gathering the attention of the guards on board. What they don;t see is Batman tagging along with the board underwater. using a rebreather. While Dick catches a few waves at night, Batman sneaks on to the yacht where he confronts Naxos and Deena. When Naxos pulls a gun Deena disarms him. Inside her can of Kool-Up are the jewels, which she stole to punish her parents for only buying her things instead of loving her. Later Skeet finds out that Batman came to his aid and that if Batman thinks he is worth something, then maybe he should too.

The final panel is a close-up of Batman thinking, "The case is over...the team-up is finished! This is good-bye for Batman and Robin!"

The Batgirl back-up is "Downfall of a Goliath!" by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #386

Adventure Comics #386 (On Sale: September 30, 1969) has a Supergirl cover by Murphy Anderson.

"The Beast That Loved Supergirl" is by Cary Bates, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel and features Mr. Mxyzptlk. The back-up is "The Godmother of Steel" by Robert Kanigher and Kurt Schaffenberger.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #382

Action Comics #382 (On Sale: September 30, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

"Clark Kent, Magician" is by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Roussos. That is followed by the Legion of Super-Heroes in "Kill a Friend to Save a World" by Jim Shooter, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. This story was reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

I never meant to come back from Hawaii.

In some days I will be heading to Hawaii, I think it is in a week.Some people think or say that I begged and emotionally manipulated my way to a vacation. Others have ideas about what Hawaii means to me. Most don’t know that all this time in planning I never believed I would return from Hawaii. Or that I worked on a suicide plan and started stage one because I believed that Cheryl and Linda were going to Hawaii to only make me happy. Or that I have spent almost a year working to go to Hawaii and 10 weeks working every day, every minute selling things, including hundreds of dollars of books. Nor have I asked for aid to go to Hawaii, or taken money with one exception (that I found out about). Times are hard. I don’t want to do that to my friends.

I have diminished mental capacity (in certain areas). I also have limited physical capacity. It has and will take me eight times longer to do the same blog as it did my first year of my disability. This naturally restricts what I can share about my life. Even though I work, work, work. I feel I am on a train where the events around me are rushing by, and I can never be in the same time stream as anyone else around me. I do not know what day it is. I know I had a disagreement with Linda, an argument. That was last week. I know that because someone told me in an email I read today, I don’t know what the argument was. That is what having no memory beyond a day or two means. You can come up and punch me today and I will be mad. You can come up in four days and ask me how am I, as it looks my nose is swollen and I will thank you for noticing and think you are nice but tell you that I have no idea what happened, I must have fallen down. That is one of my impairments.

So I am not going to Hawaii to make memories. I am going to Hawaii because I love Linda and Cheryl. Linda has never been to Hawaii. Cheryl has never been off the continental 48 states. I wanted them, my family, to go with me someplace where they could experience someplace new. I dreamed it, I dreamed what it could be and I wrote it on my brain board. But just because you try doesn’t mean it is going to happen. You simply don’t know what is possible until you try. So I tried. And I convinced Linda and Cheryl to try.

I will likely not remember being in Hawaii the week after I get back. I will return to my room, across from the construction, and try to survive the winter.

These last two days I have been on oxygen almost continuously because I pushed too far, and the weekend took it out of me. That is what happens, I do something, I plan something, like the plans I have on my board for getting my wheelchair onto the breakwater: something I did because Cheryl had never been on the breakwater. And I wanted all three of us to go. And then I try. And when I do, I do it all, I leave nothing back, no reserves. So I pass out. Or stop breathing. Or aspirate. I have aspirated into my lungs every day for nine days. When that gets infected, I get a fever.

