Wednesday, November 30, 2022

They just don't make 'em like they used to

Question: Can you imagine the current President of the United States leaving office, and then at some later date joining an expedition - without protection - to help map an uncharted river through the Brazilian rainforest? Quit laughing, it's a serious question!

Okay, what about the previous one then? Seriously, you're gonna hurt yourself if you keep laughing like that!

How about the one before him? Of course not! None of these modern cream puffs would ever go anywhere sans Secret Service, or engage in any sort of activity that would provide them very few, to no, modern amenities. Knowing this, how far back do you think you'd have to go to find an ex-President who would undertake such an adventure?

Hint: You'd need to go back over a hundred years. Like the title says, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

Teddy Roosevelt was definitely one of our better Presidents, and in my mind, certainly led the most interesting life. Adventure might as well have been his middle name (which would've worked since he didn't have one). I can imagine a few Presidents prior to him partaking in an adventure through the South American wilds prior to office, but have a hard time believing that any of them would have ever done so after leaving office.

Earlier this year, Greg, the creative genius behind, Nine Pockets, did a post about a Roosevelt card that he had gotten. In it, he mentioned Teddy's book "Through the Brazilian Wilderness", which covers the famous 1914 Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition, whose goal it was to chart the previously unmapped, and ominously named, 'River of Doubt' (now the Roosevelt River). It was a very good post, go seek it out if you missed it. I mentioned in the comments section that I had read the book back in my late teens, and that I was probably due for a re-read. Of course, that would require me to find a copy first, as I had originally read it through the library (the library in Gresham, OR - just in case you were curious). I wrote it down after reading the post, as reminder, but as is often the case with me, even that didn't help me to ever remember to look for it.

This is one of the few times where forgetting something might actually have been a good thing, because unbeknownst to me at the time, Greg just so happened to have an extra copy laying around, and was kind enough to surprise me with it some months later. And this wasn't just any old copy either, no, this was a real fancy-pants edition.

It had been a long time since I last got a book in plastic. I feel obligated to mention too that the book is a really pretty dark green, which for some reason came out looking bluish in the phtots.

The folks over The Lakeside Press really went all out with this edition, which included gilded page tops, and a number of color plates; allegedly this being the first printing to include said color plates.

Despite the book having been first published over a hundred years ago now, I'm still reluctant to give away too much, as not to spoil it for those who have yet to read it. I will say though that it's amazing how much of it came back to me while reading it after all of these years, and how most of my adoration came from the actions of Teddy's son, Kermit, who was every bit the adventurer that his father was.

This book has lot going for it, history, adventure, wildlife, and even murder; yes, murder! My only complaint is that it feels like it should've been a couple of hundred pages longer. I can only imagine what didn't make it into the manuscript.

I've always loved books about early explorations/discoveries. Despite the obvious hardships that came from explorations in the pre-modern era, there's just something that strikes different when reading about them. There's a romance to those early adventures that has long since been lost, and unless we as humans ever start all over, it's not one that'll ever be recaptured. 

I've been a blogger for a little over seven years now, and in that time, this the third book that I've been sent. I've been fortunate enough to have received a number of other things during that time as well, but somehow books just feel more thoughtful, it's like the sender is saying "Hey, here's a gift for your brain". And since I'm pretty sure that my brain is fighting a losing battle, it can use all the help it can get.

Many thanks (again) to Greg for the wonderful gift, it's not one that I'm likely to forget anytime soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Unconventional acquaintances

Conventional wisdom holds that yellowjackets are nothing more than an often aggressive wasp that should be avoided whenever possible. And yet, just last month...

... I found myself making a whole bunch of new friends.

I think it was right around the beginning of October when I started noticing the yellowjackets combing through the compost pile. And it wasn't just a few either, there had to be at least 50 of them wandering/flying around the scraps during those first couple of days. This was an interesting development at the time, if only because they hadn't done this during the previous seven years that I've been here.

