Tag Archives: BJ

Hurricane Irma Diary part 2

The roof started to leak on my comics!

Brett wants snacks

Got the comics away fro the windows!

So, I’d expected the power to go off somewhere around 1-3am Monday morning, but not 7pm Sunday night. That actually made me a little more worried (I hadn’t been that worried) thinking it might be worse than anticipated.

The roof was leaking early in the storm, right on top of my comics—so I moved every single box of them away from the leak and from the windows. Yeah, most of them are bagged…but not all of them. So I wanted to move them just to be safe. Plus…comics!

(video: since the power would be out for a while, Brett wants snacks!)

My truck up next to the front windows

One mistake I made was not having a portable radio. I had a couple of flashlights, but I had no idea what was going on—I couldn’t just on weather.com to see! So—since I don’t have a cellphone—Brett spent time on his cellphone back and forth with BJ. She had gone to Mississippi to be with her dad who was about to have surgery and was monitoring it all from afar. She’d try to send us screenshots of the radar down here, but connections were very spotty for Brett.

BJ stayed up as long as she could…but I needed to hear that radio! So, because I was still a little afraid of something coming through the front window, I went outside and pulled my truck up right next to the house. I figured it something hit my truck, it’s old and I could get insurance to cover most of it. If something came through the window, it wasn’t just “stuff,” Brett and I were both in there!

I listened to the radio some on and off, running back and forth to the truck, and Brett and I pretty much spent the rest of the night watching the storm. We’d stand out front and watch, then go to the back porch. We actually didn’t stay on the back long because, well, the sound back there was pretty scary, especially later. It’d come up a really strong wind and I thought the trees were gonna come over on us—so we stayed off the back porch. Oddly, we really didn’t get that much rain after the initial rainfall, it was mostly just high winds. Water never went over the entire street in front of the house like I expected it to. It’s done that before during really heavy rains. I tried to take some video from the front porch—and I’ll put it here, but you can’t see much when it’s dark.

Once the sun came up and we knew the worst was over, I got the generator going to keep the refrigerator and freezer going…Then the power came back on, so I shut the generator off. Cranked the AC up and got the house cooled down…then the power went off again. But it was cool enough that we hit the sack. I can’t be sure of the time (remember, no power), but probably around 10ish.

We both slept a good bit of daylight hours. The house was still cool because it was overcast and very windy. When we got up, we started putting the house back in order. We ate our sandwiches on the back porch (no trees fell! Yay!) And that’s when we noticed some fences down across the street.
(Never tried to include any videos before–hope they work)

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Catch-up con report

Brittany, Chris Ulm, and me at SDCC2017

I haven’t done a con report since MegaCon, and that was back in June. So this will be a catch-up Con report!

In July I did the Orlando Collect-A-Con in Altemonte Springs. It was a fun show and I’m already planning a return there for next year! Also in July, I went out to San Diego Comic Con for the second year in a row (thanks to my buddies at Ka-Blam!). I got to see many old pals, including my former boss and Malibu Editor-in-Chief, Chris Ulm!

Steven Butler, Barry Gregory, me, John Crowther

I was no sooner back from SDCC when my other old pal, Steven Butler was in town for a convention in Tampa. I rode out there with old pal Barry Gregory and we were joined by new pal John Crowther for a fun dinner and lively chat!

In early August, Jeff Whiting and I made the long trip up to Pikeville, KY for the inaugural Pikeville ComicCon. We had a blast. What an awesome first show it was. Got the chance to meet a lot of new people there. Got my fingers crossed for an invite back to the second one—yes, it was that cool of a show!

Stephen Rosys, Jeff Whiting, Cody Barker, Todd Goodman, Mike W. Belcher, Me, Aiden Belcher

In late August, I went to the Orlando Infinity Con. This was my second time to be there and this is one of the closest ones to my home, so it’s very easy to do.

I had planned to do the Lake Collect-A-Con in October, a show I’ve done before and look forward to doing again, but my band chaperone mishap the day before (you can read about it here if you missed it) kept me from attending. Yes, I basically laid around the house and moaned all day. If you don’t believe me, ask BJ. I’ve been to LCAC twice, and I’m looking forward to making the third one next year.

