Tag Archives: Omaha

Friday Comic: Micronauts

Micronauts #14, #15 were part of a 3-Pack combo I bought with my allowance while on a family road trip to the Amana Colonies. This was the summer of 1980. It was these two books that officially ‘hooked’ me on comics. A throw back to Star Wars with all of it’s characters and not so Star Warsy too. Maybe it was the Farrah Fawcett hair of  Marionette or the C3PO (Biotron) & R2D2 (Microtron) robot’s who pretty much saved their asses in almost every issue. I don’t really know. I DO know that the character I wanted to be was ACROYEAR

Micronauts #14 - Comic Book Cover

Micronauts #15 - Comic Book Cover

Being a mere 9 years old and super impressionable on movies and comics I collected these with fervor only limited by my weekly allowance of $5.00. I stopped eating candy, not entirely but reduced my in take of large plastic Pixie Stix, Big League Chew & my all time favorite Fun Dip (Stix) so I can spend my earnings on comics. Since comics were relatively cheap at $0.40-50 cents each I was able to get my fill. I visited Dragon’s Lair every Saturday morning after cartoons. Dragon’s Lair is still alive and kicking which is in direct relation to it being an original comic book shop. I even had my Father let Bob (the owner) know it was OK for me to purchase “EPIC” and “Heavy Metal” as they were and still are considered “Adult” theme publications.

Micronauts gave me a story line that took off where Stars Wars ended. It’s core characters were misfits and came together under duress. It wasn’t your typical comic in a sense that it blended the back stories of a gestapo like S.S. machine headed by Baron Karza and his body banks (think Matrix & Auschwitz) where he would do experiments on his enemies. Pretty heavy stuff for 1980. It also created the “Microverse” with it’s own rules and laws of physics which in itself creates all new ways of looking at our world. Deep there too huh?

I believe the first 50 issues were the best. You can usually if not always find these in the, ironically 50 cent- 1.00 bins at the local comic shops or whenever there is a Con going on. I tend to pick up more of the same copies in various conditions, I’m still looking for VF-Mint 1-10.

They tried to ramp up more updated versions of Micronauts but always to a low reception and poor sales. They had their time in the spotlight in the early 80’s and I don’t ever see it being better. Just like music, (imo) writing is the key to success in books/comics/– the better writers of today’s comic book world are writing their OWN stories.  “TICK”

Micronauts #7 - Comic Book Cover!”Micronauts #26 - Comic Book Cover

Micronauts #37 - Comic Book Cover

All Covers above came from COMIC VINE, a fantastic source for Comic Book Lovers.

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Our Omaha Trip & Visiting Patrick/”Biegstvo”

We celebrated our Independence Day in Omaha this past weekend (btw did I mention this is the best country evah??!) and was able to touch base with my sister. Our relationship has been iffy at best for the past 15 years or so but time heals. I was able to get ahold of Patrick from our guild via text msg’s then finally talked to him to where AlixAndria and I met up with him on a quiet rainy day in Dundee. Besides the hair impression is his height. He’s probably around 6 ft 3 inches tall. I was at immediate ease with him much like over vent and playing WoW with him for over a year now. I forget how we invited him to the guild…hrmmm.

Anyways, we sat and Alo and I had some drinks, me : 6 grape Port which tasted like pure untouched grape juice with zero filters. It tasted like poo. Alix had a dry Pinot. Patrick turned down and drinks or smokes, the establishment had a nice humidor. Seems to be a place for locals to drink & smoke in a square foot of maybe 20-25. Quaint it is.

Conversation was about food, gardening, the guild, family & friends. We ended up swinging by his house and checking out his inner workings of growing things (although he doesn’t grow anything during the summer months indoors…makes sense). Alix and I hope to visit at length next time we’re back in Omaha and perhaps if he’s down in our neck-o-woods he will visit us.