I'm not trying to make myself sound brave, or tough, when I say that I didn't have any reservations about continuing my almost daily ritual of taking things out to the pile, despite the presence of these supposedly dangerous little beings buzzing all around me. When it comes to animals and insects, I rarely hesitate to try and interact with them. I often think that I'm not smart enough to be cautious when such opportunities arise. Also, I have had seven years to notice that the yellowjackets around here aren't nearly as aggressive as the ones that I grew up around back in Oregon.

When I was a kid, yellowjackets were not something to trifle with, I can remember picnics being ruined by them aggressively going after any and all food, and of course, being an outdoorsy kid, I was stung on more than a few occasions. The two encounters with them that I remember the most both took place while we were leaving in Beaverton (I was 9 and 10 at the time). There are very few these days, but 30 years ago there was still a lot of untouched wooded areas in Beaverton, so much so that signs could still be found warning people of wild boars, while also promoting rewards to kill said wild boars (modern residents would probably find that very hard to believe). Anyway, we lived in an area that was surrounded by woods, with a fairly elaborate system of creeks snaking their way through those woods. Unrelated, but there was no shortage of beavers in those waterways at the time either. Those wooded areas were like a giant playground for most of the kids in the area, and many "adventures" were had, but I'll save those for another time. For today, I'll just mention the time that me and couple of friends were just wandering through the woods, and just so happened to, unbeknownst to us, get too close to an underground yellowjacket nest. We realized it soon enough though once those little buggers started pouring out of that hole with murder on their minds. Thankfully for us, we were only a couple of hundred feet from a wide section of deeper water, so after quickly realizing that we were in a bad way, we took off running for the water, being swarmed and stung all the way there. I could be misremembering, or romanticizing the past, but my memory tells me that we all reached the water at the same time, and all leaped in at the exact same time. The water was probably 8-10' in that spot, so we were more than adequately covered once we got in there. Amazingly, each of us only received a couple of stings (the speed of youth?), and were actually more concerned with having had to jump in the water than the stings, because even as young as we were, all the kids knew that that water wasn't the sort you should be swimming in, and certainly not the sort that you should accidently being swallowing (as one is wont to do when jumping into a body of water). I would end up in that dirty creek many times throughout those two years.

The other incident, which took place around the same time, but not in the woods, occurred when my friend Joey thought it would be a good idea to hit a piece of driftwood (located in front of someone else's house), which he knew had a yellowjacket nest inside, with a baseball bat. Now, everybody knew, including himself, that even by the age of 10, Joey was a tad off. Not like "slow in the head" off, more of a "crazy" off. I saw him do many a crazy-thing during the two years that we lived there, and this was certainly one of them. Despite his crazy, he was awfully fun to be around, you just always had to be on your toes, as you never knew what he was gonna do next. The one nice thing about his crazy was, is that it had a tell. It didn't take long for kids to notice this tell either, as it was the same thing every single time; he would get quiet, then when you would inevitably look over at him to see if he was paying attention, you'd notice him staring at you (or through you) with a sort of glazed over look, and that's when you knew something wild was about to happen. So it was on this particular day when we were walking home from a park that was where the kids usually played baseball. It was just me and him that day, well, me, him, and his baseball bat (he was one of the only kids with a bat). So, there we are walking, me slightly ahead of him, and I say something, he doesn't reply. I say something else, still no reply. I turn to see what's up, only to find that he had stopped in front of this piece of driftwood about 20-30' back. I could already see all of the yellowjackets coming and going from this piece of wood. Noting that Joey was standing right next to it, I asked him what he was doing, which was met with silence. Then I got the "look". He had been staring at the log, then turned to look at his bat for a few seconds before lifting his head to look at me with those oh-so familiar glazed over eyes. I know I said something, but I can't remember what as he lifted the bat to swing. Knowing what was about to happen, I took off like the devil hisself was on my heels, and within seconds, he was, in the form of many very pissed-off yellowjackets. Despite always being the fastest kid around, I couldn't outrun those suckers, and a couple of them got into my shirt and stung the hell out of my back. That would be my worst experience with bees/wasps, and of course the ironic part was that I found out a few days later that Joey hadn't received a single sting. And I wasn't surprised in the least, for not only was he crazy in the head, he seemed to always have crazy good luck. For those interested, I've got another good Joey story to tell one of these days that involves ding-dong ditch, and me not getting injured. Until then, let me get back to present-day, sort of...