I had help a few weeks later, though, as Brett supplied the muscle to get me in the door at Emerald City Comic Fest, another inaugural show. This one, too, was very good. One thing I really liked about it was that admission was free! Not sure how the show managed to pull that off, but the free admission got a whole host of folks in, some comic fans and some just curious to see what all the noise was about. Met some new folks, but had the chance to catch up with Dave again, who always brings me something to sign when he comes to a show I’m at. I think I’ve signed more books for Dave than any other single person. He brings me books I’ve forgotten I worked on!

Barry Gregory, John Crowther, me!

Another fun thing about ECCF is that The Geeky Mom set up right beside me! (that’s BJ, for those of you with raised eyebrows right now!)

Central Florida is a great place to be if you like comics, comic conventions, and meeting comic creators!

Coming up, I’ll be at Smashcon on November 18th and unless I can work out a show for early December (trying to, but it may not happen), that’ll be my last show for the year.

 

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MegaCon 2017

The lines looked like this for hours!

Starting today! MegaCon 2017 should be underway not long after you read this (assuming you read it when I post it, on Thursday, May 25). I’m anticipating a fun year again this year (if you’ve forgotten how last year went—you can click here). Last year we sold out of Tiny #1…this year we’re hoping to do just as well with Tiny #2. So, to answer your un-asked question, yes, Deonna will also be there. If you’re nice to her, she might draw for you!

You can find the both of us in Artist Alley at A378. Deonna is actually splitting a table with BJ, who will be there pushing Dr. Mom Knows Best with some comic-book geekiness added for fun. So, be sure to come by and check us out!

Barry Gregory: FCBD at ACME Superstore (sorry I caught you in mid-eye-squint)

Thomas Florimonte: FCBD at ACME Superstore

The convention gods were smiling at us, too, because directly across from me will be my comic creating buddies Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Jeff Whiting (who has a book with a short story of mine in it—so pick it up and I’ll sign it, too!). There will be a bunch of others, too, but you can find us in our little block!

I’m also happy to report that FCBD was a hit! Enzo and crew over at ACME Superstore put on a fantastic event. I kid you not, the line to get into the free comics went from opening at 11am until at least 2:30—without a single gap. Then, from about 2:30-4:30, it was still pretty busy, but there were short moments of no-line.

The following week, I drove down to Clark’s Comics for their Spring Fling. I don’t have any pictures, but Gary posted a video just before the festivities started—you can check it out here: (click here!)

Alex Saviuk signed autographs like a trooper!

Okay…though you’re probably reading this during MegaCon, I’m off to actually get ready! Come see me!

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Happy New Year and looking ahead to 2017

cmcoloredHappy New Year everyone! I know some of you are ready to put 2016 behind you, but I’m ever the optimist so I’m anticipating 2017 to be a great year. I’ll add the obligatory “I can’t believe it’s 2017 already! Where has the time gone?”

I don’t have a lot of convention appearances lined up just yet, but one is fairly immediate. On Jan 19-20, I’ll be a guest at Auburndale City Con (near Lakeland, FL). The other shows I have lined up are: Daytona Beach Comic Convention on April 23, MegaCon in Orlando in May, Wizard Orlando in August. I’ll do something for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) in May, but don’t have that hammered down yet. Wherever I end up, it’ll likely be with my pal Barry Gregory—three years running. Last year his lovely and talented wife, Jenni joined us, as did Thomas and Rene Florimonte. So, I’ll be somewhere, just not sure where yet. I hope to add a few more shows to the list, and I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

silverblade-cover-posterOn the family front, Brittany is starting 2017 off in LA as she seeks work there. I’m anxious to learn all that she’ll be getting to do this year and anticipate seeing her on the screen before the year is up! Brett will become a senior this year—OH MY!—and he’s becoming quite the young man. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my weekly (mostly) pleasures is my Friday night game session with Brett. Now that Brittany is in LA, she’s talked about joining us…if she can figure out the time difference. BJ’s still working hard on her Young Living business venture and we’re both pretty excited to see what’s in store for her there. If you haven’t “liked” her FB page yet, I’ll ask that you please go do it now: CLICK HERE!

