Remembering from 2018 . . .

Some folks no longer with us.

I meant to comment on Harlan Ellison’s passing. A writer who influenced so many people, and probably as much for his never dull, frequently entertaining personality displayed in many public appearances. I was more of a fan in my teen years than when older, but I always enjoyed his comments and just knowing that he was out there.

And, of course, he wrote one of Star Trek‘s greatest episodes:

Also, Steve Ditko. When I was a whippersnapper, I found a torn copy of Doctor Strange Classics in a comic shop, getting it from a reject bunch for something like four-for-a-dollar along with a beat-up Silver Age Tales to Astonish.  Ditko’s surrealist, psychedelic art was mind-boggling, and led me to further joy reading his original Spider-Man stories in Marvel Tales.

Here’s a book-themed (and groovy) look at the weird wonder of the art of Ditko:

And . . . Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries. The voice of otherworldly nineties Celtic pop music, and a band that was one of the best things about the nineties:

Rest in peace.

Stan Lee, Rest in Peace

A big, big part of my childhood and those of so many others.

I know I’m not the only one who read “Stan’s Soapbox” in the Marvel Comics “Bullpen Bulletins” and hung on every word like it was cosmic wisdom, at least up to a certain age.  And there was the narration he did for that Spider-Man cartoon in the early ’80s, and all the other appearances.

Since I was such a nerd about reading credits in the comics, I knew that he didn’t write them all by the time I was reading the comics of the late 70s and early 80s, but he was still this benevolent presence in the background of everything Marvel.  And then I found the reprints of old Amazing Spider-Man and others more interesting at some point, and then really discovered Mr. Lee’s talent for cranking these stories out, month after month.  Anyone who can write at that level–regular, little time in between, always entertaining–is a great writer.

And this video takes me back to those days when Stan was Marvel Comics (and see the very insightful writing question from an audience member at 1:30).  Rest in peace, Stan, and Excelsior!


Transfiguration - Amazon

Head on over to Amazon and check it out:

The final part of the movie ended eight minutes before class was over, and the teacher spent the time asking everyone if the movie matched how they envisioned it from reading the play, talk that was half-audible from the whirring rewind of the old VHS tape. Brian was buoyed at class being almost over, the comfort of casual conversation going on in the background, and the machine noise as he drew in the folder creases. Soon, the bell rang and they were dismissed. Brian was out the classroom door with his typical energy, into the main hallway, and then climbed the main stairwell to a large window.

The sky was almost black.

He stuck his head out of the partially opened window to see no sun. The darkness covered most of the sky, only a hint of the morning’s blue in the east but the smeared charcoal faded into gray in the west. There the rain was already falling, and soon it would run down in cold jets from a dark silver sky over the school.

“Partly cloudy, chance of rain.”

Brian turned slowly and walked to study hall. It was on the first floor, a short distance with no rush, and all he had to do was descend further downwards.

Copyright 2018 Anders Runestad. All rights reserved.

Cold Car Battery Chaos, Part 4


Not what my trip home through a blizzard looked like, but an incredible simulation. (Image owned by Lucasfilm, obviously.)


So, continuing on through my battery odyssey . . .

After profiting nothing from visiting nine stores, I had the harmless idea of wasting time at Half Price Books. After all, I’d earned a little carefree time between the failure, the repetition, and the cold. Leisurely taking some in-town streets, I then got back on the interstate and found the right exit. A little more town driving and I arrived.

And it was true timewasting. For I was looking for nothing and bought nothing because I was surprised by nothing.

Surprised by nothing until I left Half Price Books, that is.

As I walked back to my car, it was amazing how much the weather had changed when I was expecting no change at all. Snow was coming down—streaking horizontally, really. Not the most intense snowfall ever, but it was heavy enough. I got out of town, the sky impressively gray and thick in the direction I was leaving as I turned, the kind of winter weather where the world looks like day with reflected city light. I had optimism that the thirty miles home would be a reasonably smooth ride as I got up to many miles per hour and six or more lanes of traffic in each direction.

My optimism was not attacked too much until exiting to a smaller highway. For once I was on another road I was soon unable to drive at a good speed. And then I did not want to . . . for the visibility was just a little better than nothing.

I was driving home, away from the direction in which I’d earlier seen snow piling on, but it was now hitting me from this direction, little points of snow stretching into long streaks and hitting me somehow all straight on, driven by some wind that was literally against me. It remained slow, I was grateful for good vision so I could pick out little hints of other cars and painted stripes on the road which finally curved, and the awfulness began to subside.

Another exit, a smaller two-lane highway, and the snowfall was finally negligible once I was again against the wind. I was grateful that everything had calmed down, that I was only a little slow from a road that was messier than it should have been. Whatever came down was recent, brief, but just enough to make things a mess. But I didn’t care, and had a smile on my face that I could spare a hand to choose different radio stations and hear a silly song like DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat.”

I got home, tired from my battery odyssey and just grateful to be home and not be in danger of not getting home, not minding that I completely struck out on finding the battery I needed.

Did I ever find the battery?

The next day my father-in-law called a local car dealer, who had it in stock.

So, praise be to car dealers for having batteries when everyone else is trying and failing to get them at the usual places.

And with that knowledge, I could have avoided my odyssey . . .