I don't if it applies to all of Tennessee, or just around here, but I realized pretty quickly after moving here almost eight years ago now, that a lot of the insects are much more laid back than elsewhere. They may look scarier, because they're usually bigger than they were back in Oregon, but for the most part, if you're not trying to prevent them from doing what they're doing, they just don't care about you. And with me being outdoors so much, I greatly appreciate that about them.

My first real encounter with yellowjackets here came a couple of years ago, when a nearby hive started using one of the birdbaths for it's primary source of water. Since birdbaths need to be cleaned fairly regularly, and I couldn't let the wasps dissuade me from doing it, so I did what I always do, venture forth... and hope for the best! To my pleasant surprise, I didn't get stung! And so, for the rest of the summer, about every three days I'd go out amongst the buzzing masses, grab the bowl portion of the birdbath, dump it, wipe it out, fill it back up, replace the bowl on the pedestal, and the buzzers go right back to doing what they were doing. They weren't great conversationalists, but as is often the case, I enjoyed talking to them nonetheless. 

Fast forward to two summers ago, I was trimming some trees, and had to go onto the neighboring property to get the stuff that hanging down on that side. Once over there, I found a giant nest in an old gopher hole, yellowjackets again. And even though this was at the very tail-end of summer, when yellowjackets are supposedly the most aggressive, especially around their nests, these gals didn't give two shits about me standing right by their entrance while pruning. A couple of them landed on me a few times, but that was it. No stings, and no drama. 

Getting back to last month now...

Within just a few days of them arriving at the compost pile, they were already landing on me, and the plate of stuff that I put down on the ground while pulling things like banana peels apart (they break down quicker that way. They were especially drawn to my hands, or more specifically, the food remnants on my fingers. I found out early on that they liked apple and banana bits the most, so I started placing those in such a way that everyone could get some. 

Because I was enjoying their company so much, I decided to give them a treat one day. I had a tiny bit of strawberry jam that had been sitting in the fridge for a few months, and while I still could've probably ate it, I thought that they might enjoy it more, so...

The jam definitely went over well. Even got some ants, and a paper wasp trying to get in on the action.

It was a fun a couple of weeks there. Being the age that I am, I rarely think of taking a pictures in instances like these, I'm too busy living in the moment to stop and get photos. Also, when you're hands are covered in food scraps, and/or yellowjackets, it's a little hard to go get the phone and take some pictures. Besides what's already been shown, my only other shot didn't come out so well.

It was too bright out for me to see the screen, so I didn't know that the phone was focusing on the background, but even so, you can still sort of see the two cuties on my finger. If I remember correctly, this was the day that a couple of them were hanging out on my phone hand as I was trying to get this picture. It probably would've been better if someone else were there to take the photos. Despite their reputation, I found this group often acting more like honeybees than wasps, especially when it came to their gentleness. The only thing that I wasn't too keen on was when they wanted to land on my face -- but to be fair to them, I'm not a big fan of anything landing and/or crawling on my face.
I don't know if this was the home of my newfound friends or not, but I found this hive sort of nearby while we were getting to know each other. It was very active on the day I took this picture, but once again, nobody seemed to mind. Unfortunately, just one day later, I would come out to find it looking like this:

Somebody dug into the nest during the night, and completely decimated it. There was bits of comb everywhere.

There's only four things in these parts that will dig up a yellowjacket nest, bears, badgers, skunks, and armadillos. Despite how warm it still was at the time, I think it was too late in the year for a bear to have done it. I'm pretty that there was a badger living nearby earlier in the summer (I never saw it, but all signs pointed to badger hole), but it moved on long before this. We have a lot of skunks, but I just can't one doing this. That leaves armadillos, which weren't even around here 8 years ago, but over the last few years have continued to migrate east. The amount of dead ones that I've seen on nearby roads has increased dramatically in the last 2-3 years. And even though I still haven't seen a live one, this was the second summer in a row that the front yard has been messed up by somebody's digging, and according to images that I found online, it could've only been an armadillo doing it. They're considered to be an invasive species in the state, and after having read about them a quite a bit, I can see why folks aren't too happy about having them around.

