Grandmas Potato Salad

This is a slight variation on the potato salad my grandma used to make, which my mom made, and now I am. Unfortunately there wasn’t a third-generation daughter but hey, I guess I’m the next best thing.

First peel and dice 5-7 medium potatoes and boil them in salted until tender. Don’t over cook them or they will just mush up when you are mixing. Don’t dice them too small or they will mush. Don’t look at them crosseyed or, again…mush.

drain into a colander and let cool for at least 30min while you contemplate why you didn’t just go down to the store and buy a big pre-made tub for three dollars

now would be a great time for a glass (or 3) of the wine of your choice

@ 1 cup Mayo
@ 1/8 cup yellow mustard (add this to taste).  I suppose you could use Dijon mustard. If you’re French. Or Canadian.

These two amounts will depend on how many potatoes you end up using. If you have ever had potato salad before you know what consistency we are shooting for. They key though is to go slow adding until you get the right amount but you don’t want to over stir because the potatoes will…you guessed it: mush.

and if at any time you feel the urge to consider Miracle Whip in place of mayo proceed immediately to the phone, call your parents and ask them why they didnt raise you correctly.

i noticed your wine glass is empty. come on, try to keep up.

•1/4-1/2 a yellow or white onion, diced

•2-3 stalks celery, diced

•1-2 dill pickles, diced

•1-2 hard boiled eggs; chopped

•1-2 small cans sliced black olives

•1-2 Tablespoons pimentos

•1-3 Tablespoons chopped garlic / garlic paste

•Salt (and/or Seasoning Salt), pepper (fresh ground only you heathen), oregano, parsley

you can add pretty much anything you like to the mix right about now but know that if you do, you’re un american and you should feel bad about yourself

fold everything together being sure not to over mix. You’re not mixing a cake together, friend. Fold, don’t stir.

Put into your favorite Tupperware, cover, and toss that shit in the refrigerator for a few hours so I can get nice and cold.

If you’re still standing after the wine Then treat yourself to a nice big bowl of summer courtesy of the last 2 generation of Burleson women.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Ghostbusters Lego Easter Egg

I found a little Easter egg I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else: little ‘RIP H.R’ of course referring to Harold Ramis who we lost recently….  
This is one of Legos largest sets ever and by a wide margin the largest I’ve ever built. I’ll probably post a set of progress pictures when I’m done: but it will take a while because this set is massive 

update for a cold January

Just thought I’d throw a quick update together because it’s been a while.

As usual I’ve been steadily adding comics to the collection and it’s actually starting to grow rather nicely.

my collection as of Jan 2014

my collection as of Jan 2014

I’ve had to expand my Image section quite a bit because they keep putting out such high-quality books. Right now I can think of at least six that are worth checking out. For now here are a few that are on my reading list at the moment just on the Image side of things. Later ill expand on these but for now, the highlights in list form:

1 – Saga
2 – Morning Glories
3 – Sex Criminals
4 – East of West
5 – Manifest Destiny
6 – Rocket Girl
7 – Pretty Deadly
8 – Alex + Ada
9 – Black Science
10 – Ten Grand

I’ve also picked up a few cool autographs that ill be posting about soon. Ive been putting off that post i the hops that one or two i have on order would show up but patience is a virtue when dealing with pre-order deals 🙂

Non-comics wise, things march ever on: work is long, tiring, stressful and not at all what i want to be doing with my life. not that its a bad job, far from it. its a very nice working environment, nice people, nice owner, nice pay…it’s just not where i need to be and that’s causing me some stress/anxiety problems. Thankfully nothing as bad as it has been.

rebels

A few friends and i have been playing weekly games of Star Wars X-Wing and we have really come to love it – its a table-top, miniatures based ‘dog-fighting’ game featuring ships from Star Wars. Its a lot of fun and it helps that the little ships are ultra-detailed and have inspired a bunch of players to repaint their ships with their own team colors or just a different color scheme all together: it’s something i would like to try but i have never done any kind of painting like that before. it would be a challenge but fun nonetheless.

i really need a car. i miss being able to take day trips out of town from time to time. i haven’t been to Magic Mountain in years and i really need a trip…soon. I miss rollercoasters badly. That’s my therapy and after my heart attack i wasn’t sure if i would be allowed on them again. I’d kind of like to ride a few more before i have another and i’m REALLY not going to be able to ride one.

