Getting the Chair

A writer discusses setting up a home office that folds up.


I got something really cool today.

Yes, it’s comics related, I guess, but it’s also an important piece of how I work as a person.

Writing is a very strange, very weird act. Take a look at what Stephen King did with his writing room sometime and you’ll see what I mean. But for me, I need someplace relatively free of distractions. When you have a limited living space, this means getting… creative.

See, I tell Kay this frequently enough, but my very best college assignments were done in the bathroom. It’s quiet. Peaceful. No distractions, just me, a laptop, and occasionally a TV tray so I wasn’t hunched over. Laptops are not meant for laps, people, especially after six hours. It’s also where I did a lot of reading as a kid, despite the grumbling of other people.

So when I felt like I needed a space to write separate from a computer with the entire internet and Metal Gear Solid V on it, I found a floor chair. A floor chair is exactly what it sounds like: a chair without legs, so it goes on the floor. It’s currently folded up against the wall between my bed and Shelf 9 of 22, and will stay there very likely until I move. That spot is smaller than any bathroom stall you’ll find outside of an airport, but far more comfortable.

Here’s why the floor chair, my little six-changer, is amazing.

Continue reading “Getting the Chair”

Review Or Die – Formatting Change, Patreon, More Articles, and a Don Rosa In Review Update





What’s up. I’m not dead, this is just an update because things got weird over the last year or so This is an update for the site, which, don’t worry, isn’t going away and neither am I. I will have to change the formatting though.


See, I write posts I’d normally put on Review Or Die on the Geekdad website. Unfortunately, if I simply repost them here, it messes with Google Analytics because they think I’m ripping off my own material, because Google is as Google does. Since I’ve started a patreon, I can include material in Patreon-posts that don’t fit in the article, or tells you here I wanted to say ‘fuck’ but they wouldn’t let me because it’s a parenting website.


I’ll link to the patreon introduction for every finished article that I post, and I’ll do the six that haven’t been cross-posted to Review or Die over the next week or so.


Also yes, after eight years, I started a Patreon! If you donate, you can see previews of articles, help me get things to review, and even preview the original fiction I write. If you want to look at the How To Collect series, you can vote on which piece I’ll write on next.  And I’ll pay special attention to comments you send me about other things to look at for review purposes, though obviously, anything any reader asks about I will try to keep under consideration. The more money that goes into the Patreon, the more time I’m able to spend on this rather than other work that pays.


Speaking of Patreon, if I’m able to get $25 per article/review/interview in donations, I will release the pilot episode of a video review series on RWBY, starting with the Red trailer. Viewer feedback will determine whether I continue it. Since I did the pilot in Windows Movie Maker, and because that was like being hit in the head with a hammer, it would also involve me learning how to use Sony Vegas.


One last thing about Patreon. I promise you right now: If the ‘Early So-Called Art of Don Rosa’ ever comes out, I will make a patreon goal to start up Don Rosa In Review again. That means looking over EVERY Don Rosa story in detail, giving my best analysis of his work as a whole, and going over my opinion of how the characters in his stories were portrayed and why. That was one of my favorite series to write, but it’s also one of the most time-consuming and laborious because it involves multiple reads of a 26-year career in comics (and anything he did as a fan.)


And that’s the update. The most recent article I wrote will have its own post later today in the style I’ve talked about here. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Year One – About Exclusive Stories

Wherein I ponder the difficulties of exclusive material in trade paperbacks by examining Power Rangers Year One, and come to an explosive conclusion.

I really didn’t think I’d ever have to type an article that said “Stop punishing new fans.” Again. Yet here I stand with a copy of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Year One and a brand new problem: a story only included in this deluxe, out of print, hardcover edition.

Year One Cover
Getting this was a journey, let me tell you…

Continue reading “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Year One – About Exclusive Stories”

Showing off the Shelves 900 – I’m Going to Die Buried in Books

900 trade paperbacks. Inventorying them has been a slow nightmare – if you like, you can take a look at the document. Just know that I’ve only just started on the Ms. But 900 is an interesting milestone for me. I’m proud of it, but it feels like a stepping stone towards 1,000. A lot of my life has felt like that recently – the beginning of the right direction.



