Roof Top Gig

Silver Bow
Silver Bow

The band I drum for Fire On Mcginnis, has an opportunity to play a roof top gig above the Silver Bow in Juneau this Friday, July 1st. This last Sunday a couple of members of the band and myself headed over to the Silver Bow to check out the roof and to start figuring out the logistics of getting all our equipment up all the stair cases as well as how we where going to get power for all the amps.

My breath was taken away as I saw the view looking over the capital city. I snapped some pictures with my iPhone to share with everyone. If something happens with the weather or whatever that might prevent us from playing I am really glad I had the opportunity to see all this. I don’t know how many people get to look out over roof tops and see what I saw, but it was beautiful.

The band and I now have a mental plan of how we are going to get everything setup and we will be spending the next couple of weeks working with the owner the business so we can make it all happen. Lets just hope the weather works with us. I can’t imagine doing anything cooler right now than playing a roof top gig in downtown Juneau Alaska.

Ikea Comic Book Photo Frame Hack

For a while now I have been wanting to find a way to show off my comic book collection in my office. I had done a lot of searching online for comic book picture frames and have been constantly turned off by the price of them. I have always been turned off by the price of photo frames, but that is a rant for another blog post.

I recently found a safe alternative to expensive comic book photo frames thanks to $1.99 photo frame from Ikea and I want to share my solution with you.

Comic Book Safety

Before I started searching for comic book photo frames I did some research regarding how safe it is to present your comic books out in the open. I was personally worried about UV fading as a result of having the a comic books exposed to light.

I found the answer to my concerns over at the website Frame It Again Sam.

There is a myth about UV protection implying that mysterious UV rays exist in all light and need to be filtered out. The truth is that there is no UV light inside your house unless you have fluorescent bulbs without a UV shield. And that should be a worry for you, not your comics. Remember that UV causes sun burns and skin cancer, and you are protected from UV rays in your home and so are your comics.

That being said, Mylar-D Bags have substantial UV-Protection built-in. The reason I use Mylar bags with the frames, however is not so much for their UV protection, but for their preservation qualities, incredible clarity and their longevity.

UV Rays are line-of-sight from the sun (direct sunlight). Not just any light as seems to be the myth. It has to be a straight line from the sun to your comics to have any UV rays in it. Even with UV protection you should still avoid putting your comics in the path of direct sunlight because infrared, another component of direct sunlight, is harmful to the inks in comics. Humidity, changes in temperature and exposure to fresh oxygen are the dangers you should worry about for your collection. Avoid hanging near doors and windows and under bright lights or rooms. And keep comics out of the path of DIRECT sunlight with or without UV protection!

Comic Book Frames

With my worries about my comic books fading gone I proceeded to search for comic book frames to present my comics in.

A simple google search will result in a lot of options for comic book collectors. A lot of the comic book frames I found that I liked where custom build-to-order. These frames where built with care. I was turned off by the price of these frames from the get go. They would be an option for me if I only had a comic book or two I wanted to hang up. The reality is that I have several comic books I want to hang up. I want to be able to pick out my comics that look great and hang them in my office. That means hanging more than two comic books up.

Ikea Photo Frame

During a trip to Ikea in Portland I found they where selling $1.99 black photo frames that would be perfect for displaying my comics in. I bought several of these frames and brought them back with me to Alaska.

To complete this project I also need to purchase a few other materials. Black Cardstock Paper and picture hooks. Below is a list of all the materials I had to pick up to display my comic books.

Materials

Steps For Displaying Comics Using An IKEA Photo Frame

Step 1. Flipping the photo frame over list the 6 black metal tabs so you can remove the back from the Ikea Photo Frame.

Step 2. Gently push out the hanger loop tap on the photo frame backing.

Step 3. Holding the back photo frame backing down on a flat surface wiggle the diagonal stand pice until it can be pulled free from the backing. If you are worried about doing to much damage to the backing I also found scissors to be helpful. (Removing the stand allows the photo frame to lay flat against the wall when hung.)