And now its time to enjoy whats left of my weekend. I really need to be doing some cleaning but i just feel like being lazy and reading while on the couch. Ive been putting off giving the dog a bath – if nothing else i should do that today. Mabey is not a big fan of the bath and she’s a powerful little doggy so when she doesn’t want to be somewhere, she lets you know. I think both of us will be getting a bath.

Maeby

Maeby

some thoughts on iOS 7

I dont want to spend too much time on it but i did want to get down a few thoughts about iOS 7, Apple’s newest mobile operating system. Overall i like it quite a bit: they have added a number of features that i have been waiting for and they have cleaned up the whole UI and gotten some semblance of visual consistency across the OS. the result is an iPhone that looks pretty different from what people are used to, and i can tell that’s turning some people off, but the core usability is still there and much improved in some respects.

First off, when Apple turned the reins of the software design to the same man who has been winning award after award for Apples industrial design, Jonathon Ive, i actually got a little excited: after all, this is the guy who has been designing beautiful pieces or consumer electronics for a decade now so i was anxious to see what he would bring to the software / user interface table.

First on the chopping block: skeuomorphism. or, that annoying (to some) design technique where you make OS elements resemble real life objects to aid the user in interacting with tech. For example, the Calendar app in iOS6 resembles a real desk calendar, complete with little leftover bits of pages in the corners where the old pages were ‘tore out’. Even more antiquated was the Podcast app that simulated a reel-to-reel when you were advancing or rewinding the track. Design elements like this were completely thrown out in favor of a more unified look for the whole OS.

There are quite a few new features that have been covered better elsewhere in more detail, but i will mention a few that i really like:

first, the popular jailbreak tweak SBSettings allowed you to quickly access several system toggles quickly without having you dig down into menu settings to get to them. Among there are Airplane Mode, Wifi and Bluetooth on and off,  and controls like volume and brightness settings. The new control center slides up from the bottom of the screen and allows you access to these common controls. It’s not a perfect copy of SBS (since you can’t add additional toggles, for example) but it still makes a good addition to the OS and it can only get better (see below).

Another nice feature is the ability to add however many items you want to folders. Before there was a limit and your icons were limited to one ‘page’. Now you can add a ton of apps to a folder and don’t have to worry about having to create a Games 1 and Games 2 just because you hit your limit on folder items.

Speaking of folders, you can now add any Apple apps you want to their own folder: i’m looking at you, Newsstand…in iOS 6 you could not hide some icons or put them into a folder to get them out of the way if you never used them so they were always stuck on your homepage somewhere. Now you can put these never used apps in a folder and forget about them if you never use them. I wish Apple would let you just get rid of it but since that’s not an option, at least you can now get it out of sight.

There is now a flashlight built in! it’s a simple thing, easily done, but it was left for 3rd parties to take care of. Now in your slide-up control center there is a button for a flashlight. i tend to use mine quite a bit so to have Apple build it in is nice. Granted it should have been there sooner but hey, important things first…

One other cool feature that was added is the application switcher. now when you double click the home button, you are greeted with a full page with not only the app icon but a larger icon of the last thing the app was displaying when you left it. It makes it easy to find the app you were using and also looks really nice.

my big takeaway from this version of the iPhone operation system is that to me it feels like a new starting point. Much like OS X replaced OS 9 on the Mac and laid a foundation for the Mac OS to build on for the next 10 years, i get a similar feeling from this revision of iOS. We have a few major changes in Apple and the iPhone division now. Besides giving Jon Ive a larger role in software design we now are fully into the post-Jobs Apple and the next few years will be interesting for a longtime Apple watcher. Despite the competition from Android, iOS will continue to evolve and adapt and iOS 7 feels like a wiping of the blackboard and looking at new ways to do things. Apple changes every market they enter and to write them off as done just because Google is seemingly dominating the market (those numbers don’t tell the whole story, though) is underestimating a very crafty, very innovative company that happens to have a shit-ton of cash in it’s coffers.