There were some survivors after this attack, but all of the larva were taken, which effectively damned all of the adults who didn't die. I started putting some scraps nearby for those who were left, but other than that, there wasn't anything else that I could do for them.

The gals I had been socializing with often flew in from the opposite direction of the destroyed nest, so even though they're gone now (it's gotten butt cold in the last couple of days), I'm hoping that they were coming from another nest. If so, maybe they were able to tell next years crop about the awesome ape that they met before they died.

It's silly, I know, but I sure got attached these girls, and even though it's been less than a week since they stopped showing up, I really miss my yellowjacket friends. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

This family makes me wanna walk... like a camel!

It was just two posts ago that I was talking about finding things that people have left in books, and here I am, already talking about it again. I can assure you that this wasn't planned, but I found two more things in a book, "Tulipomania", that I just got from McKay's (see last post); and couldn't not share one of them...

Someone had stuck two (different) Christmas cards from the same family in this book, and while the other one was a tad more personal, I figured that this one wouldn't be in too bad of taste for me to show.

This is a family that clearly knows how to have fun, and if you listened to a lot of music back in the 90's, you probably know the band they're referencing. If you don't, you should, at the very least, be familiar with said bands biggest hit:

Like a fine moonshine that song is. 

I've got some names from the backs of the cards, but I don't know where the family is, or was. That's no matter though, wherever they are, I just hope these folks are still out there living their best life... and are never want for any snack crackers!

Friday, September 2, 2022

Sun days are fun days

With gas prices slowly coming down ($3.21 as of this writing), and no longer fluctuating wildly from day to day, I've been able to resume my monthly trips to Knoxville. Trying to find days to go hasn't been all that easy though, somebody like me should not be this busy. Nevertheless, I was able to get out on what was supposed to be a rainy day about two weeks ago. The weather people were a tad off and instead of rain it was around 90° and very sunny. I'd like to know how those people can consistently be so wrong, and yet never be fired? It seems like it's almost a running gag at this point. But I digress, as I'm sure you didn't come here for weather talk, no, you came to some things of the stuff variety.

Anybody that knows anything about me, knows that if I'm going to Knoxville, my primary reason for doing so is to go to McKay's (nerd heaven); and this time was no different than any other...

I've talked about my love for V a few times over the years, and while I'm sure that nostalgia plays a huge part in that love, it's still love, and I can watch the original series today and still get just as much enjoyment out of it today as I did back whenever I first saw it. One thing I haven't seen before though, is the novelization for the series. There were three copies, all in the exact same condition. I would've preferred a slightly nicer copy, but for 90¢ a reader will do.

I know from past posts that nobody cares about Christopher Pike or Predator, hence the group photo. I will say though that this Pike book is a bit of a rarity, in that I had never even heard of it before. Given my interest in his books when I was a kid/teen, I didn't think that were any that I wasn't familiar with by title or cover image. It appears too that this book is more sci-fi than horror, which is kind of interesting for him as well. The Predator book #3 in the original AVP trilogy, and is an upgrade to my beater copy.

I've wanted to read this for a long time now, but had just never come across a cheap copy out in the wild prior to this. In case anyone wonders what I consider to be "cheap" for a book like this, it was $1.25. And as an extra added bonus, I found two things tucked inside the book, one of which (spoiler) will be featured in the next post.

The bargain DVD/Blu-Ray section ($1.95 or less) was loaded with all kinds of different stuff this time, and while most of it wasn't for me, I still enjoyed looking through everything a lot more than I had the last couple of times I've been there. This is the second month in a row that I've come across one of Alpha's old Light's Out releases, which I'm all about. I'm hoping that this means that we've reached the point where no one else cares about such things anymore, and I can now get the rest of the discs that I still need on the cheap. Everyone else can have their Netflix and Hulu shows, I want these!