Over the past 12 months, Linda, Cheryl, I and others who help have sent out the equivalent of $14,000-$19,000 to other people (in the Postcard Project and other ways), many people that we know almost nothing about. As one example, we of the Postcard Project have sent enough postcards for every mile to cross the USA: 2,900. If I live a few more months, you could drive from one coast of the United States to the other following the trail of postcards laid end to end. But they don’t lie down on the road but reside all over, here is a picture one reader sent of the postcards they have received.The Postcard Project, like Hawaii, was something I wanted to try. I wanted to believe, and put my heart, my money, what I could sell, and yes, my writing, to create a community which believed that people are important. In the 70+ weekends since I started, I have NEVER had a weekend without creating, matching and sending postcards: whether hospitalized, whether ill, whether passed out. Much of that is due to people who gave in ways I can never repay: financial support, stamps for the postcards, postcards, and some weekends, Cheryl and Linda physically carried me. One weekend I leaned because of fever, when not passed out, with an oxygen mask on my face, finding Linda and Cheryl having collected postcards from a list I made earlier of people ‘most in need’: the dying, the lonely, the children, and those who needed encouragement when tragedies had struck. People mattered. And, so when I was conscious, oxygen mask on and at maximum, I worked on postcards. Worked knowing if I died or was hospitalized that Cheryl and Linda would post the postcards I finished, or help finish and post the remaining ones.

Is it so strange in this world to say, “I will be there for you.” And attempt with all human effort to do so? I made a promise to people: “As long as I live, you will get a postcard through your mail box”

But I also have OTHER plans and dreams. And because I am open about them too on the blog, and open about my worries, or anxieties, I have many, many complaints, all Anonymous (I kept about 80 from the hundreds). The following is typical of what I get lately.

Anon: Why in the world would you have a wish list for people to buy you stuff while you are planning a trip to Hawaii?????
I guess the answer is: “the same reason other people do.” I didn’t go on a summer camp-out, or vacation, because I can’t go out in the heat. Many people did. Most people I know have wish lists. When I can, I give those I know and care about things that surpass or come from those wish lists.

Don’t worry, because the Anon’s made me feel so dirty, I eliminated virtually everything on those lists that was not for Linda, or a memory device for me (I can go look at the list and know what I am saving towards). I am EXTREMELY thankful for those who got me gifts off those lists over the months. I am, because in the nights where I was weak, in pain, or impacted and hurt so bad I wanted to cut myself just having something to stare at helped a lot. Ask Linda. Ask Cheryl, since I know she bought often. Or Linda who said, “I would do anything to take this pain from you.” Every Anon says that my life is a lie who hurts the ones I love. Mentally I am incapacitated in certain areas. I can regress for long periods. Telling a 5, or 8 year old that because they are alive and ill, the two ‘Adults’ who take care of them will never be happy, that ‘Bethie’ is BAD, that ‘Bethie’ is a liar doesn’t help. Telling a young teen from a sheltered society where she is taught only to obey that she did not obey, is bad, and she does things GOD does not like doesn’t help. Because it not only brands all those who give me care as liars (and co-thieves), but leaves messes, emotional messes and a human wreck to be cleaned up. It is easy to destroy. It is hard to love.

Cheryl bought off the list because she loved me and knew that things on the list, like a manga or book make me happy. She likes to see me happy. That is her choice. The DVD’s I worked and saved for on my own. And when pain makes me a bit off my head, having another reality to see and live in to distract can help a lot (thank you 21st century!).

Don’t worry, people don’t buy any more and I am fine with that too. I don’t understand time, and days and weeks and month starts or ends. But I know that my friends care about me, love me. And so if someone wants to be angry because I do need specialized socks, then I guess they will be angry.

When I give gifts to friends (and strangers, because I ‘feel’ they need it – to know the joy of spontaneous caring), which I do every week, my presents to others are ordered from around the world, taking a month or two to arrive. They are limited editions or rarities of interest which I spend time to find: from soap called ‘Blood’ from Villianess to out of stock limited edition 2005 cult stationary, or sometimes just Hello Kitty Gum and something fun like a Yo-yo. I get an allowance, I have ‘mad money’ which is put in my account and that I choose to spend it on postcards, rubber stamps I think people will like, or gifts to give to people is my choice, right? If you care about someone, if you LOVE them, then you want them to be happy. I love dozens and dozens and dozens of people, most of which I have never met most of which I will never meet. But I love them all the same. The Anon's would want me to think, "Oh no, what if they are a scammer!" If they ARE a scammer, and laugh at the stuff I send, then I hope they can remember the love of the act, later, when it matters. But truthfully I would never think of anyone who has emailed me as a scammer (Well, maybe when they told me I won the BBC lottery worth 12 million pounds, or when a princess in exile needed to put 15.6 million dollars in my bank account)

Some people, over time, we will write, email and gift each other regularly. This is a choice I do and a choice some who care about me do too because we like each other. My favorite plushies are all gifts: Rabid (the Squirrel) who has holds for quadriplegic hand grips and watches shows with me, Pounce (orange stripped tabby), HKA (My punk Hello Kitty Beanie Baby), Miko (The grey cat guarding me on bed days), and Eiki Eiki who holds Linda’s heart. And when I can’t remember who gave me the plushie, Linda is there to tell me.