So like it or hate it, iOS 7 is the future of your iPhone for the next few generations and really can only get better going forward. Losing the inconsistent look and feel of the skeuomorphism and trying to unify the UI under a single designer and design theory makes for better looking, better designed software and a better user experience.

the future will be interesting…

collection update: autographs

ok i think it’s time for an update…

i’ve added a TON of cool stuff to the collection over the last few months and there are definitely a few highlights i want to show off.

I wish i knew more people that read comics. i used to be friends with quite a few comic readers but not so much anymore; shit, i took 15 years off myself. Online communities are not the same – i cant seem to enjoy any of them. its not the same as being in the same room with someone showing them the latest cool art or messed up story line.

but i digress…

Lets talk about autographs…

ive taken to collecting signed comics when i can find good deals. The more popular the artist, the more the autograph will go for. Stan Lee for example – no less than $300. Get that shit graded and you’re looking at closer to $500.

Besides getting a comic graded and ‘encapsulated’ by a company like CGC, the other aspect of improving a signed comics value is to have a certificate of authenticity

Mark Millar is a name that is well regarded in the comics industry. He created the very popular series Kick-Ass and had a very memorable run on The New X-Men. Recently he was tapped to be a consultant on the X-Men movies for Fox (Fox owns the movie rights to Marvels Mutant population) which should make for better X-Men movies (let’s not mention X-3).

He recently launched a new series for Image called Jupiter’s Legacy which sees what happens when the 2nd generation of superheroes are the same spoiled, narcissistic bastards that populate the real world. At least that’s the set up. It’s only 3 issues in and it looks like the direction the comic is going isn’t completely clear yet. Issue 3 had a big shocker that kinda changed the dynamic of the story.

Jupiter's Legacy 1, Midtown Comics variant, signed by Mark Millar

Jupiter’s Legacy 1, Midtown Comics variant, signed by Mark Millar

Midtown recently had a special to benefit one of Mr Millar’s School Funds selling Jupiter’s Legacy Midtown Comics variant cover signed by Millar. I had ordered it but had to send it back due to the excessive damage it had when i got it. Luckily Midtown is a really cool company and they sent me a new one when i sent them photos of the damage.

Dynamic Forces, another really cool company, recently had a sale of some signed X-Factor comics by writer Peter David that i had to get 2 of because the price was right and it included numbered COA’s.

X-Factor 200 signed

X-Factor 200 signed

X-Factor 200 - signed by writer Peter David

X-Factor 200 – signed by writer Peter David

Mr. David just finished a well regarded run on the current X-Factor series and it sounds like he will be writing the new Marvel Now version that being relaunched soon. He knows these characters like no one else and fans are very happy he is sticking around.

Another Dynamic Forces find is an Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake cover that was ‘remarked’ (or drawn on) by artist Ken Haeser. I love both the cover and the sketch he did. I had to wait a few months for this one to be delivered.

Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake #1 w/ sketch by Ken Haeser

Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake #1 w/ sketch by Ken Haeser

A lot of specials from DF are advance orders and this one took months to finally be delivered. i have several more that im waiting to be delivered too. Hopefully soon cause i have some very cool stuff i’d like to get my hands on.

Next up, one of my favorite series right now, Morning Glories. I was able to get signed copies of an issue that was recalled due to a printing error. There was no COA with this set, but since the price was right i decided to grab it up especially since there were 2 issues included in the sale – the error version and the corrected version both signed by the artist, Joe Eisma.

Morning Glories 26, error and corrected version, signed by the writer.

Morning Glories 26, error and corrected version, signed by the artist.

i really like this series. It’s one of the titles i’m trying to get a complete run of and i’m actually dangerously close to doing so. I recently acquired issue #1 and that was the biggest roadblock – i was sure when i got it, i would have to pay upwards of $50 and i ended up paying half that.

Morning Glories #1!

Morning Glories #1!

Ten Grand is another new series from Image (they are on fire right now) that is only a few issues in but has a lot of promise. Mainly this is due to the writer, J Michael Straczynski, who has a long history writing in just about every medium in pop culture.