Step 4. Remove the paper from behind the plastic window of the photo frame. You wont be needing it.

 

Step 5. Remove the Plastic plexiglass like window from the photo frame and remove the plastic wrap coating.

Each side of the plexiglass is covered with a thin sheet of plastic wrap like coating. You can remove it by rubbing your finger gently across the edge of the plexiglass till you can pull off the plastic wrap.

Step 6. Place the plexiglass window back in the photo frame keeping the photo frame face down.

Step 7. Place a bagged and boarded comic book of your choice face down in the photo frame so it is even and level.

Step 8. Take a sheet of Black Cardstock Paper and place it on top of the comic book.

Step 9. Put the photo frame backing back on top of the Black Card stock and press down on the 6 black metal tabs to secure the backing in place.

Step 10. Install a picture hook on the wall where you would like to hang your comic book.

Step 11. Hang your comic book using the hanger loop tap on the back of the Ikea photo frame and you are done.

Conclusion

I currently have 19 of these Ikea photo frames hanging in my office and they look pretty great. It is so nice to be able to look up from my computer and see the wonderful art that now surrounds me.

The Ikea frames are not flawless, but what do you want from a Photo frame that cost less an two bucks? Besides, people who visit me in my office are to busy admiring the comics to care about the frames.

[UPDATE: 10.23.2011]

Hamp Freeman contacted me to say he liked my solution for framing comic books. He even e-mailed me some photos. [Link to Post]

[UPDATE: 10.24.2011]

Anthony James contacted me to show off his comic books using the IKEA Frame hack [Link to Post]

[UPDATE: 5.2.2012]

I have seen that some people are using the black IKEA frames to display their comics, but they are doing so without including the white backing board that most comic book collectors use. This is producing a cleaner look when displaying your comics. I have not don’t it (yet), But I just wanted people to know about that option.

[UPDATE: 6.8.2012]

The Brilliantly Easy blog has managed to pull off the same kind of frame hack I have going on, but by doing it with dollar frames. The blog poster found a company that will ship you the frames! Something IKEA doesn’t do. Check out the dollar comic book frame post called: Comic Book Frame.

[UPDATE: 7.18.2012]

Paul contacted me from Australia to show off his framed collection: Comics Framed In Australia

[UPDATE: 7.25.2012]

Mat showing off his Green Lantern collection and explains how to hang comics on cinder block wall: Framed Green Lantern Comics

[UPDATE: 8.16.2012]

Kiley showing off is books on his wall in Chicago: Comic Book Wall In Chicago

[UPDATE: 10.31.2012]

Russell showing off his New York Comic Con Framed Comics

[UPDATE: 11.5.2012]

Adam Darvish showing off his Framed Avengers Vs. X-Men

[UPDATE: 04.29.2013]

Casey’s Framed Comics In Kenosha, Wisconsin

Opting Out Of TSA Body Imaging Scanners

On Saturday, April 23rd 2011 My wife and I where traveling home to Juneau, Alaska from Seattle. We had come to Washington State two weeks prior to have our wedding together surrounded by our family and friends. The end of our trip was punctuated by having to submit to an embarrassing full body pat-down by a TSA agent.

As Hannah and I arrived at Seattle’s international airport the afternoon of Saturday, Aril 23rd everything was going pretty normally. We received our boarding passes and checked our bags than proceeded to the north security check point. A tattooed TSA agent (I feel safe already) checked both of our IDs and Tickets before waving us on. Hannah and I proceeded to the first available line to remove our laptops, shoes, jackets and anything metal into the white plastic bins for X-Raying. My wife was directed to a normal metal scanner on the left and I was directed to go through the body imaging scanner on the right. I looked at the TSA agent who directed me down this path and pointed at the body imaging scanner and said “I don’t want to go through this. I opt out”

“You don’t want to go through this?” she asked

“No I don’t”.