This is the 5th time I’ve met guild members and I always find it interesting to put the sounds, gear, voice to the person. Our first meeting was with “Dave” from the 2nd ressurection of OS- we met Dave near my house for some appz and drinks, wish the ending was better. I’ve also met “Ygraane, Recurve, Maxwell” via Logtar through some lunches, all 3 are fantastic down to earth people in thier own rights. We need to ‘do lunch’ again and soon. This past Spring Alix and I also met up with Ann and her ‘ol man’ for some Mongolian BBQ, once again it was nice to meet these people in the flesh. So far (knock on wood *KNOCK*) we’re batting .1000 for finally meeting sane, fresh and interesting people via WoW. It would be something if we could plan a get-together next year where we all meet up in one place…ideally I would LOVE IT if we could meet up at BlizzCon. While the idea of that maybe far fetched I think if we planned ahead and for some of us- saved up for the trip to Anaheim it would be a BLAST.

Alo and I visited my old street I grew up on where I ‘Big Wheeled’ and was street champion for 3 seasons– until they came out with “The Green Machine”. It’s low center of gravity was very unfair. We stopped by ‘Husker Heaven’ and realized it’s complete and utter BS they upmark prices by 300% when you can go to Bag-N-Save …and…save. We also stopped by what was my fav. rest in-town called ‘Venice Inn’ for some Prime Rib…while we got our favorite waitress named “Lynn” the rib was a little tough but very good times. It rained the first part of our trip, torrential rain imo but like Obama we ‘overcame’ with great adversity to make it our loft. Thank the lord.

My current WoW goal *since there is no current World Events going on is to get Ms. AK some rep under her epic belt(s) while tangoing with Wootbeer who recently earned her “Midsummer” title but hit level 74. Speaking of “DING” and Patrick– his other Druid hit 80 just a couple days ago. GRATZ! Now…don’t get me wrong but..why did you / do you have 2 level 80 Druids?

hordlvr80

alopatpatclosetalkuslot

kfab

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Happy 4th of July!

god bless america.jpg

This is the world’s greatest, bestest, awesomest, fantastical country in the entire civilized world! “Proud” doesn’t come close to naming how happy I am to be an American! I love my U.S. of A! I hope you and your family have a wonderful & safe holiday weekend. Don’t get too drunk and blow of your extremities while lighting up the fireworks! This is among my favorite holidays! (I know I’m early but I may not have access to the web!)

Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska during the 70’s I was able to experience traditions most people only see in movies or hear about. My 1975-1980 Independence days were played out in our neighborhood called “Keystone” and back then you actually KNEW your neighbors, you became friends with them. This was no exception. The entire Pinkney street would pretty much shut down our street. BBQ pits in yards, real Coca-Cola bottles strewn throughout everyones drive-ways in anticipation of them being blackened from Black Cat Bottlerockets. 5’x5′ plywood stations where the ‘big’ fireworks were set off by our drunken fathers. Earlier in the day several tree’s were littered with our “daytime” foreworks- mostly “Parachute” men, one of my favorites. All up and down the street were the tanks, sooo many tanks as well as snakes. We would write our names with hundreds of snakes all day. T  O  D  D plastered everywhere on my steps that lasted til next spring. I was allowed to light fireworks at a young age (8) since I had a healthy respect for things that go boom a previous summer where a ‘inch and a-halfer’ went off in my hand. Short wicks are the suck.

It went from morning til past midnight. Only a handful of nights where I could stay up past 10 pm. (New Years & Random parties my parents would throw were the other times). Great memories!

Have a GREAT one in the BEST COUNTRY IN D’ WORLD!!!!!!!!!