IMG_2835

It’s a series like Jupiter’s Legacy that’s only a few issues in but shows promise. The story goes a mob enforce gets taken out and gets a new deal. Kill for the underworld and get 5 minutes with his slain love. The first few issues are out and so far so good…

Finally for the autographs are my newest additions, and ones i was most happy to add to my collection: 2 Marvel Now Skottie Young covers signed by Mr. Young with COA’s for both. It worked out that the X-Men cover in particular is one of my favorites so i was more than happy to get a certified signature on a copy. A poster exists of the cover and i wouldn’t mind having it on my wall. it’s worth framing.

skottie young sigs

skottie young sigs

If you don’t know, Skottie is a great artist/writer with a very distinctive style and has been doing ‘baby’ variant covers for all the Marvel Now titles. It’s taken me a while but i finally got all of the first wave covers and have a good jump on the 2nd wave.

complete Young Marvel now covers

complete Young Marvel now covers

next time we’ll talk about some of the new, stand-out series that are on the shelves currently. I keep telling anyone who will listen that some really excellent fiction is going down in the comics world currently and shouldn’t be looked down upon as a realm of children or geeks; especially since some of those new titles includes a superhero who gets is powers from large amounts of drugs or alcohol, a world where the Gods of old return, and one where a couple who can stop time with their orgasms use that ability to rob banks…

…good stuff 🙂

Collection Update: A+X collage variants complete!

Ive been meaning to work this into another post but while cleaning up my desktop this pic was still hanging around so i thought i’d throw it up here real fast and give it its own post.

In the wake of the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover, people liked the idea of the X and A team-up potential and there has not been a book like that really since “Marvel Team-Up featuring Spider-Man” was canned in ’85.

So when the big cross-over was done Marvel kept the fun and action going with a book called A+X which features 2 self-contained (for the most part) stories featuring characters from both spheres of the Marvel Universe with a new creative team behind each story.

A+X #1-2 Regular Covers. LOVE that Bachalo Rogue and Black Widow cover :)

A+X #1-2 Regular Covers. LOVE that Bachalo Rogue and Black Widow cover 🙂

One of the incentive covers for the new series were the ‘interlocking covers to form a bigger image’ which im a big fan of. This wasn’t one of the cheaper variant covers but i was patient and waited for deals to pop up on eBay and Midtown. Finally the last one came out and i scooped it up in a TFAW sale a few months ago.

A+X #1-4 Connecting Incentive covers.

A+X #1-4 Connecting Incentive covers. Ignore that $12 sticker…

So there you have it – Avengers + X-Men connecting covers. One of my favorite tricks to get you to buy variants cause it usually results in some cool art. The one they did a few years ago for the mini-series X-Men: Schism turned out really cool…

X-Men: Schism #1-5 variant connecting covers

X-Men: Schism #1-5 variant connecting covers

Fluffy was trying to help when i was taking pics for the post. She means well but she’s probably the worse photo assistant ever. Besides walking into shots she has no thumbs and can’t walk upright, much less carry gear.What am i even paying her for?

Fluffy is 'helping' me take pics...

you need me standing right here in the shot, right?

till next time!

jeffro

collection update 4, pt 2

Meltdown

Havok and Wolverine – Meltdown

Today we’re gonna start out with my favorite books, the ones that made me a fan of the medium, the oppressed super-powered mutants protecting a world that hates and fears them – The X-Men.

When i first stumbled on Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown, i was a new X-Men fan and this book, with a more mature story and ethereal watercolor artwork broadened my view on comic books as ‘kid-stuff’ and showed me the partially opened doorway into the world beyond the Comics Code Authority and into smart, visual-storytelling.

Collecting these was not easy. This was pre-internet so ordering options were limited and while Fresno had 5-6 comic stores at the time, coming across them in a box of back issues was not very likely – in fact it would be years from that point of buying the first issue to actually tracking down all four of them.

I also had a shirt with the image of issue 1 on it. i wore that shit into dust. It was so threadbare by the time i said goodbye it would have fallen apart in the washing machine.

meltdown shirt

if you knew me in the 90’s, you saw me wear this shirt

The newest X-series, The All-New X-Men, has turned out to be the book i look forward to the most every month. The story and the art have been pitch perfect since the first issue. They took a concept that i thought was not going to work and turned it into one of the best X-Books in years.