“Ok, wait here on the side.”

The TSA agent than called for someone to perform a pat-down for a male. I waited for a short moment and was than directed by another TSA agent to the end of the security line where all my belongings where being carried to. I was then told by the agent that he would be performing a full body pat-down. It was at this time I requested a police officer to observe the pat-down.

“You want a police officer?”

“Yes”, I said “To observe the pat-down”

The TSA officer looked shocked as if no one ever asked for a police officer to observe them doing a pat-down. The agent then hollered across to his supervisor who appeared to be setting at a computer terminal “This person is requesting a police officer to observe his pat-down”.

The supervising TSA officer came down and asked “You are refusing to be patted-down”?

When on earth did I ever say I refused? Are they just looking for a reason to keep me out of the air port? “No”, I said “I am asking that a police officer be present for my pat-down”

This TSA agent looked just ask shocked at my request as the first one. I can’t be the only person here who feels that this procedure is a violation of my rights and my privacy. I find it so hard to believe that I am the only person who has asked that the police observe this at Seattle’s international airport.

“Hang on”, he said and walked back over to his computer terminal and picked up a phone. When he came back he told me that I could take my belongings and step back out of security, back to where I got my boarding pass and contact the police to have them observe my pat down.

I looked at him with a strange look on my face and asked “When I came into the airport I saw two police officers on Segways. I have to now step out of security and call them? Can’t you just radio them over here?” I was started to get frustrated.

“No” He said “If you want an officer to view your pat-down it is your responsibility to request them. You can gather up your items and proceed back out of security and this agent will follow you.”

It was at that moment the mobile phone in his hand rang. As he answered it the other TSA agent who was going to give me my special touches moments before instructed me to start gathering my things. I proceeded to put on my belt and jacket when the TSA agent on the phone motioned for me stop. He finished his conversation and hung up.

“You will not have to go back outside of security. You can contact 911 from here. Do you have a mobile phone?”

“Yes” I answered.

“You can use it to call 911 and request an officer”. he said

I grabbed my phone from one of the white bins and started to enter 911 when I asked “Is 911 the appropriate number for this situation”?

“Yes” he responded

I entered 911 from my phone and hit send.

“Hello, 911 emergency”.

“Hi, Yes”. I said a little nervously. “I am currently at Seattle’s International airport and I would like to request an officer to observe my TSA pat-down.”

“Please stay on the line”, said the 911 operator. I could hear the line click and ring once before another a new person answered.

“Hello, 911 emergency”.

“Yes, I am currently at Seattle’s International airport and I would like to request an officer to observe my TSA pat-down.”

“Oh, yeah, sure not a problem” said the 911 operator. “Which security gate are you at”?

“I am at the north security gate”.

“I will have someone there shortly. Thank you”.

“Thank you”, I said and hung up. “An officer will be here shortly he said.” I told this to the TSA agents waiting.

We all waited for the Police officer to show up. When he did appear the TSA supervisor agent greeted him and stated “He wants an officer to observe his pat-down”. Again saying this like it was the oddest request he had ever heard.

The officer came up to me and shook my hand and introduced himself. He then proceeded to stand-off to the side and “Observe” my pat-down. I say “observe” because the officer’s eyes were glued to his cell phone the entire time of my pat-down.

At this point the TSA agent who was waiting around to give me my pat-down started to explain the process. He would be going over my body with the back of his hands. Starting with my back to him he would rub the back of his hands from the back of my neck all the way down to my heels. Then I would turn around and he would do the same down my front avoiding my genitals. He also explain that he would be checking the waist of my pants.

The agent started by having me turn my back to him while he rubbed what I have to assume was the back of his hands down my back side. I Looked over my shoulder at the police officer who was glued to his cell phone. The TSA agent rubbed what I have to assume where the back of his hands over my ass in a down word motion several times. He did this over my cloths. He spent more time on my ass than any other part of my body. I was feeling that this was very inappropriate and became even more nervous.