When I have a bad episode, or regress, to a period where I am terrified of everything, Cheryl says that if I am given Eiki Eiki I calm down. When Eiki Eiki was made, Linda chose the heart to go inside, which she was supposed to make a wish. Her wish was for my life. Eiki Eiki holds my life: Linda’s heart.

I will soon be moved from here to Port Angeles, stabilized then a day later, moved the two hours to Seattle and stabilized again, then moved to the airport. I only spend nine days in Hawaii, but six to nine days in the 120 miles getting me safely to and from the airport. And maybe in Hawaii I will do and see things like float in lagoons of 100 foot visability and watch dolphins play (yeah, it exists). I might see the 1,400 foot waterfall in the Valley of the Kings (still inaccessible for wheelies), or the Green Sand made of semi-precious stones (inaccessible for wheelies). I could explore a tropical rainforest (so far inaccessible), or see a plantation town intact from the 1920’s (kinda accessible). I might see flowing lava, or ascend to the top of the mountain, above the layer of heat that makes the stars twinkle to stare at the stars, bare in glory. Or I might not, I might not see the 16th century Kyoto Temple, I might not see anything at all. And all those books sold, and all those DVD sets sold for nothing.

But I came up with an idea and I tried. And because of that idea, and work from Linda, Cheryl and I, now Linda and Cheryl says going to Hawaii is “okay”. We are going to Hawaii and all is paid for (or so they say to ME). Yet almost every place I have on my top list to go to has an explicit warning: “Those with heart and lung conditions should not under any circumstances proceed ……”

I never meant to come back from Hawaii.

I love Linda. I love Cheryl. They know I do what I must to survive, whether that is badminton, or a 10K. And I pay the price. Is my risking my life worth looking at stars? Yes. Is my risking my life worth flying to Hawaii? Yes. Is my risking my life worth spending 50+ hours working only on postcards broken only for sleep? Yes.

I do not want them to say “She was alive, but she never lived.” In many ways, I would that people remember what I tried to do: care about people and remind them that they matter. My name doesn’t matter, the idea does. I wanted all people but particularly those alone, depressed, in darkness, or in trouble knowing that someone worked every week, regardless, because no one should be in those states without people caring. And someone did.

This weekend, I came up with the idea to go to New Orleans. Cheryl has never been to New Orleans. Never been to the French Quarter! This is a tragedy that must be remedied!

Right now, it is just an idea, a train trip to New Orleans, where I can lie and watch the country go by. But I don’t know what is possible until I try. So maybe I will come back from Hawaii. Even though I will know of it only from pictures. Pictures I took. And Linda and Cheryl will have memories. And maybe this winter I will dream of New Orleans.

Dienstag, 29. September 2009

Melrose Memo IV: Vine

The facts: the original Melrose Place is probably my favorite television show of all time. I could write an essay on why, but let's just leave it at "it is" for now. I have waited patiently for a decade, and now at long last my beloved Melrose has been remade for a new generation...but will it be any good? That is what I will explore here each Tuesday night (or Wednesday evening) in the Melrose Memo. I understand that those of you coming here for comics, movie or general geek news probably have little to no interest in hearing my thoughts on this program, but people--it's Melrose Place.

Now, as my friend Sean would say, read on if you wish, but do not allow me to spoil the elaborate mythology of this show for you; in other words, watch before reading!

-The good news up front: despite poor initial ratings, the CW has picked up Melrose for six more episodes, proving once again it is the network that at least gives new shows a chance to find their audience...unless you're The Beautiful Life: TBL (but really those initials doomed it from the start). Seriously though, glad to hear The CW feels the show is "on the right track creatively," as I tend to agree, and am glad that merits the faith. On to tonight's episode...

