Sunday, April 26, 2009

Burning Down The House ...

... literally.

Thursday morning, approximately 3 a.m., I'm awakened by my dog barking, and in turn, a pummeling at the back door to warn me of potentially terrible news.

I staggered out to a warning of "Fire," that most dreaded of words. The abandoned house next door was in full orange bloom. I watched in slack fascination for a short time, than ran for the digital camera. The first of the photos shown above was taken through the dining room window (which is why you see the glare of the flash reflected back), before I stepped out into the side yard to feel the heat on my face, and peer into the unreal inferno.

The fire department arrived as I was stepping outside, and put the fire (which a mere sixty seconds before, seemed unstoppable in all of its horrible glory) down and out within minutes. Long story short -- no one was injured, my own house is fine and this tale is apparently of such little interest locally that the blaze didn't even make the local newspapers.

Still, I'll never forget experiencing such a dangerous vision so close to home.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Rare" Convention Appearance

I rarely attend conventions these days, but Chris Garbee of Untamed Worlds coaxed me out of con-retirement for the Roanoke Valley Comicon ... a one-day show in Salem, Virginia on Saturday, April 25th. I'll be there to hawk (er, sign) books and comics I've written, which range from recent Dreamworks hits Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar 2 and Monsters Vs. Aliens to earlier works such as Elfquest, Jimmy Neutron, E.T., The Ren & Stimpy Show and Explorers.

Hours are from 10 AM until 4 PM. Admission is $5.00 each and children 10 and under are free with a paid adult. The show has moved to a new location at the Salem Civic Center, offering a large con space (over 5000 square feet) with almost 50 dealers.

In addition to me, other luminaries include Andy Smith, Budd Root, Kevin Sharpe, Louis Small Jr and Matt Slay.

There will be an an art contest at this show. Paid admission is all that is required to enter the art contest (and a piece of your original art work, of course). There will also be free comics for the first 100 people through the door and hourly door prizes. The Salem Civic Center offers plenty of free parking, and, if you don't bring enough cash, there is an ATM on site.

Take Exit 141 of I-81 and follow the signs to the Salem Civic Center. And if you show up at my table and say "Pop Culture Debris sent me," I'll give you a free comic!

Why Neutral eBay Feedback Sucks

So, another week goes by - another one of the scant few Andy Griffith biographies I have left sells on eBay.

The feedback I receive to go with my 100% positive feedback record?

"So no one else is disappointed:Bk has no Photos+Andy didn't sign-his writer did."

Of course, this is neutral feedback and not a negative, but it still stings. I have no way of responding on eBay in public, so I was going to email the buyer ... and then decided I didn't want to get into a war of the emails with an unarmed opponent.

That being said, here is my unsent reply, and why I think so-called "neutral" eBay feedback sucks:

Dear Disappointed,

Out of over 200 other purchases of this same book on eBay, no one else has been disappointed. I never have understood why, if someone isn't pleased with a item, why they can't be bothered to let the seller know. The book's description plainly says signed by the author. It lists no photos in the book and instead gives the name of Bill Neville, the illustrator.

Instead of leaving neutral feedback a simple request for a refund would have appreciated, and gladly given if not satisfied. Instead, to demonstrate your so-called cleverness, you have to leave a snide remark "warning" the world.

Somehow, I imagine you are the same kind of dimwit who leaves negative remarks about authors on the Amazon site in the Book Review section when you are upset over slow shipping or condition (both of which, let me add, since I know you don't bother to read descriptions, are things writers have absolutely no control over - those complaints should be directed at the seller).

Also, if you had an iota of savvy, you would know that a true Andy Griffith autograph isn't going to be selling on eBay for $14.99 in the first place. Griffith rarely signs anything, one of a multitude of facts to be learned in the disappointing book you purchased.

Sincerely yours,

Andy Griffith's Writer

There. Venting complete.