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Expanding My Worth

(Above is my all time favorite sculpture by Mikey Angelo)

My background consists of years of drawing. My fathers art studio in the basement of our tiny little house on Pinkney street I spent hours and days and weeks drawing anything I could think of, find, copy. I had access to the original media of art and design, markers, paints ; oils, acryllic, water color, air brush as well as loads and loads of ruby lift and templates. I grew up with one of my best friends whose drawing ability and pure talent made my stuff look like shit, James Widmark. He is famous in Omaha and in some circles in the late 1990’s as he made his own comic book line and had James O’Barr (Creator of The CROW)– do his cover for him. My father was my inspiration to get into art and James Widmark was the driving force for me to do better as a burgeoning artist. James Widmark passed away a few years ago from asthma, untimely and tragic. As I grew up I kept drawing but never thought much of it as a career as my interests varied from Astronomy in HS to Pre Law to Russian History Major in College. Coming back to my roots of drawing and design I came in just at the time of Apple and the “Desktop Publishing” era. I coupled my experience with traditional media of Illustration with Adobe Products. 

I became very efficient with Photoshop, Illustrator during the 1990’s and taught Photoshop classes at Longview College. Then, ONE day (not really…) I realized my skills were being slowly antiquated with the explosion of the internet software – i.e. FLASH, Video and Music. Media I never really paid attention to…why would I since I knew the in’s and out’s of nearly ALL aspects of printing– screenprint, offset, dry offset, flexographic, embroidery… I knew in the back of my ego driven heart that I was being left behind. Niche is key for success in this market of design and illustration and in most fields. 

It’s nice being in this field for it’s ability to challenge oneself when you want to be. A passive aggressive design field where only the ambitious make a name and certain level of income. I was dead to the world in the last career move where I was grinding to the sound of 25 days of ‘Production’ work and maybe 5 days worth of creative. I started out with my initial 4 years of employment full of excitement and not being content then before I knew it that creative wanton lust was lost to the sense of security one can get being at a job over 5 years. Saying I was content would be a stretch. My outlets for creativity was Freelance work and certain clients who would let me have full reign of design. 

Currently I am given the wonderful opportunity to work in some new media and I am taking it all in with deep breaths. Video, Flash, Animation are all relatively new to me and I love the chance to delve into new stuff.  I roll with the wave. Deadlines and all.

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Thanks Mom & Dad!

My mother passed away spring of 2006 from nearly 40 years of smoking 2 packs a day. Lung, followed by brain cancer is among the worst ways to lose someone as it’s long and drawn out. I really lost her just before her chemo treatments. I’ve always thought ones birthday should be celebrated more as a thank you for your mother and father. We should simply have a day of less importance being born and more of a thank you for mom and dad making the effort, accident or not for giving me life. It’s still very painful for me at times without having my mother around, to call- we talked nearly every day prior to 2006 as she was lonely from moving around alot and my fathers hours working. She had her faults like everyone else and hindsight very typical ones; over bearing, over opinionated, nosey, stubborn and moody. Much like me. =D

The good qualities are numerous, generous, loving, empathy and confident. Although not much for huggy/kissy mothering she loved me and my sister with everything a mother could. My father and her provided me an extremely happy childhood. Meager lower income but if one doesn’t know the difference it doesn’t matter, we had family trips every summer and spring. Swimming and camps in the summertime, mom would make Sunday Pot Roast, my father taught me all about lawn care (priming me). as well as learning techniques for drawing and art. I would literally spend my winter months in his art studio going over huge art books. Micheangelo, DaVinci, Hopper, Pollack, Frank Lloyd, Picasso, Monet as well as current trends (at the time the 70’s and 80’s). I would get high off his markers and listen to American Top 40 every sunday morning sitting at his drafting table. It was simply amazing. My time spent in his Studio was golden.

For me, life having a meaning is to have a family. To create life with someone you love and have children of your own, I’ve been blessed to have done this with my two wonderfully crazy kids. 50% ain’t bad! I’ve been doubly blessed to have found Alo whom I will be marrying next week. I get to not only marry someone with qualities that could make this an extra-extra long blog post but I get to be a part of her family. 

I was born on August 19th 1971 at 7:14 p.m. in Omaha Nebraska @ Mercy Hospital by Doctor Brown– who coincidentally I was next to when he delivered my own Son at the same Hospital–and also coincidentally just across the street no less than 100 yards my mother is buried, I love you Mom and Dad, thanks for having me.