I’m pretty excited about several things on the creative front. I’m working on two projects with long time friend and artist Dean Zachary. I’ll give you more as they develop, but a peek at them looks like: the first we’re calling SilverBlade and the high concept is Indiana Jones meets John Constantine. Joining me and Dean on SilverBlade is Barbara Kaalberg on inks and Thomas O’Connor on colors. You should see an image on this page somewhere. The second project Dean and I are working on is a revamp of Cat & Mouse, a series I did with the talented Mitch Byrd (and Steven Butler on some of the early issues) back in the late 80s/early 90s. Dean and I have made changes and updates, obviously, but the spirit will remain. The first story is about human trafficking, something I’m pretty passionate about. While Barb inked the image you see on this page, we’ve got another super-talented inker in mind to join us here, and the coloring is done by Kevin Gallegly.

Demon's Tails Ad

Demon’s Tails Ad

I can’t mention C&M without folks thinking about Demon. I’m excited to say that Paul Pelletier has agreed to reunite with me and produce a second Demon’s Tails mini-series. As I write, we’re still working on the story details, and—of course—the story will have to move at Paul’s pace, but I’m excited that we’re getting started on it. Thomas Florimonte has agreed to round out the reunited team as inker. So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about it. Long time pal Barry Gregory colored the image you see here, and we’re currently planning for it to be part of the Gallant Universe where Barry and Steven have just wrapped up their incredible John Aman, Amazing Man series. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out!

There’s nothing really specific that I can mention, but I’ve been talking to Barry about some pretty cool comic-related projects. I’m looking forward to more on that end. Sorry about being so mysterious about it. You know that you’ll be the first to know when I can talk about it…but the possibilities are pretty exciting.

Hope your year looks to be as exciting as mine. Happy New Year one and all!

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A health victory

If you’ve seen any of my posts on Facebook in the last year or so, you know there have been a lot of changes in health and such in the Mann household. I’ll never get it all right because I don’t pay near as much attention to it as I should. So I want to be sure that I give all the credit where credit is due, and that is to my lovely wife, BJ. She’s the one who grabbed the bull by the horns and said we were getting it done!

So some time back, my cholesterol was as high as 378. Yep. Scary. (For those who might not know, anything above 200 is considered “high”) I started taking one of the statins…and it came down, but only to about 330ish. Once we moved to Orlando, I just let my prescription lapse. Oh. Each time, the docs told me to lose some weight.

Nearly two years ago, BJ got introduced to Essential Oils. She wanted to give it a shot and help us stop taking so many over the counter drugs (advil, suda—stuff[sinus issues run amok!] Tylenol, etc). So we did…and they have played a big part of our entire get healthy journey. We’ve spent less than $50 this last year on prescription drugs (if that). And yeah, we bought Essential Oils, but the thing about them is that they are all natural.

Last year, after…ahem…an important birthday, I did the checkup…you know, rotate the tires and get the oil changed. My cholesterol was high—again. And the doc pulled out a calculator and gave me some pretty scary numbers…percentages or heart issues if I did nothing…and then numbers for if I changed things. The old role-playing gamer in me hated the percentages she was giving me, so we got busy. We changed how we ate, we drank more water, took some essential oil supplements and walked some (though we haven’t walked hardly at all since May—it’s HOT here!)

In January of this year, I had my cholesterol checked and it was 136. It was lower than 200 for the first time since around 2003! I’m now down about 12 pounds, but would still like to lose another 20-25ish.