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Marvel’s A-section is intense.
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I notice my Batman collection is looking a little weak… I think I’ll see what I can do about the Knightfall saga. That mostly came out in trade recently.
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Jerry Ordway does one hell of a Perez impression if you give him a chance. Check out that Brave and the Bold arc, it’s fantastic.
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The Absolute Edition of The Dark Knight Returns means I own The Dark Knight Strikes Again, but don’t hold that against me.
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On top of Dick Tracy is quite literally the only comic I get in single issues anymore.
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From the time the final Don Rosa box set shipped to the time it arrived at my house, I was so anxious with anticipation that people thought something was wrong.
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I’ll be talking about Garfield in another article. It’s worth the read.
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Marvel has not released one of the volumes from the Dennis O’Neil runs of Iron Man, and has not released one of the volumes from the second Michelinie/Layton run. I needed people other than me to know that.
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JSA’s third omnibus will be met by the rest of its triplets soon enough. I just hope the shelf doesn’t give out.
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The difference in Zelda adaptations is really quite stunning. Both are remarkable, but it’s night and day.
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Mary Perkins is spectacular. I can’t wait to read the rest.
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The Order of the Stick is the most bafflingly ordered thing I’ve seen in quite some time. 0, 1, 2, -1, 3, 4, D, 5, 1/2. Swear to God.
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Gifts from loved ones, and Pokemon manga.
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Of course the morpher is by the Power Rangers section.
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Two Absolute Editions right next to each other, even if one of them is an Absolute Edition by another company, makes me quite happy.
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I pre-ordered Spider-Girl before it had even been announced. I really want the rest of this series to be published. Maybe I should write about that soon.
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Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson worked brilliantly together.
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Suicide Squad, Golden Age Superman, and Superman Exile are the omnibuses on their sides. But amongst the rarities, it’s Super Mario Adventures that I treasure most on that whole shelf.
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Ninja Turtles books – oversized and on their sides by necessity, but remarkable nonetheless.
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I’m one of about… one people, I think, who likes George Wunder’s art more than Milton Caniff’s. Which is comparing cuts of diamond, really.
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I already wrote the Ultimate Spider-Man article, but getting the correct formatted ones will take time.
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This shelf has a lot of work that I consider to be beautiful. Full of hope and optimism and light. And I include Watchmen specifically in that.
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I remember every story for how I got every book on this shelf. I remember it for every shelf. I’m proud of that.
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That gap of unused space will fade away so very quickly. Maybe even in the next few days. … that just means there’s more space to grow in to, isn’t there?

I’ve recently gotten jobs writing fiction, something I arguably should be doing instead of writing this. I will be doing it after I finish this draft. But my dad said that if he didn’t budget himself the pleasure of a game of golf (at a local $30 per 18 hole place, mind you, this wasn’t a country club kind of deal), there was no point in getting through the week. The same, I think, is true of time. Working on things that I don’t get paid for but satisfy me creatively is what allows me to be a complete person, even if I’m still growing.

The jobs are ghostwritten, but honestly, it’s better for a starting writer than desperately begging a publisher to read my work. It does mean I have until the end of the year to write more words than Return of the King, but hey – at least I don’t have to edit them. … I wonder if they’d give me that job. I think I’ll ask once I’ve gotten through with the rest. The next deadline for 20,000 words is Monday at 12:00PM… and I suspect I’ll be turning it in like every college paper I ever wrote, at 11:59. But I’ll get better. I wrote my first completed piece of fiction in my adult life, didn’t get stiffed on the payment, and I’ve got so much farther to go and paths already laid out for me.

… weirdly, it feels good to write that. I think. That’s been a lot of how I’ve been feeling. Like I’m making progress, and I should be proud of that progress. That’s not how my head worked for a long time.

I built my own computer, something I’ve never done before. A Raspberry Pi, no less, because when you think “Build your first computer” your brain will obviously go straight to trying to get multiple OSes running on a Linux box. I’m still part way through that, in part because I’m navigating an undocumented LAN because why, I think my dad figured, would he have to document something when he knew it all in his head?

Damnit, dad.

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Behold the Viewing Globe.

The Pi, which I have named The Viewing Globe, will serve as a Netflix box on the first widescreen TV I’ve ever owned for myself, as well as an emulation machine. Add that to the Switch and I’ll have most every game I could ever ask for… except for Kingdom Hearts 3. For that, I will be bogarting my brother’s PS4. And that’s got to be easier than trying to run the Command Prompt using Linux tutorials. I’m seriously going to print out cheat sheets once I get the thing completely finished.

Anyway. My dad had always built computers for me, either from scratch or by helping to make sure that my rig was properly set up software-wise. This is a new and pretty painful experience, not just because I’ve used the Command Prompt more than I have since I was three years old and waking my parents up at 4AM because I forgot how to get to Reader Rabbit Teaches Typing. I’m second-guessing myself every step of the way.