-...and while it wasn't the worst, and was still highly enjoyable, it wasn't the new Melrose's best, despite some bright spots (which I'll get into). The main failing of tonight's ep I think came from a lack of Laura Leighton and Thomas Calabro, as while the younger cast definitely seems to be coming into their own, there's no doubt those two add some spice that differentiates this show from being just another CW soap. Clearly the writers felt that Josie Bissett's return as Jane would cover for the lack of Sydney/Michael action, but that's very much trying to jam a square peg into a round hole (more on Jane in a bit). Breaking from the flashback structure that had been established was also a bit awkward (thankfully they seem to be back next week).

-On the bright side, this was David's strongest episode yet in my eyes, as he is steadily climbing from one of my least favorite characters to the credible male lead the show needed. He had an odd chemistry with Auggie (definite bromance potential) and then a far more obvious one with Ella, so all his scenes were solid. He also broke out a decent cross-armed lean against a brick wall in an back alley as well as nice cocky douchebag moves while blackmailing, both headliner events in the Melrose Olympics. And hey, if you're a male character in primetime who wants to win over Ben Morse as a fan, throwing punches at the most inopportune time and preferably destroying at least one piece of furniture in the process is the way to do it.

-So it's been a decade, but Josie Bissett still hasn't really mastered the art of conveying believable emotion, at least with this character. It's not all poor Josie's fault though, as perhaps the folks behind MP 2009 didn't watch enough of the original to know that Jane is at her absolute worst when she tries to play the villain, and tonight was no exception. Having watched the character for six seasons, I know not to take her seriously when she tries to blackmail or threaten, but I'm wondering if virgin viewers felt the same way. She also got totally owned by Ella and even David, not just from a character sense, but an acting one as well. She was fine as a plot device/nostalgia guest, but I'm not anxious to see much more Jane unless she's interacting with other original characters.

-The one thing I am glad to see is that Jane remains a terrible fashion designer who can't understand why people don't love her hideous dresses, so at least we had a nice bit of continuity.

-Speaking of continuity, however, I'm bummed they didn't at least give some explanation of where Jane's husband, Kyle, and the baby she was carrying in the series finale of the original Melrose were. I get that Josie Bissett and Rob Estes got divorced in real life plus he's on 90210, so an actual Kyle spotting is unlikely (I can dream!), but even a throwaway line would have been nice.
-Two questions about the scene where the cops come to interrogate Violet: 1. Did that detective really just compliment her lamp? and 2. Did she jump out the same window Alison used to ditch her wedding to Billy?

-Y'know, I totally forgot Ella was bisexual until she asked Lauren if that female intern was hot--I have a feeling the writers did too.

-On the subject of Ella, Katie Cassidy continues to be the absolute breakout star of this show, absolutely shining in every scene she's in as well as elevating any character she comes into contact with. She is brilliant with the little touches, from the self-important way she holds her hands and arms while walking to the fast-talking/mumbling she tried to employ to get Jane hired by her boss. She does a great job balancing the over-the-top melodrama of classic Melrose with the more earnest approach this incarnation seems to be going for and is just a joy to watch.

-Ella's boss is in a Capture the Flag league? There are Capture the Flag leagues?!

-I don't get why Lauren is surprised that a guy propositions her in a hotel lobby when she is clearly wearing a hooker dress (Megan disagrees). In any event, the client who refused to pay was an interesting twist in Lauren's ongoing plot, but I think her whole thing needs to go somewhere, as the novelty is wearing off; thank goodness Kelly Carlson of The Marine fame showed up as a madam to make that happen (and holy crap does this show need a John Cena cameo now)!

-Nice to see the "every important event ever happens at Shooters or Kyle's" trope from the original has re-manifested with the restaurant Auggie works at here.

-I'm glad Jonah actually appreciated Riley's efforts to schmooze in order to advance his career as opposed to them getting into another predictable argument (it definitely seemed like they were headed there). Jonah is also getting his best moments as the guy getting increasingly frustrated that nobody else can see that Violet is batshit crazy.

-And speaking of everybody's favorite psychopath, more quality stuff from her this week, particularly her delusions about how happy Sydney was to learn about her and how much she seems to buy into said fantasy. I'm glad the stuff about her being Syd's daughter is out in the open but there is still both lies and mysteries surrounding the character. From what I'm reading about upcoming episode descriptions, the best is still yet to come with Vi as it sounds like once she meets Michael, the shit really hits the fan (in a good way).