Your Son,

NTK3

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Skateland

A very fond memory was when I was in the 5th grade and was allowed to go to the weekly Friday “Panda Party” roller rink at “Skateland”. I was given a small green piece of paper explaining that I was invited to Skateland for a roller skate party, I had only heard about this from my friends as my parents didn’t allow me out and about without their permission. I was so excited I got an invitation that I asked my mom if we could go to Woolco and get whatshername a present for the party. I called my best friend and asked what he was bringing and he lol’d me. He said it wasn’t a birthday party but a discount coupon for the entry fee, there is no actual party. I remember getting red-faced on the phone and quickly said “Ohhh ok, well I’ll keep the Sea Monkeys for myself!”. My mom took me up to the famous Skateland just outside of Omaha (Nebraska) it was a long drive to me back then. She walked me in and looked around, said hi to a few parents, gave me $5.00, kissed me on the cheek and said she’d be back by 10:30 to pick me up. I was in heaven. Complete independence at the age of 10. My friends all showed up and I slowly but quickly learned to skate. I can only imagine what my calves and thighs felt like back then. Ironman comes to mind. 

Tonya Arends and Me

After a year of going to Skateland every single Friday it was like my 2nd home away from home. It reminds me when Tony walks into the Discotique in Saturday Night Fever, all the fellas know your name, the chicks come up to you and chat, flirt and ask if you can buy them a Slushy. Highlights were when it was “boys only” skate and the girls would line up on the painted cement wall and hold their hands out for you to ‘slap’. If a girl liked you she would extend it ONLY for you. My other favorite highlight was couples skate. I’d go around asking any girl I came across at first, then I got selective. I would not only pick/ask ones that were “cute” but could skate backwards. It was much cooler to skate backwards than holding hands side by side. So my criteria was : Cute with feathered hair, preferred dark haired girls, height didn’t matter nor did weight, had to be able to skate backwards and most importantly…like the band KISS. I was a huge fan in their hay day of late 70’s.

I spent 4 New Years eves at that Skateland and kissed approx. 12 girls in that time frame. One of which a skate guard caught me and Sara Simpson in the corner kissing (french), I never knew it was against the rules that we couldn’t kiss. Our lips parted by a teenaged, pot marked, hair in the face punk grabbing me by my “Hobie” shirt and yanking hard. He grabbed Sara’s hand and she yelped, seems he used excessive force. He’s pulling us up to the front office when my dad walks in and see’s us being ‘kid’ handled and asks what’s going on. The skate guard unwisely ignores my dad (see pix below for his “look”) and walks by him, all the while yanking me along. My dad grabs the punks arm and pulls me away, the stupid pot smoker cusses at my dad at which time my father blasts his fist into the kids chest knocking him back against the wall. (Sara was able to let go prior). Next thing I know I was taken back to the scene in Bruce Lee’s last movie “Enter the Dragon”, 3 more punk guards rush up around my dad and me and my dad gets into his drunkfist position waiting for anyone to step to us.

I look over and the Manager finally comes out of his office and tells the punks to do their job. My dad relaxes and he and the Manager talk in his office, Sara and I are in the side room sitting on the floor, a small tear drops down her face. I reach over and dry it off, smiling. She asks what I was smiling about and I said “my dad kicked that assholes ass”. She giggled but looked up and her father was now in the office with my dad, she started crying again. I told her it’s ok and that it wasn’t the end of the world, plus come monday at school we’re going to be very popular. My dad, the manager and sara’s dad come over and have this look of “look what you did” look. My father had a twinkle in his eye like “play along son”. So I looked remorseful.  I was banned for 4 weeks. LOL. We walked out into the parking lot and was waiting for any kind of sign that my dad was going to belt me or hug me. He smiled and asked if it was worth it. I smiled back and said “Ohhh yeah!”. 