I’ve said throughout this experience, to myself and others, that I don’t know what I’m doing. But that’s not true. I do know what I’m doing. I’m just not as good as he was, mostly because he was working with computers for about 15 years longer than I have been alive. That wasn’t the path I chose. I can listen to someone talk about DBA work and keep up with a funny story about IT, the kind where you need some knowledge of SQL and networking to get the joke, but I’m not fluent in speaking the language. My dad told stories all the time, and I asked to hear them as often as possible, hoping I could understand them well enough to repeat them with all the technical terms. For the most part, I can’t. He was the one who could really tell the story, and my efforts are pale imitations. Earnest, but pale nonetheless.

That’s what’s going through my head as I try to get three operating systems working on one machine to handle regular desktop Linux work, video, and emulation. Turn by turn of the ridiculously tiny screw with my thumb, because I couldn’t find my dad’s old screwdriver set, I hear fragments of what he used to say and hurt because I can’t remember more.

Damnit, dad.

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I found it too late.

I used stickers I never thought I’d end up using, because I’m the horrible kind of person who saves his Elixirs in Final Fantasy until the end of the game because what if I need them?

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These stickers are six years old. I can’t hide behind saying I was waiting for the right time to use them. I just finally felt comfortable doing it.

I’m traveling more. More does mean once every few months, but it is more. The world feels more open now. Less like something meant to suffocate me. Anxiety’s a bitch like that, bearing down on me for so long. But it means new places, new opportunities. New experiences that help me see what kind of person I really am, and that I don’t hate it as much as I thought.

Each of these things represents a step forward towards the life I want, where the craft that I’ve said so often is the only thing I’m good at (and yes, friends of mine reading this article will disagree, but I promise you I’m not joking) is the thing I do most with my life. Writing is what I love. Writing is all I’ve got.

Those 900 trade paperbacks represent a step towards the kind of place, the kind of life, that I want to live. Because one day, if things go as they are, I’ll have twice as many, and it won’t be tucked so tight as they are right now. They’ll have as much room to breathe as I will.

As I was editing this article, I was struck with a moment of urgency that I still don’t quite understand. I took the majority of the trade paperbacks I own that aren’t going to be fully collected (the sole volume of Superboy, for example) and boxed them up, to be sold at a later date. At the time, I’d raised my number to 904. Now, it’s 832: 83 have been boxed up (and I’ve gotten more since I finished that project), and it was painful. Given the opportunity, I would buy completed versions of these series, and if they ever start re-releasing them I will. I really don’t know why I was struck by the need to do it. Maybe I’m finding a clarity and focus I didn’t have before. Maybe the space issue was bothering me. I honestly don’t know. But the sweat and tightness in my stomach, the anxiety that comes from getting rid of anything, will eventually subside. I’ll start to breathe again, and I’ll keep building.

I’ve talked about the steps I’ve made moving forward, but in doing so I inadvertently remembered a place that I started from. I recently found some cheap copies of the JSA omnibuses – turns out the paperback versions don’t have everything, which is ten kinds of frustrating – and I realized that it was The Lightning Saga, a crossover between Justice Society of America (2007) and Justice League of America (2006) that caused me to start focusing on trades to begin with. My dad and I had just gotten back into comics when it was published, and a story that required us to switch between two titles each month in order to read it was new and irritating. It was the last push I needed to focus on trades. Seeing my dad’s collection of single issues that he couldn’t read due to their value and the difficulty of inventorying them had started it, but this sealed it. I kept buying single issues along with my trades, because conversations with my dad were worth checking wikipedia for whatever obscure reference the story was hinged on. I only stopped when I had no one to talk to about them anymore.

… thanks, dad.

900 is a stepping stone. But I can see where I started from, and I know where I’m going. Maybe for the first time in my life. So from now until a thousand, and long past that, I’ve got work to do. Watch this space, because I’m nowhere near done yet.

Don Rosa in Review – The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist’s Edition Volume 1

Cover Life and Times Artist's2

When I reorganized my room to accommodate two new bookshelves, I had to be economical with my use of space. Sure, there are my trade paperbacks, but there’s also my computer, some storage, actual books, a Nintendo Switch with an enticing Shantae: Half-Genie Hero for me to finish, a desk and a bed… mini-house fetishists would be proud. But the thing I’m most proud of, in terms of ingenuity, is my reading area. I’ve specially dedicated the space to reading, to keep me free of distractions. A fold-up stadium chair, a repurposed cushion, blank space on my shelves for what I’m reading at the time, even a makeshift table for my netbook, a place to store whatever I’m eating… and giving my cat a place to sleep.

Don’t you even start judging me.

The thing is, as proud as I am of this reading area, there is exactly one book in my collection which alters the look and feel of the space to something less ingenious and more in the realm of ridiculous. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Don Rosa Artist’s Edition – The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Volume 1.

Continue reading “Don Rosa in Review – The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist’s Edition Volume 1”