All New X-Men

All New X-Men – one of the Marvel Now highlights

The newest X-series is the re-started Uncanny X-Men which follows Cyclops and his small band of fallen heroes collecting newly emerging mutants to join his rebellion. Its only 2 issues in but with Chris Bachalo on pencils its quickly becoming one of my favorite books just as he is one of my new favorite artists.

The Uncanny X-Men

The Uncanny X-Men #1 covers

Bachalo’s artwork is very distinctive and the first 2 covers for Uncanny have his style all over them with stark, almost mono-chromatic colors.

The two variant covers i got for the first issue, tho not by Bachalo, are still pretty cool. Of course Skottie Young did his requisite baby cover (which is one of my favorites so far) and there is a deadpool cover with the US State birds in a not-too subtle jab at DC Comics new Justice League series where they did a variant cover for each of the 50 state flags.

Last off in the Marvel Universe for this week is another series i wasn’t quite sure about going into it but its been a really fun read and the art by Mike Allred is one of a kind – he’s one of those artists where you can recognize their stuff a mile away due to the distinctive style. He is also doing the covers for It Girl! and The Atomics (see below).

FF

FF – the companion book to The Fantastic Four. issue 1-4 + 2 variants

FF is about the group who takes over for the Fantastic Four as Reed Richards takes his family into the universe in search of a cure for his illness in the guise of an educational trip for the kids. Reed put together a new team to cover for the FF as they go on their trip. Due to the trip being thru both time and space, Reed thought they would only be gone for 4 minutes. Now there wouldn’t be much of a story if things go according to plan so the 4 minutes come and go with no returning Fantastic Four. Now Steven Lang, AKA Ant-Man, must lead the new Fantastic Four as well as the Future Foundation – a think-tank of the best and brightest kids collected by Richards to be the best hope of leadership in the future. Its a book worth checking out.

It-Girl and The Atomics is a series on Image written by Jamie Rich with cover art by Mike Allred and is based on a character from Allred’s other book, Madman.

It Girl!

It-Girl and The Atomics collection

After i started collecting It Girl! (her superpower is to take on the properties of whatever substance she touches – rocks, rubber, feathers…), Jamie Rich came to Heroes Comics here in town to do an in-store signing that i had to miss because i was working. However the owner, Dave, had him autograph a stack of extras so i was able to get signed copies of issues 1-5. As i continued to go back over the next few weeks, i noticed the rest of the signed copies sitting in the bin with the rest of the issues. i watched them and when it didn’t look like they were going anywhere, i started buying them. you can see the results above. As far as i can tell the only variant for the series is a second cover for issue #3 which i really like (the balloon cover shown above).

The Rocketeer may have lost its creator, Dave Stevens, but the attempts to keep the series alive in some form go on. Some of my prized comics are the Stevens autographed copies of the original Rocketeer series from the 80’s that i got at Wonder-Con in high-school.

Dave Stevens signed Rocketeer 1 (1982)

Dave Stevens signed Rocketeer 1 (1982)

There have been a few mini-series published since i left the world of comics. I just started to research the publication history to see what i missed but i did manage to pick up a few to get the ball rolling…

The Rocketeer!

The Rocketeer!

Last but not least for this update is one of my favorite series that doesn’t have a Marvel logo on it, Morning Glories.

Morning Glories

My MG collection – only missing issue #1 !!

Im. One. Issue. Away.

but that one issue…

MG #1

Morning Glories #1 un-graded on eBay

its not exactly cheap. And if i want it graded…add about $100.

Well, tomorrow is Wednesday, and that means New Comic Day!! I’m looking forward to the new Ultron crossover from Marvel, All New X-Men and of course Superior Spider-Man!

In the next week or so i will be getting a few more things shipped in and ill be doing write-ups of what I’ve gotten from Ghostbusters Adventure Time and a few other really interesting indy comics. I also ordered some REALLY cool stuff but it not going to ship for a month or 2 so keep an eye out for that…

and as always, support your local comic shop!