Around the 7th grade I outgrew Skateland and started going to parties. Real ones. The times I spent at Skateland were always great and memorable. The hundreds of quarters spent on “Moon Patrol” and “Digg Dug” with the worlds best game “Defender”… slamming down the 2ft long Pixie Stix with a 32 oz “Suicide” drink, the brown tore up skates, the music of the late 70’s and early 80’s….it was all magical in it’s own way.

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Managing Hobbies and/or obsessions.

I think the earliest time of me collecting something was age 8. I was in our family wagon, a taxi cab yellow Volvo with no A/C and my mother had made curtains for the back area of the illustrious machine. Windows didn’t crack open on those models so needless to say I suffered several heat strokes on our way to the AMANA COLONIES. Oh the joy of hand made chairs, baskets and washing machines. As we are heading out of the town we stop at a small mom and pop gas station and inside I buy my Dip Stix and come upon my first obsession (no it wasn’t BIGG JUGZ) it was a standing rack of comic books. Not singles mind ya but the ol’ 3 packs sealed in plastic. I reach into my cut off blue jeans (non- daisy duke) and find my allowance ($1.00 a week) to have been mounting to a masterful height of $3.50 ish. (this was back in in 1979), the price if I recall was around $1.25 for 3. This is considered the prime time of collecting, the mid 70’s. The 3 pack consisted of 2 issues of Micronauts and 1 something I forget. Micronauts is a direct knock off of Star Wars with a princess escaping a darth vader like enemy along with their own versions of R2D2 and C3PO. I took to it instantly because to me aliens are much more interesting than humans. (yuck)I re-read the 2 books about 10 times on the way home. Next pay day weekend I went to Dragons Lair and bought all I could and repeated that for the next year until I caught up to the series (16 issues) at ¢.35 ea and +.10-20¢ for back issues, the highest being a 2 part issue with the appearance of the Uncanny X-Men.

From that point on I’ve been collecting Comic Books off and on with the late 80’s being my 200-300.00 weekend conventions in Houston, Texas. At that time I was heavy into Uncanny X-Men and had/have about 70% of the entire series. I even had teh famous issue #96. (that was the first introduction to the new LOOK and team of the X-Men) and was one of stories of how I came across this GEM that many talk about. *another time*.

The next obsession happened just before I got married to my future ex-wife. I started working as a designer of ‘Pull-Tabs” aka “Scratch-Offs” and there we’re two super geeky coworkers playing a card game. This was 1993. Our break room consisted of a half court basketball, volleyball court, a pool table and shuffleboard. The owner invented latex gloves. True story. He decided to buy a bingo sheet maker and pull tab company and in his wiseness wanted his workers happy. I was. So these two geek heads we’re ignoring the fine sports equipment (not me) and would play cards the entire time. I was fine tuning my billiard skills and inspired by the movie The Hustler. I casually and fonzie like walked over to really SEE what they we’re doing. The art is the first thing that captured my attention. The second thing was they looked like they we’re into it. The malaise and discontent artists have is something most are born with and these two looked like kids at a circus/porn house. Wait…not kids…more like over the age of 18…..at a porn store. Nevermind. I asked what it was called and the reply was “Ummm…Magic the Gathering…..why?”  I shrugged and walked away..Fonzie like. Few weeks later one of the workers, Tony went to the 2nd shift with me. He would bring the cards in and make decks. I would fax crude naked drawings I made to local radio stations. The DJ’s loved my drawwwrings. One night, well maybe two nights…I asked if he could teach me how to play. He did and it took a week to learn all the mechanics (simple at that time) and able to play at his level. The first rules of Magic the Gathering involved playing for Ante. We followed the rules to a T. Since MtG was new the card prices locally sold at Comic Book stores we’re relatively cheap. Here goes my paychecks. It is damned hard for me to do things half assed on obsessions. I would go to stores and buy boxes of cards. Boxes at $79.99 each. My collection swelled and my confidence and soon Tony refused to play with me because I would win most of the games and took most of his good cards from winning the Ante cards. (ante cards we’re the top card of your deck flipped over). I took to the local tournament scene in Omaha and Council Bluffs. Played from midnight to 6 am 3 days a week. Bought more cards. More tournaments. Then we had a baby. My first son. (and only, that I know of). My gaming slowed to a crawl. Then we moved to Lawrence Kansas. Once my son was 3 I started back up again. The need to play and buy was very bad. Strain on my marriage. I wasn’t there for her as much as I should have been. Then we had another baby. I stopped again. For awhile. Then started again. By this time I had acquired over 25,000 magic cards and value was around $15,000.00****     IF I had not sold those cards the value in todays market is around $50,000.00  I had doubles of the Power 9’s. Complete sets of: Legends, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, 120 Dual Lands, Beta Moxes, the whole enchilada, and 3 Black Lotus. Go now and go to Ebay…type the words “Black Lotus” or “Beta Black Lotus”. You’ll see. Makes me cry.