-"Like I'm going to go bail out Marge if she's in jail." -Megan on why she wouldn't help out our deaf 80-year old neighbor like Riley did for Violet.

-Let's wrap things up by celebrating a trio of lines that made me start to like David this episode...

-"You did pretty well for your first time. The steering wheel can be a bit tricky." -David after having sex in the driver's seat of his car with some random chick.

-"Next time you divorce a paranoid psychopath, change your computer password." -David to Jane on Michael having dirt on her.

-"It makes sense, she does have red hair." -David on how obvious Violet being Sydney's daughter is in retrospect.

-But wait! Line of the night still goes to Ella, who brushes off David's claim that they had a "good time" hooking up the night before with this gem: "Don't flatter yourself, David, I always have a good time."

-As a final note, I have yet to understand the meaning a of a single episode title since "Pilot."

Montag, 28. September 2009

One year of the Cool Kids Table

I can't believe it was one year ago today that I first posted a welcome to the Cool Kids Table (and learned that the web address for that name was taken so I had to spell "Kidz" with a "z" like it was 1999).

More than that, I can't believe that Kiel, Rickey and myself have been able to motivate ourselves to keep posting here for twelve months and not have any of us drop out, but here we are.

I have totally fallen in love with having this blog and having a place to express myself through writing (and the occasional bad doodle) has been such a joy. Getting to come home and jot down my thoughts on comics or wrestling or movies or Melrose Place has proven a fun, rewarding and often frankly therapeutic experience.

Thanks to all of you who have come here over the past year and given us a shot; whether you've chimed in with comments or read in silence, we sincerely appreciate that anybody, let alone a fairly impressive (by our standards) amount of folks seem to want to hear what we have to say.

I really dig that both people I have never actually met follow this blog but at the same time my older cousins (because hopefully they are not letting their kids read anything I write) come up to me at family events and let me know I was right on about how Subway used to be way better (incidentally, I still don't think any single post has generated more discussion both on and offline than that one; amazing). It's a treat when comic professionals stop by or when guys I haven't heard from in years somehow find their way here.

We're glad you were all along for the ride and hope you don't plan on jumping off any time soon (and tell your friends about us!). You've all earned a seat at the Cool Kids Table.

We've got some neat anniversary stuff coming up this week as well as some visual changes you'll notice popping up here and there (including colors I can't see), but mostly we're just going to continue doing what we do best: being awesome.

Thanks again and kudos to my partners-in-crime for being nuts enough to enter into this endeavor with me. To really kickstart the celebration, here's a picture of us in San Diego with Sean McKeever.*

*-Sean McKeever will not be joining the Cool Kids Table. Sorry Sean, we just don't think you're quite there yet; we love you though, and Nomad is excellent.

Ecstacy: we go to stamp exchange (Postcards) & go to see squirrel friends

As the last weekends had been the 10K and the breakwater, I needed to catch up on postcards from the postcard project to make sure all the people who had requested a postcard or hadn’t gotten anything but bills lately got something nice! Plus, Linda had found a ‘stamp exchange’ starting at 10:00 am at a local hotel, where those who do stamping, using the rubber stamps we use on the postcards were going to do an exchange. So we worked until 4 a.m. matching the names from the list ‘just the right’ postcard: everything from WWII pin-up girls to exotic music instruments made in New Zealand.

