Thursday, August 29, 2013

Accordions, and the Fair at New Boston

Like most people, I've never actually handled an accordion. Til today, anyway. Let me say, they make a most appealing wheezing sound when you pick them up. I was tempted to buy it -for about 5 minutes. Just think of the GLORIOUS AMOUNTS OF NOISE those things make. They are second only to a bagpipe in their ability to annoy people at a distance.

But enough of that! I'd never use it anyway. I am excited about The Fair at New Boston, a reenactment that's happening this weekend near Dayton. It's organized with great attention to historical accuracy, but moreover, they don't just lecture. They try to get the audience involved. This year is set in 1813; so someone will be flying historic hot air balloons if the weather is right; and press gangs will be impressing men into the British Navy to fight against Commodore Perry.

I got some excellent story material from the fair last year, and I expect to be inspired again this year.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Allan absolved

Did you think Allan went out to the forest to pull girls' hair?
You did, didn't you! Like he hasn't anything better to do!

As for me, in the 3rd panel I seem to have drawn Aille's hands in backward. Oops.

I shall conclude with an amusing anecdote from work:

The business I work for is not family-owned, precisely (it's a nonprofit), but it is family-operated and not without its tensions. Also, I was somewhat distracted today from trying to accomplish three things at once. So when two people came into my cubicle, er, office, and started unloading two carts of packing supplies and antiques, and one of them said "and I pried this from my sister's cold dead hands!" the first thing that came into my head fell straight out of my mouth, and it was "What, did a house fall on her?"

Fortunately she thought this was hilarious.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

And so forth

So, the second job fell through. I'm a bit sad and a bit relieved. No one really wants to work 7 days a week, but... money, you know.

The next day, a friend handed me a flier for an art contest she thought I should enter. Coincidence? I don't know. I'm thinking it over.....

Thursday, August 22, 2013

He has a decent singing voice.

"Oh Sally, my Dear," is an English folk song.

On a related note, I dug out one of my Steeleye Span CDs and have been listening to it in the car. English folk rock, if you like that.

As for Sally, she was also named pretty much at random. Paging through my drafts, I had referred to her at different times as Kate and as Bess. That's pretty random. I don't even remember why I switched to Sally, but it goes well with the song.

Wait, who's Sally?

You'll just have to wait and see.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Civil War letters and Benjamin lights

I don't think I mentioned the Civil War letters, at least not at length. One of the recent Ebay auctions I managed for work was for a collection of letters dated 1862-1863, from Simeon Darling to his wife Melinda. He wrote, among other things, about eating food meant for the horses, being ill, and going without pay for months on end. He did not say which regiment he was with, and I wasn't even certain what side he fought on. But some of the information coming from interested bidders really blew me away. The first one said that there were only two Simeon Darlings in the Civil War and that one died. Another asked if he was the one from Wisconsin or Illinois. (Wisconsin.) I don't know where they go to for this information, but I am quite impressed with their knowledge.

One of the letters had an embossed seal, with the outline of the Capitol building and the word Congress. I wish I knew what that signified, but it seemed unprofessional to ask the bidders that.

Oh, and on Friday I assessed a collection of cobalt blue glass. Beautiful color, mostly tableware; candy dish, salt/pepper, cake plate, bowl, butter dish, a number of vases, and so on. Then there were these two blue glass things that looked vaguely like jelly jars, but turned out to be Benjamin explosion-proof glass to protect very old lightbulbs. I haven't figured out why they are so dark blue, though; I've only found other examples in clear and amber. Surely blue can't let much light through. Maybe it marked an exit or something.

There's also an antique accordion awaiting my inspection.

I don't even know anyone who plays an accordion any more.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Did he say too much? Too little?