When TV show seasons first started being added to the bargain section, it was just stuff like ER, Friends, and Seinfeld, which were not created for the likes of me. I was interested in them when they were new, and am even less so now. Over the last few years though, the quality of shows has gotten better, but for the most part are still things I have no interest in, even for a buck. Even so, I was kind of surprised to see the kinds of shows in there this time, especially all of the newer stuff, The Walking Dead, Weeds, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, etc. They're still not for me, but given their popularity, I don't expect to find multiple seasons of them for under two bucks apiece. I wasn't looking to get any of The Simpsons on DVD, but for 95¢, I couldn't resist getting one of their better seasons. And I haven't seen an episode of Murphy Brown since probably the late 90's, can't say that I've thought about it since then either, but my mom and I used to watch it when I was a kid, so I guess at this point I've got a bit of nostalgia for it. Hopefully the show holds up.

Is anyone familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey? I'm guessing not, but am still curious. I have been wanting this set for many years now, but was always too cheap to shell out the necessary amount of bucks to get it. This was not from the bargain section btw, instead it was rare splurge on my part. If I didn't have a lot of trade-in credit, I wouldn't have got it, but since it was cheaper than all of the online prices, I decided to go for it. One should treat themselves from time to time.

That was it for McKay's. Not the biggest of hauls, but I found a couple of much wanted things, so it was worth the trip.

Since it was still early, and I wasn't going anywhere else in Knoxville, I decided to hit a few places in Crossville on the way home.

First up was the thrift store, Hilltoppers, which is a place I only go to maybe 2-3 times a year, as there isn't usually a lot there for me.

Their book section at this store is a hot mess. They have the space to separate everything into categories, but instead it's all just jumbled together. Very difficult to look through like that. I just did a cursory run through, and while I'm guessing that this isn't going to be Bobby Stine's definitive biography, it was hard to pass up for 33¢ (pb's are 3/$1).

Why didn't I already own The Evil Dead? I don't know, your guess is as good as mine. I do now though, so all is right with the world.

And that was it from there. Not much, but also not bad for ten minutes or less of my time spent looking.

From there it was off to the Book Cellar, which having just been there two weeks previously, I wasn't expecting to find much; I was wrong.

I remember hearing David Grann being interviewed on, I believe, OPB radio, before this books release some years ago. I was already fairly familiar Col. Fawcett's story, but this new work sounded like something that I'd still want to read anyway. I never buy books when they come out (too expensive), so I knew that it might be awhile before I got to read it, but I didn't think that it would be this long! This is what happens when you can't remember anything. Oh well, better late than never.

Normally I would stay away from something with this kind of staining, but I so rarely come across these old Hitchcock Anthologies that I bit the bullet and paid a buck for it. 

Somebody seems to have brought in a bunch of movie/TV books at some point during the previous two weeks, because that section was loaded with new blood. I was able to pick up a couple of old gossipy books, as well as a couple of....

... old trivia books. 

That was a couple of bucks well spent, or in my case, a couple of bucks in credit well spent. I'm glad I stopped in again, sometimes it's nice to be wrong.

And last but not least, the Paws thrift store. Paws is the place that benefits the local animal shelter. Given where the money goes, I should try to buy from them more often, but they just open so darn late; I'm never around there by the time they do. In fact, I haven't been there in a couple of years now, and in that time they've moved to a bigger building about a block down from where they used to be. The layout of the building is a bit wonky, but they've got a lot more room to put stuff out now.

They've got a pretty big area for media stuff now, and had quite a bit of it too. The first thing that caught my eye were the couple of milk crates full of records. With most things vinyl being red hot these days, I never hold out any hope of finding anything at thrift stores, but always still look anyways. I thought I had heard this album before, but apparently I hadn't. This wasn't the Ventures best album, but for a buck it was still plenty worth it.