We only got a few hours sleep but wanted to be there when it opened at 10 a.m.. We didn’t know what to expect, as it could be people asking huge prices or only a few stamps. We wheeled into a room to find myself in heaven: Tables everywhere stacked with wood blocked stamps and I couldn’t decide where to wheel to first! Ahhh! What if others got ahead of me? The collecting bug was on me. Cheryl and I went to the first table and I immediately found a Coronado Tiger. We only use about four companies: Coronado (they do animals, large blocks of wood and deep cuts!), PSX (out of print and expensive! One woman there said she paid $75 for a single wood blocked stamp) as they make unique series and images, Hero arts (top quality and deep cut), and Stamp Oasis (out of print as is Our Lady of Rubber and Magenta). There was a Tiger for $5 (if I use it 100 times on postcards, that is only 5 cents a use!). It normally goes for $30. Do I look happy holding it and a PSX complex farm yard that I found for $7?
So I went to each table, finding PSX, Hero Arts, (that was the only Coronado I was to find), and other companies, looking at the stamps and building a stack, then paying and leaving Cheryl to put them in the bag or putting them in my backpack (I got a compliment as someone noticed how cool it looked when I came in!). I hit a table every 2 minutes on average. All Linda said was, “You should have seen her at the book sales”. I got a set of Hero Arts flowers for $4 (that is 4 stamps for $4), I found another set of 4 at another table, and 2 mini's. These are the kind of Stamps we order five of, and pay $40. It was like a giant boost to the diversity of stamps I have and can send out, one section mostly botanical, and then other was cars and people. Some of the really obscure stuff wasn't there but there was a lot of really good things like borders and a few animals. But yes, after I did the rounds ONCE, Linda came and looked for child appropriate stamps and then I looked at other stamps I had missed.
And so at the end, this is what we got, in terms of ink and stamps. We FINALLY got some dark green (deep forest green) as well as a good purple. Ahhhh, I needed that. I even managed to find a Stamp Oasis Japanese stamp of a Lady doing her hair in her kimono in front of a lacquer table. Go Stamp Exchange!

So, then it was back to matching and after a nap, we started stamping. Well we didn’t start, first we had to choose ONLY a few of the stamps we had bought that day for what turned out to be the 81-84 postcards for the postcard project we were about to stamp. It was hard but of course the TIGER had to come. (I love that tiger, he looks good in black and white but he looks LOVELY in green for some reason). All the stamps but one are new ones we just got at the stamp exchange. Cool, yes? Linda found the mini monkey stamped in the corner.

So we had the stamps then we spent and hour trying them out with different colors to find out what the right color for each stamp was. Because of the neuropathy I can’t paint in the different colors, I have to find one color, or at best two (press on one side with one color and on the other side with the other) to stamp with. Linda can do a few ‘special’ ones with her secret practice, like the cat and chasing the butterfly and I can, after 30 minutes of work, could do the thatched roof farm, with the watering can and lettuce, the greenhouse, the stone wall, the ivy, trees, door and wood bench so it looked somewhat natural – it was hard, hard work. I also did the red berries, but only once or twice and then my hands couldn't anymore. Also with the different textures, it meant a slick texture postcard came out mushy looking while a different paper might absorb all the color. As has happened here with my lady doing her hair in the Kimono, but I was still very proud to see these Stamps, from the ‘Exchange’ (our money for their stamps!) in use. It was great to know these postcards were going to New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada, US, Africa and other islands and hopefully people would like the images (who could not love the tiger?).

We didn’t finished until 6:20 a.m. and went to bed and slept. Then it was up and writing for me, writing and writing, all the US and overseas postcards, plus any post stamping stickers. Hour after hour, I sit in a room and think about a person, then write a message, and notes about my life, then on to the next card. 68 postcards went out today (already moving by van and airplane!), and the rest will be ready tomorrow. But after three hours it was time for a break: Squirrels.

The sun was going down but it turned out that there were a FEW squirrels that wanted to see a wheelchair (with peanuts)!
Cheryl met with her disability friendly squirrel who climbed her leg to get the peanut so she didn’t have to bend over and hurt her back. Here we wait to see if it can figure out to climb.

Ahhhh, it found it!
Yes, it turns out with winter coming, the squirrels had overcome the earlier shyness from weeks ago and were up, DETERMINED to have peanuts!
Even Linda who was sitting and taking pictures had squirrels sneaking up on her around the tree to investigate the ‘bag of goodies’ on her lap. Once it found the ‘Mother Lode of Peanuts’ it was rewarded with a peanut and stayed close by while eating it (Good rule that: once you know the source of food, stay close by!).
Here I am with a squirrel who seemed to recognize me in my lap, it just keep looking at me, with a peanut in the mouth, so I got out another and gave it. But it still sat there with two peanuts in the mouth. So I pet it, just a little, because, hey, it already has the peanuts, and was hanging around. A very pleasurable break.

Then back to the room and to finish the last of the postcards. I hope many people get postcards this week. I tried to find anyone we had forgotten or overlooked for a while. That was my weekend, how about yours?
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