Happy reading!

collection update 4, part 1

Well my little collection is growing and growing! (its almost like i was building stock for a future store or something… 😉 When i re-started the collection late last year, i had one short box and one long box. The current state of affairs are a little bigger…

The current state of the collection

the collection: 3-3-13

Probably the biggest news in Marvel recently were the events of the end of The Amazing Spider-Man. With the normal practice of releasing variant covers for big events jacked up to 11 due to the one-two punch of the end of the series and the ‘death’ of Peter Parker, there were plenty of alternate covers and expensive ‘incentive’ editions for collectors.

Besides the 700th issue there were four ‘regular’ (ie: under $50) alternate covers to the book that I was able to find as a collection on eBay for a reasonable price before they were released. Soon after they actually came out the same set of five covers tripled in price on ebay.

ASM - The End

The Amazing Spider-Man, lead-up to #700 + alt covers

I wanted to have them professionally graded and encapsulated but a small flaw on each of the spines would ensure the higher grade that would be needed to justify the extra expense of the grading process would not be achieved; Without that high 9.8 or 9.9 grading there would be no purpose since why buy a lower grade when there are higher grades available?

On the top row is the run-up to the final issue – 698-700 – and the big revelation of Peter Parker and Dr. Octopus now sharing Parker’s body through a last ditch brain transfer from a dying Octatius.

Its a story that has fans sharply divided but im liking it so far as it has transitioned into the new title, The Superior Spider-Man which Octavius swore he would become; a better, smarter, SUPERIOR version of the web-slinging wall-crawler he’s now forced to be.

superior sm

The Superior Spider-man #1

Dan Slott, the writer that has taken Peter Parker/Spider-Man through the last 5 years of stories has taken a lot of shit for his direction on the book but you cant say he’s a boring writer!

Midtown Comics was offering copies of Superior SM #1 signed by Slott and i had to grab a pair; one first printing, one second.

SSM 1 signed

Superior Spider-man #1 – Signed by writer Dan Slott

Dan Slott autograph

Dan Slott autograph

Incidentally, these are the first autographed comics that are “certified” that i have acquired; the other ones i have had signed personally at conventions but it was before the days of certifying convention autographs.

and just cause i love redheads, here is a recent purchase featuring a cute-as-hell Mary-Jane… 🙂

I love this cover

I love this cover…i love redheads

Two of the hallmarks of the Marvel Now relaunch for me have been the striking covers and the writers making me care about characters i have previously disregarded. Case in point – The Mighty Thor and Hawkeye. Ive never disliked these characters, but they have never really done much for me. Not true with these Marvel Now relaunches. Both series boast striking artwork, amazing covers and engaging stories – Hawkeye especially is surprisingly low-key and personal. What does a non-superpowered Avenger do on his downtime anyway?

More cool covers from series i didn't care for before

More cool covers from series i didn’t care for before

Another thing Marvel has been doing a lot of are connecting covers. The first two of Thor create a cool 2-cover piece of art…

Thor #1-2 joined covers

Thor #1-2 joined covers

In the realm of cool covers and normally unexplored books, the Young Avengers book is off to a great start so far. I picked up an ebay auction for all four ‘regular’ covers for the first issue which included the blank convention cover, the Skottie Young (which i was getting anyway: see below) and a cover by Scott Pilgrim artist/creator Brian Lee O’Malley that i really liked…

Young Avengers #1 covers

Young Avengers #1 covers

X-Men: Legacy pre-Marvel Now was mostly focused on Rogue but this new re-launch has Prof. Xaiver’s son Legion in the spotlight as he comes to terms with his awesome, reality-altering abilities, splintered personality and his place in a world where his father was struck down by an insane Cyclops, all but destroying any hope for the dream of human-mutant co-existence.

X-Men Legacy covers

X-Men Legacy covers

I’m still warming to this book but now that he is interacting with the rest of the x-Men again, it’s starting to turn into an interesting series.

Marvel is keeping with the release of a Skottie Young baby cover variant for each Marvel Now launch title and there have been some really cool releases.

Skottie Young Covers

Some of my favorite Skottie Young Marvel Now covers

I’ve pretty much collected all the ones that are already out but with more new titles launching for the next few months, the project is not over yet! Some really cute ones on the way, too!

….next time, part two featuring the All New X-Men, the replacement to the Fantastic Four and a bunch of independent releases including Morning Glories, It Girl! and newcomers to the collection and really good series, Ghostbusters and Adventure Time!