One of the most difficult things I’ve done is “quit” drinking coke. Every other time I’ve tried, I’ve failed. So my approach this time was a little different. I decided I wasn’t going to “quit,” but was going to drastically cut back. As part of our eating change, BJ got us drinking water…a LOT of water. I’m trying to drink about a gallon of water a day. And yes, that means I make a lot of trips to the john…but I still like what it’s doing for me health-wise. I gotta tell you, it was extremely difficult at first—but water is just boring to me. After about two weeks, though, it got easier. I still drink cokes, but I consider them more of a treat, now. So I don’t feel like I’ve “failed” or “cheated” when I have them…I just try not to drink too much of them.

BJ talks more about the nitty-gritty details over on her site: drmomknowsbest.com. I’m not as concerned about all the details, but she’s up on all of it. Me, I pretty much just eat what she tells me—and I’ve seen the results so I know what we’re doing this time is working.

In all of this…our family has been healthier than we’ve ever been. Yeah, we still have the occasional thing (I still have sinus based headaches, but not like I used to get them—and certainly not the migraines which I truly believe were primarily caused by nutrasweet found in diet cokes!), but on the whole, we’re healthier than ever.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2015

I haven’t seen as many of those countdown to Thanksgiving posts on FB this year as I’ve seen in years past, but I decided to do my own list of thankfuls this year. So, I’m thankful for…

*the USA. Despite all my “serious issues” with our government, it’s still the best nation on the planet (why else would thousands give their lives trying to get here?) and I’m glad I’m here and not somewhere else.

*my job. In this day and age there are a lot of people still out of work.

*my boss. A boss can make all the difference in your job; a good boss can make a bad job tolerable and a bad boss can make a good job miserable. I’m fortunate to currently have a good one!

*a roof over my head. With all the hubbub surrounding the refugees, regardless of your stance, I’m thankful that I have a home with a roof over my head, unlike many of them.

*my nuclear family. As of this writing, BJ and I have been married for 25 years and we’ve produced two wonderful kids, both of whom I’m very proud!

*my extended family. So blessed to have the dad, mom and sister that I do. And all the aunts, uncles and cousins to go with them. I’m proud to call them all “family!”

*YOU. You come here and read my blog…and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you take the time to read this when you could be doing something else—even if it’s just Candy Crush!

*my faith. Yeah, many with my faith are under constant scrutiny (and even attack—though many who do would deny they do so!), I’m still thankful for a loving God who can accept a screw-up like me.

So…what are YOU thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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25

Twenty-five years ago today, I married the love of my life. Fortunately for me, she’s been able to put up with me for 25 years. Well, plus a little more.

Roland and BJ posing after the wedding

Roland and BJ posing after the wedding

BJ is fond of telling folks that we should really add seven years to the number of years we’ve been married, because that’s how long we dated. Usually, when she tells folks—especially the ladies—she gets all sorts of sympathy in the form of “wow, you really waited on him a long time.” It works for her. But you can read more about that in this post seven years ago (the one I wrote for my 18th anniversary).

Had you told me twenty-five years ago that I’d be living in Florida, I’d have told you that you were nuts. Florida was never on my radar as a place to live…never. Alas here we are…

Way back when BJ and I were still just talking about getting married, she once told me she didn’t care where we lived as long as she was with me, all was good. She even said she’d live in a tent! Well, we’ve not had to live in a tent thus far, but there’s been a time or two I had to ask her if she was serious about the tent thing.

But what’s more important impressive is that she’s put up with me these years. Even through all the moves: Mississippi-California-Mississippi-Alabama-Tennessee-Arkansas… She’s let me keep my 10k comics (which have actually dwindled down to about 7.5k these days because I’ve gotten very tired of moving them!), puts up with me going to silly comic conventions (and have pretty successfully gotten my kids hooked on them), actually encourages me to play war games with my son (how cool is that? “Yes, I guess I should spend some quality father/son time and play some war game.”), and will stand in line to watch a superhero movie when it’s released, even if she’s not that excited about it.

Roland and BJ wedding reception 1990

Roland and BJ wedding reception 1990

So while I’m taking the time to say it aloud (and to the world, so y’all listen up!), I say it privately (mostly to myself) pretty much every day: I’m doggone lucky that she’s put up with me for so long.

BJ, you are the love of my life. Don’t ever forget that.

Happy 25th anniversary!

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