This is pretty standard thrift store fare as far as records go, as it's one of those genres that isn't red hot with the influenced masses. Thankfully I'm immune to such things. Depending on who's performing the numbers, these albums can be very hit or miss, and I will only occasionally take a chance on them. I did here, and it paid off. I would highly recommend this record if you should ever come across a copy at your local thrift store.

To say that "Suddenly" was a big album for Billy Ocean would be a massive understatement. Without looking, I'm pretty sure that it made into the top 10 (U.S. charts) back in '84, and I don't think that he ever had an album go higher here in the States. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though. I was surprised to find that I had never heard this one in it's entirety, but once again, it was well worth a buck. This record will be getting many replays.

And thus ends yet another "look at all of the stuff I got" post. The drive to Knoxville is starting to get to me a bit, so I think that I'll be skipping McKay's this month, and probably won't be going anywhere else of note, so this should be the last post of it's kind for a month or two. This won't necessarily be a bad thing either, as I've got plenty of other things that I've been trying to get to on here...

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Treasure between the pages

I can't remember when it was, other than to say that it was probably a couple of decades ago now, and I don't remember if I read about it, or if I heard the story on the radio, but at some point a couple bought a box of old books at either an auction or an estate sale, took them home, then while going through them some days later, found that the majority of the books had money (of the paper variety) hidden in-between the pages. 

This particular incident wasn't that unique, as people hiding money in books was, well, I don't want to say that it was a common practice, but it wasn't uncommon either. Many people who were alive during The Great Depression never got over their distrust for banks, and would therefor hide money around their homes for safekeeping. Some folks hid it under their mattresses, some under loose floorboards, some buried out in the yard in either a jar or coffee can, and for those who were avid readers or who had a library, books offered a safe (in their mind) place to keep their money. Many people have found money hidden in strange (to them) places around the homes of their recently deceased loved ones over the years. And then of course sometimes they don't, but the next person who owns the house, does, usually while renovating or digging out in the yard. 

Getting back to that old story, despite it not being that rare of an occurrence, the possibility of such a happening must've been a new to a lot of people at the time, because it caused a bit of a fervor. I vaguely recall a follow-up story in which people were now buying old books at sales by the boxful in hopes of "striking it rich". Looking back, it might seem silly to some, but I can only think that such a story today would cause the reaction to be a hundred-fold what it was all of those years ago. After all, this was before social media and 'trending'. People now are much more "monkey see, monkey doo-doo" than they were 30 years ago.

I'm sure that it has happened since, but I have no way of knowing how many other people have found books full of bills over the years (if they were smart, they didn't publicize it). Without ever having intentionally sought out to do so, I myself have found plenty of interesting things in books throughout the course of my life, though anything of great value, like say for instance, paper folding money, has eluded me thus far. More often than not, it's just old bookmarks or receipts, the latter of which being far more interesting than the former. I've found my share of newspaper clippings as well, which strangely enough, are often of recipes. That being said, I did recently find two things that were a tad bit different from the usual fare. 

This was the source of my most recent finds. If the looks familiar, it's because it was in the previous post. I came across one of the items while doing a cursory check of the pages (looking for any noticeable damage) at the store, but didn't find the other until I started reading it. Oh, and as a quick aside, don't ever buy this book, it's the absolute shits. It's yet another book that focuses more on the author's 'journey', than it does the actual stories. And this was the worst of those that I've encountered to date. Consider this a PSA.

Back to the topic at hand, the stuff...

I don't know how long Dodge City has been a tourist attraction, but I'd have to think that curiosity seekers started showing up not too long after Wyatt Earp left. His story seems to have spread fast, which I'm assuming was due in large part to penny novels. There's a part of me that would like to go there, but than there's other part that says I probably wouldn't enjoy the commercialization of the town. Not too mention all of the dipshits and their cellphones. Nothing ruins an experience for me more than that.

The back of the ticket is pretty neat too, if only because it provides a general timeframe for when this ticket was purchased. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that the Pizza Hut's showed up after Wyatt's time. I've read my fair share about the old west, and don't recall anything about the Earp's ever stopping in to order a large pizza and a 2-liter to go on their way home from the saloon.