It's fair to say that work is keeping me busy, in that I'm rushing from this to that. Ebay is working out wonderfully, but there's no set system for doing things yet, so everything from the fussy printer to finding appropriate packing material for a vintage guitar amp is a stumbling block. Meanwhile, the other work (books & carts of lookups) piles up. I'm skipping Gencon this weekend, but I'm looking forward to the Fair at New Boston in a few weeks.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rare and awesome

The nonprofit I work for has just resumed Ebay operations after a several-year hiatus. As the semi-expert in antiques and collectables, it is mostly on me. While there is a lot more work to do, people are passing some really awesome and rare things my way. Let's see:

-A set of 8 pewter spoons from 1600s England stamped with a rose&crown hallmark.
-A hand-painted Haviland Limoges chocolate pot with a painting of a Georgian gentleman on one side and a lady on the other. These were original paintings from scratch, not transfers with a quick dab of paint. Damn shame the spout was broken.
-A religious book published in 1785. Before now, the oldest book that passed through my hands was dated 1803.
-A fancy Victorian velvet & brass wedding photo album/music box.
-A collection of Civil War letters from a soldier to his wife. One letter was embossed with a seal of Congress. I have no idea why; he wasn't anyone of importance.  Heart-wrenching letters.

There were some more books from the 1800s that I didn't get to look at before I left. And there's a cart of lead crystal and early American pattern glass waiting for me when I get a spare second.

St Francis Ebay page, where most of these things are or will be for sale.

My personal Ebay page, less awesome but more affordable.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


There are a few extra faces in today's page, but pay them no attention. They are nameless NPCs. I'm afraid that the Stanhopes are too important to open their own doors and pour their own tea. And that is fairly typical.

Good families of the 18th century had quite a lot of servants. A number of people had to work very hard to keep a few in luxury. Even families that were not so well off had a few servants. The servant class are considered unimportant and are rarely mentioned in detail, but they are omnipresent despite not having speaking lines.

-In Pride and Prejudice, the Bennets had a cook and a housekeeper, and since they had a coach I presume they had a groom and perhaps a footman, but these are never mentioned.

-A man of Mr. Darcy's importance would have had someone in almost constant attendance. At the very least, a valet would have travelled with him to attend to his clothes and his person. Yet the only servant who makes an appearance is his housekeeper, when Elizabeth visits Pemberly, Darcy's home estate.

-In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwoods move to Barton Cottage in what they perceive as intolerable hardship, yet they take a couple servants with them, cooking and chopping firewood being beneath them.

-In Peter Pan, the Darling parents were poor but pretentious, so they had only one servant, but referred to her in the plural sense.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

He's the youngest, so he was spoiled as a child.

Too much to do, too much to do! I worked through two carts of antique, hand-painted china today at work. Victorian rose vases, Japan violet teapots, art nouveau plates. It takes time to figure out exactly what something is, but with things like that, it's worth it. Tomorrow, two carts of antique crystal and glassware, books, and.....Ebay auctions.

That's right!
Work has FOUND the internet.

Don't look so surprised, it had to happen eventually. A million monkeys typed a long time for this.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So clever he outsmarts himself

Period-correct playing cards, though I didn't render them in exacting detail. I'm pretty proud of these first few pages. I paid a lot of attention to making the dialogue, the monologue, and the card game mesh.

Allan thinks of himself as clever, but his tactics are predictable. For example, he babbles when he is trying to pull a fast one. He thinks of it as trying to distract his opponent. It may work on casual acquaintances, but it's a dead giveaway to anyone who knows him well.

His mother knows him well.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My life in post-its and paper dolls

I'm thinking about starting a second comic. Siloen takes so much time, but there are also things about my job that are so strange and funny that I feel the need to share them with the world. The story of my life told with post-its and donated stationary, as scribbled in 5 minutes or less.

I was also looking at a pioneer family paper doll book and thinking it would be fun to do that with Allan and Stephen. A paper doll set, I mean, with them in their undergarments and a number of sets of clothes and accessories. But perhaps I'm the only one who would find that amusing.