Free Comic Book Day 2014

fbcd-logoTomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, the one day a year you can walk into a comic book shop and get comics without paying for them, and not have to worry about ending up in the back of a police car wearing handcuffs. Publishers produce special comics that they in turn sell to comic book retailers through a distributor at a substantially lower amount, for the sole purpose of giving them away on Free Comic Book Day.

Over the years, comic book retailers have taken advantage of Free Comic Book Day by having special sales and other events that capitalize on the special day. Here’s a list of what some of the comic book shops in and around western Maryland will be doing tomorrow:

  • Atomic Comics (Hagerstown, Maryland): Nothing. To the best of my knowledge, Atomic Comics didn’t participate in Free Comic Book Day even before the building in which it resides was condemned by the city.
  • Beyond Comics (Frederick, Maryland): Comic creators Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn, Mark Wheatley, Marc Hempel, Danielle Corsetto and Terry Flippo will be there signing autographs. Artists will be doing sketches. If you bring in a non-perishable food item, you will receive more free comics. They are also having a huge sale.
  • Brainstorm Comics & Gaming (Frederick, Maryland): It doesn’t look like they are participating in Free Comic Book Day this year. There isn’t anything about it on their website or their Facebook page.
  • Comics World (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania): Located in the old Waldenbooks storefront in the Chambersburg Mall, Comics Works is by far the nicest and biggest comic shop in the region. Not only are they participating in Free Comics Book Day, they are also having a sale.
  • Four Color Fantasies (Winchester, Virginia): Even though they claim on Facebook to be Virginia’s best comic book shop, it doesn’t look like they are participating in Free Comic Book Day. There’s nothing about it on their Facebook page and their website appears to have been abandoned.

So there you have it, it looks like if you want some free comic books, you’ll need to go to either Frederick or Chambersburg. Either destination is around 25 miles from Hagerstown, so considering the price of gasoline, it might just be cheaper to go to Wonder Book & Video and paw through the $1 long boxes or go to 2nd & Charles and do the same.

Amazon raising the price of Amazon Prime to $99

Amazon raising the price of Amazon Prime to $99 - Bent CornerI received an email yesterday from Amazon informing me that when my Amazon Prime membership renews in November, the price will be $99. The current price is $79. They are raising the price by $20.

According to Amazon, the price has remained the same for nine years. Since it was rolled out in 2005, the price has been $79.

I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for two years and in that time, I feel like I’ve more than got my money’s worth. Not only do I get free two-day shipping on almost everything I purchase from Amazon, I also get to watch free streaming video on my Roku. Because of the free streaming video, I canceled my Netflix subscription.

To tell the truth, I would probably pay more than $99 for Amazon Prime. I feel like I more than get my money’s worth. The free shipping coupled with the fact that I don’t need to pay state sales tax when I buy stuff from Amazon, really ads up. On Tuesday, I tried to buy a Fitbit Flex wireless activity tracker at the Hagerstown Walmart. They of course didn’t have any even though thy had a special display set up for them. I then looked at getting one online from Walmart’s website, but realized that even if I chose to have it shipped for free to the Hagerstown store, I was going to be paying an extra six dollars in Maryland sales tax.

The following day, Wednesday, I ordered one from Amazon. It was not only a few dollars cheaper than Walmart, there was no sales tax. I’m scheduled to receive it today. The shipping was free and it will be delivered right to my door. If I purchased it from Walmart, I would have to go to the Hagerstown store and probably stand in a line behind someone not wearing deodorant.

I judge the quality of my life by how little I have to stand in a line at Walmart.

Photo: Ben Margot/AP

I’m getting tired of winter

I woke up this morning to find yet another layer of white death on the ground. Considering that the weather forecasters, the lying liars that they are, were calling for a possible 13 inches, what we got isn’t that bad.

That said, I’m getting sick of winter. I’ve had enough of it, I’m ready for spring.

I moved to Maryland 20 years ago. This has been by far, the worst winter since I’ve lived here. There have been some years were we didn’t get any snow, at least none that needed shovelling. This year, it’s snowed more times than I can count. Local schools have been closed so many days, kids will probably be going to class till August.

Winter sucks and I hate it.

Here comes the snow again, falling on my head like a memory

Here comes the snow again, falling on my head like a memory
I moved to Maryland from upstate New York in 1994, and this has got to be the weirdest winter I’ve ever experienced south of the Mason-Dixon line. Not only has it been extremely cold for long extended periods of time, it’s snowed a lot. Because of the cold temperature, the snow that does fall doesn’t go anywhere. It just stays around and refuses to melt, just like it did in upstate New York.

This is Maryland, not upstate New York.

There were reasons I decided to live in Maryland and not upstate New York after leaving the Air Force. Granted, there weren’t any jobs to be had in upstate New York back in 1994, but one of the main reasons I didn’t want to stay there was because of how brutal the winters were. Winters in upstate New York were lot like I always imagined the weather to be on the planet Pluto, back when it was still a planet.

So once again the meteorologists, people who pretend to forecast the weather but surprisingly know nothing about meteors, are predicting lots of snow for the Hagerstown area beginning later tonight. It could be a foot, or it could be six inches, the meteorologists don’t really know.

Maryland is quickly becoming too much like upstate New York. I do not like it. It’s not natural. What’s next, will people start worshipping the Buffalo Bills and start calling spaghetti sauce, gravy?

I really hope not.

So cold it hurts

hagerstown_cold_2014We awoke this morning to discover the outside temperature a ridiculously low of minus one. This is a normal winter temperature in upstate New York or Nebraska, but this is Maryland, south of the Mason-Dixon line, and because of this distinction, technically the south.

Supposedly it hasn’t been this cold here in Hagerstown for at least 20 years. I moved here in 1994, and I can attest that the temperature has never been below zero since I’ve lived here. At least I don’t remember it ever being this cold here.

Things got even worse when we discovered that the cold water pipe to one of the sinks in the master bedroom was frozen. I had to take an emergency personal day from work and Google what to do when your pipes freeze. I had to go up into the attic and warm the pipe up with a hair dryer. Once the pipe was flowing again and I made sure there weren’t any leaks, I put in extra insulation I picked up at Home Depot.

As much as I’d like to blame Al Gore and global warming, I think I was the one that caused this problem. The pipe that froze was the same pipe that I repaired almost a year ago. I must not have packed enough installation back around the pipe when I was done fixing it. It looked like it had more than enough installation, but the fact that it was the only pipe that froze, seems more than a coincidence.

I’ve since learned a bit about pipes and extreme cold. For instance, I read that when the temperature takes an extreme dive, it’s a good idea to turn the cold water on slightly and let it run at a trickle. The water moving, even slightly, can stop the pipe from freezing.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
Today is Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We honor the day he was born by giving gifts and presents to our friends and loved ones and eating food we probably shouldn’t be eating. In other words, the opposite of what Jesus taught. Granted, Jesus never spoke against eating too many carbs, but he did say we should sell everything we own and give it to the poor. He also taught us not to store up treasure here on earth.

Over the years, Christmas has become more and more commercial and I don’t really know why.

I’m off work today. Sheri and I are having her family over later today for food and the exchange of gifts. My family is back home in the High Desert of southern California. One more Christmas away from them to join a long list of Christmases I’ve spent away from them. At this point, I’ve had more Christmases away from them than I’ve had with them. I guess that’s what I get for coming to Maryland “temporarily” in 1994 for a job shortly after getting out of the Air Force. I never set out or planned to live in Maryland, it just kind of happened.

Merry Christmas!