This was found a few pages later. Obviously I have no way of knowing, but I'd like to think that these stubs came from a family's road-trip back in 1983 or '84. And of course they had to be traveling via a station wagon, a family traveling in anything else during this time period would be a massive disappointment. I'm not sure if it's the same boat (looks like it though), but Google tells me that there's still a Mark Twain riverboat operating in Hannibal. 

I will not be keeping the book that these came from, and haven't yet decided what to do with the tickets themselves. If I had been a smart and/or interesting person, I would've started a scrapbook for such items many years ago, but alas, I am neither of those things; so I didn't. I could certainly start one now, but I don't know if it would be worth it at this point and time, especially since I haven't saved any of my previously found items. I guess I'll have to think about it.

I've never gone out of my way to look for things in books, and don't ever plan to start. That being said though, I wouldn't be opposed to finding a forgotten C-note in between the pages of a purchased book one of these days 😉.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

There are worse ways to spend a day

With gas prices starting to temporarily come down, I can, in theory, start "traveling" again. Like most years, I had many plans for the summer before it actually arrived, then when it gets here, I find that I'm too busy to partake in any of said plans. I seem to be the opposite of most folks, in that my down time comes during the winter. Which of course does me no good at all, as I have no want to go anywhere when it's cold and dreary out. I don't why I always think that things will be different. It's the same every single year. 

It's not what most people would call "traveling", but I did take a day off to go to Knoxville two Fridays ago. And if you're me, you can't go to Knoxville without going to McKay's (a happy place for lovers of all things physical media). I went there back in early June too, brought home a bunch of books, but didn't feel like doing a post on them. This time I ended up getting more variety, but less stuff overall; and do feel like making a post about it...

Might as well start off with my biggest purchase of the day. Even when using credit, five dollars is my upper limit for a book (every single book that I've ever bought for more than that has disappointed me), and it's not very often anymore that I'll even go that high, but I've wanted to read this since it came out, and this is the first time that I've seen it in the wild. Knowing how things are these days, it's not inconceivable to think that I may never come across another one, so I sort of felt like I had to get it now, just in case. 

This appears to be in the same vein as the Ripley's Believe It or Not! books that I got from Scholastic as a kid. Without getting up and looking, I'm pretty sure too that the coffin story is even in one of them, though I'm guessing it'll be covered a little more in-depth here.

I didn't pay much attention to them at the time, but in recent years I've really been enjoying the 90's Marvel novels quite a bit. Depending on where you're looking, it can be difficult to find these books for reasonable prices; even at McKay's. They usually have a lot of them, at least at the Knoxville store, but are rarely under $4.50. I always look at them anyways, hoping to find any that have been marked down or possibly underpriced. I hadn't seen any books from this trilogy before, and since it was in really good shape, I didn't feel too bad about the $3.50 price tag.

I didn't know that there was a middle grade bargain section until about a year ago, but since then it's become one of my favorites. It's tough to beat 90's "horror" books for a quarter. Plus, there's film/TV themed stuff like this in there too.

I have a couple of books from this series now, but still don't understand who they were intended for. I mean I was 11 when The X-Files debuted on television, and was a devoted viewer from the get-go. These books were just novelized episodes (in this case, "D.P.O."), which were presumably targeted for kids in my age range when show got going (though I would've been 14 when this book came out). I'm not sure why a kid would be reading a random episode when they could've just been watching the show on television. Most folks did have a TV in the mid 90's, and the show was on a network, so one didn't even need cable to watch it. I don't know, like I said, I don't get it. All that being said, I do enjoy getting these books all of these years later.

This is the kind of book that you, or rather I, usually find in that middle grade bargain section. 

I haven't had much luck in finding cheap CD's (that I would listen to) my last couple of times there, but did a little bit better this time. It doesn't get too much better than Time-Life compilations, still in the shrink wrap, for less than two bucks, although...

... used ones for under a buck are pretty great too!