As this obsession waxed and waned I came across Diablo…then Diablo II and those took over for quite awhile. I even took the day off work for the release of Diablo II….then Starcraft……oy vey. My life went on and I focused on video games and magic seemed to curtail. A lot has to do with your circle of friends who will encourage and enable your obsessions or make fun of you, my friends enabled me. I like the sound of the word “enable”, it takes a lot of pressure off oneself. My kids starting to grow up and I got them into sports, especially my son, so my interests we’re aimed on him. My daughter took interests in dance, so I helped her there. With all my focus I lost focus on my relationship with my wife, it was not what we wanted or expected. We grew apart, I blame myself but it also lies on her shoulders as her views on life are and we’re very skewed on not really based in reality. (kettle..calling black…). So…we got divorced. ALL my obsessions ceased and dissisted. (sp) I sold cards to pay bills and lawyer fees. She stopped working and stopped paying for utilities so I sold my assets. Cards and comics. She reveled in it. I cried. YADA YADA YADA. 

Next up. Star Wars. I’ve always have been a fan since my father took me to see it in the theaters opening day in Omaha Nebraska. My very first toy was a Storm Trooper. I’ve been collecting the toys for over 25 years now and have an extensive collection of new and vintage. This came into play when SOE made their version of the game Star Wars Galaxies. I was stoked. Totally. One issue was it was only for the PC. So…I went out and had a custom made PC gaming rig JUST for the sole purpose of playing SWG. I was NOT disappointed. Instant love and hate of the game. (you can’t totally love games..there has to be a balance of hate). This is exactly the same time I met my fiance. That Christmas she bought me a Video Card. What kinda babe buys her new boyfriend a Video Card for Christmas??!! Well, mine does! And she started playing SWG as well, she went the Smuggler route and I delved into nearly all the professions. It was initially a blast!~! But like most MMO’s the developers started messing with the game play, the pvp, the crafting and that ended up a bad deal all around. We ended up playing World of Warcraft. Brought over several SWG buds and they’ve come and gone to out right quitting (for other MMO’s) lol and this is my current obsession. That and Animal Crossings, updating my Comic collecting and recently started collecting original artwork and prints from my favorite artists. These all encompass what I love to do and spend my time with. I am very lucky to be partnered with someone who shares the same interests in gaming, reading, geeking out. These obsessions, to me are very light and non hurtful to people around me except when I ignore my basic responsibilities. Those would be: going to work, paying bills, paying complete attention to Alix and my family, being social on a face to face level, focusing and completing life goals. All of that is a balancing act and I believe I’ve come very close to the act of balancing those with semi-ease. My family is relatively happy and def. healthy. My career is on an upswing, my son and daughter are happy but are reaching the “teen” years so I need to knock on wood and pay MORE attention to their lives and friends. 

I understand this post has nearly nothing to do with Old School or WoW but felt like sharing what maybe a common thread among gamers, readers, obsessive type personalities. Please feel free to share your collectings, musings and what you do with your time.  Thanks for reading a long read. 

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