He then put what felt like two fingers from each hand inside the waist of my pants a felt all the way around. I should have jumped. I should have said something. I should have indicated that I was not comfortable with this. I should have voiced something to make this agent stop. The fact was that I was just to nervous at the time. I was shaking and scared. This is just not right.

He eventually continued down to my legs. He felt down my legs and the sides of my legs. He asked me to turn around and he proceeded to do the same thing down the front of my body, but avoided my genitals, but only by an inch or two. When he got to my legs he would wrap his hands around my legs and from just below my genitals and slide his hands down each leg. The whole time he did this I watched as Seattle’s finest stay glued to his mobile phone. Thanks for the help big guy.

I have been reading a lot about the TSA fully body scanners and the advanced pat-downs users are having to submit to if they opt out. Users experiences of opting out of the body scanners have been scary. Some people are being told they can no longer opt out. Others are being touched inappropriately (Do you think children should be submitted to this?). If you have been reading the same information I have your next question might be; did I feel that my privacy was violated? Did I feel embarrassed? Do I feel I was touched in ways only my wife should ever be allowed to touch me? That answer to all of these is a very strong HELL YES!

The irony of this is that I had my cigar cutter in my pocket the whole time and the TSA agent didn’t find it.

Hannah managed to catch a small portion of my pat-down on video. In the video you can see myself being patted-down and the police officer looking down at his cell phone. I am doing my best to not show how upset I am.

In hindsight I should have written down the police officers name and badge number. I will just have to chalk that one up to lack of experience and try and do better next time. I hope their will never be a next time. This is seriously not right.

As the two of use left the security screening area and proceeded to the elevator we shared our ride down with a custodian. I asked her “Do you have to submit to these full body imagine scanners?”

“Nope” She said “We all refuse to use them”.

How interesting I thought to myself.

Hannah and I both have a friend who is also a pilot for a major airline. He has told us a couple of times that none of the airline pilots will let TSA use the full body scanners on them. I do find it funny that a government trying to implement a system that not even the pilots of the planes that fly in and out of these airports will par take in.

Where does one go from here? Well I have already contacted the airline I flew with and expressed my displeasure in what occurred.  As someone who flew first class and is upset I hope that my voice will carry a little weight with them. I have also contacted TSA and let them know I felt violated. What, if anything will come of my action I don’t know. I just know I am not the only person that feels this way. If we make our voices heard we can enact change.

A Wedding And The Lower 48

I really look forward to my trips down south. I love Alaska and Juneau. It’s beautiful in a way that words can not describe. I just find myself missing so many things about Washington State and the lower 48 states in general. Things like walking through a mall and being able to drive longer than 15 minutes.

In just over a week Hannah and I will be coming down to Washington state to get married. So this trip is really going to mean a lot to me. I am going to get to spend time with family and friends I have not seen in years. All these people I love and miss will be all close by for a couple of days as Hannah and I get married. I can’t imagen a more perfect trip.

Before family starts showing up for the wedding Hannah and I will get a chance to spend some time in Seattle and I also hope Bellingham, because Bellingham rocks! Will have a few last-minute wedding purchases to make and just get a chance to get out and see the real world for a change.

The Rendezvous Show

Last Thursday night was my gig with Fire on McGinnis at the Rendezvous. I got out of work late that day and one of my band mates had to haul my drums over to the venue. I showed up fifteen minutes after 5pm and as soon as I got their I started tuning and setting up my drum set as fast as I could then stepped out-of-the-way so the rest of the band could setup their equipment.

By around 6:30 we where able to perform our sound check and everything checked out fine and good. We all wanted to go get dinner so we just agreed to come back by 10pm to start playing at 10:30pm.

I came home and made dinner and hung out with Hannah for a little bit. I also took a few minutes and updated the set list I was given to include my drumming notes. I still don’t have all the songs down 100% and need a little mental refresh for several of them.