I've been tempted by this set at Walmart many times in recent years. $10 for six films didn't seem like that bad of a price, but I always thought that I might be able to get it cheaper someday. Apparently I was right. I wasn't even looking for it on this particular day, but cut down a book aisle and noticed it sitting out of place on one of the shelves (somebody was obviously too lazy to take it back to where that had gotten it), saw the price, checked the discs, and put it in my basket. I thought it was kind of funny that this set, which isn't that old, already had four different stickers on it. 

I've already got movies 4-6 on video, but it'll be nice to have them upgraded, as well as to have the other three that I didn't already own.

I know that folks are gaga over the Marvel live-action flicks these days, but for my money, DC's animated pictures are the best thing going as far as superheroes are concerned. I already bought this one at Big Lots a couple of years ago, but the disc with the main feature was all messed up. I took it back to get a replacement, but they didn't have any more, so I ended up just getting my $3 back. This one was 95¢, and after now watching the movie, I can say that it was well worth the wait. Very enjoyable!

I don't suppose anyone reading this is familiar with Light's Out, the radio show, or the subsequent television program? I have a few box sets in different formats for the radio show, and a couple of these Alpha releases for the TV show. This was the first time that I've seen one of the DVD's in the cheapie bins (95¢), and thankfully it wasn't one that I already had. On a semi-related note, I always thought that Alpha did themselves a disservice by colorizing the images for the packaging on a lot of their black and white releases. They do say B&W on the back, but I'm sure that more than a few people missed that and ended up being disappointed by the lack of color when they went to watch it.

I would've liked to have found some more music, but other than that, I was pretty content with what I left with. 

Since it was still early, I decided to go to the Bargain Hunters (flea market/antique mall - I've talked about them before), which is about five miles deeper into Knoxville. One of my great joys from going in that direction is that I get to see the Sunsphere, going there, and coming back...

I, of course, had to get a few pictures for the blog, as per usual. I never get tired of seeing that thing.

I didn't end up buying anything at the Bargain Hunters, but did take a couple of photos of things that were calling my name...

Despite the beat-up box, if this one worked, $27.99 was a pretty good price. I didn't want to take out of the box to see what kind of condition it was in, lest I be even more tempted. I knew a kid that had one of these way back when, and I thought it was cooler than shit at the time. Oh, what am I saying, they're still cooler than shit!

If this had been any time prior to the end of last year, I would've bought this little darling as soon as I laid eyes on her. However, I've got a bit of a life plan that I'm trying to work towards now, and having excessive amounts of stuff around isn't going to help me towards making it happen, so she stayed behind. I can honestly say though that, I have not been tempted to but anything more than I was with this television in recent memory. I took multiple pictures, but this is the only one that wasn't blurred, so it's hard to tell from this one that it didn't look like this set had ever been used. There wasn't a single sign of wear on it's entirety, and you just don't ever see sets from that era in this kind of condition. At $45, I fully expect this to be gone by the next time I'm there; it was priced to sell.

I doubt that anyone cares, but here were the specs.

Not a bad day, if I do say so myself. Well, trying to get out of Knoxville proper was kind of bitch that day (SO MANY PEOPLE!), but other than that it was a good day.

******Bonus Content******

My birthday was last weekend, and I got a couple of things from my mom, one of which fits in with the rest of this posts theme.

I've seen these online before, but had never looked to see what was actually on them. That was a mistake on my part. I've only watched the main feature so far, and it was really fun. The bonus features on this one are killer, I'll probably have gotten to Bail Out by the time this post goes live. Any body remember that one? It's got the Hoff and everyone's favorite little pea soup vomiter - albeit a bit more grown up at this point - Linda Blair. I vaguely remember watching it on cable back in the 90's, but aside from the plot, I couldn't tell you anything about it.

Speaking of birthdays, I splurged on a few cards for mine. The two purchases didn't turn out as well as I would've wanted (what else is new), but I'll be doing a post for them over on the 'Penny Sleeve' blog sometime in the near future. 

They just don't make 'em like they used to

Question: Can you imagine the current President of the United States leaving office, and then at some later date joining an expedition - wit...