Friday, July 31, 2020

Ghost in the Attic

The whole roof project went so smoothly. Then last night it rained, so I went upstairs to see if anything was leaking. 

Good news, no leaks.

Bad news, the kids room is haunted.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Blow the Roof Off

 Adventures in roofing. 


125 years worth of roof material is now on the convent lawn.

New Roof - Day One

The roofing team showed up around 8 a.m. One of them went to knock on the convent door to request the nuns open the gate to the side of my house, while a team got to work installing the "ladder-vator," and they others went upstairs to tear off the old roof. 

Demolition involved about an hour of some type of loud saw noise, various tarps being hauled up to cover the areas once exposed, and a lot of guys yelling back and forth. 

The neighbors probably love me right about now. 

One guy's son had the job of removing nails from the debris on the ground, thought I'm told I'll be finding nails and bits of roof for years to come.

I couldn't find the cats to try to lure them downstairs into my apartment. The second noises started outside, they disappeared. One of then learned how to hide behind the stove.

I'd been wondering how long it had been since the roof had been replaced, but the roofers told me likely never—new layers had just been piled on since the house was built in 1895. It's had at least four owners in the modern era, and there was a gap of about ten years right after the Great Depression when it was owned by a bank. An immigrant family from Hungary bought my house in the 1940s, and held onto it until the nineties. 

Lafayette Watering Hole

After seeing the local wildlife drink from the kiddie pool, I bought a dog bowl and filled it with water. 

I left it out last night along with a squeaky ball, since the little raccoons seemed to be playing with the pool ball in earlier photos. This is the same idea as a webcam on a watering hole in Namibia, only with opossums instead of elephants. 

Mileage varied.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Comics During Covid

This is easily my second favorite panel I've ever been on. (The first was when I called Frank Tieri from the other end of an SDCC stage for answers to a trivia question.) 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Backyard Water Park

 I found the most amazing thing on my backyard trail cam. 

Pandemic Living

 My new patio is occasionally used by humans under quarantine. 

Summer Cats

The cats who live upstairs in my house were NOT waiting for me today when I opened the door to go in and feed them. 

This is unprecedented. They are curious cats. 

I found them just lying around being lazy. One of them halfheartedly swiped at me. 

I turned on the a/c and 20 minutes later they were running around doing normal cat stuff. So today I learned cats can be hot even when I don't notice it's hot out, cuz they have fur coats.

Friday, July 24, 2020


Flying in from LAX to Newark on Thursday morning after a thunderstorm--I couldn't figure out where I was. Everything was covered in clouds. Then I saw the tip-top of Manhattan poking up through the mist.

Raising the Roof

I'm in Jersey City, where I get to quarantine a few days before getting a new roof on my house. 

Technically, I'm supposed to quarantine 14 days, but I will have to go outside to meet with the roofers, and let them in to go up through the hatch. I'll wear a mask and not get close to them. 

I guess that's when I let the cats come downstairs for a change. They'll be scared of roofers for sure.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

New Plan

I like to do an ambitious solo world tour once a decade.

MariesWorldTour 2021 is endangered by several factors—aside from the obvious "would I leave my job this time" to "there's a global pandemic on, and you can't leave your house" to "my passport went from being the gold card to an expired Discover card overnight."
First MWT: In 2001, I left Marvel, sold my condo, and spent a year going East to West around the world almost entirely by surface transport. I met Komodo dragons, got stuck in post-war East Timor, spent far too much time with Russian merchant marines on container ships, fought off a pervy Uzbek train conductor for days on end, had my bag slashed in Mongolia, cracked ribs in Ethiopia, threw up in China, Sudan, and probably places I've forgotten, and thought I'd die more times than I really need to go into here.
That trip evolved into Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik, the book about me running around Africa. Some of you read the book. Some of you were actually along for the ride on the original website.

Pandemic Excitement

Wakes up, rolls over, wonders “Is Spock an elf?”

Picks up phone, learns there are entire sites and threads devoted to “Spock is not a space elf.”

Hello, Wednesday. 

I think it’s Wednesday. Maybe.

Friday, July 10, 2020


I was reading over my old MariesWorldTour 2011 site, looking for something, and came across this entry, which took me right back to the border between Morocco/Southern Sahara and Mauritania.

* * *
Border Day
Bamba was trying to tell me something. He kept motioning at things. The glove compartment. The dashboard. He wanted me to do...what? He'd speak to me in French, because he'd gotten it in his head that I understood French, though I'd repeatedly said that I did not. Perhaps saying this in perfect French isn't a good strategy.
I fumbled around, trying to help him out. He kept putting one hand to his ear. I dug around in the glove compartment and produced some earbuds.
He pointed to his ear again.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Masks for All

 These have been coming out better once I adjusted my machine's tension. 

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Fifteen Years

My mother has been posting every day on her blog since 2005. Here's a short article talking about her photos and notes.

Houses=Money Pits

I was thinking about getting a car, but instead I'm going to get a roof.