Hannah came with me back to the Rendezvous to hear me play. My brother showed up and a couple of friends too. It was encouraging to see all their familiar faces in the crowded bar.

We played the first set and we played it really well. People where dancing and laughing. We where really on that night. Before start of the fourth song I had to stop the band for a few minutes to tape up my fingers. They had blistered and popped and it was getting painful to keep playing.

I once asked the drummer of Local H what he did to protect his hands. He told me he used golfing gloves when he played. I need to make a mental note and go out and try some out.

With my hands tapped up we continued playing and finished out first set. We took a ten minute break and came back to play a second set.

I really had a good time and was grateful to the Rendezvous for letting us play.  They where grateful for us playing as well. Turns out they had such a good night on St. Patrick’s day that they ended up paying us five times more than the original agreed amount.

Hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day Gig

Waiting Out In The Cold For People To Show Up For Band Practice.

With St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow my band has been stepping up practices by playing longer and learning new songs. We have a gig at one of the local bars in juneau called the Rendezvous. We have played their before and the people that show are have always been supportive and happy to see us play so I am really looking forward to this show. I understand will be playing from 10:30pm till 12:30am. The only negative thing is that I have to go to work the next morning and am normally up by 5 AM.

Yesterday scheduling a practice was hard but we pulled it off. Hannah had some plans for the day that could not be broken so right after work we just packed up my drum set and dropped it and me off at one of our band members houses where we were going to practice for the day. I sat outside in the cold for maybe 45 minutes waiting for people to show up.  The things we do for music.

I hope some of you can make it to the show tomorrow. I think it is going to be one of our best ones yet!

Power Outage

Last night around 9:30 when I should have been in bed, but was instead up watching a movie with Hannah on my Media Center, the power went out. We only pay some of the highest rates in the country for electricity so it stans to reason that it would go out ALL THE TIME. The two of us got up from the couch and lit some candles and got a flash light. Looking out the window I could see that the whole Juneau valley -with exception to the airport- was with out power.

Even without power I was still upbeat. As soon as the power went out I heard the beeping of my APC UPS that power my Qnap NAS going off every 15 seconds. “Is that thing going to be alright”. Hannah asked.

“Yeah. The NAS should power it’s self down in two minutes if power is not restored”.

“Oh, cool”. she said.

Qnap NAS

Sure enough at the two minute mark I heard the shut down signal of the Qnap Nas. Moments later it was off. Things like that make me smile. When things just work as they are supposed to.

After that Hannah and I crawled into bed and as most nights I proceeded to read to her. I no sooner got myself situated in bed when the power came back on.

Update from KINY NewsUnknown cause spurs area wide outage

The city and borough suffered an area wide power outage last night.

Gail Wood of Alaska Electric Light and Power says the lights went out at about 9:45 with power restored around 11 p.m.

Wood says the outage location has been identified as the East Terminal where the lines transmit into the submarine cable that crosses Taku Inlet.  A crew will go to the area at first light to investigate.

Wood says the outage lasted about an hour and a half for those who had power restored last.

In the meantime, AEL&P is running off backup diesel generators, and power from the Annex Creek and Salmon Creek hydro projects.

Update 2 [12:32pm]Utility crew can’t pinpoint cause of area wide power outage

The city and borough suffered an area wide power outage last night.

Gail Wood of Alaska Electric Light and Power says the lights went out at about 9:45 with power restored around 11 p.m.

Wood says the outage location has been identified as the East Terminal where the lines transmit into the submarine cable that crosses Taku Inlet.

A crew went to  the area this morning  to investigate, but could not locate the cause of the problem.

AEL&P  rann the system with backup diesel generators, and power from the Annex Creek and Salmon Creek hydro projects following the problem.  The system was scheduled to be back on full hydro by mid-day today, according to Wood.

She says the outage lasted about an hour and a half for those who had power restored last